Friday, 29 April 2016

foia, foil

Writing for Gizmodo, reporter Matt Novak delved into the jauntier halcyon salad-days of White House entertaining by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the George Bush Presidential Library to learn more about the exclusive screening of The Hunt for Red October, which was a strange mingling a fantasy and reality, where politicians met celebrities that played to their wildest dreams and idealisation of how they imagined they should be as swashing-buckling, crusading statesmen.
Much of the material from the gala fete in February of 1990 was delivered heavily redacted and the guest-list is still incomplete, but the presence of certain attendees (or their implied presence) for this sneak-preview makes one wonder how much creative-input America’s intelligence apparatchik had in the film-making. Although The Hunt for Red October—adapted from the 1984 novel—saw its premiere to general theatre audiences after the Berlin Wall fell and the Great Soviet was beginning to dissolve, production took place at a time firmly ensconced in Cold War noir—and notably the last in a long tradition that need not be nostalgic. I wonder if the apparent loss of a counter-balance—an enemy to fight, came as too much of a shock and put viewers all around (especially the influential and influenced individuals at this reception in the White House) in the mood to gear up for a new target. Not to worry as Desert Storm was on six months away, although it was fully another five years until the CIA owned up to having its own casting-couch in Hollywood.