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The Movies as a World Force: American Silent Cinema and the Utopian Imagination
by Ryan Jay Friedman
Rutgers University Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-8135-9363-0 | Paper: 978-0-8135-9359-3 | Cloth: 978-0-8135-9360-9
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.U76F75 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.43672

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Throughout the silent-feature era, American artists and intellectuals routinely described cinema as a force of global communion, a universal language promoting mutual understanding and harmonious coexistence amongst disparate groups of people. In the early 1920s, film-industry leaders began to espouse this utopian view, in order to claim for motion pictures an essentially uplifting social function. The Movies as a World Force examines the body of writing in which this understanding of cinema emerged and explores how it shaped particular silent films and their marketing campaigns. The utopian and universalist view of cinema, the book shows, represents a synthesis of New Age spirituality and the new liberalism. It provided a framework for the first official, written histories of American cinema and persisted as an advertising trope, even after the transition to sound made movies reliant on specific national languages.
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