Jump to content
The Education Forum

Bridge of Spies: Spielberg and the Coen Brothers Punch Up History


Recommended Posts

My belated review of Spielberg/Hanks/Coen brothers take on the Cold War

http://www.ctka.net/2016/bridge-of-spies/bridge-of-spies-spielberg-and-the-coen-brothers-punch-up-history.html

The double standard here is breathtaking. One for Oliver Stone, and a separate one for Spielberg and Clint Eastwood.

excellent review, Jim.

Also, looking forward to Vasilos Vasakas: Who Really created the Oswald Legend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks David.

Unlike a lot of reviewers, I always try and read the book first.

I was really kind of stunned at how many liberties were taken. I mean there are legitimate uses of dramatic license. And those are forgivable. But IMO, this movie went way beyond that. But alas, no one screamed bloody murder as they do with Oliver Stone.

Yes, I am looking forward to VV's article also. He's a really interesting writer. Glad to have him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yikes, Jim. I just watched All the Way, HBO's new flick on LBJ. It was clear from the beginning that the film was gonna take some liberties, as it started off in a super-sized Emergency Room One and then showed Johnson being notified of Kennedy's death (as opposed to his finding out when Kilduff called him Mr. President). There were other problems as well. It showed him fire a secretary (presumably Evelyn Lincoln) when she gets on his nerves (as opposed to his firing her because he thought she was loyal to the Kennedys).

While it got a lot right, IMO, it left out quite a bit by completely avoiding the Warren Commission. I mean, it shows Johnson strong-arming Richard Russell regarding civil rights, but never mentions that he also strong-armed Russell into working on the Warren Commission. It also makes the same mistake as Bridge of Spies regarding Dulles. It makes out that Dulles was the head of the CIA in 1964, and that Johnson pretended he was gonna send Dulles to investigate the murders of the three civil rights workers as a way of getting Hoover to do his job. Oops. (Dulles, as I recall, did in fact do some digging, but not in an official capacity.)

In any event, the film--which chronicles LBJ's first day in office till his election--would have been far far better if it didn't avoid both RFK and the Warren Commission like the plague. It shows LBJ's paranoia about RFK, but not his paranoia about RFK regarding the assassination, nor the roots of the LBJ/RFK rift in the days after the assassination. And it shows Russell having dinner with LBJ several times--but never once talking about the commission. Amazing.

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great review, Jim.

Pat- I'm interested how Rob Reiner's LBJ deals with all of that, considering it's more centered around the aftermath of the assassination. I was In Dealey Plaza on Friday and met Robert Groden. He said he directed the assassination scene for Reiner.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yikes, Jim. I just watched All the Way, HBO's new flick on LBJ. It was clear from the beginning that the film was gonna take some liberties, as it started off in a super-sized Emergency Room One and then showed Johnson being notified of Kennedy's death (as opposed to his finding out when Kilduff called him Mr. President).

That sounds really strange right there. As an aspiring screenwriter myself, I can't think of a more dramatically effective way for LBJ (and the audience) to be informed that JFK is dead than to have Kilduff or someone simply call LBJ "Mr. President." That's the kind of writing that separates pros from amateurs. What do they do instead, just hit the nail on the head and say "he's dead"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yikes, Jim. I just watched All the Way, HBO's new flick on LBJ. It was clear from the beginning that the film was gonna take some liberties, as it started off in a super-sized Emergency Room One and then showed Johnson being notified of Kennedy's death (as opposed to his finding out when Kilduff called him Mr. President).

That sounds really strange right there. As an aspiring screenwriter myself, I can't think of a more dramatically effective way for LBJ (and the audience) to be informed that JFK is dead than to have Kilduff or someone simply call LBJ "Mr. President." That's the kind of writing that separates pros from amateurs. What do they do instead, just hit the nail on the head and say "he's dead"?

I just re-watched the beginning of it, and it's even worse than I remembered. It starts by showing the blood-stained limo in the Parkland parking lot. It's double-parked out in the driveway. It is not heavily-guarded by DPD officers making sure no one gets a good look at it. And the SS agents are standing in front of it, talking to the DPD, and not cleaning it up as fast as possible or re-attaching the roof. It then follows a doctor out of a super-sized Emergency Room One filled with a dozen or more bystanders out into an equally crowded hall. He then whispers something to an SS agent who, in turn, goes into an adjoining room (more poetic license) and approaches Johnson. He then whispers "He's gone." The camera then looks to Lady Bird's horrified face.

The writer and director tried too hard to make this LBJ's story, IMO, and cut out half the drama. It was like doing a bio on George Harrison's solo career which never once shows the other Beatles.

Now didn't get me wrong. It wasn't exactly a puff piece. While presenting LBJ's commitment to civil rights in an heroic light, it raises a lot of questions about his mental health. He comes across as abusive, paranoid, and unstable. Perhaps even more so than he was in real life.

Edited by Pat Speer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...