JFK - Reckless Youth (1993) TV

 

 

 

Director:    Harry Winer. 

Starring:    Patrick Dempsey (John F. Kennedy), Terry Kinney (Joseph P. Kennedy), Loren Dean (Joe Kennedy, Jr.), Yolanda Jilot (Inga Arvad), Robin Tunney (Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy), Andrew Lowery (Lem Billings), Stan Cahill (Torb Macdonald), Claire Forlani (Ann Cannon), Malachy McCourt (Honey Fitz), James Rebhorn (St. John), Diana Scarwid (Rose Kennedy), Natalie Radford (Rosemary Kennedy), Cedric Smith (Prof. Bruce Hopper), Greg Spottiswood (Skeeter Orton), Andrew Miller (Rip Horton).

the young John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, 1936. A group of three of Jack's friends sneak him out of his hospital room. They go out night clubbing. At the end of the evening, they drop Jack off at the hospital.

He collapses before he gets to the room. The nurse scolds him slightly for not realizing how sick he is.

Flashback. Saint Patrick's Day, Boston, 1920. JFK is a little boy at a political rally.

Jack comes down with scarlet fever. His father Joe says that he will give half of what he's earned if Jack recovers. The priest reminds Joe that you can't bargain with God.

Brookline, Massachusetts. Jack's older brother Joe and he crash their bikes into each other and Jack gets hurt. To cheer Jack up his father says that he is sending Joe and Jack to the best school in Boston, the Dexter School.

Rose speaks to Joe about the Dexter School being Protestant, while they are Catholic and Irish. Joe says that Dexter School is the best school where the privileged Protestant children go to school. The students there are surrounded by success and that's why the children grow up successful and they continue to run the world. He wants his Irish Catholic boys to be surrounded by success so they can be as successful as the Protestant children. Rose agrees with this argument, but she insists that the girls will be going to convent schools.

Jack and Joe are chauffered to school. After their car leaves, some of the Protestant boys start heckling them. Joe starts to fight the main heckler, while Jack takes bets that his brother will defeat the other kid.

Jack and Joe come home and father sees that Joe has been in a fight. Jack asks what's a "mucker"? Father says: "Well, a mucker is someone who cleans up cow manure. It's what some ignorant people call us Irish." Why do that? "To keep us down. You see, boys, everyone came to America on a boat, but the people who came on the first boat sometimes think they're better than the people who came on latter boats."

Father tells Jack that the boys are going back to that school. "And Jack, never let your brother fight alone again."

Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, 1927. Father Joe has just purchased. [In August 1928, Joe unsuccessfully tried to run First National Pictures. In October 1928, he formally merged his film companies FBO and KAO to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO).]

Choate School, 1933. [Choate Rosemary Hall (often known as Choate) is an elite, highly selective, prestigious, private, college-preparatory, coeducational boarding school located in Wallingford, Connecticut.]

Everyone on campus is seated in the church listening to a speech. John comes running out of the dorms all disheveled and not wearing the right suit jacket and arrives late to the speech. The speaker is giving a trophy from the best all-around student. He says it's Kennedy. Jack Kennedy stands up, but the speaker says the winner is Joe! Kennedy. Joe stands up, looks around and sees his brother standing. Jack smiles at him, shrugs his shoulders and sits down. He enthusiastically claps for his brother.

Joe will be going off to Harvard.

Jack's friend Lem Billings comes over for a visit to the Kennedy home. With all those Kennedy kids, the house is bouncing with energy. Jack tells Lem about the big dance tonight which will present major possibilities.

At the dance Jack sees a girl that he really likes. He asks his sister for the name of the girl and sister walks him right over to her and introducdes Jack to Olive. Then Joe comes right up and puts his arm around Olive and says let's dance. Jack gets after his sister, saying that she knew the girl was with Joe all the time. Sister says she didn't know, but laughs anyway.

At the dinner table, father tells Jack that his head master says Jack is not living up to his full potential. In fact, Jack is failing.

Father asks Joe a question about Hitler and then he asks a similar question of Jack. Lem chimes in with he thinks Mussolini is doing a good job in Italy. Father roars at Lem: "Well, who the hell asked you?" Lem is shocked and stays quiet after that. Jack answers father's question.

The family all sing a song together at the table.

Choate School, 1934. Lem's snoring bothers Jack and he throws two hard balls against the wall to wake him up. Lem is very irritated and says that Jack is a bad influence on him. Jack just says they're wasting time when they should be putting eggs into some girls' baskets. He says they're going off to New York, which is against the rules.

Jack, Lem and another friend go to a whore house. Jack goes in first. He gives his name as J.J. Meyer one of the officials at the Choate School.

The boys sneak back over to their room, open the window and climb in. When they turn on a light in the room, they see waiting for them the J.J. Meyer. The head master gives a talk about the 10% percent that are the "muckers" of the group. This hits young Kennedy right in the gut because that's what they call the Irish. If this behavior persists, says the head master, the trouble makers will be expelled.

