Motion History is officially one month and one week old, and hopefully no one has gotten too bored along the way. The experience of writing it has been pretty overwhelming. There's so many films to pick from that I'm actually getting bogged down in indecision, and I constantly worry about treading on old ground. I have to keep reminding myself not everyone knows "the true story", even if the film boasts a Criterion Collection release, and a fandom that included Winston Churchill.

As I just had the pleasure of watching That Hamilton Woman for the first time this week, I thought I'd use it as a Motion History topic. It's a rare example of a film that didn't invent a fluffy, bodice-ripper of a love story for its historical hero, but I suspect there's many a moviegoer who thinks that it did. Even if it is well-known history to a lot of readers, That Hamilton Woman may not be a film that's in current rotation on many DVD players, or on many young filmgoers' radars. After all, if you can barely convince people Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is worth watching, how many people are willing to watch a black and white version that lacks all of its swash, buckle, and blood?

Perhaps I'm protesting my pick too much. In the end, the temptation to write about Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was too great. He's one of my favorite historical figures, and while I went to the United Kingdom on the trail of William Wallace (who will definitely figure in this column at some point), I ended up bumping into Nelson instead. Even my nights were spent contemplating his visage, as my closest wireless connection was at the Lord Nelson pub in Canary Wharf. By the time I finally made it to St. Paul's to see his tomb, and Portsmouth to see the HMS Victory, it felt like we were old friends.

And you know what? If his eerily lifelike figure at Westminster Abbey is to be believed, he looked an awful lot like Laurence Olivier ....
categories Cinematical