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"Amazing Grace" --shows early prelude to the US Civil War - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 02:56 am
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CleburneFan
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The movie "Amazing Grace" now showing in theaters beautifully relates to the Civil War in that it shows the struggle to end the shipping of slaves to the West on English-owned but US- flagged ships.

This movie shows the valiant years-long struggle of Parliamentarian William Wilberforce and his friend Prime Minister William Pitt to convince Parliament to end the pernicious shipping of slaves. Wilberforce, who loses his health in his continuous and frustrating pursuit of his dream to make life better, also worked with animal rights groups, prison reform and the quest for free education. He risked his reputation and was at one point at risk of being called a revolutionary and French sympathizer for his abolitionist activities.

 What I found so interesting is how the efforts to end slave trading by the English in the late 1700s was actually a prelude to what was to follow in the U.S. in the next century. In fact, 18th century English abolitionists were as maligned as U.S. abolitionist were in the mid-19th century.  As in the U.S., English vested interests in the slave trade and West Indies plantation owners stood behind the desire to perpetuate the practice coupled with the fear that the French would quickly step into the trade if the English bowed out.

The name "Amazing Grace" relates to the famous song written by Wilberforce's uncle who, in fact, had been the captain of a slave ship but quit after many years because he was haunted by the souls of all the slaves who died on his ships. At the end of the movie the best version of this song I have ever heard is played as further information about Wilberforce is run on the screen.

Some top-notch English and Welsh actors appear in the movie. I love period movies with the clothing and customs of the times. But even on top of all that, one learns from the movie how the movement to end slavery started decades before momentum toward ending it dominated debate and spirits in the U.S. It was fascinating to me to see the roots of abolitionism or shall I say the beginning of the end? It was also inspiring to see how much one man and those who supported his cause would sacrifce for what they believed. I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in this aspect of the Civil War...abolitionism...to go see this movie or rent it when it comes out on DVD.



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:07 am
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susansweet
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Wow Fan thanks for the great review.  I had wanted to see the movie, now I really do . 

Susan



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:20 am
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Steven Cone
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While I dont dought the movie is wonderful.   AS I would love to see it myself. 

Kinda Curious on how much historical fact is behind the movie  or is it all hollywood.



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:33 am
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CleburneFan
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Steven Cone wrote: While I dont dought the movie is wonderful.   AS I would love to see it myself. 

Kinda Curious on how much historical fact is behind the movie  or is it all hollywood.


My son, who is a movie buff, told me that he heard one critic say that Wilberforce's uncle was not, in fact, the repentent slave shipper the movie depicts and he did not write the song"Amazing Grace" because of the sudden epiphany he experienced in regard to the evils of slavery.

I cannot vouch for my son's statements because I didn't hear the radio program myself. Furthermore, I haven't done a Google search yet to discover more. Maybe first I just wanted to bask in the inspirational glow of the movie awhile before I discovered that some of the characters were exaggerated or fictional composites or some other theatrical artifice. I want to believe mankind can be remarkable a force for the betterment of all mankind.

Last edited on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:34 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 04:01 am
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Steven Cone
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Hopefuly theres more truth to it  than hollywood.  Sounds like a real good movie.

Thanks for the review.

Steven




 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 05:14 am
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susansweet
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I found a couple of websites about the author of Amazing Grace http://www.anointedlinks.com/amazing_grace.html

http://www.snopes.com/religion/amazing.htm

 

Pretty much all the websites are like the first one quoted above .  Snopes questions parts of the story.



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 01:06 pm
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Johan Steele
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W4e are talking about Hollywood... worse than Disney when it comes to history.



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 02:15 pm
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CleburneFan
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Susan, thanks for those links. The writers certainly do add perspective. As I think back on the movie, I believe the story is essentially as the links say. I did get the impression that Newton had long been repented of his slave trading days, but maybe the movie doesn't actually say that...come to think of it.

You know what, the movie is defintely worth seeing twice. It covers so much history, so it would be easy to miss an essential fact or misinterpret some small moment, giving it less or more than it is due.

Johan, I do agree Hollywood has a disgraceful habit of twisting history for dramatic effect. It bears attention, however, the director of this movie is the same one who directed the bio-pic "Ray" which earned Jamie Fox an Oscar for Best Actor for his spot on portrayal of Ray Charles. 

"Amazing Grace" may have taken some liberties in the serivice of drama and time compression of an idea that took decades to grab hold, but I did leave the theater feeling very inspired and not feeling that the movie was typical Hollywood drek.

A last note, the movie critic at the Palm Beach Post called this picture a "movie theater version of a HIstory Channel DVD." That is so not true. The acting, alone, is far superior to that of typical History Channel fare. I would put it closer to an excellent HBO histroic drama such asthe recent  "Roosevelt at Warm Springs. "

By the way, a big shout out to HBO for their absorbing series "Rome."

Last edited on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 02:16 pm by CleburneFan



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 02:27 pm
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Fuller
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I always look at historical/period movies as a great way to spark an interest.  Glory and Dances With Wolves were both in the theatre when I was younger.  Both left me feeling captivated and wanting to learn more.  We all have rolled our eyes at the many fabrications in Gone With The Wind. (I will admit to watching it at least a half a dozen times though!) Although many inaccuracies can be found in both movies and books, we can see that as an opportunity to search the details out on our own.

CleburneFan, Thanks for the review.  I'll have to go see it.  I see that it is rated PG.  Nice to see that all movies don't have to have the gore and language. 

Fuller



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:15 pm
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Steven Cone
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We all have rolled our eyes at the many fabrications in Gone With The Wind. (I will admit to watching it at least a half a dozen times though!) Although many inaccuracies can be found in both movies and books, we can see that as an opportunity to search the details out on our own.


Fuller you are correct.  With that said   "Gone With the Wind" actually has  some historical facts to it.

Margarett Mitchell  used Mary A. H. Gay's  "Life in Dixie During the War" as a source for GWTW.

"Life in Dixie During the War"  is one of the few eyewitness accounts of the war written by a women. And a wonderfuil read and Ihighly recomend it.

regards, Steven

 

Last edited on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:16 pm by Steven Cone



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 03:48 pm
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Fuller
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Steven Cone, I like how you said "some" :D. When I said books and movies have inaccuracies, I wasn't only speaking of GWTW.  I meant in general we can find things to question in the "historical" books and movies.  As far as GWTW...I guess it's just the whispy and whiney nature of it that makes me roll my eyes.  Then again, that's the style of most of the movies in 1939.

Fuller



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 04:38 pm
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Steven Cone
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Oh I agree GWTW is cheesy at its best..   But it Has  sparked a interest in 1000's of folks who more than likely wouldn't have given two thoughts of the period.

I will say this and be off the topic of GWTW as this is the Amazing Grace thread.

In the scene where Rhett is pushing bonnie in her carriage and  Aunt Pity Pat and the other Lady  discus his actions at the Battle of Franklin  and that he donated a large sum of funds for the beautification of the graves there.

Mary A. H. Gay's half  brother "Thomie" - Thomas  Stokes 10th Texas Infantry was killed during the battle of Franklin and is buried at Carnton.    On one of her visits  to the cemetery she was disheartened by  its appearance  and through her efforts raised the funds for the wrought iron fence that still surrounds the cemetery.  There is a marker at the entrance telling of donation.

Now back to are regularly scheduled  program..

Last edited on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 04:46 pm by Steven Cone



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