DVD REVIEW -- "JFK: A Presidency Revealed" (2-Disc Set Produced By "The History Channel")

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by David Von Pein, Nov 10, 2006.


    Two Full DVDs Of Kennedy -- Highly Recommended



    The History Channel's "JFK: A Presidency Revealed" is a nice, polished
    presentation, featuring new interviews with many people who knew Jack
    Kennedy best, including brother Edward Kennedy, Robert McNamara (JFK's
    Defense Secretary), Cecil Stoughton (Official White House photographer
    during the three JFK years), Time Magazine's Hugh Sidey, and close
    friend Ben Bradlee, plus several others.

    The main program on this double-DVD set originally aired in November
    2003, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of JFK's tragic death. The
    program clocks in at a leisurely-paced 2 hours and 35 minutes, giving
    the documentary time to breathe (so to speak), with ample time given to
    each major event which dotted the JFK administration.

    Topics range from Inauguration Day in January 1961, to the disastrous
    Bay Of Pigs invasion of Cuba just three months later, plus extensive
    chapters on the Civil Rights struggle that JFK had to face during his
    term, Kennedy's Vienna summit meeting with Soviet leader Khrushchev,
    and the frightening Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

    The program also dwells a great deal on JFK's ill health during nearly
    every one of his 1,037 days as the 35th U.S. Chief Executive. It's hard
    to believe, after seeing pictures and films of him in seemingly good
    physical condition, that there were, in fact, many times during his
    tenure in office when he couldn't even bend over to pick up some papers
    on his desk or to tie his own shoes, because the pain in his back was
    so intense.

    We're also treated to several audio clips from recently-released tape
    recordings made by JFK while in the Oval Office. There's one particular
    audio snippet here that's very nearly worth the price of this DVD all
    by itself. It reveals a livid (and nearly fit to be tied) John Kennedy
    raking a hospital representative over the coals after the President
    discovers that a story has been leaked to the press regarding the
    rather large amount of funds that were spent for a suite of hospital
    rooms prepared for the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, when Jackie gave
    birth to the First Couple's third child, Patrick, in August 1963. (Baby
    Patrick, sadly, died just two days after his birth.)

    In the interest of good taste, I cannot reveal some of the President's
    heated remarks that were aimed at the poor, unsuspecting hospital
    employee. But hearing such invective coming from the lips of a seething
    President had me rolling with laughter and reaching for the remote's
    rewind button for an instant replay. It's the kind of rarely-heard
    tape recording that (in this writer's opinion) becomes an instant
    "classic clip" the minute you hear it. And I'm very glad that A&E/The
    History Channel didn't feel the need to censor (or "bleep out") any of
    the rather objectionable comments spouted by the irate President during
    this audio clip. I commend them for its inclusion on this documentary

    John F. Kennedy's presidency has been reviewed countless times since
    his sudden, untimely death in November 1963, but this 2003 assessment
    of his time in the White House ranks as one of the best overviews yet
    produced, in my opinion.

    Volume 2 of this 2-Disc DVD set features two excellent episodes of the
    A&E "Biography" series. Included are bios on JFK (running time of 90
    minutes) and Jack's father, Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (44 minutes).

    Picture quality is top notch on these DVDs too. Much of the stock film
    footage that is shown looks almost brand-new again due to the crisp
    nature of the video quality that can be found here. I was also rather
    surprised to see a rare COLOR clip of President Kennedy's June 1963
    "Civil Rights" speech.


    "JFK: A PRESIDENCY REVEALED" is a handsomely-boxed set of DVDs and is
    definitely a product that serves as a worthy addition to any JFK fan's
    video/DVD collection.

    David Von Pein
    January 2004
    David Von Pein, Nov 10, 2006
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