Film/History

From the Red Scare hearings of the 1940s to the Clinton administration’s post-Littleton probe into the entertainment industry announced this Tuesday, government intrusion in the entertainment industry is an ill wind that has never blown anyone any good—in this country or anywhere else. Following a recommendation in last month’s Senate crime bill, the president has ordered [Read more…]

Roll out the red carpet for Hollywood’s take on Iraq and Afghanistan. Hollywood, in its collective wisdom, has decided that now is a good time to make a handful of movies about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They are antiwar movies, of course. Rest assured that they won’t exclusively depict G.I.s and Marines as bestial rapists, [Read more…]

WE history buffs are grateful when Hollywood makes movies set in the past. We hope they’ll be decently entertaining, and pray they don’t contain massive, ridiculous inaccuracies or errors. The good thing about “Pearl Harbor” – and it may be the only good thing you can say about the movie – is that it includes no [Read more…]

Hollywood does justice to Patrick O’Brian’s naval saga DEVOTEES OF PATRICK O’BRIAN’S celebrated series of historical novels are likely to be not just relieved but delighted by Peter Weir’s beautiful film “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.” They had reason to be worried at the prospect of a Hollywood version of the beloved [Read more…]

Scorsese’s film portrays racist mass murderers as victims Martin Scorsese is rightly the most lauded living American film-maker – a beacon of integrity as well as a brilliant talent. But his bloody, visually gorgeous new epic, Gangs of New York, set in Civil War-era Manhattan, distorts history at least as egregiously as The Patriot, Braveheart or [Read more…]

Victorian virtues, Hollywood vices. BOTH THE NEW MOVIE “The Four Feathers” and the reaction to it exemplify contemporary attitudes to Anglo-Saxon imperialism and the Victorians who practiced it. The film itself–the sixth cinematic version of the A.E.W. Mason novel first published in 1902–is a failure as motion-picture entertainment: visually stunning but dramatically weak and thematically confused. [Read more…]

The savage soldiers in “The Patriot” act more like the Waffen SS than actual British troops. Does this movie have an ulterior motive? The week before “The Patriot” opened in the United States, the British press lit up with furious headlines. “Truth is first casualty in Hollywood’s War,” read one in the Daily Telegraph. Another story, [Read more…]