Previous studies of Hollywood “runaway production” after World War II have emphasized the economic motives of Hollywood producers taking their cameras overseas and the cultural significance of the completed films as reflecting a transnational or cosmopolitan worldview. Focused analyses of films produced in Japan in the 1950s argue their Orientalist leanings in subject, theme, and/or visual design, with the Cold War as a defining backdrop. Using these studies as a point of departure, this essay proposes an approach to these films that complicates their creation, and their impact, by taking into account the exigencies and the point of view of the host country. The difficulties of overseas production, censorship, and marketing to Japanese audiences determined much of the content of these films, even as they catered to American interests. Using materials from production files, script collections, and American and Japanese periodicals, this essay will illustrate a form of early Cold War media culture in terms of an industrial and commercial practice that compromised individual works to serve an international marketplace. While interrogating the concept of “Cold War Orientalism,” this article seeks a nuanced approach to postwar overseas location shooting.


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pp. 39-50
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