Re: The Public Looks at History and "The Patriot"

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Posted by Gayle on July 06, 2000 at 20:37:23:

In Reply to: Re: The Public Looks at History and posted by MMMMarcia on July 06, 2000 at 19:45:09:

: Great article, Gayle! Thanks for sharing. I think I agree pretty much with what Mr. Parrow says. It would be wonderful to find a movie that inspires us while being perfectly historically accurate, too, but the next best thing is one that at least presents a picture of what it was like during earlier ages. History buffs will remember the name of each battle & general, but the everyday public will not, even if those things are presented factually. What they WILL remember is a strong and emotional portrayal of the struggle towards freedom, and that's a good thing, too.

: Where accuracy is concerned, historical films don't fare any worse than films set in today's era. Just how accurate or realistic are films like "Lethal Weapon," "True Lies," "Deep Impact," "Die Hard," "Die Harder," or "Die, Goldang It, DIE!"??
: Action movies, in particular, suffer from a dearth of realism or accuracy in nearly every case. Love stories aren't too far behind. And comedies? Well...let's not even go there! In other words, Hollywood is Hollywood, and Entertainment rather than Education is King.

: As I said in an earlier post, I felt the characters in The Patriot were nicely done & the acting competent. And while I feel the movie borrows heavily from LOTM, Braveheart & other films, that's not unusual in the industry as a whole. It IS very definitely a "Mel Gibson Movie," but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, for some of us. While I don't consider it a "great" movie that will shine up there in the annals of Filmdom's Works of Art, I did enjoy it, and will probably see it again.

: None of this means I wouldn't appreciate a more accurate film, but as we have all said before, movies are primarily entertainment. Anyone who expects to learn real history from them is probably fooling themselves. Why not take to task the real problem here, and that is an educational system which simply doesn't teach history any more. If the majority of our children grew up learning a bit more about the past, this entire debate would be pointless, wouldn't it?

: Just a thought...
: MMMMarcia

Dear MMMarcia,

I dunno - - I thought "Die, Goldang It, DIE!" was a pretty darned good show. Maybe a little overlong, but it seemed to take so long to get to the climax, wherever that was.

Anyway - on to more serious comments, and the contrast of Hollywood versus education. I really believe there is some very good history education going on in some classrooms, but history is not a subject that is going to capture the imagination of most people until they get older and begin to develop a sense of time passing and the world changing. THEN they begin to get curious about how it got this way. Actually, with the current demand of the majority of students (and teachers) that everything has to be "FUN" before they can learn it, I wonder if Hollywood isn't the closest thing to getting some historical awareness through to the public. Even we (scholarly and erudite as we all are in Mohicanland - - ahem!) find that a lot of our discussions, questions, research and learning evolve from some crazy little scenario we are playing with that causes somebody to post some real information or ask a question. How many of us never would have really gotten INTO this site and ended up learning so much about so many historical subjects if we hadn't seen Hawkeye, with unforgivable cultural incorrectness, but unforgettable audience impact, tell Cora "I'm looking at you, Miss."? I wonder if, in the long run, it doesn't matter what hooks us as long as learning starts to take place?

Another thought (I just never run out of them, do I?) - - if "The Patriot" or LOTM had been made in another country, with another national approach, would the learning begin among their public or ours? Who is learning whose perspective and seeing it as "history"? (Does that make sense?) ;o)


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