Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ...
Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits
This page features links to reviews of movies, documentaries and exhibits with a historical theme. Listings are in reverse chronological order. Descriptions are taken directly from the linked publication. If you have articles you think should be listed on the Pop Culture page, please send them to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: NYT (11-30-06)
The artifacts are the first fruits of separate agreements that Italy reached this year with those museums to return antiquities that Italian officials have long contended were looted or removed illegally from their country. In exchange for the return of the objects — which will include the Euphronios krater, a 2,500-year-old Greek bowl considered one of the world’s finest, from the Met’s collection — Italy agreed to offer extended loans of other antiquities that have rarely or never been seen outside Italy.
The arrival of the artifacts at their temporary homes was timed to coincide with a visit to the United States by Italy’s culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, who has taken a high-profile role in his country’s campaign for the return of...
SOURCE: NYT (11-30-06)
The image, “Breaking Home Ties,” reproduced on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on Sept. 25, 1954, was voted the second-most popular cover in the magazine’s history. (No. 1 was “Saying Grace,” the Nov. 24, 1951 cover, also by Rockwell.)
The previous auction record for a Rockwell was $9.2 million at Sotheby’s in May for “Homecoming Marine.”
SOURCE: Mark Yost in the WSJ (11-29-06)
Much to its credit, the museum chose historical accuracy over this myopic focus. The result is a compelling and comprehensive presentation that leaves visitors with a clear understanding of the forces that led to the war, the barbarism of the world's first mechanized industrial warfare, and the unresolved disputes that sowed the seeds for future conflicts, including some that are in the headlines today....
SOURCE: Reuters (11-27-06)
"It is well done," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, who ranks second only to Pope Benedict in the Vatican hierarchy.
"It re-proposes this event which changed history with realism but also with a sense of great respect of the mystery of the nativity," he told reporters afterwards."It is a good cinematic event ... the judgment is positive."
The film stars 16-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes as the Virgin Mary. Castle-Hughes, an Academy Award nominee who rose to cinema fame in"Whale Rider", is a New Zealander...
SOURCE: Stone Pages (11-27-06)
SOURCE: AP (11-27-06)
More than 150 well-known objects from the National Museum of American History collection are on public display in the "Treasures of American History" exhibit across the National Mall at the National Air and Space Museum.
Leaders of the popular history museum, which closed in September for a major renovation and will reopen in summer 2008, wanted to keep at least part of the massive 3 million piece collection on view.
Ruth Duccini and Jerry Maren, two of the munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz," helped open the new exhibit last week.
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune (11-27-06)
In the entertaining and very funny new book "The Man Who Saved Britain," Simon Winder - publishing director at Penguin - gives us a rollicking tour through Bondland, even as he artfully deconstructs the appeal of Agent 007. His central argument is that Bond arrived to uphold the British ego at the very moment when Britain's planet-spanning empire was breaking up and the once-great power was trying to come to terms with its diminished post-World War II role.
While Britain was coping in the 1950s and '60s with unemployment, inflation, strikes, and demoralization, and making the humbling...
SOURCE: NYT (11-28-06)
It isn’t simply the industriously employed revolving stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater, where the play opened last night, that gives the heady sense of an entire culture about to spin off its axis. As directed by Jack O’Brien and performed with freshness and vigor by an immense and starry cast led by Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup, “Voyage” pulses with the dizzying, spring-green arrogance and anxiety of a new generation moving as fast as it can as it tries to forge a future that erases the past.
The play may have been written by a man in his 60s, and its principal performers are at least into their 30s, yet even more than in its London incarnation at the National Theater, where I saw it four years ago, “Voyage” is paced and defined...
SOURCE: NYT (11-27-06)
With the restoration of the Alte Nationalgalerie, or Old National Gallery, in 2001, two of the island’s five museums are now in fine shape. After an eight-year, $209 million refurbishment, the Bode probably has never looked better since its inauguration as the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in 1904.
Occupying a triangular plot overlooking the Spree River on the northern edge of the island, the museum is once again a true palace of art, welcoming visitors into its vast neo-Baroque entrance hall with an equestrian statue and leading them through naturally lighted galleries with marble floors and wood-paneled...
SOURCE: Nation (10-30-06)
SOURCE: WaPo (11-27-06)
The little Latin books, medieval swords, dinner bells and film stills crowded in its cases aren't what mainly matter. What matters is the girlish, great, utterly improbable person they call forth, and the forces she deploys on her long, triumphant march into your mind.
Joan of Arc (1412-1431), dead while in her teens, didn't have much time. She made the most of what she had. That illiterate, sincere, cross-dressing young woman -- who talked to saints and angels, led an army into battle and helped liberate her land -- got as close to immortality as humans ever get.
