Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

One cannot even begin such a work without the support of an editor who not only believes in the project but also has the wisdom, skill, and grace to discipline its author. Jennifer Hammer has been such an astute critic and generous sponsor, one who adroitly cleared a path for me to follow, but also allowed me to wander off into the forest at...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Underground films, political films, avant-garde, experimental, educational, and documentary films—these renegade films bubble up and flow against the tide of dominant Hollywood products. Made in spite of a paucity of funding, resources, and support, and despite dim prospects...

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The Brazen Serpent

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pp. 15-54

Positive church relations with the moving pictures did not spring forth overnight. A history of theological resistance to images and amusements colored the uncertain reception that church leaders gave to the novel invention. Before the early-twentieth-century church embraced...

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Sanctuary Cinema

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pp. 55-116

In Sullivan’s Travels, director Preston Sturges’s 1941 satire on Hollywood filmmaking, a naive director of inane comedies wants to produce a socially significant drama. He takes to the road as a hobo, but is soon incarcerated in a chain gang. The oppressed prisoners are given a...

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Divine Shows

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pp. 117-178

In its first several decades, Hollywood attracted religious audiences by producing significant appropriate product such as the moral melodramas of director D. W. Griffith and the conversion westerns like Essanay’s “Broncho” Billy. Films like the secular Kalem Studio’s From...

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Better Films

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pp. 179-202

As nontheatrical church production waned and Hollywood’s productivity waxed, the church turned toward critiquing rather than creating film products. In response to the growing suspicion that Hollywood was the source of a creeping secularization, some church leaders joined...

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Conclusion

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pp. 203-224

By the late 1920s Hollywood executives were well aware of the religious milieu in which they sold their products; nevertheless they remained generally ignorant or dismissive of the theological and moral concerns of the Roman Catholic and Protestant constituency. In an apocryphal...

Notes

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pp. 225-292

Bibliography

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pp. 293-296

Index

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pp. 297-302

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About the Author

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p. 303

Terry Lindvall occupies the endowed C. S. Lewis Chair of Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan College. He previously taught at Duke University School of Divinity, Regent University, and was the Walter Mason Fellow of Religious Studies at the...