×

Oswald’s Ghost

"Oswald's Ghost" is a concise, intelligent and rigorously well-researched piece of work.

With:
With: Norman Mailer, Gary Hart, Dan Rather, Mark Lane, Edward J. Epstein, Tom Hayden.

As a tutorial on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — encompassing the enormity of the tragedy, the testimony of eyewitnesses and other contemporaries, the scenarios of conspiracy theorists and, perhaps most important, the enduring impact on the American psyche — “Oswald’s Ghost” impresses as a concise, intelligent and rigorously well-researched piece of work. After a brief theatrical run to roughly coincide with the 44th anniversary of the epochal event, this latest effort from documaker Robert Stone (“Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst”) will attract an attentive aud during its scheduled Jan. 14 airing on PBS.

Adroitly interweaving archival material (some of it surprisingly unfamiliar) with commentary by TV newscaster Dan Rather, former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart and Warren Commission critic Mark Lane, among others, Stone emphasizes how, for Americans alive and sentient on Nov. 22, 1963, the JFK assassination was every bit as traumatic as the events of 9/11. Baby boomers may take this for granted, of course, but docu should prove invaluably enlightening to younger auds who do not have living memories of the 35th U.S. president’s life and times.

Stone also attempts to pierce through the clouds of mystery that still engulf Lee Harvey Oswald, viewed here variously as a clueless patsy, a lethally accurate killer or possibly both. “Oswald’s Ghost” duly notes that, even now, an estimated 70% of all Americans believe Oswald did not act alone.

But pic is structured so that its emotional climax unmistakably is the scene in which Norman Mailer — whose recent death makes his weary gravitas here all the more affecting — admits, with equal measures of sadness and resignation, that he reluctantly came to believe Oswald changed the course of history on his own: “That there were conspiracies being contemplated, even attempted on that day, I’m perfectly willing to accept. But the conclusions I came to were for me rational ones, because (Oswald) had a motive for doing it, because he was capable of doing it — and because he wanted to do it.”

Oswald's Ghost

Production: A Seventh Art Releasing release of an American Experience presentation, in association with the BBC, of a Robert Stone production. Produced, directed, written by Stone.

Crew: Camera (color/B&W), Howard Shack; editors, Stone, Don Kleszky; music, Gary Lionelli; sound, Coll Anderson. Reviewed at Denver Film Festival, Nov. 10, 2007. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: Norman Mailer, Gary Hart, Dan Rather, Mark Lane, Edward J. Epstein, Tom Hayden.

More Film

  • For web story

    'The Burnt Orange Heresy,' With Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland, to Close Venice

    “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” starring Mick Jagger as a reclusive art dealer alongside Elizabeth Debicki (“Widows”), Claes Bang (“The Square”) and Donald Sutherland, has been selected as the Venice Film Festival closer.  The English-language art heist movie marks Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi’s first time back at Venice since 2009, when his debut feature film, the [...]

  • A woman prays at a makeshift

    Kyoto Animation Death Toll Rises to 34; Suspect Still Too Injured to Be Questioned

    Shinji Aoba, the man suspected of setting a fire that killed 34 people at the Kyoto Animation studio, remains hospitalized and too injured to be officially arrested and questioned. Police in Kyoto have obtained an arrest warrant for Aoba but cannot serve it because of his condition. Police sources have raised the death toll from [...]

  • Azania Muendane

    Locations Africa Expo Sends Message in Durban: ‘Africa is Ready’

    DURBAN–The first edition of the Locations Africa Expo and Conference was held this week during the Durban FilmMart, with an eye toward identifying and growing the opportunities to lure incoming productions to the continent. “Locations Africa is trying to service a need on the continent to discuss the physical production…on the ground, highlighting film commissions, [...]

  • The Lion King

    China Box Office: 'Looking Up' Is Surprise Weekend Winner Ahead of 'Lion King'

    Actor and comedian Deng Chao underlined his enduring popularity with mainstream Chinese audiences by delivering a surprise No. 1 box-office hit in “Looking Up” over the weekend. It scored $38.6 million in its opening frame, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway, and displaced “The Lion King” from its perch. “Looking Up” is a family [...]

  • Unathi Malonga

    Report Urges South African Media to ‘Step Up’ Against Gender Violence

    DURBAN–In a country with some of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world, South African media must step up and play a greater role in the fight against gender inequality and gender-based violence. That was the conclusion of a report, “Gender, Diversity and Gender-based Violence in South African TV,” that was [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content