Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

A Question About SANTA FE TRAIL


Palmerin
 Share

Recommended Posts

At the beginning, Stonewall Jackson=Errol Flynn argues with the abolitionist played by Van Heflin that abolitionism is not necessary; he says that the legislature of Virginia is considering a plan to abolish slavery in that state, and that all that the legislators need is time.

Does anybody here know if such a plan ever really existed? I have researched this point in many books about the events leading to the US Civil War, and have yet to find even a hint that any of the slave states ever seriously considered abolishing their peculiar institution on their own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know about the plan, but I do know that Errol Flynn played J.E.B. Stuart and not Stonewall Jackson.

Thanks for the correction; that West Point class has so many future 1861-1865 War generals that it's mighty difficult to keep them straight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here ya go, Palmerin. In the vein of "don't get your history from Hollywood movies", here's a few more liberties with historical accuracy this film takes which the Wiki page for this movie points out...

 

Depictions[edit]

Massey's John Brown eagerly endorses breaking apart the union of the United States. The movie was made on the eve of the United States' entry into World War II, and its tone and political subtext express a desire to reconcile the nation's dispute over slavery which brought about the American Civil War and appeal to moviegoers in both the southern and northern United States. The American Civil War and abolition of slavery are presented as an unnecessary tragedy caused by an anarchic madman. The heroic protagonists such as Flynn's Jeb Stuart and Reagan's Custer seem unable to conceive how the issue of slavery could place them at odds in the near future, even though by 1859 hostility between the pro/anti-slavery states had reached a boiling point.[citation needed][5]

This film takes substantial liberties with the historical facts:

  • Stuart and Custer did not attend West Point at the same time and were never personally acquainted.
  • Stuart graduated from West Point in 1854 and Custer graduated in 1861.[6]
  • Stuart served in the 1st Cavalry Regiment and Custer served in the 2nd and 5th Cavalry Regiments
  • The US Cavalry did not charge John Brown's Fort; it was taken by US Marines who had two casualties {1 dead and 1 wounded}
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Here ya go, Palmerin. In the vein of "don't get your history from Hollywood movies", here's a few more liberties with historical accuracy this film takes which the Wiki page for this movie points out...

 

Depictions[edit]

Massey's John Brown eagerly endorses breaking apart the union of the United States. The movie was made on the eve of the United States' entry into World War II, and its tone and political subtext express a desire to reconcile the nation's dispute over slavery which brought about the American Civil War and appeal to moviegoers in both the southern and northern United States. The American Civil War and abolition of slavery are presented as an unnecessary tragedy caused by an anarchic madman. The heroic protagonists such as Flynn's Jeb Stuart and Reagan's Custer seem unable to conceive how the issue of slavery could place them at odds in the near future, even though by 1859 hostility between the pro/anti-slavery states had reached a boiling point.[citation needed][5]

This film takes substantial liberties with the historical facts:

  • Stuart and Custer did not attend West Point at the same time and were never personally acquainted.
  • Stuart graduated from West Point in 1854 and Custer graduated in 1861.[6]
  • Stuart served in the 1st Cavalry Regiment and Custer served in the 2nd and 5th Cavalry Regiments
  • The US Cavalry did not charge John Brown's Fort; it was taken by US Marines who had two casualties {1 dead and 1 wounded}

 

 

Thanks Dargo. Obviously, this film has a lot of "revisionist" history in it-- because the studio is trying to draw parallels between Hitler and Brown. As such, they take a lot of dramatic license with the facts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I felt that line was meant to be more of the character's personal opinion. Like he thought the legislature would do the right thing and abolish slavery. It was an idealistic viewpoint, assuming there was no need for a man like John Brown.

Cool it with the jive, white boy; surely you can't believe that the makers of this DRAMON=LURID POTBOILER actually believed such a redolent pile of SANDECES=MALARKEY!

Read Catton, read Nevins, read all the historians of the US Civil War: they are all unanimous that none of the slave states were willing to give up slavery, and were perfectly ready to fight to preserve it, something that Brown knew very well--and equating JB to Hitler is nothing but the most malicious of slander.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool it with the jive, white boy; surely you can't believe that the makers of this DRAMON=LURID POTBOILER actually believed such a redolent pile of SANDECES=MALARKEY!

Read Catton, read Nevins, read all the historians of the US Civil War: they are all unanimous that none of the slave states were willing to give up slavery, and were perfectly ready to fight to preserve it, something that Brown knew very well--and equating JB to Hitler is nothing but the most malicious of slander.

