American history film review

The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, Volume Two: Since 1865
, First Edition, by Gary Nash, Julie Roy Jeffrey, and others, Pearson
Longman, ISBN: 978-0-205-64283-0

To start you should keep in mind our focus on the historical merits of the film rather than its technique or relationship to film as a distinctive artistic genre. In other words, I am not interested in analysis concerning camera angles, cinematography or the introduction of a particular special effect that revolutionized movie making. If you feel the angles of shots help explain the director’s motives for interpreting the past, by all means, include it in your analysis, but generally, for our purposes, the mechanical side of the film is not as important as the content. Therefore, you should structure your paper as follows:

Briefly summarize the content of the film and explain its historical context. What is the history being told? Why is it being told? Please do not try to recap the entire film. Just give the main idea of the film and its
historical context. You should be able to do this in one paragraph.

At the end of your summary of the film, present your argument about whether you think this film is a good representation of history. Explain briefly in a sentence or two what you feel compares well to the text or
what does not. In other words, you will be previewing the argument you will present in the next section.

Second, discuss the film in relevance to the textbook and discussions. How well did the film represent the material? Keep in mind there are often not direct relationships between the text and the film. For
example, if the film is about a specific person, the text may not cover that person’s biography in detail, but I choose the films as much for the way they represent history visually as much as literally. In other words,
what goes on in the background of the film can be as important as what is right up front. Visuals of dress, social attitudes, economic conditions, etc. all can be portrayed clearly without it being the main focus of
the film. If you have questions about making comparisons, please do not hesitate to ask. Choose two issues in the text that were portrayed with historical accuracy in the film and explain why. Also, choose one
issue in the text that you feel was portrayed inaccurately in the film. Again, be sure to explain why. You can do more or less, but be sure to compare three specific issues at the least. Outside sources, i.e. internet
discussions of the film, should not be used without permission.

Last, discuss the value of the film. Was it helpful to you personally in explaining the time period or event in question? Knowing what you know about the subject of the film, would you recommend the film to
others interested in the topic? Explain why or why not. Do not suggest that you would not recommend the film because it is a “chick flick” or that because you just did not like the movie. The recommendation
should be based on whether or not the film helped further your learning about history.




Sample Solution

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