As a logical counterpart to his Halloween film (oh, and maybe to coincide with the 2016 Presidential election), Kevin brought us the 1976 adaptation of the famous Woodward and Bernstein book, All The President’s Men, directed by Alan J. Pakula.
Before the film, I showed yet another MST3K short, this one called A Case Of Spring Fever, and yes, it was apropos of absolutely nothing.
As for the film itself, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really lend itself to a solid review. Bob Woodward, a cub reporter, is sent to the courthouse to cover the apparently minor case of some Cuban-Americans who had been caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate office building the night before. But when the burglars came up with high-powered lawyers without evidently having made a phone call, Woodward suspected things went deeper – and over the course of the film he and Carl Bernstein systematically, if quite a bit confusedly, uncover a vast conspiracy involving a large number of Nixon’s officials attempting to cover up the slush fund that was used to pay the burglars (or buggers, as the case may be).
From a cinematic point of view, it’s not a terribly exciting film. A lot of the film looks like this.
Sometimes they go to other people’s houses.
Sometimes they go outside.
Sometimes Woodward even goes to a parking garage to meet with the infamous Deep Throat.
But mostly the movie just looks like this.
And of course, from the very beginning of the movie we know how it turns out, because even those of us who were in diapers (me) or not even born (most of y’all) at the time, we all know the fundamentals of Watergate.
The movie is, of course, less about the fundamentals and more about the uncovering of the details. But it’s tough, because important people are getting implicated in the crime, but 40 years later their names have mostly been relegated to the proverbial dustbin of history and unlike names like “Nixon”, most of us don’t really know who they were – and they typically don’t show up on camera. I think it’s probably acceptable to give the film a pass, because at the time it was probably a very good way to sum up the depth of the scandal to an audience who could appreciate the scope of it from those who were implicated. But today, I don’t think it quite holds up, and the book, which wouldn’t have to abbreviate its exposition, is probably a better reference.