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John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums

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Title: John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums  
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Subject: Gregory Peck, Capitol Records, Embassy Pictures, National Board of Review: Top Ten Films, National Board of Review Awards 1966, 1965 Cannes Film Festival
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John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums

John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums is a ninety-minute filmed memorial tribute to President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated on November 22, 1963. It was completed in 1964, and released to theatres by Embassy Pictures in 1966. The film, containing both color and black-and-white footage, is narrated by Gregory Peck, and features extensive excerpts from President Kennedy's speeches, including color footage of his swearing in and inaugural address. It was written and directed by Bruce Herschensohn, who also composed the music - long before he was recognized as a noted conservative.

"Years of Lightning..." was produced by the United States Information Agency, and was originally not intended for viewing by the general public. However, the quality of the film was considered so outstanding that a special act of Congress allowed it to be shown in regular motion picture theatres, a rare honor for USIA films. Two years after the film's actual completion, it made its debut in regular movie houses. A soundtrack album from the film, featuring both music and narration was also issued, but it is unavailable on CD.

Released before JFK's extramarital activities were even made public, the film concentrates only on his public achievements in office, among them the launching of the Peace Corps, the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the successful attempt to put American astronauts into outer space, the beginning of the Alliance for Progress, the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and Kennedy's original drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alternating coverage of these achievements with somber footage of the funeral procession carrying Kennedy's casket. It also does not hint that any conspiracy was involved in Kennedy's assassination, placing the blame directly on Lee Harvey Oswald.

The film is now rarely shown, and is due out on DVD from Warner Home Video on November 12, 2013.

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
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