Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recalling "Thirteen Days" of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962

In these days of talk of various kinds of armageddons, it’s well to recall the 2000 film “Thirteen Days” (aka “13 Days”), directed by Roger Donaldson, from New Line (when that studio was healthier).

The film is a dramatization (not quite a docudrama) of the two weeks of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, when John F. Kennedy had been president for less than two years. 

I was a “mental patient” at the National Institutes of Health at the time (in an episode I have chronicled at various places on other blogs).  But I was allowed to go to college at George Washington University in the evenings (the only patient who did), and I was sitting the old Student Union building on G Street eating a cheeseburger while watching Kennedy’s first speech about the matter on black and white TV.  When I got back to the “ward”, none of the other patients had any idea what was going on, but I let them know. This was quite some period of my life.  I really thought we would be the last to survive.

This is the closest we have ever come to the end of civilization during my lifetime.

The film (based on a book by Ernest R. May) is long, 145 minutes,  and was filmed in regular aspect, despite some special effects like mushroom clouds.

Bruce Greenwood played president Kennedy, Kevin Costner played insider Kenny O’Donnell, and Dylan Baker played Robert McNamara.

Check the Movies Blog June 13 for “X-Men: First Class”, also about the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

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