We all know there are historical inaccuracies littered throughout the world of Film and that any who believe everything they are told by Hollywood are, to put it bluntly, morons. It’s one thing to misrepresent an event in time completely, but in my own opinion there is nothing worse than Hollywood’s willingness to play fast and loose with the roles of individuals in their retelling of history. After all, these individuals misrepresented deserve better than to be portrayed as something they are not. Is it worth besmirching the memories of historical figures for a little extra value? Does Hollywood have no decency that they would risk upsetting descendents and falsely educating those stupid enough to believe what they are told?
Rather than go with the obvious, I’ve tried to go with lesser known historical figures, of course many of you will already know this information but here it is anyway…
1.Theodore Sorensen- Thirteen Days
How He Was Screwed:
Theodore Sorensen is portrayed very much as a background character, if we were to believe the film then by all accounts Sorensen had absolutely nothing to do with the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. For some unexplained reason, Sorensen’s role during the Cuban Missile Crisis is attributed to Kevin Costner’s character Kenneth O’ Donnell. Whilst also a special assistant to JFK, O’Donnell had nowhere near the same level of importance in the Kennedy administration as Sorensen and was certainly not the protagonist he is made out to be in Thirteen Days.
Sorensen is largely the forgotten man of the Kennedy Presidency, a character whose mild manner and modest demeanor has left him overshadowed by many of the more egocentric members of the administration. A long serving advisor to Kennedy, Sorensen was part of his ‘inner circle’ and was centre to policy making both in domestic and foreign policy.
Robert McNamara, Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense in response to the release of ‘Thirteen Days’ stated that “It was not Kenny O’Donnell who pulled us all together—it was Ted Sorensen.”
Not only was Sorensen one of the key motivators to Kennedy and Excomm at large, he also played a massive role in the drafting of responses to Nikita Khrushchev. In actual fact, many historians claim that Sorensen was at the centre of those urging Kennedy to respond to Khrushchev’s first letter and to ignore the second more aggressive letter. A decision which has since been attributed as significant in the ultimate evasion of escalation.
The fact that the film’s director Roger Donaldson claims a meticulous attention to historical accuracy in an interview provided on the DVD is farcical. Either that or Donaldson believes that the swapping of Presidential Advisors is some sort of historical license. That Donaldson felt that he could take away the contribution that Sorensen himself had stated gave him the most pride, and attribute it to someone else is in my eyes down right wrong.
Click “next” below to read part 2…