Cover image for Politics and politicians in American film
Politics and politicians in American film
Gianos, Phillip L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 1998.
Physical Description:
xii, 212 pages ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1290 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PN1995.9.P6 G53 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Gianos (political science, California State U., Fullerton) discusses the ways in which politics and movies inform each other and what they tell us about the society that produced them. He focuses on mass-market, fictional, US-produced films, including The Best Years of Our Lives, The Candidate, Ci

Author Notes

PHILLIP L. GIANOS is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Fullerton.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The strong links between politics and cinema have affected who makes films, how films are made, and what films say about politics. Gianos covers these interactions in this thorough, analytic work, showing how the making of movies speaks to politics (through subject, genre, conventions, and auteur) and how watching films relates to experience, audience, effects, and elements of time, dialogue, etc. Gianos enlivens his analyses with dialogue, anecdotes, synopses of plots, profiles, and explanations of how and why situations developed. His flair for reinterpreting films and genres shows: he categorizes The Wizard of Oz as a political allegory to the dying populist movement, gangster and screwball comedies as softeners of the Great Depression, and alien films as spreaders of Cold War paranoia. Specific chapters deal with the Depression, WW II, the Cold War and Vietnam, and politics and politicians (with case studies of Citizen Kane, Nixon, and All the King's Men). Particularly impressive is Gianos's comprehensive and revelatory treatment of censorship: he details how Hollywood joined with the conservative press to shatter Upton Sinclair's campaign for governor of California in 1934, explains how the Hollywood left grew out of the Depression and the blacklist out of WW II, and refreshes memories of odious roles played by Nixon and Reagan. An excellent title recommended for all audiences. The book has but one major shortcoming: like so many other contemporary books that rely on authors as compositors and printers, it missed a stage of editing. J. A. Lent Temple University

Table of Contents

Making Movies
Watching Movies
Politics and the Film Industry Approach
Avoidance and Accommodation
Movies and the Great Depression
The Movies and World War II
The Cold War and Vietnam in Film Aspiration
Disillusionment and Ambivalence
Politics and Politicians in Film

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