This is a great DVD. It has two parts, The first part is the best and it's an hour by hour timeline of the events commencing on the morning of Nov. 22, and finishes on Nov 24 with the national funeral and Oswald's murder. It starts with what the president would have exactly seen that day - a car enters Dealy Plaza filming the road ahead while dreamlike music plays. The stark slow motion B/W footage makes it even more dreamy. We see Jackie make a grand entrance at the breakfast of chamber of commerce the morning of November 22nd, knowing it will be her last as first lady, wearing her now famous pink suit and hat. After the president makes his speech, we watch him leave for the airport that will take him to Love Field while the speaker prays for his blessing and the decisions he is faced with. Very eerie and disturbing knowing what will happen in a scant hour and a bit. In fact I find the whole breakfast disturbing, particularly The Texas Schoolboys choir singing 'The eyes of texas are upon you'. JFK watches them and the camera stays on him until the words "The eyes of Texas are upon you all the live long day, The eyes of texas are upon you You cannot get away". And, he didnt get out alive.
Just prior to arrival of the president we see footage of the presidential limo on the tarmac. Pretty eerie again I must say. We see a cheerful woman on the tarmac with a sketch (I assume she did herself) of the president and first lady. Then Airforce One touches down at Love Field to a rousing reception. I watch this hoping that something will happen differently - The Limo will leave Love Field with the bubble top attatched, the motorcade will take a different route, the SS agents will hurl themselves on the back on the limo and shield him or take the bullets, or the car will go down Elm St. and nothing will happen. Sometimes I watch the breakfast and leave it there as I see a young vibrant man (well we know now he wasn't vibrant he was in fact very sick) happy and in his prime. I'll leave him alive and then the awful truth wont happen. It's all pointless fo course because it's just a moving image of something that happened nearly a half century ago. We see the confused early reports as the presenters are totally unprepared for such a cataclysmic event. The technology isn't quite prepared for the events that accelerate incredibly fast and nearly spin out of control. It somehow manages to keep up albeit a few hiccups. Live via satellite beaming was in it's early stages, and this was the event that challenged it's limitations and really ushered in the technological age of modern news reporting. It was forced upon us with this news story.
You get a sense that America is sort of knocked unconscious for a time with a massive blow from out of nowhere. You can understand why the powers that be tried to quell the mood and bring stablisiation by assuring them that there was just a lone guman acting alone. I never understood why until I watched this. A news presenter on CBS says " I sincerely hope that the assassin, whoever he is, is not connected with any particular political group, hate group, as this could result in the very great rending of the political flesh on this country". Conspiracy was already being talked about. America needed a slap in the face as it was getting hysterical. America needed to hear some reassurance that all would be ok that is was a random act by an individual, not some dark force that would envelope them - J Edgar Hoover supplied them with just that. We hear audio of the conductor of The Boston Symphony Orchestra inform the audience of the tragedy to their disbelief. They then play Beethoven's funeral march to images of the dead president's casket being carried up the stairs to Airforce One. Only hours before, he was head of the country waving in the sunshine to thousands of Dallas citizens. Now his body had been hijacked at gunpoint by the Secret Service - his protectors.
I never realized how the Dallas Police were warned about the huge potential risk Oswald's safety. They KNEW there was a big danger of him being harmed. The people of Dallas were frothing and in a frenzy and wanted revenge. They knew and yet were woefully unable to protect him. Chief Jesse Curry comes across to me as part coldly aloof and part bumbling fool. I'm sure The Simpsons took some of his character to create Chief Clancy Wiggum. He calmly announces that Oswald `expired' at 1.07pm. When asked beforehand by the reporters whether Oswald is any danger he says " I don't think the people will try and take the prisoner away from us". DUH Hello chief? Anybody home? They're practically begging you to take special care of Oswald as there's an angry mob wanting to lynch him. And this is the police chief in charge of the safety of the accused assassin of the President Of The United States Of America? Unbelievable!
Part two is pretty much conspiracy theories and the assassinations later in the decade. It starts with the aftermath of Oswald's murder and sort of documents the decay of the great American dream as the decade unfolds.
The title to this is absolutely perfect because this DID really change America. This assassination with all it's ugliness changed the way we look at our governments. When we started learning - via this case and it's declassified files - the unsavoury covert activities of the CIA FBI, we started to question the people who were our protectors, leaders. We learned that our government operated in the shadows. Mid-decade we see Garrison, Mark Lane openly and rightfully question the findings of The Warren Commission - The honourable men assigned to investigate the murder of their president. Amercian citizens, indeed everyone in the world, awoke from our naive stupor to slowly see how corrupt our authority figures really were. And that includes JFK. Suddenly these werent perfect beings running things perfectly anymore. Look at the near hysterical welcome Kennedy gets on his arrival at Love Field, Dallas on this DVD compared to Nixon's arrival (also on the DVD) at the same airport just 7 years later. There was barely anyone there. The world in 1970 had changed 30 years since 1963. The wide eyed optimism of the people showed talking about the movie star-like president on November 22, 1963, had now been replaced by resentful cynicism.
It's a great DVD and a must for any history buff and JFK buff. The sad indictment for America, indeed the world, is JFK's legacy is not about any of his political decisions, it's about deciding which direction his brain matter flew.