Thursday, September 16, 2010

Emile de Antonio

Emile de Antonio's film on Richard Nixon, Millhouse (1971) is a very watchable all-in-one document about a powerful politician. The Vietnam war was the pressing contemporary issue underlying the film; Watergate was not even on the horizon. The film covers Nixon's youth, his role in the Alger Hiss case, his many political campaigns, and his televised appearances that range from folksy to angry to contrite. Watching the film today provokes an uneasy reaction, because Nixon seems at once laughable and an overwhelming creep who is the likely forerunner to contemporary "dirty tricks" political campaigners. The film favors Nixon at the microphone, with some of his famous speeches shown in their entirety (editing by Mary Lampson employs many ironic audio and visual juxtapositions), along with interviews (with Joe McGinniss, for example, middle still) and well-chosen archival footage (bottom still: Dick Gregory).
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.