Our Nixon Documentary Uses Super 8 Footage Shot by White House Aides and Seized by FBI

Categories: Film, Politics

* Corrected from original version to include true name of film production company and CNN air dates.

Our Nixon
Just when you thought the Frost/Nixon feature film, the David Frost Interviews Richard Nixon documentary, All the President's Men, Oliver Stone's Nixon, years of documentaries, television news shows and other moving images of the actual Trickster had provided every possible glimpse into the Richard Nixon psyche, along comes Penny Lane and Our Nixon. The 84-minute documentary on Orange County's favorite disgraced son is based on recently unearthed Super 8 footage shot by Nixon's aides.

Movie reviewers will be checking out the CNN Films* production next week in Los Angeles, where it is scheduled to open for the masses on Sept. 6. (* Corrected name. Also note these CNN air dates: 9 p.m. Thursday; midnight and 3 a.m. Aug. 2; 9 p.m. Aug. 4; midnight and 3 a.m. Aug. 5; 9 p.m. Aug. 10; midnight and 3 a.m. Aug. 11.)

You can track it further on OurNixon.com, although I'd be first in line to see it in the cool little theater at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. If only they served popcorn ...

By the way, those aides pointing the cameras were H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin, well-known guys to kids like me who watched the Watergate hearings on our bellies in front of the black-and-white after school (true story).

Super 8 film still, Dipper Films; Courtesy of Cinedigm
Special Assistant Dwight Chapin films Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman filming him at the White House on the night of the Apollo 11 moon landing (July 20, 1969).
"Throughout Richard Nixon's presidency, three of his top White House aides documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras," say Our Nixon's producers. "Young, idealistic and dedicated, they had no idea that a few years later they would all be at the center of a history-making impeachment scandal."

Indeed, their "unique and personal visual record" was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years. The documentary is said to represent the first time these home movies have been seen by the public. Director Lane reportedly mixed in other rare footage, "creating an intimate and complex portrait" of you-know-who.

Aw, hell, one more Nixon flick can't hurt, right?

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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