Art Imitating Life and Life Imitating Art

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I finished watching Ken Burns, The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History.  A fair amount of liberal hagiography for FDR and, especially, Eleanor, but on the whole I liked it, and I will review it in a future post.  However, I was struck by a vignette that occurred in the final episode last night.

By 1944 FDR was in visibly failing health.  Diagnosed with congestive  heart failure, Dr. Howard Bruenn, a Navy Lieutenant Commander and cardiologist, followed him everywhere.  He recommended extended bed rest which was an impossible diagnosis for a Commander-in-Chief during a World War.

At the Quebec Conference with Churchill, in the evening for entertainment, FDR had the film Wilson (1944) shown.  A film biopic of the life of Woodrow Wilson from his election as Governor of New Jersey in 1910, the movie is largely forgotten today.  It won several Oscars, but was a financial flop, people being too preoccupied with the current World War to want to see a movie about the first one.  Alexander Knox, relegated through most of his career in character actor roles, does a good job in the role of Wilson.  Making the dessicated, pedantic Wilson into a heroic figure was difficult, but the film, taking a fast and loose approach with much of the history of the period, and with the help of a majestic musical score, accomplishes the feat.  It is definitely worth watching.

FDR had served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Wilson and was always an admirer of his.  He sat enthralled by the film.  Churchill, never having had any use for Wilson, left half way through the film and went to bed.  As FDR watched the conclusion of the film, FDR saw Wilson struck down by a stroke and his League of Nations rejected by the Senate.  FDR was heard to mutter at this point quietly to himself, “By God, that’s not going to happen to me.”  After the film Dr. Bruenn took the President’s blood pressure and found it dangerously high.  Less than seven months later, FDR died of a massive stroke.  Unlike Wilson he largely accomplished what he had wished to accomplish, although, also unlike Wilson, he did not live to see American victory.

 

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6 Comments

  1. The only mensch in the bunch was TR’s son: assistant div commander through North Africa, Sicily, and D-Day.

    I only watched the last half hour last episode.

    I am truly elated I didn’t waste any more eyesight on 100% liberal propaganda/spucatum tauri.

    One thing struck me. I’m as old as the man when went to judgment. My grandfathers passed in their late 40’s and early 50’s. Only the good die young.

    Major take-away. The Roosevelts are representative of the elites that have run this country at least since 1913 – IRS/income tax and the Federal Reserve System. And, N.B. in their 24/7 work to impose their progressive pipe-dreams. They have done such a good job of progressing us.

  2. I noticed that one historical tidbit was glossed over at the end of the series. The Eleanor Roosevelt – JFK meeting was such a love fest in the show. However, I do recall an account of JFK telling his aides how she had put him through the ringer over his reluctance to nominate Adlai Stevenson to be Secretary of State. Oops, another one just went down the memory hole.

  3. I remember as a young man seating in my maternal grandfather porch lamenting about the situation in my beloved Cuba, I will never forget my grandpa’s words to me:
    SON,THE REASON WHY COMMUNISM IS SUCCESSFUL IN THIS HEMISPHERE WE OWE TO FDR HE SOLD US DOWN THE TUBES BY DEALING WITH STALIN, THUS PERMITTING THE SOVIETS TO INFILTRATE DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES.
    I could not believe what I heard. Later on as I became an AMERICAN I studied and learned Granpa was right.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA.

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