Monday, December 17, 2012


Every time I saw Daniel Inouye's face over the past 40 years it brought back memories of my favorite film from childhood. The Watergate hearings ran from May 17th to August 7th, 1973 and I may have missed a week of them in total.  Looking through youtube a few of the videos were listed as Alexander Mackendrick. Alec Guiness' face, and Mackendrick not George Lucas, being back memories of the same period but I hadn't known until recently that there was a connection.
When talking to an interviewer in 1975, Mackendrick explained that he had been “looking at the exchange between Howard Baker, the Senator, when he was asking questions of Liddy’s secretary, and she was claiming, probably quite justifiably, that when she had typed out the reports of the bugging in the Watergate, she had no idea of what it was she was typing. It’s hard to believe in some ways, though secretaries will tell you it’s true. But at the same time secretaries are naturally curious people and like to know what it is they are typing. Baker said, ‘Is this what you’re telling me, Ms. So-and-so.’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ He looked at her, and she looked back, and he looked at her, and said to himself, ‘Well, OK then.’ What happened in those gaps was that the smart editor cut away on ‘Is this what you’re telling me?’ which meant on that particular line we saw a close shot of her as she prepared her answer, which was simply ‘Yes.’ Then it went back to Baker, who looked at her. His look said to us, the audience, ‘I don’t believe a word of what you’re saying.’ Then it went back to her, with her look of ‘You may not, but that’s all I’m going to say.’ Then we go back to Baker: ‘Cool one. I’m not going to get anything out of her. Let’s continue.’ Now, the silences, the unspoken language of that exchange, is the language of television and video, and is the language that we know better even than words.”

Here for the handout. Below is a clip from the broadcast that relates to Mackendrick’s analysis. [disabled embedding is new]

PBS video of the first day of hearings.


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jumping forward

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