1961 / documentary / Etats-Unis / original title : ADVENTURES OF THE NEW FRONTIER / 53’ / status : completed / English / French and International catalog
After John F. Kennedy’s election and before his inauguration, filmmaker Robert Drew screened his breakthrough film, PRIMARY, for the President-elect and Mrs. Kennedy in West Palm Beach. JFK appreciated the film, which followed Kennedy on the campaign trail, as a form of history. Drew proposed another film, this time of a President dealing with a crisis. “Yes,” Kennedy replied. “What if I could look back and see what went on in the White House in the 24 hours before Roosevelt declared war on Japan?
JFK told Drew to do some test shooting to see if he could forget the camera as he had when he campaigned in Wisconsin. Drew went into the White House for a two-day test shoot with D.A. Pennebaker. The two had free reign, shooting everything that happened. During a meeting with the joint chiefs, when the subject of Cuba arose, a General had to remind the President that the camera was still there.
The test produced the first film of a President doing real work in the White House. It became a groundbreaking special, ADVENTURES ON THE NEW FRONTIER, broadcast by ABC.