The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates

The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates

DVD - 2016
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"Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he felt was rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent to filmmaking in the late fifties. He did this by assembling an amazing team -- including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles -- that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy - Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis -- and, following the president's assassination, the poetic short Faces of November. Collected here are all four of these titles, early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and featuring the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon.--Container.
Publisher: [Irvington, N.Y.] : Criterion Collection, 2016
Edition: Two-DVD special ed
Branch Call Number: DVD 973.922092 K35f Doc
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (170 min.) : 5.1 Dolby digital sd., b&w ; 12 cm. + 1 booklet


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Mar 29, 2019

Although this had some historical significance and personal interest to me, this film fell flat from my expectations. Many times the black & white film stock is grainy and the footage they have decided to use, is largely not that interesting.
The first disc uses footage of the 1960 campaign trail in 'Primary', which show presidential election candidates, John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey vying for votes. This is followed with 'Adventures on the New Frontier', which is an interesting behind-the-scenes look of a president dealing with daily events within the Oval Office; followed by a discussion with the film maker, D. A. Pennebaker, and his experiences filming president JFK and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy (Attorney General). Both brothers seemed to not mind that the camera were around filming in-and-out of meetings, and was even supportive in getting the camera inside, after being blocked by others. The second disc focused on RFK. and JFK dealing with Alabama Governor, George Wallace and his objections to desegregation, in the film of 'Crisis'; followed by a short film of the funeral of JFK.
Good to see but not one for my own library.

Dec 13, 2018

"Crisis (53-minute documentary)" delves into the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, which took place at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963.
George Wallace, the Democratic Governor of Alabama, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" and stop the desegregation of schools.
Wallace stood at the door of the auditorium to try to block the entry of two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood.
In response, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11111, which federalized the Alabama National Guard, and Guard General Henry Graham then commanded Wallace to step aside, saying, "Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States."
Wallace then spoke further, but eventually moved, and Malone and Hood completed their registration.

Dec 01, 2018

When it comes to the realm of American politics - I'd say that the significance of these 4 "Kennedy" films is definitely of a very high historical relevance.

Filmed in stark b&w by Robert Drew & Associates - These four, 50-minute films (from 1960-1964) not only cover J. F. Kennedy out on the campaign trail, but they also include the emotionally gripping documentation of his funereal procession following his tragic assassination in 1963.

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