There was a lot of fun coverage earlier this month marking the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of All the President’s Men, which hit screens April 9, 1976. Tonight, some folks on the West Coast will get to attend a belated birthday party in Hollywood as the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival is set to open with a gala screening of the film and Q&A moderated by Ben Mankiewicz featuring Carl Bernstein as well as Spotlight director Tom McCarthy and his co-writer Josh Singer.
The shot in question begins with a tight overhead of The Washington Post’s Watergate reporters, Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), as they painstakingly thumb through thousands of the library’s circulation file cards.
The vantage point “progresses from floor/desk-level to the rotunda of the library,” Bernstein tells me. “The shot, and the scene itself, as the overwhelming number of card-files are brought to the reporters — they got a bit more than they bargained for in all their cleverness — brilliantly illustrates both the monumental and granular challenges of real reporting, as well as the context of what is going on at the time in our own [Woodward and Bernstein’s] situation at that juncture.”
Contrast that with the way the #panamapapers came together this past year: via terrabytes of digital data and with chosen media organizations around the world able to more quickly and efficiently dive into a paper trail.
In the Post piece, Cavna goes on to more thoroughly examine the favorite shots of Woodward and Bernstein, as well as other film highlights. He notes that the filmmakers were initially refused permission to shoot in the Library of Congress, but got in thanks to some help from then-MPAA chief Jack Valenti.
Since Woodward’s favorite shot(s) involve Ben Bradlee (played by Jason Robards), we’d be remiss in not also linking to the sketches posted by Cavna in 2014 as a tribute to the legendary editor. Check those out here.