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Films of the 1950s Conformity and Rebellion. Anticommunism before WWII Fears of “premature anti-Fascists” such as Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, etc.

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Presentation on theme: "Films of the 1950s Conformity and Rebellion. Anticommunism before WWII Fears of “premature anti-Fascists” such as Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, etc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Films of the 1950s Conformity and Rebellion

2 Anticommunism before WWII Fears of “premature anti-Fascists” such as Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, etc. before WWII Support for republican Spain during the 1937 Spanish Civil War House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) chaired by Martin Dies in WWII pro-Soviet films: Mission to Moscow, Song of Russia

3 Postwar Anticommunism HUAC chaired by J. Parnell Thomas calls “friendly” witnesses such as Gary Cooper, Ronald Reagan, and Walt Disney. “Unfriendly” witnesses: the Hollywood Ten, including Alvah Bessie, Ring Lardner Junior, Dalton Trumbo, among others, sought to assert their constitutional rights and invoke the First Amendment. Result: being blacklisted

4 1950s April through June 1954: Army-McCarthy hearings were broadcast upon Senator Joseph McCarthy’s accusations of Communists in the State Department. The pro-Soviet films of the war years gave way to anti-communist films such as The Red Menace Naming names

5 Protests in Film Science fiction: Invaders from Mars, Invasion of the Body Snatchers Westerns: High Noon, Johnny Guitar On the Waterfront, written by Budd Schulberg: corrupt union [Communist leadership] tries to break the individual (Marlon Brando) who courageously names names.

6 Protests against Social Injustice Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), anti- Semitism. Border Incident (1949), exploitation of Mexican immigrants Giant (1954), protesting racism Imitation of Life (1934 and 1959), racism and racial passing Storm Warning (1951), against the Ku Klux Klan

7 The Two Sides of Suburban Domesticity Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948): comedy All That Heaven Allows (1954): domestic melodrama directed by Douglas Sirk that uses Thoreau’s Walden as a means of protesting the stifling conformity of middle-class consumerism.

8 A Place in the Sun Based on Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy (1925), which was based on the Chester Gillette-Grace Brown case of Film version directed by Josef von Sternberg, An American Tragedy (1931). Dreiser sued Paramount. tm tm Protagonist caught between classes and trying to live the American dream.


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