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"American Experience" Mount Rushmore (2002)

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Interesting because the creator was so very flawed.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
26 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While I didn't have a lot of interest in seeing this episode, I love "The American Experience" so much that I felt compelled to give it a look. And, fortunately, it was more interesting than I'd expected. Why? Because in addition to discussing the progression of this project, it also talked a bit about the personality of the work's creator, Gutzon Borglum. He seemed completely ego-centric--even for an artist. And, he felt an amazing sense of entitlement that I found fascinating...though he didn't seem like a very nice person.

I was surprised that he was PARTIALLY responsible for the monument on Stone Mountain. However, he abandoned the project--walking away well before it was completed. However, the film didn't mention that two other carvers worked on project and it wasn't completed until 1970s--long after Borglum's death.

As for his most famous work, Mt. Rushmore, the film spends most of the episode discussing the very slow progress on this South Dakota monument. While nearly completing George Washington's bust in only about a year, it took 14 years to complete the project--and the path towards completion is mildly interesting.

The show is made up of what you'd expect--archival footage, photos, narration and interviews with surviving carvers and various important folks. Well done--just not among the more interesting subjects for this exceptional series.

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