Hollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits, and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies

TitleHollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits, and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsKoppes, Clayton R., and Gregory D. Black
Number of Pages390
PublisherFree Press
CityNew York

Conflicting interests and conflicting attitudes toward the war characterized the uneasy relationship between Washington and Hollywood during World War II. There was deep disagreement within the film-making community as to the stance towards the war that should be taken by one of America's most lucrative industries. This volume reveals the powerful role played by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Office of War Information—staffed by some of America's most famous intellectuals including Elmer Davis, Robert Sherwood, and Archibald MacLeish—in shaping the films that were released during the war years. Ironically, it was the film industry's own self-censorship system, the Hays Office and the Production Code Administration, that paved the way for government censors to cut and shape movies to portray an idealized image of a harmonious American society united in the fight against a common enemy. The authors reconstruct the power struggles between the legendary producers, writers, directors, stars and politicians all seeking to project their own visions onto the silver screen and thus to affect public perceptions and opinion.

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