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JFK: Destiny Betrayed


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I'll update here as I make my way through the series. I'm watching the uncut series on Docplay here in Australia.

From the get go, this is different to JFK: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Episode one begins with Oliver Stone walking Dealey Plaza, talking about the impact his original film JFK had back on first release. We hear John William's main theme (something only briefly heard in the shorter version). The powerful opening montage is gone - perhaps it will appear later in the series. Instead, we go straight into a discussion of RFK's reaction to JFK's death, and the founding of the Warren Commission. There are longer sections on the Rockefeller Commission, the Zapruder Film, the Congo, longer interviews (including more John Newman) and a lot of other stuff. And some things that were present in THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS are here in longer form as well.

I really like the visual timeline that appears on the left-hand side of the screen, vertically showing dates from the 60's into the 70's and 80's and onwards, so people can immediately see when the HSCA, the ARRB and other events occurred without getting lost. It's clever and should help relative newcomers quite a bit.

Episode 2 opens with the autopsy. I'll post more thoughts as I watch the later episodes. It's all as polished as the single-film version, but walks at a more measured pace and makes its points with greater emphasis and impact. I think the reaction to this long version will be very strong when it becomes more widely seen. Well done Oliver and Jim.

Edited by Anthony Thorne
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Thanks Anthony.

Unfortunately, people in this country will not get to see that one until February.

The longer version has a different structure, it begins with Bobby Kennedy reacting to his brother's death.  And it does not have the headlong pace of the two hour one. Since it is twice as long, we go into more material and spend more time on certain topics. For example, in the two hour version, Curtis Lemay is dropped. In the longer one we spend more time on the murder of Hammarskjold also.

 In the longer version we go more into the changes made after JFK's death.  For instance, the Indonesia overthrow is not in the 2 hour version.  But in the long version we have both Bradley Simpson, who I think wrote one of the best--if not the best-- American book on the subject, and Lisa Pease who wrote a milestone article --talking about that one. And how it would not have happened if Kennedy had lived. That's over a half million people. We also go more into the Middle East policy that was changed after Kennedy's death.

IMO, the long version has the most current info on Kennedy's foreign policy than  any other film on the subject. And how it was reversed after his assassination.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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It's really good. Watching Matt Taibbi's enthusiasm for the film in his interview with Oliver Stone this morning - Stone mentions the long version, Taibbi perks up and immediately asks, "Oh, are you going to release that 4 hour version?" - I think a lot of people will encounter all that detail for the first time when they watch it. Harold Weisberg gets a mention in Episode 1, but I don't think he's in the shorter version. But I also like that short version of the movie and found it to be powerful. When both versions are finally out there, viewers can pick whichever one they want, and some will probably start with the shorter cut and then move on to the longer one.

The opening titles are different, but again really powerful, and we get the iconic 'conspirators' theme from the film JFK - the ticking, percussive drum and the growing sense of drama - with carefully chosen footage of Kennedy, Dulles, the military, the assassination and the aftermath. And you get a feel for what the whole story is, and who was behind the murder, just from the titles. It's very affecting and really great. I'm a big fan of this series so far.

Edited by Anthony Thorne
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As a writer it was really fortunate for me to be served by the photography and editing team we had, plus the music score by Jeff Beal. Which was assembled by Oliver and the producer Rob Wilson.

Bob Richardson was such a pleasure to work with.  The guy has three Oscars, but is so approachable and gentlemanly.  We ended up with something like three editors and two assistants. I am really pleased with how well made the picture is.  If this was about anything but the JFK case, it would get nominated for more than one Emmy. That is if one was just going by the merits of the film making.  But because its the JFK case, it likely will not get any.

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JFK: DESTINY BETRAYED is now trending on the DocPlay streaming channel here in Australia. When I first started watching it, I had to search the title to find it. It's now very prominent on the main page as one of their top highlighted series. I'm assuming this is because word of mouth is spreading and more people are watching it. Good news.

Episode 2 ends with Oswald's murder, and the abundance of evidence indicating that Oswald was innocent. Powerful viewing, will begin episode 3 in the next day or two.

Edited by Anthony Thorne
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This show is so big, they sent a driver to pick me up from a private company, not Uber or Lyft.  He had an $80,000 sport utility vehicle.

The show rents office and studio space from the BBC on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.

After all that, they had me on for all of four questions. 

But I have to say, they love us down under.  This is about the fourth national exposure we have gotten in Australia.  I think we hit a nerve. Probably because  they are showing all four parts.

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56 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

This show is so big, they sent a driver to pick me up from a private company, not Uber or Lyft.  He had an $80,000 sport utility vehicle.

The show rents office and studio space from the BBC on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood.

After all that, they had me on for all of four questions. 

But I have to say, they love us down under.  This is about the fourth national exposure we have gotten in Australia.  I think we hit a nerve. Probably because  they are showing all four parts.

So you were ferried to the BBC offices/studio on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood?  That's pretty cool.  Pun intended, with all due respect for all you've accomplished.

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Channel 9 is our biggest mainstream network in the country, and Today is probably the biggest show on it. It’s the dead centre of the mainstream establishment media here - the morning equivalent of going prime time on 60 Minutes.

They do tend to run things quick though, so I’m not surprised Jim only had four questions. But it’s great news he and and the series are getting exposure. If the series was trending before, it should really take off now.

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Episode 3 is great and there's a wonderful stretch detailing JFK's initiatives in Latin America, with outstanding footage of Jackie giving a foreign-language speech to an appreciative crowd. Top stuff on the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict,LeMay and the missile crisis, and other elements of JFK's foreign policy. The brief excerpts of archival footage and dialogue we get are really well chosen, and LeMay returns at the end of the episode for a powerful finale. 

Edited by Anthony Thorne
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