..

BENEDICT ARNOLD
A Question of Honor

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Aidan Quinn, Kelsey Grammer
Director: Mikael Salomon
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Full screen
Studio: A&E
Features: See Review
Length: 100 Minutes
Release Date: February 11, 2003

“Twenty eight have defected with you, Mr. Arnold.”  

“Twenty eight thousand?”

“No, only twenty eight!”

Film ***

It goes without saying that our country's history is adorned with heroes.  From George Washington to Dwight Eisenhower, people stand proud and tall singing the praises of men and women who have helped us become the nation that we are today.   One name, however, is curiously left off the list of heroes that adorn plaques, bumper stickers, historical indexes, and monuments.  Benedict Arnold is a name that strikes an altogether different chord in the hearts of modern patriots, yet the undeniable truth of the matter is he was a hero in many ways. 

A&E's presentation of Benedict Arnold:  A Question Of Honor has opened up so many questions in my mind as to how much history was left out of my education.  This DVD shows a completely different side to Arnold who was blinded by love, and a desire to have the American dream, prosperity and liberty.  

Aidan Quinn plays Benedict Arnold with a level of emotional intrigue that leaves you wanting to know this man better.  He allows you to see past the traitor to the man who lost everything because he gave everything to a cause he believed in.  

A&E has yet to let me down with any of their presentations and this one is no different.  The location shoots and outdoor scenes were done extremely well, and the use of close up camera shots and wide sweeping angles gave such a dramatic feel you can't help but get lost as this historical whirlwind unfolds.  The battle scenes were shot in a very tight formation that allows you to almost feel the musket balls whiz by your head.   Superb directing on the part Mikael Salomon helped this DVD rush to the forefront of my preferred list of movies to watch!

Recently, I saw Jeff Daniels in The Crossing, another A&E must see, and thought no one else could capture the spirit of George Washington as well as he seemed to.  Alas I was wrong; Kelsey Grammer gives a vibrant performance as our nations first Commander and Chief.  His Washington shows us the softer side of the man who considered Benedict Arnold like a son to him.   Then, like the crack of a bull master's whip, he shows us the rage kept carefully in check at having been duped by one of his best friends, and he didn't even break a sweat! 

When you watch this DVD, your eyes will be opened to a new understanding of the man we call a traitor.   Your opinions of his actions may not change, but the depth of understanding this DVD provides helps to paint for us a portrait of a man who made a choice, which united the colonies that formed our nation. 

Take a spin back through time with this DVD and pick up a few history lessons you shouldn't be without.  A&E will open your eyes to all the historical possibilities you didn't even know you were missing.

Video ***

This DVD was delivered in a 1.33:1 Standard full screen format.  The picture quality as I have come to expect it from A&E was nearly flawless.   This disc had no visible dirt or graininess to it and all colors were crisp and vivid.   The lighting was used to a very nice degree in order to achieve mood and setting that transferred well into the digital format.  

 Audio ***

This DVD is presented with a Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.  The mix worked very well over all, and really showed brilliantly during the outdoor scenes where dialogue tends to get lost in effects and background noise. 

The dialogue on this DVD was balanced very nicely against the underlying music bed which accompanied it.  A very nice blend that never seemed to overstrain itself, yet brought depth to each individual scene.  

Features ***

This DVD did not binge itself on games or interactive menus that lead you nowhere.  It did, however, load itself up with what A&E is most noted for.  A realistic look at history and a very nice and detailed look into how they create masterpiece after masterpiece. 

An A&E original Biography of Benedict Arnold is the first feature to tantalize your historical taste buds.   It's chock full of interesting facts and bits of information I'll bet you never knew about the man we love to hate. 

Follow that up with a magnificent featurette that goes behind the scenes and details the making of Benedict Arnold: A Question Of Honor and you can't go wrong.

To round it all out we get a look at the biographies and filmographies for Aidan Quinn and Kelsey Grammer…two actors whose background and performance prove the casting department knew what they were doing when they made their choices.

Summary:

The road to glory is paved with many pitfalls, and Mr. Arnold found that out the hard way.   Yet when you pop in this disc your DVD player, you will open up a new page in history and a story that just might change the way you classify a hero.  Take the time to live the adventure and tragedy that was Benedict Arnold's life.