Each issue, RSL offers up that perennial internet favourite: the themed list. For this issue, to complement our feature article and analysis, we take a look at some lesser-known films that explored aspects of John F Kennedy’s life and assassination …
Executive Action (1973)
Dalton Trumbo wrote the screenplay for this conspiracy theory drama which posits that a band of rogue intelligence agents, right-wing politicians, capitalists, and assassins was behind the JFK assassination, with Lee Harvey Oswald set up to take the rap. The film makes good use of archive footage and the whole idea that JFK was killed in order to stifle his ‘radical’ agenda is not one that strays too far from plausibility.
An American Affair (2008)
Apparently inspired by the story of Mary Pinchot Meyer, this film focusses on a teenager who becomes obsessed with the 30-year-old woman next door, only to find out that she’s not everything she seems. In real life, Meyer was the ex-wife of the head of the CIA, and one of JFK’s many lovers. In the film, Gretchen Mol is the mysterious Catherine Caswell, with Cameron Bright as the wide-eyed young man who ‘comes of age’.
Told from the point-of-view of Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, this film explores certain conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assassination. Drawing together the CIA, organised crime and all kinds of shady goings on in Cuba, the film pieces together a far-reaching plot to take out the president, with strip-club owner, Ruby, at the centre. Starring Danny Aiello, the script was adapted by a play by Stephen Davis.
Interview with the Assassin (2002)
Forty years after the JFK assassination, an ex-marine confesses to a former neighbour that he was the elusive ‘second gunman’ who shot and killed the president. When the neighbour starts digging, he starts to believe he’s stumbled upon an even bigger conspiracy. This intriguing film was written and directed by Neil Burger, who’s better known for 2014’s Divergent.
Le piège américain (2008)
Who says only Hollywood can tackle the JFK assassination? This Canadian production links the ‘maple leaf mafia’ to the killing; sending a reluctant hero off to untangle a web of political intrigue and corruption. The film is set in the mid-1960s, with the Cold War raging and the US, Russia and France embroiled in a strategic battle over Third World resources.
Issue 10 of RSL is out on 28 September.