Frost/Nixon. A history to remember.

by shalinijena

For a person who hardly knows much about politics in her own country, understanding the American politico certainly is not a piece of cake. The 1972 Watergate scandal is one of the most famous memories of corruptions of all times, not only in America but all over the world. I remember the first time I heard about it. I might be too embarrassed to admit, but I had NO IDEA what that was. I thought it had something to do with water related problems in India, because the discourse in the class was about corruption and the ‘incongruous’ political games. Don’t stop reading – am pretty well-informed now.

It took me few days to completely the understand the case. Here is a small brief for you. In 1972, Richard Nixon‘s government, a republican and the then-President of USA was alleged to be involved in the attempted burglary that took place in the Watergate complex. Now this complex was the headquarters for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) which you can understand is Nixon government’s opposing party. Two years later on August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the US Presidentship. Basically the entire scandal is about the burglary, photographing of documents, wiretapping of phones at DNC and the Nixon government’s cover-up that eventually came out with the tapes. These tapes were the recorded versions of several conversations that the President had with other trusted bureaucrats of his party. When these tapes were retrieved, everything came out into the open which ultimately lead to their corrupt President’s resignation.

Richard Nixon’s victory sign after resigning his Presidentship.

Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in the film Frost/Nixon

What is missing in all this is the Ex-President’s testimony where he admitted his guilt. Doesn’t A.Raja’s guiltless smiling face frustrate the hell out of you? And that pride when he comes out of the jail – like he is some freedom fighter and the reporters, his ardent followers!! Similarly to bring out the guilty part on Ex-President Nixon’s visage, because that is what the American audience wanted to hear and see – a British media personality, David Frost (Played by Michael Sheen in the film Frost-Nixon)took up the challenge. He was famous for his various talk shows and charm that worked like magic for his audience and making a lot of money for his producers. Famous in Britain and Australia, his shows did not quite work out for the audience in US and that is why he wanted a comeback by striking that quarry which was the most valuable subject of that time – Richard Nixon.

John Brit, David Frost’s most trusted friend and producer said,

“His most lasting legacy is that today any political wrongdoing is immediately given the suffix ‘gate’.”

People wanted to hear the truth and moreover when Nixon earned the Presidential pardon from his successor Gerald Ford which exempted him of all his crimes, the unforgiving crowd was outraged even more. This anguished Nixon further – to see the downfall of his political image in America. He wanted to give something back to the people through his 1000 pages memoir and that is when his literary agent talked him into the proposal given by David Frost – a proposal that made money and might even be his one last opportunity to address the citizens of the country and make a positive impact on them.

Original Frost-Nixon Interview

Frost/Nixon is a movie that is all about that proposal that led David Frost to interview Richard Nixon. Despite the least number of investors and people who did not trust this project, David and John Brit hired two investigators to probe into the matters that could make the interview more precise eventually leading to Nixon’s defeat in front of the people of America. You might read hundreds of pages about the Watergate scandal through the books, surfing or encyclopaedias but the visual experience is invaluable. It is not just that popular one-sided show where we are given information about the Richard Nixon being the bad guy. No. It doesn’t portray anyone is the negative light, it just throws the limelight on one person at the end.

A film that will keep you on the vigil, the film that will excite you just by its words and most importantly a film that will entail your doubts throughout! Do watch it.