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This 1964 documentary was released the year following JFK's assassination.
The producers worked in cooperation with United Press International (with
which they published a companion book) to produce this account of the days
leading up to President Kennedy's assassination.
For those that want a well rounded documentary that supports the findings of the Warren Commission (meaning that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin) this is the documentary for you.
In the 40 years since this documentary was released there is footage used in this film that has still not been used in other and more recent documentaries, making this film, in my opinion well worth it.
This film was originally released on VHS in the late 1980s, and was re-released again on VHS in 2000. Not on DVD as of yet, but still worth seeing.
This black and white documentary, so simple in its chronicling of President
Kennedy's fateful trip to Dallas with his wife and the Johnsons, is
absolutely devastating. The President is charming and funny and the trip
filled with local color such as residents singing Mexican music to the
- yet all the time, you know how it ends and you want to scream.
This film is a no-miss and if you get a chance to see it on History Channel, better yet, as they interview the director during the breaks.
I was a little over 4 years old when this happened. My mom was watching
"The Edge of Night" and got a little angry when a "special bulletin"
interrupted her soap opera. Then she started crying after Walter
Cronkite made the announcement that the President had been shot.
My aunt and uncle had the book that went with this documentary. 45 years later, I finally see this documentary. In watching it, I felt like I was there. This is something that no book or still photo could do justice to.
I had no idea of the number of people that were lining the streets watching Kennedy's ill-fated motorcade. This documentary gives you a sense of some of the "what ifs": what if it had rained that day, what if motorcade hadn't made a turn and drove straight, what if the "bubble top" had been on the limo?
November 22, 1963 started out as a great day for the Kennedys and everyone at the breakfast in Fort Worth. At about 12:30 that afternoon, it became a tragedy for most of the world.
Released in November 1964, shortly after The Warren Commission's
report, this documentary presents itself as a companion piece to the
excellent photographic journal FOUR DAYS compiled by United Press
International. It also serves as a prosecuting attorney's template for
stating the position of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman.
Beyond this controversial lightening rod, Four Days In November is an effective filmed record of the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy. The primary reason for this film's value is the fact that it was released barely one year after the tragedy in Dallas. The nation is still recovering from its shared anguish. The participants interviewed(including Lee Oswald's landlady, Earlene Roberts) convey urgency in their voices and mannerisms of events which are still fresh in their thoughts. There is a raw immediacy in the way this film chronicles the last week of JFK with rare archival footage. With an election looming in 1964, we see a campaign stop in Tampa, Florida as the President is serenaded by accordion with "Hail To The Chief" and presented with a doll for his daughter, Caroline. Back in Washington, the President honors a yearly pre-Thanksgiving tradition and spares the life of a healthy turkey on the White House lawn.
Leading up to the Texas trip, Richard Nixon is shown in Dallas as an influential lawyer representing Pepsi-Cola, offering a shrewdly political view as to why JFK is really visiting the Lone Star State. During a stop in Houston, President and Mrs. Kennedy (their last night together) attend an event sponsored by a Mexican-American group called LULACS. Jackie is a hit as she addresses the audience in Spanish. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson is introduced as a "fellow Texan" and provides a few humble words of deference for "our beloved President."
What follows is the searing events of November 22-25 replayed in stark black and white. A jarring sidelight to this film includes the appearance of 19yr. old Wesley Frazier retracing his steps that Friday morning, still fresh in his mind. Again, this relates to the advantage of how recent this event was to the actual filming for this movie. Frazier recalls giving Lee Oswald a lift to work in his 1953 Pontiac on their way to the Texas School Book Depository. The viewing audience sits in the passenger seat next to Frazier as he recalls asking "Lee" about his kids, commenting on the weather and that long bundle wrapped up in the back seat.
Composer Elmer Bernstein provides a heavily percussive,brass-tinged score which serves to augment the movie's subject matter. Richard Basehart gives an appropriately anchored narrative with just the right amount of gravitas.
This film is directed by Mel Stewart who has also lensed THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT documentaries, based on the best-selling Theodore H. White books. Stewart would go on to helm the TV docudrama RUBY and OSWALD. In the context of 1964, Four Days In November is like opening a fresh wound. Forty-five years later, it remains a vivid retelling of a dark, sorrowful chapter in American history.
