Tales From the Cutting Room Floor
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 25, Numbers 1-2, 1995
- pp. 1-3
- Additional Information
AHA Meeting · F & H Reception in Las Vegas | Editor's Corner Peter C. Rollins Editor-in-Chief Tales From the Cutting Room Floor The 1996 American Historical Association Meeting John O'Connor and Peter Rollins attended the American Historical Association meeting in January this year to field the Historians Film Committee session and to spread the word about its activities as an affiliated organization to the AHA. On Friday evening, the Film & Historysession addressed the issue of WWII: Propaganda For Everyman. The keynote speaker was Robert Fyne, author of The Hollywood Propaganda of WWII (Scarecrow Press, 1995)-and Book Review Editor for Film & History. In his inimitable way, Prof. Fyne (Kean College of NJ) described and introduced a 65-minute film entitled Gangway for Tomorrow (1944), a film in the "B-movie" mode, aimed at the home front audience of war workers. A group of factory workers, participating in a car pool, make their way to work. Although ordinary folk on the outside, each has a secret and dramatic life leading up to the factory job and each has been redeemed spiritually by contributing to the national crusade to the defeat of Fascism. In the concluding scene, the workers walk arm-in-arm from the parking lot to the airplane factory where they will contribute to an allied victory. John O'Connor, author of The Image as Artifact (Malabar, Fl.: R.E. Kreiger, 1990) spoke to the audience about how the film could be used to document theDr RobertFyne.Keynoter war years. He suggested research sources and strategies to enhance an understanding of the images, stressing that "the film is not the only evidence about the film." Vol. 25, No. 1-2, 1995 | 1 Rollins I Tales From The Cutting Room Floor Peter Rollins suggested ways in which a popular culture scholar might approach the film. The five vignettes in the film (one for each character, explaining the special link to the war experience) are mini-examples of the popular formulae of the film industrytapping audience exposure to sports/success films; gangster films; entertainment/success films. In addition, the filmmaker clearly molded episodes to trigger memories of such famous films as Casablanca and The Grapes ofWrath, not to mention The OxBow Incident. Indeed, Gangway for Tomorrow is a veritable jukebox of recognizable formulas and allusions—and thus John O'ConnorComments.a film aimed wkh great accuracy at a pool of genre associations held by a mass of Americans. Robert Matson, moderator of the session, opened the discussion to the floor—at which point the room went wild. The audience had so much to say and so many good things to say! People were interrupting each other, they were so excited. The program said "The Audience" at the bottom of the session; little did we know how prophetic the prediction would be. (Prof. Fyne later received an invitation to speak at Oxford University on the topic—minus the commentators, alas.) Later in the day, the John O'Connor Award (for best historical film) was conveyed to an episode of Tifie American Experience, an episode dealing with FDR. It was indeed a pleasure to sit in the audience and hear the O'Connor Award being conveyed . John O'Connor has been an inspiration to us all—the staff, the Editorial Board, and the readers of Film & History. Rob Toplin, film correspondent for Perspectives, the newsletter of the American Historical Association, took time to congratulate John O'Connor on the annual success of the O'Connor Award. The two senior professors attend a special reception by HNET , the internet connection for Prof. Matson keepsthe peace.historians and humanists. (See picture, below.) A very busy Greg Bush took time out from his interviewing duties to pass on the mantle of Editorship of Film & History to Peter Rollins. We are delighted to announce that our session for the New York meeting of the American Historical Association will feature a distinguished panel chaired by Prof. Robert Toplin. (See picture with John O'Connor.) The auteur of Nixon, Oliver Stone will discuss his film. He will be followed by two commentators—George McGovern and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. This cluster of talent and experience should make for a dynamic...