By John Bodnar
From Tom Joad to Norma Rae to Spike Lee's Mookie in Do the ideal Thing, Hollywood has usually dramatized the lives and struggles of operating humans in the United States. starting from idealistic to hopeless, from sympathetic to condescending, those portrayals faced audiences with the important monetary, social, and political problems with their occasions whereas delivering a diversion―sometimes enjoyable, occasionally provocative―from the realities in their personal lives.
In Blue-Collar Hollywood, John Bodnar examines the ways that well known American motion pictures made among the Thirties and the Nineteen Eighties depicted working-class characters, evaluating those cinematic representations with the aspirations of standard american citizens and the guarantees made to them through the country's political elites. in keeping with shut and inventive viewings of dozens of flicks from each genre―among them Public Enemy, Black Fury, Baby Face, The Grapes of Wrath, It's an excellent Life, I Married a Communist, A Streetcar Named Desire, Peyton Place, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Coal Miner's Daughter, and Boyz N the Hood―this e-book explores such subject matters because the function of censorship, attitudes towards exertions unions and employee militancy, racism, where of girls within the staff and society, communism and the Hollywood blacklist, and religion in liberal democracy.
Whether made in the course of the nice melancholy, global struggle II, the chilly warfare, or the Vietnam period, nearly all of motion pictures approximately usual operating american citizens, Bodnar reveals, refrained from endorsing particular political courses, radical monetary reform, or brazenly reactionary positions. as an alternative, those video clips have been infused with a similar present of liberalism and well known proposal of democracy that stream throughout the American imagination.
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Additional resources for Blue-collar Hollywood : liberalism, democracy, and working people in American film
They are truly at a dead end, with no hope offered that either democracy or liberalism can work. The boxer, on the other hand, was not at a dead end. He had an idea of how he might attack his marginal status in society, although it often involved some moral dilemmas. In Kid Galahad (1937) a ﬁghter and his sister pursue a better life through boxing but also mount an attempt at moral reform by convincing a domineering ﬁght promoter to treat people around him in a kinder fashion. In Golden Boy (1939) the dream of upward mobility through the boxing ring is articulated by the boxer’s girlfriend.
8 The crisis of the Great Depression, in reality, reinforced patriarchal ideals in society by raising concerns about the employability of male breadwinners. Social surveys of the period documented the erosion of paternal authority within the household and the humiliation many men now felt. Although hard times caused many families to rely more on female earnings, union and government ofﬁcials strove to achieve a family wage level for men that would allow them to keep their wives tied to domestic chores and thus to regain their self-respect.
23 Gangster ﬁlms ultimately did not share the dream of regulating the individual. They were more interested in exploring the fate of a person in a larger community that was under stress. As such, the ﬁnal product exposed injustice even as it somewhat appeased moral censors. ” The production of gangster ﬁlms, however, continued. Darryl Zanuck, an executive at Warner Brothers, argued that Public Enemy actually had several moral themes. ” He was also convinced, however, that the story illustrated that it was not Prohibition that caused the “present crime wave” of mobs and gangs but social disorder.