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7 October 1996 (USA)  »

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The film of the ships in New York harbor at the time of T.R.'s return is run backwards, as the smoke is seen going back into the smoke stacks. See more »

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A life beginning to go into decline...but still very, very fascinating.
9 September 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is part of a multi-part series on the life of Teddy Roosevelt from the PBS series "The American Experience". Considering what a complex and amazing man Roosevelt was, it's actually surprising to me that it took this long for the series to feature his life. It's not surprising, then, that the total story of his life was stretched out to nearly four hours--and could have EASILY been much longer.

The show was narrated by Jason Robards and features a variety of interviews--mostly by various grand and great-grandchildren of the man as well as a group of historians. And, along with these, a LOT of stock footage and family photos were used. Together, they did a great job in telling the story.

In this second portion of this very long biography of Roosevelt, the focus is on his second term as well as his post-presidency years (which are rather melancholy). The effect, then, is to have the successes decline throughout the show. Some of this is due to age, some due to personal choices and some due, perhaps, to him simply burning out because he'd crammed so much into his preceding years! While very sad to watch some of it, there were some real surprises. I did not know that Roosevelt had a great resurgence of popularity during WWI when he capitalized on the German-hating fervor in America. In this case, you see the worst of Roosevelt--a man who actually encouraged the persecution of German immigrants, suppression of dissent about the war and who, by today's standards, might be seen as a warmonger. Sad but a very well done episode--and the set of films are a must-see for anyone wanting to learn about the most unusual and powerful men of his time.


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