Search Museum of the Moving Image


Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment


Location la: Bartos Screening Room

Dir. Robert Drew. 1963. 53 mins. Restored 16mm print. Having earned John F. Kennedy’s trust with his 1960 campaign-trail film Primary, pioneering Direct Cinema documentarian Robert Drew gained unprecedented access to a presidency in crisis. When black college students Vivian Malone and James Hood prepared to enroll at the all-white University of Alabama in June 1963, Governor George Wallace defied a federal court order and vowed to block the enrollment. Drew captures Wallace self-righteously clinging to the futility of segregation, while a flurry of phone calls between JFK, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach reveal a coordinated plan to defeat Wallace.

Restored by the Academy Film Archive with funding provided by The Film Foundation.

Tickets: $15 (Free for members at the Film Lover and MoMI Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact with any questions regarding online reservations.)

Ticket purchase may be applied toward same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.