A long-unseen short film Woody Allen made for public television has surfaced online. The short, a brutally satirical takedown of the Nixon administration called Men Of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story, was intended to air on PBS in February of 1972. PBS executives backed out, reportedly because they were afraid the off-color barbs—particularly one about Pat Nixon propositioning Woody Allen’s character, on nights when the President was away on business—would endanger government funding for public television.
Made less than a year before the Watergate scandal (which surely would have given Allen enough materials for parts two and three), the film is done in a mockumentary style similar to Allen’s earlier Take The Money And Run and his later Zelig. It has everything people expect from an early Woody Allen movie: sharp one-liners, inspired cracks about sex (“I think sex without guilt is bad because it almost becomes pleasurable”), and Diane Keaton.
Allen himself plays Harvey Wallinger, a Henry Kissinger analogue who’s famous for his high-profile love life, and whose father, a grocer, “dies in childbirth.” Nixon goes down pretty hard (Wallinger informs us the President is basically an intellectual, since he “will occasionally read, and… can write”), with lots of scorn to spare for his policies on the Vietnam War, Nixon’s cabinet, and his ego. It’s tempting to just make a list of all the best lines, but you should just see it for yourself.
[via New York Post]