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Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939

ISBN-10: 0231163924

ISBN-13: 9780231163927

Edition: 2013

Authors: Thomas Doherty

List price: $35.00
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Description:

The abundance of WWII-era documentaries and the huge cache of archival footage that has emerged since 1945 make it seem as if cinematic images of the Nazis were always as vivid and plentiful as they are today. Yet between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more distinct and ominous only as the decade wore on. Recapturing what ordinary Americans saw on the screen during the emerging Nazi threat, Thomas Doherty reclaims forgotten films, such as Hitler's Reign of Terror (1934), a pioneering anti-Nazi docu-drama by Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr.; I Was a Captive of Nazi Germany (1936), a sensational true tale of "a Hollywood girl in Naziland!"; and Professor Mamlock (1938), an anti-Nazi film made by German refugees living in the Soviet Union. Doherty also recounts how the disproportionately Jewish backgrounds of the executives of the studios and the workers on the payroll shaded reactions to what was never simply a business decision. His history features a cast of charismatic personalities: Carl Laemmle, the German Jewish founder of Universal Pictures, whose production of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) enraged the nascent Nazi movement; Georg Gyssling, the Nazi counsel in Los Angeles, who read the Hollywood trade press as avidly as any studio mogul; Vittorio Mussolini, son of the fascist dictator and aspiring motion picture impresario; Leni Riefenstahl, the Valkyrie goddess of the Third Reich who came to America to peddle distribution rights for Olympia (1938); screenwriters Donald Ogden Stewart and Dorothy Parker, founders of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League; and Harry and Jack Warner of Warner Bros., who yoked anti-Nazism to patriotic Americanism and finally broke the embargo against anti-Nazi cinema with Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939). As Europe hurtled toward war, a proxy battle was waged in Hollywood over how to conduct business with the Nazis; over whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood feature films; and over how to cover Hitler and his victims in the newsreels. Should Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm?
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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 4/2/2013
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.100

Thomas Doherty is professor of American studies at Brandeis University. He serves on the editorial board of Cineasteand is the author of Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture; Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality, and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930-1934; Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II; and Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s.