Film of the week 07.02.2021.
With the Impeachment trial of Donald Trump in progress in the US Congress I have been looking back to 1976 and ‘All the President’s Men’ that deals with the Watergate scandal the led to the resignation of Richard Nixon on the eve of his impeachment.
In 1972 a gang of burglars were discovered with bugging equipment breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate building. Initially considered to be of little significance a junior reporter at the Washington Post realized that the men had links to the CIA and the President’s White House Counsel. The reporter was Bob Woodward and together with reporter Carl Bernstein they embark on a complex investigation involving detailed research and multiple meetings with reluctant witnesses. Woodward is helped by his secret anonymous government whistle blower dubbed ‘Deep Throat’.
The original idea for the film came from Robert Redford who bought the rights to the Woodward/Bernstein book and he plays Bob Woodward with Dustin Hoffman as the edgy chain- smoking Bernstein and they are both outstanding. The Washington Post newsroom was recreated at the Warner Bros studios but under direction by Alan J Pakula the film has a documentary sense of realism using hand- held cameras and location filming to create mounting tension and a sense of menace.
The film is credited with being the most accurate representation of the work of journalists. It won four Oscars including Best Supporting Actor for Jason Robarts as the Washington Post’s Executive Editor and Best Adapted Screenplay for William Goldman but won no BAFTAS. It is on the BBC I-Player for a limited time and is available on Amazon Prime.