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 email@example.com.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-16-08)
Negatively portrayed by generations of republican historians, Marie-Antoinette has in the past received little sympathy from a nation that tended to see her either as a giddy symbol of ancien régime decadence or as a treacherous Austrian schemer.
But in recent years there has been a rehabilitation, encouraged by new biographies such as Antonia Fraser's which depict the queen as a scapegoat of her times if not a total innocent.
The 2006 film by Sofia Coppola took the process further, showing the doomed Marie-Antoinette as a free-spirit victimised by the forces around her and drawing a deliberate parallel with the fate of Princess Diana.
French royal historian Jean-Christian Petitfils said: "These days, people know about her frivolous side, but it's her role as victim that is becoming more...
SOURCE: NYT (3-14-08)
“Ambition,” Abigail warns, when Adams tells her that he will get a lot of attention if he defends British soldiers in the Boston Massacre trial.
“Vanity” is what she says to steer her husband away from what she calls “ostentatious erudition.”
“Casting,” she might have told the producers of this new seven-part HBO mini-series, which begins on Sunday evening with a double episode.
John Adams is the weakest part of “John Adams.”
Based on David McCullough’s biography of Adams, the second president, “John Adams” is certainly worthy and beautifully made, and it has many masterly touches at the edges, especially Laura Linney as Abigail. But Paul Giamatti is the wrong choice for the hero.
It’s not his fault. Mr. Giamatti, who starred in “Sideways,” is a gifted actor. Still, in this historical drama, Mr. Giamatti is...
SOURCE: AHA Blog (3-11-08)
SOURCE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk (3-14-08)
It shows him in 1783, aged 27, dressed in a red tunic and a white ruff, with a wig of grey hair and an elegant but slightly hooked nose.
Until now the enduring image of Mozart has been largely based on the posthumous 1819 portrait by Barbara Kraft, painted 18 years after his death. But this discovery could help change that.
SOURCE: Washington Times (3-14-08)
However, when it comes to more lasting tributes, our second president has been sorely overlooked both inside the Beltway and beyond. Monuments on the Mall and Tidal Basin commemorate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but not a single one in the District honors Adams, who pushed for independence in leading the Second Continental Congress and served as the nation's first vice president.
Why the neglect?
"He was difficult and cantankerous and not as charismatic as the Virginians," says Benjamin Adams, a New York investment banker and the fourth great-grandson of the Founding Father. "He was a one-term president, and many of...
SOURCE: Carol Hamilton, writing for HNN (3-14-08)
John Adams lacks historical charisma. Portly, short, balding, and plain, our first vice-president and second president, Adams was important to the founding of the country, and he deserves more attention than he gets. A new HBO miniseries, starring Paul Giametti as Adams, aims to give him just that. Viewers of the miniseries will surely witness some of the violent verbal abuse that the Founders inflicted upon one another. In this respect, Adams always gave as good as he...
SOURCE: Salon (3-13-08)
But these are the days of David Milch's "Deadwood" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" and this is HBO, home of the story that's stubbornly grubby and full of stuttering and awkward moments and buzzing flies. The trend has swung past realism to realism through a dirty window, realism with a bad attitude and a hangover.
Based on the book by David McCullough and directed by Tom Hooper, "John Adams" counterbalances heroism -- this was a man who helped to liberate the colonies from British rule, after all -- with dreary details: Abigail Adams...
SOURCE: LAT (3-12-08)
L.A. Theatre Works is reviving "Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers," with performances at the Skirball Cultural Center today through Sunday.
The putative secrecy of the Bush administration during the Iraq war has reminded some, including L.A. Theatre Works producer Susan Loewenberg, of the continuing relevance of the Pentagon Papers case and "Top Secret." Last year, she and Cowan and actor-director John Rubenstein decided to revise...
SOURCE: NYT (3-12-08)
Most museums are built from the urge to broadcast the past loud and clear, but most museums do not receive money from the National Security Agency, the arm of the intelligence network devoted to codemaking and codebreaking. The employees at the N.S.A. still joke that the initials stand for “No Such Agency” or “Never Say Anything.”
The museum opened in 1993 without notifying the news media or otherwise drawing much attention to itself. It was just as well — the motel, which is adjacent to the N.S.A.’s headquarters and had been bought by the agency several years before, was still ringed by a barbed-wire fence, and some insiders were apparently worried that someone might take pictures of the spies attending the openings...
SOURCE: The Circle of Ancient Iranian Students (3-4-08)
Directed by Mohsen Ramezani, the 11-minute film gives viewers an introduction to the bowl, which was discovered in a grave at the 5200-year-old Burnt City by an Italian archaeological team in late 1970s.
