Film Criticism, the Cold War, and the Blacklist
Reading the Hollywood Reds
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of California Press
From the Publisher
Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Illustrations
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List of Tables
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Any time a book takes as long to write as this one has, one finds that there are many, many people who provided assistance and help along the way. The origins of Film Criticism, the Cold War, and the Blacklist date back to my time at Washington University in St. Louis. At the outset I especially want...
Introduction: What More Can Be Said about the Hollywood Blacklist?
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The notion that many films made between 1948 and 1960 commented on American politics of the period is so commonplace as to be banal. Several books analyze this relationship, ranging from Nora Sayre’s pioneering Running Time: Films of the Cold War, published in 1982, to J. Hoberman’s...
1. A Bifocal View of Hollywood during the Blacklist Period: Film as Propaganda and Allegory
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We have seen that a comparatively small but important group of postwar American films have been interpreted as Hollywood’s response to the Red Scare. But what produced this consensus view of postwar American cinema? Along with the appearance of the earliest histories of the blacklist and...
2. I Was a Communist for RKO: Hollywood Anti-Communism and the Problem of Representing Political Beliefs
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In the wake of the 1947 hearings conducted in Washington by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) Hollywood produced several overtly anti-Communist films. Film historians have offered slightly different accounts of the number of anti-Communist films made during the...
3. Reds and Blacks: Representing Race in Anti-Communist Films
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In a 1953 article for Sight and Sound, critic and future director Karel Reisz offered a catalog of various features common to anti-Communist films made in Hollywood. Besides the element of gangsterism, Reisz noted several other traits, including Communism’s relationship to science, intellectualism...
4. Stoolies, Cheese-Eaters, and Tie Sellers: Genre, Allegory, and the HUAC Informer
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No issue related to the Hollywood blacklist has been as contentious or as emotionally charged as the question of “naming names.” Although many of those blacklisted felt anger toward the studio executives and producers who callously cast them aside, a special sort of contempt was reserved for...
5. The Cross and the Sickle: Allegorical Representations of the Blacklist in Historical Films
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In an essay in Danse Macabre best-selling author Stephen King writes, “If horror movies have redeeming social merit, it is because of that ability to form liaisons between the real and unreal—to provide subtexts. And because of their mass appeal, these subtexts are often culture-wide.”1 For...
6. Roaming the Plains along the “New Frontier”: The Western as Allegory of the Blacklist and the Cold War
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As Time magazine’s review of the 1952 western California Conquest notes, the plot covers a period between 1825 and 1841, when “Mexico-ruled California was torn by internal strife, and Russia, France, England and the U.S. were trying to take over the territory.”1 Within this political tumult...
7. Loving the Alien: Science Fiction Cinema as Cold War Allegory
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On July 23, 1953, David Platt of the Daily Worker reported on a dispute between Hollywood studio bosses and J. Cheever Cowdin, new chief of the U.S. government’s overseas film program. Cowdin urged the studios to include more anti-Communist content in their work, but, according to...
Conclusion: Old Wounds and the Texas Sharpshooter
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While this manuscript was being reviewed, two things occurred that reinforce the roles of both the Hollywood blacklist and allegorical interpretation as important parts of contemporary film culture. First, on November 19, 2012, the Hollywood Reporter issued a public apology for its role in the...
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Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2014