Cook Library Cinema Club: The Civil War
This week marks two important anniversaries in our nation's history: the start of the American Civil War on April 12, 1861 -- and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln four years later on April 16, 1865. The Civil War has been the subject of many Hollywood dramas over the years. Most recently, the critically-acclaimed 2013 film Lincoln provided a potent reminder of the heavy personal toll the Civil War took on our country's 16th President as he attempted to heal a nation in crisis, and featured a riveting performance by Daniel Day Lewis.
The library's DVD collection includes several classic movies that focus on the issues and heartbreaks surrounding the Civil War. For starters, you'll find much to appreciate in director Robert Maxwell's devastating drama Gettysburg, about the war's bloodiest battle, and its prequel Gods and Generals, which focuses on Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson. Also hugely compelling is Glory, with Denzel Washington lending Oscar-winning support in the story of the first all-Black company in the Union Army. And, of course, there is Gone with the Wind, in which the epic love triangle between Scarlett O'Hara, Rhett Butler, and Ashley Wilkes plays out against the backdrop of the Civil War. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Margaret Mitchell, GWTW took home 8 Oscars in 1939 and, when adjusted for inflation, remains the highest grossing movie of all time (Box Office Mojo).
One of our favorite Civil War movies is the 2003 romantic drama, Cold Mountain. As the war drags to a bloody, inescapable conclusion, a gravely wounded Confederate soldier is determined to make his way back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, where the love of his life awaits his return. Starring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, the powerful love story boasts stunning cinematography and an Oscar-winning supporting performance by Renee Zellweger. The film is based on Charles Frazier's National Book Award-winning novel by the same title. Take a look at the trailer for the film below!