Rather than inspiring Kennedy to work hard, it inspires him to embrace the term mucker and get revenge for the head master using an ethnic slur. With his Irish friends, he establishes a "Mucker" Club.

Kennedy finds himself called in to the head master's office. He tells Kennedy that it is not a prank to plan to spread manure over the dance hall at the spring dance. Father Joe is there and he asks his son if he did all this? Joe is mad. He asks Jack if this is the way he plans to get into Harvard? No, says Jack. Joe says his son has embarrassed the Kennedy name.

The head master leaves father and son alone for awhile. Joe scolds Jack again, but he shows that he is proud of his son for trying to pull off such an outrageous. He does, however, criticize the term "Mucker" used for the club. Jack is amazed at his father and gets a big smile on his face.

Back to the present. Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, 1936. The doctor and nurse come in to see Jack. Jack jokes around with the doctor, until the doctor says that the most likely diagnosis is lukemia. And yet Jack still jokes talking about what kind of coffin he wants.

Lem and two girls come to see Jack and Lem asks Jack about this lukemia thing the doctor is talking about? Jack just jokes again and gets out of bed. He takes them to a room with an attached room and Jack starts making out with the girls called Sadie. Alone with the other girl, Lem turns on the light and realizes they're in the morgue. Lem quickly tells Jack that they have to get out of here, but Jack only says that he's not dead yet.

Harvard University, 1936. John Winthrop House. Jack visits with Joe, who tells him that he got black balled from all the clubs. Jack tells him not to worry because he will show them all in the end. Kick Kennedy (Kathleen) is also there.

Jack is at Princeton and Joes tells him to get his butt up here at Harvard where Jack Kennedy belongs.

Harvard University, 1937. Jack is on the football team and he really gets hit hard by another player. Joe tells Jack that he should quit before he gets hurt. Jack says he's not giving up football.

Lem as a non-Irish Catholic gets accepted into a club, but the Irish Catholics are rejected. So the Irish get together and decide to work on popular Skeeter Orton to help get them into the clubs. They take Skeeter to a famous night club.

With Skeeter is Ann Cannon. One of Jack's friends tells Jack that is the "Ann Cannon", more Protestant than Martin Luther himself. He warns Jack that he can get into a club, or he can get Ann Cannon, but he can't have both. But Jack is going to try for both anyway.

Jack asks the waiter to call Skeeter away from the table. His date is also away and John moves over to talk with Ann. He dances with her and then takes her into another room where he starts kissing her. Skeeter wonders where Ann and Jack are.

The professor, a WWI veteran, says that once again we are facing a European crisis. He says the topic for next week is will Hitler take Danzig, Europe?

Jack soothes Skeeter's hurt feelings. He says Skeeter has great taste in women.

Jack gets into the Speed Club and his father and brother are impressed. Father tells the boys that he has been named to be the first Irish Catholic ambassador to England. The boys are happy for their dad. Father wants Joe to be his personal secretary. Speaking of the power structure, the Kennedys say: "We're in."

Jack is a little jealous because his father and brother will be right there in Europe where the action will be.

Jack visits with Ann Cannon in her home. He says he's going to go to Europe to be closer to the action. She says that's good. He tells her that he is going to miss her. Ann says she's leaving soon. Her mother is taking her on a slow boat tour of the world.

American Embassy, London. July, 1939. The Kennedys discuss world politics at the table. Jack is there all enthused about his European trip. His father tells him that this is not the greatest time for a European trip because things are really heating up in Europe. Jack is unconcerned. He can't wait to get started. His Harvard pal Torb Macdonald is going with him.

The guys are stopped by sheep in the road. Jack sees a pretty hitch-hiker and he asks her if she wants a ride? Next thing we know is Jack is in bed with the girl. They are in Italy. Jack hears the noises of the parade outside. He gets up, puts on his pants and looks out the window. There below him are Mussolini's black shirts marching in the military parade.

In Germany Kennedy goes into a German pub where there are lots of men in military uniforms and wearing Nazi armbands. The hitch-hiker knows one of the men. He comes over to give Beate a hug. In German he asks her what is she doing with these two swines? Jack and Torb get up and Jack asks the fellow if he thinks England will stop Germany from invading Poland? The fellow asks what could the English do to stop Germany?

The German says he and Beate must go. For a souvenir, he tells the guys to takes their huge drinking glasses with them. They encourage it in the pub.This German bastard then goes over to whisper something devious to one of Hitler's men.

The boys start to leave with their glasses and are stopped by the Nazis. Now the Hitler man comes up to scare the boys, confronting them about the drinking glasses. The guys are scared, but luckily the Nazi just starts laughing at them and lets them go.

On the street the boys sees a Nazi military parade. A man comes up to the two guys and says Mr. Kennedy, he's with the American embassy, and he would like them to follow him. They gets into the embassy limousine. The fellow says his name is Alex Cook and that their meeting with the embassy tomorrow is off. Something more important has come up. The embassy has a letter for Jack to take to his father.

