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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Summer 2005

AMS F370 • American Film in World War II-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
82060 MTWThF
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
GAR 301

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 nations 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. Most Americans experienced the Second World War through motion picture cameras and in their 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 are issues applicable to any modern war, of course, and no doubt the class will have opportunities to translate this discussion into an analysis of the current conflict.


Books: Clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black, Hollywood Goes to War Thomas Doherty, Projections of War Selected readings Movies: Citizen Kane (1941) Bataan (1943) Why We Fight: Prelude to War (1943) Since You Went Away (1944) The Battle of San Pietro (1945) The Story of G.I. Joe (1945) Key Largo (1948)


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