Goucher College will present three viewings of the film THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA, which recounts the circumstances surrounding Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to leak top-secret documents leading up to the Vietnam War to the New York Times. The free film screenings will be held in Kelley Lecture Hall at the following times: Sat., Feb. 27 at 4 pm; Sun., Feb. 28 at 4 PM; and Mon., Mar. 1 at 7 PM.
Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who precipitated a national political maelstrom in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, will appear at Goucher College on Tues., Mar. 2, and he will discuss his decision to give the New York Times the top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making leading up to the Vietnam War. The event will be held at 8 PM in Kraushaar Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Contact Kristen Keener at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The trailer for "The Most Dangerous Man in
The film is up for as Oscar.
Friday, February 19, 2010 (SF Chronicle)
Review: Daniel Ellsberg - 'The Most Dangerous Man'
by Mick LaSalle, Chronicle Movie Critic
The Most Dangerous Man in
Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Narrated by Daniel Ellsberg
Directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith.
Not rated. 94 minutes.
Daniel Ellsberg has always been a tough guy. But because he looked
like a patrician and could seem prickly and superior, and because he
was called Dr. Ellsberg, this toughness didn't always come through in
his media appearances. For years - I was in elementary school when the
Pentagon Papers story detonated, so I had an excuse - I assumed Dr.
Ellsberg was some radical professor who somehow got hold of secret
government documents and leaked them to the press.
In fact, he was the government's worst nightmare: A former Marine
officer, a military adviser with access to the highest government
officials, and a government researcher who knew where all the bodies
were buried. Ellsberg knew McNamara. He knew Kissinger. He knew
everybody. He was a true believer, with the courage to spend two years
himself. ... And then he stopped believing.
In a transformation that wasn't just political but spiritual, Ellsberg
went from being a man unafraid of getting killed in
unafraid of spending the rest of his life in prison, so long as the
truth got out. In another time and culture, a story on this scale
would deserve an opera. Instead, it's the subject of "The Most
Dangerous Man in
Rick Goldsmith, which Ellsberg, now 78, narrates.
It tells the story of an era in American political history, the
pattern of lies that got the
lies and propaganda that kept us there. But it's also the fascinating
story of a particular personality in collision with that era - not the
most cuddly guy, not the most lovable, but someone exacting and
rigorous, with no ympathy at all for moral weakness (especially his
own); someone temperamentally endowed with strategic cunning and an
advanced ability to get fed up and stay that way.
The title is not meant to be ironic. Ellsberg is exactly the enemy you
would not want to have.
The film is packed with stories, from numerous talking heads,
including Ellsberg. A wealth of information is conveyed with complete
Ellsberg himself corroborates Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's
claim that even before the Tet Offensive, McNamara was telling
President Lyndon Johnson to pull back on the bombing and to seek a
military solution in
of the very days McNamara was expressing doubt about the war, he was
appearing before TV cameras and lying through his teeth about the
military progress being made.
Working inside the government, Ellsberg knew that the whole story of
the war, was based on false information. And Ellsberg himself
participated in the creation of a specious report on North Vietnamese
Henry Kissinger comes across as a reasonable man in this account, both
in Ellsberg's recollections and on the Nixon tapes. Richard Nixon, by
contrast, sounds like a lunatic in these recorded conversations,
ranting and cursing and seeming, at every other turn, to be trying to
shock Kissinger by threatening to use nuclear weapons. JFK at least
had the sense to turn on the tape recorder only when he was about to
say something good. It's hard to imagine what Nixon was thinking,
recording himself raving like
In addition to Ellsberg, the other hero of this documentary is the
American press. After the New York Times was forced, by court
injunction, to stop printing the Pentagon Papers, the
picked up the ball, and then other newspapers followed suit - all of
them mighty names in American journalism, most of them struggling
today just to keep afloat. Anyone with any doubt as to the importance,
in a functioning democracy, of American newspapers - with working
newsrooms full of professional, paid journalists - needs to see this movie.
* * *
E-mail Mick LaSalle at email@example.com