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Documentary


The Century-America's Time (Boxed Set) [VHS]

The Century-America's Time (Boxed Set) [VHS] Lowest new price: $27.50
Lowest used price: $8.35
List price: $74.99

Covering the entire 20th century in one video series is an ambitious project, but one that Peter Jennings and ABC News are up to. In The Century: America's Time, a 12-part documentary on six videotapes that is a companion to the book of the same name, Jennings guides us through a century of technology and advancement like no other. As he says in his introduction to episode 1, "Seeds of Change," "Unlike previous centuries where leadership was defined by royalty and other rulers, the 20th century more than any other was shaped by the will and actions of the common man." The series is a sweeping presentation of the United States of the 1900s and tries to encompass a mind-boggling amount of history. And while at moments the videos may leave you longing for more, Jennings does an excellent job of creating smooth segues between disparate pieces.

The first episode, for instance, begins with the influx of immigrants at the turn of the century and touches on Jim Crow laws, moving pictures, planes, Henry Ford, the sinking of the USS Maine, child labor, suffragettes, the Panama Canal, imperialism, and more, right up to the beginning of World War I. The archival footage is stunning and interviews with historians, veterans, journalists, POWs, politicians, authors, celebrities, and common people help bring the past to life again. Mickey Spillane discusses the speakeasies of the 1920s; Dennis Hopper talks about Easy Rider in the '60s; Tom Wolfe reads from The Bonfire of the Vanities for the episode on the '80s. Eudora Welty, E.L. Doctorow, Martin Scorsese, John Updike, Pat Buchanan, Oliver Stone, Stephen E. Ambrose, among many others, lend their voices to this documentary. Yet, despite the great names, at times the pictures and people are allowed to speak for themselves, without intrusive narration--the stark images of the Challenger explosion or the sad words of a political activist mourning the death of his partner to AIDS are more powerful because of it. This chronological tale (with the exception of the last episode, "Then and Now," which is arranged thematically) is an insightful and poignant reminder of all the marvels--and tragedies--of America in the 20th century. --Jenny Brown

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Malcolm X: His Own Story as it Really Happened [VHS]

Malcolm X: His Own Story as it Really Happened [VHS] Lowest used price: $33.95
List price: $19.98

Adapted for the screen from the autobiography he wrote with Alex Haley's assistance, Malcolm X is a stirring portrait of the man whose life has become a rallying cry for millions.

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Napoleon [VHS]

Napoleon [VHS] Lowest new price: $119.00
Lowest used price: $58.99
List price: $29.98

Abel Gance's 1927 masterpiece is absolutely indispensable for silent-film buffs or anyone interested in classic world cinema. From the future emperor's first strategic victory, a schoolyard snowball fight, to the climactic invasion of Italy, Napoleon truly rules! This is no static, antiquated relic. Among Gance's innovations was to free the camera (for one battle scene, he had it mounted on horseback!). The film's justly celebrated climax features a triptych of synchronized images that anticipates by more than 30 years Cinerama and widescreen. But more than a triumph of filmmaking, Napoleon is a triumph of film restoration and was a boon to the vital cause of film preservation. Gance's movie was long thought lost. But historian Kevin Brownlow, with the cooperation of film archives from around the world, spent more than a decade painstakingly reassembling it. Francis Ford Coppola's name (not to mention a reported quarter of a million of his dollars) helped find Napoleon the audience this film so richly deserves. The rousing score was composed by Coppola's father, Carmine. Viva la Gance! --Donald Liebenson

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Georgia O'Keeffe [VHS]

Georgia O'Keeffe [VHS] Lowest new price: $48.94
Lowest used price: $16.25
List price: $19.95

In this award-winning documentary (Peabody Award, Bronze Hugo Award), legendary painter Georgia O'Keeffe candidly reveals her warmth, humor, and practical wisdom. For the first time on camera, O'Keeffe openly discusses her work and inspirations taken from the haunting mountain deserts of New Mexico. Walk with one of the legends of the 21st century and see a rare glimpse into the mind of one of America's foremost painters.

This 1977 documentary was produced toward the end of O'Keefe's life, at a time when the artist was at one with her art and her life. The hour-long film plays mainly off of O'Keefe's own words; there is no narrator's voice, there is barely an interviewer's voice. O'Keefe speaks alone--with a soft, gentle eloquence that we can also hear in her paintings, a well-articulated firmness that is unintimidating, witty, provocative, and in the end, beautiful.

