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The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Old 08-23-17, 03:42 AM
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The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

So I noticed that there is no thread here dedicated to talking about Ken Burns and his PBS documentaries.


He has a new series coming out September 17th called "The Vietnam War" It's 10 parts and 18 hours long.





Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides—Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam. Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. THE VIETNAM WAR features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from greatest artists of the era and haunting original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo-Yo Ma.

Here's the trailers:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3j-3Xi5BcKs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iWFzaUlZz-k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


The fact that this took 10 years to make this film is freaking amazing. I can't wait to see it.

Since it's airing in the middle of the Fall season in Primetime, I decided in order to avoid to potential DVR conflicts to order the entire series on Blu-Ray. It comes out only 2 days after the premiere. I think it will be worth it. This is one aspect of history that I have a lot of interest in.


I know documentaries aren't huge draws for discussion, but I don't want to limit this to just Burns' new film. If anyone wants to talk about any of his past films, feel free to do so here.


The Jackie Robinson film that came out last year was very well done. Covered pretty much every aspect of his personal and professional life.


I also own the complete series for Baseball on DVD and picked up the 10th Inning edition several years ago. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but if you know anything about the sport, it's an absolute must watch.


On the horizon, Ken Burns is producing a new film about the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. This article is from March:

http://deadline.com/2017/03/ken-burn...bs-1202054710/

PBS announced this morning that Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon are producing and directing a two-part, four-hour documentary about boxer/civil rights figure Muhammad Ali. Production began a year ago in early 2016, and the filmmakers anticipate a broadcast premiere in 2021 on PBS.

The fact that it's going to take 5 years to make this film show how meticulous he is with his writing and film making.


I also saw some of the Roosevelts series from a few years ago. I got busy and never finished it, but I want to and I know it's still on Netflix.
Old 08-23-17, 07:38 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Wow, I may have to tune in.
Old 08-23-17, 08:41 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Thanks for the update. I enjoyed all of his documentaries. Will catch this.
Old 08-23-17, 09:10 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I would expect a Burns treatment of this topic to get into the weeds politically and philosophically, but I hope they resist the temptation to overdo it. You would think that with 18 hours, they have had time to provide a proper military history of the war while doing the expected deep(er) dive into the social and political side of things. Either way, I will certainly be tuning in.
Old 08-23-17, 09:32 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I vaguely recalling watching part of Civil War when it aired. I think a teacher made us for history class.

I started Baseball a few years ago, but didn't get past the first episode. It was interesting, but slow.

I would like to check out the series on the national parks. That's an area I don't know much about.
Old 08-23-17, 11:08 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I greatly enjoyed "baseball" and I am not even a baseball fan.. lol..

Cival War is his best, in my opinion.
Old 08-23-17, 02:45 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

No surprise, but I love the baseball one. I find the history of baseball fascinating.
Old 08-23-17, 04:39 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I enjoyed the Roosevelt series. Really need to watch Baseball, but it's not on any of the streaming services, and I'm sick of buying media.
Old 08-23-17, 04:46 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I found The War to be the best. Two or three times I flat out cried.
Old 08-23-17, 04:55 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Go to your public library. The one around me has all kinds of documentaries and they have all of Ken Burns..
Old 08-23-17, 11:14 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

I believe this will be epic and draw wide praise and awards. Looking forward to next month.
Old 08-24-17, 05:54 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Love all of Burns' work. I don't know if I'll watch the Vietnam series right away but I am excited to hear about the Ali doc. The Jackie Robinson doc was really good.
Old 08-24-17, 06:58 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Somehow, I've never seen a Ken Burns documentary. And I love/frequently watch documentaries. I'll watch.
Old 08-24-17, 07:16 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Wow. 18 hours! I look forward to this a lot. I loved the Roosevelts and Civil War is a masterpiece.
Old 08-24-17, 10:26 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Ken Burns spoke at the annual University of Texas Vietnam War summit last year and showed some of the footage for this. Incredible stuff as always, and he's a great speaker.
Old 08-24-17, 11:17 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Originally Posted by E Unit View Post
Ken Burns spoke at the annual University of Texas Vietnam War summit last year and showed some of the footage for this. Incredible stuff as always, and he's a great speaker.
I saw him a few months ago at the LBJ Libraray. He showed some footage and I was able to meet him afterwards. Look forward to watching the documentary.

Last edited by Michael T Hudson; 08-24-17 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Error
Old 08-24-17, 06:34 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Keith David is a great narrator for Burns' documentaries. Great voice.

Loved his narration on the 10th inning film for baseball. I just started watching "The War" and was happy to see that he's also the narrator of it.

It's too bad that John Chancellor passed away. I liked his narration on the original baseball series.
Old 08-25-17, 05:38 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

PBS On Demand has a 30 minute preview/behind the scenes available.
Old 08-25-17, 06:33 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
PBS On Demand has a 30 minute preview/behind the scenes available.
http://www.pbs.org/video/pbs-preview...am-war-ac4vcp/
Old 08-25-17, 06:53 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Last weekend PBS aired a Ken Burns documentary called

"Ken Burns: America's Storyteller: American Sampler" documentary that was hosted by Tom Hanks.

