This statement by the founding editor of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television makes a useful starting point for a book entitled Film and History because it makes a crucial methodological distinction between the subject of film history (‘Historians whose interest is the movies,’ Short amplifies, ‘are committed to researching an important international industry which has aspects which are economic, technological, social, psychological and aesthetical’) and a broader group who are not necessarily interested in the medium in its own right but who may nevertheless draw upon it in their work (‘The historian who is interested in the movies is motivated by the question of whether the central line of research can be supported or illuminated by evidence drawn from the world of the movies’). So, while a film historian researching, say, Gladiator (2000) would seek to document the making of the film, consider its relationship to other films by its director Ridley Scott, analyse its reception and perhaps speculate on the reasons for its popularity with audiences, other historians might use the film either as evidence of popular views of the society and politics of Ancient Rome at the end of the twentieth century, or perhaps as a reflection of ideological and cultural issues affecting its country of origin, the United States of America, in the year 2000.
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