To what extent was John F. Kennedy’s public figure privately shaped by his wife, Jacqueline?
A little bit, according to a new documentary, “JFK: Fact and Fable”. The film examines the role she played in overhauling the modern presidency by popularizing the image of Camelot.
A little known fact: Jackie O. was behind the modern look of Air Force One. She persuaded the government to paint “United States of America” ââon the plane.
The elegant First Lady, who died in 1994, also redecorated the Oval Office, giving it a new atmosphere that is both elegant and warm by adding sofas and armchairs and opening the fireplace.
And she created the well-maintained rose garden on the grounds of the White House, as it is called today.
âJackie Kennedy is responsible for creating the Kennedy legacy,â said Noah Morowitz, the film’s executive producer. She dedicated a large part of her life, he said, to “making him the great president he so wanted to be.”
“Although she has long been considered a pioneer in culture and style, her historical influence is actually much deeper,” said Morowitz.
âJFK: Fact and Fable,â which premiered Friday on CuriosityStream, a documentary streaming platform, also explores how she set to work to preserve and orchestrate the legacy of the 35th President days after his assassination in Dallas November 22, 1963. The first step was his insistence that JFK’s funeral reproduce America’s farewell to Abraham Lincoln – a diktat that seemed designed to bind the two slain presidents forever in the conscience of the nation.
The film combines archival footage and photos of JFK and his young family with comments from historian and author Thurston Clarke and Larry Sabato, a Kennedy biographer who heads the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia .
The transition of the first families from Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower to JFK and Jackie was simply seismic.
âYou had the Eisenhowers, who didn’t care about food. Their clothes were nothing special,â Clarke said in a narration for the documentary. “Grandma played cards and invited ladies to bridge. Suddenly you have the Kennedys coming in, and there’s champagne, there’s a French chef, there are artists at the White House.”
The film’s slogan sounds bold – âThe JFK we remember is the one Jackie createdâ – but it covers ground well documented by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston.
This is the latest in an ever-expanding JFK filmography, highlighting the enduring spell the Kennedys still cast 53 years after his death.
“President Kennedy rises above politics in a way that not all presidents do,” said Rachel Flor, spokesperson for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
âIn a time when politics divides today, people seek inspiration and refuge. He really continues to resonate with people today.â