One of the most important documents of the 20th century is now available to the public for the very first time. Witness the assassination of president john f. Kennedy in the first-ever digitally enlarged version of the zap... more »ruder film. Studio: Mpi Home Video Release Date: 07/07/1998 Run time: 45 minutes Rating: Nr« less
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 08/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is important that you know exactly what Image of an Assassination is before you decide to spend your money on it. The entire focus of the DVD is Abraham Zapruder's 26-second, 8 mm film showing the assassination of John F. Kennedy from start to finish. This is not a "who shot JFK?" documentary - there's no place for conspiracy theories or defenses of the Warren Commission conclusions to be found here. This is a new and much improved look at the single most important piece of evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy, complemented by a look at the process behind the digitalization of the film. There is no real analysis of the film, and no allusion to the criticisms some have made about the integrity of the film. Any conclusions to be made are left up to the viewer, and this video gives the viewer the ultimate look at this most famous, most important home video ever made.
The documentary does provide a timeline for the original film's travel across the decades, beginning on the morning of November 22, 1963, when the meek and mild Abraham Zapruder was encouraged to go home and get his camera so that he could film the passing of the Presidential motorcade. You get a brief personal look at Zapruder himself, a most reluctant of celebrities, including footage of the interview he gave to TV station WFAA hours after the assassination. There are interviews with several individuals associated with Zapruder and Time Life, the company which bought the rights to the film in the days after the assassination. You will follow the trail of the original film to the possession of Time Life (oddly, there is no mention of the mysteriously reversed frames that were printed in Life magazine shortly after the assassination) and, in 1975, back to the Zapruder family (it was sold back for $1). Time Life was feeling a little heat from the public for supposedly suppressing the original film itself after an obviously second-generation copy was unveiled to the American television public by ABC on Geraldo Rivera's talk show Good Night America in March of that year. The Zapruder family asked the National Archives to take possession of the film so that it could be stored under optimal conditions, and that is where the original 26-second film remains.
At this point, we get into the recent project to make a digital copy of the original film, one that could be made available to researchers and the public at large. Every time the original film is taken out of cold storage and viewed, deterioration is possible, and indeed some problems have been caused by the copying of the film way back in 1963. It is an impressive, laborious, strictly controlled process of a highly technical, ruthlessly documented nature, but it is much more than that. The digitalization process allowed for the vast improvement of the original film's quality. Each frame was scanned at resolutions up to 1500 dpi so that the footage could be blown up larger, dust and scratches were removed (except for those around the splices, which were just too damaged), and the sequencing is well nigh perfectly done. Best of all, though, we can now view the each frame from one film edge to the other, including all of the sprocket holes. Thus, some details can now be seen for the very first time.
The video is only 45 minutes long, culminating in several normal speed and slow-motion versions of the new and improved Zapruder film. The detail and color is amazing, but is this ultimate version of the 26-second film worth the money to you? If you are a casual JFK assassination nut, perhaps not. If you are serious about your armchair JFK assassination sleuthing, however, Image of an Assassination is a bargain at any price. Hordes of researchers over the years would have given their right arms for a version of the film half as clear as this one. The Zapruder film is the most crucial piece of evidence we have from November 22, 1963; Image of an Assassination gives you access to the Holy Grail of JFK assassination evidence."
THANK YOU ABRAHAM
M. R. ZOGLIO | 10/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here it is in all it's gory glory. The most important record from that fateful day in Dealey Plaza - the Zapruder film. I bought a copy of this film on VHS when it first came out in 1998. I don't recall whether it had all the extras that this version has but it's nice to finally own it on DVD. I just finished reading Robert J. Groden's The Killing Of A President (an excellent collection of photographic evidence) and wanted to view the Zapruder film one more time. This DVD contains 4 different versions of the assassination as well as the entire interview of Abraham Zapruder from later that day and the entire Goodnight America segment (featuring Groden) . We owe Abraham Zapruder a debt of thanks for being in the right place at the wrong time to record this historic footage. Thank you Abraham."
Great DVD Of A Very Sad Day
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 07/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although the subject matter is horrific, this DVD is a great addition to my library. You get 4 different looks at the awful event itself, but the big difference in this DVD vs. the VHS copy is the bonus material! There's an excellent-quality segment on "the WFAA-TV interview" with Mr. Zapruder, made just hours after he filmed the assassination. I have several JFK videos, but I have never seen a lot of this material before! You even get to see about 2 minutes of the program that was interrupted before you get into the "live bulletin" news coverage. And the interview is shown in its entirety, and very clear. Quite chilling.
Other extras on the DVD are nice too, including the 1975 "Good Night America" program with Geraldo Rivera, where America first was shown Zapruder's famous film, to the horrified gasps of the live audience members. This "Good Night" segment is quite complete also, with most of the late-night broadcast shown on the DVD.
I'm not trying to minimize the actual Zapruder footage shown here (which is indeed quite crisp and clear, albeit with still a lot of dust and artifacts present that were obviously simply impossible to remove), but for me the prize in the package is the bonus material offered, and it makes this DVD a MUST for those like myself who collect about every Kennedy video out there. Because I guarantee you, you won't find lots of this footage anywhere else!"
An excellent presentation but...
Kevin Nienhuis | 09/11/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved the producers' painstaking care in presenting the history of the most important movie ever made, and the four versions of the film shown in all their glorious, digitally restored splendor (yes, it is state of the art, unlike what one reviewer said). But there was one serious, glaring error that no one has pointed out. The original Zapruder film contains 486 frames (including the "damaged" frames before the road sign): 132 of the motorcycles entering Dealey Plaza, and 354 frames showing the assassination. However, the Z film shown on this DVD only has 483 frames. The restoration team screwed up, leaving out three frames in their 4"x5" transparency duplication process! The missing frames are all after frame #313 (the head shot). If they do another edition of this DVD, I certainly hope they do take the time to include those three frames!"
Correction for Australian reviewer
Kevin Nienhuis | Canada | 09/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The reviewer from Australia is incorrect in saying that the producers of this DVD (MPI Home Video) cannot be blamed for the three missing frames, as he claims that this loss of key frames was "reported" long ago. Allow me to clear this up his confusion: what the reviewer is referring to are the infamous six missing frames that LIFE Magazine says were "accidentally" destroyed in the 1960s. That is indeed a matter of historical record and acknowledged by both sides in the conspiracy debate (the dark splice is very visible in the four versions of the film on this DVD). But the MPI digital restoration team ALSO left out three more frames that are still in the original! MPI is aware of this and has informed researcher Robert Groden (seen interviewed in 1975 by Geraldo on the bonus features) that these frames will be included in future releases of this DVD. All three are located in the film after the headshot at frame #313. MPI got sloppy and screwed up--plain and simple! That's a shame considering the huge financial investment and meticulous attention to detail that went into producing this restoration."