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THE PARALLAX VIEW, JFK, RFK, etc.


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I remember when I saw it,  going back through the unsettling feeling of  my experience of the JFKA, but by that time, I'd already Executive Action. It's gripping, very entertaining as well. Nice to see a hero with long hair like me at the time, beating the crap out of rednecks.

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On 3/4/2021 at 10:57 PM, W. Niederhut said:

I've only seen the director's cut.  Any information about why that scene was omitted from the release version?

 

I didn't see Nixon in a theater, but I watched its first appearance in a Blockbuster Video-bound VHS edition.  The Helms scene at Langley was in that release, but trimmed for time, eliminating some too-much-information dialogue, plus Stone excesses such as a shot where Sam Waterston (playing Helms) leans over to sniff the Angleton orchids, then stares at Nixon with solid-black eyeballs (!), amid some trippy film effects that suggest Nixon has seen in those eyes an unnerving revelation about CIA power.  The black eyeballs shot, and all the rest, is in the Director's Cut video release.  If no Helms at all made it into the theatrical cut, he may have been slashed for time by the studio so more showings could be fit into the theater day.  Maybe it was slashed because Stone fought to keep the black eyeballs in.

If there's anything MIA in Nixon, it's in the treatment of Nelson Rockefeller as political wallpaper, a period character who appears at a cocktail party and is never considered again.  There was an increasing number of Rockefeller-sourced appointees in Nixon's two admins; some of them worked to accelerate the Watergate furor.  There was a disturbing Rockefeller influence on the Ford admin as well.  Some of this should have been suggested (at least) in the film.

Edited by David Andrews
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47 minutes ago, David Andrews said:

I didn't see Nixon in a theater, but I watched its first appearance in a Blockbuster Video-bound VHS edition.  The Helms scene at Langley was in that release, but trimmed for time, eliminating some too-much-information dialogue, plus Stone excesses such as a shot where Sam Waterston (playing Helms) leans over to sniff the Angleton orchids, then stares at Nixon with solid-black eyeballs (!), amid some trippy film effects that suggest Nixon has seen in those eyes an unnerving revelation about CIA power.  The black eyeballs shot, and all the rest, is in the Director's Cut video release.  If no Helms at all made it into the theatrical cut, he may have been slashed for time by the studio so more showings could be fit into the theater day.  Maybe it was slashed because Stone fought to keep the black eyeballs in.

If there's anything MIA in Nixon, it's in the treatment of Nelson Rockefeller as political wallpaper, a period character who appears at a cocktail party and is never considered again.  There was an increasing number of Rockefeller-sourced appointees in Nixon's two admins; some of them worked to accelerate the Watergate furor.  There was a disturbing Rockefeller influence on the Ford admin as well.  Some of this should have been suggested (at least) in the film.

I vaguely remember reading that Oliver Stone had been threatened with a lawsuit if he included the Richard Helms (Sam Waterston) scene in the theatrical release of Nixon, but I can't find anything on the subject.

I did find this 2015 historical appraisal of the film Nixon, which vindicated Oliver Stone from the bogus attacks by Stephen Ambrose, et.al., in the 1990s-- but the author didn't mention the Richard Helms scene.

This Is What Oliver Stone’s Movie About Nixon Got Right

This Is What Oliver Stone’s Movie About Nixon Got Right | History News Network

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2 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

I vaguely remember reading that Oliver Stone had been threatened with a lawsuit if he included the Richard Helms (Sam Waterston) scene in the theatrical release of Nixon, but I can't find anything on the subject.

 

Would be interesting to know if that happened.  Strange to think that people then imagined that the theatrical release should be scrubbed of Helms, but not the home video release.

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I guess if I was going to post a link between Shane and Parallax View it should have been the bar fight, over soda pop vs milk.

What are the differences between the original scene and the re-edited version?

 

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11 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

I vaguely remember reading that Oliver Stone had been threatened with a lawsuit if he included the Richard Helms (Sam Waterston) scene in the theatrical release of Nixon, but I can't find anything on the subject.

I did find this 2015 historical appraisal of the film Nixon, which vindicated Oliver Stone from the bogus attacks by Stephen Ambrose, et.al., in the 1990s-- but the author didn't mention the Richard Helms scene.

This Is What Oliver Stone’s Movie About Nixon Got Right

This Is What Oliver Stone’s Movie About Nixon Got Right | History News Network

Toplin's article is kind of mild. Until the day he died, Nixon fought tooth and nail not to declassify his tapes.  He hired a fleet of lawyers in order to keep them secret.  It was not until a decade after his death that they were finally declassified.  Way after Stone's film. And even then the Board of the Nixon library tried to limit access. As Kissinger said later, when everything is declassified, neither he nor Haldeman would look good.  

