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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0971  Wednesday, 28 April 2004

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Apr 2004 12:07:20 -0400
Subject: 15.0955 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0955 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

I have no interest in making a case for the film, but it's worth noting
that films "based on a true story" always take liberties with the past
as historians know it and are always as much about the present moment in
which they are produced as they are about the past they are portraying.
Moreover, films reconstruct the past by using a variety of sources,
drawing form printed documents to paintings to other films. It's naive
and mistaken to assume that a film closer to the historical truth as
presently constructed is "better" than one is not or that a film that
departs from the so-called record is a "wasted opportunity." Films and
documentaries, and documentaries do not give us direct access to the
historical truth any more than biopics or costume drams do. If readers
of this post want to learn about what  historians working on film think
about filmed history or about film  critics working on the same topic
think (let film be film), I  recommend the work of Robert Rosenstone,
Pierre Sorlin, Haydn White, Ginette Vincendeau, Prizka Morissey, Lucy
Mazdon, and Andrew Higson.

Bibliographical details on these and other readings are available at
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rburt/remakingrenundergrad/ remakessyllabus1.html

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