Ivy Meeropol is the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed fortreason at the height of the McCarthy era. Their case is a controversial one to this day, andMeeropol sets out to learn as much about who her grandparents were as she can, while peoplewho knew them are still alive. The series of interviews she conducts are fascinating looks backinto a dark period of American history, but there also flashes of the human comedy as well (suchas when former Ro…enberg co-defendant Morton Sobell teases one of the other elderly residentsin his apartment building.
As ever, rating the audio on a documentary, particularly one of this sort, seems a rather sillyexercise. Nonetheless, the sound is very clear, and any distortions are both minimal and due tothe limitations of the recording conditions.
The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 widescreen but non-anamorphic, resulting is some increase in grainwhen blown up to fit 16×9 screens. It isn’t as if the picture would look perfect in anamorphicwidescreen, though, since the feature was obviously shot on video (the edges are particularlyprone to shimmering).
Meeropol’s commentary doesn’t always add much to what is already on-screen, but does re-emphasize the personal nature of the project. The other extras are interviews of varying lengths(some under ten minutes, some over fifteen). These pieces (with friends and family of theRosenbergs, members of the media of the time, trial figures and so on) are simply footage thatdidn’t wind up in the feature proper. There are eight of these interviews altogether. The menu isbasic.
An interesting film, one that could well move you to anger, and one whose release at thisparticular juncture of world history gives one an uneasy sensation of deja vu.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Bonus Interviews