[In Walter Cronkite voice]”President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time on November 22, 1963: 50 years, 5 weeks & 1 day ago!” And since that fateful day, the American people have asked the same 2 questions over & over: Who did it & how was it done? Today’s Blog is of Oliver Stone’s JFK, a film which asks us to consider a different question: “Why? That’s the real question, isn’t it? Why? The how & the who is just scenery for the public. Oswald…Ruby…Cuba…the Mafia…Keeps ’em guessing like some kind of parlor game! Prevents ’em from asking the most important question: Why? Why was Kennedy killed? Who benefited? Who?”
Stone & Zachary Sklar adapted the Oscar-nominated screenplay from 2 conspiracy theory, best-selling non-fiction books: Jim Marrs’ ‘Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy’; and primarily, Jim Garrison’s ‘On the Trail of the Assassins’. Kevin Costner plays Garrison in the lead role, a former FBI agent who was the New Orleans District Attorney when Kennedy was assassinated. The film is quite long at 3 hours & 9 minutes – a necessity for Stone to detail the intricacies of the plan carried out by the vast web of conspirators the film argues are involved. Needless to say, the movie completely dismisses the Warren Commission’s findings that Kennedy was killed by a single shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman), from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. This thought-provoking motion picture is full of cameos & great performances by great actors: Ed Asner; Jack Lemmon; Sissy Spacek as Garrison’s wife, Liz; Joe Pesci in the key role of David Ferrie; Walter Matthau; Tommy Lee Jones in his Best Supporting Actor Oscar-nominated performance as Clay Shaw; John Candy; Kevin Bacon is Willie O’Keefe, a character based on multiple persons; Donald Sutherland is X, the movie’s ‘Deep Throat’; Oliver Stone makes a cameo as a Secret Service Agent, ala Hitchcock; and Garrison himself plays his nemesis, Chief Justice Earl Warren.
JFK was nominated for a total of 8 Oscars in 1992 at the 64th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Director, winning in the Cinematography and Film Editing categories. Film Editing is part of post-production, which means it’s part of the process that takes place once filming is complete. Traditionally, editing meant splicing sections of film together, but now it’s usually done digitally. It’s the art of sequencing footage per the director’s instructions. The Film Editor is the head of the Editing Dept. Sometimes, editing includes combining stock footage with the takes done by the actors. Such is the case with JFK’s Co-Film Editors, Joe Hutshing & Pietro Scalia. Oliver Stone tells his story of conspiracy in JFK through a masterful blend of acting & news reels put together by Hutshing & Scalia. The real footage includes: Castro; Cronkite; de Gaulle. Eisenhower; Jimmy Hoffa; J. Edgar Hoover; Hubert Humphrey; Jesse Jackson; LBJ; Jackie, John, Bobby & Ted Kennedy; Khrushchev; Martin Luther King; Senator Joe McCarthy; Nixon; Malcolm X; and Adlai Stevenson.
So now Oliver & I are going to conspire to keep you occupied for over 3 hours. Once you watch the trailer below, you’ll add the motion picture to your Netflix queue. 4 Stars!