Shadows on the Past: Studies in the Historical Fiction Film


Studying popular Hollywood films from Gone With the Wind to Reds and such distinguished European films as La Marseillaise and The Rise to Power of Louis XIV, Leger Grindon examines how historical fiction films interpret the present through a representation of the past. The historical fiction film is characterized by a set of motives and, Grindon argues, deserves to be considered a genre unto itself. Appropriation of historical events can insinuate a film's authority of its subject, veil an intention, provide an escape into nostalgia, or direct a search for knowledge and origins. Utilizing the past as a way of responding to social conflicts in the present, Grindon shows how the genre promotes a political agenda, superseding the influence of scholarship on the public's perception and interpretation of history. Author note: Leger Grindon is Assistant Professor of Film and Television Studies at Middlebury College.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Jean Renoir
  • Thomas Carlyle
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Philadelphia
Publication year:
  • 1994