EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|GIVE 'EM HELL, HARRY! (director: Steve Binder; screenwriter: from the play by Samuel Gallu/Samuel Gallu; cinematographer: Ken Palius; cast: James Whitmore (Harry S. Truman); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Samuel Gallu/Thomas J. McErlane; Good Times; 1975)|
Whitmore in a virtuoso performance as the plainspoken President Harry S. Truman."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Samuel Gallu's brilliant one-man play is directed by Steve Binder ("Melissa") and stars James Whitmore in a virtuoso performance as the plainspoken President Harry S. Truman, the only president in modern times that had the guts to speak directly to the public exactly what was on his mind. It's based for the most part on the public records (Truman's speeches and memoirs), though there's some parts that take a poetic license with events (like reconstructing Truman's meeting with a rebellious General MacArthur and taking potshots at the young California Congressman Nixon for being so disingenuous). The play was recorded before a live Seattle audience, and it used nine cameras. It was edited during the performance using a special videotape process called Theatrovision.
It tells of certain events in
Truman's life that stand out: his likable tough guy attitude as a
National Guard army captain on the WW I battlefields, challenging the KKK during
a political campaign, facing the ghost of FDR on his presidency,
calling out as a concerned father the Washington Post music critic for
dissing his daughter
performance, his meeting with
ex-President Hoover and respecting him for his concern with helping the
poor, his reasons for dropping the A-bomb to end the war, telling about
his honest ex- business partner Eddie Jacobson in the haberdashery
business and how he influenced him to support recognizing Israel as an
independent country, railing against the diabolical phony
patriotic commie witch-hunter Senator Joe McCarthy, and firing the insubordinate high-handed popular war hero General MacArthur.
Watching Harry in action made
me wish we had a president today who was not made out of mush and could
tell it like it is. This film captures Truman's feisty personality, his
humor, his connection with the man on the street, his sincerity, his
intelligence and his faults. Worth seeing for either entertainment or
educational purposes. It's simply great stuff.
REVIEWED ON 10/8/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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