Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|JFK - A Presidency Revealed |
Actors: John F. Kennedy, JFK
Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 11/25/2003 Run time: 300 minutes
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Perhaps the best JFK documentary ever...
Commander Adama | USA | 05/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This outstanding documentary is the most recent, and probably the most accurate, portrait of JFK's dramatic and controversial Presidency. Created by the History Channel and aired in November 2003 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of JFK's assassination, this documentary offers many new insights into JFK's life and political career. Most of this story will seem familiar (perhaps too familiar) to any Kennedy buff - we follow JFK from his brilliant inaugaral speech in January 1961 through the many crises of his "thousand days" in office - the Bay of Pigs disaster in early 1961, the disastrous summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev in Austria, his brilliant trip to Paris with his wife Jackie, the Berlin Wall crisis, the civil rights battles in the South, and of course the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 and the subsequent easing of tensions with the Soviets in 1963. However, if this were all the DVD offered then it would be rather dull to most of those who have studied the Kennedys. In my opinion this documentary stands out for four reasons: 1)It is more objective and realistic than most previous JFK documentaries, which were either "hatchet jobs" that portrayed JFK as a modern-day Caligula or Nero, or admiring "lovefests" which insisted upon seeing Kennedy as the shining knight of a modern "Camelot". This documentary views JFK as neither a heroic saint nor a perverted devil, but rather as a deeply flawed and complicated fellow whose administrative and foreign-policy inexperience often get him into trouble, but whose genuine political skills and flexibility combine to save him when the trouble comes. JFK is also shown as a man who learns from his mistakes and rarely makes the same mistake twice. 2)This documentary offers new medical records (complete with interviews with a medical doctor) which clearly prove that JFK suffered from terrible medical problems which almost certainly would have prevented him from becoming President in today's political climate. Back problems, adrenal problems, severe allergies - you name it, JFK probably had it. To stay alive he took dozens of pills each day, and even then his horrific back troubles led him to turn to dangerous "quack" doctors such as Dr. Max Jacobsen ("Dr. Feelgood"), who frequently injected a powerful concotion of amphetamines and illegal drugs into his back - injections which might eventually have killed him. Although another person interviewed for this documentary, History Professor Robert Dallek, argues that JFK should be commended for the tremendous willpower he showed in overcoming his physical problems, it is also true that JFK was playing a dangerous game by hiding his infirmities from the public, and that it probably would have caught up with him in a second term. 3)This documentary offers dozens of interviews with people who knew JFK well - from former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to journalists Ben Bradlee and Hugh Sidey. And some of these people (who are now in the twilight of their lives) offer some surprisingly candid observations on JFK not heard previously. Sidey, who admires JFK, nonetheless strongly critizes his behavior with women and argues that his womanizing would have been exposed in a second term and led to his resignation. McNamara specifically points out for the first time the mistakes that were made in areas such as Vietnam and Cuba which led to trouble for JFK and his advisors. 4)And, finally, while this documentary does look at JFK's womanizing, it doesn't allow these gossipy stories to overshadow the major legacies (good and bad) of his presidency. Overall, this is a superb documentary (one of the History Channel's best efforts in recent years, IMO), and is a worthy addition to any Kennedy buff's collection. Recommended!"
2 Full Discs Of Kennedy; A Big Thumbs-Up!
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The History Channel's "JFK: A Presidency Revealed" is a nice, polished presentation, featuring new interviews with many people who knew Jack Kennedy best, including brother Edward Kennedy, Robert McNamara (JFK's Defense Secretary), Cecil Stoughton (Official White House photographer during the three JFK years), Time Magazine's Hugh Sidey, and close friend Ben Bradlee, plus several others.
The main program on this double-DVD set originally aired in November 2003, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of JFK's tragic death. The program clocks in at a leisurely-paced 2 hours and 35 minutes, giving the documentary time to breathe (so to speak), with ample time given to each major event which dotted the JFK administration.
Topics range from Inauguration Day in January 1961, to the disastrous Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba just three months later, plus extensive chapters on the Civil Rights struggle that JFK had to face during his term, Kennedy's Vienna summit meeting with Soviet leader Khrushchev, and the frightening Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.
