American Experience: Robert E. Lee–Revisited

By Ernest Kearney – With hardly an exception the American Experience historical programs are gems. That the dumb heads in congress have succeeded in striking down the funding for both public TV and radio, crippling the ability to produce such shows as these, Ken Burns Civil War, and many others is nothing less than a sin against the nation.

b2ap3_thumbnail_relee-pbs.jpgWhile there is a bit too much slickness in this bio for my taste, and a musical score that is used rather too heavily, this is still a fine example of the type of programming that money bought; a sum that amounts to less than what the armed services spends on their military bands.

This bio also takes a different tact on Lee that is usual which has offended some, for in it we are treated to a sadden Lee, a Lee of nobility still, but where the warts are not air-brushed. To the detractors of this approach I can only say, when you stand too close to a marble statue you always see the cracks.

For Civil War buffs, even those who think they know everything there is to known, the viewing is well worth their time. If you’ve never watched the American Experience series this is a good enough one to start with. But hurry up, the breed may soon to be extinct.

Writer: Mark Zwonitzer
Cinematographer: Michael Chin
Narrated by Michael Murphy
Additional Voices: Jason Alan Carvell, Kara Jackson
Not Rated
DVD Release Date: 2011
Available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble other Online Vendors.

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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