American Experience (1988– )
8.3/10
63
3 user 1 critic

Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World 

The American Experience looks at the history of American whaling from its off-shore origins in the 17th century to the golden age of deep water whaling and the eventual decline in the decades after the Civil War.

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Episode credited cast:
...
D. Graham Burnett ...
Himself - Historian
Margaret S. Creighton ...
Herself - Historian
...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Andrew Delbanco ...
Himself - Writer
Eric Jay Dolin ...
Himself - Writer
Mary K. Bercaw Edwards ...
Herself - Melville Scholar
Stuart M. Frank ...
Himself - New Bedford Whaling Museum
...
...
...
Herman Melville (voice)
Michael Moore ...
Himself - Marine Biologist
Lisa Norling ...
Herself - Historian
Nathaniel Philbrick ...
Himself - Writer
...
Poem Reader (voice)

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The American Experience looks at the history of American whaling from its off-shore origins in the 17th century to the golden age of deep water whaling and the eventual decline in the decades after the Civil War.

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10 May 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Exceptionally well made BUT you might want to read through my warnings before watching.
3 November 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"The American Experience: Into the Deep" is an exceptionally well made film that I strongly recommend. However, there are some seriously difficult portions of the film that are NOT good stuff for young kids or even some adults to watch. If you watch, you will see some very bloody and disturbing footage of whaling. Whales being killed and rendered is not something everyone wants to see or needs to see. In addition, there is a VERY graphic account in the show about a ship (The Essex) that was actually sunk by a whale (and it was the inspiration for Melville's "Moby Dick")--and the aftermath is quite nasty. Very vividly told accounts of men on lifeboats cannibalizing each other in order to make it back to land will turn a few stomachs. DO NOT SAY YOU WEREN'T WARNED!!

I appreciate the show because Whaling is a HUGE part of American history that most of us are unaware of today. And, being politically incorrect, many of us would rather just forget it. However, this is a mistake because the American economy of the 18th and 19th century grew to one of the strongest on the planet due, in large part, to whaling. Without whale oil, the industrial revolution might not have taken place or would have been severely curtailed. And, economically, it IS who the country was for much of our early history. Additionally, the stories of the incredible danger are quite compelling and should not be forgotten. The film uses the typical style of a PBS documentary--fantastically evocative music, photos, film clips, recreations and a slow and deliberate pace. It's an exceptional film--just be patient and watch the story unfold. Well worth seeing.

By the way, it's pretty easy to believe that Ric Burns (who made this film) is the brother of famed Ken Burns--as the style is very similar and both worked together on such amazing projects as "The Civil War".


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