 

Jack Warner is the white boy you need to take it up with...my family is racially mixed. But I do think the studio was revising history when it made the film, and as a result there are a lot of mixed messages in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool it with the jive, white boy; surely you can't believe that the makers of this DRAMON=LURID POTBOILER actually believed such a redolent pile of SANDECES=MALARKEY!

Read Catton, read Nevins, read all the historians of the US Civil War: they are all unanimous that none of the slave states were willing to give up slavery, and were perfectly ready to fight to preserve it, something that Brown knew very well--and equating JB to Hitler is nothing but the most malicious of slander.

 

You're the one that is over the top;  much of the plot is fiction and the dialog about the south giving up slavery willingly was just an idealized POV from the screenwriter.    I assume the screenwriter did this to make the south look 'reasonable',  just like Gone With the Wind made the slave holders look like 'nice folks'.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're the one that is over the top;  much of the plot is fiction and the dialog about the south giving up slavery willingly was just an idealized POV from the screenwriter.    I assume the screenwriter did this to make the south look 'reasonable',  just like Gone With the Wind made the slave holders look like 'nice folks'.

The South reasonable??? That's a good one!

I wonder how de Havilland, the only surviving star of WIND and TRAIL, liked such shows as the original version of ROOTS; as you know, abolitionism pretty much started in the UK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The South reasonable??? That's a good one!

I wonder how de Havilland, the only surviving star of WIND and TRAIL, liked such shows as the original version of ROOTS; as you know, abolitionism pretty much started in the UK.

 

I agree with you that it is fiction to make the South look 'reasonable' as it relates to Slavery but movies, especially back than, did this.  I assume they did it to ensure they didn't upset the Southern markets (as well as be faithrul to books that presented the South in a romantic light).   Not cool but a clear sign of the times and a part of US History.

 

Someone as fair minded as DeHavilland would welcome the original version of Roots and would have praise for it being authentic compared to those other films.

 

In Santa Fe Trail she plays a made up character,  Kit Carson Holliday.   While Kit Carson was a real person he was a frontier man that married two Indians and one Mexican.   He didn't have any children that looked like Olivia!

 

So she understands that many Hollywood movies added fictional tales.

 

PS:  I now recall that Olivia's character was just named after Kit Carson instead of being a descendent because her farther was wanted a boy and picked the name before she was born.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you that it is fiction to make the South look 'reasonable' as it relates to Slavery but movies, especially back than, did this.  I assume they did it to ensure they didn't upset the Southern markets (as well as be faithrul to books that presented the South in a romantic light).   Not cool but a clear sign of the times and a part of US History.

 

Someone as fair minded as DeHavilland would welcome the original version of Roots and would have praise for it being authentic compared to those other films.

 

Also, some of the Hollywood filmmakers of the 30s and 40s were from the south, and this was part of their upbringing-- to be told and to retell the stories a certain way.

 

As for Olivia de Havilland, she appeared in Roots: The Next Generations as well as North and South: Book II.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, some of the Hollywood filmmakers of the 30s and 40s were from the south, and this was part of their upbringing-- to be told and to retell the stories a certain way.

 

As for Olivia de Havilland, she appeared in Roots: The Next Generations as well as North and South: Book II.

So that's why she was cast in those shows!: because of her association with WIND and TRAIL. It would be very interesting to read de Havilland's reminiscences of all those productions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I felt that line was meant to be more of the character's personal opinion. Like he thought the legislature would do the right thing and abolish slavery. It was an idealistic viewpoint, assuming there was no need for a man like John Brown.

So, in essence, you are saying that such a plan never existed, and that it was only a fabrication of a very dissembling screenwriter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, in essence, you are saying that such a plan never existed, and that it was only a fabrication of a very dissembling screenwriter?

 

I can't speak for the screenwriter. I like James' theory that the studio wanted to make sure the film remained marketable in the south-- so they had to play it 'both ways' and sympathize a little bit.

 

Incidentally, I'm very much against using political correctness to slam movies that were made during a much different time. If these films were made now with these representations, then I would certainly be more critical because filmmakers today should hopefully know better. But even if a new director came along and made something that was in favor of the K-K-K, I would try to look at the artistic value of the film even while disagreeing with the film's thesis.

