Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: NYT Magazine (11-11-07)
Few sold it better than Buffalo Bill Cody. While still a scout for the United States Army, Cody managed to hire himself out as a sort of celebrity hunting guide for well-to-do visitors to the American West. In 1869, when he was about 25, he impressed a writer calling himself Ned Buntline, who began a series of dime novels starring Buffalo Bill. These inspired a play, with Cody...
SOURCE: Max Holland at the website of Washington Decoded (11-11-07)
Bayne’s documentary is roughly the film equivalent of Norman Mailer’s 1995 book, Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery. As did Mailer, the documentary views the assassination primarily through the lens of Oswald’s sojourn in Minsk. Both emphasize and draw from, with good effect, the local KGB surveillance files on Oswald, which were exhaustive. (The publicity material accompanying the documentary states that at one point the filmmakers were...
SOURCE: Max Holland at the website of Washington Decoded (11-11-07)
Oswald’s Ghost is not another “whodunit” film about the assassination. Rather, it is billed as close to a “definitive account” of what the assassination did to America. “This is a film,” in the words of writer/producer/director Robert Stone, “about how we absorbed and responded to the trauma and shock of being inexplicably—and repeatedly—robbed of our sense of idealism, optimism, and security.” Put more bluntly perhaps, Oswald’s Ghost is the baby boomers’ penultimate take on the defining mystery (supposedly) of their lives.
There is a level on which Oswald’s Ghost succeeds. Through the recollections of authors such as the late Norman Mailer, Priscilla Johnson McMillan, and...
SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com (11-11-07)
Paul Gross's $20 million epic film Passchendaele will be the largest homegrown Canadian war movie ever made, and he makes no apologies for that.
"We're woefully ignorant of our military history," Gross says. "For me it's an issue. How do you know where you're going if you don't know where you come from?"
Feature films can work wonders in reconnecting the public with their past, he says. Few Australians really knew about their history at Gallipoli until the 1981 film by the same name, he notes.
The Passchendaele production team tore up a 20-hectare site in the foothills west of Calgary to re-create the nightmarish Flanders landscape, where heavy shelling turned the earth to fondue.
SOURCE: AP (11-9-07)
"It sounds like a requiem," Giovanni Maria Pala said. "It's like a soundtrack that emphasizes the passion of Jesus."
Painted from 1494 to 1498 in Milan's Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the "Last Supper" vividly depicts a key moment in the Gospel narrative: Jesus' last meal with the 12 Apostles before his arrest and crucifixion, and the shock of Christ's followers as they learn that one of them is about to betray him.
SOURCE: NYT (11-11-07)
The cause was acute renal failure, his family said.
Mr. Mailer burst on the scene in 1948 with “The Naked and the Dead,” a partly autobiographical novel about World War II, and for six decades he was rarely far from center stage. He published more than 30 books, including novels, biographies and works of nonfiction, and twice won the Pulitzer Prize: for “The Armies of the Night” (1968), which also won the National Book Award, and “The Executioner’s Song” (1979).
He also wrote, directed and acted in several low-budget movies, helped found The Village Voice and for many years was a regular guest on television talk shows, where he could reliably be counted on to make oracular pronouncements and deliver provocative opinions, sometimes coherently...
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (11-10-07)
He had envisioned the $27 million library, with its 40,000-square-foot exhibition space, as an extension of his ministry, whose purpose was “to please the Lord and to honor Jesus, not to see me or to think of me.”
But one of the unusual things about both this place and Mr. Graham’s ministry is that it is impossible to think of either without thinking of the man behind them. That may even be their greatest strength, though it also raises other questions.
The association is made even before you enter the library, since you first tour an upper-middle-class farmhouse, where...
SOURCE: NYT (11-8-07)
White paint is peeling from the plywood cutout. The wood at Elvis’s left hip is starting to rot, and many faded blue and yellow poker chips that once formed his bejeweled belt have vanished in the dust of 18-wheelers passing through this town 45 miles west of St. Louis.
For 17 years, Bill Beeny — museum curator, real estate salesman, Baptist minister — has used the wooden cutout to lure travelers to his museum, a cramped 400-square-foot shrine to all things Elvis, but especially to its owner’s theory that the King never actually left the building.
Now, Mr. Beeny, 81, wants to convert the museum into a food bank and is auctioning its contents on eBay. T
SOURCE: NYT (11-9-07)
For almost a quarter of a century in the 1800s it shared the intersection with another extremely popular, and not altogether welcome, landmark. Opposite the church, in more ways than one, was P. T. Barnum’s American Museum.
