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The Zapruder Footage: A Tragedy Immortalised On Film

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  • Category: Tragedy

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The Zapruder footage is a piece of horrifying film, which captures the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy who was the president of America. It was filmed by an amateur cameraman by the name of Abraham Zapruder, on an eight-millimetre film. It lasts for twenty-two seconds shocked millions of people when shown to the public.

The assassination of JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy) took place of the twenty second of November ninety sixty-three in the Deely Plaza, Dallas Texas. The documentary on the piece of footage interviews many people about their views on filming, and what they feel about the style and picture. The interviewee’s mention how the film is not very clear, and how the picture is shaking constantly. As well as interviewing film specialists, they also interview Zapruder’s friend (colleague) to give details about Abraham Zapruder as a person. Abraham also gave his personal views of the film.

The fatal shots were fired as John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his wife, Jackie Kennedy were shofar driven through Dallas. The first shot missed Kennedy, he thought nothing of it, thinking it was the car back firing. The next to shots followed, one shooting him in the throat, causing Kennedy to rock backwards and forwards in excruciating pain. The second shot hit him in the head, and killed him. The shot, which was fired through JFK’s neck penetrated through John Conally’s seat and into his back, causing minor injuries. After the final head shot, Jackie is pictured leaping from her seat and climbing over the boot, no one knows why.

The film was purchased by Richard Stolley, from “Time Life” magazine. He bought it for fifty thousand dollars for legal printing, and then paid another hundred and fifty thousand dollars for full legal ownership of the film. Stolley printed still images in “Time Life” but extracting the fatal head shot picture, known as “frame 313.” Many people bought the Kennedy Assassination tape, and the film changed hands fairly often. It was not shown to the public because Stolley thought they didn’t need to be exposed to such violence. When seeing the video for the first time with Abraham Zapruder, Stolley seemed shocked and dazed. Richard seems to be an understanding man, and knows how Abraham is feeling.

People had different reactions to the film, some people thought it was a work of art “Gerald Posner” and others were horrified. Richard Stolley believed that the film should not be sown to the public, but Geraldo Riviera thought differently. He felt the public had a right to know. It was shown on the “Tonight Show” where it was called, “the execution of president Kennedy.” Richard Stolley believed that “innocence was lost.”

Jim Garrison was an important figure at the court case. Before Garrison questioned anything, Lee Harvey Oswald was the only killer to be arrested. Jim Garrison believed their was more than one killer. This is proved by the explanation of the “magic bullet” theory. This is the theory of one bullet being fired and injuring two people and inflicting seven wounds, and yet the bullet was not harmed in any way. Garrison argues that this cannot be true. One conspiracy is that of the Government.

Assassinating JFK because they did not agree with his political decisions. Another conspiracy is that when Kennedy was shot, his body was flung in the opposite direction to where the shot was fired. This means that the Government was wrong, as there must have more than one assassin, whereas the Government insisted there was only one. The killing of the president shocked America. He was a person the nation respected and loved. The killing of Kennedy made people doubt whether America would ever be the same again.

The Cuban Missile Crisis could have had an impact on Kennedy’s assassination. Russia put missiles into Cuba ready to attack America. Kennedy only saw these after pictures from satellites, this made him angry as the communist powers could have attacked at any time. War was imminent. Then all of a sudden, the missiles were removed and the matter was settled. People believed Kennedy had set up a secret deal. This could have been a reason for his assassination.

The film, thirty years on from the assassination is still unexplainable. Maybe if the picture was clearer. Maybe if Zapruder would have kept a steady hand. These were some of the excuses given by people for not solving the JFK mystery. After watching the documentary and peoples views on the film, I believe that no one has the same view upon the film. Each person views it differently and has a different opinion. This proves that there are so many alternate answers for the killing of Kennedy, but not one has been proven correct.

When seeing this footage for the first time, I did question its quality, not being able to see it properly causes a different response. The content is brilliant, the capturing of the fatal head shot has an effect on people which nothing else can. Questions are still not being answered, why? Who? And how? The film has a sense of mystery to it, and causes the reader to come to a conclusion for himself or herself.

Also, unanswered questions makes it difficult for them to understand fully. It is a film revealing evidence not only a piece of home filming. On my viewing of the twenty two second film I realised the poor quality, and how difficult it was to hear and see what was happening. It occurred to me that the mystery will never be solved and people will never know the truth.

Read also:

A Critical Appreciation – ‘The English Patient’ Final Sequence
How the film stacks up with the historical evidence and what historians say on the same subject

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