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

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During the highly charged years of World War II, movies perhaps best communicated to Americans who they were and why they were fighting. 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 their cultural and historical importance 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.