Screening History: “Ben-Hur” and the Tragedy of the Might-Have-Been

I went into Ben-Hur with the lowest possible expectations. Critics and audiences alike seemed to disdain the film, and its opening box office was truly abysmal. I was worried that somehow this box office and critical disaster would taint my love for the 1959 version. As sometimes happens, however, the film actually exceeded all of my expectations. … Continue reading Screening History: “Ben-Hur” and the Tragedy of the Might-Have-Been

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Screening History: “The Sign of the Cross”

Welcome to my official entry in the Pre-Code Blogathon!  Today, I will be focusing on Cecil B. DeMille's (in)famous classic The Sign of the Cross (1932).  Released just prior to the implementation of the Code, this film utilizes that freedom to paint the ancient Roman world as full of dangerous yet pleasurable sexuality and violence.  The film … Continue reading Screening History: “The Sign of the Cross”

History in the Media: Vibrant Spectacles of Sublime Destruction

It should come as no surprise that a group like ISIL would seek to efface any traces of pre-Islamic history from areas under its control.  Indeed, they have done precisely that, destroying large parts of a museum in Mosul and bulldozing excavated parts of the ancient city of Nimrud (though it should be noted that … Continue reading History in the Media: Vibrant Spectacles of Sublime Destruction