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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Civil War > Slavery > Politics > The Massachusettes 54th Colored Infantry (American Experience)

The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry (American Experience)


Picture: C†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C-†††† Main Program: B-



In a poignant and powerful installment of the great WGBH/PBS series The American Experience, Morgan Freeman narrates the story of The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry.Encompassing the many moral dilemmas and ugly truths of The Civil War in general and how they have affected the U.S. to this day in particular, the tale is told of how African Americans slowly began to see a thaw in the country when the North/South war was breaking out.Many of them decided to fight, despite all the terrible inequities (no money, no citizenship, no respect, no real break in racism) and disgusting realities that faced them.Though it would only make a nominal difference at the time, they had nothing to loose and wanted change, even at the cost of their own lives.


The high number who fought and died is shocking, and to this date, they still have not received the credit they deserve for being groundbreakers in ways they could have not have begun to imagine in their time.The only thing that stops this from being a greater show is that it is not long enough, running just under an hour.It is still plenty powerful and vital, so be sure to see it.


The 1.33 X 1 image is a mix of film, stills and video, but is a little noisier than usual.Is it grain or a transfer noise issue?Either way, it is not as clear as WGBH titles like this in The American Experience series as usual, especially considering it was first broadcast in 2005.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no surrounds, but sounds fine, including with Freemanís narration.Once again, the only extras are the usual weblink and DVD-ROM document you can download.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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