Largely comedic, and a not entirely unsympathetic characterization, de Antonio's portrait of Richard Milhous Nixon was a surprising departure from his previous work. As the film satirizes Nixon's manipulative side, it also reveals a resourceful Horatio Alger figure, a "poor boy from the lower middle classes with burning desire and energy" (de Antonio). Millhouse is also a continuation of de Antonio's work in compilation documentary. Just before the '68 election, de Antonio sought, in vain, for a print of Nixon's 1952 telecast "Checkers Speech," which he wanted screened in theaters, to remind viewers about the "old Nixon." Two years later, an anonymous delivery of hundreds of cans of news film – including a complete kinescope of the 1952 broadcast – became the core material for Millhouse.