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The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns (Boxed Set)

African American Cinema, Boxed Sets, and Documentary movie

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Well filmed well acted well worth the price

  • Sep 7, 2001
Ken Burns first effort was simply a masterpiece. I am a history buff who had very little interest in the civil war. Mr. Burns changed that, (With some help from Shelby Foote.) The history is great. The actors for the voices were well picked, and most important the EDITING made this film. As I recall before this film it was rare that a picture featuring primarly stil photos. It started a flow of imitators.

This film like A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM was made a classic in the editing room. (And I'll wager nobody ever figured you could put these two films in a relevent sentence together.) The technique of focusing on a figure in a shot, then a second shot pulled back, then a final shot of the whole scene added drama (unlike Forum who's cuts added farce.) and brought the story alive.

Burns duplicated his winning ways in BASEBALL but this one stands above the rest as the trailblazer.

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Peter Ingemi ()
Ranked #262
   I am a blogger who hosts a Saturday evening Radio show on WCRN 830 AM out of Worcester Mass. I blog about politics, religion, baseball and doctor who at datechguy.wordpress.com I also cover … more
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About this movie


The most successful public-television miniseries in American history, the 11-hourCivil Wardidn'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 Waruses 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 McCoy
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Runtime: 680 minutes
Studio: Pbs Home Video

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