Elia Kazan’s America,
America (1962/Warner DVD)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Film: B-
groundbreaking director Eliz Kazan was controversial on and off screen,
bringing a new realism to filmmaking and one of his most interesting projects
was a drama that was also a biography of his immigrant Greek uncle who goes
from living in Turkey to coming to the United States in America, America, his 1962 opus that uses dramatic actors an
voiceover to tell the story. Kazan said this was his
favorite film and it is one of a kind.
It is as
much about him and the U.S.
as it is about the people he portrays the trials, joys and tribulations of as
they arrive in the late 19th Century. It is a long film at 168 minutes, so you have
to be in the mood to try it out, but if you can get into it early, it is a very
rewarding work and the black and white shooting actually makes it seem more
authentic than not. A favorite of Martin
Scorsese, it remains one of the best films that will ever be made about the
immigrant experience and has been on many wanted lists for DVD release for over
a decade. Now it is here and
recommended. Just have the energy.
enhanced 1.78 X 1 black & white image is from a very clean print and though
there are some soft spots, the playback is as good as the Video Black from DVD
is going to deliver and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono also sounds pretty good for
its age, helped by the voiceover being recorded in studio. Extras include a feature length audio
commentary track by Historian Foster Hirsch.
- Nicholas Sheffo