Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story Of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story Of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony

5.0 2
Director: Ken Burns

Cast: Ken Burns, Sally Kellerman, Ronnie Gilbert, Julie Harris

     
 

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Upon finding a written biography of pioneering women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, film producers Paul Barnes and Ken Burns (director of The Civil War) were shocked and outraged that her story -- which is also that of Stanton's longtime friend and political partner Susan B. Anthony -- had been almost entirely omitted from their history courses. So

Overview

Upon finding a written biography of pioneering women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, film producers Paul Barnes and Ken Burns (director of The Civil War) were shocked and outraged that her story -- which is also that of Stanton's longtime friend and political partner Susan B. Anthony -- had been almost entirely omitted from their history courses. So together they began work on Not For Ourselves Alone: the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, a groundbreaking look at one of the greatest untold chapters in American history. Over a span of more than fifty years, Stanton and Anthony struggled ceaselessly to organize a movement for basic rights that would not be won until after their deaths. Their story is the story of freedom fighters everywhere, complete with tragedies, triumphs, and unconquerable hope -- but it is also the story of two passionate and talented women, whose close friendship sustained them in times of loneliness and despair. An unforgettably personal, inside look at the birth of the modern women's movement, this film is at once a study of where we have been and a profound reflection upon who and where we still are. Ideal for classroom and educational use. ~ Sarah Welsh

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Between the honest intentions and the overall impact of this portrait of the two most important figures in women's history of the 19th century lies a gap. It's not an enormous one, but it is significant enough to note, and it does highlight the limitations of the Ken Burns style of documentary filmmaking. As always, Burns' film (which he co-produced with Paul Barnes-no director credit is given) is impeccably produced, from the gorgeous cinematography of historical locations, the selection of evocative still photographs, the astute choice of voiceover artists, and the low-key music. The historians selected to comment on the story, all of them women, are uniformly articulate and passionate about this very important subject. It's a great, neglected story, but it finally does not come to life. In some ways, the fact that both women did not live long enough to see their struggle bear real fruit (both had been dead for almost twenty years when the constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage was passed) blunts the impact. But the film has a difficult time portraying the intricate relationship of his leading ladies. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the more philosophical of the two, while Susan B. Anthony was the tireless soldier, riding trains back and forth across the country to speak for their cause wherever a crowd would gather. Some of this comes through in the women's writing, but the serene photographs fall short of conveying the frisson of their friendship and of the movement in general. It's unfair to compare this to Burns's better-known works on the Civil War, baseball, and jazz, but each of those subjects did offer inherently riper visuals (and in one case, audio material), which Burns certainly made full use of. This is not to say that Not for Ourselves isn't a very valuable piece of historical filmmaking, just that its potential for emotional connection isn't fully realized. One could hope that a skilled dramatization might some day be mounted to give flesh to these remarkable women.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/09/1999
UPC:
0794054396836
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
NR
Source:
Pbs Home Video

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Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story Of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the BEST video I have ever seen on the suffrage movement. Many people tend to overlook the wonderful contributions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to the struggle for women's rights. This documentary helps us all to remember that the struggle for women's rights was a long process that continues even today. This documentary further illustrates how women's suffrage changed American society and yet it is often overlooked in history classes or relegated to a sidenote. I highly recommend this documtary for women's studies students and professors or anyone who wants to learn about the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and the importance of the suffrage movement
Anonymous More than 1 year ago