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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2007
This is the 2-disk set of Eleanor & Franklin, "The Early Years" and "The White House Years." The DVD's present the story of how these two strong individuals met and fell in love and how they survived a tumultous marriage. This would be at a time when the world would face the greatest war in history.

Eleanor & Franklin is a 1976-77 production and runs 6 hours. The series was made for HBO at what must have cost a king's ransom. Costumes, scenery, vintage cars, and all the rest--production values are at the highest level. Yes, the Roosevelts were from the upper crust of American society and lived privileged lives. But they sacrificed a lot for their country in its greatest hour of need as these dramatizations show so well.

Casting is superb. Jane Alexander plays Eleanor Roosevelt and Edward Hermann plays her cousin and later, husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). The outside jacket of the DVD set says the miniseries won 18 Emmys back in the 1970's. After viewing it recently for the first time, I wonder how the series didn't win more. It is a true masterpiece.

In the early-1940's, Benito Mussolini is supposed to have scoffed at the idea of FDR leading the U. S. in a world war. Mussolini ridiculed FDR as a paralytic who could never lead his country to victory. Not long after, Mussolini and his criminal partner, Adolph Hitler, would eat those words. FDR's knowledge of world history and past wars, his experience in the military and in government, and his courage and resolve in the face of evil were exactly what was needed.

For all his flaws as a man, I shudder to think what might have happened had FDR not been U. S. President during this time. Without question, his partnership with Winston Churchill saved Western Civilization. Through it all, Eleanor was his supporter and confidant, although you might wonder at times if he deserved her.

Anyone interested in the 1930's and 40's and the tremendous world conflict known as World War II needs to add this bargain-priced set to his library. These DVD's will provide insight one can get nowhere else.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The ABC Miniseries of 1976/1977 has been transfered, and to my eyes the color has been restored, so they both look as good as the original presentations. A plus is that they are presented in a widescreen version. I have never seen them in that presentation format. HBO has does an excellent job on these TV films - I hope they work on other old TV films! And who can argue with a price - two top notch discs for a price one paid for the original DVD release of THE EARLY YEARS! The story of the Roosevelts based on the Lash book presented in an excellent story transfer to film.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2007
In comparison with Warm Springs, Franklin was a complete different man in this movie. Outstanding performances by all actors. This movie was highly captivating. This movie helps you to understand Eleanor Roosevelt and what she went through in her marriage to Franklin. Great movie!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2008
I have always been fascinated with the US Presidency and the women behind these powerful men. In 1976, this wonderfully written and well acted movie appeared on network television during that memorable Bicentennial year. So sad that today's children know little or nothing about history because "Reality" trite and crime ridden dramas have succeeded in the "dumbing" of America. This historical gem takes us from the beginning to the end of the strong partnership and lives of the FDR's. The uncanny resemblance of actor Edward Hermann to FDR is stunning and Jane Alexander gives a brilliant performance as Eleanor who was reserved and painfully shy, however, she blossoms under the tutelage of Mme. Souvestre while at boarding school and goes on to become our beloved First Lady. She worked just as tirelessly as her husband in getting the country through the dark days of the Depression and WWII. I have such great respect for the memory of this great lady who overcame alot, her parents early deaths, FDR's philandering, and the loss of a child among other things. This movie is a great family film and history lesson all rolled into one great collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2008
I was thrilled to see that this landmark television movie, originally broadcast on ABC more than 30 years ago, is available on DVD. I was truly surprised at the low price for the set, which includes not only ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN, but the follow-up telefilm ELEANOR AND FRANKLIN: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS. Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann are unforgettable as the Roosevelts, and they are surrounded by an exceptional cast of fine character actors, including Ed Flanders, Rosemary Murphy, Mackenzie Phillips (in a superb turn as the teenage ER)and Linda Kelsey. This is some of the best television of the 1970's, always involving and quite moving. It is Jane Alexander, in her extraordinary tour de force as the adult ER, who proves with her work here that she was one of the finest, and most underrated actresses of her generation. This is top-notch work that surely rivals any of the great big-screen leading roles of the decade.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2007
I first saw this on television thirty years ago. At that time I did not know as much about FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt as I know today. I enjoyed the episodes then, but I am enjoying them much more fully now that I know the history of that period. The performances of the actors and actresses are superb. The scenery, locations and sets are lavish. This video shows the human side and the tragedies that the Roosevelts faced and the strength and courage that they gave the country and the world at a time when it was needed so badly. The early part of the video might not make much sense if you don't know the history of the families, but this is such a great performance and lesson in history that I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2007
I am a history buff and love movies that have anything to do with American history. To me, Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt were 2 of the most interesting, if not the most interesting, people of the 20th century. The book that this movie was based on is the best book that I've read that deals with the 2 of them as a couple. I loved this movie when it originally aired as a mini-series and had been looking for it periodically for several years on dvd. It is still just as good as I remembered it. If you are interested at all in Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt, I highly recommend this movie.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2007
The original miniseries were 200m and 156m respectively, and the "product details" on this DVD omit the running time of the discs, so I am buying them on faith that they haven't been butchered to fit. Both movies were excellent, and I hope they survived the transfer intact.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2010
'Eleanor and Franklin' is a wonderful miniseries excellently acted by the principals Jane Alexander as Eleanor and Edward Hermann as FDR. 'The Early Years' is especially striking and uses wonderful on location photography of FDR's homes in Hyde Park, New York and Warm Springs, Georgia. The elliptical way the story is done in the first part is also well done. The funeral train of FDR is portrayed in a very historically accurate fashion and in flashbacks Eleanor remembers her tough childhood and her courtship by FDR.

