If you haven't noticed already, I'm a bit of an oddball in comparison to my fellow movie writers. I didn't study film in college -- I studied European history, mixed with uneven doses of journalism and English literature. But life leads you into very strange places, and because I loved movies as much as I loved history, I'm here instead of lecturing about the Black Death. Why waste all those years, though? Why not mash all of that up and publish it? Well, that's exactly what I'll be doing with Motion History.
Every week, I'm going to take a film and discuss what is fact and what is fiction. However, I feel an approach like that can be awfully negative. Everyone knows historical accuracy has never been Hollywood's strong suit (my professors spent hours complaining about Spartacus and Gladiator). But I refuse to dismiss a film just because it's inaccurate. Films have a mythological power and value, and movies like Braveheart or 300 have an effect on people and culture. There's intent behind their creation and their inaccuracies, and it's not always as simple as ticket sales. I hope to explore that angle a lot more over the course of this feature.
But enough with the introduction. Let's kick off this fledgling feature with a film that's a personal favorite, and one that's newly out on Blu-ray: Doctor Zhivago. This is a film that was responsible for my decision to abandon the Middle Ages, and spend a few semesters studying Russia. I'm not embarrassed by that. It was a fascinating foray, and exposed me to a culture I had no knowledge of beyond Rocky IV. My studies also had the added benefit of deepening my love for the film. Hopefully, today's feature will have a similar effect on you.