Hollywood star Mel Gibson releases a movie about the last week of the life of Jesus and it opens a new front in the culture wars. Episode 27: "Evangelicals Get Passionate About the 'The Passion of the Christ'" dropped last night. Subscribers to Current at the Longshore level and above receive new episodes this narrative history podcast. Listen: If you like what you hear, and want to listen to a new episode every week, please … [Read more...] about Episode 27: “Evangelicals Get Passionate About the ‘The Passion of the Christ'”
The real Tammy Faye
A lot of people are talking and writing about The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a new film on televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. I hope to see this soon. I am particularly interested in Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of Jerry Falwell. Over at The Conversation, John Wigger, a University of Missouri historian and author of PTL: The Rise and Fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Evangelical Empire, offers some historical context on Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker's career. Here is a taste: The … [Read more...] about The real Tammy Faye
What are your favorite history-related movies?
Some of you are familiar with the Randall Stephens Collection of book covers and historian sports cards. Today the University of Oslo historian is offering his list of history-themed movies: Stephens is looking for additions to his list: … [Read more...] about What are your favorite history-related movies?
“Hamilton” the Movie Will Hit the Big Screen on October 15, 2021
Here is Sharon Eberson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Hamilton” will soon be available for all to see, for all time. The Walt Disney Co. movie version of the hit musical is coming to the big screen on Oct. 15, 2021... “The film of the original Broadway cast performing 'Hamilton' is a leap forward in the art of 'live capture,'” according to a Disney press release sent Monday. “Combining the best elements of live theater and film, the result is a cinematic stage performance … [Read more...] about “Hamilton” the Movie Will Hit the Big Screen on October 15, 2021
Abdul-Jabbar: Are Slavery Movies Good for African Americans?
NBA Hall of Famer and public intellectual Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wonders if movies like Harriet--the new movie about Harriet Tubman--"risk defining African American participation in U.S. history primarily as victims." Here is a taste of his recent piece at The Hollywood Reporter: On the one hand, these films are necessary to correct the misperceptions many Americans have about slavery as a result of inaccurate school textbooks, ill-informed teachers and conservative … [Read more...] about Abdul-Jabbar: Are Slavery Movies Good for African Americans?
Movies About Women of Color in History CAN Make Money
Over at VOX, film critic and The Kings College (NYC) English professor Alyssa Wilkinson interviews Gregory Allen Howard, the writer of the screenplay for Harriet. Wilkinson writes: "it’s surprising that Harriet is the first biopic about such an important woman in American history, considering how this is an industry that loves making historical biopics — surprising, that is, until you remember that Hollywood has typically exhibited skepticism toward the idea that movies led … [Read more...] about Movies About Women of Color in History CAN Make Money
Out of the Zoo: “We’re a union just by saying so!”
Annie Thorn is a sophomore history major from Kalamazoo, Michigan and our intern here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. As part of her internship she is writing a weekly column titled “Out of the Zoo.” It focuses on life as a history major at a small liberal arts college. In this dispatch, Annie writes about one of her favorite movies. –JF Newsies might just be one of my all-time favorite movies. Starring a young Christian Bale as the fictional main character Jack … [Read more...] about Out of the Zoo: “We’re a union just by saying so!”
What Do Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, David Blight, and 25 Cent Wings Have in Common?
This: Former President Barack Obama was meeting with Steven Spielberg on Monday night, sources exclusively told Page Six, months after Obama’s production company with wife, Michelle, unveiled a slate of films with Netflix. Obama and the Oscar-winner were at upscale seafood eatery Marea, spies said. “Spielberg walked through the front and no one noticed,” said the source, while Obama arrived through a side entrance. “They were with a group — with lots of Secret Service,” … [Read more...] about What Do Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, David Blight, and 25 Cent Wings Have in Common?
Historians At The Movies
Jason Herbert, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Minnesota, is your host. Learn more about #HATM in this piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education: Have you ever, while watching the movie Julie & Julia, drawn comparisons between Julia Child's struggle to find the right publisher and the mercurial marketplace of academic publishing? You probably haven't. But historians have. The comparison is one of many under the Twitter hashtag #HATM. The … [Read more...] about Historians At The Movies
Is “Hamilton” the New “1776?”
Yes. Watch this clip. It will be stuck in your head all day: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDxyIzPe98&w=560&h=315] Matthew Rozsa agrees with the title of this post. Here is a taste of his recent piece at Salon: It’s a great story, one that both I and many of my close friends ritualistically watch every 4th of July. Yet what about “1776” makes it so resonant? Why does this movie stand out when countless other patriotically themed motion pictures fade … [Read more...] about Is “Hamilton” the New “1776?”
