HOT BLAST: Nixon behind the scenes
Aug 05, 2013 | 1823 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Richard M. Nixon
President Richard M. Nixon
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Our Nixon, the two-hour special on the presidency of Richard Nixon, has been getting all sorts of publicity since its release a few days ago. I'm late to the party -- just saw it this past weekend.

If you haven't seen it, make the effort. It's riveting, even if there is a huge amount of Nixon documentaries already on the market.

There are a few points to pick at, as this New York Times review discusses. Nevertheless, Our Nixon is a great documentary on the inner workings of the Nixon White House, particularly the relationship between the president and advisers Dwight Chapin, H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman. The film relies heavily on the famous Nixon tapes and personal home movies of the Nixon team.

The Times wrote, "But it’s not what’s captured on film that is revealing, but all that is missing. There are few shots of the president’s men laughing or fooling around. No one’s playing tennis or poker, no one’s having singalongs at Camp David or roughhousing on the White House lawn.

"Parties are official affairs, and private moments show the three aides to the president relaxed and smiling, but always at work, be it on the Great Wall of China, pacing outside the Vatican or conferring on Air Force One. There are no pretty Parisiennes or sidewalk cafes in the footage of a presidential visit to France, just the Arc de Triomphe, de Gaulle and a panning shot of the bidet in a hotel bathroom.

"All too soon, Our Nixon, directed by Penny Lane, surrenders to the inevitable and relies on the many familiar Oval Office audiotapes, television news clips and presidential library material to tell the tale of Nixon’s ascent and his undoing."

-- Phillip Tutor
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