O'Keefe was born in Wisconsin where she learned to suppress her eccentric ideas and her drive to paint--a career goal she set at the age of 12--so that she and her mother wouldn't quarrel. A talented artist from the outset, she was trained classically in New York where she studied to be a teacher. She accepted a job in North Carolina, because she thought it would allow her the time and focus to produce the art she craved to produce. But after a year of painting, she threw away everything she had made--each piece had been to please someone else, and what O'Keefe deeply wanted was to find an art that pleased her.

A job in Texas brought her finally to the country that would shape her art and her renown: her paintings of desiccated animal bones, flowers, landscapes, and architectural close-ups, juxtaposed with the stunning blue of the Southwestern sky. She would send paintings to a friend in New York, writing that she wanted to know what her friend thought--and to make sure O'Keefe wasn't going mad. But her friend got photographer Alfred Stieglitz interested in O'Keefe's abstract work. O'Keefe's intense relationship with Stieglitz evolved over years into one of the best known relationships in the arts; they married. But, quite humorously, O'Keefe refers to Stieglitz never as "Alfred" or "my husband," just "Stieglitz."

Perry Miller Adato's documentary brings O'Keefe's paintings to life in the artist's own words. Her enthusiasm for form, for making the small and unnoticeable immense, for intense and vibrant color: This is a rewarding journey through the soul and the eye of a 20th-century great. --Erik Macki

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Sky Above Mud Below (Sky Above and Mud Beneath / Le ciel et la boue) [VHS]

Sky Above Mud Below (Sky Above and Mud Beneath / Le ciel et la boue) [VHS] Lowest used price: $10.99
List price: $39.99

"Remarkable and thrilling unique.. .a fascinating, memorable film"
- Cue Magazine

"One of the best, a remarkable feat"
- New York Herald Tribune

"The Sky Above, The Mud Below" is the incredible true story, filmed as it happened, of an expedition back in time to 7,000 years ago-to the Stone Age. In 1959 an international group of explorers set out to cross the most dangerous, uncharted jungles of Dutch New Guinea. In the 7 months it took them to cover 1,000 miles, they came face-toface with man's savage and primitive past. Their cameras captured bizarre native rituals and never-before seen cannibal tribes. Disease and violent death stalked the expedition every step of the way, and their exploration became a harrowing physical test of the depths of human endurance and will to live.

Produced by: Arthur Cohn and Rene LaFuite; Directed by: Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau; Cast: Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau-organizer & leader, Gerard Delloye -assistant leader.

1962 Michael Arthur Film Productions. Artwork 1987 Lorimar Home Video, Inc. Program Length: 92 Minutes. Color

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Doris Day: It's Magic [VHS]

Doris Day: It's Magic [VHS] Lowest used price: $14.95
List price: $14.95

DORIS DAY explores the megastar's popular successes as well as her private failures. From her first starring role in Romance on the High Seas to reinventing her image in Pillow Talk to starring in her own TV show, Doris entertained her public with a heart of gold. A two-hour program, BIOGRAPHY: DORIS DAY features scenes from feature films, popular songs, rare photographs and interviews with friends and colleagues, including band leader Les Brown, film critic Molly Haskell, actors James Garner, Kaye Ballard, Jackie Joseph, Edie Adams and others. Other highlights include excerpts from songs "Sentimental Journey" and "Que Sera Sera." Scenes from Young Man with a Horn, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Pillow Talk and more. (This program will be Closed-Captioned for the Hearing Impaired

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Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years [VHS]

Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years [VHS] List price: $19.98


Biography - Alice Faye [VHS]

Biography - Alice Faye [VHS] Lowest new price: $31.95
Lowest used price: $19.95
List price: $19.95

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Mr. Miami Beach: The American Experience [VHS]

Mr. Miami Beach: The American Experience [VHS] List price: $19.98

Meet Carl Fisher, master promoter who produced elaborate spectacles to sell bicycles and cars. He had already made a fortune and built a motor speedway in his native Indianapolis when he was seized by a vision. On a narrow spit of swampland near Miami, Fisher created a tropical paradise of sand and palm trees, then masterminded a dazzling sales campaign. It worked like a charm until a devastating hurricane and the Crash of 1929 brought an end to his dream. Today, Miami Beach features over 350 hotels and motels along its "gold coast" and survives on tourism and convention business.

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Trials of Life: Living Together [VHS]

Trials of Life: Living Together [VHS] Lowest new price: $6.51
Lowest used price: $1.49
List price: $19.98

Trials of Life: Living Together [VHS] [VHS Tape] (1998) David Attenborough

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