Ken Burns: American LivesClosed Captioning
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Ken Burns' American Lives is a collection of outstanding biographies and stories of some of America's most celebrated pioneers and historical figures. The collection includes biographies of Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, Horatio Nelson Jackson, and boxer Jack Johnson.
|1||Closed CaptioningVideoNot for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony||"Not for Ourselves Alone" tells the dramatic, little-known story of one of the most compelling friendships in American history. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were born into a world ruled entirely by men. By the time their lives were over, they had changed for the better the lives of a majority of American citizens. Their personal relationship was often turbulent but they never wavered in their shared belief that equality was the birthright of every woman, and for more than half a century lead the fight to make that dream a reality. With superb live cinematography, compelling interviews, and historical photographs never before seen on screen, this powerful film provides an unforgettable dual portrait of two great Americans who improved the lives of women everywhere.||3:05:21||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|2||Closed CaptioningVideoThomas Jefferson||Revered as the author of the Declaration of Independence, the most sacred document in American history, yet condemned as a lifelong owner of slaves, Thomas Jefferson remains the enigma that is America. A young Jefferson from the Virginia wilderness is transformed by the fire of Enlightenment into his country's most articulate voice of human liberty. Torn between serene family life at Monticello and his passion for politics, Jefferson suffers great personal loss, even as he gives voice to a new era of democratic government. Ken Burns examines the life and works of the third President of the United States, while showing how this one man advanced the cause of religious, political and intellectual freedom everywhere and changed the course of human events.||2:52:11||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|3||Closed CaptioningVideoFrank Lloyd Wright: A Film By Ken Burns & Lynn Novick||Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest of all American architects. He was an authentic American genius, a man who believed he was destined to redesign the world, creating everything anew. Over the course of his long career, Wright designed over eight hundred buildings, including such revolutionary structures as the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax Building, Fallingwater, Unity Temple and Taliesin. Wright's buildings and his ideas changed the way we live, work, and see the world around us. Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural achievements were often overshadowed by the turbulence of his melodramatic life. In ninety-two years, he fathered seven children, married three times, and was almost constantly embroiled in scandal. Some hated him, some loved him, but in the end, few could deny that he was the most important architect in America, and perhaps the world.||2:36:58||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|4||Closed CaptioningVideoMark Twain||Samuel Clemens rose from a hardscrabble boyhood in the backwoods of Missouri to become, as Mark Twain, America's best known and best loved author. Considered in his time as the funniest man on Earth, Twain was also an unflinching critic of human nature who used his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed, and racism. He created some of the world's most memorable characters as well as its most quoted sayings. And, in his often-misunderstood novel Huckleberry Finn, he brought forth a masterpiece that Earnest Hemmingway called the true beginning of American Literature. This remarkable film tells the story of Twain's life, full of rollicking adventure, stupendous success and crushing defeat, hilarious comedy and almost unbearable tragedy. The story is primarily told through the words of Twain himself, so viewers of all ages can be personally introduced to this compelling yet contradictory genius, who said with some justification, "I am not an American, I am the American."||3:31:33||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|5||Closed CaptioningVideoHoratio's Drive: America's First Road Trip||In the spring of 1903, on a whim and a fifty-dollar bet, Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson set off from San Francisco in a 20-horsepower Winton touring car hoping to become the first person to cross the United States in the new-fangled "horseless carriage." At the time there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire country, all of them within city limits. There were no gas stations and virtually no road maps as we know them today. Most people doubted that the automobile had much of a future. Jackson's trip would prove them wrong. Traveling with his co-driver Sewall K. Crocker and a bulldog named Bud (who wore goggles, just like his master, to keep the dust from his eyes), Jackson had the adventure of his life. Sixty-three and a half days after leaving San Francisco, Jackson arrived triumphantly into New York City and claimed the honor of the first to cross the U.S. in a car.||1:48:45||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|6||Closed CaptioningVideoUnforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson||Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson tells the story of the first African-American boxer to win the most coveted title in all of sports and his struggle, in and out of the ring, to live his life as a free man. This riveting two-part documentary follows Jack Johnson's remarkable journey from his humble beginnings in Texas, as the son of a former slave, to his entry into the brutal world of professional boxing, where, in turn of the century Jim Crow America, the heavyweight champion was an exclusively "white title". Despite the odds, Johnson was able to batter his way up through the professional ranks, and in 1908 he became the first African-American to earn the title Heavyweight Champion of the World.||3:32:31||$4.99||View in iTunes|
|7||Closed CaptioningVideoLewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery||"Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery": Sent by president Thomas Jefferson to find the fabled Northwest Passage, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the most important expedition in American history - a voyage of danger and discovery from St. Louis to the headwaters of the Missouri River, over the Continental Divide to the Pacific. It was the United States' first exploration of the West and one of the nation's most enduring adventures. The program tells the remarkable story of the entire corps- not just the two famous captains - but the young army men, French-Canadian boatmen, Clark's African-American slave and the Shoshone woman named Sacagawea who brought along her infant son.||3:27:19||$4.99||View in iTunes|
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Horatio's Drive-my personal favorite
This is a delicious, unexpected gem. Tom Hanks and Keith David deliver a folksy, humble narrative about America's first true coast to coast road trip. This feat was mindblowingly difficult considering 1) there were no paved roads across the entire length of America 2) no gas stations, motels, or repair stations 3) and NO reliable maps--the many streets had no names or connecting roads. It's a story you never heard before, yet it's ethos is something we can all universally identify with...the call of the open road.
Unforgivable Blackness shows Jack Johnson in full. As superhuman and very human - great and flawed. Watching it, you fear him and you fear for him. A beautiful and harrowing look at a man who cut across the prejudices of this country like a scythe. This is Burns at his best.
This is certainly the best documentary I have ever seen. For three and a half hours I was entranced, watching the lifetime of Samuel Clemens go before my eyes. So well executed, this is nearly a work of art more so than anything else.