Tag Archives: historical movies

Downright uncanny

Take a look at the photo, and then click here.

Taken at Brady’s studio on Jan. 8, 1864. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

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Yet another Lincoln movie

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.

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The Rev War on the silver screen

Daniel Eagen considers the state of American Revolution movies and doesn’t see much cause for optimism.

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Filed under American Revolution, History and Memory

Speaking of Spielberg’s Lincoln, you can see Daniel Day-Lewis in Abe mode

…by clicking here.  Could use some latex to build up the facial protrusions, and the hair’s combed a little too neatly, but it’s not a bad visual impression.  I just hope they don’t try to water down the dialect.  The man didn’t sound like a newscaster.

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Spielberg finds a general

Jared Harris is going to be playing Ulysses S. Grant in Spielberg’s Lincoln, according to Empire.  I’m not really familiar with Harris. Apparently he’s in Mad Men, a show I’ve never watched.

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.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-B813- 6371B)

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?

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Let’s have some historical biopics

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.

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Mary Elizabeth Winstead on Mary Todd Lincoln

You can read her remarks about playing Lincoln’s wife here.  She seems to have done more historical research than you’d expect for a vampire movie.  This is going to be a strange film.

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Spielberg’s Lincoln movie is actually an end-of-Lincoln’s-presidency movie

…according to an article in The Orlando Sentinel.

His “Lincoln” is “not a battlefield movie,” Spielberg says. “There are battles in it, and being in Virginia, we have access to those historic battlefields. It is really a movie about the great work Abraham Lincoln did in the last months of his life.

“We’re basing it on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, ‘Team of Rivals,’ but we’re only focusing in on the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life.

“The movie will be purposely coming out AFTER next year’s election. I didn’t want it to become political fodder.”

I was looking forward to hearing Daniel Day-Lewis do a rendition of the Gettysburg Address.  Oh, well.  Still looking forward to the movie.

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A colonial romance movie

…is shooting this fall in Virginia.  It’s based on Mary Johnston’s 1900 novel To Have and to Hold, about a Jamestown settler who marries a girl pledged to a nobleman.  The book was wildly popular when it was first published, and was the basis for two silent films. You can read it online for free, if you’re so inclined.

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Release Ye Olde Kraken

My favorite historical subject is, of course, America’s fight for independence, so I generally root for movies about the Revolutionary War.

Since I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs, whales, giant squid, and other particularly large and fearsome creatures from the time I was a wee lad, I also generally root for movies about sea monsters.

I’ve yet to make up my mind about movies that combine the two.

Brian Helgeland has been hired to write “Here There Be Monsters,” a movie about Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones — except with sea monsters, individuals close to the project confirmed.

Producers of the Warner Bros./Legendary project are in talks with Robert Zemeckis to direct.

“Here There Be Monsters” is based on an concept by Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull.

Tull is producing along with Legendary’s Jon Jashni and Mandeville’s Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman.

Helgeland, who won the Academy Award for 1997′s “L.A. Confidential,” also wrote the 2003 “Mystic River,” the 2010 “Green Zone” and 2010′s “Robin Hood.”

Zemeckis directed a string of 1980s hits, including “Romancing the Stone,” “Back to the Future” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” as well as 1994′s “Forrest Gump.”

This is one of those occasions when I can sympathize with the Apostle Paul, torn as he was between his two natures.  The mature, academic part of me that went to grad school is really, really nervous.  The behemoth-loving part of me that squeals with delight when I watch the Kraken sequences from Clash of the Titans is thinking this could be one of the Best. Things. Ever.

Don’t settle for the 2010 remake, by the way.  The only true Clash of the Titans is the 1981 Clash of the Titans.

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