Today New Yorkers may think of Phineas Taylor Barnum only when the circus comes to town. But for almost 60 years he was one of the most celebrated figures in the city. He entertained and amused tens of millions here. When he died in 1891, The Washington Post called him “the most widely known American that ever lived.”
There’s no statue in any of the city’s parks, no Barnum Square, almost no visible sign of his once ubiquitous presence in Manhattan. But in a...
SOURCE: Washington Times (11-5-07)
"The Victims of Che Guevera" poster, produced by the Young America's Foundation, centers on a collage that uses tiny photos of those killed by Cuba's communist regime to compose the face of the Marxist guerrilla, who has become a popular T-shirt icon.
"Che is one of the heroes that the left idolizes," said Patrick X. Coyle, vice president of YAF. "But a lot of kids don't know anything about him. We thought this would be a great way to highlight his atrocities."
The occasion for the poster is Freedom Week, YAF's annual commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, which has since become the most famous event symbolizing the collapse of Soviet communism.
SOURCE: http://www.independent.ie (11-2-07)
Newbridge Silverware, more renowned for its classic tableware and jewellery products, has just added another two items to its own special collection in its museum of style icons, which opened earlier this year.
One of the outfits bought by the Co Kildare company for $135,000 is a vivid green Givenchy-designed sleeveless dress with matching fringed bolero jacket worn by Princess Grace during her first visit to her ancestral Ireland more than 47 years ago, and during an official visit to the White House for lunch with President Kennedy in 1961.
Also snapped up by the company for $220,000 was a Helen Rose-designed layered chiffon ball gown with rhinestones and pink and white embroidered flowers which was worn by a young Grace Kelly in the 1956 musical 'High Society'.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (11-3-07)
The rousing call might have scared off Lord Greystoke’s beastly enemies, but it fell on deaf ears at the Union’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) (Trade Marks and Designs).
The estate of Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs wants to trademark the yell believing millions are to be made across Europe from advertising, mobile phone ring tones and computer games.
But the EU has been unimpressed by the estate’s application, which included a description of the cry and a spectogram which visually plots Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller’s famous vocal.
SOURCE: Jeremy Paxman in the Telegraph (UK) (11-3-07)
I don't suppose there's a thoughtful student in the land who is unaware of Wilfred Owen's best-known poem, "Dulce et Decorum Est".
Indeed, it tells us something about our pervading cynicism that Horace's words are now taken more readily as sarcasm than at face value.
It is often assumed – as a student, I made the mistake myself – that the poem's author was some sort of bitter, jaundiced pacifist. But the enigma of Wilfred Owen is that he was anything but that. The fascination of his life is his embodiment of contradictions.
It is true that he was not among the first to answer the call to bash the Boche. Indeed, he seems to have been a rather fey and precious young man, first as a vicar's assistant in Berkshire, and then as an English teacher in France.
When he finally decided to join the Army (through the Artists' Rifles...
SOURCE: AFP (11-3-07)
The exhibition,"Russian First Ladies in the 20th Century" -- just opened at Moscow's Museum of Contemporary History -- displays clothes, jewelry, photographs and furniture relating to these women who stood, mostly silently, by their husbands, but also symbolised their times.
"Such an exhibition would have been unimaginable before. Under the tsars these things were kept in the family. Under the Bolsheviks affairs of the heart were not discussed," said Larisa Vasilyeva, author of a book entitled"Kremlin Spouses."
SOURCE: NYT (11-3-07)
In a sense it could not be otherwise. Before World War I, most major conflicts had been wars of movement, climaxing in set-piece battles resolved in a day or two. Trench warfare changed everything. For four years, Europe’s soldiers pummeled one another mercilessly. And the artists among them were trapped in the mayhem.
By then, movie and still cameras were already present, and they would soon come to dominate how wars were seen. Yet in World War I artists often proved more effective in conveying the grotesque nature of the struggle, as if it required imagination to present reality to people far from the trenches.
SOURCE: CNN (11-1-07)
The leather-bound albums created by a special unit of the Third Reich contain photographs of art by Hubert Robert and Francois Boucher.
Allen [Weinstein], chief archivist of the United States, called it, "One of the most significant finds related to Hitler's premeditated theft of art and other cultural treasures to be found since the Nuremberg trials."
American troops found 39 similar albums near the end of World War II and used them as evidence against Nazi war criminals during the trials, but historians think even more are out there.
SOURCE: BBC (10-30-07)
An appeal was made by descendants of a Jewish woman who said she was forced to sell it before fleeing Germany in 1939.
Judges refused to review a US appeals court ruling that dismissed the case because it was deemed too late to bring further action.
The actress bought the painting, worth $10-15m (£5-8m), in 1963.