The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color

Lexington Books
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Whether on the big screen or small, films featuring the American Civil War are among the most classic and controversial in motion picture history. From D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915) to Free State of Jones (2016), the war has provided the setting, ideologies, and character archetypes for cinematic narratives of morality, race, gender, and nation, as well as serving as historical education for a century of Americans.

In The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color, Douglas Brode, Shea T. Brode, and Cynthia J. Miller bring together nineteen essays by a diverse array of scholars across the disciplines to explore these issues. The essays included here span a wide range of films, from the silent era to the present day, including Buster Keaton’s The General (1926), Red Badge of Courage (1951), Glory (1989), Gettysburg (1993), and Cold Mountain (2003), as well as television mini-series The Blue and The Gray (1982) and John Jakes’ acclaimed North and South trilogy (1985-86).

As an accessible volume to dedicated to a critical conversation about the Civil War on film, The American Civil War on Film and TV will appeal to not only to scholars of film, military history, American history, and cultural history, but to fans of war films and period films, as well.
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About the author

Douglas Brode developed and taught courses for several decades at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications until his recent retirement.

Shea T. Brode is an independent scholar who has collaborated with his father as editor on several previous collections.

Cynthia J. Miller is senior faculty at Emerson College's Institute for the Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Lexington Books
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Published on
Oct 5, 2017
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Pages
294
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ISBN
9781498566896
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Media Studies
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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With stakes in film, television, theme parks, and merchandising, Disney continues to be one of the most dominant forces of popular culture around the globe. Films produced by the studio are usually blockbusters in nearly every country where they are released. However, despite their box office success, these films often generate as much disdain as admiration. While appreciated for their visual aesthetics, many of these same films are criticized for their cultural insensitivity or lack of historical fidelity.

In Debating Disney: Pedagogical Perspectives on Commercial Cinema, Douglas Brode and Shea T. Brode have assembled a collection of essays that examine Disney’s output from the 1930s through the present day. Each chapter in this volume represents the conflicting viewpoints of contributors who look at Disney culture from a variety of perspectives. Covering both animated and live-action films as well as television programs, these essays discuss how the studio handles social issues such as race, gender, and culture, as well as its depictions of science and history.

Though some of the essays in this volume are critical of individual films or television shows, they also acknowledge the studio’s capacity to engage audiences with the quality of their work. These essays encourage readers to draw their own conclusions about Disney productions, allowing them to consider the studio as the hero—as much as the villain—in the cultural deliberation. Debating Disney will be of interest to scholars and students of film as well as those with an interest in popular culture.
Shakespeare is now enjoying perhaps his most glorious--certainly his most popular--filmic incarnation. Indeed, the Bard has been splashed across the big screen to great effect in recent adaptations of Hamlet, Henry V, Othello, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard II, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and of course in the hugely successful Shakespeare in Love. Unlike previous studies of Shakespeare's cinematic history, Shakespeare in the Movies proceeds chronologically, in the order that plays were written, allowing the reader to trace the development of Shakespeare as an author--and an auteur--and to see how the changing cultural climate of the Elizabethans flowered into film centuries later. Prolific film writer Douglas Brode provides historical background, production details, contemporary critical reactions, and his own incisive analysis, covering everything from the acting of Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, and Gwyneth Paltrow, to the direction of Orson Welles, Kenneth Branagh, and others. Brode also considers the many films which, though not strict adaptations, contain significant Shakespearean content, such as West Side Story and Kurosawa's Ran and Throne of Blood. Nor does Brode ignore the ignoble treatment the master has sometimes received. We learn, for instance, that the 1929 version of The Taming of the Shrew (which featured the eyebrow-raising writing credit: "By William Shakespeare, with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor"), opens not so trippingly on the tongue--PETRUCHIO: "Howdy Kate." KATE: "Katherine to you, mug." For anyone wishing to cast a backward glance over the poet's film career and to better understand his current big-screen popularity, Shakespeare in the Movies is a delightful and definitive guide.
In his latest iconoclastic work, Douglas Brode—the only academic author/scholar who dares to defend Disney entertainment—argues that "Uncle Walt's" output of films, television shows, theme parks, and spin-off items promoted diversity decades before such a concept gained popular currency in the 1990s. Fully understood, It's a Small World—one of the most popular attractions at the Disney theme parks—encapsulates Disney's prophetic vision of an appealingly varied world, each race respecting the uniqueness of all the others while simultaneously celebrating a common human core. In this pioneering volume, Brode makes a compelling case that Disney's consistently positive presentation of "difference"—whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, ideology, or spirituality—provided the key paradigm for an eventual emergence of multiculturalism in our society.

Using examples from dozens of films and TV programs, Brode demonstrates that Disney entertainment has consistently portrayed Native Americans, African Americans, women, gays, individual acceptance of one's sexual orientation, and alternatives to Judeo-Christian religious values in a highly positive light. Assuming a contrarian stance, Brode refutes the overwhelming body of "serious" criticism that dismisses Disney entertainment as racist and sexist. Instead, he reveals through close textual analysis how Disney introduced audiences to such politically correct principles as mainstream feminism. In so doing, Brode challenges the popular perception of Disney fare as a bland diet of programming that people around the world either uncritically deem acceptable for their children or angrily revile as reactionary pabulum for the masses.

Providing a long overdue and thoroughly detailed alternative, Brode makes a highly convincing argument that with an unwavering commitment to racial diversity and sexual difference, coupled with a vast global popularity, Disney entertainment enabled those successive generations of impressionable youth who experienced it to create today's aura of multiculturalism and our politically correct value system.

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