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Movies: “PT-109”

June 19, 1963 - Opening today is “PT-109,” a Technicolor Panavision biographical war film depicting the actions of President Kennedy when he was an officer of the U.S. Navy in command of torpedo boat PT-109 in the Pacific theater of WWII. The film was adapted by Vincent Flaherty and Howard Sheehan from the book “PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II” by Robert J. Donovan, and the screenplay was written by Richard L. Breen. Cliff Robertson (pictured with Rose Kennedy, the President’s mother) stars as Mr. Kennedy, and the film features performances by Ty Hardin, James Gregory, Robert Culp, and Grant Williams. “PT-109” is the first commercial theatrical film about a U.S. President currently in office, although President Franklin D. Roosevelt was often depicted in small roles during his administration, most notably in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” After seeing a preview screening of “PT-109” recently, President Kennedy reportedly called it a “good product” but expressed concern about the 2-hour-20-minute length. “It's just a question of whether there’s too much of it,” he remarked.


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