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By Mike Chopra-Gant

American tradition after the tip of worldwide warfare II has been characterised via an abiding pessimism so much in actual fact manifested within the movie noirs of the interval. Mike Chopra-Gant demanding situations this "noir and Zeitgeist" examining and proposes that the view of yank cinema and society it develops is dependent upon a retrospective re-imagining of the period, in accordance with the faulty advertising of chosen video clips. His full of life revisionist account of the movies and tradition of the interval additionally demanding situations conventional techniques to style, to masculinity and the kinfolk, by means of targeting key topics within the preferred movies when it comes to field place of work sales, together with Best Years of Our Lives, Night and Day, Scarlet Street and Gilda.

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Additional resources for Hollywood Genres and Post-war America: Masculinity, Family and Nation in Popular Movies and Film Noir (Cinema and Society)

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As John Belton argues, one of the key myths structuring American national identity had been the myth of Jeffersonian democracy; of social equality guaranteed by universal ownership of property (1994: 200-201). By the time America entered the war, however, this myth had been under pressure for some time. The closure of the frontier at the end of the Nineteenth century had curtailed dreams of unlimited expansion and the accompanying promise of free land, which was a pre-requisite of the Jeffersonian vision of a nation characterized by agrarian self-sufficiency.

The symmetry of the shot creates a strong visual impression of equality between the men. However this visual impression is contradicted by the narrative RE-INVIGORATING THE NATION 35 function of the scene: Al has called the meeting in order to compel Fred to end his relationship with Peggy. The scene presages the termination (albeit only temporarily) of the relationship that offers Fred the opportunity to rise to a higher status level in civilian society, and amounts to a claim by Al to a moral authority that further reinforces the sense of Fred's social inferiority.

In the following chapter I focus on the treatment of American national identity in the big box-office successes of 1946. The zeitgeist approach to film noir has presented an image of the early postwar period as a time of crisis in which confidence in the myths which sustained American national identity was undermined by the uncertainties of the postwar readjustment. Within film studies this is an extremely influential understanding of the movies and culture of the time, but this view is only sustainable through a highly selective examination of the films released as America began to adjust to the postwar world.

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