The recent success of the play "Frost/Nixon" on Broadway, with its Tony-winning performance by Frank Langella, has revived interest in its dramatic source: the exclusive interviews that a talk-show host then widely regarded as a lightweight scored with the former President of the United States, three years after his exit from office under a cloud of political scandal.
David Frost's interviews with ex-President of the United States Richard M. Nixon caused great excitement at the time of their first airing in 1977. This DVD makes available the most interesting of the segments, in which Frost confronts Nixon about his involvement in the Watergate scandal which had forced his resignation from the Presidency. Alternately ingratiating and truculent, Nixon vehemently denies that he committed any illegal act, even in the face of Frost's verbatim readings from the transcripts of the White House tapes that certainly suggest that the President condoned obstruction of justice, and payments of hush money to the perpetrators of the break-in to the Democratic Party's national headquarters.
Though the haggling over legalistic issues and exact meaning of words and phrases gets a bit tiresome early on, the later payoff is more than ample compensation, as Frost draws wrenching accounts from Nixon about firing his trusted aides, Haldeman and Ehrlichman, and, in the climactic last portion, elicits from the former President the admission that he "let the American people down." Seen in the light of the continued hubris of the present administration in the face of what to many are much greater transgressions, Nixon's contrition, veiled as it is, is extraordinary. This DVD brings back a fascinating chapter in American history. Framing interviews with Sir David Frost, reminiscing about the circumstances under which the interviews were arranged and executed, are a worthy bonus.