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James MacArthur’s Unfortunate Cameo in Oliver Stone’s “JFK”

James MacArthur's Unfortunate Cameo in Oliver Stone's "JFK"

I’ve never seen “Hawaii Five-O,” never saw Disney’s “Kidnapped,” and though I grew up loving “Swiss Family Robinson,” my least favorite character in the film was James MacArthur‘s Fritz. Enough that I kinda forgot about the elder brother of the shipwrecked clan until hearing about the actor’s death yesterday. Here is something else I recalled with the news: MacArthur co-starred in the 1963 WWII film “Cry of Battle,” which is best known for being half of the double-feature (along with the Korean War film “War is Hell”) playing at the Texas Theatre when Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested there following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

As far as I can tell, it was actually “War is Hell” that was on screen when the cops stormed in and got their man, but in Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” it is “Cry of Battle” that’s playing when Gary Oldman is apprehended during the narration (by Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison) of Oswald’s “supposed” actions on that day. And the quick clip of the movie that Stone used is a close-up of MacArthur (maybe so people could yell out “book ’em Danno”?). One of the few associations I had for the actor when I was young.

You can see it in the video after the jump. MacArthur’s cameo is at the 7:53 mark.

Traditionally I have been featuring clips of the recently deceased in documentaries, and I don’t think this sways too much. Though “JFK” is a drama, and to many people an outright fiction of sorts, I do think some parts can qualify as documentary. This narrated montage is one of those parts. It’s just a long re-enactment of real events that no camera had been able to film at the time they occurred. It also seems to be the closest thing to a documentary appearance for MacArthur other than his being in and narrating a DVD extra on the making of “Swiss Family Robinson.”

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