Harriet Beecher Stowe
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Of all the many film adaptations of Uncle Tom's Cabin, this made-for-TV film is one of the only ones to honor the original intention of the story and its characters, instead of lapsing into crude racial stereotypes. It features notable African-American actors like Phylicia Rashad and Samuel L. Jackson.
Holy cow, is this movie racist!! The film is a fictional account of the first theatrical version of Stowe's novel. There are a host of uncomfortable stereotypes here. These include white actors in blackface (e.g., racially derogatory, stereotypical theatrical makeup). This movie is worth watching only as a period example of the racially charged ways in which Uncle Tom's Cabin has been portrayed over the years.
If Harriet Beecher Stowe and Scarlett O'Hara ever met in real life, they probably wouldn't have agreed on much of anything. Nonetheless, this classic tale of the Civil War – as seen from the perspective of the South – is historically dubious, but still one of the best movies ever made. Period. Disagree? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a d--n.
When Anna Leonowens arrives in Thailand (then Siam) to teach in the Royal Palace, the King's many wives are fascinated by her description of a book written by a woman. "Small House of Uncle Thomas" is a musical adaptation of the novel that appears in the film. It is interesting to see Stowe's message of freedom as interpreted by women virtually enslaved as concubines in a far-off land.
This Academy Award-winning film tells the story of Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first all-black units in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. Shaw, a white, Harvard-educated officer, died at the age of 25 alongside 116 of his men in a battle near Charleston, South Carolina. Shaw's liberal Bostonian parents were friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has a reputation for taking overwhelmingly broad subjects and distilling them into films of nuance and detail. His nine-part, eleven-hour take on the Civil War took six years to make – longer than the war itself. It is a masterpiece and a fascinating look inside America's greatest crisis.