World War II Impacted The American Film Industry Through The Influences Of The War

1074 Words Sep 3rd, 2015 null Page
World War II impacted the American film industry through the influences of the war effort. Films that were made during this time often worked in line with this effort by projecting messages of unity, where racial and class differences amongst Americans were put on the backburner in order to fight one common and external enemy. Scholar Anna Everett asserts that during the war the film industry temporarily suspended its usual racist and stereotypical depictions of Black Americans for the war effort, and thereby suspending the privileging of whiteness in film as well. But in spite of this, there were still some films that contained subtle but very present stereotypical and negative representations of black people. Cabin in the Sky
(1943) is one such that exemplifies this. Although it depicted an all-black utopia, it still carried the images of black criminality and the contrasts between the supposed “goodness” of black rural life against of “evils” of black urban life. It also becomes clear that the privileging of whiteness had not also been “suspended” during the war effort, as Everett had implied. Scholar Melvin
Tolson seems to challenge Everett’s argument with his criticism of the film, Gone with the Wind
(1939), an early war film that perpetuated the romantic view of the slave-owning class, reinforcing white superiority and black inferiority. Another scholar, Charles Hawley also shows how whiteness had privileged against a dark “Other” in other war films like Bataan (1943),…

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