The Reagan Show is a sober reminder of what America is lacking: a politician who can act presidential as the leader of the free world.
Directed by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill from a screenplay written by Josh Alexander, Velez, and Francisco Bello, The Reagan Show is made completely of archival footage filmed by the Reagan Administration and network news. Reagan’s presidency was the most filmed of any presidential administration that came before to the point that the administration set up White House Television or WHTV for short.
What made the Reagan years so unique compared to prior presidents is that the late president had come from a background in acting before pursuing a career in politics. Reagan’s background in acting clearly shows in acrhival footage from his repeated commercial takes for an advertisement supporting John Sununu’s campaign for the New Hampshire governor’s race. Not so much of questioning whether or not he truly supports the candidate but because of his behavior after a take is completed. It makes him come off as more of a person–something you don’t really see at the moment with the 45th person to hold the office.
Even as the Cold War years were coming to an end, Reagan had a film crew surrounding him at all times to document each and every move. It would be incomplete if it didn’t document Reagan’s rivalry with that of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan used his knowledge of public relations to his advantage in hopes of preventing World War III. Whereas the current guy takes a social media approach, Reagan took a made-for-television approach and it certainly worked in his favor even if he didn’t always propose the best policies.
Watching this documentary made me long for the days when you didn’t have to worry about whether or not the president was harassing someone on social media or inciting violence against members of the free press. None of that was depicted in The Reagan Show because he governed like a president even as the man had his faults as a politician.
Following it’s world premiere earlier this year at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, CNN Films and Gravitas Ventures opened The Reagan Show on June 30th. The Reagan Show is available for pre-order on iTunes and Vudu ahead of its release on Independence Day. Check theater listings here. CNN is expected to air the documentary at some point.