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Vol. 112 - Issue 1, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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Vol.6 No.51 - 7/6/1872
Vol.17 No.2 - 7/15/1882
Courtesy of the New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, N.Y (.PDF files)
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Special Sections


‘Kinsey’ a substantial theatrical drama
by Vickie Wilson

Though not a box-office blockbuster when it was first released, “Kinsey” is still a terrific film for three reasons:

Reason one: Liam Neeson. Known for high-profile roles (like this summer’s “Batman Begins” and the classic “Schindler’s List”), Neeson is a charismatic, superb actor who brings Dr. Alfred Kinsey back to life.

Reason two: it’s a great history lesson. How many people really know why Dr. Kinsey did what he did and how he did it?

Reason three: the story of Dr. Kinsey and his book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” is just as relevant now as it was 50 years ago, and discussions and debates about his findings continue today.

In “Kinsey,” Neeson stars as Dr. Kinsey, who in 1948 created a tidal wave of media attention that turned society on its head when he released data about thousands of people’s sexual behavior. Commonly held theories, values and beliefs were challenged, and the country was thrown into a passionate debate about human sexual practices. “Kinsey” chronicles Dr. Kinsey’s journey from relative anonymity studying gall wasps to worldwide fame after publishing his ground breaking study produced through 15 years of research. We see glimpses of his childhood, relive the first time he meets his wife, and watch as controversy and overwork undermine his health. As you can imagine, it was a wild, heartbreaking and astounding ride.

Laura Linney plays Clara, Dr. Kinsey’s exceptionally understanding and open-minded wife. Peter Sarsgaard, an outstanding and lesser-known actor who deserves more acclaim, portrays Dr. Kinsey’s assistant Clyde Martin. A supporting cast of other familiar, respected actors rounds out the movie, making it a serious piece of substantial theatrical drama.

At one hour and 58 minutes, it’s amazing that “Kinsey” can cover a man’s lifetime and years of scientific research without seeming rushed, but it does so superbly. At the end of the movie, you find yourself clicking right back to the DVD menu hoping for more on the film, but “Kinsey” on DVD is pretty slim on special features. Just one offering is found: only a director’s commentary, when you crave a “making of” featurette or maybe a short documentary and pictures of the real Dr. Kinsey. The movie, not surprisingly, is rated R for “pervasive sexual content, including some graphic images and description.” This surely isn’t a film for family viewing, but all the content is handled in a non-gratuitous, tasteful and scientific way.

Combining history, drama and a behind-the-scenes look at one of our nation’s most controversial scientists, “Kinsey” is a quiet hit many people may not have gotten the chance to see in theaters. Get to the video shop early and often to rent it – it’s likely this movie will fly off the shelves.


 


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