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American political films

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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AMERICAN POLITICAL FILMS: 1968-1980 By WILLIAM A. RENKUS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2007 William A. Renkus

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In loving memory to my parents

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Dr. Churchill Roberts for his a dvice, encouragement, and patience in dealing with a work in process. I also wish to thank Dr. Bernell Tripp for inspiring an interest in mass communicat ion history and for our produc tive discussions on film history. I thank Dr. Lynda Kaid for her mentorship and expertise in political communications. I thank Dr. Julian Pleasants for lectures that provide d historical context to my research. I thank Dr. Margot Lamme for her insi ghts into research methodology and Dr. Julian Williams for helping me to improve as a teacher. I also thank my professors, my fellow students, and the administrative st aff in the College of Journalism and Communications, for challenging me intellect ually and assisting me in my academic pursuits. I acknowledge a lifetime of relationships that have provided a platform for achievement. Everyone I have worked with at Pittsburgh Community Television (PCTV), Spectacor Management Group (SMG), and the Rivers Of Steel Na tional Heritage Area (ROSNHA) provided treasured comradeship and a wealth of important life experiences. Finally, I could not have achie ved a fraction of my goals w ithout the love and support of my mother and father and my sister Tracy.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND..........................................................................................................1 Significance of the Study..............................................................................................1 Film Studies..................................................................................................................8 Film History................................................................................................................10 The Developmental School.........................................................................................11 The Economic School.................................................................................................13 The Cultural School....................................................................................................15 Film History as a Genre..............................................................................................19 Politics in Film............................................................................................................20 The Historical Analysis of Film.................................................................................28 2 FROM POSTWAR CONSENSUS TO THE TURBULENT 1960s IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND FILM........................................................................32 American Political Consensus 1940s -1960s..............................................................34 The 1960s: Ferment in America.................................................................................37 National Trauma and Social Disruption.....................................................................45 American Consensus in Films: 1940s 1960s...........................................................46 Presidential Biographies and Political Films..............................................................48 The 1960s: Ferment in the Film Industry...................................................................52 3 REVOLUTION: WILD IN THE STREETS (1968), MEDIUM COOL (1969)...........57 Key Political Events of 1968......................................................................................59 Fourteen or Fight........................................................................................................61 Film Style....................................................................................................................64 American International Pictures.................................................................................66 Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss................................................................69 Music and Politics.......................................................................................................70 The Whole World is Watching...................................................................................73 Personal and Political Commitment...........................................................................76 Production History......................................................................................................80

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vi Mediated Realities......................................................................................................84 Marginalized Socio-Economic Groups.......................................................................86 Messages in the Medium............................................................................................87 4 REFORM: THE CANDIDATE (1972), WALKING TALL (1973)..............................93 The Campaign.............................................................................................................95 Fathers and Sons.........................................................................................................98 The Debate..................................................................................................................99 The Home Stretch.....................................................................................................100 A Touch of Evil........................................................................................................101 Campaign Experiences of the Filmmakers...............................................................104 Critical Reaction.......................................................................................................108 To Thy Own Self Be True........................................................................................110 Law and Order in America.......................................................................................112 Walk Tall or Dont Walk At All...............................................................................114 Coming Home...........................................................................................................115 Nice Versus Vice......................................................................................................116 Buford and Obra.......................................................................................................118 A Touch of Evil........................................................................................................119 Reaction to the Film..................................................................................................121 Print the Legend........................................................................................................125 Political Values.........................................................................................................126 5 COVER-UP: CHINATOWN (1974), THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), and ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN (1976)............................................................................129 Politics as Usual........................................................................................................132 Chinatown as Metaphor............................................................................................134 Parallels to Watergate...............................................................................................138 The Creative Process................................................................................................141 Values.......................................................................................................................143 The Fourth Estate......................................................................................................146 Critical Response......................................................................................................150 The Journalist as Hero..............................................................................................152 Falling in Love with The Post..................................................................................153 Follow The Money...................................................................................................156 What Ever it Takes...................................................................................................158 Your Lives Are In Danger........................................................................................161 Critical Response......................................................................................................163 The Role of The Press in the Political Process.........................................................164 6 REPLACEMENT: NASHVILLE (1975), TAXI DRIVER (1976)..............................167 New Roots................................................................................................................168 200 Years..................................................................................................................172 New Leaders.............................................................................................................174

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vii Management.............................................................................................................177 Assassination............................................................................................................178 Production of the Film..............................................................................................180 Critical Response......................................................................................................183 Replacement.............................................................................................................186 Alienation.................................................................................................................188 Crazed Loner As Ironic Hero...................................................................................192 Disengagement.........................................................................................................196 Critical Response......................................................................................................199 A New Generation Has Gone Forth..........................................................................201 7 INTROSPECTION: THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN (1979) & BEING THERE (1979)..........................................................................................................203 Industry Trends.........................................................................................................204 Charisma...................................................................................................................206 Ambition...................................................................................................................208 Domestic Conflict.....................................................................................................210 Creative Influences...................................................................................................213 Critical Reaction.......................................................................................................215 Dual Nature...............................................................................................................217 The Me Decade.........................................................................................................219 Changing Channels...................................................................................................221 The Rich, They Are Not Like Us..............................................................................224 The Wise Fool...........................................................................................................225 Media Reality............................................................................................................228 Production History....................................................................................................231 8 CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................239 Rituals of Power.......................................................................................................240 Political Critiques.....................................................................................................245 Values.......................................................................................................................250 Conformity to History...............................................................................................255 Future Political Values, Films, and Events...............................................................260 Implications for Future Research..............................................................................264 What Do We Do Now...............................................................................................266 APPENDIX: FILMS IN STUDY....................................................................................269 WORKS CITED..............................................................................................................271 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................294

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viii Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AMERICAN POLITICAL FILMS: 1968-1980 By William A. Renkus May 2007 Chair: Churchill L. Roberts Major: Mass Communication My study examined the values, attitudes, a nd beliefs depicted in American political films from 1968 to 1980. A histor ical analysis of eleven f ilms was used to chart the changing landscape of an important transi tional period in both American film and political history. Motion pictures are instruments of mass communication. As such, they are products of their times and are answerable to market forces. For this reason, they can be used as artifacts of cultural history. Examina tion of the political film genre contributes increased knowledge into the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. The political film genre has reflected societys changing attitudes toward political leaders, the role of the electorate, th e role of the media, th e proper response to national crisis, the proper age nda of public issues, and the ethical responsibilities of governmental leaders.

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ix Historical analysis of eleven films was us ed to chart the changing landscape of an important transitional period in both Amer ican film and political history. Films were chosen based on the inclusion of recurring genre conventions of character and plot, including major characters that aspire to or hold political office, are removed from political office, or report on the political activities of government al office holders. Political films of this era re flected and abetted the erosion of the American political consensus of the post World War II era. These films found fault with political leaders and the political process, offered ha rsh critiques of the pace of social reform, questioned the value of existing economic and media structures As a result, an era of American selfconfidence was replaced by an era of ironi c detachment and political cynicism.

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1 CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND This study examined the depiction of polit ics in American motion pictures from 1968 to 1980. Motion pictures have been one of the most important entertainment forums of the last century. Because of their influential status, films can be used to help identify the values that were deemed important by a pa rticular society at a particular time. The study of films can contribute another facet to the mosaic of historical truth. For this reason, they are worthy of historical analysis The study of film provi des insight into how filmmakers reacted to the changing political climate of the time, which political norms, attitudes, and beliefs were challenged, and how these norms, attitudes, and beliefs have altered over time. Significance of the Study Creators of popular entertainment have of ten commented on the political climate of their times. Aristophanes Lysistrata satirized pacifism, Shakespeares Hamlet addressed the choice of regicide, and Arthur Millers The Crucible was an allegory for the excesses of McCarthyism. Filmmakers have also util ized their medium to comment on politics. Frank Capras Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) cautioned against the evils of political corruption, The Candidate (1972) depicted the corro sive effects of personal ambition and Wag the Dog (1997) illustrated the ease with which political reality can be manipulated.

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2 Artists who operated within popular entertainment forums created all of these works. Market forces compelled them to re flect the perspectives of their audiences. Individual beliefs motivated them to inspire new ways of thinking. This is also true of many filmmakers who have worked in th e American motion picture industry. Filmmakers are products of their times. Th ey have both an economic and an artistic motivation to understand the society they live in. At the same time, filmmakers must make choices as to what is included in and excluded from their productions. Because of these factors, motion pictures can be utili zed as valuable historical artifacts. An examination of the plot, char acters, style, and structure contained in a film helps to explain the historical context in which it was produced. Therefore, an examination of American political films produced from 1968 to 1980 increases our understanding of the historical context within which they were created. Films of this period are worthy of study for other reasons. An examination of motion pictures adds to the literature of mass communication hist ory. A great deal has been written about film history in such othe r disciplines as Englis h and Rhetoric. These disciplines have approached the study of film from an aesthetic point of view. They have sought to trace the history of film language and film art. Mass communications history provides a unique perspective that leads to a greater understanding of the role that each mass medium has played in the development of society. The field of mass communication has contri buted a great deal to the understanding of the effects that media have had on society, but there is a need for the reverse. It is important to discover the effect s that society has had upon media. It is also important to increase our knowledge of film history. There has been a great deal of valuable research

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3 on journalism, print, and broadcasting in mass communication history, but not as much research on entertainment media. The fiel d of mass communication history is a proper venue for the study of motion pictures as well as journalism, radio, and television. If one wishes to understand American society in the era of the penny press, it is necessary to turn to The New York Sun In order to understand Ameri can society in the twentieth century, one must go to the movies. The motion picture has long held a unique place in the national consciousness. Motion pictures have offered an experience that other media could not. Attendance at a motion picture has always require d its audience to make an effort. They have had to leave their homes, travel to the theater, and purch ase a ticket. Films have also occupied a unique place in the audiences imagination. Im ages found on the silver screen could often seem to be more real than reality. Are schools of great white sharks to be found lurking at every beach in America? Did John Wayne re ally win World War II single handedly? Who is the more real Lincoln, the man pictur ed on our currency, or the man portrayed by Henry Fonda? Historical reality can be mediated by film reality. It is important for society to understand how filmmakers have used their cr aft to mediate the reality of important issues. Issues of governance and political le adership have always been of paramount importance. The communication of these mediat ed realities has changed through different eras in history. The history of American motion pictures can be divided in to different eras including, the silent era, the classic era, and the current era of multinational corporate ownership. Each era has presen ted a different vision of Amer ica. The Great Depression,

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4 for instance, resulted in both escapist dance movies -Flying Down to Rio (1933) -as well as antihero gangster films -The Public Enemy (1931). Moments of crisis within society or within the motion pict ure industry have often resulted in films that have broken previous conventions. This was true of the period beginning in the late 1960s. The late 1960s and early 1970s has been labeled the era of the New Hollywood. This was an important period in film history b ecause several influential filmmakers had an opportunity to exercise unprecedented creat ive freedom. Economic factors within the industry provided an opportunity for new f ilmmakers to emerge. These new writers and directors were fresh from film schools or from the televisi on medium. They took chances both artistically and thematically. Their work remained commercially successful, but it also challenged traditionally held values regarding morality, author ity, and social norms (King 25). This period in film history was the last time that motion pictur es could stand alone as important cultural events. After this time, films became but one part of a corporate media package designed to cross promote video rentals, music sales, and product endorsements. By the end of the 1970s, the American motion picture industry had regained its economic footing. That ec onomic turn around was facilitated by the production of big budget blockbusters that could no longer afford to challenge the status quo (Biskind 343). The period from 1968 to 1980 was not only signi ficant in film hist ory; it was also an important period in American political hist ory. The year 1968 was especially eventful. Violence at the Democratic National Conve ntion tore the party apart and provided headlines for the antiw ar movement. The country was traumatized by the assassinations

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5 of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy. President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection. Johnsons Great Society would come to be replaced by Richard Nixons Silent Ma jority. The election of Richard Nixon signaled a shift from the liberalism of the 1960s to greater conservatism of the 1970s. The decade of the 1970s continued to br ing change. This era was marked by important events that would shake public confidence in th eir government. These events included scandals, tax revolts, terrorism, a nd national malaise. By the end in the 1970s, America was a different nation. The electora te had become disenchanted with the political status quo. A new majority rejected the politics of the 1960s. This new majority would eventually turn to a man from outsi de the political establishment to fill the presidency. Motion pictures reflected these im portant real world events. They have been depicted directly in motion picture content as well as in the back-story within film plots, the characterization of major pl ayers, and in the violation of audience expectations. Films involving the depiction of the politic al process in the United States are the subject of this study. Other genres of moti on pictures, no doubt, would provide insight into certain aspects of American society as well. Important public issues have been the subject of a broad array of film genres in cluding the gangster film the labor film, the prison film, the juvenile delinquent film, the r acial conflict film, the ecological disaster film, and the war film. Each one of these genres addresses a social problem. Social problem films are differentiated from political films by their presentation of a single topical issue rather than an examination of th e established political structures designed to govern over the long term. It is th e political film genre that be st illustrates the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. The political film genre has most

