Oddball Films and guest curator Lynn Cursaro present You Don’t Know Jack! Kennedy Film Rarities. On the 50th Anniversary of his assassination, now is a time when the world remembers the man, the myth and the mystery of John F. Kennedy. Oddball offers up a vintage retrospective of film rarities from the campaign trail, to memorial tributes. Campaign along with the whole Kennedy clan in The New Frontier (1960), the precursor to those self-produced candidate bio pics that get cranked out every four years. The familiar images of Dallas are rearranged to searing effect in Bruce Conner’s avant-garde masterpiece Report (1967). Politics in the Television Age (1963) revisits the first televised presidential debates. Vietnam foreshadowing and Jackie in dutiful wife mode are featured in a segment of The Age of Kennedy (1966). Protest: Assassins (1963) features a rich US history of 20th century political assassinations and attempts, from McKinley to Kennedy. Horizons in Space (1966) tells the dramatic tale of Gemini 8 and its rescue. British Anthony Newley sings “Tribute” a maudlin ballad he wrote for our fallen leader in an oddity from The Hollywood Palace. And so much more! Complimentary treats for all, including Texas-shaped gingerbread from the kurator’s kitchen.
Date: Friday, November 15th , 2013 at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00, limited seating, RSVP to: 415-558-8117 or RSVP@oddballfilm.com
Politics in the Television Age (Mel Stuart, 1963/1972, b+w, 20 min)
A classroom adaptation from The Making of the President 1960, this short focuses on the first Kennedy-Nixon debate and the two men’s differing appeal. Also featured is a deliciously sharp back-and-forth montage of of the candidates’ stump speeches. You’ll almost miss Richard M. Nixon. Almost.
"Report” can mean an account of events or a blast of a rifle and both meanings are apt for this incendiary work. Using found footage, footage the news coverage captured from his home TV and even mostly blank film, Conner arranges familiar images and audio against each other in throbbing juxtapositions. Events in Dallas had a clear before and after for America, but Conner's careful structure plays with the sequence of events to shocking effect. Report ultimately fuses images of promise and plenty with those of cataclysm and oblivion.
In one of the first campaigned-produced films, we take a take a walk along life’s path with the presidential hopeful. Although not as slick as the most recent examples of candidate bios, it nonetheless shows its subject off to stunning advantage. Because we never tire of that Boston accent, we’ll be showing a segment featuring policy speeches and a montage of JFK speaking with a range of everyday ‘Mericans.
Kennedy’s lasting impact on the national imagination was such that two years after his death the NBC White Paper series made a thoughtful two-part report on his careers as an author and politician. In a segment from The Early Years covering the 1950s, we meet Jacqueline Kennedy in political helpmate mode. Jack discusses fishing. Henry Fonda reads some of Jack’s writing’s on newly-partitioned Viet Nam, a temporary solution to the conflict. Reported by Chet Huntley with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Kennedy famously challenged the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” Neil Armstrong would be one of those men, but first he and David Scott had to survive Gemini 8! A particularly drama filled chapter in the Space Race, it was the both the first in space docking of two spacecraft and the first emergency rescue. A gem of stunning footage from inside the command module and tight newsreel prose.
A 14-minute thrill-ride through America's 20th century political assassinations, actual and attempted, from McKinley to Kennedy. Relive the close calls of the both Roosevelts via luscious newsreel footage! Ponder Harry Truman’s cool in the face of a Blair House bloodbath! A smattering of jailhouse footage is used to build the case that most of the shooters were motiveless nut-burgers. An interview with a squirrelly Lee H. Oswald, conducted just months before that fateful day in Dallas, certainly helps. A must-see for history nerds, true crime freaks and fans of vintage state funerals alike.
Anthony Newley, ”Tribute” (Hollywood Palace excerpt, 1963, B+W)
The shock of JFK’s murder had hardly worn off before the myth-making began in earnest, and no one could be more earnestly sentimental than Anthony Newley! Although a British subject, Newley added his ballad “Tribute” to the mounting pile of Woolworth’s kitsch memorializing Kennedy. A truly maudlin piece, even before the beautifully silhouetted choir kicks in, it makes Dion’s Abraham, Martin and John look downright cynical by comparison.
For early arrivals:
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1964, B+W)
A made-for-kids and totally worshipful bio of Jack, from childhood onward. Close captioned in the simplest English you can imagine, it is filled with some of the sweetest moments of the Thousand Days of Kennedy.
About the Curator
Lynn Cursaro is a local film blogger. Over the past two decades, she has worked in research and administrative positions a variety of Bay Area film organizations. She is too young to remember the assassination of President Kennedy, but old enough to remember when it was a really big deal.
About Oddball Films
Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.
Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educationals, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.