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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 6: Real to Reel Politicians: Idealists, Saviors and Scoundrels

Extract

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” —Mark Twain “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” —Plato “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” —Abraham Lincoln “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” —President Ronald Reagan “When the President does it that means that it is not illegal.” —Former President Nixon to David Frost May 1977 TV interview “Politics is just like show business.… You begin with a hell of an opening, you coast for a while, and you end with a hell of a closing.” —Ronald Reagan, running for Governor of California, 1965 There is a marvelous scene at the end of Robert Redford’s The Candidate (1972) where he is sitting in his hotel suite surrounded by staff and friends in celebration of his election to the U.S. Senate. In walks his father (Melvyn Douglas), the former Governor of California and consummate wheeler-dealer. Douglas approaches Redford, who is seated on the bed look- ing rather glum, and with a quizzical grin that runs from ear to ear, says, “Congratulations, son. You’re a politician now.” If there is one scene in all the films on American politics that would discourage, if not seriously damage, the interest of...

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