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Chapter 3 - Film

Mostly Classical Hollywood Cinema Goes to War and Sometimes Brings It Home

from Part I - Genre and Medium

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 January 2021

Tim Dayton
Affiliation:
Kansas State University
Mark W. Van Wienen
Affiliation:
Northern Illinois University
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Summary

The American film industry was motivated by a practical patriotism during the First World War which balanced competing desires to win audiences and to be good citizens. It was understood that enlisting in the war effort on the home front would likely benefit the film industry’s long-term interests. Film producers, exhibitors, and distributors all contributed to the war effort. About 20% of movies released in 1917 and 1918 were war related, including D.W. Griffith’s popular epic, Hearts of the World. Over the decades, films featuring the Great War continued to be produced although their stories and themes changed, and movie-making technology allowed for ever more spectacular scenes. First World War films constitute an eclectic batch, difficult to categorize as a genre, worthy of close reading. While their narratives refer to one time period, 1914-1918, interpretation of the films and their reception resonates also with their respective times of production and reception.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Film
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.004
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  • Film
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.004
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Film
  • Edited by Tim Dayton, Kansas State University, Mark W. Van Wienen, Northern Illinois University
  • Book: A History of American Literature and Culture of the First World War
  • Online publication: 23 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108615433.004
Available formats
×