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Dolley Madison

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Born in relative obscurity before the American Revolution, Dolley Madison became one of the most influential American women of the early nineteenth century. As the wife of the fourth president, James Madison, Dolley Madison played an important part in the political and social experiment that was the early American Republic. Long before women held any overt political power, Dolley used her unelected position to legitimize the nation's new capital, to create a political and social style for the new country and to give Americans a sense of their own national identity. A co-production with Twin Cities Public Television, Dolley Madison is being produced by Middlemarch Films, whose previous productions include Liberty! The American Revolution, and Alexander Hamilton.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Narrated by David Ogden Stiers
  • Directors: Muffie Meyer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037BBKX0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,729 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. Rieseck VINE VOICE on March 10, 2010
Format: DVD
This episode was the kick off episode to celebrate Women's History Month on PBS and I'm not sure that they could have picked a better woman to spotlight. She isn't as well known as some of the other famous female contributors to our country's history, but she was definitely influential. There were so many things that I loved about this episode - I'm just going to highlight a few of them.

* The actress who plays Dolley (Eve Best) looked almost perfect for the role and I really felt that she was Mrs. Madison. My only critique, and it was a funny one, was that in the movie they quoted some lines which described Dolley as having "jet black hair" and then you see Dolley (as portrayed by the actress), and she has a medium brown. But everything else was lovely. Jefferson Mays, who plays James Madison, looked a spitting image of the 4th President.

* The lines said by the characters are all taken from letters or other primary sources available. I think that this is awesome because you get to hear the opinions and actual words that these people said and thought at that time. They really don't put words in people's mouths! The episode juxtaposes the characters speaking historical words with the discussions of historical experts.

* The costumes and settings were gorgeous! It is clear that a lot of time was spent on clothing the characters. Dolley was known for her outfits and the costume designer lived up to my expectations.

A truly wonderful movie for anyone who wants to learn about a great woman in American history and a must for any Dolley Madison fan!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 27, 2010
Format: DVD
This 90 minute PBS DVD shows the life and accomplishments of Dolly Madison. She has to be in the top ten of least appreciated American historical figures and if you watch this DVD you will value her endeavors.
It begins with her 1889 funeral which does an excellent job of showing the love and admiration that she had. It closed down Washington and she was mourned all over the country. She created the job of first lady and really defined much of the president's political roles.
The dialogue is based on letters, diaries and writings of Dolly and those around her. This DVD unlike many others also does a good job in handling the `talking heads', where people are interviewed and you are left sitting there for minutes on end staring at them - instead they show the interviewee for a few seconds and then pictures, maps or the actors reenacting what is being covered.. At times the actors speak their character's words and opinions directly into the camera which lends a feeling of intimacy to the people they are playing.
Sadly the DVD does not have subtitles for the deaf. It contains special features on the costumes, Dolly's turbans, Woman's history. Congress and politics and Dolly's squeezes (her crowed political/social get-togethers)

This is an excellent video for schools or personal education/ entertainment for those interested in American history, woman's history or even the early political history of America
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scadhog on August 4, 2011
Format: DVD
"Dolley Madison" is yet another winner from the best documentary series ever, "The American Experience". Best known for saving George Washington's portrait when the British burned Washington during the War of 1812, Dolley did much more. She created the role of First Lady, and contributed greatly to the creation of Washington as the capital of the new nation. Politically astute, charming in manner, smart, strong-willed, she was the perfect political wife, giving support to her husband by working behind the scenes, and thus setting the pattern for many of the First ladies to follow.

Commentary by historians and writers are intermixed with dramatic reenactments of Dolley's life. Dialogue in these interludes is derived fro the writings of Dolley and other writers of the time, giving a verisimilitude lacking in many docudramas. Eve Best gives a tremendous performance as Dolley that brings to life this charming and influential woman.

Like almost everything from "The American Experience", this is a terrific example of a documentary that makes learning about history accessible and enjoyable, and that helps us better understand what made the USA the country that it is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Regina C. Salvati on February 24, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The way this tale unfolds is genius. It is an excellent example of how a story should be told. I've watched it numerous times, I can even recite some of the dialoge! A must see for any American interested in the founding of our country and the shaping of our capital; Washington.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bill Shaffer on December 26, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
DOLLEY MADISON has one of the most unusal stories of any great historical figure. She was truly well loved. This superb documentary from the PBS American Masters series was excellent. Highly recommended!
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By Leigh M Gearhart on December 17, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I seen this on PBS and had to get it. The acting is excellent. Its full of information i never knew about Dolly Madison. Its a great watch.
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