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Secret Honor (1984) Poster

(1984)

Trivia

The production shoot for this film went for just seven days.
Filmed while Robert Altman was a professor at the University of Michigan. The crew consisted of mostly students of the University who were studying film. Time Out stated the the film was "made with a student crew at the University of Michigan".
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The source stage show's actual complete long title was "Secret Honor: The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon".
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Actor Philip Baker Hall reprized his role as Richard Nixon which he had originated on stage at the Los Angeles Actors' Theatre in 1983.
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For the stage version of this movie, actor Philip Baker Hall, who recreates the one-hander play for this film, was nominated for the 1984 Drama Desk Award for Most Outstanding One Person Show.
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One of a number of filmed adaptations of plays made by director Robert Altman during the 1980s.
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The movie was filmed in 16mm.
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This picture is one of director Paul Thomas Anderson's favorite movies.
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This film effectively launched Philip Baker Hall's cinematic career. Prior to his tour de force performance here, Hall's career had largely been confined to small roles on TV and in the theater.
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The brand of scotch Richard Nixon drinks in the film is Chivas Regal aged twelve years.
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The film was made and released about a year after its source play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone was first performed in 1983.
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The film like its source stage play is a one man show and reportedly little was changed or altered for this film version of it.
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Co-writer Donald Freed once said that director Robert Altman's main contribution to this movie was having the courage to film it at all.
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This motion picture was filmed in sequence / scene order.
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Robert Altman made no secret of his hatred of Richard Nixon as president. Some critics were therefore quite surprised at the fairly even-handed and rather pitying tone of the film.
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Executive producer Robert Bushell first introduced Robert Altman to Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone's play. Altman was so taken with it that he produced an off-Broadway production of it.
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The film version is about an hour shorter than the original play.
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The movie is considered somewhat of a predecessor to a number of much bigger Hollywood movies about former American President Richard Nixon such as Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) and Frost/Nixon (2008).
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One of a number of collaborations of cinematographer Pierre Mignot and director Robert Altman.
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One of the many filmed plays Robert Altman directed in the 1980's, almost consecutively, along with Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), Streamers (1983) and Fool for Love (1985).
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The film was made and first released during the U.S. American Presidency of President Ronald Reagan. Both Reagan and Richard Nixon were Republicans. Reagan was approximately half way through his two terms as U.S. American President when the film premiered. Like Nixon with Watergate, Reagan became involved in his own major political scandal, the Iran-Contra Affair. It is also known as Irangate, Contragate, and The Iran-Contra Scandal [See: Cover Up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair (1988)].
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The Criterion Collection DVD features as a dvd extra bonus eighty-one minutes of archival material film excerpts from the Republican political career of President Richard Nixon. Moreover, as another dvd extra bonus on the Criterion Collection release, there is also included a new twenty-two minute video interview with actor Philip Baker Hall who played Nixon in this movie.
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This picture was made and first released in 1984 which was about a decade after the Watergate Scandal. Republican President Richard Nixon resigned at the Oval Office in the White House on the evening of 8th August 1974. This film premiered about one decade and one month and one week exactly after the resignation, at the Toronto International Film Festival, on 15th September 1984.
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Director Robert Altman was known, apart from other things like black comedy, for ensemble casts and movies with multiple small parts such as Nashville (1975), The Player (1992) and Short Cuts (1993) amongst others. Secret Honor (1984) was the exact opposite of this having a cast of just one person.
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The film's opening prologue reads: "This work is a fictional meditation concerning the character of and events in the history of Richard M. Nixon [Richard Nixon], who is impersonated in this film. The dramatist's imagination has created some fictional events in an effort to illuminate the character of President Nixon. This film is not a work of history - or a historical recreation. It is a work of fiction, using as a fictional character a real person, President Richard M. Nixon - - in an attempt to understand."
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Just under a decade earlier, another one man stage show about an American President, Democrat Harry S. Truman, was filmed. This was the film Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975). Actor James Whitmore, who played President Harry S. Truman in Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975), later portrayed Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt (1978), another filmed one cast-member show. As such, both these earlier two presidential pictures were also filmed one man stage shows with an entire cast of one. Will Ferrell also later starred in a predominantly one man comedy stage show about President George W. Bush on Broadway which was also filmed for DVD and television [See: Will Ferrell: You're Welcome America - A Final Night with George W Bush (2009)].
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The name of the yacht mentioned in this motion picture was "Sequoia".
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American Presidents, past or then present, mentioned and/or referenced throughout this filmed stage play about former disgraced Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon played by Philip Baker Hall included himself Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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One of a number filmed productions about American Politics made by director Robert Altman. The titles are: Nashville (1975), Secret Honor (1984), Tanner '88 (1988), and Tanner on Tanner (2004). Other politically themed or politically relevant Altman films included HealtH (1980), Streamers (1983), and Kansas City (1996).
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Director Robert Altman provided "generous participation" in the production of the Criterion Collection DVD and received a "special thanks" credit for the DVD edition / version.
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Of the film's digital restoration, the movie's the Criterion Collection DVD sleeve notes state: "Secret Honor is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:33:1. On widescreen televisions, black bars will appear on the left and right of the image to maintain the proper screen format. This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from a 16mm Interpositive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, and scratches were removed using the MTI Digital Restoration System. The soundtrack was mastered at a 24-bit from the optical soundtrack negative, and audio restoration tools were used to reduce clicks, pops, hiss, and crackle. The Dolby Digtial I.0 signal will be directed to the center channel on 5.I-channel sound systems, but some viewers may prefer to switch to two-channel playback for a wider dispersal of the mono sound".
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Notable identities, but not American Presidents, past or then present, mentioned and/or referenced throughout this filmed stage play about former disgraced Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon played by Philip Baker Hall included J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King, Jacqueline Kennedy, Pat Nixon, Helen Gahagan Douglas [Helen Gahagan], Howard Hughes, and Dr Henry Kissinger, the latter who is nick-named by Nixon in the film as Dr. Kiss-Ass, and has similarly been nick-named by the Democrats as "Dr Strangelove" [See: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)].
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Director Robert Altman made this film between Streamers (1983) and O.C. and Stiggs (1985).
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The film's entire cast featured just the one actor who was Philip Baker Hall.
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A number of patrons and critics have commented that actor Philip Baker Hall didn't look or sound very much like former US president Richard Nixon.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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