Monday, 1 November 2010

JFK (1991)

In the almost fifty years since the Kennedy assassination, despite endless hours devoted to it by dedicated researchers, no clear link has ever been found between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby.

Except... of course... for the four months in 1962 when they traveled to England and played together in a R+B band in and around London.

This fact has been long known and indeed, with literally a huge pile of bootleg recordings and newspaper clippings available (London Evening Standard: "Yankee Duo Wow Capital!") has become unversally regarded as being really, really awkward.

During the Warren Commission hearings in particular, any mention of these 54 confirmed dates was as well received as an especially loud fart, or a joke told in mixed company about the Polishman named Sal. A typical example of this can be found in a transcript towards the end of Volume 19:

Earl Warren, commission chairman: And so, summing up, we find that there is no evidence that Oswald and Ruby even knew of each other's existence prior to that fateful November day....

Arlen Specter, assistant counsel: ...Ah, but what about the five night stand they played at the 400 Club on Oxford Street in February?

(Long pause.)

Warren: Yes. There is that... I suppose... But besides this, we have nothing.

Later on, during the Seventies, the House Select Committee on Assassinations vigorously pursued this angle until it unfortunately became bogged down in an arcane debate about whether this tour represented the sixteen or seventeenth roots-revival wave seen in America since 1960.

Yet while the sight of Ruby a-wailing on his slide trombone while Lee picked a mean beat on his Gibson guitar is undeniably a powerful one, I think director Oliver Stone devoted too much screen time to it.

While it is interesting, I don't think the entire last hour should have been given over to it in one huge flashback. And the A Hard Day's Night style homage sequence fell completely flat to me.

So Mr. Stone, how about next time devoting your time to things to really matter (...Like, who was that guy with the umbrella anyway?...) and try not to take things a twist too far?

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