DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

PRIMARY (director: Robert Drew; cinematographers: Albert Maysles/Richard Leacock/Terrence McCartney Filgate; editors:  D.A. Pennebaker/Richard Leacock; cast: Joseph Julian (Narrator), Senator Kennedy, Senator Humphrey, Jacqueline Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy; Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Drew; Drew Associates; 1960)

"Gives us a riveting insider's look at the political process."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Interesting early pioneering 'cinéma vérité,' that's shot in B/W as a  documentary. It depicts in an intimate way the 1960 presidential Democrat primary held in Wisconsin between Senator John F. Kennedy and Senator Hubert Humphrey. It was a groundbreaking film in storytelling and in technology--it introduced lightweight portable cameras to follow the candidates around the campaign trail for five active days of campaigning in Wisconsin leading up to the primary election on April 5. The primary was surprisingly won by the Catholic, Eastern, cool, intellectual and privileged JFK over the Midwest's own square but popular liberal advocate.

Director Robert Drew ("A President to Remember"/"From Two Men and A War"/"The Chair"), former Time Magazine correspondent in the 1950s and Life Magazine editor, gives us a riveting insider's look at the political process and how the candidates for the highest government office acted with the public back then, in a very different America.

Interest never flags as we follow the grueling campaign filmed by unobtrusive cameras, where no interviews of the candidates from the film crew is allowed. The idea was to capture things spontaneously as they happened.

REVIEWED ON 11/21/2013       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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