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Title: The war as it was : historical reception of the Great War in American popular cinema, 1918-1938
Author: Copping, Ryan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 5239
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is an examination of the reception of selected films from the United States concerning the Great War during the interwar period. Despite the influential nature of these films at the time of their release, relatively few studies have been conducted on the response of contemporary audiences to these texts. Given the significance of the Great War as a critical event in modern history and culture, it is important to study the responses of audiences to works concerning the war during this period. Taking the war as a cinematic subject as opposed to a genre, I analyse both the content and reception of significant war-related films, using the movies themselves and contemporary newspaper and magazine articles and reviews, advertising and internal studio memoranda. I use this method in reference to the following films: The Heart of Humanity (1918), The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (1921), The Big Parade (1925), What Price Glory (1926), Wings (1927), Hell’s Angels (1930), Journey’s End (1930), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Men Must Fight (1933), The Road Back (1937) and Three Comrades (1938). I argue that audiences often interpreted what they perceived to be honest portrayals of war trauma as ‘realistic’, there was no uniform definition as to what constituted an ‘anti-war’ film, Great War films from this period tended to blame Germany or humanity in general for the war, sometimes both, and that most war films performed a memorial function for audiences.
Supervisor: Williams, Michael ; Hammond, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available