SOURCE: Times Online (UK) (11-27-06)
Sections of the novel Atonement, which is being turned into a film starring Keira Knightley, are said to be similar to parts of a wartime memoir by Lucilla Andrews, a bestselling author of romantic fiction. Ms Andrews is mentioned briefly in the acknowledgements of Atonement, and McEwan says that he has paid tribute to her in interviews and public appearances.
But for some of those closest to Ms Andrews, who died last month aged 86, it is not enough. In particular her agent has attacked McEwan’s “disappointing” failure to reveal the scale of his debt to her client.
SOURCE: Boston Globe (11-18-06)
Thanksgiving is often marked by cute school plays that celebrate the relationship between the Pilgrims and American Indians. The History Channel’s new special “Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower” (tomorrow at 8 p.m.) goes beneath the veneer of the familiar story taught in elementary school.
Told through believable and meticulous re-enactments and interviews with historians, this is a story of struggle for religious freedom, unbearable hardship, heartbreaking losses and utter determination to start a new life in a new country. While the title of the documentary is certainly a play on the show that takes place on Wisteria Lane, this three-hour special defines desperate.
Unwilling to abide by the edicts of the Church of England, a devout group known as Pilgrims flee to the Netherlands in 1607. By 1620, they decide...
SOURCE: NYT (11-26-06)
Mr. Morgan — to whom the words mad scientist have occasionally been applied — seemed to be channeling strange voices, from a strange place and time.
“ ‘Will you please identify yourself for the record?’ ” he recited from a court transcript. “ ‘Of course I will, Len, my name is Abbie and I’m an orphan of America.’ ‘Your honor, will the record show that it is the defendant Hoffman who has taken the stand.’ ”
Picking up his cue, contempt dripping from his voice, Mr. Scheider said: “Well, it is rather important in this case. There’s a Hoffman up here, and one down there. I certainly...
SOURCE: NYT (11-26-06)
Mr. Nash’s interest in gangland lore broadened, and he eventually assembled a collection of 1,500 items documenting the lives and often brutal times of people involved in organized crime.
Some of the items are linked to murders: for example, a barber chair from the old Park Sheraton Hotel in which the mob boss Albert Anastasia was sitting when he was killed in 1957.
Mr. Nash also owns a fedora that belonged to the man thought by many to have shot Anastasia: Joey Gallo. He was wearing the hat on the night in 1972 that he was fatally shot inside Umberto’s Clam Bar on Mulberry Street....
SOURCE: Edward Rothstein in the NYT (11-25-06)
The place itself — at 26 Wall Street, opposite the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan — still has the aura of historical centrality. George Washington was inaugurated above these steps’ ancestors; Congress met at this location before moving to Philadelphia; City Hall was once here. And after its opening in 1842, the current Greek Revival building was the New York Customs House — which at the time made it central to the nation’s economy.
But by 1955, when the hall was taken over by the National Park Service, it had become a handsome antique, a memorial...
SOURCE: New York Sun (11-17-06)
"New York Divided" follows last year's "Slavery in New York."That exhibition told the story of the slavery that remained legal in New York State until 1827. The current exhibition takes us on a journey from the 1830s to the immediate post–Civil War period. Although slavery had been abolished in New York, the city's economy was as dependent upon slavery as ever. New York City had such close ties to the Southern plantation economy that as Southern...
SOURCE: NYT (11-21-06)
The show featured animated public health films from the 1920s to the ’60s — some well known, others rarely screened in the last 40 or 50 years — from the collection of the National Library of Medicine. The films cover such topics as personal hygiene, malaria prevention, cancer detection, tuberculosis screening and the safe use of X-rays.
The National Library of Medicine is also creating a series of DVDs of historical medical films, the first of which is likely to be released next fall.
“From early on, animated films were viewed as a uniquely convincing way to persuade and educate people,” said Michael Sappol, a historian at the library. Animation could get a message across while also entertaining an audience.
A film like “Private Snafu vs. Malaria Mike,” he said, “takes...
SOURCE: Stephen Holden in the NYT (11-21-06)
One view is represented by Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore), a hotshot young tutor and symbol of Thatcher-era go-getter mentality, hired by the school to scrape away the rust of received opinion from the students’ thinking so that their answers to test questions will have more “edge.” On the other side is Hector (Richard Griffiths), the poetry-spouting, eccentric teacher of general studies. An obese, 50-something school fixture (imagine a squishier, teary-eyed Charles Laughton or Peter Ustinov),...
SOURCE: http://www.signonsandiego.com (11-17-06)
The exhibit was sent to Ramona Elementary from the New York-based Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The 50-foot traveling panel exhibit traces the history of the movement to abolish slavery from the framing of the Constitution to abolition during the Civil War.
The exhibit is divided into five panels, each featuring graphic reproductions of documents, images and text of a particular period or topic. The display, titled “Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery,” features the Founding Era, Slave Resistance, Abolitionism, Lincoln and the Emancipation and African-Americans in the Civil War.
Teacher Adriana Soltero and her third-grade class viewed the exhibit yesterday afternoon after spending days...