Idea-Weapons: Documentary Propaganda

Jeffrey Geiger

in American Documentary Film

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748621477
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670796 | DOI:
Idea-Weapons: Documentary Propaganda

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Chapter 5 focuses on propaganda documentaries of the Second World War, when documentary took a dominant public role extending far beyond any it had played before. This era's marriage of propaganda and documentary speaks to elements of propaganda that haunt the documentaries of other eras. The Second World War saw a severe straitening of notions of American selfhood, not least in the forceful pronouncements that saturated the media. As the voices of soldiers in John Ford's December 7th stated, ‘we are all alike … we are all Americans’. In addition to addressing issues of ideology and representation, this chapter works to untangle the complicated web of intense documentary production and distribution during the time, which was spread amongst government, corporate Hollywood, and military interests. It includes a close reading of The Memphis Belle.

Keywords: Second World War; propaganda; combat; Office of War Information; Frank Capra; William Wyler; aerial perception; The Memphis Belle

Chapter.  14983 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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