American history has always been an irresistible source of inspiration for filmmakers, and today, for good or ill, most Americans'sense of the past likely comes more from Hollywood than from the works of historians. In important films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Roots (1977), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Saving Private Ryan (1998), how much is entertainment and how much is rooted in historical fact? In The Columbia Companion to American History on Film, more than seventy scholars consider the gap between history and Hollywood. They examine how filmmakers have presented and interpreted the most important events, topics, eras, and figures in the American past, often comparing the film versions of events with the interpretations of the best historians who have explored the topic. Divided into eight broad categories—Eras; Wars and Other Major Events; Notable People; Groups; Institutions and Movements; Places; Themes and Topics; and Myths and Heroes—the volume features extensive cross-references, a filmography (of discussed and relevant films), notes, and a bibliography of selected historical works on each subject. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film is also an important resource for teachers, with extensive information for research or for course development appropriate for both high school and college students. Though each essay reflects the unique body of film and print works covering the subject at hand, every essay addresses several fundamental questions: What are the key films on this topic? What sources did the filmmaker use, and how did the film deviate (or remain true to) its sources? How have film interpretations of a particular historical topic changed, and what sorts of factors—technological, social, political, historiographical—have affected their evolution? Have filmmakers altered the historical record with a view to enhancing drama or to enhance the "truth" of their putative message?
This definitive interdisciplinary collection by leading scholars probes the theoretical and historical contexts of films made about the American past, from silent film to the present. The book offers a fresh assessment of studio era historical filmmaking and its legacy across a range of genres.
American History through Hollywood Film offers a new perspective on major issues in American history from the 1770s to the end of the twentieth century and explores how they have been represented in film. Melvyn Stokes examines how and why representation has changed over time, looking at the origins, underlying assumptions, production, and reception of an important cross-section of historical films. Chapters deal with key events in American history including the American Revolution, the Civil War and its legacy, the Great Depression, and the anti-communism of the Cold War era. Major themes such as ethnicity, slavery, Native Americans and Jewish immigrants are covered and a final chapter looks at the way the 1960s and 70s have been dealt with by Hollywood. This book is essential reading for anyone studying American history and the relationship between history and film.
This provocative three-volume encyclopedia is a valuable resource for readers seeking an understanding of how movies have both reflected and helped engender America's political, economic, and social history. * Provides 450 A–Z entries that comprehensively cover the historical significance of subjects, people, and films of the American cinema * Contains contributions from 150 distinguished interdisciplinary scholars offering their analysis on the role of movies in American history * Includes reference materials and suggestions for further reading with every entry
In Reconstructing American Historical Cinema: From Cimarron to Citizen Kane, J. E. Smyth dramatically departs from the traditional understanding of the relationship between film and history. By looking at production records, scripts, and contemporary reviews, Smyth argues that certain classical Hollywood filmmakers were actively engaged in a self-conscious and often critical filmic writing of national history. Her volume is a major reassessment of American historiography and cinematic historians from the advent of sound to the beginning of wartime film production in 1942. Focusing on key films such as Cimarron (1931), The Public Enemy (1931), Scarface (1932), Ramona (1936), A Star Is Born (1937), Jezebel (1938), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), Gone with the Wind (1939), Stagecoach (1939), and Citizen Kane (1941), Smyth explores historical cinema's connections to popular and academic historigraphy, historical fiction, and journalism, providing a rich context for the industry's commitment to American history. Rather than emphasizing the divide between American historical cinema and historical writing, Smyth explores the continuities between Hollywood films and history written during the first four decades of the twentieth century, from Carl Becker's famous "Everyman His Own Historian" to Howard Hughes's Scarface to Margaret Mitchell and David O. Selznick's Gone with the Wind. Hollywood's popular and often controversial cycle of historical films from 1931 to 1942 confronted issues as diverse as frontier racism and women's experiences in the nineteenth-century South, the decline of American society following the First World War, the rise of Al Capone, and the tragic history of Hollywood's silent era. Looking at rarely discussed archival material, Smyth focuses on classical Hollywood filmmakers' adaptation and scripting of traditional historical discourse and their critical revision of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American history. Reconstructing American Historical Cinema uncovers Hollywood's diverse and conflicted attitudes toward American history. This text is a fundamental challenge the prevailing scholarship in film, history, and cultural studies.