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6 directly addressed societys atti tudes toward political leaders, the role of the electorate, the role of the media, the pr oper response to national crisis the proper agenda of public issues and the ethical responsibil ities of governme ntal leaders. At this point, it should be asked what th e definition of a political film is. Some authors rely on personal experience to rec ognize a political film when they see one. Noted film critic Andrew Sarris remarked, E ven the most escapist movies manage to make statements about society and its id eology (9). Many scholars have accepted a broad definition, based on the presence of ideo logical content within each film. This is especially true of radical film theorists. In his definition of political films, Mike Wayne considered issues of social and cultural em ancipation of prime importance. According to Wayne, political films are those designed to ra dicalize the masses in their struggle against dominant culture (5). Masud Zavarzadeh ag reed with Waynes analysis, adding that western political films are often designed to homogenize the past or to make dominate culture appear harmless and ther efore inevitable (153). These are rather broad definitions of political films because almost all Hollywood films tend to reflect the dominant culture. Beverly Kelly agreed that filmmakers utili ze a diverse range of ve hicles to deliver a political message, from screwball comedy to biography to western. In an attempt to narrow the field of discussion, Kelly suggest ed a definition based on the presence of political ideology defined as integrated assert ions, theories, and aims that constitute a governmental policy (2). The presence of ideo logy alone, however, still would result in the inclusion of most Hollywood productions. In Films by Genre Daniel Lopez defines political films as those that attempt to reaffirm the political beliefs shared by a soci al group, convert others to that point of view,

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7 or discover the hidden motivations behind the actions undertaken by an established political bureaucracy. This definition of the poli tical film genre is quite useful because it includes the presence of both ideological content, as well as an examination of the underlying political structure of a society. As an example of this definition, Lopez cited the Greek film Z (1968) as a seminal work in the po litical film genre because of its critique of political expediency and injust ice in the 1960s Greek political system (228229). Political films are defined as those that seek to examine the shared ideology, as well as the underlying political structure of a society. In addition, the political film is more narrowly defined as those films that incorporate recurring ge nre conventions of character and plot, including major characters that aspire to or hold political office, are political staff members, organize anti-gove rnmental protests, or report on the political activities of governmental office holders. Based on this definition, The Internet Movie Data Base online film bibliography was consulted . The resu lting eleven films were judged to represent the selection criteria and to provi de the most valuable histori cal film artifacts of the study period. No attempt was made to favorably or unfavorably judge th e ideology found in the work of writers, directors, or producers. B ecause filmmaking is a collaborative business, the work of all key contributors was exam ined. Only profitable films produced and distributed in America, from 1968 to 1980, were considered. The most complete DVD versions of the films were then secured for viewing. They are as follows: All The Presidents Men. Warner Brothers, 1976. Being There. Lorimar Film Entertainment, 1979. The Candidate. Warner Brothers, 1972.

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8 Chinatown. Paramount, 1974. Medium Cool. Paramount, 1969 Nashville. American Broadcasting Company, 1975. The Parallax View. Paramount, 1974. The Seduction of Joe Tynan. Universal, 1979. Taxi Driver. Columbia, 1976. Walking Tall. Bing Crosby Productions, 1973. Wild In The Streets American International Pictures, 1968. Film Studies Motion pictures have always generated in tense popular interest The exploits of early pioneers were enthusiastically reported on in the press of the day. To most people, motion pictures were an interesting new technology that provided harmless entertainment. Others saw them as escap ist and not worthy of serious thought. Many people still do. The early study of motion pi ctures suffered because of these popular perceptions.1 The movies became the subject of countless fan magazines, gossip columns, and movie star biographies. Thes e writings were beamed to ward the popular mass market. There was, however, some early academic in terest in film. In 1916, the psychologist Hugo Munsterberg commented on motion picture s ability to break down rational notions of space and time within the minds of the audience (401). In 1929, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein explained the art of film editing and its mastery by D. W. Griffith (25). 1 The study of film did not become popular until the latter half of the twentieth century. The 1960s saw an explosion of film studies classes and in the number of film related publications. See Jowett and Linton 13).

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9 In 1933, a team of sociologists, under the di rection of the head of the Bureau of Educational Research at Ohio State University W. W. Charters, produced a series of ten volumes that became known as The Payne Fund Studies The Payne Fund Studies found that children were frequent vi ewers of movies and that thes e movies depicted themes of crime and sex that had ill effects on Amer icas youth (Rogers 191). In addition, noted critics such as James Agee and Manny Farber wrote serious pieces about films and the motion picture industry. The Nation The New Republic and Time Magazine published their work in the 1940s and 1950s. Film continued to be studied throughout the mid-century, but it was primarily through the work of European writers that Hollywood film s finally achieved artistic legitimacy. The auteur theory of film, promoted by the writ ers of the French publication Cahiers du Cinema elevated underappreciated American di rectors to the status of artists. The Auteur movement was soon endorsed by American film critics who began to champion directors working within the Ho llywood studio system (Schatz and Perren 495). The idea that American filmmakers coul d be worthy of the term artist would eventually lead to an explosion of academic interest in motion pictures. Knowledge of critically acclaimed films and filmmakers became the mark of in tellectual hipness. Universities initiated degree programs in film studies and in film production. These programs led to the development of more schol ars as well as a ge neration of directors who would begin to create innovative films in the 1960s and 1970s. According to Schatz and Perren, the study of film has continued to evolve. It has now achieved academic legitimacy. The field has diversified over the last quarter century

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10 to include the study of genre, structures a nd semiotics, feminism, power, and economics among others. However, the development of film studies has been a bumpy one, as scholars have attempted to strike a balance between industrial/institutional analyses and textual/interpretive studies (510). Significant advances in the field of film history have helped to strike this balance by situating Ho llywood within the larger social and cultural context (510). Film History Film history can be seen as a part of film studies as well as mass communication history. According to James Startt and W illiam Sloan, the study of mass communications history can be approached from three diffe rent perspectives including ideological, professional, and cultural. E ach of these perspectives ha s developed over time and has subdivided into various schools. The ideological approach encompasse s the four earliest schools of mass communication history. The Nationalist School in terpreted early journa lists as patriotic figures; The Romantic School promoted th e great man theory of history, The Progressive School brought a reformist view to their work and The Consensus School, which sought to emphasize the achievements of America and its mass media; especially during times of national crisis. Those worki ng from the professional perspective can be found in the Developmental School. This gr oup of scholars examined the professional development of the media. The final pers pective of mass communi cations historians would be from the perspective of culture. Ot her perspectives assumed that media had a major impact on society, but the Cultural Schoo l sought to study the impact of society on the media. The cultural perspective enabled scho lars to provide a bett er understanding of

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11 how sociological forces, economics, and t echnology have acted on media (Startt and Sloan 22-39). The Developmental School Motion picture technology developed at a much later date th an print technology. Film is a relatively new medium when compar ed to newspapers or books. Consequently, many film histories have fallen into the mo re recent Developmental and Neo-Romantic Schools. The primary focus of the Developm ental School has been on the creation and advancement of a new mass media industry. The contributions of pioneers and the discovery of early inventions have been told continually. Biographies of important writers, directors, producers, and movie star s have been written throughout every film era. The structure of the Hollywood studio system and issues of film censorship also have been explored. The work of early inventors has been a popular subject of the Developmental School. The perfection of the first moving photographs by Eadweard Muybridge led to the refinement of the first motion pict ure camera by Etienne Jules Marey. These developments, along with the invention of the perforated film strip by the Edison Laboratories and the first large screen projec tor by the Lumiere brothers in 1895, made it possible for motion pictures to become both commercial and artistic successes. Soon, millions of Americans thronged to nickelodeons and theaters to see the latest movies.2 A large body of work has celebrated the grea t films that were produced by the great men in film history. This emphasis on great men would also indicate that the authors 2 For accounts of the development of the early motion picture industry, see Hampton; Bordwell and Thompson; and Sklar.

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12 were writing from the point of view of the Romantic School. Stories of individual achievements can be found in works includ ing Peter Bogdonovichs biography of John Ford and Richard Schickels book containing a series of interviews with other noted directors such as George C ukor, Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, and Raol Walsh. Other works examined the lives of studio heads such as the Warner brothers and Louis B. Mayer. These biographies portray their subjects as vital to the development of the American film industry and reveal a great deal about the development of production techniques. They also provide in sight into the struct ure of the Hollywood studio system and the industrys response to external attempts to control content.3 Issues of cinematic censorship have also been explored within the Developmental School. The demise of the production code was researched by Brook. The history of the Catholic Churchs Legion of Decency was studied by Skinner. Other challenges to the ability of filmmakers to exercise their craf t are found in Ecksteins account of events surrounding the actions of the U. S. Congress House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). (Brook; Skinner; Eckstein). Those writing in the Developmental School sought to explain how the motion picture industry became successful. The c ontributions of early pioneers were highly praised. This schools perspective has been fa vorable to its subjects. They have been depicted as contributing to free enterprise a nd artistic expression. Mo re recent writers in this School have congratulated filmmake rs as promoters of freedom of speech. 3 For biographies of early pioneers of the motion picture industry, see Bogdonovich; Schickel; Freedland and Eyeman.

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13 The Economic School The economic structure of the film industr y has become a prime subject for film historians. The movie business, however, has been difficult to analyze because of its uncertain nature. Financing a motion picture is a gamble at best with investment decisions made before anyone knows if the e nd product will be market able. According to J. E. Squire: Many essential choices spring from intuitiv e leaps; most succe ssful practitioners possess a personal mix of creative and busine ss sense; judgments frequently rely on relationships and personalitie s; decision are often made with a long lead time, making it harder to anticipate audience tr ends; and as far as profits are concerned, the skys the limit. (5) For the first half of the twentieth cen tury, the motion pict ure studios enjoyed vertical integration. They c ontrolled everything from producti on to distribution. Creative personnel were signed to long term unbreak able contracts forcing them to work on whatever project management deemed appropr iate. The final product was distributed to theaters owned by the movie studios. As a consequence, competition was kept to a minimum. During this period there were onl y seven major studios in the industry, and studio heads ruled with almost complete autonomy.4 Hollywoods artistic and economic golde n era spanned the period between the invention of sychchronous sound in 1927 and th e peak years for movie theater attendance in the United States, 1946-1948. After this time, the industry faced many challenges including antitrust lawsuits, the growth of the television industry, the increased availability of highly innovativ e European films, and demogr aphic changes in audiences. The motion picture industrys response to these challenges proved to be inadequate. 4 Accounts of the early structural de velopment in the film industry can be found in Sklar; and Gabler.

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14 Highly publicized produ ctions such as Cleopatra (1963) lost considerable amounts of money. A series of expensive theatrical fa ilures had a negative influence on both the Hollywood establishment and the nations movi e critics. Both groups began to believe that European filmmakers had surpassed th eir American counterparts. Hollywood studios had no solution for changing market situati on and began to hemorrhage money. By the decade of the 1960s, the vertical monopolies of several major studios were broken and an era of corporate conglomera tion had begun (Monaco 3-9). Bernard Dicks Engulfed: the Death of Paramount Pictures and the Birth of Corporate Hollywood (2001) on Gulf and Westerns take over of Paramount Pictures illustrated how control of the film industry was wrested away from the old time studio heads by modern corporations. Film moguls w ho, for all their faults, still loved movie making no longer controlled the motion picture industry. Corporations replaced the studio system with a cold, dispassionate emphasis on profits. This led to an increased number of blockbuster productions that served to maximize the corporate bottom line. All schools of film history have addresse d budgets and box office--at least to some degree. Those who wrote about the great st udios of the 1930s woul d certainly include analysis of the struggle for power between the moguls in Hollywood and the financial executives of the studio who worked in New York. The Economic School, however, has reflected a cultural perspective of history. They have moved away from the great man theory of history to an inve stigation into motion pictures as an industry in the larger national economic system. This industry-wide perspective has usually been negative and has become even more prevalent in th e modern era of corporate convergence.

