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  • CENTRAL: Audiovisual Collection
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The Kennedy films of Robert Drew & Associates.

Call Number

  • DVD 973.922 K3555 (CEN)

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Two-DVD special edition.


English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Publication Information

[Irvington, NY] : Criterion Collection, [2016]

Physical Description

2 videodiscs (169 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet (unpaged : illustrations ; 19 cm)


Not rated.


Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he found to be rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought to filmmaking the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent in the late 1950s. He did this by assembling an amazing team--including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles--that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, filming him first on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three feature films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy--Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis--and, following the president's assassination, the poetic short Faces of November. Collected here are all four of these titles, which are early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and feature the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon.


Originally produced as individual films from 1960-1964.

Special features: New 2K digital restoration of all four films ; alternate twenty-six-minute cut of Primary, edited by filmmaker Richard Leacock ; audio commentary on the Primary, featuring excerpts from a 1961 conversation between Leacock, filmmakers Robert Drew and D.A. Pennebaker, and film critic Gideon Bachmann ; Robert Drew in his own words, a new documentary featuring archival interview footage ; new conversation between Pennebaker and Jill Drew, general manager of Drew Associates and Robert Drew's daughter-in-law ; outtakes from Crisis, along with a discussion by historian Andrew Cohen, author of Two days in June ; new conversation about Crisis, featuring former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and Sharon Malone, Holder's wife and the sister of Vivian Malone, one of the students featured Crisis ; new interview with Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: profile of power ; footage from a 1998 event at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, featuring Drew, Pennebaker, Leacock, and filmmaker Albert Maysles.


  • Primary / Adventures on the new frontier / Crisis / Faces of November

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