‘All The President’s Men’ — Movies On The Block

(7.6) This week’s installment of Movies on the Block is that 1976 paean to investigative journalism, “All the President’s Men.” Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as unknown WashPo reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation. Oh yeah, spoiler. And yet director Alan Pakula manages to keep excitement building, even though we know the ending . . . even when the “action” moves to the Library of Congress for Pete’s sake. (Amazing bird’s-eye camera shot.) Roger Ebert noted in his review;

Newspaper movies always used to play up the excitement and ignore the boredom and the waiting. This one is all about the boredom and the waiting and the tireless digging; it depends on what we already know about Watergate to provide a level of excitement. And yet, given the fact that William Goldman’s screenplay is almost all dialogue, almost exclusively a series of scenes of people talking (or not talking) to each other, director Alan J. Pakula has done a remarkable job of keeping the pace taut.

Who’d have thought you could build tension with scenes where Bernstein walks over to Woodward’s desk and listens in on the extension phone? But you can. And the movie’s so well paced, acted, and edited that it develops the illusion of momentum even in the scenes where Woodward and Bernstein are getting doors slammed in their faces.

Rated PG. (Children will not be excited by “the boredom and the waiting.” Leave them at home.) Running time: 2 hours, 18 minutes.

Sunset 8:23pm, Thursday, July 6, Grant’s Block, 260 Westminster Street, (directions)

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