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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Movie: All The President's Men

An occasional series on books and movies about DC:

May I begin by saying that I could look at Robert Redford, with his side burns and high-waisted trousers, all day long? Can I just get that out of the way, and then we can take for granted from here on out that he is easy on the eyes? Great.

All The President's Men is the ultimate movie for those who love DC. In addition to being about our city's industry -- politics (corrupt politics no less!) -- it incorporates the beauty and majesty of the city into the movie, essentially making DC another character. We see the view of the Lincoln Memorial from the rooftop cafe of the Kennedy Center, the Capitol dome reflected in the glass door of the Library of Congress, the beauty of the illuminated White House back when the street in front of the building was still open for traffic.

Of course there is the Watergate itself, the actual building that has caused every subsequent White House scandal, imagined or real, to be suffixed with "-gate". When I was in college, I would do my grocery shopping at the Watergate, and the Howard Johnson's across the street that the lookout used had already been converted into a GW dorm. I pass the Washington Post offices every morning on my way to the metro. The Library of Congress is only a few blocks from my office. Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee are institutions in this town. Which is all to say that this movie and the story it tells are fully integrated into my life, as a Washingtonian.

For more details on the sights and significance of this movie, I recommend taking Sarah's tour of Movie Sights in Washington, from Washington Walks. Yes, this is Sarah of Thing 18 and Thing 28 fame. She knows things like that it cost $90,000 to film that stunning shot in the Library of Congress reading room that pans up and up and up to the ceiling.

In the meantime, add All The President's Men to your Netflix queue and enjoy this story of investigative reporters bringing the President down. Or just enjoy Robert Redford and those sideburns. You'll be pretty pleased, either way.