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Thomas Hart Benton (1988)

Thomas Hart Benton's paintings were energetic and uncompromising. Today his works are in museums, but Benton hung them in saloons for ordinary people to appreciate.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Henry Adams ...
Himself
Thomas Hart Benton ...
Himself (archive footage)
Arthur Danto ...
Himself
...
Himself
Hilton Kramer ...
Himself
Karal Marling ...
Herself (as Karal Ann Marling)
Edward R. Murrow ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Narrator
Raphael Soyer ...
Himself
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Thomas Hart Benton's paintings were energetic and uncompromising. Today his works are in museums, but Benton hung them in saloons for ordinary people to appreciate.

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When I Get to the End of the Way
Written by Charles D. Tillman
Performed by Burl Ives
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User Reviews

 
Well done but it never really sparked much excitement in me.
10 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is a well-made film by Ken Burns. However, it never really had a lot of impact on me. Perhaps it is the documentary, perhaps it's my reaction to the art of Thomas Hart Benton. Either way, the film left me feeling rather lukewarm--though I could see it was a quality film.

This is the life of Thomas Hart Benton--an American artist who is relatively unknown today outside of art circles. His style was wholly unique--rather modern yet sentimental and very much a celebration of America--both the good and bad. You just have to see his art to believe and appreciate it.

When it comes to talking about Benton the person, he sounded like a real character--and a bit of a jerk. Considering he was coming from a time when artists went to France, behaved like bohemians and were very temperamental, he fit in very well. And, add to that a bit of John Ford or a crusty old coot and you get Benton. It was sad, but apparently he came alive with friends but as a family man he left a lot to be desired. Seeing his daughter talking about how coldly he behaved towards his children was pretty sad. All in all, an interesting and complex man.

Worth seeing, yes. But, not as wonderful and rich as Ken Burns' later documentaries.


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