To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies
To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies. Let’s hope he likes the Wizard of Oz
By Ian Drury
Last updated at 8:17 AM on 06th March 2009
As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment.
Because all he got was a set of DVDs. Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films – a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.
Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown. But it didn’t really compare to the thoughtful presents he had brought along with him.
Marking the special relationship: The Browns put a lot of thought into their gifts for the Obamas – but the gesture did not seem to be reciprocated
The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.
The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.
Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children’s books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.
In return, the Obamas gave the Browns two models of the presidential helicopter, Marine One, to take home to sons Fraser and John.
Mrs Brown has been praised for her well-chosen gifts for the Obama children – but Mrs Obama’s gift to the Brown children appeared less thoughtful
The Prime Minister has not had the best of luck when receiving gifts from U.S. presidents.
He was given a fur-trimmed brown leather bomber jacket by George W. Bush during his first trip to America in the summer of 2007.
Commentators gleefully pointed out that the garment was hardly in keeping with Mr Brown’s usual sober attire of business suit and tie.
Downing Street yesterday refused to state which movies were in the box set.
But the Mail has learned it included classics such as Star Wars, The Godfather and Citizen Kane and was produced by the American Film Institute as a ‘special request’ for the White House last month.
Perhaps pertinently, given Britain is floundering in an economic slump, the DVD collection was thought to feature the movie of John Steinbeck’s Great Depression novel, ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’.
The gift also included the Oscar-winning boxing biopic ‘Raging Bull’ starring Robert Di Nero and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Psycho – maybe a comment on the PM’s notorious short fuse?
And he will hope that at a General Election the British public do not shun his imploration for another term in office by thinking at the ballot box of the famous line from another of the movies, Casblanca: ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’
But following Mr Brown’s his recent troubles – the UK entering recession, soaring job losses and home repossessions, Labour struggling in the polls and threats of leadership challenges – he may be pleased at being able to settle down for a quiet night in front of the ultimate feel-good movie: It’s A Wonderful Life.
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