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We'll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema during World War II

by Robert L. McLaughlin and Sally E. Parry

Availablepaperback$40.00x 978-0-8131-3005-7
Out of Printcloth$45.00s 978-0-8131-2386-8
368 pages  Pubdate:   6 x 9  17 b&w photos

During the highly charged years of World War II, movies perhaps best communicated to Americans who they were and why they were fighting. These films were more than just an explanation of historical events: they asked audiences to consider the Nazi threat, they put a face on both our enemies and allies, and they explored changing wartime gender roles.

We’ll Always Have the Movies shows how film after film repeated the narratives, character types, and rhetoric that made the war and each American’s role in it comprehensible. Robert L. McLaughlin and Sally E. Parry have watched more than six-hundred films made between 1937 and 1946—including many never before discussed in this context—and have analyzed the cultural and historical importance of these films in explaining the war to moviegoers. This extensive study shows how filmmakers made the chaotic elements of wartime familiar, while actual events became film history, and film history became myth.

Robert L. McLaughlin is associate professor of English at Illinois State University.

Sally E. Parry is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State University.

Whether dealing with famous flicks or lesser known titles, McLaughlin and Parry maintain a scholarly tone, treating blockbusters and B-movies with equal rigor, but never forgetting the view from the peanut gallery or the history and movie buffs among them. -- Publishers Weekly

Addresses many probing questions pertaining to the wartime movies. . . . Enjoyable reading. -- America in WWII

Surveying the wide, diversified field of WWII films, the authors . . . examine how many films went beyond simply evoking patriotism to maintaining support for the War on the 'home front' and to forming perspectives and expectations on it and characterizing the enemy. -- Antiques Today

Provides and excellent analysis of the many wartime motion pictures that Hollywood produced. It is recommended not only to the many film buffs who still enjoy watching classics . . . but also to those who seek a greater understanding of America's home front during the war. -- Journal of America's Military Past

A terrific book that explores not only the themes of hundreds of films but also their impact on patriotism and national will in a time of war. -- WWII History

Hollywood films from 1937 to 1946 are rearticulated as myth-making propaganda. . . . [This book] opens the window to a vanished and deeply interesting world that these pages recover with a sense of sympathetic understanding. -- Journal of America & Culture

Even the most devout cinemaphile should be able to discover at least one new treasure in the filmography of this volume. McLaughlin and Parry present a rather exhaustive survey of the Hollywood films made between 1939 and 1946. -- Ron Briley -- History News Network

A compelling appraisal- aesthetic and cultural- of films (including Casablanca) that eventually would form a mythic history of World War II… A masterful study of film narrativity. -- The Historian

This book is a wonderful addition to insights of how the media plays a role in the life of Everyman. -- Gerald F. Kreyche, USA Today, Society for the Advancement of Education