Tuesday, May 26, 2015
THC likes early Texas history (see Sam Houston: The Raven & The Alamo Series) so on Monday evening he got suckered into watching the first night of the three-part History Channel series Texas Rising covering events from the fall of the Alamo (March 6, 1836) to the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto (April 21, 1836) a time also known as the Runaway Scrape because of the retreat of the Texian army and the panicked flight of many Anglo families in its wake.
What a mess is Texas Rising! Horrible dialogue, bizarrely misplaced geography, odd characterizations and historically unreliable. THC knows better than to expect complete historic fidelity in any work of popular entertainment but it's almost as though Texas Rising set out to deliberately mangle the saga of the Texas Revolution. Here, have a look. And carefully take in that first scene set on a cliff towering over the landscape, quite unlike anything you'll find in coastal Texas where these events took place.
In just the first few minutes last night we saw (1) the wrong date given for the fall of the Alamo; (2) the Alamo pictured as a formidable fortress rather than the rundown mission it was; (3) a miraculous "lone survivor" from the garrison's defenders and (4) a "freed" black man executed as one of the remaining six defenders captured at the end of the battle, even though no freed blacks fought with the garrison and the Mexican army took care not to kill the few slaves they found at the Alamo after their owners had been killed. And further to that last point, later in the show we learn from Sam Houston himself that "Texas is slave free" which would have come as a surprise to the several thousand slaves owned by Anglo settlers.
It's too bad because they recruited quite a good group of actors including Bill Paxton (though he is terribly miscast as Houston), Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Christopher McDonald (who achieved screen immortality as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore), Jeremy Davies and Kris Kristofferson as President Andrew Jackson! (Fraser, Liotta, McDonald, Davies below)
If you're interested in that era of Texas just go read THC's posts.