That has turned out to be true.  The article leaves out the man who I think is the best historian on the declassified tapes, namely Jeff Kimball.  He wrote or co wrote three fine books based on these tapes: Nixon's Nuclear Specter, Nixon's Vietnam War, and The Vietnam War Files.  

Nixon was a very bad president who masqueraded his Cold War concepts underneath a mask of phony sophistication placed in the MSM by his speech writers and press stooges.  Nixon said he never contemplated using nukes during Vietnam.  Yes he did and we have it on tape.  He said he never thought of bombing the dikes.  Yes he did and we have it on tape. In both instances it was Kissinger who talked him down.  When you make Kissinger look good, you are gone. 

Nixon deliberately sabotaged LBJ's peace negotiations in 1968 and he then lied about it. This was the first October Surprise.  

He then had Kissinger arrange a phony Peace with Honor for the 1972 election.  When both he and Henry knew it was not a peace and there was no honor. There would be no elections as he promised, and Saigon would be overrun when the USA pulled out.

Nixon also lied about the Xmas bombing bringing Le Duc Tho back to the table in Paris.  Hanoi did not want to come back after the stupid and savage bombing.  They had a good excuse for wanting to take the agreement back, because Thieu had demanded a battery of changes.  But Nixon had to ask Le Duc Tho to return.  He still did not want to return.  It was the Chinese who advised him to go back.  They said, look Nixon shot his wad with this Xmas bombing.  Plus, it does not look like this Watergate thing is going to disappear anytime soon.  So if you just wait him out, you will likely get everything you want in the end.  That is why Le Dec Tho returned.

Nixon kept the Vietnam War running through the whole length of his presidency knowing right from the start America could not win. He then made an utterly stupid gamble in trying to get a Korea like settlement by invading Cambodia and Laos. The former caused the fall of Sihanouk and the eventual rise to power of Pol Pot.

One of the reasons i really disliked the Burns/Novick piece of crap The Vietnam War, is its censorship of Duck Hook. Duck Hook was a truly nutty--even for Nixon--operation designed to use atomic weapons, saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, bombing of the dikes, and attacks on Hanoi's communications in the northeast,, bombing of bridges with China, and invasion of the north by American troops. The massive Vietnam demonstrations which began in mid October of 1969, made Nixon and Kissinger reconsider it. It was later withdrawn and Dick and Henry tried to fake a nuclear alert instead. 

Even Steve Ambrose once wrote that Nixon was a little touched in the head about Vietnam.  IMO, it was more than a little.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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I've just watched the film for the first time. It was eerie with the the perspectives, and Marathon Man (1976) seemed to have been influenced by this, visually and musically. 
I thought here were a lot of shades of the RFK assassination; the expression on the face of the first dead senator stricken, the waiter, the functions. It made me wonder how many people had been casing the Ambassador hotel beforehand. I also thought of Thane Eugene Cesar working security but, also for the Howard Hughes Corporation. 

Great listening to your thoughts, Joseph. Thanks for sharing.



 

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I have been a fan of the Parallax View since I first saw it when it came out. It is outstanding. At it's time, it was quite daring. So good to see it appreciated...

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Wish I had the intellectual chops to discuss the film worthily like McBride and Jim Di.

I just watched it again Friday night.

Ominously thought provoking.

Kind of extreme scene jumping editing at times?

One scene Paula Prentice is hysterically telling Beatty she is going to die, the very next scene is her wrapped in a sheet on the morgue table with a toe tag.

Couldn't help but notice the connection to a Lee Harvey Oswald type patsy plot line.

Wonder if there have actually been companies like the Parallax one in our lifetimes?

The actor who portrayed Austin Tucker ( William Daniels ) played Dustin Hoffman's father in "The Graduate" and the crazy New Jersey suburban family father in "The President's Analyst" and was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1999 to 2002.

 

 

Edited by Joe Bauer
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10 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

I wonder why Beatty took the role. 

Probably because he was such a fan of Bobby Kennedy.

Honestly, I had similar thoughts and a feeling that I can't articulate well that Beatty may have not been the best casting choice for the role?

Maybe too good looking?

Maybe not convincingly weary enough looking after battling alcohol addiction for years previous?

Maybe not as shaken and worried appearing?