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15 The Cultural School According to media historian Daniel Cz itrom, the invention of motion pictures initiated a new kind of art form that was ma de for a new kind of mass audience. Movies used pictures and common language to conve y their narrative. Th ey brought together large numbers of the working class and newl y arrived immigrants to comprise their audience. Films were shown in urban slum neighborhoods by enterpri sing exhibiters who soon came to control the industry. The exhibito rs and the audience were not members of the upper class or the cultural elite. This was an art form for the masses. As such, it caused growing concern among cultural traditionalists who sought to control this new popular entertainment medium (44-45). When members of the upper class pressu red those in government to examine the buildings in which films were presented, th ey found conditions to be wanting. Theaters were dark and sanitation was poor. In 1908, the licenses of 550 movie theaters were revoked in New York City. It was not until e xhibitors began to build movie palaces in neighborhoods beyond the urban slums that movi es became socially acceptable. By the 1920s, films attracted not onl y lower class audiences, but middle and upper class audiences as well (Czitrom 50). Czitroms concern was to discover how Am ericans thought about and reacted to the creation of new media including telegraph, film, and radio. B ecause of his interest in early development, he limited his study of fi lm history only to the first three decades of the last century. A more comprehensive cultu ral history of motion pictures can be found in the work of Robert Sklar. In his book Movie Made America: A cultura l History of American Movies Sklar wrote of the Hollywood Dream Factory and the importance of cu ltural myths in the

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16 maintenance of social stability during the trying times of the 1930s and 1940s. According to Sklar: The high priority the nations leaders placed on recementing the foundations of public morale was not lost on those producers and directors whose goal was enhanced prestige, respectabi lity, and cultural power. Mo reover, they were quickly gaining considerable skill at communicat ing their messages with subtle nuances beneath the surface of overt content. (196) Perhaps two of the most influential Ho llywood mythmakers of mid century were studio head Walt Disney and the director Frank Capra. In hi s discussion of Disney, Sklar was able to incorporate anthropological res earch of Claude Levi-Strauss to show how Disneys cartoons moved from fantasy to idea lization. In his discus sion of Capra, Sklar illustrated the directors ability to tackle cont emporary social themes in fictional films as well as in documentaries a bout World War II (199-214). According to Robert Ray, Hollywoods ability to maintain social stability has been related to structural and thematic elements of filmmaking. The continuity editing system became the standard procedure for crafti ng a mainstream film. This system was developed in the silent era and codified during Hollywood s Classic Era. Continuity editing was meant to be seamless and imper ceptible by the audience. As a consequence, audiences were unaware that they were be ing swept away by the underlying ideology of what they viewed (32). The underlying ideology of classic period Hollywood productions was the avoidance of choice between the outlaw hero and the official hero. According to Ray, the outlaw hero represented American belief in self-determinism and freedom from entanglements whereas the official hero st ood for communal action and the rule of law. The antihero and the hero have been presen t in numerous motion pictures. They have echoed Americas tendency to mythologize hist orical individuals such as Davy Crockett

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17 and George Washington. Film audiences en countered both outlaw heroes as well as official heroes and the American film indus try encouraged them to believe that they could reconcile the values reflected by the two oppos ite film personas (59). Rays argument was that this reconciliati on cultivated a cynical view of the world and political inaction on the part of the audience. In their book Manufacturing Consent Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky maintained that motion pictures tendency to induce political inaction is evidence of hegemony. These social critic s have been interested in exploring how powerful elites maintain the political status quo through manipulation of film and other mass media (Herman and Chomsky). Challenges to Americas status quo have been depicted in the genre of the American social problem film. The histor y of this genre was researched by David Manning White and Richard Averson. The authors found a long history of motion pictures that have explored social problems of racial and ethnic prejudice, drug addiction, alcoholism, labor inequities, penal inhumanity, crime and juvenile delinquency, corruption in politics and government and that most cance rous of all social ills, war( 260). The cultural perspective has provided a c onsideration of effo rts by marginalized groups to claim their stake in American popular awareness. The stereo typical portrayal of Native Americans and the work of current Native American filmmakers have been studied by Jacquelyn Kilpatrick. The identif ication with, and resistance to, the black American cinema experience has also been e xplored by Ed Guerrero. In addition, Cynthia Lucia has examined the theme of patriarchy in crisis in the female lawyer film genre. (Kilpatrick; Guerrero; Lucia).

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18 The study of genre history has provided a valuable entre into American cultural history. The film portrayal of a particular sociological gr oup can tell us how they were regarded by society at different periods of time. The changi ng nature of an individual genre can provide insight into the changing n eeds of an audience. The western has been a staple of the American moti on picture industry. Gary Wills John Waynes America goes beyond the Developmental School to examine why America has needed a frontier myth and how a particular star has personified that myth. A markedly different vision of the Amer ican hero was depicted in the posttraumatic cycle of films that was produced in the period from 1970 to 1976. These films reflected a loss of confidence in America and its institutions. The protagonists of the films produced in this cycle were confident th at they could control events, but their sense of control is revealed to be an illusion. Eventually, the protagonists become trapped in events that spiral out of their control. The result for the protagonist was tragedy, trauma, and an inability to respond.5 Fictional characters were s ubject to lost illusions in films of the 1970s. According to David Cook, this was also true of filmma kers. The late 1960s through the early 1970s was a period of great social activism. The antiwar movement encouraged belief that a new liberal consensus would emerge. Filmma kers bought into the permanence of this new consensus and reflected this belief in th e creation of more politically liberal films. There was to be no permanent shift to the left however. The new consensus was an illusion. By 1980, conservatives had regained cont rol of the presidency and the country. 5 Films in this cycle include The Long Goodbye (1973), Night Moves (1975), and Heavens Gate (1980). See Keathley 297.

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19 A second illusion, on the part of the fil mmakers, was that mainstream American audiences had become more interested in seri ous social and political films. This illusion was shattered by the success of Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977) both of which promoted a juvenile mythos of awe and wonder in movies that embraced conservative cultural values, ye t did so within a superstruc ture of high-tech special effects and nostalgia for clas sical genres (Cook xv-xvi). Film History as a Genre Motion pictures have served as both conscious and unconscious recorders of history. American motion pictures have often tu rned to historical ev ents or biographies for their subject matter. History has been used to apply a patina of prestige to fictional works. This has been especially true of bi ographies. As a measure of this prestige, one can tally the numerous awards that have been earned by this genre. In fact, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominate d at least one historical film for Best Picture every year from 1986 to 2001 (Toplin 6). Not everyone has been pleased with the success of historical motion pictures. The portrayal of historical events on film has b een chastised by historians for its inaccuracy. These films have often been misleading in th eir depiction of real events, and academics fear that the public will obtain their knowledge of history so lely from cinema. Those who learn from false history are doomed to repeat this falsehood. On the other hand, Robert Toplin mainta ins that a blanket condemnation of the historical film genre has been unrealistic because filmmakers must operate under different commercial and struct ural constraints th an historians. In addition, to dismiss

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20 cinematic history comes with a price. It segr egates scholars from important discussions of the subject that are ta king place beyond the academy. 6 An interesting facet of motion pictures is that they can also perform the function of unconscious recorders of history. According to Charles Maland, Stanley Kubricks 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, was created within the dominant American cold wa r paradigm, but used satire to reject the ideology of liberal consensus. This nightmare comedy rejected the two cornerstone assumptions of that ideology: that the structure of Ameri can society was basically sound and that Communism was a clear and present da nger to the survival of the United States (191). This film marked a turning point in American thought. The national complacency of the 1950s was soon to be replaced as Am ericans began to question its political leadership and that leaderships foreign policy. The history of motion pictures has been ex amined from the perspective of various schools of thought. Films have been viewed as examples of artistic expression, technological innovation, economic developmen t, governmental regulation, sociological impact, cultural transmission, mythic reality, and recorders of history. Each perspective has increased our understanding of the medium An examination of the history of the depiction of politics on film has benefited fr om a variety of perspectives as well. Politics in Film Politics plays a vital part in the life of every citizen. The allocation of goods and services can mean life and deat h to a community in crisis. The application of power can 6 For a series of articles on inaccuracies in historical films, see Carnes. For a defense of the film history genre, see Toplin 4.

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21 change the course of history for good or for ill. Those who wield political power inspire great passion as well as ambivalen ce. According to Philip Gianos: It is difficult to imagine an area of huma n life more fraught with ambivalence than politics. It is not that we love politi cians or hate them; it is that we love and hate them. Political life embodies, simultaneously, great aspiration and great disillusionment, and this mix of aspiration and disillusionment is simultaneously individual and collective. Th e success or failure of an i ndividual politician becomes the success or failure of the community from which the person comes and which that person, at some level, represents Everyone is happy when Jefferson Smith wins. (169) According to Beverly Merill Kelly, this tension between the individual and community is the most reliable method of r ecognizing a truly American film. The first American settlers arrived on these shores seek ing independence from their native lands. Once they established a new country, they faced the duality of politic al reality. Since the beginning of the republic, Americans have both hated strong central authority and idealized group consensus. Other dualities exist in the American political psyche including contrasting goals of populism/elitism, fascism/antifascism, interventionism/isolationism, and personal respon sibility/social safety nets. According to Kelly, these contrasting ideologies typi fy classic Hollywood productions such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (4). Jefferson Smith, the protagonist in Frank Capras film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the archetypal American political film hero. He represents populism, antifascism and personal responsibility, with just a touch of elitism included for good measure. This motion picture, produced during the classic period of American Hollywood cinema, totally capture s the values of depression er a America. It also falls within the first of three historical periods within the political film genre.

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22 According to Harry Keyishian, motion pictur es of the first period, from 1900 to the mid 1940s, depicted a hero who could mainta in both integrity and political power. The hero would often be an amateur or an outside r who would redeem society. In the films of the second period, from the mid 1940s to the 199 0s, the protagonist was forced to make a choice between integrity and political power. To choose one would serve to forfeit the other. In films from 1990 onward, there ha s been a return to the outsider who has attempted to redeem the political process. These films present a more sophisticated political hero than the innocent protagonists of the classic period.7 There would appear to be little ambiguity present in the film character of Jefferson Smith. He appears to be the quintessential f ilm hero and is depicted as a simple man whose strength comes from the land and his family and friends (Gianos 100). Jefferson Smith believes in the purity of the American constitution and the rule of law. This is in contrast to the sophistication of the corrupt city dwellers an d their jungle law. Smith is an example of the official hero. He has conf idence in the nobility of the average citizen and it is he who tries to redeem the corrupt political system by refusing to compromise. the strength and purity of Smiths personality save the soul of the Senate (Gianos 100). The depiction of Jefferson Smith as a hero of the little people resonated with depression era progressivism and the audiences distrust of class elite s. Smith also can be seen as a member of the elite class. Throughout the film he claims to speak for the downtrodden, but he refuses to listen to th eir telegraph messages urging him to stop his Senate filibuster. According to Gianos, this makes Smith a more ambivalent character 7 Examples of films from the first period include Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and Wilson (1944). Films from the second period include The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979). Films from the last period include Bob Roberts (1992) and Bulworth (1998). See Keyishian.

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23 and changes the meaning of the film into a que stion of which elite should rule, rather than which class (100). According to Keyishian, political films of the second period included films about a corrupted hero such as All The Kings Men (1949). This film was based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Robert Penn Warren. The book, as well as the film, was a thinly veiled retelling of the pol itical career of Louisi ana Governor Huey Long. All The Kings Men contrasted the idealism of Governor Willie Starks early campaign rhetoric with his later dishonesty in office. The film asks wh ether Starks downfall is the product of free will or of original sin; whether he is a good man corrupted by the political process; or a bad one whose inherent vice emerges when he gets a chance for power (Keyishian 18). Political films of the third period have been studied as well. Films such as Bob Roberts (1992), Wag the Dog (1997), and Bulworth (1998) continued the ambivalent trend toward politics and politicians. In cont rast to Keyishian how ever, Brian Neve has maintained that the films of the 1990s have em phasized the self-inter est of politicians and have provided no sense of their pos sible redemptive qualities (19). Political films have been studied accordi ng to the chronological era in which they were produced. In addition, films have also been categorized according to how directly they have addressed the subject of politics. Films can be eith er overtly concerned with the political process as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), partially concerned with certain elements of the political process as in Citizen Kane (1941), or they can introduce political themes into other genres as in S tagecoach (1939). The American presidency has been centra l to the plot of numerous films in the political genre. Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of over thirty theatrical releases.

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24 Lincoln was a great man, in history as well as in film. The deliberate and skillful casting of certain actors reinforces his positive image. In particular, three legends of the silver screenHenry Fonda, Fredric March and Sp encer Tracystand out as being the prototypical heroic Hollywood presid ent (Schleben and Yenerall 87). This focus on presidential character ha s moved from the movies to real life. Character issues hounded Gary Hart during th e 1988 Democratic primaries and President Bill Clinton endured Monicagate in 1998-1999. The way that the presidency has been portrayed has come to influence the way the public perceives the executive branch (111). How can a modern president possibly measur e up to the public perception of a man perceived to be as noble as Lincoln? One way would be to adopt the myth making strategy of American motion pictures. Pres ident John Kennedy had a natural gift for projecting a likable image. President Richar d Nixon did not. According to Neal Gabler, his solution was to provide the media with set pieces that: Presented you as having achieved what you had said you wanted to achieve whether or not you had actually achieve d it, just as during the campaign one provided set piece that showed you were wh at you said you were whether or not you actually were. (109) The modern politician has become a skilled manipulator of image. He has also blended popular film culture with re ality. President Ronald Reagan adopted Star Wars (1977) terminology in his proposals for national defense against the evil empire. At a more subtle level, the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) reversed the role of the robot from the future portrayed by actor, now governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The robot, once evil, was now good. This simplistic reversal echoed and eased other real policy reversals toward Saddam in the Gulf and, two years earlier, Noriega in Panama (Rosenbaum 3).

