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4 Little Girls

( 3 )

Overview

Spike Lee's powerful documentary 4 Little Girls comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a biography of Spike Lee, a making-of featurette, and web links. This is a solid release from HBO/Rysher that should appeal to documentary film enthusiasts, as well as anyone interested in studying the history of America's...
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Overview

Spike Lee's powerful documentary 4 Little Girls comes to DVD with a standard full-frame transfer. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Stereo. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a biography of Spike Lee, a making-of featurette, and web links. This is a solid release from HBO/Rysher that should appeal to documentary film enthusiasts, as well as anyone interested in studying the history of America's struggle for civil rights.
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Special Features

Interactive menus; Spike Lee biography; "Making of 4 Little Girls" featurette; Weblinks
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Pete Segall
Spike Lee is easily America's most confrontational filmmaker: Didactic, bombastic, and often as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. His films, often standoffs on the impossible issue of race in America, are so hyper-realized that it's difficult to ignore them. A strain of truth runs through Lee's best work -- the visions of Brooklyn past and present in Crooklyn and Do the Right Thing, the strange life of a hero in Malcolm X, and the bizarre entanglements of fatherhood and basketball in He Got Game. However, Lee attains a heretofore hidden level of fierce restraint when dealing with nonfictional material in his first documentary, 4 Little Girls, a harrowing, angry film about a church bombing in Birmingham in 1963 that killed four black children. The bombing -- a crime so brutal as to give the entire nation pause -- was a watershed incident that galvanized the civil rights movement. But 4 Little Girls is more about the pain of losing daughters than the politics of making martyrs. That a raving Ku Klux Klansman is eventually convicted for the crime does not lessen the film's impact at all. Lee interviews family members, parishioners, witnesses, and, perhaps most stirringly, former Alabama governor and vitriolic segregationist George Wallace, now weakened by age and a series of strokes and reliant on a black personal assistant. This is by far Lee's quietest film and, save for Do the Right Thing, his most affecting.
All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
A great subject gets the filmmaker it deserves. Spike Lee had long wanted to make a film about the horrific September 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, and perhaps it was best that he had to wait. Reportedly, many of the victims' relatives were not prepared to discuss on camera the events of that day until some time had passed. What is gained is not only their participation but also a sense of perspective. In a time when you can read almost daily of terrorist bombings in other areas of the world, as well as reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, 4 Little Girls returns to an era you thought was much more innocent and reveals that the evil that would attack innocent children in the name of racial (or ethnic or religious) superiority has been and still is in this country. Wisely, Lee lets the subject matter do the talking here and does not resort to stylistic tricks to embellish his presentation. The film's most jarring sequence is an interview with former Gov. George Wallace, who clearly is struggling to understand the legacy of hatred his political career nourished and encouraged.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/23/2001
  • UPC: 026359147821
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: Hbo Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Sound: Dolby Digital
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:42:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 36,737

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Helen Pegues Interviewee
Bill Cosby Interviewee
Walter Cronkite Interviewee
Chris McNair Interviewee
Bill Baxley Interviewee
Technical Credits
Spike Lee Director, Producer
Terence Blanchard Score Composer
Michele Forman Associate Producer
Ellen Kuras Cinematographer
Sheila Nevins Executive Producer
Rolf Pardula Sound/Sound Designer
Sam Pollard Editor, Producer
J.T. Takagi Sound/Sound Designer
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Menu

Side #1
Play Movie
Spike Lee Biography
Special Features
   Epilogue
   The Making of 4 Little Girls
   Web Links
Subtitles
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Nice Documentary of a tragic event

    Director, Spike Lee, was determined to not let these girls be faceless victims he wanted us to learn as much as possible about each of them. The girls and their ages were: Denise McNair, 11, Addie Mae Collins, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, and Carole Robertson, 14. Lee could have made a movie that described the events and put them in historical perspective of the civil rights movement. This is how documentaries were made in the past. It's not widely known that today's documentaries have changed. Many top directors are experimenting with this medium, and they're revolutionizing it. Here, Lee has made a very personal film, and we get to know each participant as the person they were at the time and the person they are now. We do so mostly through interviews. Lee talks to one person at a time, and frames them in such closeup, the tops of their heads are frequently cut from the shot. It's very intimate. As you get to know each person, you feel as if you can reach out and feel the sorrow they endured. This is not a sorrowful film, however. The tone is nostalgic, as each person wistfully remembers something different about their deceased daughter, sister, or friend. As they say, time heals all wounds, and these families have had 24 years to grieve. They cherish the memories they have, and they want to share them with us. I don't really know why Lee interviewed Bill Cosby (he doesn't say much that any of us couldn't have said), but the rest of his choices (including Wallace) are impeccable. We listen to the deep sadness of Chris McNair (father of Denise) remembering Denise's first encounter with racism, or the resigned grace of Alpha Robertson (mother of Carole) renouncing any hatred of the man who killed her daughter, and we may wonder if we would have the strength to endure what they did. And such activists as Andrew Young and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth are living history texts illuminating the fear and loathing (and hope) of the era. As we learn about the girls, we also learn about the events that led to the bombing. These events are critical in understanding why the church was bombed and in realizing the girls did not die in vain. They died tragically and senselessly, but their deaths were a wake-up call to America. They became martyrs. "4 Little Girls" is a movie experience that everyone should see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews