Video Reviews, September 15, 2012

starred review starThe 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; 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

starred review starBallplayer: Pelotero. color. 77 min. In Spanish & English w/English subtitles. Ross Finkel & others, dist. by Strand Releasing, 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

starred review starNo 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, 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

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, 2012. DVD $24.99. SDH subtitles. F/CLASSIC


The Comic Strip Presents: The Complete Collection. 9 discs. color. 26+ hrs. Channel 4 & BBC, dist. by Entertainment One, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781417236527. $99.98. HUMOR/PERFORMING ARTS

Guilty Pleasures. color. 52+ min. Julie Moggan, Bungalow Town Prods., POV, dist. by PBS, 2012. DVD ISBN 9781608837342. $19.99. LIT

starred review starUnder African Skies. color. 101 min+. Joe Berlinger, A&E IndieFilms/Radical Media, dist. by Sony Music Entertainment c/o 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; 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, 2012. DVD $59; acad. libs. $295. Public performance. REL/HIST


starred review starLouder Than a Bomb. color. 99+ min. Greg Jacobs & Jon Siskel, Siskel/Jacobs Prods., dist. by Virgil Films, 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; 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; 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, 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, 2012. DVD $149.98. Public performance. SOC SCI

Travel with Kids: San Diego. color. 57+ min. Equator Creative Media, dist. by Janson Media, 2012.

DVD ISBN 9781568394292. $14.95. TRAV


Jiro Dreams of Sushi. color. 82+ min. In Japanese w/English subtitles. David Gelb, Sushi Movie, LLC, dist. by Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD UPC 876964004732. $26.98; Blu-ray UPC 876964004749. $29.98. Rated: PG. COOKING

starred review starMenopause in an Hour: An Appointment with Tara Allmen, MD. 2 discs. color. 60+ min. with booklet. True Mind, dist. by Entertainment One, 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, 2012. DVD UPC 736211215659. $29.95. PETS

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"