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A New Kind of Public: Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948.

9789004275195

A New Kind of Public: Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948

Graham Cassano

BRILL

2014

215 pages

$128.00

Hardcover

Studies in Critical Social Sciences; Volume 69

PN1995

The author presents a Marxist critique of Hollywood films made during the ascendancy of the New Deal. He begins with the premise that both filmmakers and film audiences of the period recognized that their world was one of social struggle, inequality, and financial insecurity. The films examined are: Black Fury (1935) and Riffraff (1936), both about organized labor and strikes; My Man Godfrey (1936), a comedy about debt and responsibility; Swing Time (1936), a musical with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers "that offers an indictment of the values of the leisure class"; The Hurricane, directed by self-described social democrat John Ford; six films made from 1939 to 1941 in which Ginger Rogers portrayed a left-leaning Roosevelt supporter; and the films of John Ford made from 1940 to 1948, including the hugely popular Grapes of Wrath. ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)

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