Abstract/Details

HOLLYWOOD AND WORLD WAR II: ENLISTING FEATURE FILMS AS PROPAGANDA


1987 1987

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This study examines American war films released during World War II to determine what kinds of persuasive appeals were used to propagate support among the American people for the war. As well, the symbiotic wartime relationship between the Federal Government and the Hollywood film industry was investigated. The examination of 37 war films, 10 per cent of the total number of war films released from 1941 to 1945, yielded 48 different aural or visual persuasive appeals. These appeals were characterized in the form of statements with which their communicators desired the audience to agree. Examples include "The enemy is a savage, whose actions are cruel and barbaric," "We will win because the enemy underestimates our will," or "The enemy bombs indiscriminately." The appeals were classified under five main categories found throughout the history of war rhetoric: Guilt (the enemy, not we, caused this war), Satanism (comparisons that create polarities between us and our enemy, with the enemy always characterized in the negative), the Illusion of Victory (America's ultimate triumph is inevitable), Apocalypticism and Typology (Biblical metaphors and allusions promoting the notion that "God is on our side"), and Territoriality (the enemy poses a threat to us, our families and the American way of life). In the analysis, the general appeal category of Satanism was found to be the most used, utilizing nearly half of the appeals found in the sample. A harmonic relationship was found to exist between the major appeal categories, resulting in inter-category cooperation, e.g., a Satanism appeal used to amplify an illusion of victory statement. As well, this investigation noted that the plot conventions, icons and character types found in typically American genre films of the 1930's such as the western, foreign intrigue spy film, and the gangster film, were utilized, especially during the first year of the war, to aid in the successful packaging of these appeals.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Mass media;
Motion Pictures
Classification
0708: Mass media
0900: Motion Pictures
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts
Title
HOLLYWOOD AND WORLD WAR II: ENLISTING FEATURE FILMS AS PROPAGANDA
Author
DONALD, RALPH R.
Number of pages
286
Publication year
1987
Degree date
1987
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 48/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
8727038
ProQuest document ID
303564187
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/303564187
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.