Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reel People: Frank Langella is Richard Nixon

The film is Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard, and based on the stage play by Tony Morgan (one who's gone bio-pic crazy writing bio-pic films such as The Queen, Last King of Scotland, The Other Boleyn Girl).

The Life of Richard Nixon
Richard Milhouse Nixon, the 37th US President was the first and only president to resign from office. Prior to politics, Nixon first began his career in law in the 1930s. He married his wife Thelma "Pat" Ryan in 1940. He joined the Navy and became lieutenant commander in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Following the War he found himself in a political career, first in the house of representatives (1947-1950), followed by a time in the Senate, representing the state of California for a little over two years (1950-1953). After a short political career he was chosen as Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate, where he served as Vice President of the United States for the next 8 years. Eisenhower ran for president in 1960 against John F. Kennedy and lost. Nixon then ran for California Governor in 1962 but lost against the popular established candidate Pat Brown. After loss Nixon gave the popular speech about the press not liking him and that he would never give another press conference again.

At this time, Nixon then moved to New York where he returned to his law roots working in the law firm, Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander. In 1968, the 60s were taking their toll and Nixon again took up politics campaigning towards what was termed a "silent majority," appealing to conservative voters who were not necessarily anti-war or involved in the 60s hippie sub culture, winning the California primary was a huge boost that helped eventually land him in the white house by 1969. He won a second presidential election in 1972.

In June 1972, the scandals associated with Nixon's aids and administration, particularly a group called CREEP/CRP (Committee to Re-Elect the President) began to come to light in what became known as the Watergate Scandal when some of Nixon's associates were caught breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

With a couple years of bad press and investigations included audio tapes, hush money and the resignation of Nixon aids, Nixon himself finally resigned from office August 9, 1974.

A month later President (Former Vice President) Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon of further indictment. Nixon later was disbarred, and no longer could practice law.

Despite the scandal, most people had great respect for his foreign affairs politics, and even after leaving office he still visited foreign leaders and helped provide consultation services to presidents and their aids.

Nixon's wife Pat died in 1993 of health related illnesses, and Nixon died less than a year later of a stroke in 1994.

The story of Frost/Nixon is about a series of interviews in 1977 between Richard Nixon (3 years following his resignation and the English Television Presenter Sir David Frost. In the film Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon reprise the role they played in the well received play rendition of the same film.

Frank Langella won the Tony award for his performance as Richard Nixon on the stage, and as a veteran actor who received critical attention last year for his performance in Starting Out In the Evening, Frank Langella has an exceptional chance not just of being nominated for best lead actor in 2008, but also winning the Award.

Will Frank Langella receive critical attention and even an Oscar for his performance as Richard Nixon? It's entirely possible! And playing a Real (Reel) Person, can't hurt.

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