Documentary tells the story of British women's suffrage


The Story Of Women And Power

Back in 1974, Masterpiece Theatre telecast a dramatization of the struggle in England for women's suffrage titled "Shoulder to Shoulder." Now Athena has a 3-part series that goes over the same material, but it starts centuries earlier. "The Story of Women and Power" is narrated, sometimes a little too passionately, by historian Amanda Vickery.

It is all quite fascinating and even the most devoted misogynist should sicken at the examples of how half the British population suffered under the male domination of husband, government, and church. For example, did you know "rule of thumb" refers to the law that kept husbands from beating their wives with a rod thicker than a thumb?

Actually the dramatization of 1974 was much more impressive, because the actions spoke for themselves. In this newer program, being told about it, no matter how bitterly, and seeing newspaper sketches of (say) women prisoners being force-fed is less personal. Notice that a film is about to be released about the British suffrage movement with Meryl Streep as Emmeline Parkhurst, which is doubtless the inspiration for the release of this 2015 documentary.

But the older series and "Women and Power" are-- and the upcoming film doubtless will be--worth the watching.

Danny Kaye Legends

I remember with some fondness "The Danny Kaye Show" from long ago and still remember his James Blond spoof , but I do not remember Harvey Korman being second banana. Now having seen "Danny Kaye Legends" on 2 MVD DVDs, I realize how uneven the show was. Well, at least the six shows featured in this set are like that: two from 1964 in black and white, with one from 1965 and three from 1967 in color.

The format of each show is rigid: a song by Kaye, a sketch, a song by a guest star, a sketch, another musical number, a sketch, and a finale. Among the guest actors, Lucille Ball deftly handles a sketch with Kaye in which each plays several parts, with endless costume changes. Imogene Coca is utterly wasted, while Liberace gets good laughs. But when George Burns appears in the last show, even Kaye takes a back seat to the vaudeville master and his cigar.

The singers are typical of the 60s: the Righteous Brothers, Vikki Carr, and Tony Bennet. The dancers are quite good. So let the young see what variety shows were once like and let the old timers like me recall when comedy did not rely on obscenities.

Frank Behrens reports on classical and Broadway music as well as recordings of books and plays for the Arts and Entertainment section. Visit for past reviews.


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