Action Heroines of History

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The year 2004 will not go down as a great vintage for historical movies, thanks to Troy, Alexander, King Arthur, etc. In contrast, films that feature original ideas, even if they are sequels, have done well, but there are so many interesting stories contained in history that I see no need to stick with the familiar. To illustrate this point I have compiled a selection of pieces on successful women from history, whose stories would all make good movies.

As well as factual details, the pieces include suggestions of how the films could be constructed to marry historical fact and cinematic drama. These are a pair of influences which tend to be uneasy bedfellows, but too often accuracy ends up sacrificed wholesale, for reasons which tend to be questionable at best. This isn’t necessary; as these cases show, there is potential for an interesting film that still remains credible.

The heroines come from widely different eras, and while they vary in their importance as far as making a difference, I find them all fascinating, and feel strongly that they deserve to be better known. Part of the reason they are not is, I believe, down to historians, who seem far more interested in women who meet with a tragic end. For example: Cleopatra (suicide), Boudicca (suicide), Joan of Arc (burned at the stake), or Mary Queen of Scots (beheaded). I’m sure that many people would appreciate a film featuring women who come out a winner, and these articles will hopefully generate some interest in such historical figures.

Making history: historical heroines to Hollywood

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