The President's Mystery

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The President's Mystery
The President's Mystery FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Phil Rosen
Written by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (story concept)
Samuel Hopkins Adams (story)
Lester Cole (screenplay)
John Erskine (story)
Rupert Hughes (story)
Fulton Oursler (story)
S.S. Van Dine (story)
Rita Weiman (story)
Nathanael West (screenplay)
Produced by Burt Kelly (associate producer)
Nat Levine (producer)
Albert E. Levoy (executive producer)
StarringSee below
Cinematography Ernest Miller
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Music by Hugo Riesenfeld
Release date
September 28, 1936
Running time
80 minutes
53 minutes (edited US version)
CountryUnited States

The President's Mystery is a 1936 American film directed by Phil Rosen.


The film is also known as One for All in the United Kingdom.

Plot summary

The film deals with a "problem Mr. Roosevelt submitted . . . whether it was possible for a man, weary of faithless friends and a wasted life, to convert a $5,000,000 estate into cash, disappear and start anew in some worth-while activity." (cited from The New York Times Monday, April 16, 2012)

Disillusioned attorney James Blake is engaged by his friend George Sartos to lobby on behalf of the National Cannery against a bill that would've empowered smaller businesses. After James is successful, he encounters Charlotte Brown, who runs a cannery that is the main livelihood of the small town of Springvale; the cannery has been forced to close because of the bill. James listens to the townsfolk and is inspired to help them.

James liquidates his assets, closes his bank accounts, and stages a failed business venture to make it seem that he's gone bankrupt. Once ready, he leaves his estranged wife, Ilka, to fake his death in a car accident. Ilka tries to inform George, who is also her lover, about James's strange behavior but is accidentally killed by George's manservant, Andrew. James learns about Ilka's death through the radio, and how James is blamed for it but the case is considered closed since his "body" was found by the police.

Some months later James, using his new name James Carter, is in a relationship with Charlotte and has turned her cannery into a success. They are visited by George, who wants to buy out their business. George recognizes James and tries to blackmail him into compliance. When James refuses, George informs the police and James is arrested for Ilka's murder.

While James is held in the town jail, George plants agents provocateurs to cause a riot to destroy the cannery. James learns of this and, due to his good relationship with the people of Springvale, is allowed out of the town jail to talk the rioters down and bring proof of his intentions to keep the cannery going. Meanwhile, James's former manservant Roger, acting on his own initiative, finds out from Andrew that Ilka's death was an accident. George is arrested for causing the riot, and James is released, freeing him to marry Charlotte.


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