The program also dwells a great deal on JFK's ill health during nearly every one of his 1,037 days as the 35th U.S. Chief Executive. It's hard to believe, after seeing pictures and films of him in seemingly good physical condition, that there were, in fact, many times during his tenure in office when he couldn't even bend over to pick up some papers on his desk or to tie his own shoes, because the pain in his back was so intense.
We're also treated to several audio clips from recently-released tape recordings made by JFK while in the Oval Office. There's one particular audio snippet here that's very nearly worth the price of this DVD all by itself. It has a livid (and nearly fit to be tied) John Kennedy talking with Air Force General Godfrey McHugh after the President discovers that a story has been leaked to the press regarding the rather large amount of funds that were spent for a suite of hospital rooms prepared for the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, when Jackie gave birth to the First Couple's third child, Patrick, in August 1963. (Baby Patrick, sadly, died just two days after his birth.)
In the interest of good taste, I cannot reveal some of the President's heated remarks that were aimed at General McHugh (and others). But hearing such invective coming from the lips of a seething President had me rolling with laughter and reaching for the remote's rewind button for an instant replay.
It's the kind of rarely-heard tape recording that (in this writer's opinion) becomes an instant "classic clip" the minute you hear it. And I'm very glad that A&E/The History Channel didn't feel the need to censor (or "bleep out") any of the rather objectionable comments spouted by the irate President during this audio clip. I commend them for its inclusion on this documentary program.
John F. Kennedy's presidency has been reviewed countless times since his sudden, untimely death in November 1963, but this 2003 assessment of his time in the White House ranks as one of the best overviews yet produced, in my opinion.
Volume 2 of this 2-Disc DVD set features two excellent episodes of the A&E "Biography" series. Included are bios on JFK (running time of 90 minutes) and Jack's father, Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (44 minutes).
Picture quality is top notch here. Much of the "stock" film footage that is shown looks almost brand new again on these DVDs. I was surprised to see a rare COLOR clip of JFK's June 1963 "Civil Rights" speech.
This handsomely-boxed set of DVDs is definitely a worthy addition to any JFK fan's video collection."
Very Good Except For 2 Things
G. Pascal | 12/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Documentary features many outstanding color newsreels of JFK and that era. Everything but the last 20 minutes or so is thorough, fair,& quite impressive, but Vietnam was handled very poorly. The thrust of the film being that JFK would have had to have sent ground troops at some point to bolster American Prestige is pure speculation at best. When Kennedy signed NSAM 263 in Oct. 63- he didn't do it for the hell of it,it was the first phase in withdrawing all troops by the end of '65. Though, the Diem Coup of 11-1-63 complicated matters, there is no evidence JFK ever considered putting in ground forces.The Assassination is just hardly even touched on- , but paraphrasing- the back brace is supposed to have kept Kennedy in place when Oswald's shot him in the neck. First of all JFK was shot in the back- The Autopsy Face Sheet- The Death Certificate-The 2 FBI Agents report, and the Clothes and Jacket all put the wound in the back at 5-6 inches below the neck line.It was the Warren Commission who moved this up to the Neck to make the Single Bullet Theory Viable.Secondly,- a metal plate was put in his lumbar spine in Jul. 53 to alleviate pressure, this is what so sadly kept him immobilized during the shooting,the man had no mobility."
He's left a void, and here's why
Dr. M. Kanani | London United Kingdom | 05/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is remarkable piece of work. The only way to do justice to this complex, bright, sensitive and fascinating man is to paint him in the full, giving us the three dimensional image. This documentary does just that, and Kennedy himself would want no less. It enables the viewer to reach back to a rapidly fading time, and feel the void that his passing has left. Like everyone else, he had his human failings and foibles, but these fall into insignificance when compared to his understanding of the human condition and the great movements of history.
You can see at the end of the third part where the bystanders during the anniversary celebrations in Berlin well-up at the sound of his voice delivering his speech from a tape to the modern crowd after 40 years of silence.
What comes through most, however, from this piece of work is his happy courage in the face of great personal adversity. This is the reason why we refuse to forget him and fight to keep him fresh in our minds."