Film & History

Film & History is a magazine focusing on Movies

Articles from Vol. 37, No. 1, 2007

Adventures in the Colony: Big Brother Meets Survivor in Period Costume
It is 40 degrees in the shade during a November heat wave and I am dressed in ill-fitting leather buckled shoes, long woolen stockings, canvas breeches, a linen shirt, a rather too tight red woolen soldier's 'coatee' (jacket), a neck 'stock' and a felted...
Africa Mia (2002)
AFRICA MIA (2002)Bernardo Morillo, directorIn the past ten years or so, the comparative study of blackness and racial ideologies in the Americas has become an area of intensified analysis and scholarship. Afro-Latina/o as a concept is fraught with ambiguity....
Apollo 13/journey to the Moon/mars and Back (1994-2006)
APOLLO 13/JOURNEY TO THE MOON/MARS AND BACK (1994-2006)Nova, PBS productionThis wonderful boxed set of three documentaries cover a range of spaceflight subjects and will be of interest to all those interested in the history of this subject. Produced...
Around the World in 72 Days: The Audacious Adventures of Nellie Bly (1997; Dvd Edition, 2006)
AROUND THE WORLD IN 72 DAYS: THE AUDACIOUS ADVENTURES OF NELLIE BLY (1997; DVD EDITION, 2006)American Experience, WGBHAbout midway through this appealing, tightly focused, PBS "American Experience" episode, Catherine Robe points out that, "Always, the...
A View from the Classroom: Film & History Conference
Scholars and practitioners poked, prodded, dissected and analyzed issues relating to film and history - from recent boy bands to documentary classics - at the fourth Film & History Biennial Conference in Dallas, Texas, which ran from November 8 to...
Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen (2005)
ELIZABETH I: THE VIRGIN QUEEN (2005)Masterpiece TheatreAs a sumptuous, well-produced costume drama, Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen carries on the proud tradition of depicting the life and events of Queen Elizabeth I of England. What sets this film apart...
Encomium: Dr. Ray Fielding
I believe that the first time I actually met Ray Fielding in person was in 1978. He had just delivered a guest lecture on the March of Time newsreels to Howard Suber's famous Documentary Film course at UCLA and I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in that...
Engaging Film Criticism
ENGAGING FILM CRITICISM. Walter Metz. Peter Lang, 2004. 226 pages; $29.95.ANOTHER PARADIGMIn this book, Walter Metz gives traditional notions of intertextual studies another turn of the screw by asking us to consider what he terms "imaginative intertextual...
Frontier House: Reality Television and the Historical Experience
Most television audiences view the genre of reality television primarily as entertainment and amusement. Millions of viewers tune into programs such as Survivor, The Apprentice, and The Bachelor because of the excitement, the unexpectedness, and the...
George Gallup in Hollywood
GEORGE GALLUP IN HOLLYWOOD. Susan Ohmer. Columbia University Press, 2006. 281 pages; $24.50.BOX OFFICE RECEIPTSAs film scholars, we devote considerable labor to analyze the historical and cultural milieu that creates cinematic art. We also scrutinize...
History as Mystery and Beauty as Duty in the 1940s House (1999)
On the first night of her family's nine-week stay in a painstakingly restored, World War II-era house on the outskirts of London, Lyn Hymers-the flftysomething matriarch and breakout "star" of the British time-travel reality show The 1940s House (1999)-finds...
History on Film/film on History
HISTORY ON FILM/FILM ON HISTORY. Robert A. Rosenstone. Pearson, 2006. 182 pages; $26.00.REAL MCLUHANIn Woody Allen's Annie Hall, the director's alter ego, Alvy Singer, is annoyed in a movie line when the person behind him (a media studies professor)...
Hitler's Sunken Secret (2005)
HITLER'S SUNKEN SECRET (2005)Nova, PBS productionDeuterium, or "heavy hydrogen," has a proton and a neutron in its nucleus where ordinary hydrogen has only a proton. Two atoms of it, bonded with one of oxygen, form a molecule of "heavy water." Water...
Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American
HOLLYWOOD AND THE CULTURE ELITE: HOW THE MOVIES BECAME AMERICAN. Peter Decherney. Columbia University Press, 2005. 269 pages; $27.50.CULTURE AND COMMERCEIt is widely understood that the movies are a business. Behind all of the studio publicity and hype...
Introduction: Reality Television as Film and History
Welcome to a two part special series exploring reality television as film and history. This edition focuses on the widely popular PBS Historical Homes series, including the British and American productions, 1940s House (2000), Frontier House (2001),...
John Ford's Westerns: A Thematic Analysis, with a Filmography
JOHN FORD'S WESTERNS: A THEMATIC ANALYSIS, WITH A FILMOGRAPHY William Darby. McFarland, 2006. 317 pages; $35.00.WORK SO FARTUnlike his contemporary and rival Howard Hawks, who directed significant films in every major Hollywood genre, John Ford is remembered...
Liv Ullmann: Interviews
LIV ULLMANN: INTERVIEWS. Robert Emmet Long, editor. University of Mississippi Press, 2006. 229 pages; $20.00.INSPIRING AND REFRESHINGWith Liv Ullmann: Interviews, Robert Emmet Long adds a gem to the Conversations with Filmmakers series published by The...
Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11: How One Film Divided a Nation
MICHAEL MOORE'S FAHRENHEIT 9/11: HOW ONE FILM DIVIDED A NATION Robert Brent Toplin. University Press of Kansas, 2006. 161 pages; $24.95.FOUR QUESTIONSEngaging and well executed, Robert Brent Toplin's Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11: How One Film Divided...
Obiter Dicta from the Director's Office
This is the first issue of the journal in which we can announce the functioning of The Center for the Study of Film and History (hereafter, The Center) as an entity. For the foreseeable future, I will be the Director of the Center and it gives me great...
Olivier
OLIVIER. Francis Beckett. Haus Publishing, 2005. 164 pages; $15.95.HUGUENOT ANCESTRYWho can deny that watching a Laurence Olivier movie-especially an early black-and-white title-mirrors the same enjoyment found by sipping a glass of Sancerre, that smooth,...
Pictures of Girlhood: Modern Female Adolescence on Film
PICTURES OF GIRLHOOD: MODERN FEMALE ADOLESCENCE ON FILM. Sarah Hentges. McFarland, 2006. 266 pages; $32.00.COMPLEX PORTRAYALSSarah Hentges' Pictures of Girlhood: Modern Female Adolescence on Film begins with an ambitious goal: not only to review motion...
Pierre Bourdieu: Sociology Is a Martial Art (2001) (la Sociologie Est Un Sport De Combat)
PIERRE BOURDIEU: SOCIOLOGY IS A MARTIAL ART (2001) (LA SOCIOLOGIE EST UN SPORT DE COMBAT)Pierre Carles, directorFor some strange reason, contemporary documentaries of intellectual figures, whether academic or within the public sphere, share a tendency...
Reading Desperate Housewives: Beyond the White Picket Fence
READING DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: BEYOND THE WHITE PICKET FENCE. Janet McCabe and Kim Akass, editors. Tauris, 2006. 246 pages; $15.95.MANICURED SURFACEEven before it hit the small screen, ABC's Desperate Housewives (2004) courted controversy. The evening...
Regret to Inform (1998)
REGRET TO INFORM (1998)Barbara Sonneborn, directorA common complaint about filmic representations of the Vietnam war, particularly those produced in Hollywood, is that the films tend to focus too narrowly on the personal relationships of the characters...
Roman Polanski Interviews
ROMAN POLANSKI INTERVIEWS. Paul Cronin, editor. University Press of Mississippi, 2005. 211 pages; $50.00.UNIQUE PERSPECTIVESRoman Polanski Interviews offers a tantalizing glimpse into the ambitions and drives of the enigmatic film director. The book...
