on June 29, 2004
While this documentary is pulls at the heart and makes this reviewer as a gay person,want to step back into time to experiences the feeling of that era.....of the emerging political movement What a time of total optimism!!! The Tragedy of Milk and Moscones' death was are downers in an otherwise positive time for gays and lesbians...in California. Little did they know that within 3 years the first of thousands upon thousands of Aids deaths would rock the Castro. (SEE THE CASTRO) a pbs film about the history of the Castro.
That said however , as a person inspired by this film in 1985 when I first saw it to find out all I could about Harvey Milk was somewhat disolusioned to learn that the Harvey portrayed in The Times of Harvey Milk, beared little resemblance in many ways to the Harvey Milk of Randy Shilts book, The Mayor of Castro Street. His life a personal mess one some levels, Unorganized, vindictive and petty.....on others. Still though Milks strength of persona and the era in which he lived transends all the faults.
The XTRAS are well worth the purchase of this disc for anyone who has seen this documentary before.
I have watched The Times of Harvey Milk MANY MANY times over the past 19 years when I feel down about the gay movement and the forces that wish to have us relegated to a sub existence in this country. It reminds me always that anything worth fighting for sometimes requires a sacrifice....Sadly Harvey was a sacrifice for the betterment of the Gay community... Sad yes but it gives me strength and resolve every time i watch it!!!
on June 12, 2004
I was one of the millions who probably heard of Harvey Milk at some point in my life, but never connected any dots to his life. Then one summer day, while housesitting, I found an old VHS tape of this documentary called "The Times of Harvey Milk". Not having anything better to do, I popped it in the VCR and sat back to watch. Two hours later, my life, perspectives, and outlooks were dramatically transformed by meeting Supervisor Harvey Milk. So it is with great excitement that this monumental film which pays tribute to a monumental time finally comes to DVD, and warrants my attention for my 200th review.
"The Times of Harvey Milk" is a transformative documentary both in style and information, created by visionary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Richard Schmiechen. The film not only covers the life of Milk, but the times which surrounded him that allows for a broader, more in-depth story. From the opening moments of the film, we learn of Harvey's untimely death, so as not to aggrandize it. Through personal interviews, newsreel coverage, and personal film shot at certain events, everything is brought to a real, intense focus. You feel as if you are watching the events unfold as San Franscians must have done in the late 1970's.
The shining stars of the film are the personal interviews given by people who knew Harvey best. Tom Ammiano, friend of Harvey, gives the film a sense of outrage of the assassinations. Jim Elliot gives a heartwarming straight man, unionist perspective to show us Harvey's universality. Henry Der allows us to see Harvey's political side. Jannine Yeoman's covering of the Milk campaign and post -assassination trial gives a sense of immediacy and urgency to the story, and a more professional viewpoint. Bill Kraus, a gay activist, soon to die of AIDS, provided a sense of Milk's activism.
A couple of interviewee struck me personally. First, lesbian activist Sally Gearheart's testimony of her work with Milk on the Proposition 6 campaign is very compelling, but her comments on the candlelight vigil and riots following the verdict are particularly poignant. Anne Kronenberg, who served as Milk's campaign manager, provides the zeal and optimism of the youth who surrounded and supported Milk in his efforts. Last comes Tory Hartmann, who's warmth on the screen is only seconded by her connection with Harvey. She provides an emotional recollection of the candlelight march that will leave you in tears.
Coming to DVD, this film looks rich and new, due to UCLA and its preservation processes. In addition to the film, the DVD brings you a second disk loaded with special features, from interviews with the film makers, to an 25th anniversary update of the Milk legacy by those who knew him best. I was particularly touched watching the "Alternate ending" section, in which Jim Elliot discloses, after describing his own journey as a straight man accepting homosexual Harvey Milk, learns his own daughter is also a lesbian, and that it was all okay, thereby completing validating Milk's thoughts on coming out.
Not enough words can be said about "The Times of Harvey Milk", a visionary, compelling documentary that should be shown, shared with everyone across this country. Milk's legacy is not only for his homosexual brothers and sisters; it is a legacy for all of us. His legacy is that of tolerance towards all, peaceful protest, fighting for what you believe in, and above all else, just having the best time of your life.
on June 11, 2004
"The Times Of Harvey Milk" is such a great movie. It is easiliy as powerful as any scripted movie I've ever seen (and I can't say that about any other documentary). The 3-part structure works well: Harvey's rise, then his murder, then the aftermath.
The story is almost too crazy to believe. How could anyone buy Dan White's weak, whiny excuse for murdering 2 politicians in a major US city? And yet, he got off with a gentle slap on the wrist, and it's hard to dispute that the leniency of his sentence was because one of his victims was gay. We watch in disbelief as this unfolds. And then we watch the gay & lesbian community vent its fury in a chilling riot.
Fascinating from beginning to end, funny and heartbreaking, and important.
Kudos too for Mark Isham's gorgeous musical score.
on May 26, 2004
On DVD at last!!!!!!! Saw this movie on PBS years ago, and I cried and cried. Harvey Milk SHOULD have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize even AFTER his death because black/white/(gay)/straight/WHATEVER, Harvey was a man of the PEOPLE - caring, compassionate, genuine. Who knows, if he hadn't been murdered, MAYBE we'd be voting for President Milk this November.
Buy this DVD, remember Harvey, and give thanks that there were (and still ARE!) wonderful people like him who fought for the rights of EVERYONE in our (gay) community.
BLESS you Harvey, you have become a LEGEND!!!
on June 28, 2004
Great DVD of what has become a classic of the queer community's most important hero! The extras are amazing, I was asking where can I get more on Moscone's son and Harvey's nephew, wow? How can they be contacted? The alternative ending was very insightful, very! Is there more to come? I will use this in every class I teach. Unforgetable!
on June 26, 2004
The Times of Harvey Milk never ever fails to touch you. I saw it in the 80's on PBS and it's just as relevant now as it was then. The DVD remaster looks and sounds terrific and is packed with lots of bonus materials, but the the real meat of the impact is still the actual film. If you've never seen it, you need to.