The Civil War On Film – 15 in a series – “…a Civilization gone with the wind.”

The Civil War On Film - 15  in a series -

Then the scrolling text promises the audience a story about “a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 14 in a series – “Yet Mitchell created a heroine who never glorified the “Lost Cause” the way other characters in the movie did”

The Civil War On Film - 14  in a series -

Yet Mitchell created a heroine who never glorified the “Lost Cause” the way other characters in the movie did. In fact, Mitchell urged producer David O. Selznick to hire her friend, Susan Myrick, a newspaper columnist from Macon, Georgia, as a technical consultant precisely because of her “common sense and utter lack of sentimentality about ‘The Old South’” (Flamini 1975). Yet, in spite of Scarlett’s own practical attitude, the film does glorify the Old South and conform to Lost Cause mythology.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 13 in a series – Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning…

The Civil War On Film - 13  in a series - Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning...

Movies that make dubious historical claims can provide rich opportunities for learning. Each of the movies we chose for this volume do a different kind of work and were ‘big’ enough films that they are still widely available should a reader chose to watch them. We also tried to pick films that covered a wide swath of film history or were representative of a certain type of Civil War movie. Most importantly, each film allows for a discussion of different facets of Civil War history.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 12 in a series – Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced…

The Civil War On Film - 12  in a series - Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced...

Though the NAACP had little success banning the film, in part because film boards were all white and in part because the film was a monster success, they did prompt a national discussion about the film’s racism. Reformer Jane Addams condemned the film as ahistorical and prejudiced, while President Woodrow Wilson, himself an ex-historian (if such a creature can be said to exist), believed the film “terribly true.”

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 11 in a series – “This national enthusiasm for the Lost Cause…”

This national enthusiasm for the Lost Cause

Lost Cause ideology, in its many iterations, maintained its grip on American movies for nearly eighty years, from Birth of a Nation (1915) to Gettysburg (1993). This national enthusiasm for the Lost Cause suggests white Americans, regardless of their regional roots, enjoy and believe the narrative.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 10 in a series – …Thomas Ince’s films cemented the Plantation Myth.

The Civil War On Film - 10  in a series - ...Thomas Ince’s films cemented the Plantation Myth.

While D. W. Griffith is the most famous early Civil War filmmaker, Thomas Ince’s films cemented the Plantation Myth. Unlike Griffith, Ince had his family roots in New England, though he fell under the pro-southern spell early in his filmmaking career.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 9 in a series – The earliest films were pro-Union…

The Civil War On Film - 9  in a series - The earliest films were pro-Union...

Between 1908 and 1910 filmmakers released seventy Civil War films, and another hundred by 1916. The earliest films were pro-Union, or at least featured a Union victory, but in 1909 southern theater owners began to complain about Northern bias. Filmmakers saw a market for pro-southern movies.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 8 in a series – “…Lost Cause adherents deny the immorality and cruelty of slavery….”

The Civil War On Film - 8  in a series -

The last component of the Lost Cause, and perhaps the key component, is the cherished belief in happy slaves and sub-human African Americans in need of civilization and Christianity. Lost Cause adherents deny the immorality and cruelty of slavery and insist slavery was a benign and misunderstood institution.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 7 in a series – “…honorable Southern generals stand in contrast to venal, uncouth Northerners.”

The Civil War On Film - 6  in a series -

In keeping with the binary nature of ideologies, the honorable Southern generals stand in contrast to venal, uncouth Northerners. The Lost Cause insists upon the illegitimacy of Abraham Lincoln’s election and his personal villainy as a backwoods barbarian, miscegenationist and all-purpose bad dude.

Movies profiled in this book:

The Civil War On Film – 6 in a series – “…the so-called Irrepressible Conflict.”

The Civil War On Film - 6  in a series -

While any past event is vulnerable to the mythmaking of film, the Civil War might be the most contested event in American History. No national historical moment has been more written about (except perhaps World War II), argued over and romanticized than the so-called Irrepressible Conflict.

Movies profiled in this book: