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Martyrs, Miracles, and Martians: Religion and Cold War Cinematic Propaganda in the 1950s


This article examines Cold War film propaganda in the 1950s, when the cinema was enjoying its last period as the dominant visual mass entertainment form in both the West and the East. It concentrates on the role that religion played as a theme of propaganda primarily in British and American movies, as well as some of the Soviet films released during the decade. The article explores the relationship between film output and state propagandists to show how religious themes were incorporated into films dealing with Cold War issues, and considers how audiences received the messages contained within these films. The article therefore builds on recent scholarship that highlights the importance of ideas and culture during the Cold War by looking at the adoption and adaptation of religion as a tool of propaganda.

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