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25 According to Gianos, an exam ple of a film that is part ially concerned with politics would be Citizen Kane The political aspects of this film are used to reveal the psychological makeup of its main character. The young Kane was deprived of maternal love and substitutes a drive for power for that loss. He maintains that he is running for office because of a motivation for political refo rm, but he is really interested in public adoration. Ultimately, the film is about the tragedy of wealth and idealism gone wrong (170 -184). It would not seem likely that a traditi onal American western movie would address serious political issues. Stagecoach directed by John Ford, is the story of how a mismatched band of people struggles to surv ive a perilous trek through Indian country. Fords film, like many of his other westerns trades on the American frontier myth of civilizations triumph over nature According to Jeanne Heffer nan, a closer inspection of his films reveals that Fords use of setting: Provokes a thoughtful uneasiness about the ve ry myths the films present. Indeed, Fords Westerns reveal a subtle apprecia tion for the complexity of human relations, a wariness of pretensions to virtue, and a profound ambivalence toward the possession of power. (147) A number of film scholars, including Mi chael Parenti, have maintained that American entertainment films, including cl assic westerns, propagate images supportive of imperialism, capitalism, authoritarianism, and militarism in what he considers to be an insidious mix of entertainment and real ity. Other authors, including Dana Polan, contrasted American avant-garde films with mainstream productions such as Grease (1978) finding that they contai ned escapist fantasies and a promotion of capitalism. In addition, M. Keith Booker provided a comprehe nsive survey of film and the American

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26 left identifying political films as those th at addressed an inhe rent conflict between proletariat ideals and majority repressi on (Parenti 2; Polan 59; Booker x-xii). Dan Nimmo and James Combs also examined films as rituals of power. They maintain that the movie-going experience serves to mediate reality for the audience. The Hollywood Dream Factory bridges the real wo rld and the reel world through the creation of fantasy. The Hollywood Dream Factory constr ucts stories that tap into the mythic folklore and narrative tradition of a culture. Audiences recognize and respond to these metaphorical representations of reality and fabl es of cultural heritage through fantastic learning that results in a learned sens e of who and where they are (109-110). Nimmo and Combs go on to identify the diffe rent fantasies of ritualized political power that Hollywood has created during the decades of the last century. The Populist Fantasy, found in films from the 1930s, helped audiences find scapegoats for hard times. The Commitment Fantasy of the 1940s was personified in the choice of political reengagement made by the Rick Blaine character in Casablanca (1942). The Alien Fantasy, of the 1950s, could be manifested by different audiences in different manners even when watching the same film. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) invited dual interpretations as a fear either of creeping socialism or of creeping fascism. The Fantasy of Change and Hope, of the 1960s, was seen in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) that promised the triumph of a tra nscendent power that would bring to earth reconciliation through benevol ent technology legitimized th rough higher truths. The Fantasy of Renewal and Reflection of the 1980s brought nostalgia for a fantasy America that newer quite existed (112-126).

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27 The authors categorized the 1970s as the big chill era and the me decade when The American Dream drifted, and no political leader or force seemed able to capture the public imagination. Nimmo and Combs also found it difficult to identify the focus of political power in films of the 1970s. Accord ing to Nimmo and Comb s the social hopes and commitments of previous movie heroes seemed to dissipate in the confusion and even cynicism of the decade. This resulted in the creation of the Fantasy of Doubt and Drift in motion pictures of the period (123-124). The decade of the 1970s was a transitional period. Nimmo and Combs intimate that nothing much happened in this period. The popul ar conception of the era was one of selfindulgence and inactivity, as in the me decade. It is not necessarily true that the 1970s were inconsequential. Periods of transition ar e interesting because they set the stage for the next period of history. America did not just jump from Camelot to the Reagan era. It would be wrong to overlook the history in betw een. Finding artifacts of this historical journey is important because th ey provide us with a road map from one era to the next. The unifying theme of the literature on polit ical dramas has been ambivalence. The political arena is where society allocates resources, settles scores, and redresses grievances. The buck stops here. When hard times befall the nation, politicians feel the heat. This is true in the real world as well as the wo rld of fiction. Discovering the political fables that have been used to medi ate the realities of film audiences has helped film historians understand different eras in the American experience. Nimmo and Combs devoted but one chapte r of their book to the mediation of political realities thr ough film and only two pages to the 1970s. Further exploration of this decade adds to the b ody of knowledge within the fi eld. In addition, Nimmo and

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28 Combs found it difficult to identify the importa nt political themes contained in films of the 1970s. According to Allan Nevins, periods of crisis can reveal the innermost truths about an individual--truths that even that person is not aware. This is true of society as well. The American political system experienced a continual state of crisis in the 1970s. A study of how society and mass culture reacted to those cris es can reveal some of the innermost truths about the nation (Nevins 217-235). The work of Nimmo and Combs has provi ded a good starting point for further research into mediated polit ical realities. This study is an expanded examination of cinematic mediated realities. Authors such as Keyishian have pr ovided a broad overview of political dramas. This study is an examina tion of one specific period of political film history. Writers from critical approaches su ch as Rosenbaum, Parenti, and Polan have added to our understanding of political films. There is still a need however, for research from a historical rather than a theoretical poi nt of view. An examination of film content as historical artifact adds to our understanding of medi ated political realities. The Historical Analysis of Film The goal of the historical analysis of film is to understand the social, economic, and cultural context within whic h a production was created and/or to understand how a production was received by audiences over time. In order to achieve this understanding, a coherent and comprehensive methodology must be employed. The study of film as historical artifact involves two stages of analysis (OConnor 8). The first stage in the historical analysis of film involves answering questions of content, production, and reception. Answeri ng questions of content involve close, repeated viewings of the film under study. It is important to note what appears on the screen, the sounds on the sound track, editing patterns used, point of view favored, and

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29 characterizations that are included in th e production. Are the costumes, dialects, and rituals authentic to the time period of the f ilm? It is also import ant to note how signs symbols and narrative structures are utilized in order to communicate the films message (OConnor 11-17). Answering questions of pr oduction involves finding out how and why things were included in the final work. A single pers on often creates historical manuscripts. Filmmaking is a collaborative process. It is useful to discover who or what most influenced the shaping of the film, the orie ntation and background of those involved in its creation, the institutional cons traints imposed by the films financial backers, and any unexpected experiences that occu rred during its creation. It is also important to discover the historical context that the film was create d in and to what extent the film was true to that period (OConnor 17 -19). Answering questions of reception must be sp ecific to the time of its creation and not influenced by modern responses. It is usef ul to know what effect, if any, the film had on the pace or direction of ev ents at the time it was made, who saw the film and how it was critically reviewed at the time of its release (OConnor 19-23). The second stage in the historical analysis of film requires the selection of one of four frameworks of inquiry. Accordin g to OConnor the frameworks are: The Moving Image as Representation of Histor y The representation on film of an actual historical event either in the form of a documentary or a docudrama. The Moving Picture as Evidence of Social and Cultural History The representation on film of the values and be lief systems of a society. Actual Footage as Evidence of Historical Fact Actual historical events recorded as they happened. The History of the Moving Image as Industr y and Art Form Indus trial and artistic developments within the film industry.

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30 The second framework was chosen to examin e political films be cause it facilitated an investigation into the widely held core beliefs of the mass audi ence. The other three frameworks seek to test fidelity to actual hi storic events or to ch art the development of the creative process. It was th e purpose of this study, however to contribute insight into ongoing cultural change of the period. Motion pi ctures, it is true, pr ovide but a single avenue to investigate cultur al change. Other media would provide additional insights. Motion pictures were chosen because of thei r ability to capture the mass market, their reliance on individual ticket sales rather than advertising revenue, and their traditional role as repository of Americ an dreams and aspirations. The utilization of film as evidence of po litical, social, and cult ural history involves an examination of what political values ar e present in the film and how those values correspond to other political, cultu ral, or social entities of th e time. One must investigate whether the film leads or follows political, so cial, or cultural tre nds. Interpretive biases, as well as evidence of shared cultural plots, characters, symbols, or myths, must be found. Is the film a strictly commercial work designed to strike existing chords, or is it the work of an individual seeking to change th e perceptions, values, or beliefs of society? Finally, it should be noted that a film does not have to be hugely successful in order to be a useful historical artifact. Productions th at anger or bore an audience also produce a response that can be significant to history (OConnor 108 -117). Based on a consideration of the liter ature and methodology, this study asked a number of questions about pol itical films of the period from 1968 to 1980. First, how did films mediate political reality for audiences? What rituals and fables were considered important and how did they change? Second, what were the political critiques put

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31 forward in the films? Were they effective, did they change, and why? Third, what were the important political values of the age? Di d they change, why and how? Fourth, to what extent do the films of the pe riod from 1968 to 1980 conform to historical reality and other accounts of historical re ality? Finally, to what extent di d the films influence present and future political values, critiques, events?

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32 CHAPTER 2 FROM POSTWAR CONSENSUS TO TH E TURBULENT 1960S IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND FILM The outcome of World War II had a pr ofound effect on the confidence of the American people. National belief in the supr emacy of the American way of life had been confirmed through victorious struggle on the ba ttlefields of Europe and Asia. Americans had united to defeat the dark forces of fasc ism and the nation emerged from the war as one of the most dominant economic, military, and political powers on earth. At the conclusion of World War II, Ameri ca was one of the world leaders in terms of its standard of living. This prosperity continued for th e next two decades. The per capita gross national product for the United States rose from $2,602 in 1958 to $4,379 in 1968. This compared to figures for the United Kingdom in the same years of $1,254 in 1958 to $1,861 in 1968. In 1962, Americas infant mortality rate had fallen to 25.4 per 1000 live births. This compared to rates for the Federal Republic of Germany at 29.2 per 1000 live births in 1962 and I ndia at 86.5 per 1000 live bi rths in 1960. In 1967, the United States spent 6.5 % of its national in come on education and had a comparatively high literacy rate of 97.8 % in 1959. Interes tingly, the Soviet Union reported better statistics for the same years at 7.3 % of its budget for education in 1967 and a literacy rate of 98.5 % in 1959.1 1 See U.S. Bureau of the Census, Per Capita Gross National Product by Country: 1958, 1963 and 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1970: 810; Vital Statistics and Net Food Supply, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 910; and Education by Country, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 835.

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33 The American manufacturing sector also led the world. In the 1960s, the United States was ranked first in stee l production, motor vehicles in use, and televisions in use. In addition, the nation had more than six tim es the number of telephones in use than its nearest competitor, Japan.2 It was in consumer products, however, that America most visibly outstripped the rest of the world. America had more dwelli ngs and more rooms pe r dwelling than any other country. The United Stat es also led the world in the production of cotton, rayon, milk, beer, and cigarettes. In 1968, the Un ited States produced 19.9 % of the worlds milk, 24.5 % of the worlds beer, and 22.8 % of the worlds cigarettes. Perhaps the production of so much beer a nd cigarettes helps to explai n why America also had by far the most physicians. In any event, Ameri ca in the postwar period experienced everincreasing material prosperity.3 The only possible threat to Am ericas way of life was thought to be from the Soviet Union. In the years after Worl d War II, the number of commu nist nations had increased to include The Peoples Republic of China, much of Eastern Europe and some emerging 2 In 1968 the United States had 109,225,000 telephones in use compared to Japan with 17,331,000. See U. S. Bureau of the Census, Coal, Petroleum, Cement, Iron Ore, Sulfuric Acid and Steel by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office,1968: 823; Transportation-Ship ping, Railway Traffic, Civil Aviation and Motor Vehicles, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 930; and Communications-Telephones, Telegrams, Mail, Newspapers, Radio and Television by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 831. 3 For consumer statistics, see U. S. Bureau of the Census, HousingDwellings, Rooms, Occupancy and Facilities, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office,1963: 934; Milk, Beer, Cigarettes, Fish, Cotton, Spindles and Yarn by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 826; and Education and Health, in Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 936.

