Movies: A Fitting Memorial

Like its namesake, The Alamo is overly ambitious but worthy of respect

Planned by Disney as a blockbuster epic, The Alamo is instead arriving in theaters with a whiff of stale cheese about it. Doleful stories of the project--directors and writers hired and dropped, the budget cut and restored, the story rearranged during editing--could land the film on the junk heap of historical movies. (Remember Al Pacino in his 1776 saga, Revolution? Neither does anyone else.) But, in fact, The Alamo deserves a fate better than oblivion.

The film begins with the end of the 1836 battle: a visual requiem for the dead Americans. Flash back, and then sketch in a trio...

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