Leon Blum – For All Mankind + Howard
Zinn – You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train: Special Commemorative Edition
(First Run Features DVDs)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C/B Documentary: B
is back with two political documentary biography releases, one of which is an
update of one of their most successful titles.
First is Léon Blum – For All
Mankind, a 2010 hour-long look (this is the full length French version with
permanent subtitles) at the little-discussed founder of what became known as
the Popular Front (bringing Communists and Socialists together in 1936 France) as the clouds of fascism started forming
He was a groundbreaking leader for worker’s rights and a key proponent
of backing and inspiring The Resistance when the crude Vichy Government took
as WWII entered its darkest period.
do not want anyone to remember him due to his success and the ideas he might
inspire, even though he was Prime Minister of the country! He was also sent to a few Nazi Concentration
Camps and dealt head-on with anti-Semitism of the time which was extremely
high, which the Nazis and their Axis friends took advantage of. No matter his views, he was a hero and
deserves to be remembered instead of being a footnote to history. Director Jean Bodon’s research and new
materials blend well with historic footage and stills, making this an all too
short must-see for anyone interested in WWII or related subjects.
Howard Zinn – You Can’t Be Neutral
On A Moving Train
(2004) is an enduring portrait of the writer and political activist who fought
for Civil Rights and labor as much as Blum did and having passed away in 2010,
First Run has reissued it with a few more extras as they have more Zinn footage
to add; an hour more as it turns out.
Here was our coverage of the first DVD:
Damon narrates and it is also worth visiting and revisiting.
1.78 X 1 image on Blum and 1.33 on Zinn are about even as expected for
documentaries produced mostly on older video formats. Both are well edited and the reissue of the
latter proves they could both be longer, but give us history that is vital to
know, but is increasingly being ignored by even the best colleges. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on each is simple
stereo at best, but are fine for the programs without major audio issues. Extras have already been covered for Zinn, leaving Blum offering stills and notes by Blum’s Grandson.
- Nicholas Sheffo