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34 third world nations including Cuba. The Soviet s were seen as potential military rivals bent on expanding what was thought to be a monolithic Communist Block. This potential danger was met by the United States with a po licy of containment designed to resist Soviet expansion at every counterpoint. This policy of containment lead to a protracted Cold War but spared the nation from a direct super power confronta tion that could have exploded into World War III.4 American Political Consensus 1940s -1960s Americas postwar prosperity, along with its ability to maintain a policy of containment, promoted a feeling of se lf-confidence. According to author Tom Shachtman, this self-confidence was built on a sh ared system of beliefs that were widely held, honed to a fine point a nd were most important to t hose who held them. Looking back at the years from the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s, Shachtman identified a number of shared American beliefs for the post Wo rld War II period. They are listed here (Shachtman 22-30). The first widely held American belief was in the safety, sanctity and legitimacy of its national leaders. Americans believed that their society was stable and that it was capable of changing leadership through the ba llot box rather than th rough violence. They also assumed that their leaders were of good character, their motives were pure, and they were working for the steady improvement of society (Shachtman 22). 4 In 1968, the United States had 3,500,000 men under arms; the Soviet Union had 3,220,000, and mainland China had 2,761,000. This is compared to much lower numbers for The United Kingdom of 450,000. See National Defense Expenditures, 1967 and 1968 and Armed Forces Personnel, 1968 and 1969, in Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 814. In 1960, national defense expenditure s represented 49.8 % of the total federal outlay. It is interesting to note that the % of total federal outlays actually went down to 45.0 % during 1968, the peak year of the Vietnam conflict in terms of casualties. See Federal Budget Outlays for National Defense and Veterans Benefits and Services: 1959 to 1971, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 246.

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35 The second belief was that of the gradual nature of social change. America had problems, but they would be resolved. Along w ith this belief came a requirement that all citizens willingly accept th eir lot in life. This requirement he ld even if their lot in life was second-class citizenship due to poverty, race, class, or gender (Shachtman 22). The third belief was in the health and superiority of the American economy. By the 1960s, Americans had an almost unlimited se nse of economic pros perity. The nation had witnessed two decades of economic stabili ty and growth. Americans had been freed from the fear of economic depression and felt entitled to consume ever-greater levels of material goods and services (Shachtman 23). Americans also assumed that their natu ral resources were virtually limitless. Energy was perceived to be cheap and plentiful. Pollution of the environment was a minor price to pay for an advanced standa rd of living. American economic superiority required no limits on its consumer culture (Shachtman 25). Americans believed that they were and woul d continue to be militarily superior to all other nations. The United States had su cceeded in turning Germany and Japan into allies, had dominated NATO, and had won in Korea. Americans believed that their country had never lost a war. The basis of Am erican foreign policy was in defending the world against communist encroachment, a ta sk for which the nation needed to remain eternally vigilant (24). This belief was the basis of what became know as The Cold War. In addition, Americans believed that only they and the Soviets really mattered. It was assumed that China was under the control of the Soviet Union and that the smaller, third world and emerging nations could not affect the overall strategic balance of power.

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36 According to Shachtman, Americans believ ed that their technology, ingenuity, and money could solve all problems. Coupled w ith this was a profound belief in progress. The United States was destined to conquer ne w frontiers and meet new challenges. This progress was measured in growth. If a compa ny did not increase sales each year, it was said to be stagnating (26). It was assumed that Americas youth woul d wait their turn on th e ladder of upward mobility. The national economy was thought to be ever growing. Because of this growth, it was thought that young people should be willing to postpone gratification. The good life was measured in the ac quisition of creature comforts It was assumed that young people would conform to social norms in order to attain their eventual share of the good life (Shachtman 27). At the same time, the nuclear family wa s thought to be the bedrock of society. Traditional gender roles were the norm for breadwinner, homemaker, and student. Alternative family structur es, sexual promiscuity, sexual experimentation, and graphic sexual depictions were consid ered affronts to the sanct ity of the nuclear family (Shachtman 28). According to Shachtman, a final postwar be lief was that Americ an society was the best possible realization of our potential, the model for the re st of the world and for the future (29). Americans believed that as a pe ople they were consta ntly improving. It was believed that America was a land of opportunity where even the son of a poor immigrant family had the potential to become the leader of the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth.

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37 Some of the beliefs shared by American s in the post World War II era were contradictory in nature. Indivi duals were encouraged to dela y gratification at the same time that they were bombarded with advert ised images portraying the joys of mass consumption. Americans believed theirs to be a rapidly improvi ng land of opportunity, but this belief was not universally applied. Some segments of society were encouraged to accept improvement with the i nherently contradictory deliberate speed rather than actual speed. The contradictor y nature of some of Amer icas shared beliefs would eventually lead to uncertainty within individuals and ferment within society. The 1960s: Ferment in America The aftermath of World War II brought relative peace a nd prosperity to America. Peace and prosperity however, also brought conformity. Many American leaders were centrist in political philosophy. They firmly believed in the American system and the need for stability. Men of this generation had lived through the economic trauma of the Great Depression and had survived the car nage of World War II. Surviving such upheaval made them less likely to tackle massive change. A new political cohort, the first born in the Twentieth Century, would soon challenge the conformity of the postwar year s. A charismatic Senator from Massachusetts would be elected president in 1960. President John F. Kennedy seemed to embody all that was right about the American way of life. His family had risen from immigrant status to great wealth. In his life, Kennedy became a war hero, married a glamorous wife, and attained the highest office in the land.5 5 For a biography of Kennedys early life, military career, political career and presidency, see Dallek; for Kennedys charisma and generational impact, see Farber 31.

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38 A new generation of Americans was also to challenge the conformity of the post war years. This baby boom generation was di fferent from past generations. They had been exposed to the middle class aspirations of their parents. They had been marketed to as a separate demographic group. They had been encouraged by their parents to think for themselves, to be self reliant, competitive, and at the same time, empathetic toward those less fortunate (Cavallo 4). The baby boomers were certain that they would avoid the conformity of the post war years. Members of this group would comp rise the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Some challenged cultural norms, some op ted out of the system entirely, and others sought to address the evils of society. They joined the Peace Corps and became freedom riders for civil rights. Not everyone in th e baby boom generation would become members of the counterculture. Many of this generati on thought that conservative ideologies were required to improve society. Members of th e baby boomer generation of both persuasions sought new leaders who had new ideas and o ffered new possibilities. For many of this generation, Kennedy seemed to represent these new ideas. Once in office, Kennedy surrounded himsel f with the best and brightest of intellectuals and policy experts. Great pl ans were proposed. America would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade; poverty would be reduced; and Peace Corps members would help to promote the bene fits of American technology throughout the world. The American way of life seemed lik e it would continue to improve and the political philosophy of liberal c onsensus would be maintained. In the early 1960s, the American way of life did continue to improve. The economy was sound and the nation was at peace. The pr esident was perceived to be a strong leader

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39 as he stood up to the Communists, first in Berl in and then during the Cuban missile crisis. Once again, war was averted as the nation st ood toe-to-toe with the Soviets. On the domestic front, Kennedy began to address th e problem of racism through his support of Dr. Martin Luther King. Hopes for America we re high in a period of history that became known as Camelot after a popular Broadw ay musical play of the same name. Camelot told the story of an ideal ized, ancient noble kingdom. The era of Camelot ended on November 22, 1963 with the assassination of Kennedy. The young, idealized American leader wa s struck dead. Media coverage of this event was broadcast by all th ree-television networks wit hout commercial interruption from Friday afternoon when the murder t ook place until the following mid-Monday when the president was laid to rest in Arlingt on National Cemetery. According to Shachtman, the events massive media coverage resulted in the greatest simultaneous event in the history of the world that ha d occurred up until that time (46). During those four days, everyday life stopped in America as millions of viewers watched the sequence of events ending with Kennedys funeral. The national trau ma deepened with every televised ritual. Political assassination and assault has recurred throughout United States history. From 1835 to 1968 there were 81 such occurrences including four presidential assassinations.6 Americans had witnessed the deat h of past presidents, but the assassination of Kennedy was different. Pr esident Abraham Lincolns death was the culmination of a war that had cost over 600,000 lives. The assassinations of Presidents James A. Garfield and William McKinley were not as traumatic for the nation due to 6 For assassination figures, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Political Assassinations and Assaults: 1835 to 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971: 814.

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40 their service during a period of a politically diminished presidency. In contrast to Garfield and McKinley, Kennedy was still a relatively young and vital political figure at the time of his death. His murder seemed to deprive the country and the worl d of a better future (Dalek 694). In contrast to earlier pres idents, the public had a more intimate relationship with Kennedy because of extensive media exposure. The national trauma that resulted from this relationship was intense and long last ing. The American publics reactions to the assassination passed through a series of stages: from initial shock, to an endless review of the events in an attempt to better understand them, to a final stage when the disaster and the reactions it evoked were permanently in corporated into national consciousness. (Shachtman 47). The assassination of Kennedy was the first chink in the armor of the nations faith in the superiority of the American way of life. If a society coul d produce an assassin capable of snuffing out the life of such a bel oved figure, could there be other flaws in our society as well? Did the nation possess the re solve to find solutions to these flaws? The legacy and the challenges faced by Kennedy passed on to his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson was a man of immense personal persuasive powers. He had been a very effective leader within the United States Senate and had dutifully served as Kennedys Vice President. When Johnson assumed office, he inherited many problems. In 1963, 19.5 % of American families lived in poverty. Although poverty affected American people from Appalachia to Anaheim, this problem

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41 was much more severe among African American families wh ere over 63 % were povertystricken.7 Johnson attempted to address America s domestic concerns through a body of social legislation that came to be labeled as the Great Society. These programs were designed to combat a myriad of social concerns including not only poverty, but inadequate heath care, racial discrimination, and environmen tal issues as well. Johnson was able to usher much of this legislati on through congress becaus e of the high esteem that the public still held for their fallen president and because of Johnsons own mastery at guiding legislation through congress.8 President Johnson promised a variety of programs designed to appeal to many different constituencies. His Great Society programs however, relied for their success upon continued prosperity. Unfortunately, Johns on chose to fight a war on poverty while conducting an escalating war in Vietnam. His decision to pursue both stretched both American economic reserves and national resolve.9 American involvement in Southeast Asia began immediately after World War II. The United States provided economic support to the French in their efforts to retain a colonial presence in Vietnam. In spite of b illions of dollars of financial assistance, the French were defeated in 1954. This did not curtail American interests in Vietnam. 7 For poverty figures, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Families and Unrelated Individuals Below the Poverty Level By Selected Charact eristics of Head: 1959 to 1969, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971: 323. 8 A remarkable amount of landmark legislation was passed during the first three years of the Johnson Administration including, The Voting Rights Act, The Immigration Act, The Clean Air Act, The Fair Labor Standards Act, The Model Cities Act, and The P ublic Broadcasting Act. Am ounts of such legislation would decrease with growing involvemen t in Vietnam. See Bernstein 530. 9 Johnson kept the true cost of the Vietnam War hidden from the public and waited two years before asking congress to increase taxes to pay for it thus precipita ting an inflationary trend that would not abate until 1982. See Bernstein 358 -378.

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42 Involvement continued through the later admini strations of both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. America poured vast resources in to the country. The United States Defense Department worked to create and train a vi able South Vietnamese army. The Central Intelligence Agency aided in the creation of a police force to control dissidents and executive branch agencies worked to stabilize the national currency.10 It was thought at the time that uncontained Communist aggression in Southeast Asia would certainly lead to a domino effect wherein each country in the region would fall to the enemy. No American president wanted to be the first to lose a country to the Communists. As a result, a su rrogate manifestation of the Cold War was fought in the streets and jungles of Southeas t Asia. At first, a limited number of American advisors were sent to aid the army of South Vietnam. When adviso rs alone proved insufficient, American involvement escalated. A reported at tack on United States vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin led to The Gulf of Tonkin Resolu tion that gave Johnson a blank check to increase American military involvement. Soon regular Army personal were deployed and bombing missions were instituted in the sk ies above North Vietnam. American military commitment continued to increase. This escalation was most pr onounced under President Johnson. By 1968, over 500,000 service members were deployed in Vietnam. American battle deaths increased as wellfrom 147 in 1964 to 5008 in 1966 to 14,592 in 1968.11 10 The American public was largely unaware of these activities. See, Farber 125-128. 11 In 1964, 23,000 United States troops were stationed in Vietnam. By 1968, troop strength had risen to 536,100. See U.S. Bureau of the Census, Vietn am ConflictU.S. Military Forces in Vietnam and Casualties Incurred: 1961 to 1970, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 258.

