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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: "Cold Mountain" Wash. Post Style Review


You have me at an unfair advantage in that you are a screen writer and use to typing and very fast I might add.

Having not read the book or yet seen the film does not have me at a disadvantage or without comment or opinion for I have watched closely the marketing of this film.
Had “Cold Mountain” been billed as a movie based on historical fact, had it been called The Battle of the Crater or The Campaign for Petersburg, I would then have issue with it. Even then the scope of my disappointment, frustration and anger would be tempered. It was not billed as such. So what does one see, two lovers and gross inaccuracies in the depiction of a battle as well as the war the battle was fought in. The film “Cold Mountain” is based on a novel, I have no knowledge of whether it is an historical novel loosely based on historical fact or not. Neither do I know whether the director stayed true to the authors work or strayed from it. If it is the former, then the issue is with the author not the film director and therein lays the “Latch to Pandora’s Box”, are we prepared to lift and open it? If the book/novel is not historically accurate, how is it (we) expect a film based on that said novel to be?

Though I may and do agree with the “power” film makers have and that it should be used in a positive manner, I do not believe most film makers are in it to broaden our horizons and it seems very few are in it for the “art”. You, Katarina on the other hand are a rarity. It would a “Better World” if film makers had your passion for the truth. I do have issues with film makers who knowingly as you say, “re-enforce public ignorance”. Early films depicting the history of the West, The Alamo and Custer’s Last Stand, are prime examples. One could believe a conspiracy by film makers to miss-educate us.

Still, though film makers can be “teachers of knowledge”, in that what they produce can educate us, they are fortunately or not, not in that profession, teacher’s they aren’t. Holding the film maker to a standard that says to him or her to portray any portion of historical content accurately in a profession that offers the individual the greatest latitude of expression seems to be a contradiction to me. If you want historical accuracy, don’t go to the “Savoy”, go to the library. Another avenue is to seek out historical documentaries. Here film makers do at least “try to get it right”, this is also if you prefer to sit in front of the TV and receive your education.

You are indeed right, “a lot of folks are not taught” and a lot of folks care less. For some the “ship of knowledge” docked at port, right out of high school, some never made it to port, sunk at sea, others docked at other ports of interest. Then there are others who continue to explore beyond the horizon, continued education is a never ending journey. In all cases we are Captains of our own vessels.

This is a photograph of Elizabeth Eckford. She and 8 other Black students integrated Central high School in Little Rock Arkansas in 1957 under great direst and threat . She did not risk her life so that movie houses could accommodate those who get their sole historical information from the cinema. As for Black Ranchers and Cowboys, we should want to know the difference.

He who dips his hand in a puddle,
longs to wade in the stream
and if he wades in the stream,
he will swim in the ocean.

Tony Dorty

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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