At no point during his legendary Watergate interview with David Frost in 1977 did Richard Nixon ever weep openly, beg viewers for forgiveness, rend his garments in shame, or announce to Frost that he couldn't handle the truth. This is real life, not A Few Good Men or …And Justice For All. The Frost/Nixon interviews were dramatic, funny, and unlikely enough to inspire a Tony Award-winning play and now an acclaimed film, but it was a muted, almost subtle form of drama where painful emotions frequently hid behind thickets of legalese and technical arguments.

As recounted in Frost/Nixon, international television personality David Frost took an enormous risk in paying disgraced former president Richard Nixon for a series of four exclusive interviews. Frost was overmatched and outmaneuvered in the early going, but staged a stunning comeback in a famed final interview where he genially hammered Nixon on his complicity in the Watergate cover-up. In true underdog tradition, Frost rose to glory when the stakes were the highest.

Advertisement

The Original Watergate Interviews contains only the last of the four installments, so audiences looking to experience the interviews in their original context as the grand finale to an epic exploration of Nixon's life are out of luck. Ever the savvy businessman, Frost has cut straight to the good stuff. The interview starts off dryly, but Frost diligently lays out the specifics of his case with prosecutorial zeal, and Nixon's stonewalling eventually gives way to measured, anxious self-disclosure. Nixon's messy tragicomic humanity comes to the fore in sad accounts of asking key aides to resign, and the melancholy way he praises them as decent men caught up in the maelstrom of history. With the scars of Watergate a distant memory, it's easy now to identify with Nixon as well as Frost. Nixon is never more poignantly human than when he stops arguing semantics and discusses the tremendous personal cost of Watergate. In a strangely resonant turn of phrase, he argues that he "impeached himself" by resigning. He memorably impeached himself a second time through his words here.

Key features: Frost reflects on the Nixon interviews in segments taped for the DVD.