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Here’s Looking at You

Hollywood, Film & Politics

Series:

Ernest Giglio

Here’s Looking at You: Hollywood, Film & Politics examines the tangled relationship between politics and Hollywood, which manifests itself in celebrity involvement in political campaigns and elections, and in the overt and covert political messages conveyed by Hollywood films. The book’s findings contradict the film industry’s assertion that it is simply in the entertainment business, and examines how, while the majority of Hollywood films are strictly commercial ventures, hundreds of movies – ranging from Birth of a Nation to Fahrenheit 9/11 – do indeed contain political messages. Here’s Looking at You serves as a basic text for political film courses and as a supplement in American government and film studies courses, and will also appeal to film buffs and people in the film industry.
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Chapter 1: Film and Politics: The Hollywood-Washington Connection

Extract

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” —Pericles, 430 BC “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” —Plato “For us, the cinema is the most important of the arts.” —Vladimir Ilyich Lenin “Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.” —Filmmaker Frank Capra In this era of polling and public opinion surveys, suppose the author were to conduct a word association poll asking random people on the street what image came to mind when Hollywood was mentioned? Of course, there would be the usual suspects: entertainment, movies, movie stars, big-budget epics, and so forth. The author is willing to wager, however, that the word “politics” is unlikely to come to mind. And the reason is quite simple: Hol- lywood wants the public to believe that the industry only makes entertainment pictures. To be sure, in any given year, 90 to 95 percent of what comes out of Hollywood is strictly commercial, designed to bring customers into theaters and make money for the studios and their corporate owners. This book is about the 5 to 10 percent of films where Hollywood’s public relations department either denies any political intention or tries to disguise any political message. Common sense dictates that if entertainment were Hollywood’s only focus, then the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) major offices would be located in Los Angeles or New York instead...

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