The artefact bears five images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree, which the members of the team at that time had not recognised the relationship between the pictures.
Several years later, Iranian archaeologist Dr Mansur Sadjadi, who became later appointed as the new director of the archaeological team working at the Burnt City discovered that the pictures formed a related series.
Nonetheless, according to English daily Mehr, during a ceremony held on Sunday to promote the...
SOURCE: NYT (3-12-08)
Nearly 1,000 Union soldiers were killed, wounded or captured on the hallowed ground beneath the complex. Wayne E. Motts, a local historian who has been a licensed battlefield guide for 21 years, was not the only person who was bothered by this fact.
“I’ve said if I could go down there and tear down that building with my bare hands, I would,” said Mr. Motts, the executive director of the Adams County Historical Society, which is in Gettysburg, Pa.
Luckily, he will be saved the trouble. The complex is being razed, and the land will be restored to how it looked in July 1863. Meanwhile, a $103 million visitor center and museum will open April...
SOURCE: Reuters (3-10-08)
Vienna's opera house is one focus of post-World War Two Austria's feelings of guilt about the way it quickly accepted the Nazi takeover and, after the war ended, reinstated few of those persecuted during the Third Reich.
The exhibition at the ornate State Opera House, then as now an important part of Viennese life, details the fate of 92 members of the company -- many of them Jewish -- who were excluded, persecuted or murdered after the "Anschluss."
SOURCE: New York Sun (3-11-08)
In the first episode of HBO's "epic seven-part miniseries event" "John Adams," one of the most riveting scenes occurs at Boston Harbor, when a customs inspector or informant challenges John Hancock (Justin Theroux) for evading the taxes imposed by the British. "Teach him a lesson, tar the bastard," Hancock commands a mob, which proceeds to do exactly that to the poor accessory of the crown. This being HBO, there's a glimpse of full frontal nudity that is promptly drenched with hot tar. Hancock looks on, as do John Adams (Paul Giamatti) and his cousin Samuel (Danny Huston). "God, Sam, that's barbarism," John cries to his cousin, who stands silent. "Do you approve of this? Answer me, Sam, can you?"
It's a telling scene, because there is no historical evidence that it ever happened. It's not included in the Pulitzer Prize-...
SOURCE: http://www.hollywoodtoday.net (2-27-08)
These Hollywood Today Newsmagazine articles are set against one of the most turbulent eras in American history — Watergate, the civil rights movement, assassinations and the Vietnam War. They are the culmination of years of work by acclaimed Hollywood investigative reporter and author David Robb working from 5,000 pages of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Fade in, 1966: The actors were all in place, and the cameras were rolling on Sound Stage 3-A on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California for the hit ABC television series “The FBI,” which was just starting its second season.
Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, the FBI’s No. 3 man, was visiting the set...
SOURCE: National Geographic (3-11-08)
SOURCE: Scotsman (3-11-08)
Professor Allan Macinnes told The Scotsman that he had resigned from the series' advisory board after its first meeting in November.
"I thought the whole production was dreadful," he said.
"The first provisional script I got was so Anglo-centric I couldn't believe it," Prof Macinnes said. "It was written on the basis as if Scotland was a divided country until the Union (with England] came along and civilised it. I felt it was just nonsense."
A History of Scotland's advisory board, which includes leading historians, agencies such as Historic Scotland and a history teachers' representative, meets for a second time this week.
But last week Professor Tom Devine, perhaps Scotland's...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-11-08)
Producers of The Passion have portrayed the men in a sympathetic light because they believe they have been"very harshly judged" by history.
Judas is portrayed as torn between his loyalties to Jesus and Caiaphas, who organised the plot to kill Jesus.
Pilate, played by James Nesbitt, is shown struggling to manage his wife's social aspirations and his career as he tried to"keep a lid" on tensions in Jerusalem.
Traditional Christian groups accused the BBC of rewriting the Gospel, but the makers of the series, which will be broadcast over Easter week, said they were simply trying to understand the motivations of the characters.
SOURCE: BBC News (3-11-08)
SOURCE: BBC South East Today (3-10-08)
SOURCE: http://www.kentonline.co.uk (3-6-08)
THIS is the world's only full-size statue of Charles Dickens. And it's on the other side of the Atlantic in Philadelphia.
The Americans, who loved Dickens, sent it to England as a tribute to the author - but it was returned to sender because of a "no memorials" clause in his will.
Do you think the time has come for a statue to be erected in Rochester in defiance of his last request?
Vote in our poll, below, and join the debate ~ in our SpeakOut >>>