The story being based on Joseph Lash's Pulitzer Prize winning book 'Eleanor and Franklin' is told ,like the book, from Eleanor's perspective. I think the series does wonderfully in humanizing these larger than life characters. It handles the depiction of FDR's battle with Polio very well and in a moving fashion. Another performance of note is the late Ed Flanders excellent, funny portrayal of key FDR adviser Louis Howe. He really handles this juicy character role with aplomb in 'The Early Years'. In the 'The White House Years' this part is played by another actor and he is not quite as memorable as the Flanders portrait of Howe, who was such a key figure in both Roosevelt's life. Also worth mentioning is the evocative score by John Barry. The score sets the tone and mood of the story very well.

The DVD has excellent picture and sound. The picture is really quite splendid for a TV miniseries from the '70s and the DVD has excellent color reproduction. There are also scene selections. The DVD does not contain any other extras which is a pity because I would have liked to have heard more from Jane Alexander and Edward Hermann on what is was like playing these amazing historical characters. Viewers left wanting more visual info are encouraged to obtain the DVD of the PBS American Experience episode on FDR from 1994.

All viewers should try to visit some of the personal locations depicted in the miniseries if ever given the chance. Warm Springs, Georgia has the Little White House preserved and has a great museum. It is a must visit for any Presidential buff. Hyde Park, New York has the FDR presidential library and the big house preserved plus Eleanor's beloved residence Val-Kill and Campobello Island has excellently preserved the summer home the Roosevelts lived in for many years and is the house where Franklin had to suffer through his battle with the dreaded Polio disease. These places are amazing and make the real life stories come to life.

I give the 'Eleanor and Franklin Double Feature' an emphatic A+
Highly recommended!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2009
This story of Eleanor and FDR is simply a masterpeice in every way. The quality of the transfer is second to none. The story both written and told with so much sensitivity their love of history of the WW2 period shines through in every word. I remember the series when it first aired in the 1970's and I saw the price. I figured they butchered the movies or the transfer was aweful. I was wrong on both counts. The DVD transfer was beyond first rate.

The run time for The Early Years is 204 Minutes.

The run time for The White House Years is 156 Minutes.

While there is no way to pardon FDR's love affair with his peice of fluff on the side, I understood the man. FDR was wheelchair bound. This young beautiful secretary was interested in him back when he was a scrapping virile able bodied man full of energy and hormones. Nice as she was on the eyes, this scretary was no where near FDR's intellectual equal. FDR especially after his cotracting polio needed the rich intellectual stimulation only a lady of quality like Eleanor could give. FDR's love of Eleanor was sexual but it was vitally intellectual. Eleanor was FDR's safe harbor and unfortunately he took her role for granted.

The DVD shares all the raw emotions with you. If shares good points and bad. If offers insights into the country and world at these most trying of times. This is one of the best DVD I sets have ever seen at this level of quality. Generally everything HBO sells is overpriced but for the quality this DVD set is actually the best bargain I can remember going from HBO. This is not just history it is love story told by people who also love history and that blend is unbeatable!
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