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Romance of Louisiana (1937)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Technicolor short takes place in 1803 as President Thomas Jefferson (Erville Alderson) tries to negotiate with Napoleon to buy the Louisiana Territory from France. I'm no history expect so I can't comment on how faithful this film is to the truth but I am a lover of shorts and I've seen a fair share of those that deal with subjects of the past. With that in mind, this one here is downright deadly dull from start to finish and there's really not much worth watching here. The one saving grace is the Technicolor, which gives some life to the movie as it looks quite good. Now, what doesn't work is the actual direction, which seems dead from the opening prologue to the final scenes. There's not an ounce of energy to be found and even the performances are very stale.
This short tells the story of the Louisiana Purchase. And, while it gets most of the facts essentially correct, the short film fails on two major levels. First, little, if any, effort was made to have the actors look like the actual personalities--Monroe, Jefferson, et al look shockingly little like the originals. They didn't even get the hair right! Second, and this is most unforgivable, it is pretty dull and difficult to watch. I am an American History teacher and I had a hard time watching it--imagine how tough it would be to get kids to watch it! Why does a historical re-creation have to be THIS uninteresting? I am not proposing cute kids or dogs to spice it up, but come on folks--this IS really tough viewing.
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