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A House Divided [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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(Nov 14, 2000)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Waterston, Jennifer Beals, LisaGay Hamilton, Tim Daly, Shirley Douglas
  • Directors: John Kent Harrison
  • Writers: Kent Anderson Leslie, Paris Qualles
  • Producers: Beth Colt, Fritzi Horstman, Jon Avnet, Jordan Kerner, Phyllis Rossheim
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: November 14, 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004XPQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,630 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Before Daniel Day-Lewis starred in Steven Spielberg's eponymous big screen film, this superb made-for-tv movie was arguably the most rewarding dramatization of the 16th (and greatest) American president's tempestuous, tragic, yet loving relationship with long-suffering wife Mary Todd (played intriguingly against type here by probably too beautiful Jennifer Beals). Sam Waterston stars as The Great Emancipator, in a role he was seemingly born to play.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I can't say enough good things about this low-budget gem. Fine acting and a gripping plot make this a must see. Based on the story of a mulatto girl who returns to her father's plantation to take back what is hers, this tale uncovers many an ugly skeleton in America's closet. It shows better than any other drama(Amistad included!), the refined cruelties of slavery and the obnoxious ideology behind it. The girl, Miss Dickson, returns to a post-civil war Georgia beseiged with a bigotry almost as appalling as slavery itself. Denied the land and house rightfully left to her by her slave-master father(superbly portrayed by the stellar Sam Waterson), she enlists the help of a noble lawyer, who dares to serve justice and not Jim Crow. Together, they trudge towards a final victory which takes Miss Dickson back through the ravages and diappointments of time, where ever since childhood, her 'blackness' and mother's identity have been kept in secret. The film does an amazing job of mixing the past with the present, making them appear indivisible. Resented and rejected by the other slaves, she tries to 'pass' into the white world, which ultimately scorns her, once her 'secret' is divulged. The Miss must confront who she is and that means acknowledging and accepting her slave mother. These scenes between mother and daughter are particuarly poignant and moving. The film shows just how much degradation you had to endure if you were a black woman in 19th century America. Perhaps the best performance of the film was that of Julia, Miss Dickson's mother. The dignity of her character still managed to shine, despite all the endless humiliation she had to suffer.Read more ›
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Format: VHS Tape
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I loved the candor with which the film portrays the characters and struggles they endured in the face of unflinching opposition. Although, these events took place during very racially charged times Miss Julia, Miss Dickson and Mr. Daly quitely and courageously pursued and obtained justice. I was pleasantly and refreshingly surprised to get to the end of the movie and find it based on a true story!
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Talk about living history... I've read all the books about this family and I live in the house David built for his daughter Amanda in 1871. I can look out my window and see the spot where David's childhood home once stood. I even met Jennifer Beals when she came to see the house and the land. Although not filmed here, the movie was great - although it did take a little dramatic license. It was known Julia held a very high position of authority, very rare for a woman, much less a black slave woman. It was also apparent David felt much love for his bi-racial daughter Amanda. Only two people know the truth of nature of the relationship between David and Julia that brought Amanda into existence, if indeed David was the father. (He was married for several years and never produced children.) If you're into historical drama, especially dealing with the relationship between slave and slave owner, watch it. If you like the movie, read Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege by Kent Anderson Leslie for an even more intriguing tale.
Comment 9 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
The film "A House Divided" is comparable to an excellent television movie. Half of it is a courtroom drama, and the other half is a family drama that centers on a white master, the slave he rapes, and the child that is the result. It is performed convincingly and movingly by all the actors, both principal and secondary. I don't understand why it is not available in DVD. It is, in my opinion, a movie worth owning. For more information on the Dickson family, read the book upon which the film is based.
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I initially watched this movie on tv when it first came out or at least around when it first came out w/o know the name of the movie. It took me LITERALLY YEARS to find this movie (which I just found a couple of minutes ago) and I'm in disbelief that it's only available on VHS through others. It NEEDS to be on DVD! It's one of the best movies I have been fortunate to see. Great story, drama, realistic relation to the characters, great cast...I mean I just can't say enough.
I want to own this movie! :( it's defintely worth your time watching.
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By A Customer on December 28, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I really enjoyed this movie. It is based on a true story. David Dickson is a brave man who willed his fortune to his daughter. His daughter was the product of an affair with his slave. He angered his family and the town that he lived in but justice prevailed and his daughter was giving the fortune that rightfully belonged to her. The movie offers an intriguing view of the times before and after the civil war and it is a great testament to the love a father has for his daughter. This is a great movie worth watching.
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By Sherri on April 22, 2013
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Love this movie only wish it was on DVD format. The quality of the product is okay for a VHS format but could have been clearer. I guess with HD/Blu-ray now the new viewing format, VHS is not the way to go. Still enjoyed the movie since I haven't been able to find it anywhere else.
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