Studying popular Hollywood films from Gone With the Wind to Reds and such distinguished European films as La Marseillaise and The Rise to Power of Louis XIV, Leger Grindon examines how historical fiction films interpret the present through a representation of the past.
The historical fiction film is characterized by a set of motives and, Grindon argues, deserves to be considered a genre unto itself. Appropriation of historical events can insinuate a film's authority of its subject, veil an intention, provide an escape into nostalgia, or direct a search for knowledge and origins. Utilizing the past as a way of responding to social conflicts in the present, Grindon shows how the genre promotes a political agenda, superseding the influence of scholarship on the public's perception and interpretation of history.
In the series Culture and the Moving Image, edited by Robert Sklar.