(Penny Lane, USA). 85 minutes. Rating: NN The key element in this pic about Richard Nixon’s closest aides is the 400 reels of home movies they took during his presidency. Interviews with special assistant Dwight Chapin, chief of staff H. R. Haldeman and domestic affairs adviser John Erlichman (before the latter two died) assess events while the movies roll.
Unfortunately, not all the material is gold, mainly because the boys couldn’t shoot straight. The footage of Nixon’s historic China foray is decent, but there’s a ton of repetition – we don’t have to see the White House gardens five times.
The White House tapes figure prominently – Nixon’s homophobic rant is especially wild – but I’m not sure why this film deals neither with the Watts and Detroit riots that so powered Nixon’s paranoia or the 1970 nationwide student strike that followed the Kent State shootings.
But it’s great to see John Kerry, now secretary of state, as a Veteran Against the War addressing a mammoth peace march in Washington. SGC Apr 27, 7 pm, The Royal Cinema; Apr 29, 3 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; May 5, 1: 30 pm, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.