Especially during and after he was barely escaping harrowing life and death attempts on his life?  

The rushing Dam release fight to the death, the barely saved airplane exploding incident, the creepy darkened room meeting with his Parallax handler who discovered Beatty wasn't who he claimed he was and one wrong adlibbed answer to his questions could have resulted in immediate death?

In his meetings with Hume Cronin after several of these incidents and when Cronin himself was murdered, Beatty just seemed too casual in sharing them or just getting on afterwards imo. 

Dustin Hoffman would have been waving his arms and wide eyed frantic as he was in "Marathon Man" and "All The President's Men.

Even Redford would have expressed a more scared and concerned demeanor as he was in "Three Days Of The Condor" imo.

Not a major flaw in the entire film but just an idly curious main character casting observation and contemplation.

 

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In his scene with Paula Prentiss, that scene is made for her to take over.  And she does.  Best acting she ever did: full of fear, anxiety, controlled mania.  But she doesn't go over the top with it.  Good directing by Pakula.

But in watching it again, Beatty did what good actors do, he held his own in a scene made for the other actor.  He starts out skeptical, then explains his disagreement, and then understands the emotional quality and tries to comfort.  All  in a connected arc and all done convincingly.

And that is what supplies the intellectual glue for the next two scenes, in the morgue and then in the tiny tot train park.  And those two scenes are what really make the film because they give the impetus to Frady changing.

I think it was Beatty's admiration for RFK that made him do the film.  According to someone who worked on it, and did the interview  with JG Michael, Beatty was really proud of his performance. As he should have been. But he must have known that no matter how good he was, it was not going to garner any awards. Because of the nature of the film. In reality it should have been nominated for about seven Oscars:  Best Actor, best supporting actress, best supporting actor, best cinematography, best editing, best adapted script and best director.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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14 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

Wish I had the intellectual chops to discuss the film worthily like McBride and Jim Di.

I just watched it again Friday night.

Ominously thought provoking.

Kind of extreme scene jumping editing at times?

One scene Paula Prentice is hysterically telling Beatty she is going to die, the very next scene is her wrapped in a sheet on the morgue table with a toe tag.

Couldn't help but notice the connection to a Lee Harvey Oswald type patsy plot line.

Wonder if there have actually been companies like the Parallax one in our lifetimes?

The actor who portrayed Austin Tucker ( William Daniels ) played Dustin Hoffman's father in "The Graduate" and the crazy New Jersey suburban family father in "The President's Analyst" and was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1999 to 2002.

Excuse my drunken vanity but I think I "kind of" resemble Beatty in this film with my 40 year old Education Forum picture. Full but moppy hair, same color, facial similarities, 6 ft. 1 inches in height to Beatty's 6 ft. 2 inches. I wore a similar silly short cut Levi jacket back then as well.

Not as good or intelligent looking as Beatty, but good enough for easy dance partner request acceptance back in the 1970's clubs. Haven't aged as well as Beatty however.

Current looks would be too much of a traumatizing shock to display here on the forum.

 

I hesitated to see the film at first because of my concern over their casting Warren Beatty in the lead. I kept having visions of lots of glamour shots and no plot.  But I was delighted to be mistaken. He quickly demonstrated that he owned the role. Ironically, I think his good looks and stature helped to add layers to the character and give it even more depth and punch.  I don't think any of us who have ventured out into the horrific wasteland left by the assassination of JFK would not identify with his frustration and hope to have the same kind of courage...I had nightmares after seeing the movie, and still have flashbacks of some of the scenes...

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13 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

I wonder why Beatty took the role. 

Probably because he was such a fan of Bobby Kennedy.

I was pushed by a crowd toward RFK's car in San Francisco in a motorcade down Montgomery Street. Our eyes met for a moment. He looked scared. I found out later that someone had tossed a Chinese firecracker into the car as it came down Grant Avenue. I was of course watching the ballroom at the Ambassador on tv the night he was killed.  It is all difficult for me, even today...

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16 minutes ago, Pamela Brown said:

I was pushed by a crowd toward RFK's car in San Francisco in a motorcade down Montgomery Street. Our eyes met for a moment. He looked scared. I found out later that someone had tossed a Chinese firecracker into the car as it came down Grant Avenue. I was of course watching the ballroom at the Ambassador on tv the night he was killed.  It is all difficult for me, even today...

It's roughly 13 years before I was born but, there is something so haunting and upsetting about it all. I believe the firecracker incident is captured on film in the Netflix documentary series "Bobby Kennedy for President". 

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