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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Vietnam War -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Even though I lived through the era, I never truly understood the facts behind what occurred. For at least the earlier years, I was too young to understand.

Later, it became a social touchstone, and point of division, even among friends, equating in some ways to our current political situation.

Domestically, no matter on which side of the situation one's political feelings fell, it was such a confusing time, that for at least those who attempted to understand, respect had to be accorded both sides. Whether one joined the military, and supported the fight, were drafted, or fought to end the war at home, the only incorrect position was to disrespect those who served.

And that occurred far too often.

When I first heard about the ongoing production of this extraordinary, Ken Burns / Lynn Novick documentary, I tried to understand why 18 hours might be necessary. Even for limited series TV broadcast standards, that's a great deal of production time for a documentary.

To place this in perspective, The Civil War runs 700 minutes, The War 900, Jazz 1095, and Baseball 1380.

After viewing several episodes, what becomes obvious, it that due to the long history, and complexity of the subject, the time expended
is necessary. Not only that, but here's no fat here.

The other point of interest is that this series has been in production for years, and was obviously taken extremely seriously.

This could have been the last time to interview those who were involved on the many sides.

Those extraordinary interviews represent every possible perspective. For those with an interest in the reality of history, the series is all encompassing, documentary nirvana.

Never taking sides, and clearly explaining every salient point about the long multi-national conflict, Florentine's presentation of The Vietnam War is that rarity, that can probably never be either equalled or bettered.

There is never that moment of "I wished they'd coverd this, or that aspect."

As a pure history lesson, it brings to mind, terrible political decisions made without the clarity of knowledge, understanding of history, or even the ability to view cinema (such as Lawrence of Arabia, when it comes to the Middle East), and learn from the experience

From a pure tech perspective, the selection and reproduction of both moving and still images, represent the highest possible quality.

Seeing some of this rare footage, brings to mind a phone call I received decades ago, from a "sweet, young thing" representing the CIA, and doing a search for documentary motion picture footage showing America's early efforts in the use of military guerrilla tactics. It was apparently to be used in some internal film.

What she requested was actual footage of Revolutionary War colonial troops hiding behind trees and walls, and taking shots at those damned Redcoats.

When I explained that there were no motion pictures dating back to the late 18th century, she went for second best...

"Anything then, from the War of 1812?'

There is truth to Winston Churchill's comment "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Worth the price of admission?

Absolutely!

The Vietnam War is a miraculous, and magnificent document.

Hopefully, people will view and learn from it.

http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.co...led-their-epic-documentary-vietnam-war/619362


http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/op...e-america-under-trump/?utm_term=.df26fce75260

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/op...took-10-years-to-make/?utm_term=.b0ebc393c4db

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/op...ly-one-of-them-famous/?utm_term=.c1abca773942

https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/the-american-war/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.53da13f7c1c8

Image - 5

Audio - 5 (5.1)

Pass / Fail - Pass

Very Highly Recommended

RAH
 
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Flashgear

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Well said RAH, this series is worthy of the accolades...I personally thought also that 18 hours might not be enough time to do justice to all the multitude of complexities behind the history of the Vietnam era...we still don't understand it completely and have never fully recovered from the pain of that war...

Ken Burns is a scheduled guest on tonight's new Stephen Colbert.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I'm through disc 8 as I try not to binge watch this documentary as I try to take in the wealth of information and insight I'm being expose to. IMO, it's Ken Burn's best documentary mainly because of first hand experiences throughout the documentary.
 

sonomatom1

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RAH, any actual film footage of The Spanish Inquisition? Preferably in 4K? ;)

His recounting of that phone call with the young lady asking for Revolutionary War film footage would be funny if it wasn't so damn tragic. I don't when that phone call occurred, but it's obvious that the dumbing down of America started a long time ago. Heartbreaking.
 

Robert Harris

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His recounting of that phone call with the young lady asking for Revolutionary War film footage would be funny if it wasn't so damn tragic. I don't when that phone call occurred, but it's obvious that the dumbing down of America started a long time ago. Heartbreaking.

C. 1978. Actually, no reason she should have known. Merely an innocent. Many folks today think films were always color, and the ‘60s are when it all began.
 

Flashgear

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The young lady from the CIA who wanted to see actual film of the Revolutionary War and 1812 probably became a senior counterinsurgency analyst and maybe a Station Chief or even assistant Director of intelligence...it would have been interesting to see her degree credentials, don't imagine she wasn't a product of one of the country's prestigious universities...I have met a number of conceited people with graduate degrees from so called prestigious universities with equally shocking ignorance...people who struggle with even a pop culture understanding of the '80s or '90s...let alone historical events of the Jurassic Era such as Vietnam...what we thought of as common knowledge and common sense simply doesn't apply anymore...
 

Angelo Colombus

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I still remember as a teen watching the 1983 PBS 13 part series Vietnam: A Television History which i thought was very good and told both sides of the war. Watching this new series and so far it's well made and also more explicit which it needs to be. Will buy the blu-ray and put along with the other great series like The Civil War & The War.
 

Malcolm Bmoor

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It's sadly true about the absence of general knowledge amongst too many people and a university educated friend once asked me the meaning of MISOGYNIST.

