Eleanor and Franklin (TV Series 1976– ) Poster

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Artistically excellent, technically flawed.
Kevin Morris29 December 2010
It is difficult to write a balanced comment of this miniseries because it contains some of the best and the worst of film-making. Perhaps my review should be called "the good, the bad and the ugly". And bear in mind that I am not American and know little of FDR's early days.

First the good. The acting is truly excellent. Edward Herrmann is totally convincing as a younger FDR and Jane Alexander does a remarkable job of speaking through those prosthetic teeth. The locations, the sets and the costumes are all convincing and give an interesting glimpse of a time and place that is rarely covered in movies. The leisurely pace, a luxury allowed only to miniseries, allows the viewer time to get a feel for the characters and locations.

And then there is the bad. One thing I noticed that I almost never notice in a film was the camera-work. Some of the shots and angles became quite repetitious, to the point where I was consciously waiting for the "zoom-out-through-leaves" shot. This was distracting.

Another thing on the bad list was, overall, the script. The title is misleading in the sense that this is a movie about Eleanor, not necessarily Franklin. It covers her early life in detail but skips his entirely. Somewhere between the wedding and breakfast he enters politics, gets elected and becomes Assistant Secretary of the Navy and yet this is mentioned only in passing. We really learn nothing of his political views or motives, nor do we learn much about the man who overcame a crippling disability to become the most successful of all US presidents.

And now the ugly. In a word, make-up. The age make-up was so appallingly bad that I was staring in fascinated horror at the slabs of stuff on their faces, waiting for huge chunks to fall off. Indeed, when Eleanor was asleep on the train she had four eyelids. I tried to ignore it but it was too distracting.

Overall, "Eleanor and Franklin" is very interesting and certainly worth watching, particularly for an insight into the life of the First Lady. But if you were hoping to learn more about Franklin, by all means watch this miniseries but be warned that it is merely a glimpse.
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Remarkable in detailing the life and times of Franklin and Eleanor...
Neil Doyle25 December 2006
FRANKLIN AND ELEANOR was a remarkable television mini-series that topcast BERNARD HERRMANN and JANE Alexander as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor--taking them through courtship and marriage to the stormy years of discontent while his political ambitions became known to her (and eventually his indiscretions), as well as the political climate during the early years of his presidency at the height of the Great Depression, followed by the tumultuous war years of World War II.

It never ceases to be endlessly fascinating, treating with respect and dignity the lives of the famous couple and their various dealings with others while he becomes head of the Democratic party and then is elected to be a four-term president during some of the most difficult years in American history.

Production-wise, it's excellent and received many awards and nominations. It should be required viewing for any student of history and dramatically, it is very effective with a fitting background score by John Barry.
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My favorite historical miniseries!
MBMakoski5530 September 2006
There are so many GREAT things about this miniseries...historical accuracy down to exactly the gown Eleanor wore when she married Franklin...the sets are so unbelievably accurate and lavish, they are a visual treat in themselves! Having read "My Parents" by James Roosevelt and the title book by Joseph Lash, the movie really is as it all actually happened, as much as time constraints would allow. I will never forget the performances by Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann. To this day, because of this, they are two of my favorite contemporary actors. It's hard to believe that the film interior shots were not done at the respective Roosevelt homes...again, they have been duplicated to beyond perfection! And last but NOT least, the heart-felt music by John Barry. I think this soundtrack is one of his finest works...I wish it were available on CD!He certainly should have won the Emmy for it!! A must see for history buffs, and just anyone who loves the story of a romance and the turns it takes throughout life.
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dtucker8623 October 2003
Edward Hermann and Jane Alexander are like Ralph Bellamy and Greer Garson in their portrayals of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. This is a first class tv film that everyone should see. It is a wonderful re-telling of history from beginning to end. It tells not only of the Roosevelts, but of the time in which they lived.
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An extraordinary television special!
donegal5 August 1999
There are about five really outstanding mini-series in this world and "Eleanor and Franklin" is one of them. Aside from the excellent attention to costumes and sets, it has remarkable performances by Jane Alexander, Edward Herrmann, Lilia Skala and the Emmy-award winning Rosemary Murphy. There is also fantastic music by John Barry. This drama is gripping, intricate and always fascinating, giving the viewer an inside-look at the legendary First Couple. Don't miss this show!
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