"That History Should Not Have Ever Been How It Was": The Colony, Outback House, and Australian History
In 2005, Australia's public broadcasters each produced 'reality history' programs: The Colony, which screened on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in January,1 and Outback House, produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in mid-year....
The Coen Brothers: Interviews
THE COEN BROTHERS: INTERVIEWS William Rodney Allen, editor. University Press of Mississippi, 2006. 208 pages; $20.00AMUSE THEMSELVESCritics are wont to see a great deal of coded meaning in Ethan and Joel Coen's meticulously framed films. In The Big Lebowski...
"THE ENDLESS END OF FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY: PBS's FRONTIER HOUSE 2002"
"THE ENDLESS END OF FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY: PBS's FRONTIER HOUSE 2002"Depicting three families of modern-day "time travelers" who immerse themselves in the rough and tumble culture of 1883 Montana, PBS's Frontier House (2002) series provides a critical,...
The Exiles (1989)
THE EXILES (1989)Richard Kaplan, directorExile is a curious word, for it holds the possibility, at least, of return, as Tom Ambrose aptly wrote in Hitler's Loss: What Britain and America Gained from Europe's Cultural Exiles (2001: Peter Owen Publishers)....
The Great San Francisco Earthquake: One of America's Worst Urban Disasters (2005)
THE GREAT SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE: ONE OF AMERICA'S WORST URBAN DISASTERS (2005)American Experience, WGBHThe San Francisco earthquake of 1906 ranks with Hurricane Katrina's effect on the city of New Orleans in 2005 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871...
The Landscape of Hollywood Westerns: Ecocriticism in an American Film Genre
THE LANDSCAPE OF HOLLYWOOD WESTERNS: ECOCRITICISM IN AN AMERICAN FILM GENRE. Deborah A. Carmichael, editor. The University of Utah Press, 2006. 248 pages; $21.95.FAST DRAWAs a popular cinematic genre the Hollywood Western - those rip-roaring, fast-riding,...
The Omniscient Narrator and the Unreliable Narrator: The Case of Atomic Café
The form of the historical documentary today is familiar - painfully familiar: the narrator, the talking head-experts and witnesses, and the historical footage that illustrates the points the speakers are making. The narrator is required and often the...
The PBS Historical House Series: Where Historical Reality Succumbs to Reel Reality
THE PBS HISTORICAL HOUSE SERIES: WHERE HISTORICAL REALITY SUCCUMBS TO REEL REALITYINTRODUCTION:When PBS aired the first of the British-themed and produced historical "House" series, 1900 House, in June 2000, the network described the project as "classy...
The Rise and Fall of the Borscht Belt (1987)
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BORSCHT BELT (1987)Peter Davis, directorDuring the twentieth century, Jewish immigrants and their descendants created the so-called "Borscht Belt"-an agglomeration of cottages, hotels, and entertainment venues that catered to...
They Chose China (2005)
THEY CHOSE CHINA (2005)Shuibo WangThe American soldier, who is taken P.O.W., survives captivity and returns home currently holds the status of "hero" in American society, as the media attention surrounding the capture and rescue of Jessica Lynch during...
We of Film & History Have Been Busy. the Editor's Reflections and Reports
NEW MASTHEADAlthough some things may change, others do not and we have been busy as usual at Film & History. Peter Rollins has become the Director of the Center for the Study of Film and History, allowing him the time to orchestrate larger projects...
Women Who Loved Cinema, (Parts 1 and 2). (2002)
WOMEN WHO LOVED CINEMA, (PARTS 1 AND 2). (2002)Marianne Khoury'Ashiqat al-Cinema is an important documentary for several reasons. The first is that it provides an encyclopedic overview of scholarship, local knowledge, archival footage and material relating...