Speaking only for myself, when a movie is based on a historical figure I
do so wish the movie-makers would stick to the historical facts as much
as possible. Hollywood is the home of myth, legend, and fantasy, and if
a director now and then inserts a historical figure into a
non-historical movie, well--no harm, no foul. But "enhancing" the drama
by inserting a fictional character into the middle of the action in a
film centered around a historical figure is misguided and insulting.
Even if the drama in the story is somehow enhanced, it is still a
disservice to historical truth. Most movie-goers will accept it as true,
or at least as truthy. The Adventures of Mark Twain comes to mind. Jack
Warner sent crews out to Hartford, Elmira, Hannibal, and other places,
where they took hundreds of photos documenting Twain's homes,
belongings, etc., but when it came time to film they pretty much ignored
their own research and presented a highly fictionalized version of his
life. For decades there was the fake version of The Mysterious Stranger
infecting the healthy tissue of Twain's writings. Bad enough that
historical evidence was rejected or ignored in favor of movie-maker
fictions, but some editors could not resist fictionalizing Twain's
fiction. Surely there is a ring in Hell for that.
Well, thank goodness the pages of Twain studies are not contaminated
with myths, legends, hoaxes, and non-historical blather!
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------ Original Message ------
From: "Hal Bush" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 11/9/2019 8:58:22 AM
Subject: new film Harriet
>folks, I believe some of you will be interested:
>Perhaps this is predictable (it's really, really hard to depict these histories to everyone's satisfaction at the current moment): but the controversy over the new film Harriet is for real (even though it has a full 99% audience-like rating on rotten tomatoes).
>& ps: I have encouraged my own students to see it (they all read Uncle Tom's Cabin & Douglass' Narrative this semester): I'd love hearing anyone's thoughts about the film, as either a teaching device or just an aesthetic/historical account.
>Dr. Hal Bush
>Professor of English &
>Director of the Undergraduate Program
>Saint Louis University
>[log in to unmask]
>author website: halbush.com