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Title: Re-examining the maladjusted text : post-war America, the Hollywood Left and the problem with Film Noir
Author: Manning, Robert
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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Film noir is a term created after fact and applied back to films from a previous period and studies have often conflated very different films and privileged some facets over others in an endeavour to structure a definition. Some scholars have identified that a relatively small group of films came to be seen by the Hollywood Left as highly significant; and that their discussions of these films were the products of deeper anxieties faced by this group in the immediate post-war period. Subsequent conclusions were made that the Hollywood Left was opposed to this generalised categorisation similar to contemporary understandings of film noir. The thesis examines those films now considered as film noir in their original contexts. Studying the reception of films generally considered to be representative of contemporary understandings of film noir, such as Boomerang (Elia Kazan, 1947) The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946) and Crossfire (Edward Dmytryk, 1947) shows how they were parts of very different cycles at the time and not seen critically as a homogeneous group. The thesis also examines the work of key filmmakers who were making films with pertinent social messages, before concluding with an examination of an incredibly divisive political film, The Iron Curtain (William A. Wellman, 1948). This study investigates the debates of the post-war period relating to the films currently seen as film noir to highlight the distinctions between the films and how their positionings were understood. Analysing key writings from journals, the trade press and newspapers, this research shows how and why specific films caused concern for certain leftist personnel and how particular genres of films are seen now as similar to one another, yet were once understood as starkly opposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available