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|Edward R Murrow - The Best of Person to Person|
Actor: Edward R. Murrow
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
From 1953 to 1959, Edward R. Murrow informally welcomed television viewers into the homes of the twentieth century?s most well-known stars and celebrities on PERSON TO PERSON. Utilizing perhaps the simplest set in televisi... more »
Murrow's Best of Person to Person
David Silverbrand | Eureka, CA | 10/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Edward R. Murrow set a very high standard for what television could and should be. He is known for taking on Joe McCarthy and telling the stories of America's migratory workers ("Harvest of Shame."
But Person to Person was Murrow's softer side. He enabled us to look past the veneer of America's best known people and learn important things about her. As with the Marilyn Monroe interview, we learn as much from body language as from Murrow's insightful questions.
I believe that all the great interviewers of our time learned much of their craft from Murrow. This is a collection of historic proportion."
Murrow covered the 50s
T. Davis | Seattle, WA | 03/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Better known for his radio broadcasts from London during the Blitz and for his televised confrontations with Joseph McCarthy during the HUAC hearings, Edward R. Murrow was also a fine interviewer, and his television series Person to Person gave us home movies of many of the best-known public personalities of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
From 1953 to 1959, Murrow conducted live, remote interviews of famed entertainers and political figures in their apartments or houses, which was quite an innovation for the relatively new medium of TV. Each interview was a carefully staged and scripted affair using multiple cameras and lasting 13 or 14 minutes. The interviewees knew the questions to be asked, yet many were obviously nervous about having their inner sanctums invaded by technicians, bulky equipment, and bright lights. As a result, they come across a bit stiff at times, but all in all they acquit themselves well.
Murrow's guests, who are simultaneously our hosts, give us choreographed tours of their beautiful homes and prized possessions -- Jonathan Winter's beer steins, Sid Caesar's rifles, Dick Clark's records, Jerry Lewis' paintings, Sammy Davis' suits -- which tell us a lot about their personal hobbies and passions. Winters draws a sketch, Davis does some gunslinging, and both do impressions. Liberace plays a few arpeggios, and Dean Martin performs card tricks. Some of the stars, like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward or Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, come across as completely at ease, revealing why they enjoyed such long-lasting careers and happy marriages.
We meet not only celebrities but also their spouses and, heading to bed, their children, who are invariably coached to greet Mr. Murrow. Certain stars, among them Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis, Marilyn Monroe, and others, introduce us to their parents, relatives, friends, collaborators, and in the case of Frank Sinatra, his Asian houseboys (who complement his new Japanese-style house).
There are many memorable moments: Liberace and his home are over the top, as is watching him talk about how much he likes women and wants to get married. Marilyn Monroe, on the other hand, seems modest, subdued, and even fragile at the home of her favorite photographer. Watching a young Dick Clark defend rock music and the kids who enjoy it is a great reminder of the social shifts the US was experiencing in the 50s.
The Kennedy brothers display their pre-White-House charisma and talk about their father, Joseph Sr., and brother, Joseph Jr., who was killed in World War II. Jack shows off framed letters by Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, demonstrating his unabashed political ambition. Watching Bobby and Ethel put their tired children to bed is particularly touching. Eleanor Roosevelt is charming as she discusses her work at the UN and presents us with some of the art and souvenirs she collected from around the world.
These selected interviews are snapshots, so not all of the projects that the featured subjects were working on at the time are of enduring value, nor is every personality scintillating, but they frequently refer to important people and events that should whet the appetite of an attentive viewer for further historical and cultural research. The quality of the film from which these shows are drawn also varies greatly, so the viewer should expect fluctuations in contrast and grain. The images are occasionally overexposed or underexposed, or scratched and dirty, but all of the interviews are clear enough to appreciate.
CBS newsman Bob Schieffer introduces and wraps up each of the DVDs in this 3-DVD set with segments that last a minute or two. Following is a complete alphabetical listing of the personalities on parade in this collection:
Sammy Davis, Jr.
John F. Kennedy