FDR – A Presidency Revealed (The History
Sound: B- Extras: B Episodes: B+
Though A&E had already created two Biography
installments Franklin Roosevelt, The History Channel decided to go further and
do the longer two-part FDR – A Presidency Revealed (2004) gets into more
of the background of the man’s life and especially his unprecedented years in
office. It has the advantage of more
time and some more up to date information.
A&E has issued a two-DVD set that offers all four programs, making
it very well rounded and strong set.
There is some overlap, but it is not as bad as you’d
think. Because both networks are
serious about doing such history right like no one on television since PBS and
its affiliates, the quality of the content keeps the older programs from
dating. His still-under discussed
problems with polio and all the bold decisions he made that paid off still
resonate over 60 years later and will for decades and centuries to come. He had infidelities in his personal life,
but as of this posting, no politician has dared to make him into the Satan they
keep trying to make Bill Clinton into.
As you read this, there are many forces who desperately want to reserve
all of his great achievements.
Without going into the Social Security debate, which is
partly being used as a distraction as other rights, opportunities and economic
securities of The New Deal, his policies saved America and the free world by
refining American Commerce and Capitalism into something that weathered
Fascism, Communism and Socialism.
Whether some of the things he did may have crossed the line is
debatable, but most of what he did make it possible for the U.S. to be the
great country it was in the 20th Century at its best. All these programs do not shy away from the
facts and there are many who will hate this set for its journalistic integrity,
as well as permanent record of some of the most important progress any country
or civilization ever made in human history.
Being president at the right time made this possible and the result is
that A Presidency Revealed is also some of the most important history of
all time revealed. That makes this a
must-see set that could not go on long enough, because FDR was ultimately a
The 1.33 X 1 image on all the programs is off of the
professional NTSC tapes and looks as good as it is going to here, with detail
limits, but loaded with great stills and film footage. This also extends to audio clips and the
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic surrounds in all cases. The newer program is a bit stronger in this
respect than the older one, but the sound is of the higher bit rate Dolby
compression we have come to expect from A&E releases. An extra besides the two Biography
installments is a promo for the newer mini-series, which is also worth
- Nicholas Sheffo