Saturday Night at the Movies: All the President's Men (1976)

In 1974, Richard Nixon went on the air to resign the Presidency of the United States. This was the end result of an investigaion into his staff and presidency that began two years previously with 5 burglars who had been arrested breaking into the watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee.

Robert Redford & Dustin Hoffman star as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein,two investigative reporters for the Washington Post, the newspaper credited with blowing the lid off the cover-up that was known as "Watergate". I remember watching this movie on TV years ago, but I was still an idealistic teen at the time. And I still thought Hollywood was a place where they made movies, not politics.

That said, on this, my second viewing, I can only conclude that the various Academy Awards (both nominations and actually awards) must have more to do with the political climate in Hollywood than with the actual acting. This is not a slight on William Goldman, the screenwriter, as much as it is on Redford and Hoffman, both of whom come off as rather cardboard and bland to me.

Jason Robards who plays Ben Bradlee is only on screen about 5 minutes or so of time the entire movie, and yet he consistently won awards from almost all awards groups as best supporting actor, despite the fact that I personally didn't think his character stood out any more than the rest of them. Laurence Olivier (Marathon Man), Burt Young and Burgess Meredith (Rocky), all three up for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award were all better in their respective roles. I think its a telling thing that neither Redford or Hoffman were nominated for Best Actor.

The investigative journalism on the face of it is rather interesting, and despite the fact that the acting was less than stellar, it still has some interesting scenes, and is worth a look, even if only for the historical impact the events pictured had on the country.

I rate it 2½ out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

Howard Bagby said...

Now I really feel old. I saw that movie in a theater and I liked it.

I was in high school when the actual events went down. I was fascinated by it. I even read their book which this movie was based on. I haven't seen the movie since then. I'll have to watch it again someday and see what I think about it.