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Hollywood Prezi v3

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Earl Mulderink

on 9 July 2014

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Transcript of Hollywood Prezi v3

Thank You To:
Hunan Normal University
Jiang Hongxin, Ph.D.,
Vice President HNU
Southern Utah University
Bradley J. Cook, Ph.D.
Kurt Harris, Ph.D.
Kevin Stein, Ph.D.
I'd Like to Thank The Academy . . .
America's Civil War:
Hollywood vs. History

Earl F. Mulderink III, Ph.D
Southern Utah University
Hunan Normal University
American Studies Center
7 January 2014
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Massive production
First Hollywood "blockbuster"
Unprecedented publicity
Viewed by millions
Controversial then and now
Solidified pro-South, anti-black,
anti-miscegenation views of Civil War
Thomas Dixon & D. W. Griffith
Embodied "Lost Cause"
Drew upon President Wilson, a scholar
Successful rewrite of history
Celebrated birth of (white) nation

"Lost Cause" Glorified
Influenced by Griffith's & Dixon's works
White Southerners fought gallantly
Black slaves remained loyal and happy
Hattie McDaniel won Academy Award (as Mammy)
Movie's impact endured for decades
The Movie Business
Studio production
Risks minimized
"Blockbusters" created in "factory" system
"Intellectual conformity"
Movies shape public opinion
Who Owns History?
Filmmakers vs. Historians
Hollywood favors simple dramatized stories
Historians see complexity
Civil War and History in Film
D. W. Griffith defended filmmakers
Civil War films outnumber other wars
Context is crucial

The "Lost Cause" and White Supremacy
White South portrayed positively
Loyal & contented black slaves
Abolitionists "started" Civil War
Racial stereotypes endured in film
The Birth of a Nation
Hollywood movies have evolved in their portrayal of black characters from Prissy in Gone with the Wind (1939) to . . .
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning best-selling novel
Cast included Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh
Lengthiest, second-most costly Hollywood film
New color technology
Most successful film in history
10 Academy Awards in 1940
#1 movie quote of all time
Margaret Mitchell 1937
Glory (1989)
50 years later, Hollywood featured black soldiers
$20 million budget with box office take under $30 million
Script based on Robert Gould Shaw's papers
1,500 re-enactors enhanced authenticity
Popular praise and scholarly acclaim
What Glory Misses
Historical errors and inaccuracies abound
Regiment NOT mainly runaway or former slaves
Frederick Douglass given only a cameo
"Dramatic" scenes never happened
Fort Wagner siege in wrong direction
Real African-American heroes ignored, such as William Carney
Lincoln (2012)
Steven Spielberg project over ten years
Tony Kushner finished screenplay
$50 million production & $15 million promotion
Much Praise for Lincoln
Twelve Academy Award nominations
$275 million gross
Informed millions about Lincoln's leadership & wartime politics
Inspired interest in Civil War & Sesquicentennial
Lincoln Movie - Other Takes
Movie features fictitious scenes, dialogue, characters, and even Congressional votes
A Few Concluding Thoughts
Past century has seen clear evolution in Hollywood's portrayal of African Americans, and some change in depictions of the Civil War.
Still, as Brian Willis notes, Civil War films "tell us more about the times in which they appear than the periods being depicted on the screen."
Ken Burns's
The Civil War
is highly recommended, although flawed.
Hollywood's historical historical movies should never be viewed as the "last word on a subject," Robert Brent Toplin reminds us.
"One iron rule remains true. Every decision is shaped by the money men's perception of what the audience wants."
-- Martin Scorsese
"History always has been and always be regularly rewritten . . . [but] that
does not mean that history is simply a series of myths and inventions."
-- Eric Foner
"Real history, as opposed to reel history, is often complicated, contradictory,
and confusing."
-- Robert Brent Toplin
"More people have formed perceptions about the Civil War from watching Gone With the Wind than from reading all the books written by historians since Selznick's blockbuster debuted in 1939."
-- Gary Gallagher
"It is like writing history with lightning."
-- President Woodrow Wilson
Movie replaced Birth of a Nation as "most impressive and profitable cinematic expression of the Lost Cause."
-- Gary Gallagher
"The most powerful and historically accurate film ever made about the American Civil War."
"Glory is probaby the best Civil War movie ever made."
"I didn't even know that blacks fought in the Civil War."
-- Paul Finkelman
-- Denzel Washington
"A rough and noble democratic masterpiece. . . Mr. Spielberg writes history with lightning."
Movie "grossly exaggerates" its main points.
"Movie ignores or distorts roles played by African Americans in securing the 13th Amendment and ending slavery."
Movie has finally repudiated
"the moonlight-and-magnolia view of the slave South. . . [and] ought to remove, once and for all, the lingering stain of the Lost Cause mythology."
What do you think?
-- Eric Foner
-- Kate Masur
Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln
Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens
Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln
-- Sean Wilentz
-- A. O. Scott
Colonel Shaw and Matthew Broderick
Morgan Freeman as Rawlins & Denzel Washington as Trip
-- James McPherson
Keaulawna Barbadillo
Stephen Ditty
Zach Bown
Created for
Dr. Earl Mulderink
2013 SUU Distinguished Faculty Honor Lecture
America's Civil War: Hollywood vs. History
September 10, 2013
The American Civil War:
A Brief Summary

War between Union (North) and Confederate States (South)
Started 12 April 1861 at Fort Sumter, South Carolina
CSA General Robert E. Lee surrendered to USA General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865
President Abraham Lincoln shot on 14 April 1865
1.5 million estimated casualties of war:
620,000 soldiers and sailors killed (2% of total population)
476,000 wounded; 400,000 captured or missing
Slavery destroyed with defeat of Confederacy
Union Invasion of CSA, 1861-1865
Antietam, September 1862
Richmond, former CSA Capital, 1865
Thank You!

Questions and Discussion
Full transcript