Act of War

(video review from ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries)

Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911. Website:

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: College to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $165.00
  • Home use: $39.95
  • Date: Copyright 1993. Released 1993.
  • Descriptors: United States - History - 19th century. Hawaii - History. Lilliukalani, Lyndia Kamekeha.
  • Production Information: Live action, Film transfer, Stills. Produced by Puhipau, Joan Lander. Directed by Puhipau, Joan Lander. Sponsored by Center for Hawaiian Studies. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch. Dolby, Stereo. 58 min.
  • Production Company: Na Maka o ka Aina 3020 Kahaloa Dr. Honolulu, HI 96822 (808) 988-6984
  • Available from: CrossCurrent Media 346 9th Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 552-9550
  • Cataloging: 996.902 Hawaii - History - Revolution of 1893||Hawaii - Politics and government - to 1893||Documentary films
  • Print Entry #: 5:665
  • Reviewer: Mary Mueller

    This video tells the story of the American annexation of Hawaii from the native Hawaiian point of view. It is a well-made and thought-provoking production, but would be stronger with the inclusion of more background information.

    Native Hawaiian historians discuss and narrate the events of the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and her independent nation of Hawaii. Some background about the white exploitation of the natives and the enormous decline in the native population is included, but it is not very clear how the missionaries and their planter sons were able to assume such power over Hawaiian affairs. Although the entire production presents only the native point of view, it also includes many primary sources, such as letters and documents, that are spoken or read aloud and help prove the point that the US government acted unfairly in its support of the overthrow of the legitimate Hawaiian government.

    The entire program is very visually appealing. The producers used a variety of techniques to illustrate the story line, including some shots of modern Hawaii, old photos, prints, film footage, and re-creations of major events. The beauty of the islands and their native inhabitants is emphasized. Editing and sound are both excellent.

    Viewers in both educational and general audiences will be moved by the plight of the Hawaiian people stemming from the loss of their country and their right to determine their own method of government. However, this would have been a stronger production if it had provided more background about the white rise to power and more information about how the Hawaiian government was influenced by the rest of the world. In spite of that flaw, this is a good choice for school and public libraries needing materials about either cultural issues or this era in American history.

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