 

Also, it's interesting to consider that about 75 years had passed from 1864 to 1939/1940; which is roughly the same amount of time from 1939/1940 to 2016. From our viewpoint today, the Civil War and post-Civil War era seems like it was a million years ago. But to filmmakers and audiences of the late 30s and early 40s, it was a period their grandparents and some of their parents had lived through and they had a more personal attachment to those events, especially if their family had lived in the south and been directly impacted by the events.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The movie may be bad history, but it has one of my all-time favorite scenes. At a farewell party for the future U.S. Army officers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Stuart and his five friends are advised by a Native American fortune teller that they will become "famous men -- great in battle, but bitter enemies." 


 


The West Point products all laugh at the idea. And then Stuart says: "What? Pickett, Hood, Custer, Sheridan, Longstreet and me enemies? Now I know she's crazy." 


 


Annex-Flynn-Errol-Santa-Fe-Trail_NRFPT_0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't speak for the screenwriter. I like James' theory that the studio wanted to make sure the film remained marketable in the south-- so they had to play it 'both ways' and sympathize a little bit.

 

A lie is a lie is a lie is a lie.

I don't care for the propaganda of Eisenstein and his fellow Stalinists because practically nothing in those movies is truth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exactly. Film has the power to inform and the power to deceive.

 

True, but perhaps what films that "bend history" do sometimes is to prompt people so inclined who might want to know more about the subject they see in a film or a particular time in history, is to do some further research into them.

 

And now that almost everyone has access to the internet and thus can easily access webpages such as Wikipedia, the idea that one needs the latest set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to do just such a thing is no longer required. And thus, I would THINK making the excuse NOW DAYS that what some people might THINK they take as "true history" and/or a "clear picture" of a person because of watching some biopic about them after they've watched it, is no longer a valid excuse.

 

(...nope, NOW DAYS there's NO damn valid excuse for ANYONE to take what they see on the silver screen as "gospel"!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True, but perhaps what films that "bend history" do sometimes is to prompt people so inclined who might want to know more about the subject they see in a film or a particular time in history, is to do some further research into them.

 

Provided people take the time to look things up and actually do thorough reading on a subject.

 

But film can also deceive when it upholds "values" that are merely propaganda. And I don't mean Russian films under the communists, or German films under Hitler. American films have just as much propaganda and deception in them sometimes.

 

All those films that showed a woman giving up her career at the end of the movie to assuage the man's ego were very deceptive, because they implied a woman could only be happy at home, barefoot and pregnant supporting her man. And any woman who had to work, because she was widowed or divorced, needed to rectify her situation by finding another suitable man to marry. If she still wanted to work outside the home during her marriage, there must have been something wrong with her, and the children would grow up unloved. That's the message that comes across. So in this way, a film deceives the audience, because it deliberately gives a false definition of a woman's worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Provided people take the time to look things up and actually do thorough reading on a subject.

 

But film can also deceive when it upholds "values" that are merely propaganda. And I don't mean Russian films under the communists, or German films under Hitler. American films have just as much propaganda and deception in them sometimes.

 

 

An outstanding example of deception taken to the extreme is that other collaboration of Curtiz, Flynn, and de Havilland, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, a film so chock full of falsehood that its producers had to admit openly that its plot bore no relation to the real battle of 25 October 1854.

The intention was to present the Charge as an act of revenge against Nana Sahib for the Massacre of Cawnpore. When it was found out that that event happened in 1857, just after the Crimean War, the screenwriters invented a massacre to justify the fictional villain being turned into an human pin cushion. But do you know what is really outrageous? The fictional officer played by Flynn alters the orders of his superiors in order to launch an attack not authorized by his commanding officers! One of my cousins, a colonel of the US Army, retired, assures me that, for such an act of insubordination, an officer would be put on trial for, among other things, unnecessarily endangering the lives of the men under his command.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

An outstanding example of deception taken to the extreme is that other collaboration of Curtiz, Flynn, and de Havilland, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, a film so chock full of falsehood that its producers had to admit openly that its plot bore no relation to the real battle of 25 October 1854.

The intention was to present the Charge as an act of revenge against Nana Sahib for the Massacre of Cawnpore. When it was found out that that event happened in 1857, just after the Crimean War, the screenwriters invented a massacre to justify the fictional villain being turned into an human pin cushion. But do you know what is really outrageous? The fictional officer played by Flynn alters the orders of his superiors in order to launch an attack not authorized by his commanding officers! One of my cousins, a colonel of the US Army, retired, assures me that, for such an act of insubordination, an officer would be put on trial for, among other things, unnecessarily endangering the lives of the men under his command.

 

Yes, so the lesson here is don't trust Warner Brothers and Michael Curtiz. At least not if you want accurate versions of well-known events in American history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...