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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: INTO THE AMAZON

What to know: Filled with adventure, intrigue and disaster.
Recommended age 12-18
112 minutes
DVD
PBS DISTRIBUTION
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This American Experience/PBS program dramatically relates the true story of Teddy Roosevelt's eight-week journey in 1914 to chart an unexplored river in the Amazon. With narration by Oliver Platt and Roosevelt's diary entries, voiced by Alec Baldwin, the tale is full of adventure, intrigue and disaster, a testament to the willful, zestful and imperfect spirit of the former President who had just lost his bid for a third term in a bitter campaign. The black and white photography and very generous archival stills and film footage effectively evoke the time period as well as the mystery of the unexplored reaches of the Amazon. Well-paced and informative, with historians weighing in and filling in the details, the program is at once a slice of history, an engrossing adventure narrative and a cautionary tale of dangerous bravado, the trip nearly resulting in Roosevelt's death. A few scenes of naked native Indians serve the anthropological authenticity of the program. No bonus features are included. Recommended for ages 12 to 18 as well as adults. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Michael F., KIDS FIRST! Juror
Tells the remarkable story of the 1914 journey taken by President Theodore Roosevelt and legendary Brazilian explorer Candido Mariano Da Silva Rondon into the heart of the South American rainforest to chart an unexplored tributary of the Amazon River. Filmed on location in the Brazilian Amazon, the film features the voices of Alec Baldwin as Roosevelt, Wagner Moura (Narcos) as Rondon and Jake Lacy (Girls) as Kermit Roosevelt. "AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: INTO THE AMAZON" is written, produced and directed by John Maggio, narrated by Oliver Platt, and executive produced by Mark Samels. With six American adventurers, including his son Kermit, Theodore Roosevelt spent eight harrowing weeks in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth, battling tenacious insects, deadly rapids, fever, hunger and exhaustion on a quest to map an unknown river in one of the wildest and most beautiful places on earth. What was anticipated to be a relatively tranquil journey turned out to be a brutal test of courage and character. Before it was over, one member of the expedition had drowned, another had committed murder and a third was abandoned to perish in the jungle. Roosevelt would badly injure his leg and beg to be left behind to die. More than a dramatic story of adventure and survival, the program shines a light on two of the western hemisphere's most formidable men and the culture and politics of their two formidable nations.
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