For seventy-seven years, presidents, prime ministers, and all manner of luminaries have taken the sting out of American politics with their humorous jousting at the legendary Al Smith Memorial Dinner. The film that M+ ADLubow created for this year’s event is narrated by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan. The gifted Ms. Noonan penned some of the greatest presidential speeches of the last Century. Her “These Are the Boys of Pointe du’Hoc” written for Ronald Reagan’s appearance at the 40th Anniversary of D-Day is celebrated today for the timing and timbre of its commitment to freedom. Yes, it saluted the U.S. Rangers who scaled the cliffs to take out the heavy guns of Naziism. Less remembered is the way the speech acknowledged the sacrifices of the Russian people and then, from a position of strength and confidence and in a spirit of reconciliation, asked the Soviet Union for some sign that it was willing to seize the beachhead of peace. Two years later, we had Glasnost. Such is the power of poetry. “For sheer oratorical elegance,” historian Douglas Brinkley wrote, this would become “one of the most inspirational presidential speeches ever delivered.”
We are deeply honored to have written the script for a film narrated in the kinder, gentler voice of Peggy Noonan. Enjoy the historic moments in our film. (Listen closely to the wisecrack delivered by Al Smith IV. We can proudly say that A.D. Lubow wrote that, too—back in 2016.) Listen to the wit and wisdom of Ms. Noonan’s own address that night. Pitch perfect.