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Title: Eastern horizons : Frank Capra's construction of American identity.
Author: Rawitsch , Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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Investigations of American identity in classical Hollywood director Frank Capra's films have almost exclusively relied upon inward-looking approaches to nationalism that attempt to establish what is American by demonstrating similarities with other American reference points (in particular, see Carney 1986). However, as this thesis argues, Capra's construction of national identity was not established within an exclusively national context; his films frequently took an outward-looking approach to nationalism. Seven of Capra's feature films were set (at least in part) outside the United States, his World War 11 orientation films examined America's relationship with both Allied and Axis countries, and even in his fictional films set inside the United States Capra's American characters repeatedly discussed, fantasized about, and interacted with representatives from other nations. Using Capra's recurring engagement with the Far East as a case study-because, as Eric Smoodin contended, "for a director known for his 'American' themes, Capra made more movies about Far Eastern locales than did most other Hollywood directors from the period" (2004: 54)-this thesis interrogates the intersection between authorship and national ideology, raising questions about the boundaries of American culture and American cinema between 1922 and 1961. Using close textual analysis supported by archival research, it investigates shifts in what Capra's America has meant over time, both to Capra and to those who have studied Capra; representations of Asian/Americans in American Madness (1932), Broadway Bill (1934), and Arsenic and Old Lace (1944); the blurred ,Orientalist binary in The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933); American imperialism in Submarine (1928) and Lost Horizon (1937); ideologies of Asian national identity in The Battle of China (1944) and Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945); and South Sea exoticism in It Happened One Night (1934), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Hemo the Magnificent (1957), and A Hole in the Head (1959).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available