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: John Dickerson in Slate (12-4-08)
This is a fascinating discussion and one worth pondering—but it's beside the point. Or, more accurately, it's beside the point of the film. Nixon/Frost is not really about Nixon's abuses of power. It's about a superstar interviewer and a tortured ex-president. If there's any message in this great movie for President Bush, it's that he should...
SOURCE: Salon (12-4-08)
"It's at once horrifying and fascinating to witness the degree to which design is being discussed online by people whose concept of innovation is measured by novel ways to tie bows," Helfand confessed. Unable to resist a further jab, she continued: "I could write an entire post just on the scrapbooker's predisposition toward fonts like 'Whimsy Joggle' and 'Pool Noodle Outline' but I will try and restrain myself."
Helfand couldn't dismiss...
SOURCE: BBC (12-3-08)
The"Villa Trapp" had been expected to open this year. But the city's planning council blocked the move after protests from residents in the upmarket neighbourhood.
The von Trapps were made famous in the 1965 film The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews as a nun-turned-nanny who cares for a widower's seven children.
Himmler used villa
According to tourism officials, 40% of overnight stays in Salzburg - also famous as the birthplace of the composer Mozart - are from fans of the Sound of Music film.
SOURCE: Spiegel Online (12-4-08)
During the Cold War, the 59-year-old Berlinale festival found an audience for Eastern European filmmakers trying to present their ideas without censorship. And this history will be dusted off in this year's gathering of international film stars, makers and fans.
"The works formulate the hope of a political or economic opening and, above all, artistic freedom," festival organizers said. "They pushed boundaries in both form and content, while boldly articulating the need for reform."
The series, which takes its name from an award-winning 1988 documentary by Germany's Helke Misselwitz, will show films from both the...
SOURCE: Historian Paul Boyer in the AHA's Perspectives (11-1-08)
... I soon realized that nuclear-age movies were not mere visual window-dressing. They influenced how Americans thought about nuclear issues, and they help one map the larger cultural and political trajectory of the nation’s nuclear history. MGM’s The Beginning or the End (1947), made with the Truman administration’s blessing, introduced egregious factual distortions to justify the atomic bombing of Japan.4 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), released as the early postwar movement for the international control of atomic energy gave way to cold-war imperatives, can be read as both an idealistic call for international control and a coercive insistence on America’s global hegemony.
Subsequent films both reflected and intensified successive waves of nuclear awareness and activism. The years from the mid-1950s through 1963 (when the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed) saw a surge of activism triggered not only by nuclear-war fears but also by the deadly radioactive...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (12-3-08)
Kerouac wrote it in just three weeks, furiously tapping away on his typewriter on 3.6-metre (12ft) reels of paper.
The scroll, of eight reels taped together, was unfurled at the Barber Institute in Birmingham, 50 years after the novel was published in Britain.
"We're very excited," said the exhibition's curator Dick Ellis. He said there had been a lot of competition to get the scroll, which is on something of a world tour. "This is an iconic manuscript. It is a record of the huge effort Kerouac put into composing it."
About six metres of the scroll will be on display in a cabinet and while visitors will have to tilt their heads, Ellis believes they will get a much deeper knowledge of Kerouac...
SOURCE: BBC (12-3-08)
It was his dying wish to have his skull used in Hamlet and he bequeathed it to the RSC.
But the company says a fake skull will be used when it transfers to London.
Tennant was the first actor to use Mr Tchaikowsky's skull during Hamlet's famous grave-digger scene.
Audiences in Stratford were unaware the skull belonged to the Oxford pianist, but the secret was revealed by Tennant.
The RSC told Channel 4 News that now the secret was out, it would be "too distracting for the audience" if the skull was used...
SOURCE: NYT (12-3-08)
The cause was heart disease, said her manager, Doug Yeager. He added that she had been hoping to sing at Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Odetta sang at coffeehouses and at Carnegie Hall, made highly influential recordings of blues and ballads, and became one of the most widely known folk-music artists of the 1950s and ’60s. She was a formative influence on dozens of artists, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin.
Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in the quest to end racial discrimination.
SOURCE: US News & World Report (12-2-08)
SOURCE: Reuters (12-1-08)
Bruno Heller says he wants to produce a theatrical wrap-up to his critically beloved and prematurely canceled HBO drama "Rome."
"There is talk of doing a movie version," he said. "It's moving along. It's not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off."
The lavish period drama ran for two seasons on HBO, which co-produced the series with the BBC. With the final season of "The Sopranos" as its lead-in, the first season was solidly rated, but high production costs presented the network with a tough call on the pickup. HBO opted for a second season to help get more value from its initial investment but not a third, effectively canceling the show in summer 2006 before the second season debuted the following January. The "Rome" sets were destroyed, and the actors were released from...
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (12-2-08)
The Academy, however, argues that under a long-held policy, it has the right to buy back any Oscar which is put up for sale for a fee of $10 and that Pickford herself signed away the right to sell the statuette.
Pickford, who helped establish United Artists Pictures and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was awarded the Oscar for her performance in 1929's Coquette. It was the first non-silent role for the star, dubbed "America's Sweetheart", and the first time the best actress Oscar was awarded for a role in a "talkie".
At the time Pickford was married to Douglas Fairbanks. But after their divorce the actress married Charles "Buddy" Rogers and was with...
SOURCE: CNN (12-1-08)
Each one tried to focus the world's attention on the world's most heinous crime: genocide. Each time, they were shunned, ignored or told it was someone else's problem.
To understand why, CNN's Christiane Amanpour traveled to the killing fields of Europe, Africa and Asia for a two-hour documentary, "Scream Bloody Murder."
Having reported on mass atrocities around the world, this time Amanpour traced the personal accounts of those who tried to stop the slaughter.
The yearlong CNN investigation found that instead of using a U.N. treaty outlawing genocide as a springboard to action, political leaders have invoked reason after reason to make intervention seem unnecessary, pointless and even counter-productive.
SOURCE: Sharon Waxman in the NYT (12-1-08)
Up to now, the parties on either side of this dispute have stood in opposing corners with their fingers in their ears. The governments of Italy and Turkey have filed lawsuits to force the return of plundered and looted artworks. Egypt has threatened to suspend excavation permits if iconic artifacts are not repatriated. Greece has built a new museum in Athens in large part to justify its renewed demands for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain....
SOURCE: Slate (11-26-08)
In ways its makers could not have expected, Milk is very much a movie of its moment—it now seems like more than just a movie. It has sparked copious pre-release commentary—not many films occasion three New York...