American Experience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; The Last Outlaws. color. 60 min. John Maggio, Ark Media, John Maggio Prods., dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781608830534. $24.99. HIST
How did Robert Leroy Parker (1866–1908), an intelligent young man and devout Mormon raised in poverty, become the gregarious Butch Cassidy? And how did he partner up with Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (1867–1908), an introverted kid from Pennsylvania with a penchant for Wild West dime novels? Paul Newman and Robert Redford did their part in the 1969 film to sensationalize Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but these bandits were legend long before Hollywood. This documentary explores the formation of the Wild Bunch, Cassidy’s meticulous planning before heists, and the many successful robberies (most without murder) committed by the gang. After the particularly famous robbery of a Union Pacific train (the one with too much dynamite), the railroad barons hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to hunt down the gang, bringing them to their inevitable end. An effective mix of photos, interviews, and live-action re-creations keeps the movie grounded yet engrossing. VERDICT From Butch’s Mormon roots to the shoot-out in Bolivia, this program recounts the fascinating story of some of the Wild West’s last outlaws. Highly recommended for all libraries.
I Am Divine: The True Story of the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. color. 90+ min. Jeffrey Schwarz, Automat Pictures, dist. by Wolfe Video, 800-642-5247; wolfevideo.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781935423843. $24.95. FILM/BIOG
This documentary opens with the 1988 premiere of John Waters’s and Glenn Milstead’s greatest success, Hairspray. It also turned out to be Milstead’s final film role. I Am Divine explores the creation of Divine and chronicles the duality of who Divine/Milstead (1945–88) was. Milstead’s mother, an ordinary mom from Baltimore, wrote an excellent and loving book about her son after his sudden death. Here, she describes a sweet young boy, more interested in dolls and decorating than sports and sweat. He hid the bullying from her, but he caught the attention of young neighbor Waters. Waters’s gang of misfits began making movies for no one but themselves. Throughout I Am Divine, they attest to Milstead’s humor, quick wit, fierceness, and universal kindness despite the outrageous raunch of the emerging Divine. The dichotomy became a pop sensation: male/female, glam/slouch, strength/gentility, all gaining more attention on the midnight movie circuit through Waters’s films. In addition to the incisive interviews, including those in which Milstead talks about his various stages of life, are the many early film clips from Waters’s vault. Like the character herself, I Am Divine is an oddity from which viewers will be unable to look away. Verdict A must for fans, a maybe for the faint of heart.
Vera: Set 3. 4 discs. color. 369+ min. Will Sinclair & others, ITV Studios, dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621720232. $59.99. SDH subtitles. F
Brenda Blethyn reprises her role as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in this addictive British mystery series set in northeast England and based on the stories of author Ann Cleeves. In these four feature-length episodes, there is a common thread: each murder is the end result of complicated relationships, some going back years. Vera is a bulldog when it comes to her investigations and often doesn’t spare the feelings of her long-suffering sergeant, Joe Ashworth (David Leon), or those of the other members of the team (a superb supporting cast). As with the cases she probes, Vera herself is complex, with a sad and somewhat messy past. She drinks too much, she eats all the wrong things—in short, she’s as flawed as the rest of us. She is also lonely—her cases (and her colleagues) are her life. Verdict A first-rate mystery series, suitable for public libraries. Sets one and two are still available—buy them all.
