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Shenandoah (Ws Dub Sub Dol) [Import]
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Shenandoah, a film well-liked in its day, recalls Friendly Persuasion and foreshadows The Patriot as it tells of an American clan traumatized by war on native soil. Virginia farmer James Stewart has never owned slaves, owes allegiance to no one beyond his own kin, and adamantly disregards the North-South strife rumbling just over the hill: "This war is not mine and I take no note of it." That changes when youngest son Philip Alford (To Kill a Mockingbird's Jem) is carried off by Yankees, and the family must ride out to reclaim him. Shenandoah has several affecting moments--notably a homefront atrocity--but much of it is lit and played like a television show. Script and direction are formulaic, Stewart falls back on cozy shtick, and the supporting cast is a collection of bland studio contract players. As the closing credit says: "filmed entirely at Universal City." --Richard T. Jameson
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Top Customer Reviews
Doug McClure and Patrick Wayne are two of the lesser lights playing supporting roles. The entire cast is well directed and plays their parts well.
A great job of casting, directing, acting, and a wonderful story. Forget the "allegories, allusions, irony, and metaphors." You ruin a picture like this trying to take it apart, or alluding to the political nuances that it is supposedly portraying on behalf of Hollywood propaganda. It is a moving story, and one of the great ones.
As for being "superficial" or "overacted" (one critic's complaint about old and classic movies), I find just the opposite is true. I find those categories better acted, with more depth and honest acting than most of the trash we get foisted off on us today.
Maybe it's just a generational thing.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books
This is not a movie about violence per se. It is about family and loss, and deals with the notion of trying to be in the world but apart from it and how difficult that can be because the world has a way of rolling over you. The Civil War is the backdrop of this question. Jimmy Stewart's character, Charlie Anderson, is a widower who still grieves for his lost sweetheart. He has a bunch of sons and one daughter. He tries to keep them out of the war, but cannot. His daughter is pursued by Lieutenant Sam (Doug McClure) who fights for the Confederacy. (If both armies are bad to Charlie Anderson - the Yankees are the worse army in this movie.)
My two favorite scenes are the family prayer over the meal where Charlie thanks God for the meal and food while noting without their hard work it wouldn't be on the table. The other is when Lieutenant Sam asks Charlie for Jennie's hand in marriage. Charlie asks Sam why he wants to marry Jennie. Sam say's its because he loves her. Charlie says that isn't good enough. Sam is nonplussed. Charlie asks if he likes her. Sam doesn't get it.Read more ›
Universal Studios has developed a rather nasty track record with their catalogue titles ever since the introduction of DVD. In a nutshell, the powers that be seem to think that "title attraction" alone is enough to guarentee sales, hence rarely does Universal put its best foot forward or, heaven forbid, go all out with a special edition of some of their great classic films. Long story short - if they can give us full frame editions of "Death Becomes Her", "Babe" and "The Sting" they will. If they can slip in non-anamorphic widescreen transfers of "The Deer Hunter" and "Backdraft" they will! Clearly, this is a studio that places profit above integrity and "Shenandoah"'s transfer quality is no exception.
The transfer is riddled with age related artifacts, scratches, faded color and edit match cut lines that pretty much destroy the continuity of this viewing experience. Aliasing, edge enhancement and shimmering of fine details are all present and annoying. There's some minor pixelization that breaks apart background detail as well. The audio is strident, scratchy and uninspiring. Extras - NONE! - What a shock!
BOTTOM LINE: Universal thinks customers won't mind these imperfections, a.k.a. - they don't mind giving them to you. So here's a thought - voice your protests in letters and emails. Because DVD and classic film libraries around the world really aren't benefiting from this sort of shoddy workmanship. In the end we're all losers!
The movie starts out in a light-hearted way, with Stewart's stubborness coming across with humour. But the film's tone changes throughout its running time and becomes darker, as his stubborness becomes more like arrogance, and the realities of war penetrate the family's isolation. Stewart learns some hard lessons. He can't control everything and everyone.
James Stewart dominates the film, with a forceful performance that anchors the film. The supporting cast is good, but no one is given enough time to really standout. There is enough action mixed with the human drama to keep the film moving along. Shenandoah isn't a landmark film or a great example of a western, but it succeeds very well in presenting a moment of crisis in a man's and his family's life.
Most recent customer reviews
Sad movie always, but well done by the entire cast with Stuart heading up a family of brothers (his boys) in a futile effort to stay out of harms way in Civil War Virginia. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Ken
Great film with great actors for those of us enjoying the classics!Published 7 months ago by Ian W. Craig
Poor picture quality. Periodically "flashes'" obscured the picture. During last 1/2 hour voices did not match lip movement. Very disappointed with ths product.Published 7 months ago by Carolyn
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