Archive for March, 2011

What ever happened to Scarlett?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This is the link to the first segment of the made for television movie Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With The Wind that we mentioned in class. This miniseries even won an Emmy.. for best hairstyling in a miniseries! The movie was produced in 1994 but I think it is hard to really analyze it along with other Civil War films/books being produced during that time because the producers are trying really really hard to make it like Gone With The Wind. In the end, it really just shows how important that film is still today. YouTube has almost the entire series if you have a strong desire to watch it, but I’m sure that just watching this clip will be enough to persuade you that the rest of Scarlett O’Hara’s story should have been left to the imagination.

Week 11 Resource

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This article discusses Ken Burn’s The Civil War, which will be reissued next month for the 150th anniversary of the war.  The special anniversary edition will include interviews and never before seen footage.  The article itself reveals some interesting things about the filming process and why Burn’s decided to shoot this series.

Mosby’s Marauders

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Mosby’s Marauders is a fictional film that came out in 1966 and was originally titled Willie and the Yank. The film is about a young member of Col. John S. Mosby’s men in northern Virginia who befriends a Union soldier that is stationed across the river from him. Throughout the film, the two help each other when one or the other gets in trouble. The film focuses on Mosby and his men planning and conducting a raid on thousands of northern troops in order to capture their general. They only have about 30 men but are still successful at sneaking in. During this raid, Willie’s Union friend sees them so Willie “takes him prisoner” but really just takes him to his nearby home where he falls in love with Willie’s cousin. The Union troops find out about the wedding planned between Willie’s cousin and his Union friend and decide to sneak in on it and capture all the Mosby men that are attending. Mosby is one step ahead, though, and captures them instead. He doesn’t capture Willie’s friend, though, and allows him to stay and get married.

While this film might be a bit over-dramatic, it offers great insight into perception of the Civil War in the 1960s. Unlike what we have discussed in class, African Americans are not portrayed differently in this film than they were before the Civil Rights movement. In fact, they aren’t portrayed at all. Perhaps this is Disney’s way of ignoring the issue. The movie is not really Lost Cause either, because Mosby’s men never really discuss the causes of the war or their reasons for fighting it. The North is not portrayed as being bad or cruel, just a little slow. Mosby is always portrayed as being more intelligent and cunning than them. In the end, this film actually resembles more of a Western than a Civil War movie but I think this also is telling of the period. In the 1960s, the Lost Cause narrative was fading in film and people were becoming more interested in the battle and individual soldiers. This film is definitely more oriented toward soldiers, and shows friendships between all different kinds, including across sides.

Band of Angels

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Raoul Walsh’s 1957 drama “Band of Angels” revolves around the stories of three characters as they deal with the issues that arise with the outbreak of the Civil War.  At the funeral of her father, Amantha Starr, played by Yvonne De Carlo, discovers that her mother had been one of her father’s former slaves.  Slave traders take her into custody and auction her off in New Orleans.  The confident and wealthy Hamish Bond (Clark Gable) arrives at the auction and buys Amantha for 5000 dollars.  Amantha, used to a luxurious and privileged life, mistrusts the intentions of Hamish, and awaits for him to treat her as an average slave.  She quickly realizes that Hamish’s slaves are not treated as average slaves.  Rau-Ru (Sidney Poitier), Hamish’s “claw,” is an educated, refined slave, who initially attempts to keep Amantha in line.

Amantha makes several desperate attempts to escape her “horrid” enslavement, but soon begins to accept Hamish’s friendly gestures.  When Hamish finally offers her freedom, she turns it down, preferring to become his mistress on one of his many plantations.  While at the plantation, Rau-Ru’s attitude towards her alters, and he reveals his intense hatred for Hamish.  Rau-Ru goes on several tangents throughout the movie in which he insists that slavery is a despicable establishment, whether under a kind owner or a brutal one.  Rau-Ru reprimands Amantha for refusing to acknowledge her true identity and continuing to live a “white lie.”

As the war breaks out, the three main characters are torn apart when secret pasts and murderous passions emerge.  Rau-Ru kills a white man and has to flee to the North.  He joins the Union army and returns to New Orleans for the sole purpose of tracking down Hamish and killing him.  As Hamish and Amantha’s relationship heats up, he reveals to her his past as an illegal slave trader in Africa.  Amantha is unable to forgive Hamish for his dark past, and leaves him with documents that make her a freewoman.  She remains in New Orleans where she encounters several Union soldiers that attempt to take advantage of her and label her for her “drop of black.”  Hamish’s fate is the worst of all three.  By burning down his crops, Hamish defies the local Union laws and becomes a fugitive.  Before beginning his life on the run, he frees all his slaves in an attempt to make up for his mistakes of the past.

Amantha and Rau-Ru have a heated run-in in New Orleans in which Amantha finally admits her love of Hamish to Rau-Ru.  As Rau-Ru locates and corners Hamish, Hamish explains that he had rescued Rau-Ru from execution as an infant in an African village.  Rau-Ru is finally able to embrace his freedom by assisting Hamish in gaining his own freedom.  Amantha, now accepting of her identity, reunites with Hamish and the two flee the city.

The complexities of identity are portrayed well in this movie.  Amantha’s struggle illustrates the difficulty in identifying oneself as either black or white during the Civil War; especially with the issue of mixing.  However, the movie supports a more “white” choice for her, even after acknowledging her background.  It is also interesting to see characters who initially trumpeted their abolitionist views end up behaving hypocritically and those that had been supporters of slavery amend their ways.  This movie clearly wants to demonstrate the complexities of ideologies and their implementation during this chaotic time in history.

week 9 resource

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

This website provides a collection of documents relating to Andersonville and the Wirz trial.  My paper is on Andersonville, so this site is quite useful.

Week 9 Resource – Style Weekly Article

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This a link to the article from one of Richmond’s weekly newspapers “Style”. It is basically discussing how Richmond is trying really hard to get a lot of visitors for the sesquicentennial and how they are in competition with every other Civil War museum or memorial site. I find it intriguing that it seems like in every single way the Civil War is brought up, there is some sort of battle involved. Whether a battle over the causes, a battle over the memory, or even over who has the BEST memory, in the end, its always a battle.

Week 8 Resource

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This is a link to a newspaper article on the Washington Post’s website about a bus driver in Oregon who was fired because he had a Confederate battle flag bumper sticker on his truck that was parked on school property while he was working. This story is interesting because it is an excellent example that these kinds of issues are definitely still occurring and in places that are as far away as you can possibly get from the South within the United States. It is definitely a nationwide issue. Also, the legal group that is going to represent the bus driver is the Charlottesville, VA based Rutherford Institute, which is the same institute that represented some kids in the book for this week who were fighting to wear the battle flag to school. They must feel extra strong that the battle flag should be represented.

week 8 resource

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I actually found several interesting sites and articles I wanted to share (all having to do with the confederate flag).

This first link is to an article about Kid Rock, who is set to receive an award from the NAACP.  However, the organization is now objecting to his frequent use of the battle flag at concerts.  In the article, he claims that for him personally, the flag is a symbol of southern rock music and “just looks cool.”

This next site is the official site of the Anti-Defamation League and is a database of what they consider to be “extremist symbols, logos, and tattoos.”  The link is to their listing of the confederate flag and their evaluation of its meaning.

This last link is to the resolution passed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans against the use of the Confederate flag by hate groups.

new movie about lincoln assassination

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011