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Genre, history, national cinema

This book undertakes a consideration of the depiction of naval warfare within British and American cinema. The films (ranging from examples from the interwar period, the Second World War, the Cold War and contemporary cinema) encompass all areas of naval operations in war, and highlight varying institutional and aesthetic responses to navies and the sea in popular culture. Examination of the films centres on their similarities to and differences from the conventions of the war genre as described in earlier analyses, and seeks to determine whether the distinctive characteristics of naval film narratives justify their categorisation as a separate genre or sub-genre in popular cinema. The explicit factual bases and drama-documentary style of many key naval films (such as In Which We Serve, They Were Expendable and Das Boot) also require a consideration of them as texts for popular historical transmission. Their frequent reinforcement of establishment views of the past, which derives from their conservative ideological position towards national and naval culture, makes these films key texts for the consideration of national cinemas as purveyors of contemporary history as popularly conceived by filmmakers and received by audiences.

The Spanish Civil War in cinema

This book charts the changing nature of cinematic depictions of the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, a significant number of artists, filmmakers and writers – from George Orwell and Pablo Picasso to Joris Ivens and Joan Miró – rallied to support the country's democratically elected Republican government. The arts have played an important role in shaping popular understandings of the Spanish Civil War, and the book examines the specific role cinema has played in this process. Its focus is on fictional feature films produced within Spain and beyond its borders between the 1940s and the early years of the twenty-first century – including Hollywood blockbusters, East European films, the work of the avant garde in Paris and films produced under Franco's censorial dictatorship.

TNWC03 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 80 3 Hollywood and the one-ocean war The contribution of the American film industry to the war effort can be divided chronologically between preparatory propagandist films made before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and combat films made after it, and formally between non-fiction (newsreels, documentary and instructional films) and feature film productions. As in Britain, a convoluted relationship between the propaganda arm of government and the filmmaking establishment was wrought to mobilise and exploit the entertainment industry

in The naval war film

TNWC05 16/11/06 11:26 AM Page 120 5 American films of the Cold War Representations of naval operations, up to and including actual combat, in films made during the Cold War appear as varied and problematic as the political and operational complexities afflicting the navies themselves in that period. The moral clarity and narrative certainty sought in the war film genre, as it had evolved during the Second World War (in the clear delineation of goals, the unity to be sought and the enemies to be defeated in order to achieve them), were not readily or

in The naval war film

TNWC04 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 103 4 The submarine war and the submarine film The United States submarine was destined to be one of the most devastating weapons in the Pacific . . . Nearly one third of all Japanese combatant ships destroyed and nearly two thirds of merchant tonnage sunk was the work of United States submarines.1 The campaign conducted by US Navy submarines against enemy shipping in the Pacific was a crucial (and according to some accounts, decisive) factor in Japan’s capitulation.2 For the purposes of filmic representation, this aspect of

in The naval war film

TNWC02 16/11/06 11:27 AM Page 54 2 Post-war British naval films and the service comedy The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. Absolutely true to the feelings of the 1950s, sufficiently true to the facts of 1939 to 1945, they now serve as an extraordinarily detailed as well as compact encyclopaedia of these facts and feelings.1 The treatment of World War II in British cinema persisted and even extended in the post-war period. The insistence

in The naval war film
For Whom the Bell Tolls

Now it is necessary that we see the democratic-fascist battle as a whole and recognize that what the Loyalists were fighting for is essentially the same thing that we are. To focus too much attention on the chinks in our allies’ armour is just what our enemies might wish. Perhaps it is realistic, but it is also going to be confusing to American audiences. US Office of War Information For Whom the Bell Tolls script review, 14 October 1942 (quoted in Koppes and Black, 2000 : 71) At the height of the 2008 United States presidential campaign, the

in The war that won't die
Open Access (free)

1 War Introduction This I feel. A curse. Mother said it more than once, ‘You could be killed over there, Oliver,’ as if I were incompetent, not man enough to take care of myself; I hated her motherlove arrogance. Did I listen? Did it make sense? Mothers are cowards. Curses passed down the vaginal passageways deep to man. True as true can be. I told her that I didn’t really want to go back to Yale, I was an adventurer, just like her and went to Vietnam instead. But I wonder what she’ll say when she finds out about this. My limbs stiffening, waiting in this groin

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
Fünf Patronenhülsen/Five Cartridges

The Spanish Civil War provided material for the great myth of East Germany from its earliest days. From the ranks of the International Brigades came trusted and proven ideologues, and from the stories of its heroics came models of socialist sacrifice. In the cult of antifascism, victims of both National Socialism/fascism and Stalinism were linked together and became posthumous victors. They were raised to the rank of immortality, but the symbolic use of their names diverged completely from the historical persons: they became a type, a collective identity

in The war that won't die
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4 War and order One of the most pervasive myths reiterated in Hollywood movies is the narrative of virtuous and hence legitimate order – the story of the good nation, the good society, and legitimate leadership and authority. Films which focus on order, on ‘us’, elicit a sense of identification with ‘home’, linking not only self and collective but also citizen and nation in positive, active constructions of security. This construction of security is found in a relatively limited array of genres. By contrast, those which concentrate on disorder, fear of them

in The cultural politics of contemporary Hollywood film