History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past

History by Hollywood The Use and Abuse of the American Past Examines how film makers have interpreted American history through their films Focusing on movies that deal with real events and people this book looks at how writers producers and directors became

  • Title: History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past
  • Author: Robert Brent Toplin
  • ISBN: 9780252065361
  • Page: 412
  • Format: Paperback
  • Examines how film makers have interpreted American history through their films Focusing on movies that deal with real events and people, this book looks at how writers, producers, and directors became involved in making historical films, what influenced their interpretations of the past, and the responses they have made to the controversies.

    One thought on “History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past”

    1. Nice, scholarly but not too scholarly. Toplin sets out a few ways that Hollywood manipulates history in films for its own purposes, and then he uses a bunch of case studies to illustrate these methods. For example, he discusses "Mississippi Burning" and how the filmmakers started from an actual event but invented many characters and most of the plot, in the service of telling a story that they felt captured something valuable about the civil rights era. Many others disagreed, and felt that by ma [...]

    2. A collection of essays from the Journal of American History's film critic, laying out the process by which movies like Mississippi Burning, JFK, Norma Rae and Missing constructed productions out of real events, with detailed background on how real people and events were altered for dramatic effect--and more importantly, why those decisions were made.

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