The civil war in film

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In June 1937, Norman Rockwell’s painting The Gaiety Dance Team appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. The image portrayed Dolores and Eddie, formerly successful stage dancers now rendered broke, unemployed, and bereft of their trademark cheer. Rockwell, ever the astute observer of popular trends and tastes, left no doubt as to why these vaudeville performers were down on their luck. Tucked into Eddie’s pocket is a well-read issue of Variety magazine, teeming with news of a booming motion picture industry that had trampled the live dance and comedy circuit. The cinema had enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity among Americans during the early twentieth century, particularly with the emergence of the first feature-length sound films of the late 1920s. By the time the Post printed its Dance Team cover, millions of Americans had embraced motion pictures as a new and exciting form of paid entertainment. And because filmmakers mined the past for narrative content, many Americans came to learn US history from the movie house as much as from the library, university, or lectern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of the American Civil War
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3, Affairs of the People
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781316650721
ISBN (Print)9781107154544
StatePublished - Oct 11 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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