Four Days in November (1964)
*** (out of 4)
Oscar-nominated documentary taking a look at the four days in November where the country changed forever. I've watch dozens of documentaries on Kennedy and several just this past week on the 50th Anniversary of the president's assassination. I was rather late coming to see this popular film and even though I've seen quite a few there was still countless bits of footage that I had never seen before. I think what really makes this documentary stand apart is that it was made less than a year after the assassination so needless to say there's all sorts of footage that just typically doesn't get shown today. I think some of the most interesting moments deal with the moments right after the assassination when people were just hanging on to see whether or not the president was going to survive his wounds. The aftermath of course is another thing and it's interesting to note that hints of a conspiracy theory on displayed here and a couple of them would later be used in Oliver Stone's JFK. There's no doubt that history buffs will want to check this thing out because there's simply so much news footage that you really get a great idea of what it was like, television wise, when this happened. I will say that the film feels a tad bit long when watched today and it's also a bit too dry and at times lingers on. Still, there's no question that all the news footage makes this one worth checking out.
You can't go by the IMDb vote of 6.3 because, if you check out the
age/gender breakdown on the voters, its the women (sorry, ladies) who
sink the average on this project -- probably giving it a low rating
because "it's sad." The men give it a higher rating, presumably because
they know it's supposed to be sad.
At any rate, it's a great period piece, a product of its immediate era.
While it's just a compilation of footage and doesn't address anything controversial (e.g., Oswald is presumed "guilty") it's a poignant time capsule, with its noble-tragic tone -- managing to be touchingly doom-riddled and yet somehow ice cold.
It couldn't be anything else.
I've just rented this movie and let me tell you that, if you do are not
familiar with JFK's assassination, this is the best to have or rent.
It speaks about the tragedy from the first day President Kennedy and his wife arrive in Texas, till the sad day of his burial.
The movie is very well narrated and it makes you feel almost like if we were there at that moment.
We can see all the speeches that JFK did until the morning of his assassination, showing a man with a great sense of humor. It's too bad that he left so early. He looked like a great person even if it wasn't the same advice for everyone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The title of this essay above is an apt description for the film FOUR
DAYS IN November. For this film was a chronicle of four of the darkest
days in American history.
And those four days were between November 23-26, 1963 which started on the 23rd at 12:30 PM, Dallas Time when President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dealey Plaza as his motorcade approached the Texas School Book Depository and ended with the burial of President Kennedy on the 26th. And in between those events, we see history rapidly unfolding. First the murder of Officer J. D. Tippit by Lee Harvey Oswald; his eventual capture in a movie theater; and his eventual murder at the hands of Jack Ruby two days later. During that time, we also see the hastily arranged inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson aboard Air Force One; the preparations for the funeral of the slain President; and the day of the funeral which ended with President Kennedy's final journey to Arlington Cemetery for burial and the lighting of an Eternal Flame by his widow. All the while, we see the reactions to the events from a stunned America and a stunned world.
By using news footage from both local and international sources, director Mel Stuart made a documentary that is still as compelling today as it was back in 1964. Even watching it half a century after the events, one can still feel the immediacy of those turbulent four days and still feel the sense of loss and shock that occurred on that fall day in Dallas. Shocks that still reverberate to this day, even to those who weren't born until after those Four Days in November.
very powerful documentary made in 1964, so it was fresh in everyone's mind. movie centers on nov 22-25, 1963. elm st.. the day before the assassination,, the day of,, and the 2 days after,,, chronicles the action of the VP. the process of the swearing in,, what happened to the body,, the brain all of the stat movie focuses on Lee Harvey Oswald and his life. I watched this entirely for the archival footage and not so much to learn anything new,, I did learn a few things,, but not being born when all of this took place it was nice to get a look at all the archival footage that their was,, this movie was a companion piece to the JFK marathon on the history channel for the 50th anniversary of the assassination. didn't really change my mind about things.. just makes you wonder that much more,, to be honest we probably won't ever have a definitive answer one way or the other of who shot Kennedy,, but I know one thing,, he didn't act alone,,,, that duck don't hunt...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a well done documentary that came out in 1964, when the JFK
assassination was still fresh in everyone's mind.
In any case the atmosphere of mourning is captured well and it's just like you are actually there in Dallas and DC. The whole world was grieving and LBJ rode the wave to pass unheard of civil rights legislation, but also get us into Vietnam at the behest of JFK's advisors.
We know know the Oswald acted alone and this film is about capturing the moment when the nation and world mourned a great leader at a crucial point in history.
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