My proposed project is a comparative look at the differences between a Hollywood rendering of history and a historical event through careful analysis of primary resource materials that still exist. Specifically, I plan to investigate the events surrounding the Matewan Massacre in 1921 and the 1987 film “Matewan” directed by John Sayles.
My intention is to focus on Sid Hatfield’s role as a character in the film and the actual event as a narrative thread between the film and event. But I want to avoid delving into a single character analysis and compare and contrast the event. I plan to approach this project in much the same way I would approach any research project. Though the medium is different, I plan to evaluate the this event through an analysis of the film, archival research in Charleston, West Virginia and The National Archives.
I also plan to include primary source materials such as new paper articles and the audio archives housed in Charleston with over 100 known audio interviews. I am working to gain access to Sid Hatfield’s family records and contacts through his family members. I’m also consdering doing some research and /or interviews in Matewan, WV as well.
I hope to investigate the these differences and whether the memory of this event changed or effected after the film was released in Matewan.