December 03, 2013

Review of Heape's Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy (Directors Cut)“Trail of Tears Cherokee Legacy” explores America’s darkest period: President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma in 1838. Nearly a quarter of the Cherokee National died during the Trail of Tears, arriving in Indian Territory with few elders and even fewer children. Presented by Wes Studi and narrated by James Earl Jones.

Distinguished Awards:

Silver World Medal for History, New York Festivals 2007
Silver Film Award, Telly Awards 2007
Best Documentary, American Indian Film Festival 2006
Founder’s Award, International Cherokee Film Festival 2006
Best Documentary DeadCenter Film festival
Best Feature Documentary Native American Music Awards
Platinum Best of Show Aurora Awards
Winner AEGIS Awards

James Earl Jones narrates Rich-Heape Films, Inc.'s "Trail of Tears Cherokee Legacy"

Noted actor James Earl Jones had previously provided his voice to Rich-Heape Films, Inc. award-winning documentary Black Indians: An American Story. Mr. Jones, who is of blended African and Cherokee heritage, narrates in his customary and convincing tones and will lead an already distinguished group of celebrity voices.

Wes Studi, the best known Cherokee actor, presents the documentary film, speaking on camera in his native tongue (with subtitles). Mr. Jones and Mr. Studi are supported by the celebrity voices of actor James Garner, Crystal Gayle and actor John Buttram and former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder reading diary excerpts, and a host of historical experts from major universities.

Endorsed by the Cherokee Nation and the Easter band of Cherokee Indians.

The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy (2006)“In this movie, presented like a documentary, we learn volumes about the Cherokee nation at the time of Jackson's Indian Removal Act.”

“Liked how the speaking documentaries were interspersed with the re-created scenes.”

“The movie is well screened and the documentary is vivid and accurate.”
Photo album:

The Making of Trail of Tears

Comment:  I watched this documentary earlier this year. I'd say it's good, not great, on the events leading up to the forced march. For that part of the subject, the Trail of Tears segment of We Shall Remain is probably better.

Where it shines is in the description of the Trail of Tears itself. You learn a lot--maybe too much--about the deplorable conditions as people waited in camps, then moved. It's evenhanded, too. We learn that some US officials charged with organizing the march tried to delay it until the weather was better, supplies had arrived, and so forth.

Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy isn't necessarily the definitive documentary on the Trail of Tears, but it's a solid piece of work. Rob's rating: 7.5 of 10.

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