It was basically a 90 minute best of documentary from his past works. Don't know if there are anymore airings.

I watched it and it was okay. They had intermittent commercial breaks to the local PBS station asking for donations. A little annoying. The breaks were promoting the Vietnam War documentary.

Last edited by DJariya; 08-25-17 at 07:00 AM.
Old 09-09-17, 05:50 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Vi...178770/#Review

Review of the new Vietnam War series on BD.

If you plan to DVR this when the episodes air starting on the 17th, make sure you have lots of DVR space. The episodes are long.

Here's descriptions with episode length


Spoiler:
Episodes:

"Déjà Vu (1858-1961)" (83:32)

After the French conquest of Indochina, a European society is built on foreign ground, with the new rulers of the land using the locals to manufacture their empire. In the shadow of World War I, the saga of Ho Chi Minh begins, tracking the eventual leader of North Vietnam through his efforts to refocus world interests on his homeland's agony, while a new force, the Viet Minh, begin to organize, eventually put to the test when Japanese forces begin to claim Indochina as their own, starving the helpless. Looking for an advantage during World War II, the U.S. spends money and time in Vietnam to disrupt Japanese interests, only to turn neutral after the war as the French stage a reoccupation. Sensitive to criticisms about his handling of China, President Truman breaks neutrality as war spreads around Asia, dividing Vietnam, putting emphasis on the fight against communism. And advances in strategy and power make way for the development of the National Liberation Front and its off shoot, the People's Liberation Armed Forces, also known as the Viet Cong.

"Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)" (84:39)

With the inaugural of JFK comes hope of a quick conflict in Vietnam, with the new president refusing to commit soldiers to the region, instead sending Green Berets, inspiring "limited warfare" to help the South Vietnamese on the battlefield. The experience of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann is recounted, with his efforts to "save Vietnam" turning disastrous during incidents such at the Battle of Ap Bac, which introduces a more practiced Viet Cong, newly empowered to fight their enemy. Media coverage is scrutinized, contrasting positive headlines with the actual fight, leaving the truth in the hands of a small group of reporters. The war at home intensifies with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, while Vietnam experiences its own troubles with Buddhist protests, peaking with a scene of self-immolation that sends shockwaves around the world. And with JFK floundering with his plans for Vietnam, trying to gain political strength during this time, a coup is staged, with operatives capturing and killing Ngo Dinh Diem, the corrupt president of the Republic of Vietnam.

"The River Styx (January 1964 – December 1965)" (116:07)

After the assassination of JFK, Lyndon Johnson inherits the presidency, but remains hesitant to escalate the situation in Vietnam, depending on his cabinet to make sense of a confusing situation. As South Vietnam burns through a succession of governments, North Vietnam becomes focused under the leadership of Le Duan, who receives aid and troops from China to help bolster the ranks as the Viet Cong ramp up military plans. Still careful with his decisions, LBJ passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, but offerings of restraint are lost during the battle of Binh Gia. With General Westmorland organizing American interests, Operation Rolling Thunder commences a new escalation from LBJ's military, while at home, Vietnam War protestors begin to shape their organizational efforts, growing in numbers by the week. Finally, Marines are dispatched in Da Nang, bringing the conflict to new level of engagement, cementing the American presence in the country, with horrors captured by journalists and broadcast to a stunned nation.

"Resolve (January 1966 – June 1967)" (115:37)

Trying to minimize impact from the growing discontent surrounding the Vietnam War, LBJ heads to Hawaii for a meeting with the North Vietnamese while America is offered televised access to the Fulbright Hearings, exposing growing resistance to the mission. Concepts such as "Crossover Point" and "Body Count" are explored, used to distract outsiders from the problems at hand, offering false military goals. The Ho Chi Minh Trail is highlighted, which allows the Viet Cong to move weapons across Vietnam without detection. In America, the draft becomes a major issue of anxiety, with 30,000 young men sent into duty every month, stirring up protests, including movements led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Spock. The POW experience is examined with Everett Alvarez, who spend 8 years in torturous conditions. And disillusionment spreads in government and civilian circles, with newly trained Marines especially sensitive to the road ahead, while General Westmorland's leadership soon becomes an elaborate guessing game.

"This Is What We Do (July 1967 – December 1967)" (83:30)

Frustrations during the fight emerge in the form of derogatory phrases and epithets, most carrying over from other conflicts. War zone panic increases with widespread malfunctioning of the M-16 machine gun, which often jams during the heat of battle, adding to the list of preventable casualties. Weariness of war begins to set in with all involved, including the mood in Hanoi, inspiring leaders to begin the early planning stages of the Tet Offensive. Combat in Con Thein carries a heavy loss of life, while in America, antiwar protesters begin to target the Pentagon in large numbers, inspiring a peace movement the soldiers in Vietnam don't understand. The saga of John McCain is recounted. And the Battle of Dak To carries on for weeks, urging LBJ to launch a "Success Offensive" to secure a sunnier side to war reporting, hoping to win back the public as a new presidential election begins to take shape.

"Things Fall Apart (January 1968 – July 1968)" (85:59)

A mystery arises with the formation of military plans from the Viet Cong, timed around the holiday of Tet, with American forces trying to figure out what's going on with the enemy. Chaos begins with the U.S. Embassy attack, and hostilities boil over during what would become the Tet Offensive, with the Battle of Hue destroying the city, offering grim scenes of death and cruelty to a national televised audience, hurting LBJ's plans for reelection. And unrest continues in America, with the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy stirring up division as riots break out, while the men who served return home to a society that doesn't care about their heroism.

"The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968 – May 1969)" (109:46)

Much like Americans, North Vietnam residents are fed propaganda-style news celebrating the war effort while thousands perish daily in combat. With the end of LBJ's tenure as president, Richard Nixon, a longtime politician, finally achieves political victories, making his way to the White House. In Chicago, extreme violence stains the Democratic National Convention, with antiwar protestors swarming the event, clashing with police. Fighting rages on in Vietnam, moving to the Mekong Delta region, also emphasizing the innocents caught in firefights, callously added to Body Count totals. The savagery of man is detailed, exploring how gentle Midwestern boys were turned into murderous monsters during service. And Nixon's presidency sells the idea of peace, with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger making promises to protestors he can't keep.

"The History of the World (April 1969 – May 1970)" (110:21)

The birth of the POW-MIA movement is recalled, with Americans turning their attention on those trapped in prisons without hope for freedom. The battle of Hamburger Hill is detailed, along with Nixon's dream of "Vietnamization," putting the burden of battle on the South Vietnamese army. Tales of racism and "fragging" are recalled, with soldiers creating their own sense of justice as vicious commanders are marked for death. In Vietnam, Ho Cho Minh passes away, while in America, public dissent turns into radicalization, with domestic terrorist groups, including the Weathermen, killing to make themselves heard. The gruesome waves of unspeakable violence during the My Lai Massacre are explored, inspiring a greater swell of antiwar organization. And college campuses become a hot zone of protesting, with the Kent State shootings inspiring a renewed wave of demonstration, including veterans of the war.

"A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970 – March 1973)" (110:44)

With troop morale at an all-time low, the war at home is complicated with the arrival of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization, allowing those who served a chance to voice their frustrations. The release of the Pentagon Papers effectively severs trust in the last three presidents and the office itself, detailing the speed of lies used to protect political interests. As Nixon seeks to rebuild relationships with a visit to China, Vietnam continues to disintegrate, recently suffering through "The Summer of Flames." The saga of Valerie Kushner, critic of government and wife to a POW, is explored. As Nixon seeks reelection, Kissinger has difficulty brokering peace in Paris, finally reaching an agreement to pull troops out and reclaim POWs, but only after a shocking bombing puts pressure on the North Vietnamese to comply.

"The Weight of Memory (March 1973 – Onward)" (109:07)

With Nixon embroiled in the Watergate scandal, his promises of support for South Vietnam are quietly erased, allowing the Viet Cong to take control of the country now with American forces gone. The takeover of Saigon is detailed, including the disorganized American Embassy evacuation. Now with North Vietnam in charge, re-education camps are set up to imprison undesirables, and communism commences an economic disaster. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is finally defined, helping vets with their psychological issues. Plans for a Vietnam Memorial are challenged over a stark design option. And the "normalization" of Vietnam finally takes hold, permitting vets to return to the land and trade to begin, restoring a future for a country that was once completely lost to violence.



As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I ordered the set and will watch it on BD as opposed to the PBS airings. I figure this will be a very worthy long-term watch that I can watch casually at my own pace as opposed to worrying about DVR conflicts and letting 18 hours build up on my DVR.
Old 09-16-17, 03:38 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Bump

Reminder for those who missed this. The new Ken Burns documentary "The Vietnam War" premieres tomorrow night at 8pm on your local PBS station.

Episodes air Sunday through Thursday.

As I posted above ^^^ episodes run about 90 minutes to 2 hours each. Remember, this is a 10 episode 18 hour series. Make sure you have plenty of DVR space.

or if you prefer, you can purchase the entire series on BD this Tuesday:

https://www.amazon.com/Vietnam-War-B...5594256&sr=8-1
Old 09-17-17, 06:00 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Another reminder - it starts in an hour or so at 8 P.M EST.
Old 09-17-17, 09:56 PM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Saw the first episode today. Very good. The French and the American intervention in Vietnam is so similar..
This is worth watching.. Learned a lot so far..
Old 09-18-17, 06:20 AM
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Re: The Ken Burns PBS Documentary Thread

Must see tv.. great first ep

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