The Historian's Movie Review

History through the lens of film. Updated Fridays . . . usually.
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The Historian's Movie Review


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Jun 26, 2015




Just wanted to put up a quick message -- there will be a new episode up likely this weekend. 



Jun 19, 2015



Warning: This episode contains moderate cursing.

Attention! Attention! In this week's episode of The Historian's Movie Review I am joined by my friend Jeff, and we talk about the 1970 film M*A*S*H. 

Topics discussed include the origin of the Korean War, the creation of MASH units, the nature of how we conceptualize war, as well as the creeping threat of Nazi bears! That is all.

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MASH - A Novel about Three Army Doctors, Richard Hooker

MASH: An Army Surgeon in Korea, Otto Apel, M.D


Intro and Outro Music - "Sucide is Painless", London Starlight Orchestra


Jun 19, 2015



Heads-up folks. A new episode will drop later today.



Jun 13, 2015



Warning: This episode contains plot spoilers!

The Historian's Movie Review is back after an extended break! This week I look at the 2008 martial arts film IP Man (葉問). Topics discussed include IP Man's study of Win Chung Kung Fu, and the Japanese occupation of China in World War II, and the Nanjing Massacre.


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Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun’s History and Traditions, Robert Chu

Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945, Rana Mitter

Intro and Outro Music - "Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends" by ThePianoGuys




Jun 11, 2015


Image result for ip man


Never fear! There will indeed be a new epsode this week.


May 25, 2015



Hi Everyone,

A few listeners have brought to my attention that the audio levels on most of the episodes are way off. That my narration is much quieter than the film audio.

I didn't realize this was still a problem in newer episodes, and I am going to be trying to fix this in the coming weeks.

Thank you all, though, for your continued support, and thanks especially to @_mynameisbruce and Lance Romanoff for bringing it to my attention.




May 22, 2015



Warning: This episode contains references to racial stereotypes which may be offensive to some listeners.

Note: Audio quality has been fixed on this episode

In this week's episode of the Historian's Movie Review I look at four different World War II propaganda cartoons.

Topics discussed include the American propaganda production, and the differences between depictions of Germans and Japanese.


You can support the show a few different ways –

Rate and review on iTunes.

You can like the show on

You can follow the show on Twitter @histmovie

And, you can support us financially through Audible – gets you a free 30-Day trial and a free download, and we get a couple of bucks for you signing up.



Dower, John W.War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War

Education for Death

Hare Meets Herr

Commando Duck

Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips

Intro and Outro Music - "The Merry-go-Round Broke Down"


May 13, 2015




Warning: This episode cntains plot spoilers, and scattered expletives

Note: The audio quality has been fixed in this epiosde.

In this week's episode of The Historian's Movie Review I look at the 1987 movie The Untouchables.

Topics discussed include Prohibition, Eliot Ness, Al Capone's criminal empire, and horrible 1980s synth music.

You can help support the show a few ways –

Like our Facebook Page

Comment on the show, or give a review at iTunes

Suggest a movie or topic on Twitter - @histmovie

Support the show financially -


A big thanks to Chris Hardwick! We were mentioned on The Nerdist Podcast #672


Podcast Shout-out - Guiltyfilm Podcast - Gremlins II 



The Untouchables – IMDB

Lawrence Bergreen Capone the Man and the Era

Dennis Hoffman Scarface Al and the Crime Crusaders: Chicago’s Private War Against Capone

Elio Ness The Untouchables

Battleship Potemkin Review by Roger Ebert


Intro and Intersticial Music - "You Never Know Dub feat. Al Capone," Manudub

Outro Music - "Maple Leaf Rag" Scott Joplin

Odessa Steps scene, Battleship Potemkin


Eliot Ness, Courtesey of



May 11, 2015

 Capone at Comisky Park in 1931, before his conviction.

Al Capone at Comisky Park, 1931. Courtesey of the Chicago History Museum.


Don't worry folk!  A new episode is on its way this week!



May 4, 2015


Warning: The Following Article Contains Graphic Images

Please permit me a bit of historic reflection. I'd like to think that, if nothing else, that's what The Historian's Movie Review is about.

Today is May 4th which, increasingly has come to be a semi-well-known nerd holiday about Star Wars (May the Fourth Be With You, eh?)

But for me, as a historian, I see it differently. It was on this day in 1970 that four students were shot and killed on the campus of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.


Now, I wasn't alive during the Kent State shooting, and some of you out there might be saying "why are you even writing about this?" I write about it because I grew up about an hour east of Kent, and because the event looms large for me as a historian. I am writing about this, too, because it is important. Because it needs to be remembered. All too often we can forget or marginalize or boil down important events in the past into a soundbite or a fun trivia fact or, in this case, a popular song which gets tons of airplay on a single day.

For me, though, Kent State is much more than that. The events are still alive and well in the classes I teach, and those students affected are real people. 


When nearly 2,000 students gathered in front of Taylor Hall on the morning of May 4th Kent State University had experienced several days of protests both on campus and in the vicinity of downtown Kent. Students were protesting not only American involvement in Vietnam and the recent announcement that American troops would be invading Cambodia, but in a larger sense they were protesting the occupation of their campus by National Guard soldiers.


Ohio National Guard Soldiers Arriving at Kent State


Ohio National Guard Soldiers Surrounding burned ROTC Building at Kent State.


Ohio National Guard Advancing against protestors, Kent State University

Those Guardsmen were doing what they felt was their duty -- to quell violence on a college campus. Similarly, students involved in the protest were doing what they felt was their duty -- protesting American involvement in Vietnam. But, what I think can get lost in remembering of the event is that there is no good guy or bad guy. It is the true definition of a tragedy.


Jeffery Miller and Mary Anne Vecchio

The most shocking thing about Kent State was that it happened in a sleepy suburban community called Kent, Ohio. You'd expect this kind of thing to happen in Vietnam, or the Soviet Union, or any of a number of corrupt third-world nations. But, this was a college campus in the United States of America. 


Jeffery Miller Shot at Kent State, Courtesey of John Filo

Forty-five years on we need to remember this. My fear is that my children won't, and at best it will be lumped in with so many other remembrance days like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Pearl Harbor Day. At worst, it will be remembered as a minor footnote to history that is only significant to a scattering of historians or a college student cramming for a final exam. So, in the midst of your day at work, or school, or binge-watching Star Wars films take a moment at 12:24pm to remember Jeffery Glenn Miller, Allison B. Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Lee Scheuer.




May 4th Visitor's Center, Kent State University

Kent State Shooting, Ohio History Center

13 Seconds: A Look Back at Kent State



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