Frost/Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews - Digitally Remastered
Originally broadcast in May of 1977, this series of interviews between Sir David Frost and U.S. President Richard Nixon delves into the various controversies of Nixon’s presidency, including, most famously, the "Watergate scandal." Never before, nor since, has a U.S. President been so candid on camera. This historic meeting has been adapted into an award-winning major motion picture by Ron Howard.
Although this DVD provides a real-life look at the landmark interviews conducted in 1977 between David Frost and Richard Nixon, it is not the entire session as originally broadcast. Rather, this is an edited, 88-minute condensation of the sections of the interviews that focused on the Watergate cover-up, Nixon's ultimate downfall. As such, it is a thoroughly gripping experience: Nixon begins the session as a wily combatant, but Frost (an experienced talk-show host, but hardly a political heavyweight) is such a dogged, indeed surprisingly forceful, questioner that he eventually corners the ex-President into facing some tough issues. The drama of this, which consists entirely of two men sitting in chairs, without any other documentary clutter, is actually much more gripping than Ron Howard's dramatized version of the event, Frost/Nixon
, which labors to add melodrama to an already riveting situation. If you didn't live through the Watergate scandal, it might help to have a refresher on some of the basics before you watch (Frost briefly introduces the interviews with a spot of background), but in a way it's also not necessary, for the real punch here is watching a man of power be forced to publicly confront the fact that he abused that position. Nixon's bitter smile and his large capacity for self-pity are in full close-up view, creating a sense of pathos (even if you know the man did wrong). Those complications are richer than fiction, and give more insight into how Nixon could have brought about the circumstances that made him the only U.S. President to resign the office. --Robert Horton