Hollywood's White House: The American Presidency in Film and History
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 33, Number 1, 2003
- p. 5
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- Additional Information
Special Editor's Introduction | Editor's Corner with salt. The results have been rewarding so that on a 1-10 scale, the EIC is at an 8 (up 3 from the last report). With the continued exercise and medication, the numbers are as follows: 1 15/65 and heartbeat of 41-43. An echocardiogram, which allows the doctors to view the heart valves in action, shows that the problematic valve has increased in efficiency by 44% while the valve itself has narrowed (a good thing) by one eighth of an inch. Concurrently , we have narrowed the focus of our professional activities to Film & History; we have dropped our organizational and veterans activities. These actions have reduced stress, an important condition for healing. We thank our readers and friends for their concern and hope to continue with the journal for another few years. Indeed, it is hard not to enjoy working with my friend and mentor, John E. O'Connor on spinoff projects, and panels. lam daily aware of all that I owe to this pioneer in film studies. I want to close with a reminder that, as you receive this issue oíFilm & History, we are hoping to generate interest in our meeting for the fall of 2004—yes, 2004. Please go back to your notes and your classes on The War Film and garner enough information to develop a paper for this wonderful meeting. Our previous conferences on "The Presidency in Film" and then on "The American Wests in Film, TV, and History" were great opportunities for people to meet and to share their interests. As we consider our status in what looks to be an almost permanent War onTerror, it seems particularly timely to analyze what earlier generations have done through visual media dealing with such struggles. As scholars of media, we can provide insights and conclusions of importance to our own time, an era in which 90% of our population knows what it knows about international affairs through visual media, especially television. Best Regards. Peter C. Rollins Editor-in-Chief BOOK REVIEW: JOURNAL OF AMERICAN CULTURE 26.4 (2003): TBA (Ray Browne is the founder of the American Culture Association and the Book Review Editor ofthe Journal ofAmerican Culture.) HOLLYWOOD'S WHITE HOUSE: THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCYIN FILMAND HISTORY (University Press of Kentucky, 2003). Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor, Editors. Trying to capture the spirit(s) of the Presidents of the United States through the aims of the makers of movies is like trying to solidify reality in a house of mirrors during an earthquake when the intentions of various people and cultures and reactions rattle and roll with private and public intentions . Sometimes such a reality is best steadied under the hand of one person, who maintains a single point of view. Sometimes it is better done in a computer of several informed historians who keep unblinking eyes on the actions ifthe Presidents and the motivations of movie-makers who with their several purposes—some open, some concealed—make movies that will serve their own purposes or those oftheir actors. This collection of various historians reading history from, as it were, not the Oval Office but the Hollywood studio accomplishes its purposes well. Primarily these essays demonstrate how leaders of a developing democracy change as the demands of the public demands new approaches and new reactions. The Oval office , as well as the visiting rooms of the White House, is increasingly opened to the public. More and more Presidential writers, photographers and cameras are a part of the Presidential equipment. And carrying the most weight, perhaps, is the movie camera. Movie critic Stanley Kaufman ifprobably right in saying that included in the President's oath of office probably should be the demand that he/she "should also swear to defend the American filmmaker's right to use the presidency anyway they like." This collection ofessays demonstrates dramatically the filmmaker alters reality to suit his purpose. D.W. Griffith rewrote history in his BIRTH OF A NATION, as we have been told a hundred times. Frank Capra, and Oliver Stone read history through their political bias. In fact, nowadays it is difficult to find a...