Book Report on Robert Toplin's "Reel History"

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Film HistoryReview of "Reel History" by Robert ToplinAs far back as the creation of mankind, humans have had the need to exaggerate or manipulate reality in an attempt to make themselves or their situations appear grandeur and thus more appealing. The original cave man could be caught drawing larger and additional animals on the walls of his cave that tell the story of him being a mighty hunter and thus impressing the short supply of women in the area. We have all heard the story of the big fish that got away from the fisherman trying to impress his audience or the guy who just could not be left alone by his adoring throngs of female admirers. In the same fashion, historic film also takes poetic license in respect to dressing up the truth in order to make it more interesting and more entertaining to the general public. However, those who speak and write about history also exercise degrees of interpretive license. Teachers and scholars are selective in the way they privilege facts in their narratives, and draw conclusions in partisan ways (pg. 2). Robert Toplin, in his book Reel History, defends the film industrys use of exaggeration and poetic license in delivering entertainment and history to the general public in order to entice them to become subjected to a taste of history. I agree with Mr. Toplin that it is better to have an altered view of history than no view at all.

In his effort to endorse the film industrys view of the historic genre of film, Mr. Toplin then goes on to defend the many arguments presented by critics that feel that historic producers are bending history for the purpose of entertainment and therefore offer no historic value to the film goers. Firstly, Mr. Toplin believes that cinematic history would never come to the screen if it could not excite the interest of a wide range of viewers with different income levels, cultural interests and educational achievements (pg. 10). Like any other business, its number one concern is staying in...
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