Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
Location: Bartos Screening Room
Dir. Robert Drew. 1963. 53 mins. Restored 16mm print. Having earned John F. Kennedy’s trust with his 1960 campaign-trail film Primary, pioneering Direct Cinema documentarian Robert Drew gained unprecedented access to a presidency in crisis. When black college students Vivian Malone and James Hood prepared to enroll at the all-white University of Alabama in June 1963, Governor George Wallace defied a federal court order and vowed to block the enrollment. Drew captures Wallace self-righteously clinging to the futility of segregation, while a flurry of phone calls between JFK, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach reveal a coordinated plan to defeat Wallace.
Restored by the Academy Film Archive with funding provided by The Film Foundation.
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