Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery

Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery

3.7 17
Director: Ken Burns

Cast: Ken Burns, Adam Arkin, Murphy Guyer, Sam Waterston

     
 

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This Ken Burns documentary, narrated by Hal Holbrook, chronologically traces the well-documented 1804-06 military expedition of Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and Lt. William Clark (1770-1838) to survey newly acquired lands and seek a Northwest Passage. Ordered by Thomas Jefferson (who labeled it the Corps of Discovery), the expedition was approved by Congress in 1803,… See more details below

Overview

This Ken Burns documentary, narrated by Hal Holbrook, chronologically traces the well-documented 1804-06 military expedition of Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and Lt. William Clark (1770-1838) to survey newly acquired lands and seek a Northwest Passage. Ordered by Thomas Jefferson (who labeled it the Corps of Discovery), the expedition was approved by Congress in 1803, and several dozen men were trained in Illinois in the winter of 1803-04. On May 14, 1804, the explorers departed from St. Louis, heading up the Missouri River by keelboat and continuing westward over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. Ken Burns spent almost four years on this project, retracing the route with cameras capturing mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and forests at the same time of year as first seen by Lewis and Clark. Traditional and Native American music provides an accompaniment to the grandeur of these vast vistas, while Stephen Ambrose and other historians offer illuminating anecdotes. Paintings and maps are intercut, but unlike other Burns documentaries, few archival photos are included (since photography was not invented until decades later). Reenactments, seen at a distance, are also kept at a bare minimum. The four-hour film premiered as a PBS two-parter on November 4-5, 1997.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jason Bergenfeld
A year after his in-depth Thomas Jefferson documentary wowed PBS viewers, celebrated filmmaker Ken Burns followed a tangent close to the second U.S. president's heart: the westward push of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their team, the Corps of Discovery. In a twist on his usual documentary form, Burns and his team follow Lewis and Clark's cross-country steps, re-creating "the best road trip in American history" by retracing the route as it appeared in the mid-1990s and filming during the seasons that corresponded to the explorers' passage. A historical opus nearly four years in the making, the film is narrated by Hal Holbrook, with insights added by author Stephen Ambrose and other noted historians. In addition to the complete four-hour journey, this DVD contains Ken Burns: Making History, an inside look into how Burns turns a basic idea into a world of grandeur, plus interviews from The Charlie Rose Show with Burns, Ambrose, and writer-coproducer Dayton Duncan.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
Characterized by celebrity voice-overs, authentic period music, and fluid camera movement over vintage photographs, Ken Burns's style in such public television documentaries as Baseball (1994) and The Civil War (1990) had connected US audiences with their history and made the writer-director a star of public television. His ensuing biographies, Thomas Jefferson (1997) and Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (1997), presented him with subjects from before the invention of photography; he met this challenge by filming the literal geography of his subjects' lives, replacing photos with lush landscapes and epic structures. Thomas Jefferson filmed at Monticello, while Lewis & Clark ambitiously retraces the explorers' route at the same time of year that they passed through each location. Like most of Burns' films, Lewis and Clark relies on only a few scholarly sources, in this case primarily Dayton Duncan and Stephen E. Ambrose, both of whom accompanied Burns for portions of the journey. Burns also earned kudos for giving voice to the Native American perspective on Lewis and Clark by recognizing Sacagawea's participation in the journey and using several Native American historians and writers in the on-camera commentary.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/28/2004
UPC:
0097368858749
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs Paramount
Region Code:
1
Time:
4:00:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Adam Arkin Voice Only
Murphy Guyer Voice Only
Sam Waterston Voice Only
Matthew Broderick Voice Only
Kevin Conway Voice Only
Gene Jones Voice Only
Tantoo Cardinal Voice Only
Tim Clark Voice Only
Ken Little Hawk Voice Only
John Trudell Voice Only
Daniel Von Bargen Voice Only
Erika Funkhauser Voice Only
Hal Holbrook Narrator

Technical Credits
Ken Burns Director,Executive Producer,Cinematographer
Paul Barnes Editor
Buddy Squires Cinematographer
Dayton Duncan Producer,Screenwriter
Erik Ewers Editor
Allen Moore Cinematographer
Dominick Tavella Sound/Sound Designer
Stephen Ambrose Advisor

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