The Forsyte Saga Collection. 2 vols. 5 discs. color. 702+ min. Christopher Menaul & others, ITV Studios, Granada Television Prod., dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781598288711. $79.99. Closed-captioned. F
This sumptuous melodrama, based on the early books of John Galsworthy’s family saga (1906), captures the zeitgeist of Victorian and Edwardian England. Soames Forsyte (Damian Lewis) represents the Victorian standards of the day. By contrast, his cousin Jolyon (Rupert Graves) is a free-spirited artist who leaves a conventional life to pursue his love. The lives of these two very different men are linked by the enigmatic Irene (Gina McKee), whose turbulent marriage to Soames eventually leads to happiness with Jolyon. Meanwhile, the next generation of Forsytes—Soames’s daughter and Jolyon’s son—fall passionately in love despite the animosity between their fathers. Those viewers who adored the enormously successful late 1960s BBC series will find this new adaptation equally addictive. VERDICT An absolutely first-rate drama that belongs in every public library. Note: This program was previously released by Acorn individually as Series 1 and 2 (LJ 6/1/04).—Joan Greenberg, Warminster, PA
Ballplayer: Pelotero. color. 77 min. In Spanish & English w/English subtitles. Ross Finkel & others, dist. by Strand Releasing, www.strandreleasing.com. 2012. DVD UPC 712267320523. $24.99. Closed-captioned. SPORTS
Players from the Dominican Republic (DR) comprise 20 percent of players in Major League Baseball (MLB) although that country’s population is about two percent the size of the U.S. population. How does that happen? The filmmakers spent a year in the DR focusing on top prospects Miguel Sanó and Jean Carlos Batista as they approach July 2, 2009, MLB’s international signing date for 16-year-olds. Miguel and Jean Carlos, their trainers, agents, and families expect each will sign with MLB teams and reap multi-million-dollar bonuses. Big money fuels an industry that preys on impoverished teens. Big money invites doping and age fraud on the DR side, maybe coercion and conspiracy on the MLB side. John Leguizamo narrates this intriguing exposé that looks at a dark side of professional baseball. VERDICT This video is highly recommended for general sports audiences and a must-see for even casual baseball fans. [Sanó is currently in the Minnesota Twins minor league system. Batista plays minor league ball for the Houston Astros.—Ed.]—Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH
No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought To Report WWII. color & b/w. 61 min. Michèle Midori Fillion, Hurry Up Sister Prods., dist. by Women Make Movies, www.wmm.com. 2012. DVD $89; acad. libs. $295 (Rental: $90). Public performance. HIST/COMM
This outstanding documentary tells the story of the women journalists who battled male editors and the military establishment to earn the right to serve as war correspondents. It focuses on Ruth Cowan (1901–90), Martha Gellhorn (1908–98), and Dickey Chapelle (1918–65), each of whom fought for the right to cover World War II as they experienced it. Director Fillion combines interviews with scholars and today’s female war correspondents with archival footage and photographs and actress portrayals to show how each of these women, sent to cover the woman’s angle on the war from safely behind the front lines, managed to find her own way to deliver the war news. Chapelle, for example, got onshore at Okinawa and held a flashlight while a doctor performed surgery. Her editor refused to publish her Okinawa photographs because the soldiers looked too “dirty.” Women like Gellhorn (once married to Ernest Hemingway), Chapelle, and Cowan focused on the refugees, the wounded soldiers, and the nurses who tended them and showed the collateral damage of battle. In doing so, they brought new meaning to the idea of the “woman’s angle” on war. VERDICT This excellent film will be a valuable addition to public, school, and academic libraries.—Rosemary Arneson, Univ. of Mary Washington Lib., Fredericksburg, VA
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The following titles are reviewed in the September 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Great Expectations: Original UK Edition. color. 3 hrs. DVD ISBN 9781608836635.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood. color. 2 hrs. DVD ISBN 9781608836789. ea. vol: Masterpiece, WGBH, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2012. DVD $24.99. SDH subtitles. F/CLASSIC
ARTS & HUMANITIES
The Comic Strip Presents: The Complete Collection. 9 discs. color. 26+ hrs. Channel 4 & BBC, dist. by Entertainment One, www.eonehomevideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781417236527. $99.98. HUMOR/PERFORMING ARTS
Guilty Pleasures. color. 52+ min. Julie Moggan, Bungalow Town Prods., POV, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781608837342. $19.99. LIT
Under African Skies. color. 101 min+. Joe Berlinger, A&E IndieFilms/Radical Media, dist. by Sony Music Entertainment c/o Amazon.com. 2012. Blu-ray UPC 0886919147391. $29.98. MUSIC
When the Drum Is Beating. color. 84+ min. In English & Creole w/English subtitles. Whitney Dow, Two Tone Prods., dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2012. DVD UPC 720229915106. $27.95; public performance $195. MUSIC/HIST
In Heaven, Underground. color. 90 min. In German w/English subtitles. Britta Wauer, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, www.7thart.com. 2012. DVD $59; acad. libs. $295. Public performance. REL/HIST
Louder Than a Bomb. color. 99+ min. Greg Jacobs & Jon Siskel, Siskel/Jacobs Prods., dist. by Virgil Films, www.virgilfilms.com. 2012. DVD UPC 829567080924. $19.99. ED/POETRY
How the States Got Their Shape: Season One. 4 discs. color. 7+ hrs. David Konschnik, Half Yard Prods. for A&E Television Networks, History Channel, dist. by New Video, 800-314-8822; www.newvideo.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781422942420. $34.95. Closed-captioned. GEOGRAPHY
Blood in the Mobile: Mining in the Congo. color. 82 min. Frank Piasecki Poulsen, dist by Filmakers Library, 800-889-5937; www.filmakers.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781463112387. $295. Public performance. INT AFFAIRS/SOC SCI
How To Start a Revolution. color. 87 min. Ruaridh Arrow, dist. by Seventh Art Releasing, www.7thart.com. 2012. DVD UPC 886470626335. $79; acad. libs. $229. Public performance. POLITICS
The Loving Story. color & b/w. 77 min. Nancy Buirski, Augusta Films & HBO Documentary Films, dist. by Icarus Films, www.icarusfilms.com. 2012. DVD $149.98. Public performance. SOC SCI
Travel with Kids: San Diego. color. 57+ min. Equator Creative Media, dist. by Janson Media, www.janson.com. 2012.
DVD ISBN 9781568394292. $14.95. TRAV
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Jiro Dreams of Sushi. color. 82+ min. In Japanese w/English subtitles. David Gelb, Sushi Movie, LLC, dist. by Magnolia Home Entertainment, www.magpictures.com. 2012. DVD UPC 876964004732. $26.98; Blu-ray UPC 876964004749. $29.98. Rated: PG. COOKING
Menopause in an Hour: An Appointment with Tara Allmen, MD. 2 discs. color. 60+ min. with booklet. True Mind, dist. by Entertainment One, www.eonedistribution.com. 2012. DVD ISBN 9781934708873. $24.98. HEALTH
Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog. color. 100 min. In Japanese w/English subtitles. Yoichi Sai, Eisei Gekijo/Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Prod., dist. by Music Box Films, www.musicboxfilms.com. 2012. DVD UPC 736211215659. $29.95. PETS