Ike On Film

Considering that Eisenhower was in charge of the greatest American military effort, and a two term President, there have been surprisingly few film depictions of him.

 

1.The Longest Day (1962)

Hands down the best portrayal of Eisenhower is that of Henry Grace.  Grace wasn’t an actor.  He was an award winning set decorator.  However, he was Eisenhower’s doppelganger and his performance was the next best thing to having Eisenhower portray himself.

 

 

2. Ike: The War Years (1979)

Robert Duvall as Eisenhower gives his usual riveting performance.  The late Lee Remick  gives a good performance as Captain Kay Summersby, the British driver/secretary assigned to Eisenhower.  Unfortunately the miniseries centers around the relationship of Eisenhower and Summersby, a relationship which is subject to historical dispute.  Duvall looks nothing like Eisenhower, a problem for any actor assaying the role, since Eisenhower’s face is very familiar to most Americans, at least it was at the time this miniseries was first shown.  The entire series can be found on Youtube, and the soap opera elements aside it is worth viewing.

3.  Last Days of Patton (1986)

The late Richard Dysart, who looked a bit like Ike, gives a good workmanlike performance as Eisenhower, showing a bit of the Eisenhower temper, that was usually well-concealed in public but was quite evident behind the scenes.  George C. Scott, as in his 1970 biopic of Patton, is mesmerizing.  This was the second outing for Dysart as Eisenhower, as he had also portrayed the General in the British miniseries Churchill and His Generals (1979).

4.  Dieppe (1993)

The late Marc Strange gives a workmanlike performance in this Canadian miniseries on the Dieppe raid in 1942 which was valuable as an example of how not to conduct an amphibious landing in occupied France.

 

5.  Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004)

Tom Selleck gives a very good portrayal of Eisenhower in the days leading up to D-Day.  The video does a first rate job of portraying the problems that Eisenhower confronted:  getting prima donnas like Montgomery and Patton to work as a part of a team, concerns about the weather, the deception campaign to convince the Nazis that Calais would be the invasion site, etc.  The video also shines a light on the weight of responsibility which Eisenhower bore, especially when we see him write out a note just before the invasion taking full responsibility on his shoulders if it failed.  Like Duvall, Selleck looks nothing like Eisenhower, less of a problem each passing year and due to the rampant historical ignorance among too many Americans for their nation’s past.  This film can also be found on Youtube.

6.  The Butler (2013)

 

The late Robin Williams is horribly miscast as President Eisenhower.  He did a better job as Theodore Roosevelt in the Night in the Museum flicks.

7.  Churchill (2017)

This was a dreadful picture, completely ahistoric, and John Slattery’s performance as Eisenhower was no exception.  By far the worst portrayal of Eisenhower on film.

Published in: on June 9, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Ike On Film  
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