The Reagans.: A Film Suppressed
A Hidden Treasure
Ronal Reagan: Charisma, Charm and Character
A NPR reporter interviewing an Evangelical Christian asked which political figure had done the most to advance the Evangelical cause? The response was slow in coming. After an embarrassed silence and a little prodding the answer came: "Ronald Reagan and that's surprising."
Robert Allan Ackerman
Carl Sferrazza Anthony (book)
Synopsis: A realistic portrayal of the meteoric rise of President Reagan, so much despised by the Bushist White House that, although scheduled to run on CBS, the film was relegated to Showtime.
Judy Davis .... Nancy Reagan
James Brolin .... Ronald Reagan
Bill Smitrovich .... Alexander Haig
Zoie Palmer .... Patti Reagan
Alicia Bacile .... Patti Reagan (teenage)
Tom Barnett .... Michael Reagan
Brandon Blue .... Ronald Reagan at 17
Tod Fennell .... Michael Reagan
is now available on DVD.
Naturally the NPR reporter no doubt a non Christian and a likely non-believer rendered uncharacteristically for a liberal mute and speechless for a second eventually asked, "Why?" That question in my mind sums up the Irish experience in America.
The Reagans, notwithstanding howls of the arrivistes to the right wing cause,
is an excellent place to find the answer to the NPR reporter's question. Yes the
Regans shows some of the difficulties of the Reagan era the deficits then run to an
all-time high but insignificant by the après moi le deluge thinking of the two Bushes but the Reagans also reveals the person and character of the man behind The Cause: returning the country to traditional values.
In this stirring biopic of the 40th President bringing to the small screen the life of one of the most influential men of the twentieth century, James Brolin and Judy Davis, as Ronald and Nancy Reagan, render bravura performances. Brolin embodies the character with fervor but adroitly avoids caricature. There's none of the torturous head bobbing, "aw-shucks" of a bad aper. Brolin plays a man with a mission, and not without a little charm. Brolin doesn't play Ronald Reagan; Brolin becomes Big Ronnie exuding all Ron's amazing charisma. And one who can charm away an insultation with a pithy remark. Dismissing an anti-Reagan skit at the National Press Club, Reagan remarks "The nicest lynching we've ever attended..."
Ronald Reagan, 'The Gipper,' a supporting actor in the famous Knute Rockne story was catapulted out of a semi - historical TV show Death Valley Days about the old west into Presidential politics by THE SPEECH, a campaign speech in favour of Barry Goldwater in 1964 in which Reagan managed throughout to omit Goldwater's name. The values Reagan and other American traditionalists preached independence, self-reliance, lessened government regulation did not easily catch on in the pie in the sky days of LBJ's Great Society whose promise of heaven on earth dissolved into a devastating defeat in the Vietnam War.
In the 1964 election, Goldwater went down to an humiliating defeat but Reagan professing much of the Goldwater rhetoric went on to become the most popular president of the 20th century. The star of Ronal Reagan and his ambitious wife Nancy was rising.
Judy Davis fleshes out the character of Nancy Reagan with a shudder. Judy Davis captures "Nancy Pants," Ronnie's pet name for her, with a feverish passion bordering on manic intensity. Nancy as played by Judy Davis can be strong as steel, yet tender as fresh grown flowers when need or opportunity requires.
The made for TV bio picture does fair coverage of the meteoric rise to power of Ronald Reagan and does honour to both Mr & Mrs Reagan. It covers most of the highlights well: election as Governor, the campaign for President against hapless Carter, the assassination attempt in which Reagan beat Techumseh's curse, the end of the cold war, Iran-contra affair and the departure at the end of the term. If the film deals any searing criticism of the Reagans in power,the film remains objective, fair and balanced accurately recording Reagan's many political successes, particularly his wit in communicating an idea or inspiring notion to the public, as well as his political savvy.
If the movie does justice to Ronald Reagan in its exposition of the public and personal triumphs and tragedies of the Reagan years, its glaring omission is also telling: Mr Reagan's less than triumphal "return" in 1984 to Ballyporeen, Eire where in contradistinction to the overwhelming reception John Kennedy received twenty years earlier, Reagan was ignored. Someone should have told poor Ronnie that the Kennedy family like feudal lords planted seed money in Eire in advance of the visit to assure the warm welcome. No matter, Reagan would find perhaps to his surprise a more comfortable feeling with the English than with distant cousins.
If there is dark spot on the aura of Reagan it is the Bush with whom the nation
has been saddled since the Gipper left the White House.
Naturally the deification of Reagan perhaps unintentional
by this movie does not sit well in The Bush White House which
though officially decrying this intimate, even complimentary excursion
into the "backlot" of the fortieth President as an insulting,
negative portrayal, would prefer the Gipper be forgotten and the worship of The Bush be instituted.
Of course the Bush emmuddled in endless costly
unproductive wars in the Middle East would like forgotten the enthusiasm of the Reagan years and leave the Bushist imperium of neo-cons free from the Gipper's legacy.
Thomas Dean is editor in chief of FP.