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Mr Selfridge: Season 2. 3 discs. color. 7½+ hrs. Anthony Byrne & others, ITV Studios, Masterpiece, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781608830701. $39.99; Blu-ray ISBN 9786315354199. $44.99. SDH subtitles. F/TV
Samson and Delilah. color. 133+ min. Cecil B. DeMille, dist. by Paramount Home Media, www.paramount.com. 2014. Blu-ray ISBN 9781415778722. $24.99. SDH subtitles. F
Under Capricorn. 2 discs. color. 204 min. Rod Hardy, South Australian Film Corp., dist. by Acorn Media, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781621721383. $39.99. SDH subtitles. F
ARTS & HUMANITIES
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here. color. 103+ min. Amei Wallach, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2014. DVD $295. Public performance. ART–GENERAL
Finding Hillywood: The Power of Film To Heal. color. 58 min. Leah Warshawski & Chris Towey, dist. by Cinema Guild, www.cinemaguild.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9780781514651. $99; acad. libs. $350. Public performance. FILM/int affairs
The Curse of the Gothic Symphony. color & b/w. 82 min. Randall Wood, Screen Australia & Wildfury in assoc. with Screen Queensland, dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2014. DVD UPC 720229915908. $24.95. music
In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey. color. 57+ min. James Cullingham, Tamarack Prods., dist. by First Run Features, 800-229-8575; www.firstrunfeatures.com. 2013. DVD UPC 720229915731. $24.95. MUSIC
The Best of Men. color. 90 min. Tim Whitby, Whitby Davison Prod. for BBC, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2014. DVD ISBN 978608830251. $24.99. SDH subtitles. SPORTS/BIOPIC
Yurumein (Homeland): The Caribs of St. Vincent. color. 50 min. Andrea E. Leland, Nine Morning Prod., Andrea E. Leland Prods., dist. by New Day Films, www.newday.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781574484766. $99; acad. libs. $250. Public performance. ANTHRO
Radical Adjustments: The Life and Times of Marilyn Reed Lucia. color & b/w. 56 min. Tom Weidlinger, Arc Light Digital Media , dist. by Moira Prods., www.moiraproductions.com. 2013. DVD ISBN 9781939353054. $75; acad. libs. $225 + $7 s/h. Public performance; streaming available. BIOG/med
The Address. color. 90 min. Ken Burns, Florentine Films & WETA, dist. by PBS, shoppbs.org. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781608830831. $24.99. SDH subtitles. ED/HIST
If These Halls Could Talk. 2 discs. color. 97+ min. Lee Mun Wah, StirFry Seminars, www.stirfryseminars.com. 2014. DVD UPC 736211797179. $1,100; public library/school library discounts available; contact Melissa Sweeney, 510-204-8840, x101. Closed-captioned. ED
The Fear That Has 1000 Eyes: Cities in the Age of Terrorism. color. 52 min. Dagmar Brendecke & Walter Brun , SwissImage, dist. by Janson Media, www.janson.com. 2013. DVD ISBN 9781568394763. $24.95; public performance $295; DSL $495; PPR/DSL $595. SOC SCI
Grace Lee-Ful Direction
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. color. 82 min. Grace Lee, Lee Lee Films, dist. by Good Docs, www.gooddocs.net. 2014. DVD ISBN 9780989972604. $179; acad. libs. $349. Public performance. BIOG
Director Lee (no relation, but she was tracing those named Grace Lee) does an excellent job of chronicling the remarkable life of Grace Lee Boggs, a nearly 100-year-old Chinese American who has spent her life as an activist supporting African Americans, a labor organizer, a civil rights advocate, a philosopher, an Asian American activist, and an environmentalist. Born into an affluent family in New York City, Boggs received a PhD and then moved to Chicago where she soon became a Marxist involving herself in black rights. Moving then to Detroit to edit a newsletter for workers, she met and married James Boggs, a black activist and writer. Together, they participated in every uprising in Detroit and many beyond, often to their peril. Sometimes, however, there was too much activism and not enough reflection, she says here, and so she has devoted herself to changing people’s thinking in her later years. VERDICT A powerful biography of a dedicated, thoughtful, engaged woman worth heeding. For all libraries.—Kitty Chen Dean, New York
Janeane from Des Moines. color. 78 min. Grace Lee, Wilsilu Pictures in assoc. with Open Pictures, dist. by Good Docs, www.gooddocs.net. 2013. DVD $100; acad. libs. $250. Public performance. POL SCI
This film pretends to be a documentary about Janeane, an Iowa housewife who lives a “typical conservative life.” She attends Bible study class, works hard as a home health aide, and owns a home with her husband and kids but struggles to get by. She is worried that the America she treasures is threatened by Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, Democrats, and Obamacare. During the 2012 presidential campaign, looking for inspiration and hope, she attends rallies for the Republican candidates as they roll into Iowa. At the heart of this film is the incredible performance of Jane Wilson, who never breaks character as Janeane. We watch her attend the real-life gatherings for Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. She’s so convincing as a conservative Midwestern housewife that both the press and the candidates allow her to ask questions and get up close and personal for photo ops and sound bites. Filmmaker Lee weaves the fictional life of Janeane into the political machine that takes over Iowa every four years, counterpointing her health concerns and religious views with the self-serving and vacuous candidates who answer her desperate questions with empty words and vague promises. VERDICT Watching this film is a surprising and fascinating experience, perfect for those interested in politics, women’s studies, media, and journalism.—Ellen Druda, Half Hollow Hills Community Lib., Dix Hills, NY
science & TECHNOLOGY
Crafting a Nation: One Craft Beer at a Time. color. 95 min. Thomas Kolicka, Free Minds Prods. , dist. by Janson Media, c/o Amazon.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781568394718. $24.95; public performance $295; DSL $495; PPR/DSL $595. BEVERAGES
The Science of Measurement: Taking the Measure of the World. color. 177+ min. Mike Cunliffe, Big Wave Prod. for BBC, dist. by Athena Learning, 888-870-8047; www.acornonline.com. 2014. DVD ISBN 9781598289961. $34.99. SDH subtitles. SCI