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2.0 out of 5 stars "EXECUTIVE ACTION" -- Similar To Oliver Stone's "JFK" In Many Ways (i.e., All Motive, No Evidence), November 3, 2007
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This review is from: Executive Action (DVD)
1973's "Executive Action" stars Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Will Geer as three top-level (but never fully-defined or fleshed out) behind-the-scenes plotters who are secretly arranging President John F. Kennedy's demise via a "One-Patsy, Three-Gunmen" assassination ambush, which is to take place at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, during President Kennedy's visit to that city on the tragic date of November 22, 1963.

Now, where have I seen that type of "plot" being proposed before? Oh, yes, Oliver Stone's the man. He's got exactly the same type of crazy three-shooter, ONE-"patsy" scheme cooked up for his blockbuster motion picture, "JFK", which premiered almost two decades after "Executive Action".

I guess the three assassins who were popping away at JFK's head (as depicted in both "EA" and "JFK") just prayed that the rotten and corrupt U.S. Government would be wanting to frame the VERY SAME PATSY named Oswald after the bullets stopped flying in Dealey Plaza.

Otherwise, I cannot see how on the face of this globe that Mr. Lancaster, et al, could have thought they had a snowball's chance in Hades of their loony THREE-gun plan being successful.

Oh, well....I guess we'll just let the Government worry about those trivial little details, like covering up or getting rid of all the bullets and bullet holes in JFK's body that didn't have any chance of being traced back to the one lone "patsy" in the Texas School Book Depository Building on Elm Street.

About the only redeeming feature in this fairy-tale of a movie is some very nice aerial footage taken of Dealey Plaza and the Book Depository (filmed by Warner Brothers from a helicopter, circa early 1973).

The remainder of this conspiracy-oriented film is total fiction, but unlike Oliver Stone's tripe that would surface 18 years later, the producers of "Executive Action" were at least honest and forthright enough to tell their audience right from the very beginning of the movie that "much of this film is fiction". During the opening credits, we find these words printed on the screen.....

"Although much of this film is fiction, much of it is also based on documented historical fact. Did the conspiracy we describe actually exist? We do not know. We merely suggest that it could have existed."

A fatal flaw within the type of script that a film like "Executive Action" heavily relies on is that Lee Harvey Oswald (the so-called "patsy" in this film as well as in Oliver Stone's "JFK" eighteen years later) has been almost completely lost within the sea of unsupportable and invented conspiracy-tinged speculation. At the very least, Oswald has been severely misrepresented in films like "Executive Action" and "JFK".

These type of pro-conspiracy movies about the assassination of America's 35th President rely almost exclusively on fanciful guesswork, conjecture, and a perceived motive that 'so-and-so' supposedly had for wanting President Kennedy killed in 1963.

In "Executive Action" (which made its debut in U.S. movie theaters on November 7, 1973, fifteen days prior to the 10th anniversary of JFK's death), we're told that the bottom-line motives that these fictional bigshots in the movie had for desperately wanting JFK dead were: Vietnam, Kennedy's civil-rights policies, and JFK's negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (specifically, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was being frowned upon in a big way by the assassination plotters). God forbid that peace should prevail in the world, huh? <chuckle>

But, amid the conspiracy plot being hatched by Lancaster and Company, the PERSONALITY of John F. Kennedy's real killer, Lee Harvey Oswald (and LHO was, indeed, Kennedy's lone assassin based on every scrap of hard evidence to be found when investigating the JFK case), has been pretty much totally lost and/or ignored by the filmmakers.

And that's truly a shame. Because if there was ever a person who had the perfect profile and personal make-up of a potential Presidential assassin (a REAL assassin/triggerman, that is, and not just a person to use as a "patsy"), it was probably 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald.

For a balanced counterpoint to movies like "Executive Action" and "JFK", I'd highly recommend watching the 1964 documentary film "FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER".

And I'd also recommend reading two books, Vincent Bugliosi's "RECLAIMING HISTORY" and Jean Davison's "OSWALD'S GAME", both of which are a mile deep in something called the "true facts" surrounding the events of 11/22/63, and both of those books are also richly steeped in the largely-overlooked truth about a man named Lee Harvey Oswald, who was the man that owned the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that was proven to have killed President Kennedy.



