David Frost, a TV presenter and a renowned comedian made attempts to get into the books of history in 1977. To accomplish his mission, he dissuaded his producer john Burt to support him financially to start a new project. The project involved conducting numerous interviews with Richard Nixon. The interviews commenced after the preliminary diplomacies but Frost being inexperienced, he does not measure up to the standards to interview Nixon. This essay explores why Morgan describes the film as a battle rather than a trial.
Between 1972 and 1974, a famous scandal dubbed the Watergate scandal which was regarded as a conspiracy of the president rocked America leading to the resignation of President Nixon. After the resignation of Nixon, the new president, Gerald Ford gave Nixon pardon to the displeasure of the American people.
Three years following this event, Nixon agreed to be involved in a series of interviews with Frost who was a comedian and television presenter. The reason why Morgan terms this interview as a battle rather than a trial is because Frost was anticipating outwitting Nixon in the interviews to remain an honorable person. However, this is not what happened since Nixon proved to be witty and difficult than Frost had expected.
The film starts by frantic efforts by Nixon and his colleagues to conduct the interviews with Nixon. This stage presents the first hurdle as Nixon demands a fee of $600000 causing Frost to solicit funds from his friends (Guardian 3).
The film is really a battle as exhibited by Frost and his team as they do an intensive research in preparation of the upcoming interviews. The interviews are similar to a boxing competition that requires high intellectual capacity between Frost and Nixon. The film is characterized by emotional moments as the interviews progress.
Frost and his team seem to be dissatisfied and unhappy with the apparent success that Nixon is achieving during the interviews. Frost and his team had hopes of exposing the corrupt dealings of Nixon during his reign in power but he seems to avoid all the attacks from Frost. In three sessions of two hours each, Frost was not making any success in a bid to achieve his goal while Nixon had managed to ward off all the attacks from Frost (Guardian 3).
The greatest battle that is evident in this film is the value attached to reputation. Right from the onset of the film, the reputation of Nixon is tainted by the infamous Watergate scandal. Nixon is put to task to explain how America would keep its reputation if he ascended to presidency and behaved badly then no legal action was taken against him.
Nixon at some point backs this idea by saying that he was also concerned about the reputation of America among other countries. However, when asked about his reactions during the Vietnam War, he outwits Frost and his colleagues by telling them that the war was intended at testing the credibility of America.
He says that the world was watching carefully to see if America had the character of fighting to the end. Nixon is not happy with the fact that the American people had discarded all his other good deeds and used this scandal to depict him as a bad leader and destroy his reputation permanently. As Frost looks at the interviews as a way of fixing Nixon, he himself looks at the interviews as an opportune moment of restoring his punctured reputation.
The interviews with Frost are an important turning point in the career of Frost as a TV personality. He is very determined to be the winner in these interviews such that other aspects of his life begin to take a nosedive.
He receives the first blow after his show in Australia is terminated since the producers feel that he has the wrong priorities. At some point, Frost starts regretting his actions and wishes that somebody had restrained him before he went too far in the interviews. The battle for reputation is heightened when Nixon calls Frost between their third and fourth interviews.
In the telephone conversation, Nixon expresses his strong passion for their quest to earn respect and how they should get back to the podium of winners. He tells Frost that the outcomes of the interviews will however present only one winner. This phone call prompts Frost to intensify his strategies of being the winner in the final interview. Nixon loses the battle but they both establish respect for one another as it is seen at the end of the film (IMDB 1).
Morgan crafts a story which is a battle leading to the victory of one character over the other. However, during the course of the interviews, the defeat of Nixon is not elaborate. Nixon finally in an emotional concurrence recounts how he had failed his country and friends but immediately lays the blame on others. He says that his mistakes were caused by other people.
Morgan tries to create a different Nixon in the film who is sympathetic as opposed to the historical Nixon who never cared for his people. He portrays him as somebody who blundered and concealed his mistakes through lies. This is something that any member of the audience can do hence the audience can relate with the film.
Frost realizes that Nixon has a heavy burden of guilt and uses this aspect to fix him by telling him that unless he acknowledges blame, his guilt would haunt him forever. Nixon had come for the interviews with the hope of restoring his reputation to Americans but left a relieved man after acknowledging he deserved blame.
Guardian. Frost/Nixon. 2008. Web . 02 August 2011.
IMDB. Frost/Nixon. 2008. Web. 02 August 2011.