The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns
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(Sep 28, 2004)
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The Civil War A Film by Ken BurnsThe DVD features on The Civil War provide a wealth of insightcreative philosophy historical perspective and educational enjoyment.Twelve years after its premiere broadcast the film was given a digitalfacelift sharpening image clarity correcting color and enriching itssoundtrack with a remastered 5.1-channel mix as demonstrated in the"Civil War Reconstruction" featurette. In interviews from 2002producer-director Ken Burns historian Shelby Foote journalist GeorgeWill author Stanley Crouch and composer-musicians Jay Ungar and MollyMason reflect upon The Civil Wars enduring significance. AndBurnss eloquent commentary--selectively included on each disc andtotaling five hours--illuminates the historical importance and creativeimpulse behind crucial chapters of the film. Fifty-seven onscreenbiography cards detail important North South and civilian figuresand two 1990 featurettes"Making History" and "A Conversation with KenBurns"--provide a more personal perspective on the creation of thisextraordinary film. Useful for both personal and academic study thesefeatures stand as a fitting supplement to one of the greatestdocumentaries ever produced.
The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. --Dave McCoySee all Editorial Reviews
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The method of presenting the material remains haunting to this day including slow zooms into and out of period pictures combined with the real words of the people of the time spoken by the voices of people we known today. Especially enjoyable and impactful is the period music which truly drives the story telling...and this is first rate story telling.
If one is not familiar with the conflict or wishes a good introduction, this is it. Follow that up by any of the books by Bruce Catton or James Macpherson.
Great vintage photographs which have rarely been viewed come alive in these episodes.. As the Civil War gets smaller and smaller in our rearview mirror of life, it is very important that we have a library of video content which will always be available to remind us of the circumstances that led up to the event and finally the conclusion of same.
Another documentary that Burns produced was on baseball. This is truly a winner with live footage of some of the games' greats. If Ken Burns is connected with a project, consider that project as golden. It is a must to have.
But this documentary reads like a novel and will be very meaningful in shaping your opinions.
comments made by the great Civil War historian, the late Shelby Foote. The comments are often made from a southern perspective and that is something that is not very often done. He has penned his own Civil War history which took the best part of two decades to complete and is available nearly everywhere books are sold. This presentation brings the whole aspect alive, and you can see that people then varied very little from people now, the exceptions being they were much better spoken and a lot more formal than we are now. We can really feel the passion of people like Mary Chestnut, who was a proper southern lady and a die-hard, Yankee hating Confederate, who pledged to keep a daily journal all the way from beginning to the end of the conflict. It shows the great cultural divide between North and South, with slavery being but one of the very important issues which led to the conflagration between the states. This series is worth your time and attention as it completely explains the "how" and "why" this whole event has occurred. It also demonstrates the horror and utter uselessness of war as a solution to our problems. Unfortunately, it takes both sides of the argument to come to that conclusion, which is very often not the case. See and enjoy, see and be saddened, but above all, see the series.