Post by Rich Curilla on Jun 29, 2015 16:39:53 GMT -5
Just came across this excellent article by Jeanie Jakle of the San Antonio Express applauding Alamo Movies and expressing why they are important to Alamo History as well as the City of San Antonio. Dr. Richard Bruce Winders brings some truisms to light as well.......
Post by Rich Curilla on Jun 30, 2015 13:17:26 GMT -5
Well.... Sorry. I didn't know this article was going to go incognito after setting up a thread to house it. It's a great article -- for anybody who happens to have a "digital subscription" to the "news" paper.
I was able to read her column online before it became limited only to Express-News digital subscribers. A good yarn with some good points. Thank you for posting the link. The newspaper may free it up for everybody before long.
Post by Rich Curilla on Jun 30, 2015 23:03:36 GMT -5
Here is the article:
‘Alamo’ films brought Hollywood thrills to S.A. Experts: Movies entertained and inspired many
By Jeanne Jakle June 28, 2015 Updated: June 28, 2015 10:05pm
John Wayne starred as Davy Crockett in the 1960 movie “The Alamo.”
Hollywood’s sweeping depictions of the Battle of the Alamo and its defenders over the years haven’t exactly gotten raves from history buffs and scholars.
“People who know history shouldn’t watch movies,” said Bruce Winders, Alamo historian and curator for almost 20 years. “They’re never going to meet your level of expectation. I’ve had to accept that these aren’t documentaries. Movies are works of art. They’re interpretations of events, and that’s how you have to view them.”
However, Winders added, the positive impact of some of these big movie and TV productions, such as John Wayne’s classic 1960 film “The Alamo” and the grittier 2004 version of the story starring Billy Bob Thornton, seem to balance out the negatives.
For one thing, they’ve brought a level of excitement to San Antonio: Hollywood-style premieres and galas that have drawn major stars such as Wayne, Thornton, Richard Widmark, Dennis Quaid, Bill Paxton and Kris Kristofferson, to the Alamo City.
Such highly publicized visits provide invaluable exposure for San Antonio and help boost tourism here, said Dee Dee Poteete, director of regional communications for the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Anytime Hollywood shines the spotlight on our city — that’s golden in terms of awareness and exposure,” she said.
Just as important, however, is the spark such movies can ignite in the various generations that watch them, Winders said.
Each time kids see one, the historian said, it serves as “their gateway to Texas history.”
“Look at the whole generation of boys and girls who saw ‘Davy Crockett’ on TV in 1955 or the John Wayne movie in 1960,” he said. “It created an interest, set them on a course of life where history was part of who they were. You can see a movie and accept it, or it speaks to you and you’ve got to know more.”
As for the 2004 Disney film, produced by Ron Howard and directed by John Lee Hancock, it may have been a box-office disappointment, Winders said, “but kids who have watched that movie in years since have said it had a similar effect on them that the Wayne movie did on earlier generations.”
Regarding the 10-hour TV miniseries “Texas Rising,” which recently aired on the History channel, Winders acknowledged that, “yes, there have been criticisms about … different story lines.” On the plus side, he added, the show tried something different: “It goes beyond the Alamo, captures more of the Texas Revolution. It should be applauded for that.”
The miniseries also brought a battalion of Hollywood stars to San Antonio for a May gala at the Alamo. The event helped promote the Alamo Endowment, which is stepping up efforts to raise funds for structural preservation, along with construction of a new museum and visitor center.
Few will disagree that the most thrilling of San Antonio’s Hollywood celebrations happened nearly 55 years ago with the glittery world premiere of Wayne’s “Alamo.” Wayne not only starred as Crockett, but also produced the movie.
“Great movie,” Winders said, “bad history. What it does do well, though, is capture the spirit of the Alamo. It’s still beloved today.”
The three-day party that culminated with the Oct. 24, 1960, premiere at the Woodlawn Theatre pulled out all the stops, according to a 2010 story in the San Antonio Express-News. There was a special river parade; 1,000 Alamo trail riders in a mounted convoy from Brackettville, where the movie was shot; a symphony concert, fireworks and marching bands; and a Hollywood-style spotlight that shone on Wayne, Widmark (Jim Bowie), Laurence Harvey (William Travis), Richard Boone (Sam Houston) and others.
Steven Stoli, playwright and former manager of the Alamo’s membership support program, was only 7 at the time, but he said he’ll never forget “crying my eyes out” at the end of the movie. He also got to meet his big-screen hero.
“My dad was over 6 feet tall, but it seems like John Wayne towered over him,” Stoli recalled in an email. “Even though I was tall for my age, I think I was eye to eye with his kneecaps. He bent down and we were close to eye to eye, and I am pretty sure he said, ‘Well, howdy, little partner.’ I know I met others that night, but I really only remember ‘The Duke.’”
An impressive array of stars also came out nearly 44 years later for the 2004 premiere of “The Alamo” at the Majestic Theatre.
Among those who walked the special yellow carpet that wound from the Alamo to the Majestic Theater were Thornton (Crockett), Quaid (Houston), Patrick Wilson (Travis) and Jason Patric (Bowie). According to an Express-News story, excited locals lined Houston Street, shrieking as they craned their necks hoping to catch a glimpse of the visiting celebrities.
Thornton played to the crowds and press, unbuttoning his shirt and peeling it off his shoulder to reveal his Alamo tattoo. Thornton said he got it in Austin while filming the movie as “a tribute to all the people who died at the Alamo, the Texans and the Mexicans.”
On being in San Antonio for the premiere, the actor said with feeling: “This was the only place it could have happened.”
After the movie, the filmmakers, stars and dignitaries were treated to a catered dinner in tents set up in Alamo Plaza. Bands enter-tained and a fireworks display capped off the night.
“There’s no comparison between a premiere like this and one in Hollywood,” said Hancock, the movie’s director. “You get a sense here that it really matters. You can sense the electricity. It’s such an inspiration to have all this right down the street from the Alamo.”
Poteete, who helped organize the 2004 event, said the city’s goal was to make it a night to remember. “For this premiere, we worked with hundreds of Disney-credentialed media in San Antonio,” she said. “But we thought beyond local. We also leveraged this opportunity to work with Texas Tourism to hold media-event private showings in New York and London. The message of the Alamo — the price of freedom — is truly universal.”