Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oswald's Ghost DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Revisits the Kennedy Assassination for the Nth Time

Literally well over a thousand books have been written about the Kennedy Assassination, and the tragedy has been the subject of innumerable documentaries as well. So, one would hope that there would be a good reason to stir the ever-glowing embers of the eternally-simmering case other than to rehash the combination of disputed facts and unsubstantiated conjecture that everybody already knows about.
Regrettably, Oswald's Ghost doesn’t have any earth-shattering revelations to share, but is essentially a responsibly reported contrast of the conclusions of the Warren Commission and of a few of the more prominent conspiracy theorists, such as Mark Lane, author of Rush to Judgment, and the late Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney.
Never quite fanning the flames, this superficial, 90-minute documentary only has enough time to touch the surface of the lingering questions surrounding Lee Harvey Oswald. Did he do it? Did he have any accomplices? Was there another shooter on the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza that day?
Even if he acted alone, was it on orders from the KGB, Castro, the CIA or the Mob? And who was nightclub owner Jack Ruby, and how was he able to gain access to the police station just two days later to murder Oswald right in front of a phalanx of cops, thereby shrouding the subsequent investigation in a cloud of mystery forever? Thus, because the absolute truth about the circumstances now could never be elicited from the accused, a cottage industry borne of doubts and fueled by speculation was then spawned.
Among the experts weighing-in on all of the above and more are Norman Mailer, Dan Rather, Gary Hart, and the aforementioned Mark Lane. But consider Oswald’s Ghost just a JFK conspiracy inquiry-lite, and likely to disappoint anyone old enough to have been around when the Zapruder tape, the only motion picture recording of the actual assassination, was still the subject of intense, frame-by-frame analysis.
Today, over 40 years later, with so many of the event’s pivotal figures laid to rest, the more interesting question to raise might be “What toll does it take on a society when someone as inconsequential as Lee Harvey Oswald can slay someone as historically significant as JFK?

Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: PBS/Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Interview with the director, and featurettes entitled “A Visit to the Dealey Plaza” and “The Zapruder Film and Beyond.”

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