Author Topic: Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony  (Read 1368 times)

Offline Antares

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Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Year: 1999
Film Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Documentary
Length: 180 Min.

Ken Burns (1953)

Geoffrey C. Ward...Writer

Paul Barnes
Pam Tubridy Baucom
Ken Burns (1953)
Susanna Steisel

Ken Burns (1953)
Allen Moore
Buddy Squires


Sally Kellerman (1937) as Narrator (Voice)
Ronnie Gilbert (1926) as Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Voice)
Julie Harris (1925) as Susan B. Anthony (Voice)
Amy Madigan (1950) (Voice)
Keith David (1956) as Frederick Douglass (Voice)
Wendy Conquest (Voice)
Ann Duquesnay (Voice)
George Plimpton (1927) (Voice)

       If you were to walk up to the average stranger on the street and ask, “Who was Susan B. Anthony?” the answer that would mostly likely be given would be that she was the woman on the $1 coin that looked like a quarter. A truly sad appellation for one of the most influential American’s of the 19th century. But going even further is the poignant fact that almost no one remembers Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Every American woman living today should bow at the altar of these two extraordinary individuals, as they were the prime pioneers on the frontier of the woman’s suffrage movement that started in the 1840’s. Each would ceaselessly wage war against the established political dogma of the day, which decreed that a woman’s place was in the home and that she was the property of her husband. Looking back now it seems absurd that a woman had no rights to property if her husband was to die unexpectedly, or that she had no recourse in court to end an abusive marriage. These were just two symptoms of an antiquated system that both Stanton and Anthony laid siege to in their political war of attrition against the powers that held sway over nearly half of our country’s population.
       By 1999, director Ken Burns had established himself as the de facto provocateur in the field of documentary filmmaking. His success with his mammoth epic on the Civil War had brought to him the accolades and prestige seldom found in his chosen field of endeavor, and he would use his newfound power to create documentaries that would not only be informative, but would also entertain. One common link in all his films is that he always focuses on a central theme that underscores the subject matter of the documentary. In The Civil War, the underlying theme of racial equality is the frame upon which he weaves his narrative. In Not for Ourselves Alone, the focus is upon the fight for the right to vote, which coincides with the differences in personality and background between these two women. For every Yin there’s a Yang, and Burns uses this metaphor to showcase how well each of their dynamic personality’s fed upon each other. Whereas Stanton came from an aristocratic background and was perfectly happy at home having babies, Anthony was the tireless agitator who was wholly willing to promote the free thinking ideas of her profound partner to anyone that would listen. Theirs was a marriage of the mind and soul that kept them on a united and single-minded journey to rid the nation of the terrible inequality that faced every woman of the time. Not for Ourselves Alone might not be one Ken Burn’s most popular documentaries, but it is definitely one of his best.

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.