THE PRICE OF POWER, directed by Tonino Valerri, 1969. Starring Giuliano Gemma, Van Johnson, Warren Vanders, Fernando Rey.
What do you think of this one. I watched it a few days ago and have been thinking about it since. Here’s my review.
The US civil war has ended and President Lincoln is dead. The new president is planning a trip to Dallas, Texas. In the Dallas sherrif’s office a prisoner is being interrogated about a plot to assasinate the president.
Thus begins THE PRICE OF POWER, Tonino Valerri’s allegory of the assasination of President Kennedy (JFK) and racial politics in 1960s America.
There are several things to admire about THE PRICE OF POWER. The scenario is set-up in a quick and exciting fashion. The manner in which Gemma’s character is introduced is handled very well and he is given an interesting backstory. Valerri keeps the audience guessing about the true motivations of the characters and who is and isn’t part of the conspiracy up until the end of the film. The sequence where the president is killed is especially well done, looking very much like the 8mm home movie Abraham Zapruder filmed of the actual assasination of President Kennedy. And Luis Bacalov provides an excellent musical score, worthy of owning on CD.
I can certainly understand why some people would find this movie highly enjoyable. However I found it very frustrating. It seems to take forever before the inevitable assasination actually happens. In the meantime the president gives several moralizing speeches. Understandable, but it’s just too much and becomes repetitive. And there is some obvious filler in the first half such as an entire song performed in a saloon with an offscreen big band!
The second half of the film has many surprises as Gemma unravels the conspiracy, but by then I was so frustrated that I didn’t care anymore. Also certain sequences were given lots of thought and filmed with care but many of the action sequences seem to have been rushed and look sloppy.
On the technical side the synchro of the English dubbing is top notch for a low budget SW (even though the actors did not dub their own voices). From viewing the original trailer it seems the Italian dubbing was handled with the same care.
THE DVD: I watched the NTSC region 0 DVD made by Alfa Digital. I’ve read (but can not verify) they are a bootleg company but this disc does not look like a typical bootleg. It’s a real silver DVD, not a DVD-R. It’s well packaged. The print looks and sounds great, is in original aspect ratio and is 16 X 9 enhanced. There is a nice menu with plenty of chapter stops. There are no subtitles or other options.
My conclusion is this is one you should watch and come to your own conclusion about it. Those with an interest in the Kennedy assasination and US politics of the 1960s will almost certainly enjoy it.
PS: This is my first review for this site. I’d like to add this review to the database. Feel free to give any advice or assistance. Thanks, Mortimer.