"THE TRIAL OF
LEE HARVEY OSWALD"

(1964)




If President Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had not himself been murdered just two days after JFK was killed in Dallas in November 1963, then many of the scenes we see played out in the 1964 fictional drama, "The Trial Of Lee Harvey Oswald" (which can be viewed above in its entirety), just might have actually taken place inside a real courtroom in Dallas, Texas, in the year 1964.

Relying on eyewitness accounts of the tragedy and news reports available at the time the film was being put together, cult movie director Larry Buchanan has weaved a remarkably accurate portrayal of the events surrounding JFK's assassination. And it's all the more remarkable considering the fact that this film premiered in April of 1964, several months before the official investigation into the President's death had been completed by the Warren Commission.

There are only a few errors of any substantial nature in the movie. One such mistake is when the prosecutor elicits testimony from a witness that indicated that all three of the bullets that were fired during the assassination were recovered and were in evidence at the trial.

Another major error contained in the film is when the actor portraying one of JFK's autopsy doctors says that the bullet which entered JFK's upper back did not exit his body, and that the throat wound was a result of a fragmented portion of the bullet that struck the President's head.

But those errors regarding the President's wounds are understandable from the point-of-view of the filmmakers, due to the lack of additional information concerning the facts which overwhelmingly support the Single-Bullet Theory, which is information that Buchanan did not have by the time his film debuted in April of '64.

And Buchanan was also undoubtedly relying on the erroneous initial report written by FBI agents Sibert and O'Neill, who attended President Kennedy's autopsy. The official autopsy report, however, corrected the mistake that appears in the early FBI report, with the autopsy report clearly stating that the bullet that entered JFK's upper back "made its exit through the anterior surface of the neck" [Warren Report; Page 543].

All things considered, Larry Buchanan's "The Trial Of Lee Harvey Oswald" is very accurate in most of the details pertaining to the death of JFK. And one of the most refreshing things about this movie is that Lee Oswald is not perceived by the defense to be an innocent patsy who was set up to take the fall by evil and unknown outside forces.

Even Oswald's own lawyer in this fictional trial concedes the possibility (or even the probability) of his client being guilty of killing the President. Otherwise, there would have been no need for the defense to have entered an additional plea of "Not guilty by reason of existing insanity".

David Von Pein
February 2012


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