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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0987  Friday, 30 April 2004

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 11:04:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Apr 2004 08:59:19 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

[3]     From:   Patrick Dolan <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Apr 2004 05:26:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 28 Apr 2004 to 29 Apr 2004 (#2004-82)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Thursday, 29 Apr 2004 11:04:06 -0400
Subject: 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

The film was marketed as neither a true story nor as based on a true
story. The words "true story" have, however, an obvious interest and
come up frequently in bioics and history related films. The forthcoming
King Arthur claims to be the true story behind the legend, for example.
. The film The Return of Martin Guerre quotes the publisher's blurb
(without identifying it as such) from the book by Jean de Coras (the
judge at the trial) stating that it is a "true story."

For a shot by shot analysis of the beginning of the film, see
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rburt/remakingrenundergrad/retourfilmexample.html

Janet Staiger has an excellent discussion of the words and their use in
cinema in her essay "Securing the Fictional Narrative as a Tale of the
Historical Real: The Return of Martin Guerre," South Atlantic Quarterly,
88, no. 2 (Spring 1989), 393-413.

I have no idea what relative degrees of truth are or how they would
provide criteria for filmmakers for historians. Please spare me any
attempt at explanation.

It might help further the discussion of this topic if people posting
messages actually were knowledgeable of the scholarship, seen the film
under discussion, and generally knew what they were talking about (had
something to say worth saying).

Scholars, as opposed to silly spouters, wanting to cover the critical
terrain might begin by consulting
Robert Rosenstone, "History in Images," The American Historical Review ,
Vol. 93, No. 5. (Dec., 1988), pp. 1173-1185; Haydn White,
"Historiography and Historiophoty," The American Historical Review ,
Vol. 93, No. 5. (Dec., 1988), pp. 1193-1199

"Let Films Be Films," by Ginette Vincendeau

"The Author's Response," by Natalie Zemon Davis

Vivian Sobchack "The insistent fringe: moving images and the palimpsest
of historical consciousness"

Sobchack is online at
http://www.latrobe.edu.au/screeningthepast/firstrelease/fr0499/vsfr6b.htm

Except for Staiger and Sobchack, all of the other articles are available
online and are linked at

http://www.clas.ufl.edu/~rburt/remakingrenundergrad/remakeschedulea.html

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Apr 2004 08:59:19 +0100
Subject: 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0980 Film about Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI/I

 >But if you do allow for relative degrees of truth, and if you
 >care about the telling of the truth, then a consciousness of
 >facts, and a devotion to them, is very important.
 >
 >Or so it seems to me,
 >don

So it's OK then, for Shakespeare to fiddle with Greene's Pandosto and
make the Queen live (because he's adapting a fiction), but not for him
to fiddle the age of Hotspur to make him an exact parallel with Hal
(because he's adapting an historical chronicle)?

David Lindley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Dolan <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Apr 2004 05:26:39 -0500
Subject:        Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 28 Apr 2004 to 29 Apr 2004 (#2004-82)

On Apr 29, 2004, at 11:00 PM, Don Bloom wrote:

 > I think well-researched and more objective accounts of
 > historical subjects really do give us more historical truth than crass
 > potboilers that play fast and loose with such historical information as
 > has been gleaned.

Hmm. I wonder what Sidney might make of this.

More to the point, I've seen crass potboilers that played fast and loose
and pretended to be documentaries and pretty well-researched fictional
accounts that felt, well, true. I'm sure good documentaries are better
than incompetent historical drama, but that's not the issue, is it?

Just to throw a spanner into the works, we're leaving out how fiction
creates historical truth-i.e. Richard III.

Cheers,
Pat

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