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43 Americas prolonged involvement in Vietnam and its inability to articulate its war goals to the public began to erode confid ence in the foreign policy component of Americas philosophy of consensus. America di d not seem to be making progress in the war. Official military body counts of enemy d ead seemed to promise victory, but the Viet Cong continued to fight. A credibility ga p began to develop between what the administration said was true and what the American people believed. Eventually, large segments of the American people came to be lieve that the war could not be won. This realization further served to undermine belief in American military supremacy and faith in the character of our national leaders. Confidence in the American way of life was undermined as well by growing unrest in the nations cities. Americ as involvement in Vietnam siphoned off funds that could have been used to fund domestic programs. Those in poverty were most likely to feel the brunt of economic uncertainty. Th ey were also more likely to be involved in fighting for America in Vietnam. In addition, the passage of civil rights legisla tion had not put an end to discrimination. Unmet expectations for soci al and economic change led to frustration within African American communities. On August 11, 1965, riots broke out in th e Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The confrontation began with a traffic incide nt involving an African American motorist and a white police officer. Those in the ne ighborhood felt that the police had engaged in brutality toward the motorist. They began thro wing rocks and bottles at the police. By the next day, their anger had escalated into a riot that would last six da ys and nights resulting in thirty-four deaths, 4000 arrests, and extens ive property damage. This was not to be the last urban riot. In 1967, riots engulfed 167 American cities. In that year, forty-three

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44 people were killed in Detroit and almost thr ee-quarters of the city was set ablaze. After the riots, Johnsons approval rati ngs dropped to thirty-seven % (Farber 111-116). President Johnson had problems on other fronts. A national protest movement coalesced in opposition to the Vietnam War. Th is movement encouraged political action in an effort to halt the conflict. Student gr oups organized teach-ins and sit-ins against the war. Mainstream religious groups bega n to oppose involvement as well. National protests grew in size. In April of 1967, a quarter million people in San Francisco and New York City rallied against the war. Th ese protests, however, failed to alter the Johnson administrations prosecution of the war. By late 1967, a minority of antiwar protesters became convinced that United Stat es policies in Vietnam were symptomatic of a greater underlying fallibility within the Am erican system that could not be exorcized without radical acti on (Farber 159-164). Millions of young men sought to avoid the draft. Those who came from affluence or had the benefit of higher education found ways to obtain draft deferments or enlistment in the National Guard. Those from poor and working class families were drafted to fight. The war in Vietnam became the most divisive issue in America. Many Americans still supported the war. Not only wa s an antiwar movement established but a backlash developed as well. A cultural divi de between conservatives who were in favor of the war and liberals who were opposed to it began in the mid 1960s. This division would widen and deepen as the war continue d. It would also expand to include other divisive social issues in the following decades.12 12 In 1965, student deferments accounte d for 12.3 % of Selective Service re gistrants. See U.S. Bureau of the Census, Classification of Selective Service Registrants: 1965 to 1970, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1971: 257. For support of the war and cultural divide, see Farber 149

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45 National Trauma and Social Disruption America experienced several traumatic events during the 1960s. According to sociologist Arthur Neal, nati onal traumas fall into two different categories. One type occurs when an abrupt or dramatic event disr upts the social order. Hi storical examples of this type of event are the Japanese att ack on Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy. The second type of trauma ca n occur when a national crisis is chronic and long lasting. Examples of this kind of tr auma were the Vietnam War, the struggle for civil rights, and viol ence in the streets during the 1960s (6-7). Individuals must work their way through th e intense experience of national trauma. The experience of a crisis will cause people to react in ways unique to each individual. The least complicated persona l response is a simple, mora listic judgment of right and wrong that places events into preexisting poli tical or religious ideologies. Others in society use a crisis as a reason to justify a ne w social crusade designed to right the ills of society or to restore traditional values. Some individuals are simply overwhelmed by national trauma and become fatalistic over even ts that they feel they cannot control. Others seek rational answers to underlying pr oblems through investigations and national debate (Neal 17-18). National traumas can have a debilitating or a liberating effect on a society. People can engage either in rational debate or in divisive confr ontation. The manner in which Americans reacted to the traumatic events of the 1960s was unique to each individual. These events induced both debate and confr ontation. The country continued to experience national trauma into the next decade and Am ericas response to these traumas would be an important factor in its political future for many years to come.

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46 American Consensus in Films: 1940s 1960s The development of the American motion picture industry in the middle of the twentieth century reflected a similar trajectory to the nation at large. American films progressed from a period of self-confidence to one of turbulence. This progression included changes in both industry economics and film content. American motion pictures have always been st ar driven vehicles. It is interesting to look back to see which actors have achieved the greatest popularit y. It is even more interesting to examine the view of financia l stakeholders. Motion pi cture exhibitors and independent theater owners have been polled for the last seventy y ears as to which film star they thought to be most bankable. Amer ican films were much different in the years immediately after World War II. In 1946, Bing Crosby took top honors. Other notable actors including Bob Hope, John Wayne, Ga ry Cooper, and James Stewart followed Crosbys victory in the next decade. In the early 1960s, Doris Day assumed the top position. She was followed in the 1960 poll by Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, and Debbie Reynolds.13 American self-confidence was reflected in the selection of its cultural icons. These well-established movie stars were glamorous charismatic, and uniquely American in their film personas. In their road pictures, Hope and Crosby confidently wisecracked their way out of dangerous situations while traveling the world in s earch of adventure. In their westerns, Cooper, Wayne, and Stewart explor ed the vastness of the American frontier while righting wrongs and dispensing justice. In their comedies, Day and Hudson shared 13 Cary Grant was the only non-American on the 1960 list. See Q.P. Money-Making Stars of 1933-2001, Eileen S. Quigley, ed. 2004 International Motion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley Publications: 1920.

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47 the bliss of domestic family life after mee ting and finding true love Motion picture stars tend to have well defined film personas and to favor certain genres. Popular genres of the early 1960s would often reflect widely shared American attitudes, beliefs, and values. According to a list of all-time box office champions, published in 1969 by the motion picture trade publication Variety The Sound of Music (1965) was the most successful film produced up until that date. Another musical, Mary Poppins (1964) was number seven.14 In each film, a family finds itself in crisis until a maternal figure enters the scene to reestablish order. She encounters resistance at first, but eventually wins the family over. The inclusion of cheerful s ongs and their far-off settingsthe charming Swiss Alps and the picturesque 1910s London enhance the fairy tale nature of both productions. Historical romances were a popular genre during the ea rly 1960s. Their distance from present times reinforced a sense of nosta lgia for an idealized world. Films in this genre included tales of Roman conquest in Cleopatra (1963) and the Russian Revolution in Doctor Zhivago (1965). Legendary biblical epics were retold in The Ten Commandments (1957), Ben Hur (1959), and Spartacus (1960). In these films, old world ideologies, values, and beliefs are shown to be morally bankrupt. The Roman lust for empire and the Bolshevik drive for a so cialist world destroyed both lovers and democracy. In addition, corrupt old world empires collapse when confronted by enlightened men. Legends of another sort were the subject of the World War II film genre. Some of the most successful films of this genre tell the story of groups of service members who 14 For theatrical receipts, see AllTime Box Office Champs (Over $4,000,000, U.S.-Canada Rentals), Variety 8 January 1969: 14.

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48 are charged with a difficu lt mission. Examples include The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Longest Day (1962), and The Great Escape (1963). In each film American service members succeed in defeating Axis powers th rough effective leadership, teamwork, and self-sacrifice. Another war f ilm of the early 1960s was PT 109 Presidential Biographies and Political Films In July of 1963, a film version of Robert Donovans best selling book PT 109 was released. This film depicted the heroic war time adventures of the then current United States President, John F. Kennedy. The films action took place when Kennedy was a naval officer serving in the Solomon Isla nds. The motion picture was based on actual events that occurred when the young Lieute nant Kennedy was given command of a small PT boat. He and his twelve-man crew took the boat into battle only to have it sunk by a Japanese destroyer. Despite injuring his b ack, Kennedy rescued the boats chief engineer who had been seriously burned. He then swam back to rescue two more of his injured crewmember who he dragged to safety. Ke nnedy and his crew would spend fourteen hours in the water before reaching land. All but two of his men survived the ordeal. For his efforts, Kennedy received the Purple Heart (Dallek 95-96). The films depiction of Kennedy is very reverential. Not only does he perform courageously under fire, but the filmic Kennedy also displays exemplary character traits. Early in the film, an enlisted man recognizes Kennedy and questions him as to why he did not pull strings via his fath er to avoid combat. The lieuten ant replies with a stiff upper lip that he would seek no special treatment because he is willing to fight for what he believes in. Later in the film, Kennedy goes on to refurbish a derelict PT boat and lead his crew to safety afte r their boat sinks.

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49 The films historical events were reasona bly accurate and the likeness of its lead actor was very similar to Kennedy. This made it easy to attribute traits that would reflect American optimism upon Kennedy. The film PT 109 plays upon the familiar legend of King Arthur where a young knight-errant pr oves himself worthy through trial. Thus sanctified, he rises to greatness. Throughout PT 109 Kennedy projects the persona of a potential leader including such characteristic s as grace under fire, bravery in a crisis and compassion toward his subjects. These traits reinforced the audiences belief in the safety, sanctity, and legitimacy of the real life president. Another biographical film of the postwar er a served to reinforce the legitimacy of political leaders. Sunrise at Campobello (1960) told the story of future president, Franklin D. Roosevelts inspirational struggle against polio. The young Roosevelts trial in this film is that of illness, which he overcomes in order to merit future greatness. Films of this era reinforced confidence in a logical worl d that rewarded merito rious behavior. John Fords The Last Hurrah (1958) presents a big city mayor who willingly plays the morally questionable game of politics with skill and enthusiasm. Despite the mayors ethical relativism, however, he will not compromise when it comes to the issue of obtaining lowcost housing for his constituents, even if it means his electoral defeat. American preoccupation with the Cold War influenced a number of political dramas of the postwar era. Advise and Consent (1962), based on a Broadway play and a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is a procedur al story about the inner workings of government. Action begins when an ailing pres ident nominates a dis tinguished professor (Henry Fonda) to be his new Secretary of State. In his Senate confirmation committee hearings, the appointee encount ers allegations of former me mbership in Communist-front

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50 organizations. Although the allegations are true, the appointee is able to present evidence that undermines the mental stability of his accu ser. Individuals in the film are flawed, but are not completely without merit. The appoint ee is a capable professor, the blackmailed Senator is a happily married family man, a nd the southern Senator eventually comes around to reason. A compromise is reached as the American government proves to be stable enough to withstand impropriety and in spirational enough to encourage bipartisan diplomacy. Cold War paranoia was the subject of severa l political films of the early 1960s. In John Frankenheimers film The Manchurian Candidate (1962), a brainwashed Korean prisoner of war (Lawrence Harvey) returns to America after being programmed by his Communist captors into becomi ng an assassin. The triggering agent for the assassination plot is the veterans own mother (Angela Lans bury). She intends for her son to shoot the presidential nominee so that her second husband can take his place. The assassination plot fails when a fellow prisoner of war (F rank Sinatra) frees th e unfortunate veteran from his brainwashing, thus preventing a na tional tragedy. The veteran then kills his stepfather, his mother, and himself. In Seven Days in May (1964), also directed by Frankenheimer, it is not Communists who try to subvert the Amer ican government, but right wing military leaders. A rogue Air Force general (Burt La ncaster) plots to stage a military coup. Once again, the nation avoids chaos when a few good men resist evil. The president is notified of the plot just in time and the general is forced to resign. The President of the United States saves the day yet again in Sidney Lumets Fail Safe (1964). When a technological failure causes an errant Un ited States Air Force bomber to drop a nuclear warhead on

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51 Moscow, the world faces annihi lation. The noble American President (Henry Fonda) then decides that the only way to avert a nuclear holocaust is to destroy New York City as well, thus sacrificing millions of citizens as well as his own family. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), a nightmare comedy directed by Stanley Kubrick, told the same story as Fail Safe but from an absurdist point of view. Here, a nuclear extremist (Peter Sellers) carries the day, American political leadership is viewed as a joke, and the world is destroyed by the actions of yet another rogue American Genera l (Sterling Hayden). This film was ahead of its time in its absolute rejection of Cold War ideology and would be more at home in the decade to come in its ironic stance. Signi ficantly, an ex-patriot American director working in England, not in Hollywood, directed Dr. Strangelove The themes of these motion pictures refl ected American Cold War beliefs of the 1950s and early 1960s including the need to co ntain Soviet aggression, prevent nuclear proliferation, and maintain control ov er advanced weapon technology. These films certainly called into question American beliefs in the postwar era. Political films of all eras have done this. At the same time, these films all tell a story of superior American bravery and ingenuity. In both Fail Safe and Dr. Strangelove American pilots succeed in completing their missions despite extreme odds. In Fail Safe a pilot conserves fuel by altering his target and in Dr. Strangelove a pilot figures out a wa y to release a nuclear bomb that is stuck in his airplanes fuselage. These films, with the exception of Dr. Strangelove suggest that were it not for the occasional psychotic general, out of touch senator, or brainwashed

