Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Give 'em Hell, Harry! [VHS]
Automotive Deals HPCC Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Lori Mckenna Fire TV Stick Health, Household and Grocery Back to School Handmade school supplies Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer angrybirds angrybirds angrybirds  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Segway miniPro

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
17
5 star
88%
4 star
12%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
Format: VHS Tape|Change
Price:$79.90+ $3.99 shipping

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

One of the more unusual Oscar nominations in Hollywood history was James Whitmore for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1976 for "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!" Whitmore's performance as Harry S Truman (remember the "S" does not stand for anything so it does not have a period after it as an initial) was captivating enough that Margaret Truman Daniel told the press, "My God, it's my father," so the nomination was not unusual because it was undeserved. But the "film" he was nominated for was a filmed stage performance. Whitman was doing the one-man show of the play by Samuel Gallu and it was decided to record it for television (Peter Hunt directed the stage production while the film was under the direction of Steve Binder).

It is hard to believe that when Harry Truman left the White House he had the lowest approval rating of any president on record (polling was not done before World War II obviously or Herbert Hoover would lead the list). But by the time he died Harry Truman had risen considerably in the estimation of his fellow citizens who saw politicians the likes of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon in the White House. An honest, plain spoken man like Harry Truman, who never wanted to be president in the first place, suddenly had a great deal of appeal.

The drama is broken down into two acts (plays have intermissions you know). The first covers Truman's strange path to the presidency, starting with him in the "Oval Room" of the White House before taking us in turn to the United States Senate in 1937, the front yard of the Truman home in Independence, the Vosages Mountains of France during World War I, Jackson County Court House in 1931, Sedlia in 1940 and Lee's Summit, Missouri in 1924 as Truman faces down a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. The second act focuses on the high points of his years in the White House, starting with the meeting with General Douglas MacArthur on Wake Island in 1950 and his speech attacking Joseph McCarthy as Symphony Hall in Boston in 1952, before going back to his famous Whistle Stop Campaigns in the election of 1948 aboard "The Ferdinand Magellan" and the "Victory Special." We end with a walking press conference in Washington, D.C., circa 1948-52 before Truman retires from private life.

Whitmore certainly gets the Truman smile down and you will not be surprised that they manage to work in the famous shot of Truman holding up the headline of the "Chicago Daily Tribune" which erroneously announced "Dewey Defeats Truman," complete with the flashing light-bulbs. By the way, did you know that the famous shot is actually an extremely cropped photograph? You do not think of famous shots as being cropped, but this one, like the flag raising at Iowa Jima, are in that category.

Even those who know of Truman only from the little that they have read about him in the history books will be captivated by the man Whitmore reveals in his wonderful performance. They will even appreciate the value of cussing under certain circumstances, such as troops starting to run when they come under German artillery attack or a newspaper critic writing something not nice about your daughter in the newspaper. After a while you will forget that it is not Harry Truman but James Whitmore, turning in one of the finest one-man performances seen since Hal Holbrook nailed the mark with his Mark Twain (We saw Holbrook doing "Mark Twain Tonight!" earlier this year and what is so impressive is that he has dozens of bits down and he picks which ones to do each day and as the performance goes along).

The stage version of "Give Em Hell, Harry!" is still performed and the last I heard Kevin McCarthy ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers") was doing it on tour and if you ever get a chance to see "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!" or any other one-man show, give yourself a treat and go see it. The one-man show has become a rarity these days, but I have yet to see one that was not worth the watching. ovations.
11 comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 22, 2000
The video of James Whitmore's one-man-show "Give 'Em Hell Harry" is a modern classic. It was recorded over 20 years ago, but it has lost nothing. In the play President Harry Truman tells the audience anecdotes about his life. If Truman was half as funny as Whitmore portrays him, then he probably had the best sense of humor of any American President in history. But Whitmore's portrayal also gives us new insights into the America of our parents and grandparents. The video is incredible.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 15, 2006
I'm not sure Harry Truman got as worked up as James Whitmore sometimes did in his one man show Give 'em Hell Harry. He may be guilty of over-acting but that makes for great theater, which is exactly what this was, a live performance from 1975. Not too much new has been revealed since then except for several excellent biographies & a rising feeling that Truman was a near-great president. The resemblance is amazing. There is some artful editing, but there appears to be three acts.

