AMERICAN CINEMA OF THE 1940S: THEMES AND VARIATIONS
The 1940s was a watershed decade not only for the American cinema, but also for the nation as a whole. Shaking off the grim legacy of the Depression, Hollywood launched an unprecedented wave of production, producing some of its most memorable classics, including Citizen Kane, Rebecca, Argentine Nights, The Lady Eve, Sergeant York, and How Green Was My Valley. In 1942, however, Hollywood joined the national war effort with a vengeance, giving way to a series of patriotic and escapist films, such as Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Road to Morocco, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.
With the end of the war in 1945, returning GIs faced a new America, in which the country had been transformed overnight. Film Noir reflected a new public mood of pessimism and paranoia, in such classic films of betrayal and conflict as Kiss of Death, Force of Evil, Caught, and Apology for Murder, depicting a poisonous universe of femme fatales, crooked lawyers, and corrupt politicians.
With the threat of the atom bomb lurking in the background, and the beginnings of the Hollywood blacklist in 1947, the 1940s was a decade of crisis and change. Featuring essays by a group of respected film scholars and historians, American Cinema of the 1940s brings this dynamic and turbulent decade to life. Illustrated with many rare stills and filled with provocative insights, American Cinema of the 1940s will appeal to students, teachers, and to all those interested in cultural history, and American film of the twentieth century.
Table of Contents:
Timeline: The 1940s
Wheeler Winston Dixon
Introduction: Movies and the 1940s
1940: Movies and the Reassessment of America
1941: Movies on the Edge of War
Steven Jay Schneider
1942: Movies and the March to War
1943: Movies and National Identity
1944: Movies and the Renegotiation of Genre
Kristine Butler Karlson
1945: Movies and the March Home
Wheeler Winston Dixon
1946: Movies and Postwar Recovery
1947: Movies and the Blacklist
1948: Movies and the Family
1949: Movies and the Fate of Genre
Select Academy Awards, 1940-1949
Works Cited and Consulted
Paper ISBN 0-8135-3700-2
Cloth ISBN 0-8135-3699-5
Pages: 272 pp. 33 b&w illus.
About the Author: Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Endowed Professor of Film Studies, Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Coordinator of the Film Studies Program at UNL. His many books include A History of Horror (Rutgers University Press, 2010), Film Noir and The Cinema of Paranoia (Rutgers University Press and Edinburgh University Press, 2009), and A Short History of Film, written with Gwendolyn Audrey Foster (Rutgers University Press and I.B. Tauris, 2008). As a filmmaker, his complete works are in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, following a career retrospective at MoMA in 2003.
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