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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Paul Hoch and Josiah Thompson on Oliver Stone's "JFK"

The San Jose Mercury News asked Paul Hoch and Josiah Thompson to review Oliver Stone's JFK right after it opened:

Some important quotes:

Paul Hoch: I think the rhetoric of the closing argument (in which the Garrison character makes the case for conspiracy) would have been more convincing coming from any critic other than Jim Garrison, because he did prosecute someone I believe was innocent.

Josiah Thompson: The problem is: if you use Garrison's book as the basis for your screenplay, then the story's going to be the story of Garrison -- a story completely without merit to be told again; one of the obscure, rather unhappy footnotes of history.

Paul Hoch: There was no sense of the wildness of Garrison's theorizing or speculation at the time ... It would have been a much more interesting film if Shaw had been presented as completely confident in his own innocence, not campy and sleazy. I found it objectionable that the only objections that were raised against Garrison came from Bill (a member of Garrison's staff who turns against his boss in the film after being contacted by the FBI) ... and Liz Garrison, the only one to raise the persecution-of-homosexuals issue. She is, I think, pretty clearly presented as someone who, until the very end, just doesn't get it.

Josiah Thompson: In cleaning up (Garrison), he made him into a one-dimensional figure, which is cardboard.

Josiah Thompson: I hoped the Garrison thing would just be the armature on which the story was hung, but it's not. The Kennedy assassination gets boring! I could not believe it, but I got bored!

Previous Relevant Blog Post

Quotes on Garrison from Thompson's latest book, Last Second in Dallas.

Garrison feigns indignation at Paul Hoch's mention of Clay Shaw's homosexuality -- an incredible exchange of letters.


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