Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I saw the Frost/Nixon film over the weekend.

I thought it was very well done. I had not thought about David Frost's interviews of Richard Nixon in quite some time. I now remember watching with fascination as Nixon came as close as he ever did to a confession of guilt regarding Watergate.

Today, I watched a DVD of the actual Watergate interview, to get some perspective on the accuracy of the portrayal in the film.

Michael Sheen, who plays Frost, told David Letterman that David Frost considers the film about 85% true-to-life. Sheen went on to say that they followed the transcripts of the actual interviews, but "we play it slightly differently".

My impression of the actual interview is that Nixon appears less emotionally bombastic than Frank Langella portrays him in the film. But Nixon's eye movements, nervous smiles, and verbal miscues betray his emotional reaction to being pressed by Frost to say more than he wants to say about the scandal.

And anyone who thinks that the portrayal of James Reston, Jr., who worked with Frost on research for the interviews, was overdone, should read my description of how common such reactions to Nixon were, at that time.

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