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The Cuban Missile Crisis in the Film Thirteen Days

            The film Thirteen Days shows the viewer a "blockbuster"" look at the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that challenged the Kennedy administration. It does a reasonable job of sifting through history and picking the pieces that allow the audience to understand the historical event and enjoy the movie without being overloaded with information. The character of the President's fiercely loyal aid, Kenneth O'Connell played by the actor Kevin Costner is followed throughout the film to give a more personal feel to viewer. Not a bad idea, however, Costner makes the worst attempt at an accent that I have ever heard. This, unfortunately deterred me for the remainder of the film. O'Connell's relationship with the two Kennedy's is also a key part of the film. Bruce Greenwood who plays president Kennedy does an admirable job of portraying a president who "won high praise for his grace under pressure and the way he sifted conflicting advice and made decisions (Shaller, p.196). " The interaction between all of the characters in the film were sufficient in showing the viewer the effects of politics behind the scenes, away from the public eye. .
             The film follows the Crisis from the pictures initially taken of the U.S.S.R.'s missiles in Cuba by a U2 plane to the U.S.S.R.'s agreement to remove its missiles and troops form Cuba and the U.S.'s removal of missiles from Turkey. The latter scene brings up one of the main historical questions that the film presents. In the Present Tense text it was stated that the U.S. did not remove the missiles from Turkey until after the Soviet's had removed theirs, and that the U.S. had done this "silently. " Yet another source declared that Kennedy had already ordered the removal of missiles in Turkey that were considered outmoded, but that he refused to act "under the gun. " The final result it states, was that Kennedy agreed to the original offer - not to invade Cuba - and ignored the Soviet request to remove missiles from Turkey (Tindall, 1988).

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