Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The History Channel Presents The Spanish-American War - First Intervention|
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
Over the course of 113 historic days in 1898, the United States established itself for the first time as a true international power, expanding American reach around the globe. The major battles of the war were fought simul... more »
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Is relying on recreations a good thing?
Jean E. Pouliot | Newburyport, MA United States | 09/04/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I may be biased about this DVD, having seen the excellent PBS documentary "Crucible of Empire: The Spanish American War". This DVD, I thought, came up short in some ways, much of it having to do with the heavy use of actors and reenactors, the distracting attempts to recreate the look and feel of old film stock and the near-jingoistic view of the fighting. The film allowed actors to speak the words of the principals -- TR, William McKinley, Philino rebel Edwardo Aguyinaldo and others -- and interact with one another in set piece fashion.
First Intervention covers the origins and subtleties of the conflist rather lightly, and spends (I think ) an inordinate amount of time on the Battle of San Juan Hill, which made an enduring name for Teddy Roosevelt. The battle -- a one-day affair in a 3-1/2 month war -- was a one-sided affair with 10,000 Americans battling 750 Spaniards. But the DVD spends quite a bit of time on it, making much of the courage of the Americans. The good news is that it seems to depict the battle accurately, with most of the Rough Riders advancing without their horses, in opposition to later illustrations. Another questinable aspect of the filk is its depictions of black American soldiers. I have no issue with depicting the involvement of these "Buffalo Soldiers," who were among the few battle-tested portions of the American invasion force. But the chuminess they have with whites seems problematic. I rather doubt that blacks and whites -- given the racist overtones of the day -- sang and drank and smoked around campfires as shown here. And some of the reenactors looked mighty old and heavy to be playing young recruits, as the occasionally snippets of actual footage indicate.
After watching both films, I would recommend "Crucible of War" for a more accurate and more fully rendered portrait of the war period. But "First intervention," for all its restagings is valuable in depicting the contested ground on which the battles were fought. And its use of early war recreations (by Thomas Edison's company) was both instructive, comical and an unintended ironic parallel to the newer film's own troubles with reenacting warfare for a hometown audience. Take "First Intervention" with a grain of salt, don't believe everything you see, and obtain a window into an under-told and often mispresented period of US history."
The best way to remember ME!
Rev. Hunter | Washington, DC | 04/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though the Spanish American war is a small blip in history, this film does an excellent job in connecting why we went to war with Spain over Cuba and how it reflects the overall history of this country at the end of the 19th century and leading into the 20th century. The director has taken an interesting approach in having many of the individuals involved in this conflict speak for themselves through the actors that portray them. Their words play a major role in understanding the various perspectives on both sides as well as the journalists who witnessed the events up close. Through this war America became a world power for the first time. Anyone who wants to understand the path that has lead us to our current world view as a nation should see this film. The documentary included on the DVD on how and why the film was made will make you appreciate the passion, dedication, and creativity behind this body of work."
Too long for school
James Madison | Annandale, VA United States | 05/09/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though this is very informative and interesting, it is too long to use in a school setting. I liked it personally, but it was long at times."