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52 assassin, enough rational leaders still exist who can get on with the task of running America. An unusually large number of politically themed motion pictures were produced during the Kennedy administration. This trend abruptly ended with President Kennedys assassination on November 22, 1963. By Novemb er 30 of that year it was announced that PT109 had been withdrawn from distri bution, the advertising campaign for Seven Days in May would be altered, a proposed film version of Gore Vidals Pulitzer Prize winning play The Best Man would remove references to Cuba, and the London premier of Dr. Strangelove would be postponed (Archer A17). The 1960s: Ferment in the Film Industry Turmoil in the streets of America in th e mid 1960s was mirrored by upheaval in the corporate boardrooms of Hollywood. American movie moguls, however, were fighting different battles. The turbulent nature of the film industry was summed up by one executive who noted in 1965 at the same ti me that the ceiling blew off, the floor dropped out (Bart A14). In the previous y ear, four Hollywood pictures had wildly exceeded expectations for grosses including, My Fair Lady (1964), Goldfinger (1964), Mary Poppins (1964), and The Sound of Music (1965). At the same time, producers found that their unsuccessful f ilms were doing far worse than ever. The films that did not do well in their initial runs could no longer recoup their production costs through runs in smaller towns, or as second features. As a result, movie making became even more of a speculative business (Bart A14). The state of the American film industry had been in genera l decline since the 1940s. This was in direct contrast to the boom years experienced by most other American industries. In 1946, total admissions to United States motion picture theaters topped $1.6

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53 billion. By 1962, ticket sales had fallen to thei r lowest point of $903 million. In the same period, average weekly motion picture attendance dropped from 90 million to 43 million.15 A number of reasons contributed to Hollywoods decline. Up until 1948, the studios enjoyed an almost vertical monopoly. They owned production facilities and had large rosters of stars and arti sans under contract. In addi tion, the five largest studios controlled chains of theaters in which they could guarant ee exhibition of their final product. In 1948, an antitrust ca se was settled by the Unite d States Supreme Court in favor of the United States Justice Department. The case, known as United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. et al. forced the five largest studios to divest themselves of a number of their theaters (Balio 3). The growth of television as a competitor for spectator dollars was also a culprit in Hollywoods decline. The television industr y exploded after World War II. In 1947, there were twelve television stati ons in America. By 1965 there were 569 stations providing news and entertainment directly to the liv ing rooms of almost all American homes (Sterling and Haight 53). The medium of television was both a bane and a boon to the film industry. Television robbed films of spectators, but lined its coffers with money. Television networks had a constant insatiable need for original programming sufficient to fill their scheduled hours all day long and seven days a week. At first, television viewers were amused with the novelty of the new medi um. When the novelty wore off, viewers 15 The 1946 figure represented 19.8 % of all American recreational expend itures. Recreational spending on motion pictures declined in 1962 to 4.07 %. See T heater Grosses, 1 931-1970: U.S. Box Office Receipts in Relation to Personal Consumption Expenditures, Richard Gertner, ed., 1972 International Motion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley Publications: 42A.

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54 demanded higher production values similar to what they could see on the big screen. Demand for new entertainment created a symb iotic relationship between television and Hollywood. Television executives turned to Hollywood st udios to provide important sources of programming. According to Variety 20th Century Fox garnered almost 40 % of its 1966 rental income from television, an increase of 6 % from the prior two years. This rental income was derived from both made-for-television movies a nd from theatrical films. The number of televised motion pictures rapidly increased. At the same time, film companies were becoming more dependent on them for their economic survival in the high-risk world of film production. A meas ure of this risk was that television rentals, combined with only one theatrical release, The Sound of Music accounted for 76 % of all of 20th Century Fox rentals for the entire year of 1966 (th-Fox Breakdown Shows Sound 36% of Theatricals). As valuable as television rentals were as a source of income, film libraries were even more lucrative. The 1966 airing of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) on network television was a huge rating hit. After th is successful broadcast, the American Broadcasting Company spent close to $100 million to purchase a catalog of old Hollywood films for prices of up to $2 million each (Bart A1). The libraries of old movies controlled by the Hollywood studios increased in value, but the stock prices of the motion picture compan ies continued to sell at price to earnings ratios well below comparable companies in ot her industries. This made them prime takeover candidates. Corporate raiders would soon act as Paramount Pictures was taken over by Gulf and Western in 1966; United Artists merged with Transamerica Corporation in

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55 1967; Kinney National Services acquired Warn er Brothers in 1969; and MGM was taken over by investor Kirk Kerkorian in 1969. A new era of corporat e conglomeration had begun (Bart A1). A generation of tough minded young execu tives from outside industry was brought in to replace motion picture leadership. The great film pioneers of the early twentieth century were retiring and bei ng replaced. In 1966 Charles G. Bluhdorn, the forty-year-old chairperson of Gulf and Western, assumed c ontrol of Paramount. He then turned over control of studi o production to Robert Evans, a thirty-eight-year-old businessperson and former actor. This new corporate studio ownership brought an infusion of much needed venture capital, and instituted other changes as well. The new studio owners began to sell o ff studio property, shoot films ab road, or on location, and to put an end to the studio c ontract system (Bart A1). The American motion picture industry expe rienced a period of financial upheaval at the same time as it was facing artistic ch allenges. Audiences were changing and the industry had to adapt to their evolving tast es. The key to attracting new film audiences was thought to be through orig inality of content and style. More often than not, this originality was found in indepe ndent productions or in Europ ean films. World War II had devastated the motion picture industries of several European countries. By the 1960s, a number of nations had recovered. The distin ctive films of Italy, France, and Sweden became quite popular with American art house vi ewers and societies of film enthusiasts. Innovative foreign films including Alfie (1966), Georgy Girl (1966), and Blow Up (1966) box office successes that year prompting trade publication Variety to ask, Why cant we make the same kind of picture here? (Gold 3).

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56 Veteran film publicist Arthur Mayer attributed the lack of innovation in American films to both the caution and th e age of industry leadership. Mayer pointed out that in 1967 the king of Hollywood, Cary Grant, wa s sixty-two, Bob Hope was sixty-one, and both Henry Fonda and John Wayne were sixty-years-old. He also lamented that some of Americas best young directors had to go to Eu rope to have an opportunity to succeed. Mayer noted that several s uperb film schools were teaching a new generation of filmmakers in Paris, Rome, and Moscow. Ma yer proposed that the film industry take it upon itself to address this imbalance by cont ributing funding to Americas film schools. According to Mayer, embracing new talent wa s the only way to retain the world wide prestige that American films had acqui red in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (Mayer 5). A period of transition in the American film industry began in the late 1960s. Changes in production, distribution, compe tition, and capitalization precipitated a recasting in the corporate boardrooms of Ho llywood. This would soon result in changes regarding who would be permitted to make mo tion pictures, and who would be permitted to determine their content.

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57 CHAPTER 3 REVOLUTION: WILD IN THE STREETS (1968), MEDIUM COOL (1969) Let the old world make believe its blind and deaf and dumb But nothing can change the shape of things to come -Les Baxter, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Wild in the Streets In 1968 America was listening to new voi ces. These voices maintained that the shape of things to come was anything but square. It was fashionable for young people to reject the status quo. Some joined protest groups in hopes of impr oving society. Others advocated revolution. Some opted out of th e system altogether to form utopian, communal societies. Others merely chose to fo llow fashion. They grew their hair a little longer, listened to rock musi c or experimented with drugs while remaining a part of consumer society. Those most in tune with fashion acquire d cultural currency. They were considered hip, cool, aware, and in on the joke about a square society. Antiheroes supplanted heroes in the worlds of music, sports, and art. Acto rs who cultivated images as cinematic rebels Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwo od, Lee Marvin, Elliot Gould, and Dustin Hoffman soon replaced Doris Day and Rock Hudson as the most bankable film stars (Quigley 19-20). Serving a younger demographic market became very important in the entertainment industry. Those under the age of thirty compri sed fewer than 50 % of the total population but accounted for over 76 % of the movie-going public. This new audience, weaned on

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58 television viewing, was not interested in th e lavish productions that employed thousands of extras or in seeing establis hed movie stars. They wanted to identify with the characters they saw on the screen and sought out films that had something unique to say to them.1 Carefully crafted films that were small in scope but intense in drama found an audience with young people. The personal vision of a particular director or producer became valued. An increasing number of small, youth oriented films were produced including Alices Restaurant (1969) with a budget of $1.7 million, and Goodbye Columbus (1969) with a budget of $1.9 million, this at a time when a budget of under $3 million was considered cheap. Small, profitable films were the new industry fashion, but not all Hollywood studios could find the fo rmula required for their creation. Studios sought out filmmakers from outside of the Hollywood establishment who were capable of deciphering what was hip. Established produ cers, who did not know the difference between rock music and the music from The King and I , were out of favor (Penn A1). Hollywood was late to latch onto the new creative bandwagon. Films are expensive to make, so risks are not often taken. In 1967, however, two landmark films were released that sent tremors th rough the industry (Biskind 15). Bonnie and Clyde (1967), directed by Arthur Penn, and The Graduate (1967), directed by Mike Nichols were influenced by European artistic style a nd film content. They broke with the old conventions of narrative stru cture, included sex scenes, a nd graphic violence that would not have been permissible under the old Ho llywood Production Code, and they critiqued 1 In 1969, 77 % of filmgoers were between 12 and 29 years old. This number would remain consistent throughout the 1970s. See Sterling and Haight 353.

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59 American society from a satirical perspective. The success of Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate opened the floodgates for other new filmmakers to follow suit (Biskind 15). Directors of this era enjoyed a level of power, prestige, and wealth that had not existed in Hollywood before. The first wave of these outsiders was comprised of men who had started their careers in television or the theater including, Arthur Penn, Alan Pakula, Michael Ritchie, Hal Ashby and Robe rt Altman. The second wave was made up of post World War II baby boomers including Ma rtin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian DePalma. These filmmakers would have a profound effect on American film for decades to come. Their success was based on artistic merit, as well as on their ability to identify and channel th e voice of America (Biskind 15). Key Political Events of 1968 In 1968, established political leaders were being rejected and new leaders were being embraced. The Johnson administration wa s accused of harboring a credibility gap between its public statements and the actual st ate of national affairs. Johnson frequently appeared on television to inform the Ameri can people about progre ss in Vietnam. The presidents positive version of events, however did not always correspond with what the viewers could see for themselves. The televisi on networks dispatched camera operators to Vietnam who captured the chaotic violence of war. These images were dispatched to network news divisions back home and within days they were broadcast into the living rooms of America. The powerful images of st alemate in Vietnam caused viewers to doubt the Johnson administrations war plans. Johnsons credibility was further compromised by the Tet Offensive of January 1968. The ability of the North Vietnamese to inva de and briefly hold some of the cities of the South was a decisive event in the conflict. The Tet Offensive was even more

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60 important in the battle for hearts and minds on the Amer ican home front. The North Vietnamese incurred massive casualties, but th eir tenacity gave ever y indication that they would not soon give up the fight (Witcover 72-75). Americas progress in Vietnam led to di senchantment with Johnson. A grass roots organization of young people worked to promot e the candidacy of Minnesota Senator, Eugene McCarthy. Shock waves resounded when he narrowly lost to Johnson in the New Hampshire primary by a margin of 49.4 % to 42. 2 %. This poor showing was one of the motivating factors in Johnsons decision not to seek reelection and provided an opening for other candidates to seek the Democratic Partys presidential nomination. The partys spring and summer primary races were thrown wide open as different factions fought for control (Witcover 100). The spring of 1968 was a time of tragic viol ence. Dr. Martin Luther King traveled to Memphis in April to rally the citys stri king sanitation workers. On the night of April 3, he addressed a capacity crowd at Mason Temple speaking about racial hatred and violence in America. Dr. King also spoke of ru mors of death threats that he had received. On the next day these premonitions were made tragically real as an assassins bullet struck him dead. Once again, America witnessed the violen t death of a national leader (Witcover 152). The murder of Dr. King was followed in June by yet another tr aumatic event, the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. Kennedy was a candidate in 1968 for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. After winning the California primary, he left a celebratory rally, held in the ballroom of th e Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles only to be fatally shot in the hotels kitchen pantry corridor (Witcover 253).

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61 The spring of 1968 was also a time of youthf ul revolt. Student protests occurred on American campuses all across the country. In April, Colu mbia Universitys proposed construction of a gymnasium that would have taken land away from a Harlem neighborhood park in New York City. This proposal sparked student and neighborhood protests. The students, including members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), took over five buildings and staged a demonstration at the offices of university president Grayson Kirk (Witcover 188). The sixty-four year old Kirk criticized the students lack of respect for authority and suggested their motives were nihilistic ra ther than constructive. SDS local chapter leader Mark Rudd then issued an open lett er to Kirk. The prof anity-laced letter was designed to underscore Rudds belief that the president of the university was out of touch with the younger generation and unable to unders tand the pressing need for social change (Witcover 188). Fourteen or Fight The film Wild in the Streets (1968) is a parody of the sort of inte rgenerational conflict that was actually happening on American university campuses. The films protagonist Max Frost (Christopher Jones) is an only child, born into a middle class family. His mother (Shelly Winters) is a high-strung, anally compulsive person who insists on covering the living room furniture in pl astic. Maxs father is so hen-pecked that he can only gain his sons re spect by tearing the plastic from the sofa. Maxs mother informs him that sex is dirty and slaps him around for his supposedly rebellious attitude. When Max turns nineteen, he create s a bomb to blow up the family Chrysler, then leaves home to seek his fortune.

