The movie Bobby 2006 directed by Emilio Estevez has an impressive cast of Hollywood actors – a movie director’s dream. Anthony Hopkins is executive producer as well as playing the part of John Casey, the retired hotel doorman. Emilio himself also acts in the movie as Tim Fallon.
Bobby tells the story of the events leading up to the assassination of Robert F Kennedy, centering around the day of June 4th 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, where Bobby Kennedy was due to appear that evening following the Presidential Primary elections that took place on that fateful day.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY: 1968 CAMPAIGN MESSAGE OF HOPE & RECONCILIATION
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation… It is from numerous diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign brought together an unlikely coalition of young people, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, blue collar white workers and families in a string of primary victories, in Indiana and Nebraska, and Washington, DC.
The movie Bobby captures the era of 1968 almost perfectly, setting the scene with references to the movie “The Graduate”, high hair does, 1950s outfits to match and music by The Supremes and Simon and Garfunkel. Only one continuity error reminds the viewer that we are in the present day – when Samantha and Jack are playing tennis, modern day traffic is passing by in the background. Otherwise the movie credibly transports you back, both in terms of visually and conveys the hopeful spirit that was prevalent in America on that day, despite all her problems.
The year of 1968 will forever be remembered in American history as one of the darkest on record. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, the Vietnam War was escalating, drug abuse was on a rampage, and, as told in this excellent film by Emilio Estevez, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The director of Bobby cleverly uses the invention of various fictional characters within the Ambassador Hotel, both staff and guests, to depict the social and political problems of that time, weaving the stories of the lives of these people into the unfolding events of that fatal day on 4th June 1968.
The movie is punctuated throughout with scenes in the Ambassador Hotel lounge where the retired hotel doorman, John Casey (Anthony Hopkins) and Nelson (Harry Belafonte), two older gentlemen while away their day playing chess, bemoaning growing old and John, proudly recounts the many prominent people he has met at the hotel, including JFK, Truman, and Sinatra. Anthony Hopkins plays the part of the widowed, retired hotel doorman with dignity proclaiming that his late wife accused him of ‘loving the hotel more than her’.
Paul (William H Macy), the Hotel Manager is married to Miriam (Sharon Stone), the hotel beauty therapist, turned therapist, but he is having an affair with a hotel switchboard operator, Angela (Heather Graham) and the affair ends that morning. Paul fires the hotel Food and Beverage Manager, Timmons (Christian Slater) that morning because of his refusal to allow Hispanic and Black employees time off to vote, highlighting the racial inequalities of that time and civil rights issues.
Bobby Kennedy’s original campaign footage is interspersed throughout the movie, with exerts from memorable speeches and up-to-date poll results as they come in on that day and we are introduced to the campaign staff based at the hotel. Dwayne (Nick Cannon) is an assistant working on the Kennedy campaign who is in awe of meeting the future President and hopeful of a position within the senate. Two young campaign staff decide to slope off duty that day and instead of rallying last minute support, they get themselves high on LSD.
One of the Weddings due to take place at the Ambassador hotel on that day is between William (Elijah Wood) and Diane (Lindsay Lohan). Diane visits the beauty parlour where she confesses to Miriam that she is only marrying William so that he will not be posted to the frontline in Vietnam – married men were posted to Germany. Thousands of young American soldiers were losing their lives in Vietnam at that time. As the movie goes on, Diane genuinely falls in love with William.
Jose, a young Mexican bus boy, has found out that he has to work a double shift in the kitchen, so he’ll be unable to attend the Dodgers game which he bought tickets for. Since he can’t attend, he generously gives the tickets to head chef Edward Robinson (Laurence Fishburne).
Virginia Fallon (Demi Moore) and her husband Tim Fallon (Emilio Estevez) are staying at the hotel. Virginia is a precocious lounge singer with a drink problem. June 4th is to be her last night of performing at the Ambassador, and she’s supposed to introduce Robert F. Kennedy, which her long-suffering husband reminds her of, as he carefully removes another bottle of whisky from her bedside.
As the day draws to an end, these lives will forever be changed once Robert Kennedy makes his appearance at the hotel. However, an uninvited guest arrives at the hotel immediately before Kennedy and the tension builds. His name: Sirhan Sirhan (David Kobyantsev). In the early hours of the next day, as the guests are gathered in the main hotel ballroom, Kennedy is whisked away through the kitchen after giving his California victory speech, but, hiding among the well-wishers is Sirhan, who fires several shots at Kennedy. Many in the crowd were hit, including William and Timmons, but Kennedy was mortally wounded. He died at Good Samaritan hospital on June 6, 1968.
All the famous actors in the movie Bobby played their parts well, as small cogs in a large wheel in this historical movie that ends with an anthem of hope sung by Aretha Franklin and Mary J Blige, “Never gonna break my faith”.
The Ambassador Hotel closed in 2005 and before it was raised to the ground, exterior shots were obtained for this movie. The contents of the hotel were put up for auction, many items being bought by the producers for Bobby to reconstruct the interior of the Ambassador Hotel for the movie.
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down on June 5th, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. In a new book, two forensic scientists say an audiotape proves the convicted killer, Sirhan Sirhan, was not the lone shooter.
In their new book, “An Open and Shut Case,” Robert Joling and Philip Van Praag say that after analyzing audio recordings of the assassination they concluded that at least 13 shots were fired. But the handgun Sirhan used only had the capacity to fire eight shots.
The critical piece of evidence, they say, is an audiotape recorded by a journalist who was travelling with Kennedy.
“What we would basically like to see at this point, is a new investigation certainly based on new facts that we have come up with, take a fresh look at this case and to bring the authorities in,” Van Praag said.
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