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Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby, The (DVD Review)

18 Mar, 2012 By: Angelique Flores

Prebook 3/20/12; Street 4/17/12
First Run
Box Office $0.18 million
$27.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray
Not rated.

One might think a son would know a lot about his father, having a special and strong bond. In the case of former CIA director William Colby and his son, Carl, none of this was so.

In this documentary, Carl explores who his dad was as a father, a husband and a CIA intelligence officer. William’s dedication to his work — which involved spying, clandestine operations and a huge influence in international affairs — kept him from having an open life. 

Much of William’s work went against his moral beliefs as a staunch Catholic, but he had a strong sense of duty and a need to do what was right for the greater good. It’s unclear how much he was just doing what he was told and how much power he actually had.

William fought in the U.S. Army during World War II, practiced law then was hired at the National Labor Relations Board. William’s wife, Barbara, never even knew exactly when he started working for the CIA, but the entire family moved to Italy in the 1950s. Family picnics and outings were sometimes used as a cover for his covert meetings with government contacts.

After Italy, the Colbys moved to Vietnam, and William was deeply involved with the talks that led to the Vietnamese president and his brother getting killed, as well as the Phoenix Program, a controversial counterinsurgency operation in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

As director of the CIA, he took a lot of heat for operations he brought to light that took place before he was named to the position, such as an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro.

The film includes stunning footage, recordings and photos — all in great condition — as well as numerous interviews with former CIA officers, politicos and journalists, including Bob Woodward and Donald Rumsfeld.

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