Hollywood Distorting History?

CupofJoe

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A movie, like an idea, is not responsible for the people who believe in it.
This is a statement that alone, I feel I have to disagree with. Or rather, the movie is an object, but those that created it may have had very real objectives. There have been times when films [books, painting, architecture, statues, stain-glass windows, etc] were made with the explicit intention of changing the mood and mindset of people. During the 30s and 40s Soviet and Nazi regimes cinema was used to create a culture and mindset that suited those in charge. British and American cinema did the same for that matter but we don't seem to notice that as much...
Where I object is when the makers of the movie (or book, or any other work of art) start making claims of historicity and then fail. Braveheart falls into that category, among its other failings. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was reprehensible but he continued to claim he'd done good research. By contrast, Umberto Eco took any number of liberties, but he generally stays true to both time and place in The Name of the Rose.
Right with you here.
I remember there being an issue with JFK when it came out, that Oliver Stone "recreated" the Zapruder film to show what he wanted and not what the original film showed.
That last is a good example of another aspect of this. The details in that book were so specific, down to the conflict within the Franciscans at the time, that the author didn't need to claim any sort of historical accuracy. The book itself stakes the claim with its specificity. Many other books play fast and loose with the past and it's obvious they're doing it and we're invited along for the story ride, not a history tour. With movies one can look at Troy or the even sillier 300 as examples. If a viewer takes either at face value, well they get what they've invested. Hope they didn't pay too much for the popcorn.
I like a good but silly film...
 
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paranoid marvin

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It's far more important for a work of fiction to be entertaining than it is to be historically accurate. Of course there are those whom historical inaccuracy will lessen their enjoyment, but for the vast majority it won't.

A good piece of fiction will encourage the reader/viewer to go out and learn more about the thing itself. At that stage they will realise that most of what they have read or watched is a best supposition and at worst bunkum, but at least they will have been both entertained and educated. The danger is though that many won't go out and learn more about the subject and then believe it to be true. Eventually it enters the public consciousness as 'fact'. if enough people believe a thing to be true, then just like in 1984 it develops a kind of truthfulness of it's own.
 

sknox

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My favorite example of this, which I may well have posted somewhere here previously, comes from a blog written by a typeface designer. He freely and with good humor admitted this was a personal problem, but his beef was with fonts in movies. He'd be watching a movie set in, say, the 1930s and there would be a movie marquee in the background done in Helvetica.

Took him right out of the movie.

We all have our pet peeves. Some are even favorites, like my father-in-law who loved things like spotting a wristwatch on one of the extras in Spartacus. But he enjoyed every aspect of movies, even the bad ones. I sometimes envy the generation for whom movies were just plain fun and everyone had a good time at them and that was all that was expected.
 

BigBadBob141

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Time traveller watching "War Of The Worlds" in the cinema, then turns to the man sitting next to him and says, "that's not how it happened"!
 

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