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USA, 1971 (MIFF 1972)

Director: Emile de Antonio

Film-maker Emile de Antonio sets out, in what has been described as documentary "white-comedy", to confront one of the most treasured illusions of American society: blind faith in the democratic character of its fabled two-party system. The film directs its attack on the rhetoric that disguises the institutional failure of the electoral system to offer the people meaningful political choices or even information.

This attack takes the form of a devastating chronicle, compiled from newsreel and television footage and interviews with various political commentators, of the public career of Richard Milhous Nixon, whom de Antonio regards as the ideal example of a purely opportunist politician whose very lack of personal conviction is a prime asset in today's politics of media-manipulation.

Between carefully arranged flashbacks, the film traces Nixon's ascent to the Presidency, with sections on Nixon's unprincipled tactics against his first opponent. Congressman Gerry Voorhis; the later communist smear of Helen Douglas: the resultant publicity from his involvement in the infamous Alger Hiss case, the charges that led him to the "Checkers" speech in which he bared his financial soul to America, while congratulating himself on his honesty and diligence.

Beyond the film's immediate intent there is the added frighten suggestion that all politic same.

See also...


The director of Point of Order (about the TV hearings of Joe McCarthy and the Un-American Activities Committee) and Rush to Judgment (based on Mark Lane's post -: mortem of the Kennedy assassination) ... More »


Underground, made by three film-makers, producer Emile de Antonio, editor Mary Lampson, and cinematographer Haskell Wexler, has been described as 'an anthology of the left'. It includes interviews ... More »


" King of Prussia " is the name of a General Electric nuclear plant near Philadelphia, and in a way, the connotation of the militaristic regime that the name evokes, is not far from reality. In ... More »

Portrait of a Deaf City

Six provocative views of the city from the powerful and the powerless: City Hall, the "middle American", the militant black, the poverty lawyer, the community organiser, and the suburbanite. ... More »

Wasn’t it a Lovely Funeral?

A middle-aged woman talks on the phone about a funeral she attended earlier in the day. If we listen to her carefully, we discover that she is not talking about the funeral at all - she is talking ... More »


A variety of evocative and brilliantly coloured, computer-generated patterns. ... More »

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