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History and Hollywood Truth or Fiction? Hopefully, U.S.

History class has presented to you the viewpoint that history is not a static discipline but one that often changes as society changes. It is the job of Historians to sift through sources available to them and to piece together the story of how events and people have impacted the lives of others and often the life of the nation. As new research develops and new information is discovered the interpretation and presentation of a story of the past will change. Just as four witnesses to an auto accident have four different perspectives as to what happened, the people who live through certain events and those who look back will have different interpretations of the story. Because of different perspectives, history can be extremely controversial. How should the story of the past be presented? Whose story is told? Since history is a story, the storyteller must make important choices as to what to tell and what to leave out. Hollywood writers, directors and movie producers are some of the storytellers of history. Real life events and adventures of from the past are favorite choices in making movies. However, movies are made for entertainment and profits. Sometimes writers, directors and movie producers will take artistic license meaning that while the movie is based on fact it is far from 100% factual. Your project will require you to select a movie that is based upon an event or person in American history after 1900. You will have a list of choices. Any other movie not on the list will require approval of Mr. Morgan by Tuesday, April 8. Your task is to research the history, analyze the movie and compare/contrast it to the actual historical event or life. You may work with a partner or a group of three at the very most. The project will have individual accountability in that each student is required to submit a paper. The pair/group of three will present their findings in a presentation in class the week of May 5-9 Step 1 Select a movie and a topic. Some movies are rated R. If you choose an R rated movie, you must have the parent permission slip signed. It doesnt matter if you are 17 or 18, you will still have to have the parent permission slip signed. Some of the movies on the list are available at the South Mountain Public Library, others I might be able to get for you on Netflix. You must make a decision on your topic/movie by Monday, April 7. Step 2 How you prepare for this assignment is really up to you. You may want to do the research then watch the movie, or you may want to watch the movie then do the research. You and your partner(s) can make that choice. Step 3 What is required is for you to write a paper ( 750-1000 words) where you present to the reader the historical information about the topic based upon your research then analytically compare and contrast the movie to the actual historical event or the persons life. You should present the reader with facts from history then present the reader, using specific examples, any difference you saw in the movie. Much like a book critique you should analyze what you believe the intention of the moviemaker was when making changes to the story. What was being emphasized in the movie? What is the movies interpretation of the event? Does the movie maker seem critical, apologetic, or sympathetic of a particular character or idea of the time? Does the moviemaker seem to present a fair and unbiased view of the

historical topic or is the film bias? Do you agree/disagree with the moviemakers perspective ? Why or why not? If you watched the movie first, what effect did the movie have on your perception of the historical facts? Did the facts change your perspective? Where you disappointed with the moviemakers perception? Why or why not? You need to evaluate and criticize if necessary what you are watching based upon the research you have done about the event/person. Some general requirements: You must have works cited page that has three sources for your paper that relate to the history. You can use movie reviews as a source if you wish but movie reviews do not count as one of the three required historical sources. Also, make sure you that you cite the actual movie on your works cited page. The paper should be typed in 12 point (New Times or Calibri) and double spaced. The paper is worth 80 points. Presentation: This is a partner grade with some individual accountability. First, your presentation should give the class background information about the historical event or person based upon your research. Then you can go on to summarize the movie discussing differenced and similarities. If possible you will want to show movie clips, the best way would be to PowerPoint for your presentation. Your presentation can last 10-15 no more than a total of 5 minutes of film clips so choose a scene that represents an idea that you want to reinforce with your fellow students. You will be graded together on organization, visual aide and information you present to the class. Presentation is work 50 points Grading Criteria for Paper 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Movie Choice by April 7 Appropriate Topic Content/Analysis General Requirements Works Cited Page 10 points 20 points 20 points 20 points 10 points

Grading Criteria for Presentation 1. Organization of Presentation 2. Historical Background 3. Summary of Movie 4. Compare/Contrast (history v. movie) 5. Clips/Visual aid 6. Time 7. Collaboration 8. Presentation presence

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