Robert Drew

The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates

The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates

Seeking to invigorate the American documentary format, which he felt was rote and uninspired, Robert Drew brought the style and vibrancy he had fostered as a Life magazine correspondent to filmmaking in the late fifties. He did this by assembling an amazing team—including such eventual nonfiction luminaries as Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, and Albert Maysles—that would transform documentary cinema. In 1960, the group was granted direct access to John F. Kennedy, filming him on the campaign trail and eventually in the Oval Office. This resulted in three films of remarkable, behind-closed-doors intimacy—Primary, Adventures on the New Frontier, and Crisis—and, following the president’s assassination, the poetic short Faces of November. Collected here are all four of these titles, early exemplars of the movement known as Direct Cinema and featuring the greatest close-up footage we have of this American icon.

Film Info

  • Robert Drew
  • United States
  • 0
  • 170 minutes
  • English
  • Spine #808

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of all four films:

    Primary 1960 • 53 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Adventures on the New Frontier 1961 • 52 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Crisis 1963 • 53 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Faces of November 1964 • 12 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Alternate, twenty-six-minute cut of Primary, edited by filmmaker Richard Leacock
  • Audio commentary on Primary, featuring excerpts from a 1961 conversation between Leacock, filmmakers Robert Drew and D. A. Pennebaker, and film critic Gideon Bachmann
  • Robert Drew in His Own Words, a new documentary featuring archival interview footage
  • New conversation between Pennebaker and Jill Drew, general manager of Drew Associates and Robert Drew’s daughter-in-law
  • Outtakes from Crisis, along with a discussion by historian Andrew Cohen, author of Two Days in June
  • New conversation about Crisis featuring former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and Sharon Malone, Holder’s wife and the sister of Vivian Malone, one of the students featured in Crisis
  • New interview with Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • Footage from a 1998 event at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, featuring Drew, Pennebaker, Leacock, and filmmaker Albert Maysles
  • PLUS: An essay by documentary film curator and writer Thomas Powers
    New cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of all four films:

    Primary 1960 • 53 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Adventures on the New Frontier 1961 • 52 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Crisis 1963 • 53 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio

    Faces of November 1964 • 12 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • Alternate, twenty-six-minute cut of Primary, edited by filmmaker Richard Leacock
  • Audio commentary on Primary, featuring excerpts from a 1961 conversation between Leacock, filmmakers Robert Drew and D. A. Pennebaker, and film critic Gideon Bachmann
  • Robert Drew in His Own Words, a new documentary featuring archival interview footage
  • New conversation between Pennebaker and Jill Drew, general manager of Drew Associates and Robert Drew’s daughter-in-law
  • Outtakes from Crisis, along with a discussion by historian Andrew Cohen, author of Two Days in June
  • New conversation about Crisis featuring former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder and Sharon Malone, Holder’s wife and the sister of Vivian Malone, one of the students featured in Crisis
  • New interview with Richard Reeves, author of President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • Footage from a 1998 event at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, featuring Drew, Pennebaker, Leacock, and filmmaker Albert Maysles
  • PLUS: An essay by documentary film curator and writer Thomas Powers
    New cover by F. Ron Miller

The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates
Credits
Director
Robert Drew

From The Current

The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates: Capturing the Kennedys
The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates: Capturing the Kennedys

“It is not an exaggeration to say that before Primary, documentary as we know it today—the art of candid observation—didn’t exist,” writes Thom Powers.


By Thom Powers

On Film / Essays — Apr 26, 2016
Criterion Live! with D. A. Pennebaker, Jill Drew, and Frank Rich
Criterion Live! with D. A. Pennebaker, Jill Drew, and Frank Rich

Last week, at the Metrograph, New York City’s newest art-house cinema, we held our inaugural installment of Criterion Live!, in honor of our forthcoming release of The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates. Hosted by Criterion president Pet…

On Film / In Theaters
Apr 16, 2016
A Primary on the Horizon
A Primary on the Horizon

As voters in the great state of Wisconsin head to the polls to take part in this year’s presidential primary election, we share some scenes from Robert Drew’s 1960 film, which documented the primary race between Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kenned

Inside Criterion / FYI
Apr 5, 2016