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Turner Classic Movies to commemorate 50th anniversary of JFK assassination

by jmaloni

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Wed, Oct 9th 2013 07:45 am

Nov. 21 lineup includes four documentaries by groundbreaking filmmaker Robert Drew, plus presentations of "Four Days in November" and "PT 109"

Turner Classic Movies will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Nov. 20 assassination of President John F. Kennedy with a primetime lineup on Thursday Nov. 21, featuring five documentaries about Kennedy's election, presidency and death. Also included is a popular drama about Kennedy's service during World War II.

TCM's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination will open with four works by documentary filmmaker Robert Drew, considered a pioneer of the cinéma verité. Drew's use of new, light-weight cameras allowed him to capture reality as never before, leading to a filmmaking movement known as "direct cinema." He utilized the new cameras for the first time while chronicling Kennedy's election in "Primary" (1960), airing at 8 p.m., which focuses on the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic Primary contest between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

"Primary" will be followed by the TCM premiere of Drew's second Kennedy film, "Adventures on the New Frontier" (1961), an installment of the series "ABC Close-Up!" looking at the first days of the newly elected president. Next up at 10:30 p.m. is "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment" (1963), which details the Kennedy administration's showdown with Alabama Gov. George Wallace over racial integration. And at 11:45 p.m., Drew's final film on Kennedy, "Faces of November" (1964), focuses on the assassination of JFK as seen through the faces of mourners at his funeral.

Following the four Drew documentaries, TCM will present director Mel Stuart's Oscar-nominated documentary "Four Days in November" (1964). Narrated by Richard Basehart, the film presents a detailed chronicle of the Kennedy assassination, the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and the subsequent shooting of Oswald by Jack Ruby.

TCM's Nov. 21 lineup will conclude with a presentation of "PT 109" (1963), directed by Leslie H. Martinson. Based on Howard Sheehan's popular book, "PT 109" stars Cliff Robertson in the dramatic story of Kennedy's heroism while serving as the Navy officer in the Pacific during World War II.

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