|Phillip Baker Hall as Richard Nixon in Secret Honor, directed by Robert Altman.|
Secret Honor (1984)
d. Robert Altman
Criterion Collection #257
Another delightful surprise from the interior of the Criterion Collection, this is a Robert Altman directed version of a one man play featuring Richard Nixon, drunk and alone in his house in New Jersey, dictating to a tape recorder and ruminating about his past, his presidency and a shadowy conspiracy of global capitalists who controlled his rise to power.
In this film/play, Watergate was a ruse devised by Nixon himself to "get out." The reason to watch is Phillip Baker Hall playing Nixon. Hall is familiar to most people for his roles in Paul Thomas Anderson films, starting with Hard Eight (Sydney) but when Secret Honor came out in 1984 he was a nobody. Hall is nothing but extraordinary.
I wasn't expecting to actually be engaged by 90 minutes of Nixon ranting, but I found myself googling his off hand references and learned a ton about Nixon era conspiracies involving the Bohemian Grove, the Bay of Pigs, and the Committee of 100. Murray Choitner- the shadowy campaign manager. It was an interesting period in history. Richard Nixon was an interesting guy. Surely any hard feelings of him must be mitigated in light