12 Years a Slave in Theatres Now

12 Years a SlaveLike many of you I am very much looking forward to seeing this movie. It looks like Hollywood’s sesquicentennial trifecta will go down with Lincoln, Django Unchained, and now 12 Years a Slave. These three movies collectively have both reflected and come to define current thinking about- and memory of the Civil War Era.

This image alone gives me hope that the movie will be both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. In doing so, let’s hope it challenge many of the public’s assumptions about the “peculiar institution.”

Anyone who has read Solomon Northrup’s narrative will agree that his story is worthy of Hollywood’s attention, but it is interesting that it beat Frederick Douglass’s much more popular account of slavery and freedom to the big screen.

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

4 comments… add one

  • “This image alone gives me hope that the movie will be both intellectually and emotionally stimulating. In doing so, let’s hope it challenge many of the public’s assumptions about the “peculiar institution.”

    These are my thoughts on this movie as well. And with all due respect to you Kevin, I’m sorry to see that you lumped this movie and Lincoln in a sesquicentennial trifecta with Django. Everything you said here about !2 Years cannot be said about Django in any way, shape or form.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 19, 2013

      Hi Bryan,

      I am not suggesting that the movies necessarily compliment one another. The two movies do, however, reflect certain shifts in popular perceptions of the master-slave relationship as well as the resilience of certain myths.

      • Pat Young Oct 19, 2013

        It is interesting that of the five popular entertainments connected to the Civil War Era, The Conspirator, Copper, Lincoln, Django, and 12 Years a Slave, that were released during the Sesqui, none was a combat based film.

        • London John Oct 21, 2013

          Interesting indeed. How many films focussed on actual battlefield combat in the ACW have been made since WWII? The first (and best, IMO) is The Red Badge of Courage, then it’s all the Gs: Glory, Gettysburg, Gods and Generals. And what else is there? Ride with the Devil is IMO a pretty good film about guerrilla warfare in Missouri, but no actual battles. And I don’t know of a single film about the naval war, which seems surprising when you consider how “steampunk” some of the river and coastal combat was, if that word means what I think it does.

Leave a Comment