Friday, December 28, 2007

September Dawn DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Recounts Mormon Fanaticism Which Led to 19th C. Massacre

On September 11, 1857, a wagon train led by Captain Alexander Fancher (Shaun Johnston) was headed for gold-rich California when it was ambushed by Mormons as it was passing through Utah. 120 men, women and children perished in the little-known incident slaughter now referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The faith-based slaughter was reportedly ordered by the territory’s Governor, Brigham Young (Terrence Stamp), who had declared martial law after hearing rumors that President Buchanan might be sending the U.S. Cavalry to depose him.
Fearing that the strangers might get some fancy ideas about settling there permanently, Young dispatched Deacon John D. Lee (Jon Gries) to discourage Fancher from stopping. When the weary wayfarers asked only for enough time to rest and recharge their batteries, Bishop Jacob Samuelson (Jon Voight) intervened on their behalf and they were initially granted permission to remain in the valley for a fortnight.
During this interlude, Samuelson’s son, Jonathan (Trent Ford), locked eyes with Emily (Tamara Hope), the cutest female among the newcomers, and the two fell madly in love. This development didn’t sit well with Jonathan’s dad, especially when he got his marching order from above to slay all the strangers as revenge for the Mormon lives lost back in Missouri.
Released on DVD at probably the worst time for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, September Dawn is a graphic Western which sheds light on a shameful stain on the legacy of the controversial sect that later became the Church of Latter Day Saints. Luckily, Mitt can breathe a sigh of relief, since the low budget film is marked by such dubious dialogue, shoddy special f/x and sloppy editing that it doesn’t even measure up, cinematically, to an episode of your typical, cowboy TV show from the Fifties, like The Lone Ranger. Get my drift, Kimosabe?

Fair (1 star )
Rated R for violence.
Running time: 111 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Two featurettes: “True Events: A Historical Perspective” and “Descendants: Remembering the Tragedy.”

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