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Episode credited cast:
Matthew Avery Sutton ...
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Matt Balluff
Randall Balmer ...
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(as Elizabeth Bates)
Mary Bave
Mike Bave
Edith Blumhofer ...
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Anthea Butler ...
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Janet D'Anello
David Daniels ...
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Sue Denning
Cynthia DesLauriers
Bob Diehl
Jean Diehl
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2 April 2007 (USA)  »

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What's old is new.
3 October 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Aimee Semple-McPherson was a Pentecostal evangelist in the early part of the 20th century. She was probably the first or among the first of the to create a super-church--preaching directly in front of thousands and possibly millions to radio audiences. She was a super-star of the evangelism movement. However, Aimee was NOT exactly as she seemed. All the but the absolutely most devoted see her today as a mass of contradictions. While preaching a Godly message and beloved by the masses, reconciling her life outside the ministry isn't easy. She divorced her second and third husbands for reasons which few Evangelicals would approve of and later perpetrated what many at the time felt was a HUGE hoax--a hoax which seemed to reveal her extremely worldly private life. Yet, oddly, despite these revelations, she STILL was a powerful force--and continued to be one until her premature death.

Like a typical "American Experience" documentary, the story is told through narration (this time by Blair Brown), interviews, photos, film footage and evocative music. And, like a typical documentary by these folks, it's top-notch.

As far as the film's content goes, "The American Experience" manages to take a VERY neutral position. So, members of her Foursquare Church (which exists today) could appreciate the film as could her many detractors. In other words, it presents the facts in a very neutral manner and allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions. I can appreciate this, as I hate to be spoon-fed information and liked the ambiguity of the film. Well worth seeing.


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