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The Naval War FilmGenre, History and National Cinema$
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Jonathan Rayner

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719070983

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719070983.001.0001

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American films of the Cold War

American films of the Cold War

(p.120) 5 American films of the Cold War
The Naval War Film

Jonathan Rayner

Manchester University Press

The moral clarity and narrative certainty sought in the war film genre were not readily or universally applicable to the circumstances of political confrontation, military posturing or wars by proxy in which the United States found itself engaged after 1945. Even though these uplifting consistencies had appeared within the war films produced during wartime, other contradictory, and recurring, textual features often vitiated their reassurances of unity and ultimate victory. American films of the 1950s can be seen to desire the insertion of the wartime cinema's conventions into Cold War narratives, to safeguard ideological and entertainment values. The frequent staging of the war at sea rather than on land within Cold War films recognises the fluidity and geographical uncertainty of conflict in the period. The Korean War (1950–53) provided an opportunity for the recreation in filmic terms of the narratives and images of World War II, particularly in the Pacific theatre. However, in Hell and High Water, the inevitability of loss and the necessity of total commitment in the ideological confrontation of the Cold War are evident.

Keywords:   American films, cold war, Korean War, World War II, High Water

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