I’m guessing here, but I bet that it’s the DVD format’s ability to store vast quantities of information that is behind the sudden home video releases of twenty-year-old TV mini-series. This one is suitably epic.
John Geyser (John Hammond) is the artistic son of a Southern farming family. He is also the most racially enlightened member. He becomes a sketch artist for a newspaper, and therefore also becomes our eyewitness of the US Civil War.
This is one of those Big…Name Cast pictures: Lloyd Bridges, Colleen Dewhurst, Warren Oates, Rip Torn, Geraldine Page, Robert Vaughn, even Gregory Peck as Abraham Lincoln. Within the limits of network TV, the battle scenes are suitably impressive. The dialogue, however, is pretty hard to take, so deeply seriously does it take itself.
The sound is mono, which is to be expected for a 1982 television production, though a remastered stereo track would have been nice. The quality is acceptable, if sometimes just a bit thin. There is no distortion, however.
If the audio is a bit disappointing, the video is not. Compare this to another recent release (Kennedy): here the colours are strong and vibrant. Even the night scenes have a lush, clear look, even if there is some very slight grain at these points. In fact, the picture looks so nice I found myself regretting the absence of stereo all the more. The format, naturally, is full screen. One slightly odd note: each disc not only starts up again with the opening credits, but even contains the “story so far” recap that is not really necessary when you’re not watching the series spread over time.
Other than your basic language and scene selection options, absolutely nothing to report here. The menu is still and silent.
This isn’t exactly Gone With The Wind, but fans of this period of American history should have a good time. The approach is a little ponderous, however, and there isn’t too much to distinguish this from a VHS release beyond the fact that the box doesn’t take up much space.
Special Features List