Search - Modern Marvels - Gothic Cathedrals (History Channel) (A&E DVD Archives) on DVD

Modern Marvels - Gothic Cathedrals (History Channel) (A&E DVD Archives)
Modern Marvels - Gothic Cathedrals
History Channel
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
NR     2005     0hr 50min

From paris norte dame catherdral to the national cathedral in washington d.C. the architectural strategy behind these structures of faith has changed very little in 900 years. Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 04/26/2005


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Art & Artists, Television, Science & Technology
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 0hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

J. S. Kaminski | Aberdeen, NJ United States | 08/31/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Modern Marvels/Gothic Cathedrals" tells the story behind the construction of Washington's National Cathedral. And I suppose I would have enjoyed the program more had I known that, but the title "Gothic Cathedrals" conjured up images about Notre Dame, Chartres and other masterpieces from the Middle Ages. While these were mentioned briefly, the focus on this program is squarely on the National Cathedral. And the program does a good job explaining just how the Cathedral was built. From the foundations (25 feet under ground) to the still-unfinished stone carvings, one gets a complete picture of how the cathedral took shape.I'd just recommend the title be changed to "Washington's National Cathedral" from "Gothic Cathedrals.""
Misleading title, tedious, very limited scope of information
Naughty dynamo | Tierra maya | 05/02/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"If you are an architecture fan and think you are going to get a thorough analysis of Gothic art and architecture, then this DVD is NOT for you.
The first 10 minutes are the only valuable ones of the show. They explain the philosophy behind building these massive structures and what they intended to portray with them in the XII Century. They give you the "basics" on what makes a Cathedral Gothic (the vaults, the pointed arches, the stained glass windows), the Gargoyles, the outside sculptures. They briefly describe you Notre Dame and Chartres in France.

Then the rest of the show talks about the National Cathedral in Washington DC, its history, its construction, its purpose, and what congregations are housed there. They spent so much time on it and the conversation went from its construction to the spiritual and patriotic significance of the Cathedral, which is all well and fine except I found it suitable as a documentary in itself. In other words, I didn't expect it as part of this title. I would have liked to hear more about the architectural features of other Cathedrals (say the York Minster in England, or Westmister Abbey, or the Cathedral in Cologne or any other for that matter). I felt cheated that I spent 45 minutes learning just about one Cathedral and its "meaning", which is rather subjective.

I normally love the History Channel documentaries but this one left me disappointed. They should have named it "A Contemporary Gothic Marvel: The National Cathedral in Washington DC" instead."
Explains and Shows Impressive Cathedrals!
Loyd E. Eskildson | Phoenix, AZ. | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Gothic Cathedrals" provides a brief overview of the rationale behind cathedral design and construction, and then focuses on D.C.'s National Cathedral.

Strength (eg. flying buttresses), homage to God, inspiration, and drawing one's eyes upward (eg. the vaults and pinnacles) are the underlying themes. Floor plans take the shape of a cross, stained glass let in divine light. Gargoyles divert water away from the structure (limestone is porous), while making a gargling sound. Viewers also learn that the iconography depicts Biblical themes, and that cathedrals were often built to house religious relics - eg. the shawl of Mary.

The National Cathedral (1907-1990) is the world's 6th largest cathedral, and was completed without either taxpayer or Episcopal Church (now its leading entity) funding. T.R. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907, and George W. Bush was present at its completion. Restoration began (1882) even before completion - smog caused unplanned deterioration of the mortar and limestone. "Gothic Cathedrals" also briefly relates bell-making, playing and rehearsals, and the work of carver who made working at the National Cathedral his life's work.

Bottom Line: "Gothic Cathedrals" helps one appreciate the tremendous talents and inspiration of those involved."
Misguided, limited, one-sided
Eugene Tenenbaum | Bronx, NY USA | 12/17/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"The only relatively well done part is a limited version of the Cathedral (1985) [Hosted by David Macaulay] documentary also available on DVD; the rest is just a misguided, limited, and one-sided propaganda film about the National Cathedral in Washington, DC."