Keeper of the Flame: Antifascist Feature Films and the Hollywood Popular Front, 1934-1941

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Sager, Jacob T
Western Washington University
Anti-fascist movements in motion pictures; Anti-Nazi movement in motion pictures; Anti-fascist movements--California--Los Angeles--History; Anti-Nazi movement--California--Los Angeles--History; Hollywood (Los Angeles; Calif.)--History--20th century; History; Los Angeles (Calif.); Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.); masters theses
thesis / dissertation description
Abstract My thesis examines the production and exhibition of left-influenced antifascist feature films in Hollywood from 1934 to 1941. Antifascist, and specifically anti-Nazi films drew upon the ideas and filmmaking talent of a growing antifascist filmmaking community brought together in organizations, associations, and campaigns centered in and inspired by the Hollywood Popular Front. My thesis is meant as a synthesis that ties together the newest scholarship on pre-World War II Hollywood message films, the relationship between the Hollywood studios and the European dictatorships, and the growth of an antifascist community in Los Angeles. It is meant to contribute to the scholarship on late 1930s and early 1940s Hollywood message films. The films analyzed in my thesis are tied together by the contributions of left-wing filmmakers and their success in engaging with audiences through the successful engagement with and utilization of realist aesthetics within the boundaries of the Hollywood studio system to bring antifascist messages to the widest possible audience. The thesis concludes with the legacy of this form of left-wing cinematic engagement on the World War II and immediate postwar message films.