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film



  • 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. 



  • The Academy Museum Ignores Hollywood Labor History

    by Andy Lewis

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was originally established to help studios negotiate contracts with the studio unions. Today, the on-set tragedy in New Mexico reminds that film production is an industry and workers make it run. The Academy Museum misses that part of the story.


  • Writing a Classic: Richard Tregaskis and "Guadalcanal Diary"

    by Ray E. Boomhower

    Combat reporter Richard Tregaskis's account of the August 1942 Marine invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands passed military censors and became a popular sensation while offering the public an account of the difficulty and brutality of the Pacific war.



  • Fact and Fiction in "The Last Duel"

    by Sara McDougall and David Perry

    "The film effectively depicts the violence embedded in medieval ideas of elite masculinity while taking historical liberties when it comes to the real nature and function of trials by combat, or how rape accusations worked in medieval Europe."



  • Why Hollywood Can't Change a Diaper

    by Janet Golden

    While Hollywood portrayals of motherhood have adapted to incorporate single and working mothers, popular culture images of fatherhood have remained stubbornly stuck in the past. Would supports for child care and parental leave in the budget reconciliation bill help bring movie dads up to date? 



  • In Slasher Film ‘Candyman,’ the Horror Is U.S. Housing Policy

    by Brentin Mock

    “Candyman isn't the only ghost in this show,” says Stanford Carpenter, a cultural anthropologist based in Chicago. “The other ghost is Cabrini-Green. In both cases, the thing that makes them scary is that they were made that way by white systemic racism.”



  • What Connects 2021's "Stillwater" and 1979's "Norma Rae"?

    by Aimee Loiselle

    Both Amanda Knox, an American student accused of murder in Italy, and Crystal Lee Sutton, the southern labor organizer portrayed in "Norma Rae," have challenged the way that Hollywood films have reinterpreted their stories for commercial gain.