EbeneInfo – US – Burns ‘Civil War’ Still Sets the Bar for Documentaries


Filmmaker Ken Burns speaks during the PBS segment of the Television Critics Association Summer 2019 Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Amy Sussman / Getty Images)

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Sunday, November 8, 2020 8:19 a.m.
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Originally airing 30 years ago last September, producer / director Ken Burns’ « The Civil War » not only set a new bar for documentary making, but it remains the most watched production on the history of PBS

Divided into nine episodes of 690 minutes in length, it has been comprehensively researched, meticulously detailed, and designed in a viewer-friendly manner, largely missing the starchy approach of most documentary productions before or since

Calling it the greatest achievement in non-fictional television history wouldn’t be an exaggeration

With the exception of modern interviews and a handful of ambient live shots, « The Civil War » consists entirely of stills accompanied by voiceovers, carefully measured sound effects and a score. meticulously crafted backing of vintage and original music

Narrated with understated authority and grace (as he has done with other PBS documentaries) by award-winning writer / historian David McCullough (author of « John Adams », « Truman ») by Pulitzer Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom, the production also features an eclectic mix of vocal talent from a multitude of creative disciplines

Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Irons, Philip Bosco and Laurence Fishburne were among the most prominent « famous » actors

The writers’ voices included Arthur Miller, Studs Terkel, Kurt Vonnegut, Garrison Keeler and George Plimpton Among the musicians featured were John Hammond, Hoyt Axton and Ronnie Gilbert Among others, former board member Jimmy Carter Jody Powell gave the voice of General Stonewall Jackson

Of those polled, lesser-known historian Shelby Foote received the most screen time and viewer commentary A native of Mississippi, Foote had already written a long, three-part Civil War story totaling over a million words

He underlines the feeling of defeat still felt by Southerners but does so without any animosity or bile. Writers will appreciate his use of the words « momentum » and « dash » in the same sentence

Other historians interviewed include Ed Bearss, Stephen Oates, William Safire, James Symington, and Barbara Fields, professor at Columbia University

It was during the latter part of the final installment that Fields – probably unknowingly at the time – somewhat predicted a possible and inevitable sequel / sequel to the war.

What Fields does not mention is that neither the Constitution nor its 13th Amendment guarantees « happiness » but offers « the pursuit of happiness » to all Americans

The narrative flourishes that served Burns so well in « The Civil War » have been repeated by him with much less effect in the following productions, including but not limited to: « Baseball (1994), «  » Thomas Jefferson (1997), «  » Mark Twain « (2001), » The War « (2007), » The National Parks « (2009) and » The Vietnam War « (2017)

It was only during his prodigious efforts « Jazz » (2001) and « Country Music » (2019) that Burns broke free from the format he had not introduced but ultimately refined and which is actually now called « the Ken Burns effect » of film making

Beginning with mere muffled whispers in the spring and growing louder since then, talks of a looming second American Civil War appear to be gathering momentum on several fronts, with none of the speeches resembling the cause (s) to the origin of the first

If there is a modern civil war it will not be because of state rights or the long settled issue of slavery It will not be between north and south or race or even the rich and the poor, but rather between those who want to support and defend the U’s nearly 250-year-old constitution and those who want to turn the country into a Marxist state

On November 3 (and weeks before), Americans went to the polls in record numbers and it turned out that the process was working as it should until the early hours of Wednesday Nov 4, when the vote counters in four major cities in the Swing State (Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta) called it a night for reasons that are still unclear

To be clear, officials in Atlanta have claimed that the halt in their count was due to a broken water pipe

At the time of this apparent coordinated shutdown, President Trump was largely leading in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia

It’s also worth noting that Joe Biden has underperformed in every major US city won by former Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton except those mentioned above

This is unprecedented on every possible level and regardless of how the election ultimately unfolds The American people need and deserve an answer as to why this failed and who orchestrated it

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The arrival under cover of darkness of hundreds of thousands of « new » ballots (including a batch where all 138,000 went to Biden) only heightens rodent suspicion, the appearance falsification and malfeasance when testing (beyond belief) the reasonable laws of probability and result

If Burns is looking for a new project, a documentary on the most controversial presidential election of our lives, if not all of the history of the country, would be an ideal choice

Given the likelihood that there won’t be a final word on all of this for weeks, if not months, there is plenty of time to start preparing

A native of Washington, D « C, Michael Clark has written for more than 30 local and national media outlets, is currently the only press-based film critic to provide original content to the Atlanta 10 Media Market and co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in 2017 Over the past 25 years, Mr. Clark has written over 4,000 film reviews and film-related articles and is one of the few conservative-minded film critics Read Michael Clark’s reports – More here

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Ken Burns, The Civil War, PBS

EbeneInfo – United States – Burns « Civil war » still sets the bar for documentaries

Source: https://www.newsmax.com/michaelclark/burns-grant-jackson/2020/11/08/id/995979/

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