A Few Words About A few words about... Ken Burns American Lives

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Its an important thing that Ken Burns documentaries don't go out of print, or if they do, not for a long period.

    Now seven of his PBS produced biographies are being re-issued as a boxed set via Paramount, which has taken over distribution rights for his work.

    Mr. Burns, who many consider to be the Pare Lorenz of our era, has dedicated himself to the documentary form for almost a quarter century. The majority of his films are considered modern classics. I doubt that anyone who has ever turned a television dial has missed at least a part of The Civil War or Baseball.

    This set, which arrives on October 18, at a twenty dollar savings over seperate purchases is inclusve of the following titles:

    Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
    Horatio's Drive
    Mark Twain
    The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony
    Frank Lloyd Wright
    Lewis & Clark
    Thomas Jefferson

    For the uninitiated, these are magnificently produced documentaries, worthy of one's time and attention, and if not a bargain, at least a very fair price as offered in the boxed set.

    RAH
     
  2. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Cheers for keeping us updated about Ken Burns

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I can vouch for the Lloydd Wright and Jack Johnson programs, 2 of the finest I've seen. It speaks well for a film maker when some one like me who has never liked to watch or play Baseball can sit an enjoy all 10 parts of Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary!

    I do think his "Jazz" doc is requires viewing.

    I'll have to consider picking this up! Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Harris!
     
  4. David Jay

    David Jay Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never seen any of Burns' stuff, but I've always been interested. I think I'm going to check a few of his works out, now that you've reminded me, Mr. Harris. Then, we'll have to see about this nice-looking set.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    I saw "Horatio's Drive" in one of my college classes, History of the Automobie in America just a few weeks ago. I didnt think I would be as hooked as I was watching it. A relatively unknown part of history, about America's first road trip in an automobile. Great stuff all the day, and was suprised to notice Tom Hanks voicing much of the documentary. [​IMG]
     
  6. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    As a Brit who isn't into jazz and doesn't really understand the more intricate aspects of baseball, I've hesitated about buying those two sets. But I do have The Civil War and The West, and these are magnificent. If anyone can convince me that I would enjoy the Baseball set even if I don't understand all the details of the rules, the jargon and the statistics, I might still take the plunge...
     
  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Bruce,

    I'm in many ways similiar to yourself with Baseball: I understand the rules, just hate the game, hate the way it takes up too much TV time, hate playing it.

    That said, I picked up a few volumes of the KB doc from the library after seeing and enjoying "Civil War", and found them to be just as interesting and gripping as that documentary. It a realy personalized look at the sport, but like his other documentaries, is really a history of America itself. It goes through the origins of Baseball, the Nergro leages, breaking the color barrier, etc all the while showing how American society as a whole changed with it. The stories where great and I found myself burning through the ten or so volume pretty fast.

    JAZZ was pretty similar for me,as I have only a passing interest in the music. But the characters and the stories they tell are really facinating, and it's just as gripping as Baseball and Cival War was.

    I bought Jazz, just a really entertaining doc, haven't bough Baseball yet, waiting for a better price.
     
  8. andrew markworthy

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    Bruce, as a fellow Brit I've always tended to regard baseball as glorified rounders with over-paid players. I've tried watching games as live after recording them off satellite TV and I really cannot see what the fuss is about. However, the Ken Burns' documentary series is still fascinating. To a non-American it may not perhaps have the same appeal as e.g. The Civil War, but it's still highly watchable. And I think that is the sign of a great documentary maker. I suspect the guy could probably make reading out the contents of the phone directory interesting.

    Now if only we could persuade Mr Burns to do a similar series on cricket ...
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Count me in as a big fan of Ken Burns.

    The very first documentary of his I saw
    was "Mark Twain." In fact, I reviewed it
    a long time ago and through a search came
    up with it HERE

    Since then I have enjoyed his Civil War documentary.

    I would wholeheartedly recommend anything by
    the man. He has a way of telling a story and
    completely involving the viewer in it, as if it
    were happening before his/her own eyes.
     
  10. scottS

    scottS Extra

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    As a story teller, I guess Burns is pretty good, though to me his technique seems kind of repetitive. As history I think his work leaves much to be desired.

    scott s.
    .
     

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