REFLECTIONS ON "JACKIE": PART III
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) JFK+50 begins the year 2017 with a review of "Jackie" starring Natalie Portman. "Jackie" is a Fox Searchlight Pictures film directed by Pablo Larrain. The screenplay was written by Noah Oppenheim. Released on December 2, 2016, the movie has an "R" rating and lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Moving forward in the film to Bethesda Naval Hospital* Waiting Room on the evening of November 22, 1963. Mrs. Kennedy "is surrounded by family and friends but nobody dares to speak." The group includes Nancy Tuckerman, Benjamin and Toni Bradlee, Pam Turnure, Mary Gallaher, John Walsh**, Larry O'Brien, Kenny O'Donnell and Bob McNamara.
The script reads...
"Everyone looks at the door. As it opens and closes we see the hospital personnel carrying supplies and equipment for the autopsy. Jackie walks down the hospital hall, drawn toward the autopsy room, but Bobby retrieves her."
"Make sure they make him look like himself."
Mrs. Kennedy had made the decision on the return flight to Washington to have the autopsy done at Bethesda because her husband was a veteran of the United States Navy. In November 1963, the hospital morgue and autopsy operating room were located on the first floor. Mrs. Kennedy and her guests were escorted to and remained on one of the upper floors in the tower. It is unlikely that the scene as depicted in the movie occurred.
*The National Naval Medical Center, a.k.a. Bethesda Naval Hospital is today the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It was opened on Armistice Day 1940 by FDR & dedicated in 1942.
**Dr. John W. Walsh (1913-2000) was born in Brooklyn & graduated from St. John's College & earned his medical degree at Long Island University. He served as a physician in WWII and had a private practice in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, MD. after the war. He became Jackie Kennedy's obstetrician in 1957 & he delivered both Caroline & John John. Dr. Walsh was with Mrs. Kennedy in Dallas and returned to the Capital with her on AF1.
"Jackie-Screenplay," by Script Pipeline, www.scriptpipeline.com/
"John W. Walsh, 87, Kennedy Obstetrician," by The Associated Press, November 25, 2000, www.nytimes.com/