The first takes place early in his administration in the oval office & back home mowing the lawn in Independence. He reminisces about his early life, his action in World WarI & early years in politics. He lived in his mother-in-laws home most of his adult life, except when he lived in Washington D.C. The second act is late into his aministration & he is in the process of firing Gen. McArthur. His favorite year in politics was 1948 when he beat Dewey & the Republicans against all odds. He revered Gen. George Marshall, liked Hebert Hoover, hated McArthur, disliked Ike. He called Richard Nixon a liar, didn't care much for JFK & was disappointed with Adali Stevenson. He scourged Joe McCarthy & called him a drunk. This play is all around informative, entertaining & profane. James Whitmore did Harry Truman proud.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 19, 2002
This movie is a great one . It is historically accurate - one quick history lesson actually - and at the same time is fun to watch. Whitmore's portrayal of Harry Truman is fantastic. It gels (mostly) with all the biographies of the president I have read. SOME GREAT ACTING. IMAGINE ONE ACTOR KEEPING AN AUDIENCE AMUSED AND INTERESTED FOR THIS PERIOD OF TIME !!!! The career of most heros dont last that long these days !!!!!
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
One of the more unusual Oscar nominations in Hollywood history was James Whitmore for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1976 for "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!" Whitmore's performance as Harry S Truman (remember the "S" does not stand for anything so it does not have a period after it as an initial) was captivating enough that Margaret Truman Daniel told the press, "My God, it's my father," so the nomination was not unusual because it was undeserved. But the "film" he was nominated for was a filmed stage performance. Whitman was doing the one-man show of the play by Samuel Gallu and it was decided to record it for television (Peter Hunt directed the stage production while the film was under the direction of Steve Binder).

It is hard to believe that when Harry Truman left the White House he had the lowest approval rating of any president on record (polling was not done before World War II obviously or Herbert Hoover would lead the list). But by the time he died Harry Truman had risen considerably in the estimation of his fellow citizens who saw politicians the likes of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon in the White House. An honest, plain spoken man like Harry Truman, who never wanted to be president in the first place, suddenly had a great deal of appeal.

The drama is broken down into two acts (plays have intermissions you know). The first covers Truman's strange path to the presidency, starting with him in the "Oval Room" of the White House before taking us in turn to the United States Senate in 1937, the front yard of the Truman home in Independence, the Vosages Mountains of France during World War I, Jackson County Court House in 1931, Sedlia in 1940 and Lee's Summit, Missouri in 1924 as Truman faces down a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan. The second act focuses on the high points of his years in the White House, starting with the meeting with General Douglas MacArthur on Wake Island in 1950 and his speech attacking Joseph McCarthy as Symphony Hall in Boston in 1952, before going back to his famous Whistle Stop Campaigns in the election of 1948 aboard "The Ferdinand Magellan" and the "Victory Special." We end with a walking press conference in Washington, D.C., circa 1948-52 before Truman retires from private life.

Whitmore certainly gets the Truman smile down and you will not be surprised that they manage to work in the famous shot of Truman holding up the headline of the "Chicago Daily Tribune" which erroneously announced "Dewey Defeats Truman," complete with the flashing light-bulbs. By the way, did you know that the famous shot is actually an extremely cropped photograph? You do not think of famous shots as being cropped, but this one, like the flag raising at Iowa Jima, are in that category.

Even those who know of Truman only from the little that they have read about him in the history books will be captivated by the man Whitmore reveals in his wonderful performance. They will even appreciate the value of cussing under certain circumstances, such as troops starting to run when they come under German artillery attack or a newspaper critic writing something not nice about your daughter in the newspaper. After a while you will forget that it is not Harry Truman but James Whitmore, turning in one of the finest one-man performances seen since Hal Holbrook nailed the mark with his Mark Twain.

The play is still performed and the last I heard Kevin McCarthy ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers") was doing it on tour and if you ever get a chance to see "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!" or any other one-man show, give yourself a treat and go see it. The one-man show has become a rarity these days, but I have yet to see one that was not worth the watching. In fact, Hal Holbrook is coming to the Zenith City this season to do "Mark Twain Tonight."
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 24, 2010
I saw this as a kid and when I saw it on Amazon, I had to have it. While my wife is not a big fan of solo acts, anyone that appreciates the time involved with a one-man act at this length - as well as being a fan of the late James Whitmore - will most definitely love this video.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 5, 2001
I have viewed this play for several years now, and it only gets better each time I see it. James Whitmore does an excellent job as President Harry S Truman. The way that he (Whitmore) narrates the life and events of the president, as the president is something I have never seen before. My only regret to this movie is that I wasn't in the audience when the play went on tour in 1976. I would reccomend this video/play to all history and Truman buffs alike.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 22, 2009
THe first time I saw Give 'Em Hell, Harry was twenty years ago on some independent TV station at midnight when I was channel surfing. I was intrigued and taped it on my VCR for later review. I am quite glad that I did, as I watched that movie probably a hundred times before the tape wore out. Not only James Whitemore's best performance, but also the most realistic depiction of Harry Truman that I've ever seen. I hope that this is released on DVD or Blu-Ray at some point in the future, as it's definitely one of my top ten favorite movies, and quite difficult to find now that it's out of print.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 11, 2010
James Whitmore is Harry Truman in this stage show. I saw this years ago, loved it then and enjoyed it just as much this time. I think you need to know something about Truman to get the most from this show. A superior biography by David McCullough is "Truman."

http://www.amazon.com/Truman-David-McCullough/dp/0671869205Truman/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268304100&sr=1-4

The film Truman should be transferred to DVD. This is a classic and timeless production.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 14, 2010
First and only time I had seen this was the movie version a LONG time ago. Tripped across the title while on Amazon and ordered the tape. Worth every cent !! Of course after HD tv and discs the quality is not so hot but the performance, subject, and Whitmore are priceless. Hope it comes out on Bluray.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.