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film


  • Top-Gunning for Empire

    by Scott Laderman

    "Top Gun: Maverick" is ressurecting the theatergoing experience. Will it do the same for American enthusiasm for the imperial ambitions it represents? 



  • The History Behind "The Northman"

    by David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele

    The new epic has been billed as the most historically accurate Viking epic to play on screen, but it's accuracy comes from its effort to capture the subjective nature of Norse spirituality and supernatural belief and the narrative forms recognized by medieval audiences.



  • Spielberg was the Director Lincoln Deserved

    The director, with writer Tony Kushner and star Daniel Day-Lewis, nailed the idea of Lincoln as an imperfect leader nevertheless "fitted to the times we were born into," in a film that holds up after ten years.


  • Art's Historical License in Netflix's "The Edge of War"

    by Yoav Tenembaum

    The recent Netflix film's treatment of the Munich Accords reads backwards from the outcomes of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy to argue, wrongly, that the Prime Minister's intent was to buy time for the British to rearm. 



  • Sidney Poitier Set the Template for Barack Obama

    by Aram Goudsouzian

    Sidney Poitier's portrayals of characters whose self-contained charm, virtue and dignity obliterated previous racist stereotypes in film but also excluded the frustrations and anger of contemporary African Americans were a model for Barack Obama's campaign promise to heal America's racial wounds.



  • Sidney Poitier Gave More than He was Given

    by Samantha N. Sheppard

    Sidney Poitier's gift and burden as an actor was to constantly deliver more than his scripts contained, pushing the limits of Black representation in Hollywood films. 



  • Sidney Poitier, First Black Man to Win Best Actor Oscar, Dies at 94

    The actor's performances reflected the social tensions at the rise of the Civil Rights movement, advancing beyond the caricatured and one-dimensional characters prior Black actors were given to play, and often embodying the tensions between moderate and militant factions of the Black freedom movement.



  • History Film Forum: It's a Wonderful Life

    The NMAH History Film Forum discusses the 1946 classic "It's a Wonderful Life" and the film's enduring and changing meaning. 



  • Learning Lessons from "It's a Wonderful Life"

    by Christopher Wilson

    "With a panel of experts including the Smithsonian’s Lintelman, historian Jason Higgins, film critic Nell Minow, Leo Landis, curator of the State Historical Society of Iowa (the home state of actor Donna Reed who played Mary Bailey), and Reed’s daughter, Mary Owen, we explored American history as presented in a holiday favorite."



  • Burying Leni Riefenstahl: Nina Gladitz's Lifelong Crusade

    In 1982, documentarian Nina Gladitz examined Reifenstahl's use of ethnic Roma concentration camp inmates as extras in a feature film, actions which demonstrated her knowledge of and complicity in atrocities. It cost her dearly, professionally and personally, over a decades-long pursuit of the truth.