Hamilton: Passionate, puzzling founding father

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

How much acting do you like in your documentaries?

If you want none, avoid PBS' Alexander Hamilton. This two-hour documentary, premiering at 9 p.m. Monday, enlists New York stage actors to speak the words of historical figures. The actors dress in period costume and deliver monologues directly to the camera.

These performers, especially Tony-winner Brian F. O'Byrne as Hamilton, bring edge and passion to their speeches. This is no dry history lesson. This is the past presented with theatrical flourish.

Purists will balk. But that flashy approach is appropriate for Hamilton, a reckless genius who shaped our world. He is the founding father who led the most incredible life and who deserves a more fitting tribute than merely decorating our $10 bills.

Director-producer Muffie Meyer uses the actors to enliven an era that had no newsreels or photographs. For all her efforts, though, historians and biographers are more crucial to the film's success. They can be as animated as the actors.

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Randll Reese Besch - 5/19/2007

Yes,if it hadn't been for his untimely death by another rogue,Burr,the country would have been closer to a larger,more effecient empire than the one today.The country would have had no civil war,more,smaller states and a defacto monarchy now.A more obvious one than we have now.Not one of the founders I agree with-a Federalist who in 1794 ordered the Whisky rebels to be put down by Washington.He would like this world we live in,global bank,manipulations of whole countries.In a word...Global Federalism!