January 28, 2008
By David Darlington
The Perspectives on History article series on history and film—“Masters at the Movies,” which debuted in September 2007 and continued this month—brings to mind a special theme issue of Perspectives on film that appeared in April 1999. The articles in that issue were edited by Robert Brent Toplin, who has returned for the new “Masters at the Movies” series. This edition of “From the Archives” highlights the film articles from the April 1999 issue of Perspectives, and a few other noteworthy essays from issues prior.
- “Film and History: The State of the Union,” by Robert Brent Toplin
- “Africans in America: America’s Journey through Slavery: A Review,” by Peter Kolchin
- “Interpreting History on the Screen: An Interview with Terry George,” by Robert Brent Toplin
- “Shooting Britannia,” by Simon Schama
- “Lessons from the Screen: Film and Video in the Classrooom,” by Kathryn Helgesen Fuller
- “HBO’s Version of Neil Sheehan’s Epic: Old Wine in New Bottles?,” by Peter C. Rollins
- “Elizabeth: Romantic Film Heroine or Sixteenth-Century Queen?,” by Carole Levin
- “The Thin Red Line: Not Enough History,” by Kenneth Jackson
- “History, the Rugrats, and World Championship Wrestling,” by Richard White
- “The Cold War According to CNN,” by Lloyd Gardner
The film articles in the April 1999 issue spawned numerous letters to the editor debating the merits of film history, which appeared in May 1999 (“Is ‘Reel History’ Too Much Fun?”) and September 1999 (“Reel History Revisited”). Robert A. Rosenstone wrote a lengthy article on the state of film history in the November 1999 issue, to which Robert Brent Toplin penned a response.
The March 1996 issue of Perspectives featured two articles on Oliver Stone’s film Nixon, including one by former Senator George McGovern, Richard Nixon’s opponent in the 1972 presidential race:
- “George McGovern Reflects on Nixon,” by George McGovern
- “Nixon and Historical Memory in the Classroom,” by Ron Briley
Other noteworthy entrants from the Film and History archives are Toplin’s March 1998 article on Titanic, Jeanine Basinger’s October 1998 article on Saving Private Ryan, and Howard Jones’s “A Historian Goes to Hollywood,” from December 1997, which describes an encounter with 2005 Roosevelt-Wilson award winner Steven Spielberg.