What a glimpse of Tom Hanks’s ‘Parkland’ reveals

Giamatti as Zapruder
Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder

Here come snapshots from Tom Hanks’s upcoming JFK flick, courtesy of the Hollywood blog, Rope of Silicon.

Among the star-studded cast, Paul Giamatti plays Abraham Zapruder, the Dallas dressmaker who filmed the fatal motorcade. It sure looks like the movie will replicate the look of 1963 with the panache of “Mad Men.”

Whether the movie makes for compelling entertainment is another question. ROS blogger Brad Brevet has the film on his list of potential Oscar contenders. Is it going to be that good?

Like Oliver Stone, Hanks is a skilled mythmaker who wants to say something about American history in an entertaining way. His film, directed by journalist Peter Landesman, comes with Hanks’s and Landesman’s firm conviction that we know the causes of Kennedy’s death.

The film, which recreates that day as seen through the eyes of the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital where JFK was pronounced dead, seems to offer both up close and bloody drama and a reassuring message:

That all (or mostly all) was good and right in America in 1963; that President Kennedy didn’t have enemies who wanted to defeat his policies in Cuba and Vietnam;  with the happy if unstated implication that the Washington press corps did its job and we need not fear secretive government agencies today.

Those are all nice thoughts that make Americans feel good. They promise to appeal to moviegoers who want to sit in a dark room and emerge refreshed and inspired.

But most Americans understand JFK assassination’s was not merely the launch pad for an emergency room drama (starring Zac Efron as the handsome, sensitive doctor) but a “national security event” that is still covered up by the CIA and enshrouded in official secrecy and has never been explained by the U.S. government in a compelling way.

A JFK drama that doesn’t deal with that reality is escapist fare for those with faith in government. Which may be the point.

An Oscar contender? I’d say frontrunner — for the coveted costume design honor.

9 thoughts on “What a glimpse of Tom Hanks’s ‘Parkland’ reveals”

  1. I don’t understand how they can do a so called “true story” or “based on actual events” and leave Dr.Red Duke out of the film. He was chief resident on duty that day, and it’s a little known fact that he was in fact the first doctor to pronounce JFK, and saved the life of Governor Connelly.

  2. Hank’s “Parkland” is based in part on a chapter or two from Vincent Bugliosi’s “Reclaiming History,” aka “Reframing Oswald.”

    Peter Miller, Bugliosi’s New York literary agent, who sold his first book on the Manson murders, also packaged his “Reclaiming History” book as a HBO-Tom Hanks movie. Miller is from Margate, New Jersey, the son of Peter Miller, Skinny D’Amato’s Atlantic City 500 Club band leader whose name is on the marquee in the photo posted at my blog.


    Peter Miller was a seasonal Margate beach neighbor of Roger Stone, the Republican Party strategist whose new book blames LBJ for the assassination.

    It’s going to be hard to avoid the possibility of conspiracy considering how the Parkland witnesses described the wounds – neck wound entrance, gaping rear head wound exit.


    1. It’s too bad Dr. Charles Crenshaw isn’t alive any longer, and cannot publicly refute this Hanks film’s conclusions about the Parkland Hospital ER doctors and what they saw, etc. If any doctors who are still alive could come forward to refute the nonsense being peddled in this probably very profitable and widely seen film, that would be great. Is Dr. McClelland still alive?

      1. George Simmons

        Yes, Dr Mclelland is still alive and is listed as one of the speakers at the passing the torch conference.

        As far as I know, he is still outspoken as to what he saw – ie a large gaping wound in the rear of JFK’s head.

  3. The disappointing thing about projects like this is that it ignores the recent developments in the case regarding what the CIA knew about Oswald before the assassination and how closely they were monitoring him.

  4. People who flock to Hank’s movie will probably be entertained but it is questionable if they will be educated. I’ll put my money on the accuracy of Roger Stone’s book: “The Man Who Killed Kennedy” which implicates LBJ. While the book can be ordered online, it is not expected to be released until the beginning of November so even enthusiasts like Hank’s will have to wait to learn the truth as Roger gleaned from his White House days.

  5. I’m not getting why Hanks would do this unless he doesn’t care about the truth, or believes it was Oswald, or it’s just a moneymaker. This is a very sensitive topic and a big name movie like this will impact a lot of people.
    Also Zac Efron as a Parklan Dr? They were all pretty old as far as I recall.
    Disturbing all the way around.

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