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BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE DVD
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Their unrivaled behind-the-scenes access gives White House staff a uniquely personal view of history in the making. Two remarkable women in one family served as White House maids over a period spanning five decades and eight administrationsfrom Taft to Eisenhower. Their story and a half-century of American history unfold in this star-studded drama, nominated for 11 Emmy® Awards.
Backstairs at the White House works on several levels. It is the inspiring personal story of two extraordinary women who had a unique and privileged perspective of the people and events that shaped the first half of the 20th century. It also presents vivid snapshots of the presidents and their families in all their quirks (Mrs. Taft felt that bearded servants brought bad luck), failings, and greatness, as well as such now-obscure personages as New York critic Alexander Woolcott. The stellar cast is comprised of stage and screen veterans and TV favorites. Robert Vaughn (as Woodrow Wilson), Celeste Holm (as Florence Harding), and Ed Flanders (as Calvin Coolidge) were nominated for Emmys, as was Roots costar Louis Gossett Jr. as houseman Levi Mercer. Also notable are a pre-Airplane Leslie Nielsen as chief White House usher Ike Hoover, Cloris Leachman as the chilly supervising housekeeper Mrs. Jaffray, Victor Buono and Julie Harris as reluctant president William Howard Taft and his more formidable wife "Nellie," Eileen Heckart as energetic Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harry Morgan, giving 'em hell as Harry Truman. Backstairs at the White can be melodramatic ("You're not married to me, you're married to the White House," Lillian's estranged husband tells her at one point), but it never descends to soap opera. The Emmy-winning makeup is convincing, and the Emmy-nominated screenplay does an admirable job of compressing more than 50 years of history. "What is heard within the walls of the White House is to be forgotten," Maggie is instructed early in her employ. Luckily, daughter Lillian ignored this directive to create a compelling document that puts a human face on the occupants of the real West Wing. --Donald Liebenson
- Companion guide with producer's notes and historical background
- Photo gallery
- Cast filmographies
Top Customer Reviews
Each of the four colorful discs is enclosed in a separate holder and all are enclosed in a box with a pamphlet of information. The discs are in much better shape than I thought they would be and would rate the quality a 4 out of 5 and quantity a 5 out of 5. Good but not as good as Eleanor and Franklin: The Early Years - better color and in letterbox! The set is worth the price and will provide hours of enjoyment.
No, it's not a scandalous expose as one would expect in this 21st century but rather the historical and human sides of the White House residents and staff within the walls of the executive mansion.
First aired as a 4 or 5 night mini-series in I believe 1979, it has stuck in my memory for these many years!
Again, well worth it and too long overdue.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie is a favorite of mine.. I looked for it for many years until I finally thought to look for it here on Amazon. The price was good, and it came in a timely manner.Published 3 months ago by jeff
I remember this from long ago, and I wanted it. More of A story of the people who worked there than the Presidents.Published 4 months ago by Peter Reilly ADAMS