Filmmaker Ken Burns presents the definitive portrait of this great lady of the American imagination, in a program that won nominations for both an Academy Award and an Emmy. Follow her life, from her creation by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, through her painstaking construction and accident-prone dedication in 1886. Interviews with ordinary Americans reveal a deep understanding of the unique place the statue holds in our hearts.
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Ken Burns's fourth short film gives us a clear taste for the style that he made famous with The Civil War and Baseball. The first half of this hour-long program examines the design and construction of the Statue of Liberty using drawings, photographs, and readings (Jeremy Irons gives voice to French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the statue). As narrator David McCullough states, no one at the dedication ceremony mentioned immigration, but the statue became a towering symbol of America's open-door policy. The second half examines the meaning of the statue and of liberty itself. Comments by author James Baldwin, director Milos Forman, and politicians Barbara Jordan and Mario Cuomo reverberate, as does Paul Simon's song "American Tune," which bookends the picture. --Doug Thomas
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