Check Out Woody Allen’s Lost Nixon Mockumentary Men Of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story

Woody Allen

While the media world explodes with speculation, excitement and, yes, a bit of trepidation for Avengers: Age of Ultron, we must keep the important things in perspective. Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight is coming out next Friday, the latest in a long line of Allen films that stretch back six decades. But while you might know Mr. Allen’s work very well indeed, chances are you have not yet seen his 1972 mockumentary Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story, which recently surfaced on YouTube.

Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story was produced as a PBS special in 1972, marking Allen’s third directing credit and coming between Take The Money and Run and Bananas. With those two films in mind – as well as his later mockumentary Zelig, to which this bears a passing resemblance – one can see the development of Allen’s style as a director and, more potently, his political humor that underlies even his most serious films. One can also see why PBS finally opted not to air this 26 minute film, given the use it makes of Nixon footage combined with the President’s threat to cut funding for public broadcasting. So the network pulled Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story and the film has had a home at the Paley Center, until some enterprising individual decided to post it on YouTube.

Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story features Richard Nixon as himself, Woody Allen as the titular Harvey Wallinger (a thinly disguised Henry Kissinger caricature), and marks Allen’s first collaboration with none other than Diane Keaton. It’s also very funny, and at less than half an hour it is a good use of anyone’s time.

You can check out Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story in full below, and then head out next week to see Allen’s latest Magic in the Moonlight. I have a feeling that you will be glad you did both.