The Brave Man 2001
Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Baltic Street Media
Directed by Joseph McCarthy
VHS, color, 88 min.
Jr. High - Adult
American Studies, History
Date Entered: 07/13/2004Reviewed by Michael Fein, Coordinator of Library Services, Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, VA
The brave man of this title is General William Alexander, a native of New York and the son of the founder of what is now Columbia University. His story is that of the Battle of Brooklyn from our War of Independence and fought on the 28th of August, 1776. This was the first engagement of the United States Army and although it has become erroneously viewed as a defeat, it was a tactical victory that allowed Washington’s vastly outnumbered forces to retreat across to Manhattan Island that evening. General Alexander himself led an assault by some 400 Marylanders that bought Washington the time he needed. The ground on which these men fought, bled, and died was at first considered sacred ground and their burial place was to be perpetually preserved. However, over time with the battle seen as a defeat, the entire area including the burial ground has been built over.
The Brave Man depicts the battle on the same ground as it exists today. Graeme Malcolm begins as narrator, touring the places in Brooklyn where the battle was fought. Over the course of the production he becomes General Alexander with his clothing changing into that of a Continental General and his story becoming a deeply heartfelt and personal one. Since the area is now built up and rather traffic congested, red cars depict the British troops as they advance along the road towards the Americans. There are also interspersed scenes of re-enactors portraying the battle and animated maps showing the overall location of the forces. Sound, picture, and music quality are all excellent. The accompanying study guide is of the same high quality. The Vechte-Cortelyou House, where the Marylanders charged has a website, www.oldstonehouse.org, which also gives the story of this historic, but forgotten episode, in our nation’s history. High school, college, and public libraries should consider.