Author Topic: The Missiles of October (1974)  (Read 1281 times)

Offline Antares

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The Missiles of October (1974)
« on: April 23, 2010, 12:19:57 AM »
The Missiles of October

Year: 1974
Film Studio: Viacom Enterprises
Genre: Drama, Television
Length: 156 Min.

Anthony Page (1935)

Stanley R. Greenberg (1927)...Writer
Robert F. Kennedy (1925)...Author - Thirteen Days

Robert Berger (1934)
Herbert Brodkin (1912)
Irv Wilson

Laurence Rosenthal (1926)...Composer

William Devane (1939) as President John F. Kennedy
Ralph Bellamy (1904) as U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
Howard Da Silva (1909) as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
James Hong (1929) as U.N. Secretary-General U Thant
Martin Sheen (1940) as Att. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy
James T. Callahan (1930) as David Powers, Special Assistant to the P
Peter Canon as Admiral's Aide
Keene Curtis (1923) as John McCone, Director CIA

       Long before the advent of HBO, cable television and satellite disks on our roofs, the big 3 networks would vie for the viewer ship of the general public by producing their own movies. One successful offering was the Emmy nominated made-for-TV drama The Missiles of October, which recounted the thirteen days in which the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war just over a decade earlier. This docudrama took the viewer not only inside the Oval Office, but inside the Kremlin too, as we lay witness to the unfolding events that almost lead to the extinction of our species. At the time, a general feeling of mistrust coincided between the populations of the two super powers, and both nations lived in an uneasy state of fear under the ‘mutual assured destruction’ principle.

       For those who were too young to remember or maybe slept through History 101, here’s the story in a nutshell. After the failed invasion at the ‘Bay of Pigs’ in 1961, President Kennedy’s (William Devane) fledgling administration appeared awkward and indecisive. Seizing upon this, Nikita Khrushchev (Howard DaSilva) decided to make a power play against what he deemed as a young and inexperienced adversary. By placing strategic nuclear weapons in Cuba, he hoped to broker an accord whereby the United States would remove their troops from West Berlin, leaving Europe at the mercy of the ever-hungry communists. Much to Khrushchev’s surprise, Kennedy steadfastly stood his ground and mobilized the full weight of the American military to resist this move and established a blockade of the tiny island nation. As the two opponents stared each other in the eye, waiting for the other to blink first, the rest of the world watched in restless agony.

       The production values for this film appear to be very limited, but the tautness of the screenplay more than generously makes up for any shortcomings in the appearance of the sets or the quality of the sound recording. The cast is well rounded with equal amounts of veteran actors and unknowns and their performances are all first rate, with the exception of Martin Sheen. Sheen portrays Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and it appears he is trying a little too hard to do a real life impersonation of Kennedy’s voice and mannerisms, leaving his performance appearing a bit overstated. That aside, this is a film that any lover of history will appreciate and it is a much better representation of the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis than the overblown and historically inaccurate foray into this subject done by Kevin Costner in Thirteen Days.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:15:31 PM by Antares »