There's a very very wonderful place here in London called THE CINEMA MUSEUM and it's essential visiting to all of our ilk who are devoted to films. It's in an old building at Kennington/Elephant & Castle and their spectacular auditorium is the chapel of the old Lambeth workhouse, where both Charles Chaplin and his mother were inmates.

http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/

They also have a phenomenal collection of rescued cinema equipment and memorabilia.

The first time I went there, for a birthday surprise tour, there was an introductary programme that included historical material. The curator then asked the audience when we thought the first colour moving pictures were created.

'Was it 1970 ?' asked a man in his twenties.

For anyone in London or planning a visit this is an essential experience, especially if you can attend one of the many special events of rare Silent material.
 

Robert Crawford

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It's sadly true about the absence of general knowledge amongst too many people and a university educated friend once asked me the meaning of MISOGYNIST.

There's a very very wonderful place here in London called THE CINEMA MUSEUM and it's essential visiting to all of our ilk who are devoted to films. It's in an old building at Kennington/Elephant & Castle and their spectacular auditorium is the chapel of the old Lambeth workhouse, where both Charles Chaplin and his mother were inmates.

http://www.cinemamuseum.org.uk/

They also have a phenomenal collection of rescued cinema equipment and memorabilia.

The first time I went there, for a birthday surprise tour, there was an introductary programme that included historical material. The curator then asked the audience when we thought the first colour moving pictures were created.

'Was it 1970 ?' asked a man in his twenties.

For anyone in London or planning a visit this is an essential experience, especially if you can attend one of the many special events of rare Silent material.
What does this have to do with The Vietnam War?????
 

Scott Merryfield

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IMO, it's the best Ken Burn's documentary, even better than The Civil War or Baseball.

I just borrowed the DVD set of The Civil War from a friend and began watching it -- we were discussing The Vietnam War film and he mentioned he had The Civil War. I think The Vietnam War works so well because it includes so many first hand accounts of what happened, along with actual film footage. So many of those interviews and footage were gut-wrenching to watch. That was not possible to do with The Civil War, for obvious reasons.

This may be the best documentary I have seen -- period. Not just from Ken Burns, but from any film maker.
 

Robert Crawford

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I just borrowed the DVD set of The Civil War from a friend and began watching it -- we were discussing The Vietnam War film and he mentioned he had The Civil War. I think The Vietnam War works so well because it includes so many first hand accounts of what happened, along with actual film footage. So many of those interviews and footage were gut-wrenching to watch. That was not possible to do with The Civil War, for obvious reasons.

This may be the best documentary I have seen -- period. Not just from Ken Burns, but from any film maker.
As I mentioned in the other The Vietnam War thread that is the reason why I think it's superior to The Civil War.
 

Ruz-El

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I'm not a Baseball fan. Never liked watching the game, loathed having to play it in school. Ken Burns documentary on Baseball is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

There is little doubt I'll be picking this one up.
 

Jonathan Perregaux

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I was born in 1966, which spared me from knowing much about this war growing up. Ignorance is bliss, one could say. But something in my little brain caught on that whatever the Vietnam War was, it was a strangely enduring mystery that nobody liked to talk about. Everyone talked about World War II. They made a sitcom out of The Korean War that ran longer than the war itself. But Vietnam? Hushed tones. Silence, anger, shame. I knew more about the American Civil War than I did about the Vietnam War.

I can say now that anything that could so wound a country deserves to be fully understood, its secrets laid bare. And this documentary nails it.

My parents watched a lot of evening news, glued to Walter Cronkite. His voice was a constant presence after sundown. Being a child in the single digits who had toys to play with, I did not follow any news and found it boring anyway. So I missed seeing the body counts, and therefore any discussion about what that meant. About all I can actually remember about this war was a constant discussion about "guerillas," which I did question once. That day, I learned that "gorillas" are largely peaceful animals, while "guerillas" were nasty guys in hats with guns who ran around jungles shooting folks for no good reason.

The first filmed account of the Vietnam War I ever saw outside of a newsreel was Apocalypse Now, and boy what a trip that was for a young teenager. (I never saw The Deer Hunter until later in life.) Suddenly I got an inkling that something serious, and not necessarily heroic, may have happened during this war. But it was just a movie, right?

Once the pseudo-comedies of Rambo and Missing in Action took hold, any attempt at depicting any sort of honesty was utterly squandered in the 1980's by Bugs Bunny antics. Only when I got to Oliver Stone's famous triptych (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Heaven & Earth) did I begin to get a better sense of what had happened. But those were still just fictional fantasies, just honing a little closer to truth than normal.

But now I have this Ken Burns documentary. Watching it was like seeing for the first time.

And yes, there were moments when I remembered random scenes from movies I have seen. Forrest Gump and napalm friendly-fire. Apocalypse Now and the Air Cavalry bearing down on targets from above. Full Metal Jacket preparations for Basic Training and shipping out overseas. Heaven & Earth, arguably the only 'Nam film to show life from the "other" side, with rows of angelic Vietnamese girls in white gowns living in a virtual Shangri-La countryside.

I may never look at those movies quite the same way again, though.

Perhaps I am doomed to have movies be my only real memory of this time. I may not have been entirely "there" in actuality. But this documentary certainly put me there, which I think is high praise indeed.
 

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