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: Times (UK) (4-1-08)
The €18 million (£14 million) adventure epic Red Baron feeds into a new national mood that has become less hesitant about honouring German battlefield bravery. The Government is even talking of bringing back a modern version of the Iron Cross, the gallantry medal awarded in the First and Second World Wars.
The reason is clear: as the German Army moves into combat zones in Afghanistan and beyond, it needs to rediscover its military traditions – and create heroes. The film, the Berlin premiere of which was attended by members of the Richthofen clan, tries to square a very German circle: to extol the pilot’s virtues while declaring war to be evil. “There are strong voices in Germany that still say we should not be doing this,” Nikolai Müllerschön, who wrote and directed the film,...
SOURCE: Newsweek (4-14-08)
No surprise, then, that the Battle of Gettysburg would become the subject of songs, poems, funeral monuments and, ultimately, some of the biggest paintings ever displayed on this continent. Paul Philippoteaux, famed for his massive 360-degree cyclorama paintings, painted four versions of the battle in the 1880s. Cycloramas were hugely popular in the United States in the last decades of the 19th century, before movies displaced them in the public's affection...
SOURCE: NYT (4-6-08)
His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the family, Bill Powers, who did not specify a cause. In August 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he had received a diagnosis of neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.”
SOURCE: Britannica Blog (4-3-08)
He had it easy.
In 1305, the real William Wallace was hanged to the point of unconsciousness, revived, tortured, hanged some more, castrated, gutted, and beheaded, with his body dismembered, dipped in tar, and sent off on tour as a warning to anyone who shared his views. As in Gibson’s movie, noisy crowds gathered to watch the bloodletting. In real life, far from being abashed by what they saw, the onlookers enjoyed the spectacle.
“The bad news,” writes literary scholar Harold Schechter in his book Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment, “is that audiences apparently still enjoy watching other people die in horrible...
SOURCE: AP (4-2-08)
"From the best we could learn from the people we spoke to, it just didn't look like it was the right kind of parachute in any way," said FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs.
Further digging at the site in southwestern Washington turned up no indication that it could have been Cooper's, she added.
SOURCE: New Republic (3-31-08)
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (4-11-08)
Unlaced bodices, vigorous men on horses, and various absurdly good-looking actors (no one had consulted a historical portrait, it seemed) stared at the viewer with penetrating seriousness and/or incipient madness: Henry VIII's high-minded Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More (holding a book, of course); the king's Roman Catholic wife, Katherine of Aragon (holding a rosary, far too beautiful to soon be divorced); the young, athletic Henry (sinewy Jonathan Rhys Myers, challenging the image of the bloated tyrant we'd come to know through Holbein and Charles Laughton.) And playing race-around-the-castle tag with him, a stunningly gorgeous, annoyingly pouty actress I'd never seen before....
SOURCE: AP (3-27-08)
Art historian Birgit Schwartz says she recognized "Cupid Complaining to Venus" by Lucas Cranach the Elder in a photograph of the Nazi leader's private gallery that is held in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
The gallery said it believed Schwartz's identification is correct.
The gallery says the painting was taken from Germany in 1945 by American war correspondent Patricia Lochridge Hartwell, who died in 1998. A relative of Hartwell told the gallery that she had been allowed to take it from a warehouse full of art that was controlled by U.S. forces at the end of the war.
The National Gallery bought the painting in 1963 from a dealer in New York. The dealer said at the time that it was being sold by descendants of a buyer...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-31-08)
An auctioneer, invited to assess part of a multi-millionaire's collection, found the works hidden in a corner.
The owner's identity is a mystery after the auctioneer was sworn to secrecy, but is believed to be a member of an international royal family.
SOURCE: Reuters (3-28-08)
"The remains of the bodies were in good enough condition for a DNA examination," said Egon Moehler, a spokesman for the German city of Stuttgart, where the bodies of three relatives who died in the 19th century were unearthed.
To obtain DNA samples for testing, the city has opened the final resting place of the dramatist's eldest son, Carl, his grandson Friedrich as well as the wife of his grandson.
The tests aim to show which of two skulls belonged to Schiller, one of Germany's most celebrated men of letters.
SOURCE: NYT (3-30-08)
One of the country’s foremost collectors of contemporary art, Mr. Fisher, 79, and his wife, Doris, 76, say they long for a permanent place to put it all. Mr. Fisher, a San Francisco native who is no stranger to controversy, believes he has found the perfect spot: the historic heart of the Presidio, a national park and National Historic Landmark district.
The Fishers’ plan to build a 100,000-square-foot modern complex of glass and white cast masonry at the head of the park’s storied Civil War parade ground is sparking fierce opposition from...
SOURCE: Yahoo (3-29-08)
We all accept that movies stretch the truth in the interest of building drama. The following ten flicks, however, treat the truth like it was Silly Putty -- pulling and twisting it until it's unrecognizable.
1. 10,000 B.C.
Director Roland Emmerich is usually a stickler for realism (see: sending a computer virus via Macintosh to aliens in Independence Day). So we hate to inform him that woolly mammoths were not, in fact, used to build pyramids. Heck, woolly mammoths weren't even found in the desert. They wouldn't need to be woolly if that were the case. And there weren't any pyramids in Egypt until 2,500 B.C or so.
Emperor Commodus was not the sniveling sister-obsessed creep portrayed in the movie. A violent alcoholic, sure, but not so whiny. He ruled ably for over a decade rather than ineptly for a couple months. He also didn't kill his father, Marcus Aurelius, who actually died of chickenpox. And instead of being killed in the gladiatorial...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-31-08)
But the picture of the basketball star, LeBron James, towering over the Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, has made the kind of headlines that even Anna Wintour, the magazine's publicity-conscious British editor, was probably not expecting.
The image has provoked allegations of racial stereotyping, with some critics saying the image of James, his teeth bared in a mixture of a roar and a growl, is "ape-like".
The hulking 6ft 9in sportsman bounces a basketball with one hand and holds the waist of 5ft 11in Miss...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-29-08)
For 94 years, survivor Lillian Asplund had refused to speak about the tragedy which claimed the lives of her father and three brothers. Only after her death, aged 99, have her family uncovered details of the terrible events.
Miss Asplund left a collection of items and documents recovered from the doomed voyage, as well as letters and pictures collected after the event.
The collection was found in a shoebox, but is now expected to fetch up to £150,000 at auction.
The sale has excited many Titanic experts as Miss Asplund was the very last survivor with memories of the disaster. She is only outlived by Brit Millvina Dean, who was a baby at the time.