Jack asks what the letter says. It says Germany will attack Poland next week.

Jack returns to his family in London. He gives his father the letter from the Berlin embassy. Joe reads the letter and then comes back saying that America must work hard to stay out of the war. Jack tells his dad that they have to stand up to the Nazis. Joe gets really angry and he shouts at Jack asking him if he wants to get his brother slaughtered?

On the streets of London, Jack and father argue about the war, but they are inerrupted by the sounds of an air raid siren. Everyone has to head to the underground shelter.

Kathleen now sides with Jack. She says America will have to get into the war. Soon Jack and Joe get into an argument and they are about to duke it out, but Kathleen steps in between them, saying Kennedys stick together.

Kathleen likes a British fellow named Billy. He knocks on the bedroom door and then comes in. He has come to say goodbye to Kathleen. He joined the British army to do his part in the war. Kathleen is stunned by the news. They go outside to talk.

Jack says when he gets back home, he's going to ask Anne to marry him.

Boston, October 1939. Jack and Lem go to see Anne. Lem says he can't believe that Jack is going to get married. But when Anne comes down to see Jack and Lem she introduces them to her fiance, John Hershey.

He goes to see his old WWI professor and asks what he should be doing about the war? He suggests that since Jack saw history being made in Europe, he should write about his experiences and tell everyone what he witnessed.

Maybe Jack is maturing a bit. He turns down a date with Torb and two women in order to do his writing about what he saw.

Jack publishes the book: Why England Slept. One fellow says that Jack is hanging his old man out to dry on this issue.

Jack and his father go out to dinner. An irate diner balls out Joe saying he's nothing but a coward. The man is taken away. Joe tells his son see what he has to put up with? "That son-of-a-bitch Roosevelt is trying to cut me down because I know what he's up to. He wants to keep us out of war and then he's working with that drunk Churchill to get us in. They can call me an appeaser if they want, but my way is the only way for peace."

Two young cute girls at a nearby table shout out hello to Joe. Joe has quite the reputation as a womanizer. Jack is a bit upset and asks what about mom? Joe says that mother is a good woman and Jack should honor her. "But there's sex and there's marriage and the two have absolutely nothing in common. Sex is like an itch. There's plenty of women around who will help you scratch it."

Joe has Jack write up his political stance on the question of war or neutrality for America. Jack writes it, but wants to say something to his father before giving him the article. Joe won't allow that. He takes the article and starts reading it.

He gets angry and tells his son: "What are you trying to do? I want the article, the right one, tomorrow." He throw the article at Jack. Jack says he really tried to write the "right" one, but just couldn't. Joe says everyone is against him and not that even includes his own son.

He says that he's trying to save he country and his boys, since they will be among the first to go to war. And he has to worry about Rosemary. Jack stops him there and asks what about Rosemary? Rosemary is mentally challenged and dad says now she's picked up a real interest in men. He thinks he's going to let the doctors try this new surgery called a lobotomy.

Jack explains to his father by taking a very unpopular stance and going public with it will destroy everything Joe has worked for. That's why he doesn't want to write the article, because he doesn't want to stab his father in the back.

So Joe tells his son to write an article on how Joseph Kenned fully supports the Lend-Lease Act with Great Britain. Jack then says he's going to need his father's approval to get into the Navy. Dad says Jack drives a hard bargain.

Jack and Joe have bothed joined the navy and at Hyannis Port are both in their naval uniforms. Dad is upset and Jacks asks him what's up? Dad says that Rosemary's operation did not go so well. Mother says Rosemary tried so hard to be a Kennedy.

Kathleen and Rosemary are shocked when dad says they can't see Rosemary now, not ever. Dad only says: "Do not talk about this again." Dad leaves the porch.

Washington, D.C., October 1941. Jack in uniform comes to see the family. Kathleen introduces him to her friend Inga Arvad. She is older than Jack and Kathleen, but Jack thinks she's a knock-out. He turns on his charm for her. She tells him she's a journalist. He asks her who was the most interesting person she ever interviewed? She says Hitler. Inga is not German but Danish. Soon enough, the two are kissing each other.

Jack takes Inga to Boston. He introduces her to his grandfather Honey Fitzgerald. Inga asks him the secret of politics and Honey says "caring about the people".

Kathleen lays a bomb on Jack. Inga is married.

Inga tells Jack that she never loved the man like she loves Jack. She says she doesn't see him because he's like her father. She didn't tell Jack, because she thought, if she did, she would lose him.

Father Joe come to visit his son Jack. He says there a small article in the paper about Jack and his relationship with a female journalist who is married. It goes on to say that Papa Joe does not like it. Joe says and that's the understatement of the year. He says Jack is trying to throw his whole life away.

Jack says he wants to marry Inga. Joes gets angry and asks if Jack trying to kill his mother? And, furthermore, the FBI thinks this Inga is a spy for the Nazis. In the middle of a damn war, and Jack is in naval intelligence! Jack says he doesn't believer it. Joes says it's over between Jack and Inga.

To be continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

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