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Hollywood's America: Twentieth-Century America Through Film, 4th Edition

Steven Mintz (Editor), Randy W. Roberts (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-9003-9
416 pages
March 2010, ©2010, Wiley-Blackwell


Fully revised, updated, and extended, this compilation of interpretive essays and primary documents teaches students to read films as cultural artifacts within the contexts of actual past events.
  • A new edition of this classic textbook, which ties movies into the broader narrative of US and film history
  • Ten new articles which consider recently released films, as well as issues of gender and ethnicity
  • Well-organized within a chronological framework with thematic treatments to provide a valuable resource for students of the history of American film
  • Fourth edition includes completely new images throughout
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.


Introduction: The Social and Cultural History of American Film.


Introduction: Intolerance and the Rise of the Feature Film.

1 Silent Cinema as Social Criticism: Kay Sloan, “Front Page Movies”.

2 Silent Cinema as Historical Mythmaker: Eric Niderost, “The Birth of a Nation”.

3 The Revolt Against Victorianism: Lary May, “Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and the New Personality”.

4 Primary Sources.

Edison v. American Mutoscope Company.

“The Nickel Madness”.

Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio.

Fighting a Vicious Film: Protest Against The Birth of a Nation.

Boston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1915, Analysis by Francis Hackett.


Introduction: Backstage During the Great Depression: 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade.

5 Depression America and its Films: Maury Klein, “Laughing Through Tears”.

6 The Depression’s Human Toll: Peter Roffman and Jim Purdy, “Gangsters and Fallen Women”.

7 Depression Allegories: Thomas H. Pauly, “Gone with the Wind and The Grapes of Wrath as Hollywood Histories of the Great Depression”.

8 African Americans on the Silver Screen: Thomas R. Cripps, “The Evolution of Black Film”.

9 Primary Sources.

The Introduction of Sound.

“Pictures That Talk”.

Review of Don Juan.

“Silence is Golden”.

Film Censorship.

The Sins of Hollywood, 1922.

“The Don’ts and Be Carefuls”.

The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930.


Introduction: Hollywood’s World War II Combat Films.

10 Casablanca as Propaganda: Randy Roberts, “You Must Remember This: The Case of Hal Wallis’ Casablanca”.

11 Bureau of Motion Pictures Report: Casablanca.

12 John Wayne and Wartime Hollywood: Randy Roberts, “John Wayne Goes to War”.

13 The Woman’s Film: Jeanine Basinger, “When Women Wept”

14 Primary Sources: US Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Motion Picture and Radio Propaganda, 1941.


Introduction: Double Indemnity and Film Noir.

15 The Red Scare in Hollywood: Peter Roffman and Jim Purdy, “HUAC and the End of an Era”.

16 The Morality of Informing: Kenneth R. Hey, “Ambivalence and On the Waterfront”.

17 Science Fiction as Social Commentary: Stuart Samuels, “The Age of Conspiracy and Conformity: Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956).

18 The Western as Cold War Film: Richard Slotkin, “Gunfi ghters and Green Berets: The Magnifi cent Seven and the Myth of Counter-Insurgency”.

19 Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Eric Avila, “Film Noir, Disneyland, and the Cold War (Sub)Urban Imaginary”.

20 Primary Sources.

United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1947).

Hearings Regarding the Communist Infi ltration of the Motion Picture Industry.

US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, 1947.

US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, 1951.

The Miracle Decision.

Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, Commissioner of Education of New York, et al. (1952).


Introduction: Bonnie and Clyde.

21 A Shifting Sensibility: Charles Maland, “Dr. Strangelove: Nightmare Comedy and the Ideology of Liberal Consensus”.

22 Films of the Late 1960s and Early 1970s: Michael Ryan and Douglas Kelner, “From Counterculture to Counterrevolution, 1967–1971”.

23 Reaffi rming Traditional Values: Daniel J. Leab, “The Blue Collar Ethnic in Bicentennial America: Rocky”.

24 Presenting African Americans on Film: Aram Goudsouzian, “The Rise and Fall of Sidney Poitier”.

25 Coming to Terms with the Vietnam War:Randy Roberts and David Welky, “A Sacred Mission: Oliver Stone and Vietnam”.

26 Primary Sources: The Hollywood Rating System, 1968.


Introduction: A Changing Hollywood.

27 Feminism and Recent American Film: Aspasia Kotsopoulos, “Gendering Expectations: Genre and Allegory in Readings of Thelma and Louise”.

28 Hollywood Remembers World War II: John Bodnar, “Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America”.

29 East Meets West: Minh-Ha T. Pham, “The Asian Invasion (of Multiculturalism) in Hollywood”.

30 Immigration at the Movies: Carlos E. Cortés, “The Immigrant in Film: Evolution of an Illuminating Icon”.

31 Movies and the Construction of Historical Memory: Steven Mintz, “Movies, History, and the Disneyfication of the Past: The Case of Pocahontas”.

Bibliography of Recent Books in American Film History.


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Author Information

Steven Mintz is Director of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Center at Columbia University. He is the author and editor of thirteen books, including Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood (2004), which received the Association of American Publishers R. R. Hawkins Award for the Outstanding Scholarly Book of 2004, and the Organization of American Historians 2004 Merle Curti Award for the best book in social history. He is the editor of African American Voices (4th edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), Mexican American Voices (2nd edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), and Native American Voices (2nd edition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2000).

Randy W. Roberts is Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University, and specializes in recent US history, US sports history, and the history of popular culture. He is the author of Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam (5th edition, with James S. Olson, Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), Charles A. Lindbergh: The Power and Peril of Celebrity 1927–1941 (with David Welky, Wiley-Blackwell, 2003), Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler (2003), A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory (with James S. Olson, 2001), “But They Can’t Beat Us”: Oscar Robertson and the Crispus Attucks Tigers (1999), My Lai: A Brief History with Documents (with James S. Olson, 1998), John Wayne American (with James S. Olson, 1996), and Winning is the Only Thing: Sports in America since 1945 (with James S. Olson, 1991).

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"The introduction alone fulfils the title's promise, giving a well-structured history of cinema and society in the US in the 20th century." (Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 February 2011)
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