Losing Control: Comparing Governmental Authority between North by Northwest and the French Connection

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There is much that separates the two golden eras of Hollywood. Filmmakers of both generations employed styles and techniques that reflected the convention and technology of each respective era. Meanwhile, America underwent seismic social change in the sixties. At the end of the second world war, which had occurred during the first golden era, the average American viewed government as a dependable and trustworthy institution to an authority. By the time Francis Ford Coppola won his sixth Academy Award, that perception of government had transformed into one of a regime that was incapable and dishonest. Compounding the sense of disillusionment with the government was a sense of its failure to guarantee a good life for its people. A darker …show more content…
For example, there was great excitement about the practical uses of nuclear energy in microwaves and ovens, but there was widespread feeling of inevitable nuclear warfare (Hine Online). Similarly, government was perceived mostly as a trusted and stable institution, but the paranoia of a Second Red Scare suggests there was a great fear of its collapse. Connecting this mindset to the themes in North by Northwest gives context for the light hearted nature of the film, as well the Cold War conspiracy that pervades the plot. The “Great Funk”, or the seventies, is another era defined by Hine that set the mood for the second golden age of Hollywood. This era, according to Hine, is distinguished by the mundane awfulness of nearly every aspect of life relative to the time after and before. The acclaimed films of this era do not shy away from cynicism or social commentary, whereas the films of the first golden age are often averse to darker themes. (Hine 10) The French Connection, shot in 1970 and released the next year, stands at the beginning of the Great Funk and of the second golden age, and is characteristically a cynical and dark film. Thus, the depictions of government in these films reflect the attitudes of both Populuxe and the Greak Funk. The visual aspects of these films also convey mood of these eras, along with the On a timeline, North by Northwest is only barely a classic era film. As it was shot in

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