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Lecture 8

AMST 35A Lecture 8: H: 8. Hollywood at War

8 Pages

American Studies
Course Code
AMST 35a
Doherty Thomas

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WWII 1939-1941 (distinctive 3 years) ● Europe was in war, but US was in isolation (not in war) ● Hollywood starts to form their own policy ○ Anti-Nazi (don’t want US boys to fight in European Wars) ○ Pro-defense films ○ Pro-British films ● Warner Brothers starts the film ● New Roosevelt’s defense program (September 1940 before election) ○ The First Peacetime draft passes ● Social folkway ○ Americans become more defensive ○ E.g. The Man I Married Movies from the end of WWI to the eve of WWII ● The Big Parade ● Tone: Anti-war ○ In the past: WWI was meaningless war, war is bad ○ Now: war is bad, but Nazi is more bad ○ E.g. 1941 Sergeant York ■ York thinks it is immoral to sell his story of killing people ■ Later he was convinced that his story can be educational ■ To persuade people that your country has the right to call on you if it’s in war The Renewal of the peace draft ● Pass by 1 vote ● Sergeant York has an impact on the voting as almost everyone has watch the film at that time “If you want to send a message, use Western Union” - Sam Goldwyn ● Americans don’t want to send a message through films ● Motion picture is a great tool for promotion, education, propaganda… ○ You can know what you have to do when you are in war ● George Fred, William Willer, John Fred, Frank (no knowledge of documentary film, hasn’t made a documentary before) Advertisement about War ● This is how a NEW 1943 NORGE would look in your kitchen → show patriotism ● All consumer goods are moved to the military ○ E.g. home appliances, rubber, new car, chocolate, sugar ■ Popcorns are getting popular because candies are sent to the military The WWII Films ● The US Military comes in Air force ○ The twenty-six men needed to fly and service a B-17E in 1942 ■ Everyone is important in the crew (we want the teamplayer) ■ Sports can tell the importance of teamwork ● Tell a different value in the hollywood film ○ In the past: the pilot gets the girl ○ Now: everyone is equally important! (Air Force 1943) ● Do what’s the best for the military: “I did my bit” ● Every genre is subsumed for the war time (including musical, films…) Two kinds of regulators during WWII (Beginning 1942) ● The Breen Office (PCA) ○ For the moral universe ● The Motion Picture Bureau of the OWI (Office of War Information) ○ For the America-at-war Themes emphasizing in the films 1. Teamwork 2. Tolerance ● Ethnic: Irish, Italian, Jews, Hispanics ● Different religious beliefs: Jewish, Catholic ● Geographical difference: Texes ● Age: older guy (pops), younger guys, German-American ● Problems with African-American: ○ 10% of Americans are not part of the US ■ They are segregated ● Problems with Asian-Americans: ○ Japanese enemy vs Chinese friend (Tell the difference by introducing themselves) ■ Educate the audience ■ Celebrate the allies of the war, fighting together The Actors (for films emphasizing on teamwork) ● Clark Gable: always the hero in the film ● Actors cannot be big star ○ People’s eye bowls will be drawn to them instead ● Character actors who are not stars are used Hollywood Goes to War (We will all “do our bit” “for the duration”) ● Documentary (realistic genre) ○ Newsreels ■ It’s affecting your life, become more compelling, dramatic ○ Combat reports ■ 20min, come after newsreel ■ E.g. the Battle of Terror ○ Documentary features ○ Wartime “propaganda” films ○ Combat instructions ● Fiction (traditional genre) ○ Hollywood genre-work redefined for wartime values ○ *The WWII Combat Film (distinct genre) ■ *Teamwork, tolerance, and sacrifice (the films celebrates) ○ The Homefront Melodrama ■ There are no civilians, really ● Every genre is mobilized for the war ● People get a little sentimental when talking about the films Combat reports ● Takes 2-3 weeks to get the footage ● In WWI propaganda: Over the top patriotism → a lie ● WWII movies tend to be big boy movies because they are fighting in the war and know more about war Emergence of documentaries is where the action is: ● The real stuff not soundstage recreations ● Token of cinematic reality is botched cinema ● Importance of teamwork ● One of them can be me ETO (European Theatre of Operation) Pacific Theatre Nazi “Japs” Ideology race Defeat extermination Familiar alien territory Women just the guys Front page of Life magazine December 22, 1941 Women in WWII films ● Women are getting less feminine ● E.g. William Wyler’s Mrs. Miniver (1942) ○ In the beginning: what to buy? ○ At the end: homefront soldier against Nazi ● Everybody is a soldier, everybody can die (both male and female) ● E.g. Edward Dmytryk’s Tender Comrade (1943), John Cromwell’s Since You Run Away (1944), So Proudly We Hail (1944), Richard Thorpe’s Cry Havoc (1943) Nazi genocide on the American screen 1945 Newsreel ● “Don’t turn away. Look” ○ The scenes are terrifying ○ Other films cannot show because of the code ● Everybody need to see it ○ Unbelievable ○ Verify about propaganda ● Jews aren’t mentioned by name The Holocaust on Screen: A Rough Taxonomy of the Holocaust on Screen Working Definition: Holocaust cinema embraces any motion picture or television show, documentary or fiction, that derives its content or emotional core from the genocidal campaign waged by Nazi Germany, preeminently but not exclusively, against European Jewry. It need not be set during the Third Reich or depict Nazi depredations or death camps, but its interest in the means of discrimination and extermination must be central not peripheral. ● The newsreels are not under
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