It is a shame that the once-great Irving Rapper, who directed such classics as NOW, VOYAGER, THE CORN IS GREEN, and THE BRAVE ONE, put paid to his career with two extremely lurid and exploitative films: 1970's THE CHRISTINE JORGENSEN STORY, and this lame attempt to hop on the Watergate bandwagon.
Let's face it: Alan J Pakula's ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN set the bar pretty high when it comes to Watergate, which is probably why so few movies came out about what is probably the biggest domestic scandal of the Twentieth Century in America. Pakula's epic was so good, in fact, that I find myself getting caught up in the suspense of the story even though I know how it turns out.
Which brings us to Rapper and this mess. I am not sure what drew Rapper to this project, but I presume that the real Charles Colson never got anywhere near the set, because Rapper was a gay man who in his later years made little secret of his sexuality, and he and Colson would have got along like oil and water. Though it seems as though someone was looking to cover Colson's ass; his role in the Watergate scandal, if you believe this film, was as something of a stooge who went along with his peers, not quite understanding what he was doing. History has long since debunked that myth; Colson was one of the major players in the Nixon administration, and his role in Watergate was pretty well-known even then.
So this movie starts out with dishonesty and then tries for redemption but somehow does not quite make it there either. The "born again" Colson is about as interesting as a raw potato, Dean Jones spends the entire second half of the movie looking as if he wished he were anywhere but on that set (which by then he might have been), and the dialogue is so stilted and forced that at some moments it makes the viewer extremely uncomfortable and at others it draws laughs.
Perhaps Rapper thought he saw something that was not there; perhaps he just could not bring himself to give up making movies and this was all he could get. I don't know. I just think it's a sad finale to a once- great career.