Retelling History

Friday night is movie night in my house, tough to do with a 16 year old who is at that age where the veneer of his parent’s coolness is beyond diaphanous. The beginning and ending credits of “The Conspirator” revealed a studio I’ve never heard of before, The American Film Company. First off, the movie was really good and I highly recommend it, but what struck me was the byline ,”Films based on true stories from America’s past”. As you can see from the website, they offer a lot of cool features, not only stuff that would sate your normal history buff, but also items to pique even the casual historian. They are currently working on two new films, also history related.

I’ve mentioned in other posts the almost supernatural and fortuitous confluence of events that was needed to give birth and survive infancy of this great country of ours. The tumultuous and rapid point of advancement, from 13 independent colonies (only about of third of the colonists truly committed, with one third loyal to England and the other third ambivalent either way) breaking away from mother country to that point a couple hundred years later as the most powerful nation on the planet, it almost stretches the incredulity of fate.

But I was thinking how cool this concept is, to make movies, accurate authentic movies that not only entertained the audience but taught them something as well about our history. Sure, PBS has been doing this for years with their American Experience series (who can forget Ken Burn’s Civil War?) but feature length films? This is something we need to embrace and support.

So, here is the question, you are on the board who decides what movies get made, what stories, events, people, or occurrences in our history do you think would make a good movie?

Some movies I would vote for:

The Corp. Of Discovery- about 10 years ago I read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, a book that chronicled Lewis and Clarke’s 2 year journey across America to discover the Northwest Passage and to map out new territories bought by Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase. These guys would make Navy Seals proud, the stuff they encountered along the way, their new discoveries, exciting stuff.

Battle of New Orleans- Andy Jackson and a band of Kentucky long riflemen take down a vastly superior British army, inflicting casualties greater then 20 to 1.

Aaron Burr- including the Hamilton duel, the plan to detach parts of the western states for his own nation, and his subsequent trial for treason.

And if the company is still in business, with more projects warranted, something on both Benedict Arnold and Stephen Decatur.

But with many aspects of our history untouched, what projects do you think should go forward, anything else you find worthy?

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  1. HARLEY

    McCullough’s 1776 comes to mind.
    Harpers Ferry.
    a good well detailed examination of the runnup to the roaring 20’s and the subsequent crash, and its effects. on a world wide view.
    Gen. Pershing punitive campaign into Mexico.

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  2. richtaylor365 *

    Harpers Ferry.

    On the AFC website it shows that a movie about John Brown is in the works, no doubt his last stand at HF will be covered.

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  3. HARLEY

    yeah i just saw that, i threw up my thoughts before i even browsed that site.
    IT would be a interesting read.
    oh yes and The Battle of Athens, Tennessee.

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  4. Nexus

    Nathanial Greene and his retaking of the south during the Revolutionary War. I consider him one of the most underrated men in US history.

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  5. hist_ed

    Revolutionary War from the British side. What did they think and how it affected them when they lost.

    The naval part of the War of 1812. The enemy in the novel upon which Master and Commander is based was actually an American warship during the War of 1812. The US built “super frigates” with thicker hulls and more guns than standard.

    non-Western post Civil War : There is so much to cover: industrialization, Reconstruction (find a sympathertic carpetbagger as the focus of a film), the crashes in the late 19th century, Carnegie, the US fleet opening up Japan, Pulitzer Vs Hearst (the subject of the musical “Newsies”).

    World War One-a good modern telling of the US expeditionary force.

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  6. Poosh

    A truthful portrayal of the American war on Independence, from both sides (three sides, technically). To wipe away the disgusting, retarded, stain of Mel Gibson’s awesome but 100% bullshit ‘The Patriot’.

    Actually, a realistic Vietnam movie (any battle!). The closest I’ve seen is We Were Soldiers, but again, Mel Gibson et all can’t help but throw in inaccuracies in the actual battle.

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  7. Dave D

    Braveheart completes the Gibson trifecta assault on history, Poosh.

    We Were Soldiers didn’t bother me too much because it was awesome. Patriot bothered my more than you know. I was fully expecting the British to declare war over the fact that we implied that “Tavington” (Tarleton) burned civilians alive.

    Braveheart suggests that Wallace invented the Pike/Schiltron tactic by looking up into the trees just before Stirling. Unbelievable…..

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  8. mikedomi39

    The story of the USS Enterprise. The most decorated ship in Navy history. From the keel laying, to Pearl harbor, to Gudacanal, to the Doolittle raid….That ship was everywhere.

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