Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
ams masthead
Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Summer 2006

AMS f370 • The American Film in World War II-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
82482 MTWThF
4:00 PM-5:30 PM
ben 1.126

Course Description

The Second World War was arguably an exceptional moment in American history. Whether creating and deploying an army of citizen soldiers, converting industry to war production, or rationing essential items, the nation's leaders tried to forge a sense of national unity through appeals to shared sacrifice, common purpose, andoften problematicallybedrock democratic values. Much of this work occurred in the movies, the reigning mass medium of the day. Americans experienced the Second World War through motion picture cameras and in local theaters; as a result, the American cinema not only transmitted the political, social, and cultural trends of the moment, but also played crucial part in defining them. What is more, an audience and industry once reluctant to view movies as anything more than escapist entertainment now had to come to terms with the mediums power to shape social and political life.

With these ideas in mind, this course will examine the movies of World War II not only to better understand the political and social currents of the period, but also to understand the impact of the war on American cinema itself. These issues are applicable to any modern war, and no doubt the class will have opportunities to translate this discussion into an analysis of the current conflict.


Books: Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film, 6th ed. Thomas Doherty, Projections of War Selected readings Films: Citizen Kane (1941) Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) Prelude to War (1943) Casablanca (1942) Air Force (1943) The Battle of San Pietro (1945) The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) Since You Went Away (1944) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Selected short films


bottom border