by Joan Neuberger At the beginning of 1941, Sergei Eisenstein was feeling defeated. Three years had passed since he had completed a film and, on January 2, the great Russian film maker confided to his diary that he felt like his broken-down car, lethargic and depressed. A few days earlier, tired of waiting for the […]
Films about historical events have enormous power to affect us, both to enlighten and to mislead. Historical films are perennially popular, often because they tell history through individual lives, because they invent characters and add personal, emotional drama to events that we want to learn about. Those same fictionalizing qualities make them great tools for […]
by Kathryn Fuller-Seeley In December 1939 Academy Award nominated, African American actress Hattie McDaniel was barred from attending the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta, Georgia because of her race Just four months later, a quite different scenario played out in New York City. In April 1940, the first elaborate premiere of a Hollywood […]
By Ann Twinam Linda Hall provides a compelling biography of one of the most famous and beautiful women of the twentieth century: actress Dolores del Río. She traces critical stages from del Río’s sheltered life as a daughter of a Mexican elite family to her early marriage and transition to Hollywood starlet in the 1920s, […]
By Nakia Parker Popular culture can be a powerful tool in helping students understand history. Music, film, TV, fiction, and paintings offer effective and creative ways to bring primary source material into the classroom. Last fall, I gave a lecture on Black Power and popular culture in an introductory course on African American History. We […]
In this affectionate insider’s portrait of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1970s, director Wayne Wang riffs on the well-known adventures of Charlie Chan, the stereotyped Chinese-American 1930s film detective, by following the meandering investigation of two cab drivers.