BIRTH OF A NATION is a pretty obvious starting place (the very title, changed  from THE CLANSMAN, announces that the film is about the end of an era dominated by individual states for a common culture--safeguarded, of course, by the Klan), but the "cultural turn" toward history far predates cinema.  Historical novels are just one example.  So are the various tableaux, dioramas, panoramas, dramas, and other "spectacular" stage productions that predated cinema as such. (John Fell's   For example, Shakespeare's history plays (and at least some of the tragedies) use history as a kind of political science lesson about Shakespeare's present.  John Fell's work might be a useful starting point.
Don Larsson
"Only connect!"  --E.M. Forster
Donald F. Larsson
Department of English
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001
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From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List on behalf of Deron Albright
Sent: Thu 2/24/2005 12:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SCREEN-L] Resources for Historical Epics

Hello everyone,

I have a student who is looking for resources regarding the rise of
HISTORICAL FILM (not necessarily, but including EPICS).  The catch
is, she's not so interested in how they relate to the rise of
spectacle in film (which is how they are usually framed), but rather
in a broader sense of a cultural (and, by proxy, film industry) turn
toward history as a place to find meaning (and profit) in the
present.   Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much,

Deron Albright
Assistant Professor of Film and Video
Department of Fine and Performing Arts
Saint Joseph's University
5600 City Ave.
Philadelphia, PA  19131-1395

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