- Ph.D.’s in history are finding plenty of work outside the academy, but surprisingly few of them in public history. I don’t think graduate programs encourage candidates to consider careers in public history as much as they should.
- Possible remnants of the Rev War’s first day have turned up in Massachusetts.
- Oldest living War of 1812 widow tells all.
- Another Civil War movie is in development.
- Mort Kunstler talks about the research for his Hunley painting.
- National Parks Traveler asks readers to name their favorite Civil War park. Personally, I think Gettysburg’s pretty hard to beat.
Tag Archives: historical movies
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is out on DVD now, and my mom has been determined to see it, for reasons unfathomable to me. The day before yesterday she went to the local rental place, and every copy was checked out. Every single one.
She went back again yesterday, and still had no luck.
On her way home from work today she tried for the third time, and there was one copy available. She snagged it and carried it around while looking over the other new releases, and while she was in the store she overheard two different people ask the clerk if there were any extra copies of AL:VH in the back.
Maybe it’ll be one of those movies that die an ignominious death in theaters only to enjoy cult status in the home video market.
By the way, Mom didn’t like it.
Spielberg’s Lincoln screened at the New York Film Festival, and the early reviews have been pretty good. Everybody seems to be impressed with Daniel Day-Lewis and the rest of the cast; the story is apparently good, if a little slow-moving. I’m guessing the NYFF screening wasn’t the final cut, so the wide release version will probably be a little tighter.
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) of Colorado tried valiantly to put the best face on Obama’s debate performance: “It’s just like Lincoln. When Lincoln ran for re-election, it was…dead close, I mean really a struggle, really close, and he wasn’t a great public speaker. I mean, Obama’s a great speaker. Lincoln wasn’t a great debater.”
He later clarified his remarks by stating, “Evidently…in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, by most accounts, he had a hard time keeping up with Stephen Douglas, who was great. That’s what I was referring to.”
Because if there was one area where the man who delivered the Gettysburg Address needed improvement, it was public speaking. But to be fair, Republicans have been having their own history issues lately.
In the next few weeks there are going to be so many Lincoln updates that you’ll be pining for the good old days when nothing happened other than the occasional Liam Neeson visit to Springfield.
As is his custom, Daniel Day-Lewis was fanatically committed to his role in Spielberg’s upcoming Lincoln film. This according to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Robert Todd Lincoln and whose character in The Dark Knight Rises was utterly superfluous, thank you very much.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy also talked to reporters about Spielberg’s Lincoln. More importantly, she gave a progress report on the next Jurassic Park installment. (One of these days I’ll finally give in and make this a history/dinosaur blog.)
There’s already been misplaced criticism of Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln’s voice. All you people who want your Lincoln to sound like Gregory Peck need to read up on what his voice was actually like.
This one is apparently about Abe’s boyhood, with Diane Kruger as Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln. This carries on a long, proud tradition of filling Lincoln movie roles with actresses who are far more attractive than the historical figures they play.
Daniel Eagen considers the state of American Revolution movies and doesn’t see much cause for optimism.
I’ve always said that if somebody put me in charge of casting a Civil War movie and gave me an unlimited budget, I’d want Russell Crowe to play Grant. He’s a dead ringer.
If you’re going to cast an A-list actor like Crowe, though, it would probably be in a starring role, meaning you’d need some Grant-centric subject matter. So who’s up for a Shiloh movie?
I ran across a post suggesting some possible subjects for historical biopics. The LBJ idea is especially intriguing; I wouldn’t mind seeing a miniseries adaptation of Robert Caro’s work.
I’d also propose Frederick Douglass (great story), John Brown, Joseph Smith, and Daniel Boone as interesting film subjects. Boone’s life in particular is full of dramatic material; the deaths of his sons, the rescue of his daughter, his captivity, and his court-martial would all make for powerful scenes, and then you could wrap it up in melancholy fashion with his abandonment of the Kentucky for which he gave up so much and migration to Missouri.
Personally, though, what I’d really like to see is an Andrew Jackson biopic along the lines of Patton, depicting both his greatness and his faults. I’d start out with his boyhood in the Revolutionary Waxhaws and the beating he took for defying a British officer, and then flash forward to the War of 1812.
Either that, or just adapt David Nevin’s novel 1812 as a miniseries. I rarely read historical fiction—I don’t read much fiction at all, actually—but that was a genuinely great book, and anybody who could play Jackson the way Nevin managed to flesh him out would deserve a Golden Globe.