The Vatican Congratulates "Spotlight" on Winning Best Picture
Over at Religion News Service, Rosie Scammell is reporting that the Vatican has given "two thumbs up" to "Spotlight," the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture. As most of you probably know, "Spotlight" is a movie about the Boston Globe's investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. ["Spotlight"] manages to voice the shock and profound pain of the faithful confronting the discovery of these horrendous realities,” wrote journalist Lucetta … [Read more...] about The Vatican Congratulates "Spotlight" on Winning Best Picture
Yolanda Pierce on Slavery, Religious Rhetoric, and “12 Years a Slave”
The commentary on the movie 12 Years a Slave continues. The latest comes from The Christian Century website. Yolanda Piece of Princeton Theological Seminary discusses the role of religion in the film and the use of Christian rhetoric to support slavery in antebellum America. Here is a taste:The 1853 slave narrative Twelve Years a Slave is now a major motion picture directed by Steve McQueen.The film is a faithful rendering of the life of Solomon Northup, a free African … [Read more...] about Yolanda Pierce on Slavery, Religious Rhetoric, and “12 Years a Slave”
Annette Gordon-Reed on “12 Years a Slave”
12 Years a Slave, the fictional adaptation of Solomon Northrup's 1853 autobiography by the same name, has been getting a lot of attention of late. Northrup was a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery. For twelve years he was enslaved in Louisiana before he was set free. The film is directed by Steve McQueen.Over at The New Yorker, Annette Gordon-Reed, the Pulitzer Prize winning historian of Sally Hemings and Thomas … [Read more...] about Annette Gordon-Reed on “12 Years a Slave”
Warner Brothers Buys Screen Rights to Philbrick’s *Bunker Hill*
In case you have not heard, Warner Brothers has shelled out close to a million dollars for the screen rights to Nathaniel Philbrick's latest book Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, a Revolution. And the book will not be published until April 30!According to this article, Ben Affleck may be directing the film. Here is a taste:Philbrick is the author of Mayflower and the National Book Award-winning In The Heart Of The Sea, the real story beyond the white whale that informed Moby … [Read more...] about Warner Brothers Buys Screen Rights to Philbrick’s *Bunker Hill*
Why Movies About the American Revolution Are Always Bad
Mark Peterson, a historian at Cal-Berkeley, joins the "American History Guys" of Backstory fame to discuss films about the American Revolution. Peterson says that nearly every movie about the American Revolution is bad:Hollywood has tended to stay away from the American Revolution and when it has made movies about that time period, they have not been big hits, they have not been great big box offices successes, they have never won Academy Awards, and in my own highly amateur … [Read more...] about Why Movies About the American Revolution Are Always Bad
HISTORY Stole the Oscars!
The American History Guys at BackStory reflect through images on history's dominance at last night's Oscar awards ceremony. Here is a taste:Best ActorBest Picture … [Read more...] about HISTORY Stole the Oscars!
James Grossman on “Lincoln”
Jim Grossman, Executive Director of the American Historical Association, is doing his part to keep the "Lincoln" Oscar buzz going. He sees Spielberg's movie as an opportunity for historians to have a public voice. I agree.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6yq9qeVRZM] … [Read more...] about James Grossman on “Lincoln”
“Birth of a Nation” is a Good Movie
Richard Brody thinks that the "worst thing" about D.W. Griffith's film "Birth of a Nation" is "how good it is."I assigned parts of this 1915 feature film back when I taught the second half of the United States survey course. It offered students a glimpse into American understandings of race in the early 20th century.The film, of course, is D.W. Griffith's interpretation of Reconstruction, the tumultuous decade (or so) that followed the end of the Civil War. It depicts … [Read more...] about “Birth of a Nation” is a Good Movie
“Why Not Write About What ‘Lincoln’ Does Do Instead of What It Doesn’t”
Keith Harris of Cosmic America is angry about the way historians are criticizing Lincoln:Time to vent. I have no need to name names – you’ve read the reviews and you know who they are. But I swear if I read one more historian’s erudite treatise attacking Spielberg’s Lincoln for not delivering a comprehensive history of the abolition movement I am going to light myself on fire and jump out a window into oncoming traffic. So instead of doing that I think I will take a long … [Read more...] about “Why Not Write About What ‘Lincoln’ Does Do Instead of What It Doesn’t”
Paul Harvey on “Lincoln,” Race, and Civil Religion
Paul Harvey, historian of race and religion at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and blogmaster at Religion in American History, shares his thoughts on Spielberg's Lincoln at Religious Dispatches. Here is a taste:But there is another level to consider here, as well—the civil religious myths that the film invokes, and the very limited growth in public understanding of those myths that the film ultimately suggests.After the emotion evoked by the film subsides, … [Read more...] about Paul Harvey on “Lincoln,” Race, and Civil Religion