City Pulse

By PK Greenfield

Daisy Suckley (pronounced sook-lee) passed away in her 100th year in Rhinebeck, NY.
A suitcase, discovered under her bed, contained thousands of pages of notes: her diary, letters, and correspondence with a fifth cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Writer, Richard Nelson, crafted their story with this knowledge mirrored against a significant weekend at the Roosevelt ancestral estate: Hyde Park on Hudson. Fact and/or fiction, this riveting tale tells more than just a history lesson.

Daisy (Laura Linney) on a joy ride with FDR (Bill Murray)

In June of 1939, FDR was preparing for a visit from the King and Queen of England — the very first time that a reigning British monarch stepped foot on American soil. England was at the precipice of going to war with Germany and the Windsors came to ask for support from the U.S.
Isolationists at the time, America was still reeling from The Depression. Many people felt leery
of their own government, let alone a monarchy.

The Royals and the Roosevelts

FDR, with the help of his prescient wife Eleanor, created the alliance between the two countries over this weekend and they sealed the friendship with a public social gathering known as
the hotdog picnic.”

This awkward occasion baffled Elizabeth and Philip while ingratiating them in the minds of common Americans. A barbarian barbecue meets pomp and circumstance (“of a glorious war” — Shakespeare). Within twelve weeks of the picnic, World War II was underway. But this movie only touches on historic events. We discover more about human behavior and how relationships, on every level, are complex, unpredictable, disheartening, fulfilling and sometimes, negotiable.

Bill Murray as Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Hyde Park on Hudson” opens December 7. History buffs will recognize the significance of this historic date — Pearl Harbor Day. Dramatic and very witty, this film is brilliantly written, superbly acted and beautifully directed. It may cause a national controversy but that will only boost ticket sales.

You should also beware of the contents stored under your bed; someone may discover them and make a movie.

Check local listings and watch the movie trailer here:

Originally published November 2012
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