This first-ever DVD release of "Executive Action" includes an interesting bonus supplement in the form of a 10-minute "Vintage Featurette" entitled "November 22, 1963: In Search Of An Answer".

That featurette is a pretty good behind-the-scenes type of program, with 1973 interviews with the film's main stars (Lancaster, Ryan, and Geer), plus interview segments with producer Edward Lewis and screenplay writer Dalton Trumbo as well.

The Warner Home Video DVD (which came out on October 23, 2007) also includes one additional bonus item, a "Burt Lancaster Trailer Gallery", which consists of four theatrical trailers for films starring Mr. Lancaster, including the original trailer for "Executive Action" and one for the similarly-themed 1964 movie "Seven Days In May".

This DVD presents "Executive Action" in good-looking Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), with a Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono soundtrack (English only).

The film is in color and has a running time of 91 minutes.

Subtitles: English; French.

Chapters: 9.


David Von Pein
November 2007
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2007, 12:38:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 22, 2015, 5:21:17 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 5, 2011, 11:07:02 PM PST
Albert Doyle says:
I think Mr Von Pein is deluding himself that the oligarchs depicted in 'Executive Action', the government, and the CIA weren't all one entity. It was pretty much made clear in the movie that the guys training for the hit were all company mechanics (and therefore protected by the government he tries to distinguish them from). Like many Lone Nut apologists Mr Von Pein attempts to rush through with scorn and contempt, but slower more studied approaches show his logic is seriously flawed and lacking in credible content.

Whatever the case, even with its guesses, the film involves a lot of credible conspiracy evidence that presents a much more believable and accurate depiction of the Assassination than Von Pein does. Von Pein gives himself away by dealing with Oswald in a few lines. He needs to because any in-depth look into Oswald would see right away he was deeply CIA connected.

Posted on Mar 25, 2011, 3:22:59 AM PDT
K. Doyle says:
I agree that the motives presented in this movie are incredibly weak. The discussion is all about what Kennedy is planning, not what he's done-- much less risky ways to subvert such plans than assassination. Pissed off spooks just doesn't fly very well here. Most are patriots and would likely get the adverse implications of setting such a precident.

If there was a "conspiracy", more likely it was the mob who had far better reasons to be pissed off at Jack, and hits are their modus operandi, while concern about risks is not.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012, 2:19:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2014, 4:37:29 PM PDT
The shooting of the accused assassin 48 hours later pretty much says "CONSPIRACY". This film does not go into how and why the corporate media assisted in the cover-up. There was a lot of lies told about Oswald that were later revealed false. The truth was covered up (note the coincidences mentioned in the movie, taken from the work of amateur investigators in the 1960s).

Why is Oswald "not guilty"? He was never convicted or even indicted! Why was he rubbed out two days later? To prevent him from proving his innocence! Lunch time is usually around noon. If Oswald went to lunch at noon and then washed down his meal with a bottle of soda from a machine when that policeman came by. Alive, he could have named the other people who were also in the lunchroom at that time (and they could have confirmed his alibi). Then the conspiracy would be obvious. Being in the second floor lunchroom solves the problem of hiding that rifle then running down four flights of stairs. Yes, this is my assumption, but it best explains the problem of Oswald's movements from the sixth to the second floor.

Another argument for Oswald's innocence is his denial of shooting the President. The killers of Presidents in the 19th century all boasted of their deed. So too those in the 20th century who attempted and failed. All used a pistol. Was Oswald lying about this? George O'Toole's book "The Assassination Tapes" explains why Oswald was telling the truth (or was crazy). The idea of a conspiracy also explains the differences in wounds seen in Parkland Hospital and those on the body in Bethesda. I think the conspirators simply sacrificed JFK's double to create a body whose wounds would fit the "lone gunman" theory. Why did the Establishment bump him off? JFK's use of drugs affected his judgment and risked a Nuclear War in October 1962. The book "Dr. Feelgood" explains JFK's health problems. Doesn't this theory best fit the known facts?
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Location: Mooresville, Indiana; USA

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