The Editor's Reflections and Reports
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 33, Number 1, 2003
- pp. 1-5
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Special Editor's Introduction | Editor's Corner We of Film & History have been busy since the last issue of thejournal and here are some of the highlights of the past few months The Editor's Reflections and Reports Peter C. Rollins War in Film Our Conference on "War in Film, TV7 and History" takes shape (November 11-14, 2004) Elsewhere in this issue, readers will find the details about our conference on "War in Film, TV, and History." The meeting is slated for Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas a short (free) shuttle ride away from the DFW airport. We have received a greatnumber of e-mails and letters by prospective participants of a meeting which will be held between November 11-14, 2004—yes, 2004. We plan to have a full spectrum of meeting rooms busy with panels as well as evenings offilm screenings and "meet the artist" sessions. As with past meetings, papers from the event will be published in the journal and/or a volume of essays. Others still will find a publication outlet in our CD-ROM Annual for that year. (For more information on our CD publications, see elsewhere in this issue.) For good or ill, war films have constituted a major film genre and, for that reason, demand study by historians as well as practitioners of cultural/film studies. Subscribers to Film & History are fully aware ofthe implications of this topic. From the advent ofcinema—indeed as early as the Spanish American War— motion pictures have been made to define the meaning of such struggles. The American motion pictures related to World War I could be used as a model: during The Dolce Center the early phases, while the United States was still a neutral nation, films such as Thomas Ince's Civilization (1916 ) stressed the uselessness and immorality of such conflicts; Christ himself appears to deplore the slaughter. Once America went to war and the Office ofWar Information swung into action, the genre became more heroic : U.S. governmentfilms such as The Training ofColoredTroops (1918) comforted audiences with a portrait ofan important minority putting its shoulder to the wheel of war. Even D.W. Griffith, author ofsome ofthemostdespicable stereotypes ofAfricanAmericans in the pre-war era, directed a film entitled The Greatest Thing in Life (1918); on the battlefield, a white southerner learns to love his black comrades in arms—to the point ofkissing a black soldier as he takes his last breath. AfterWorld War I, motionpictures suchas TheBig Parade (1925) and Wings (1927) touted the excitement and epic grandeur of war. As World War II appeared on the horizon, Sergeant York (1941) further redefined the meaning of World War I in a manner which would refute the isolationism of middle America. Just as pacifist AlvinYorklearns to accepttragic civic responsibilities , so, too, Americans should plan to meet the challenge ofworld-wide aggression. Everyoneinvolvedintheproductionknewthat Sergeant York was a call to martial action. Every major war seems to follow a predictable cycle. Before the conflict, spectrum of interpretations is permitted; during the war, government and studio filmmakers strive to promote a positive image of the struggle; after the conflict, there are a variety of interpretations and reconsiderations. We are assuming that papers at our "War in Film, TV, and History" will focus on these facets. In addition, we are looking for topics such as The Home Front, The Return ofVeterans, Changing Roles ofMen andWomen in Wartime films—topics which transcend particular conflicts but give insight into enduring themes. As loyal subscribers to Film & History know, many of our scholars focus on the American experience, but at least 40% of our writers are interested in English, European, Asian, and South American topics. The war film conference welcomes topics Vol. 33.1 (2003) 1 1 Rollins I Regular Feature related to other cultures and eras. Obviously, French, German, Spanish, and Russian filmmakers participated in the phases of war discussed above as did Cuban, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Submissions in these areas are welcomed. The conference plans are still in their formative stages; please feel free to jump in with suggestions and ideas about Areas for the conference. We will try to be receptive to all good ideas! Our speaker has yet...