Cinema and the State

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Whether by an Eisenstein or Riefenstahl, Capra or Spielberg, film has been seen as a weapon of disinformation to shape men’s minds. The marriage of cinema and the state has been one of the most enduring (and insidious) partnerships of modern times. The disingenuous Hollywood establishment, in particular, never truly confronted its sordid past. Whether as propaganda mill for war and mass murder, shill for the CIA and the intelligence community, or distorter of simple historical truths, Hollywood has been there. Numerous attempts have been made to catalog its deadly sins, both of omission and commission. But I would like to particularly draw LRC readers attention to two outstanding but very different scholarly treatments: Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s, by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley; and Radical Hollywood: The Untold Story Behind America’s Favorite Movies, by Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner. Both are excellent in documenting the unseen reality at play during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

12:42 pm on January 12, 2013