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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Jfk - A Presidency Revealed
Jfk - A Presidency Revealed
A&E Video // Unrated // November 25, 2003
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted November 28, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE DOCUMENTARY

JFK: A Presidency Revealed is a three-part documentary on the White House years of President Kennedy that was just recently produced to air during the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination in Dallas, TX. And of all the pieces on JFK we've seen this past month, this one is recommended not only because it sheds a little more insight on the Kennedy presidency (thanks to audio tapes that were just recently uncovered), but it's one of the few pieces that doesn't try to speculate on the assassination – Oswald is the de facto killer here, with no mention of a conspiracy or another shooter.

In fact, the assassination itself takes up less than five minutes of this approximately 150-minute documentary, as we get a look at the Kennedy White House from the inauguration all the way up to that fateful day in Dallas.

One of the major topics covered throughout is the state of John Kennedy's health. It has been known over the years of his various medical problems and acute back pain – but we find out here just how serious things really were…so serious, in fact, that had JFK's life not been cut short by an assassin's bullet, it may very well have been cut short by his deteriorating health.

Narrated by Frank Sesno, the documentary also covers in detail the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Vienna summit between JFK and Soviet Premier Khrushchev, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the speech at the Berlin Wall and, of course, the assassination on November 22, 1963.

In addition to the new audio tapes and plenty of archive footage (most which will be familiar to Kennedy buffs), there are new interview segments with people close to Kennedy at the time, including some interesting new comments from Ted Kennedy made exclusively for this documentary.

THE DVD

Video:
The presentation is in full-frame, and the overall quality of the video is good, although obviously this depends on what bit of historical film is being shown at any given point. Still the transfer here is quite sharp, and viewers should be happy with the look of the DVD.

Audio:
The audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby – which is more than enough for the content here. Most of the archived materials' audio is clear and easy to hear (no evidence of popping or scratchy sounds) – although some of the new audio dug up for this documentary is hard to make out – but the program nicely provides on-screen subtitles for those harder-to-hear moments from this new material.

Extras:
There are two discs in this boxed set. The first contains the three-part documentary (which can be watched in three parts, or all at once), and the second DVD contains two bonus programs from the A&E Biography series: JFK: A Personal Story and Joseph Kennedy, Sr.: Father of an American Dynasty.

THE BOTTOM LINE

One of the more comprehensive and informative documentaries recently produced on the JFK presidency, JFK: A Presidency Revealed is a must-have for scholars and fans of JFK, and given the restraint from speculation that the title has, a good starting point for youngsters who want to discover our 35th President for the first time.
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