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Genre: Documentary, TV series, History
Country: United States
Voices: Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Sam Waterston, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Adam Arkin, Patricia Clarkson, John Ligthgow, Blythe Danner, Paul Giamatti, Josh Lucas, Amy Madigan
Director: Ken Burns
Run time: 6 hours
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
If there is one DVD I can convince you to buy on October 4th, I fervently hope that it’s Prohibition, the Ken Burns PBS documentary that comes out today. I truly, truly hope you’ll buy it, and watch it, and then watch it again. Or, at least, watch it on PBS, as it’s running right now. Tonight. But you’ve already missed the first hour.
The main reason I want you to watch Ken Burns’ Prohibition is, of course, that it is amazing. Ken Burns always does amazing work, and this tale of politics, drunkenness, temperance and womens rights is as fascinating as anything he’s ever done. The gangsters are interesting, and of course a lot of time is devoted to Al Capone and his Chicago mob, but there were so many other interesting bootleggers.
The lawyers who quit practising law to build vast empires through the sale of illegal booze. The politicians who voted to outlaw alcohol while still indulging their own vices behind closed doors. The incredibly powerful lobby groups, many of them led by women, and the connection between the right of women to vote and prohibition itself.
Oh, of course there’s more. There’s a ton more, because it’s Ken Burns and he doesn’t do anything by half measures. But in this case, Prohibition is (relatively) short! Just three discs, rather than the imposing monster sets that make up his Baseball, Jazz and Civil War documentaries. And that’s another reason I hope I can convince you to pick up Prohibition today. It’s a gateway documentary.
Sure, you can sit down for six hours and watch something this awesome. But it might be so amazing, and so fascinating, that you are THEN willing to sit down and watch TEN hours about the civil war. Or TWENTY hours about baseball or jazz music. And if you do THAT, then my job is done. And I am happy. Paramount Home Entertainment releases Prohibition on DVD today. Please go buy it.