On the other hand, Hallowed Grounds, while also only an hour long, is written and produced by Robert Uth and Glenn Marcus, directed by Uth, and narrated by Peter Thomas. It is a somber and reflective look at 22 of America’s overseas military cemeteries, where as many as 125,000 Americans lost in WWI and WWII, and 94,000 still listed as missing in those conflicts, are either buried or memorialized. Ranging from tiny Flanders Field American Cemetery (where 411 are buried), to Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines (where over 53,000 are buried), the film-makers include gorgeous footage of what these cemeteries looked like around 2009 (when this film was first shown), filled with personal stories of many of the noteworthy American soldiers buried in each. This documentary is also filled with interviews, of ordinary Europeans who come to these cemeteries to pay tribute to the Americans who helped liberate their countries, and world historians and military historians who shed light on the wars that left so many American soldiers buried beneath foreign skies.
Unlike A Cemetery Story, Hallowed Grounds has very little humor to it, and treats its subject matter with respect and reverence. It serves to both entertain and educate, as well as to give the viewer a pause to think of the lives lost in foreign wars of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
Both documentaries are equally excellent and I highly recommend them. I give Hallowed Grounds a full 10 rating for the thoroughness with which it covers its unique subject matter, while A Cemetery Special earns only an 8 — it was entertaining and informative but barely scratches the surface on the subject of U.S. cemeteries, and doesn’t even touch on any of the most famous, like Forest Lawn or Arlington or Hollywood Forever or Saint Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Rest in Peace: A History of American Cemeteries by Meg Greene, Hollwood Remains to Be Seen by Mark Masek, Tombstones: 75 Famous People and Their Final Resting Places by Gregg Felsen, Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery by the National Geographic Society, American Military Cemeteries: A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide to the Hallowed Grounds of the United States, Including Cemeteries Overseas by Dean W. Holt. For those interested in local cemetery history, don’t miss Lincoln historian Ed Zimmer’s book Wyuka Cemetery: A Driving and Walking Tour]
[ Internet Movie Database entry for A Cemetery Special ]
[ Internet Movie Database entry for Hallowed Grounds ] | [ PBS’ official Hallowed Grounds web page ]
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library
Bennett Martin Public Library
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