Explores how politicians, screenwriters, activists, biographers, jurists, museum professionals, and reenactors portray the American Revolution. The American Revolution is all around us. It is pictured as big as billboards and as small as postage stamps, evoked in political campaigns and car advertising campaigns, relived in museums and revised in computer games. As the nation’s founding moment, the American Revolution serves as a source of powerful founding myths, and remains the most accessible and most contested event in US history: more than any other, it stands as a proxy for how Americans perceive the nation’s aspirations. Americans’ increased fascination with the Revolution over the past two decades represents more than interest in the past. It’s also a site to work out the present, and the future. What are we using the Revolution to debate? In Fighting over the Founders, Andrew M. Schocket explores how politicians, screenwriters, activists, biographers, jurists, museum professionals, and reenactors portray the American Revolution. Identifying competing “essentialist” and “organicist” interpretations of the American Revolution, Schocket shows how today’s memories of the American Revolution reveal Americans' conflicted ideas about class, about race, and about gender—as well as the nature of history itself. Fighting over the Founders plumbs our views of the past and the present, and illuminates our ideas of what United States means to its citizens in the new millennium.
"A collection of essays on the American Revolution in Pennsylvania. Topics include the politicization of the English- and German-language press and the population they served; the Revolution in remote areas of the state; and new historical perspectives on the American and British armies during the Valley Forge winter"--Provided by publisher.
Although precise definitions have not been agreed on, historical cinema tends to cut across existing genre categories and establishes an intimidatingly large group of films. In recent years, a lively body of work has developed around historical cinema, much of it proposing valuable new ways to consider the relationship between cinematic and historical representation. However, only a small proportion of this writing has paid attention to the issue of genre. In order to counter this omission, this book combines a critical analysis of the Hollywood historical film with an examination of its generic dimensions and a history of its development since the silent period. Historical Film: A Critical Introduction is concerned not simply with the formal properties of the films at hand, but also the ways in which they have been promoted, interpreted and discussed in relation to their engagement with the past.
A comprehensive review of the research literature on history education with contributions from international experts The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning draws on contributions from an international panel of experts. Their writings explore the growth the field has experienced in the past three decades and offer observations on challenges and opportunities for the future. The contributors represent a wide range of pioneering, established, and promising new scholars with diverse perspectives on history education. Comprehensive in scope, the contributions cover major themes and issues in history education including: policy, research, and societal contexts; conceptual constructs of history education; ideologies, identities, and group experiences in history education; practices and learning; historical literacies: texts, media, and social spaces; and consensus and dissent. This vital resource: Contains original writings by more than 40 scholars from seven countries Identifies major themes and issues shaping history education today Highlights history education as a distinct field of scholarly inquiry and academic practice Presents an authoritative survey of where the field has been and offers a view of what the future may hold Written for scholars and students of education as well as history teachers with an interest in the current issues in their field, The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning is a comprehensive handbook that explores the increasingly global field of history education as it has evolved to the present day.
Fully revised, updated, and extended, the fifth edition of Hollywood’s America provides an important compilation of interpretive essays and primary documents that allows students to read films as cultural artifacts within the contexts of actual past events. A new edition of this classic textbook, which ties movies into the broader narrative of US and film history This fifth edition contains nine new chapters, with a greater overall emphasis on recent film history, and new primary source documents which are unavailable online Entries range from the first experiments with motion pictures all the way to the present day Well-organized within a chronological framework with thematic treatments to provide a valuable resource for students of the history of American film
Reframing the Past traces what historians have written about film and television from 1898 until the early 2000s. Mia Treacey argues that historical engagement with film and television should be reconceptualised as Screened History: an interdisciplinary, international field of research to incorporate and replace what has been known as ‘History and Film’. It draws from the fields of Film, Television and Cultural Studies to critically analyse key works and connect past scholarship with contemporary research. Reconsidered as Screened History, the works of Pierre Sorlin, Marc Ferro, John O’Connor, Robert Rosenstone and Robert Toplin are explored alongside lesser known but equally important contributions. This book identifies a number of common themes and ideas that have been explored by historians for decades: the use of history on film and television as a way to teach the past; the challenge of filmic and televisual history to more traditional historiography; and an ongoing battle to find an ‘appropriate’ historical way to engage with Film Studies and Theory. Screened History offers an approach to exploring History, Film and Television that allows room for future developments, while connecting them to a rich and diverse body of past scholarship. Combining a narrative of historical research on film and television over the past century with a reconceptualisation of the field as Screened History, Reframing the Past is essential reading both for established scholars of History and Film, Film History and other related disciplines, and to students new to the field.
This book offers historians and aspiring historians a learned, absorbing, and comprehensive overview of current fashions of method, interpretation, and meaning in the context of postmodernism that has washed over the historical profession in the last two decades.