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: The New Republic (3-26-13)
SOURCE: The Atlantic (3-25-13)
James Hughes is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has contributed to Slate, The Believer, Wax Poetics, and The Village Voice. For a decade, he was an editor and publisher of Stop Smiling magazine and its book imprint.
In 1985, Stanley Kubrick was handed a book on the survival of jazz in Nazi-occupied Europe. A snapshot of a Luftwaffe officer casually posing among black, Gypsy, and Jewish musicians outside a Paris nightclub caught his eye. It looked like something out of Dr. Strangelove, he said. He'd long wanted to bring World War II to the screen, and perhaps this photograph offered a way in.
"Stanley's famous saying was that it was easier to fall in love than find a good story," says Tony Frewin, Kubrick's longtime assistant (and, for the purpose of disclosure, an editor-at-large at my former magazine, Stop Smiling). "He...
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-23-13)
Nothing is more likely to inspire us to see for ourselves than a warning about the effects of looking. Take the media interest this month when it was revealed that the British Museum's exhibition, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, is to include a "parental guidance" notice. The reason? An ancient marble sculpture of the god Pan (a part-human, part-goat figure) having sex with a she-goat is not to be segregated, as it has been since its discovery in 1752, but displayed openly with the other exhibits – a liberal move by London, if also one which dulls the object's impact. Getting this story into the news ensures that centuries of censorship are not swept under the carpet, and that Pan, and the show he speaks for, remain "hot...
SOURCE: Slate (3-20-13)
Ben Yagoda is author of About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made and the just-published How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avid Them. He is a professor of English and journalism at the University of Delaware.
In the light of history it’s clear that however great Truman Capote’s literary gifts, his promotional genius surpassed them. The key theme in the publicity campaign he masterfully engineered for “In Cold Blood”—published as...
SOURCE: Common-place (3-1-13)
After musing among the old buildings and tombstones of Boston on a hot August day in 1834, Christopher Columbus Baldwin, librarian for the American Antiquarian Society, exclaimed in his diary, "How much of fashion, wealth, wit, and learning are now buried in oblivion!" This statement served as a rallying call for a unique rescue mission on a grand scale. A mission to rescue the present—to thwart the obscuring powers of time and preserve the materials of "fashion, wealth, wit, and learning" for future generations. Baldwin, along with a host of other individuals, made this mission their life's...
SOURCE: The New Republic (3-7-13)
David Thomson is a film critic who often writes for The New Republic.
Here’s an oddity, from Yahoo Movies this past Monday: two photographs, side by side—a dark-haired woman, apparently 23-years-old, in a belted red raincoat, standing in front of a wall covered with Jewish imagery; and then, a child, 3-years-old, in a red coat, but in the foreground of a black-and-white picture that shows German soldiers guarding abashed citizens. It is the same person in both pictures, Oliwia Dabrowska, from Krakow in Poland. There is a heading to the pictures and the short article that follows: “‘Red coat girl’ from ‘Schindler’s List’: I was ‘horrified.’”
Have you placed it yet? In Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, there is a scene in which Oskar Schindler and his wife, both on horseback, and on a knoll above the city, see one of the first round-...
SOURCE: LA Times (3-7-13)
Emotions have been running high at screenings of the historical drama "Emperor."
The Japanese American coproduction, which opens Friday, revolves around the dilemma Gen. Douglas MacArthur faced as he tried to restore order in post-World War II Japan: Should the country's divine leader, Emperor Hirohito, stand trial and face certain death on war crimes charges?
When the producers screened "Emperor" recently in Japan, producer...
SOURCE: WSJ (3-4-13)
Fay Wray's beauty and a sortie of biplanes felled King Kong on-screen, but not even the Depression could stop the success of 1933 film.
"The premiere was the day before Roosevelt's inauguration and the week of the bank holiday," said Film Forum repertory programmer Bruce Goldstein. Despite the national cash freeze, "King Kong" was a smash. "No Money! Yet New York dug up $89,931 in 4 days to see 'King Kong'" crowed a full-page ad taken in Variety by the film's producers.
Sunday, 80 years to the day after the film had its premiere, a packed house gathered at Film Forum for a matinee birthday celebration of "Kong." The screening was followed by a Fay Wray scream-alike contest honoring the late star of the film and Forum member's repartee with her famed co-star.
"Fay Wray's screaming in the original film is so memorable," said Tony Timpone, one of seven judges empaneled to select a winner from 37 contestants and the editor emeritus of Fangoria magazine, a publication...
SOURCE: WSJ (3-5-13)
NEW YORK — The New York Public Library's archive is so massive that some of the material has never been seen except on request.
Beginning Friday, the library presents a selection of those hidden gems, a group of works showcasing the extraordinary printmaking skills of American impressionist artist Mary Cassatt.
"Daring Methods: The Prints of Mary Cassatt" includes 88 prints donated to the library in 1900 by Samuel Putnam Avery, a Manhattan art dealer who developed a close working relationship with the artist....
SOURCE: WSJ (3-6-13)
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
March 9 through April 28
When Thomas Jefferson was in need of guidance he turned, as many statesmen did, to that handbook of political subtleties, Machiavelli's "The Prince." But arguably more important to the third U.S. president was a biography by the Greek historian Xenophon called "Cyropedia." In fact, he seems to have admired the book so much he owned two copies. With many an imaginative flourish, it told the story of King Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, whose realm stretched from the Mediterranean to eastern Iran and from the Black Sea to the borders of Arabia in the south.
Xenophon, who lived between 430 and 355 B.C., described how Cyrus owed his triumphs to "the sheer terror of his personality," but what made him attractive to Jefferson was not his military prowess but his enlightened approach to government....
On Saturday, the Cyrus Cylinder is embarking on a nine-month...