Messenger Injournalist Ken Auletta spent a great deal of time with Rupert Murdoch while writing a magazine profile of him. Auletta observed that Murdoch was frequently on the phone to his editors and this prompted him to ask: Over the course of the federal election, Australia will experience a real time experiment which will demonstrate the degree of influence exerted by Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers on Australian political life.
Over the course of the 20th century, Hollywood movies and entertainers within the industry have impacted national politics, influenced cultural constructions of American identity, and affected social change as well.
The industry has shaped and been shaped by local, state, national, and international political pressures, decisions, and negotiations.
This article focuses on how political priorities within Hollywood have changed over time and how the broader political environment has impacted film production, industry structures, and opportunities for celebrity political activism. At times, the overt politicization of Hollywood has caused intense controversy.
The House Un-American Activities Committee investigation into the Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry during the s and s brought international attention to concerns about the political potential of motion picture propaganda and celebrity political activism.
During the s, movie stars became more active in grassroots movements and national politics. The following decade, as Hollywood movies were freed from the regulations of the Hays Code and the strict confines of studio system production regulations, films began to critique American foreign policy and advocate for liberal social and cultural change.
As the vast range of scholarship exposes, since the beginning of the motion picture industry, movies have played an extremely important, if frequently controversial, role in American political culture. Connections between Hollywood and the political arena have permeated the industry in a variety of ways since the early 20th century.
General Overviews Several works have offered broad assessments of 20th-century film history and the impact of Hollywood on American social, political, economic, and cultural structures.
The industry began as a tool for labor leaders to preach unionism and a cultural product popular among workers and immigrants in urban centers. The popularization of the industry among a middle- and eventually upper-class public brought dramatic changes in conceptions of Americanism as the screen emerged as a powerful tool for national unity.
General overview studies focus on how the politics of the screen impacted American cultural values by pitting the values of a white, Protestant, Victorian culture against those of a more democratic working-class culture derived from newly arrived immigrants. During the s, as the industry grew, sociologists sought to understand the structure and social impact of Hollywood on American culture Thorp By World War II, entertainment on the silver screen had become a weapon of war, and the concern over the use of movies in spreading political ideology permeated postwar political debates, ultimately culminating in the House Un-American Activities Committee investigation into the Communist subversion of the motion picture industry.
Amidst popular concern about the propaganda power of Hollywood films, Powdermaker presented a critical analysis of the studio system and its economic structures and cultural influence just as the vertical studio system itself had begun to splinter under legal decree.
While previous works such as Thorp and Powdermaker presented a sociological examination of the motion picture community, Sklar and Jowett offer scholarly analyses about the cultural impact of Hollywood Jewish entrepreneurs as they challenged the dominant Protestant political and social hierarchies.
Subsequent scholars have shifted their focus to how the consumer-based, democratic culture promoted by Hollywood as an industry impacted and reflected broader changes into the political culture of the United States over the course of the 20th century.
Ross examines the ways that political pressures impact the production of motion pictures through a combination of scholarly articles and primary source documents.
Critchlow and Raymond also provides a range of primary sources for scholars to see the variety of ways that film and celebrities have impacted national politics.
Ross divides celebrity activism into six categories: Scholarship on celebrity political activism shows not just the political experiences or impact of one individual but also the broader power of celebrity-driven publicity to shape strategies of political communication in the increasingly mass-media-oriented world GiglioPerettiand Brownellcited under Studio System Era.
Critchlow, Donald, and Emilie Raymond, ed. Hollywood, Film and Politics. Rather than focusing on movie productions, Jowett examines the makeup of audiences, censorship pressures, and business structure of the Hollywood that ultimately raised consumption expectations and standards among American citizens.
Hollywood and the Presidential Image. Rutgers University Press, Hollywood Left and Right: Oxford University Press, Robinson, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, Charlton Heston, Warren Beatty, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to show strategies employed by celebrity activists to push for political change on the left and the right over the course of the 20th century.
Movies and American Society. Essays in this collection provide the context for the primary documents and examine changing political pressures that film regularly faced in the 20th century.
A Social History of American Movies. America at the Movies.
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