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What Impact Did the Cold War Have on the Cinema of the United States?

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What impact did the Cold War have on the cinema of the United States?

The film industry was an important propaganda element in the cold war all around the world but it had a huge impact on the United States, it became a driving force behind popular culture for decades - espionage permeated films became the main focus amongst a lot of directors that tried to use the war as an inspiration to create more films. It became the motivation behind popular culture for decades to come.

Hollywood was less bound to state guidance and censorship, which gave the directors more freedom with their work, they got as creative and brutal as possible when it came to exploring their art. It was not only propaganda that was created by the cinema of the Cold War, it raised criticism and rivalry amongst everyone involved.

Post Hitchcock films had a running theme of surrealism to them, he focused on delivering the free-floating anxiety and fear which took a place in the hearts of the civilians during the cold war. I was almost as if he wanted the audience to reminisce the trauma by reminding them of what they felt during this scarring time. He targets the audiences’ psychological responses and gets a reaction out of them. As brilliant as a director he was, Alfred Hitchcock was also a mad man who always projected his fears and taunts onto his his films, which can only be described as absolute madness.

Madness and despair; a running theme in every single one of his films. The film Vertigo is about a protean character that becomes whomever he needs or desires to be. The theme of cold war paranoia lingers throughout this whole film as throughout there is a dizzying complexity to it. Hitchcock was named the ‘master of suspense’ as no one could ever fully figure out what to expect from his films, they always created a sense of fear and anxiousness, he usually achieved this by his way of editing. The dream sequence in Spellbound was created by Salvador Dali, one of the greatest artists of our time. The scene has a reputation to be one of the greatest dream sequence ever as it is one that will not put you to sleep, the art captures and traps you. "I wanted to convey the dream with great visual sharpness and clarity--sharper than film itself," (Hitchcock, 1962) , Hitchcock was one of the first people to experiment in the field of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. It was very new to america as the country got introduced to this theme after the traumatic events of the war. The film was not that famous back when it was first released due to the amount of fear it projects on to the audience, but to this day the dream sequence which was created by Dali is one of the most artistic and creative scenes ever to be made. Dali also helped produce a total of 20 minutes in the entire film, which helped turn this into a very confusing but a brilliant film at the same time.

The 1954 film Them!, for instance, picks up the double metaphor of ants as monsters and ants as people to dramatise the unpredictability of the Bomb and fears of a Communist attack. An expert on the film said that “Ants are the only creatures on Earth other than man who make war. They campaign; they are chronic aggressors; and they make slave labourers of the captives they don't kill” The film largely compares the real world to the war world with the use of metaphors.

The 1955 film The Day the World Ended which opens with the 'Total Destruction' day of nuclear war, proceeds to reduce the term 'total', and concludes with a shot entitled 'The Beginning' as a man and woman straighten their rucksacks and march into the post-holocaust future. These films were a way for the filmmakers to let the world know that there was a future that everyone could look forward to and there is something out there for everyone. After the war mostly everyone gave up hope, and film was a way for the directors to ensure the world that they still do have hope. Post war in america was a difficult time as they struggled a lot financially and what was called the ‘Baby boomer’ era began. Which completely juxtaposed what their world was like before and during the war. So the artists took it upon themselves to help give everyone a little peace of mind and distraction with their work.

The film Rebel Without A Cause creates metaphors in key scenes that at times create indirect concerns towards a nuclear fallout. A primary example to this would the the scene where they all visit the planetarium, where there are large explosive sounds and visuals that show the collapse of the universe. It portrays the atomic anxiety that haunted America in the 50’s post war. The film helped people see the benefits of living in a positive living situation with their families as it portrayed all their families in a negative way, which was

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