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62 Within a short time, the twenty-two-year-old Max becomes a millionaire rock star. He affects the appearance of 1950s film star James Dean and the attitude of an SDS leader. Max wears paisley shirts, says thi ngs like blow their minds, and sports a colonial era ponytail. He is surrounded by a collection of perpetually bored, hippie hangers-on, which include a br illiant fifteen-year-old Yale law school graduate who handles his business dealings, a Japanese t ypewriter heiress, and a Black Power Party member (Richard Pryor) who is also his drummer. Maxs popularity with young people comes to the attention of a liberal politician from California, Johnnie Fergus (Hal Holb rook) who reporters compare to President Kennedy and the filmmakers depict as a phony hipster. Fergus seeks to manipulate Maxs celebrity in order to win election as senato r. Max negotiates a pledge that Fergus will lower the states voting age to fifteen in exchange for Maxs endorsement. Max also agrees to appear at a televi sed concert in support of Fergus but surprises the senator by singing a song entitled Fourteen or Fight that demands lowering the voting age even further Thanks to Maxs support, Senator Fergus wins election and, in return, lowers the voting age in California. When Max and his gang realize their pot ential power, they decide to run one of their own in a special el ection for the seat of a deceased Senator. The twenty-five-year-old candidate, Sally Leroy, wins. She th en appears on the floor of the United States Senate in a leathe r mini dress, and a colonial tri-corner hat while obviously stoned. Sally proposes legislation lowering the eligible age for sena tors, congressional representatives, and presidents to 14 thus producing wild ch eers from young people in the senate gallery and consternation from the mu ch older member of the seated legislative

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63 body. Congress resists the proposed legislati on and young people take to the streets in protest. Twelve young people die in the en suing riot prompting Max to appear on television to sing a song of warning entitled The Shape of Things to Come Max and his band of hippies decide to put LSD into the drinking water in order to incapacitate the politicians and fool them in to passing an amendment to lower the voting age. The drugged legislators happily vote fo r the amendment. Max, who is now legally old enough to be eligible, decides to run for president of the United States. He carries every state but Hawaii. Once in office, Max assumes absolute power. He decides that a mandatory retirement age of thirty will be established and that black-suited police squads will round up everyone over thirty-five and take them to mandatory rehabilitation camps. Old people are bussed into the camps and forced to drink liquid LSD. Once they partake of the drink, the old folks exhi bit an exaggerated sense of b liss as they stumble around in bathrobes emblazoned with peace symbols on their sleeves. In a disturbingly graphic moment, Senator Fergus hangs himself from a tree. After neutralizing all those over thirty, Ma x decides to disband the armed forces. He states that Americas great wealth will allo w it to ship free grain to all nations of the world, thus making war unnecessary and allowing the United States to become the most hedonistic society on earth. The film ends on an ironic note when Max goes sightseeing in the country and stumbles upon a small crawda d attached to a pier. Max picks it up to examine it, is bitten, and then stomps it dead. It is then revealed th at the crawdad was the pet of a young child who enters the scene a nd warns ominously that were gonna put everybody over ten out of business.

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64 Film Style The film is purposely unreal. The scene of the Senators laughi ng hysterically after being dosed with LSD is tinted red and the co mposition of shots is canted. Performances especially that of Shelly Winters, are wa y over the top. Costumes are exaggerated as well. When Max becomes president, his moth er is seen wearing a flowing robe and smoking a hash pipe. His father is an object of derision, robbed of hi s toupee, and forced to use a wheelchair. The characters in the film have little dept h. Young people are good because they are young and old people are all phony, especially the Kennedyesque Senator Fergus who pretends to befriend Max bu t eventually attempts to assassinate him. The message is you can never trust politicians who, according to Max, all play sneaky panther games. The film reiterates the theme of age versus youth. Max tells his band of hippies that he does not want to live too much longer b ecause thirtys death man. Max also states, The only thing that blows your mind when youre thirty is getting guys to kill other guys, only in another city or another country where you dont see it or know anything about it. For such an exploitative film, this is a surprisingly subtle reference to the war in Vietnam and reflects an undercurrent of dissa tisfaction with the war present even in popular culture. The film suggests that the esta blished political orde r has botched things up. Max tells congress that the villains in hi story are not the Comm unists, John Birchers, Jews, labor leaders, bankers, Russians or Chinese. The people who cause all of the trouble are those who are stiff, baby, not with love, but with age. As unreal as Wild in the Streets seems to be, it was based on a germ of historical reality. As early as the 1940s United States senators had proposed reducing the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. In 1942, Michigan Senator Vandenberg proposed a

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65 constitutional amendment to that effect. Vandenberg maintained that if young men were old enough to fight for their government they ought to be entitled to vote.2 Legislation aimed at lowering the voting age was proposed in every administration up to and including that of Johnson. In June of 1968, Johnson once again proposed a constitutional amendment lowering the voting ag e to eighteen years of age. According to Johnson, the legislation would be a signal to young people that they are respected, that they are trusted, that their commitment to Am erica is honored and that the day is soon to come when they are to be participants, not spectators, in th e adventure of selfgovernment (Jones A1). A Gallup Poll conducted in 1968 found that 64 % of Americans were in favor of lowering the voting age (Jones A1). Those in favor of the amendment felt that young people were better educated than in the past and would be more sophisticated in their political choices. The notion that willingness to fight for country should equate to suffrage also was brought up as was a hope th at granting the vote would channel student protests into more acceptable directions (Apple A1). The release of Wild in the Streets in May of 1968 was perfectly timed to take advantage of a push for suffrage as well as cu rrent news events. Students literally were going wild in the streets at Columbia University and other institutions of higher education. Young people were no longer easily channeled into acceptable directions. Intergenerational conflict was at the forefront of national consciousness. Wild in the Streets took the concept of a gener ation gap that existed betw een the adversarial parties 2 The draft age for American men had been reduced to speed victory in World War II. See Lawrence A1.

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66 at actual institutions like Co lumbia University and reduced it to the absurd. Ominously, the film suggests that such conflict can never be resolved. On the surface, the film is only a parody, but its scenes of violence and ange r are disturbingly clos e to actual events. Protesters die and senators hang as the nation spins out of control. American International Pictures James Nicholson and Samuel Arkoff of Am erican International Pictures (AIP) produced Wild in the Streets Since its founding in 1954, AIP had never lost money. The company specialized in cheaply made exploi tation films designed to appeal to a young audience. Favorite genres included beach m ovies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, gothic horror films based on the wo rks of Edgar Allan Poe, and outlaw biker films with actors like Peter Fonda. Famed B movie director Roger Corman r eceived an early opportunity to direct at AIP. While there, Corman produced a string of successful low cost films. He worked on a budget and at an economical pace that gr eatly pleased Arkoff. Corman made The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes (1955) in eight days for $35 thousand. He shot I was a Teen-Age Werewolf (1957) for $123 thousand, and brought back $2 million in profit. Wild in The Streets also adhered to this production model (Harmetz Sec 6: 12). Arkoff made no apologies for the unsophistic ated nature of his films. Even films presented with extreme dignity had to be so ld to the public. I look upon my movies as being merchandise. The fact that many of my acquaintances wouldnt buy Woolworths merchandise doesnt keep it from being perf ectly good merchandise (Harmetz Sec 6:12). Arkoff felt that the reason why his compa ny consistently made a profit while the major film studios struggled was the result of his unwillingness to insult his audience and his sense of timing. Arkoff constantly sought dramatic stories that captured public

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67 attention and was willing to take chances on a hunch. We made Wild Angels (1966) because three different people threw on my de sk the Life magazine story that had the Hells Angels on the cover (Harmetz Sec 6: 32). In addition to topicality, AIP was willi ng to take chances on new talent. Many young directors, actors, and writers were given their start by Arkoff and Corman. Directors of high future renown, including Ma rtin Scorsese and Ron Howard, produced their first films at AIP. As long as they were willing to count pennies and work fast, they were hired. If a picture went over budget or exceeded its shooting sc hedule, Arkoff would appear on the set and threaten to tear five pages from the script. Generally, that persuaded the director to work faster. If it did not, Arkoff would actually rip up the script. AIP also saved money by avoiding shooting inside stud ios and never paying for anything it could obtain free. Arkoff prized a filmmakers cr eativity in the art of saving money and disparaged one hit wonders who took on the trappings of royalty. Arkoff felt that in Hollywood % of the people consider them selves geniuses. In actuality, 10 % are brightly creative, and the other 90 % do a comp etent, workmanlike job (Harmetz Sec 6: 34). A workmanlike job was just what AIP r eceived from the creative team behind Wild in the Streets. Both its screenwriter, Robert Thom and its director, Barry Shear, had forged careers in network te levision. Thom, along with cowriter Reginald Rose, had won a television Emmy in 1963 for Outstandi ng Writing Achievement in Drama for an episode of The Defenders. Shear had an extensive career as a television director, working on such network staples of the 1960s as Ironside It Takes a Thief, The Girl From

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68 U.N.C.L.E. and five episodes of Tarzan from 1967 to 1968. Wild in the Streets was Shears first theatrical release. Thoms script affected a tone of camp and pseudo hipness. AIP sought to tap the youth market that had grown up watching television. Both Thom and Shear were familiar with how to put together a production that would appeal to this new audience and the resulting film accomplished their goal. The use of irony and self-awareness were popular in several successful television programs of the era including The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Get Smart and Rowan and Martins Laugh-In. In a manner similar to popular television programs, Wild in the Streets encouraged its audience to see how absurd everything in the modern world could be. This irony extended to the American political process. In the film, established political leader s are out of touch with the inte rests of their constituencies and, supposedly, committed young political le aders become shallow and vindictive.3 Not everyone shared in the joke. Some film critics took the film seriously. According to Christian Science Monitor film critic John Allen, Wild in the Streets was a coarse exhibition of almost everything that can go wrong with a viable film idea (6). The reviewer objected to the films equation of a childs death with the death of a crawdad, the misrepresentation of the intent of concerned young peopl e, and a lack of emotional perspective. At the other extreme, Renata Adler of The New York Times thought the film to be one of the best American films of the year and compar ed it in quality and political perceptiveness to critically accl aimed French political drama The Battle of Algiers (1965) 3 In November of 1968, Rowan and Martins Laugh-In was the highest rated regularly scheduled network television program. Other highly rated, self -referential comedies of the era included Bewitched and Get Smart See Network TVs Top Twenty (N ielson Ratings, Nov. 11 -17), Variety 27 November 1968: 33.

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69 (D1). Joseph Morgenstern of Newsweek was closer to the true motivations of AIP and the filmmakers when he labeled the film as made for no other motive than profit (101). Nonetheless, the film was a financial su ccess and preceded by one year the release of the even more successful sleeper hit Easy Rider (1969). Wild In The Streets was similar in theme and budget to Easy Rider and helped build a potential audience for the later film. Both productions were part of a cy cle of youthful rebellion films that reached its zenith with Easy Rider and continued into the next decade. Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss On one level, the central theme of Wild in the Streets is that you cant trust anyone over thirty. Throughout the film, establis hment figures are lampooned as stodgy and obsolete. This parody of authority figures woul d have appealed to th e target audience of AIP. Thom, however, included an opposing th eme in the film. When confronted with Maxs demands, Senator Albright complains, y outh is not only wasted on the young it is a disease. Something has gone horribly wrong. Th e film also provides a cautionary story of what happens to young people when they are exposed to popular culture. Sex, drugs, music, and television rob them of their ability to reason and tu rn them into aliens who, in effect, go wild in the streets. This alien tr ansformation was already a typical plot device of AIP horror films. In this instance, I Was a Teen-Age Werewolf was recycled as I Was a Teenage Revolutionary Not so subtle parallels to fascism o ccur throughout the film. Young people follow Maxs musical directives without hesitation, even to the point of martyrdom. Violence is condoned when a member of Maxs gang sugge sts assassination of legislators as an expedient way to promote passage of Maxs political agenda. When Max and his group gain control of the government, they prove to be even worse than those that they have

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70 replaced. Once Max wins election, he assume s absolute power. He is quite willing to consign old people to concentration camps. Th e filmmakers chose to show him smirking as he fields a reporters ques tion about old people hiding in attics to avoid capture. The policemen who capture the elderly are clad in identical black uniforms that resemble those worn by Nazi storm troupers. The end of the film is not subtle either. Max crushes the childs pet crawdad under his feet as a symbol of how easily freedom can be crushed by new political bosses. Thom was 39 years old when Wild in the Streets was released. Twice in the film, the age of 37 is referred to as being excessive ly old. He would have b een close to this age when writing the original story. Thom seems to have been trying to please AIP by scripting a youth rebell ion picture while at the same time satirizing the excessive nature of a youth culture of which he was quickly aging out. Music and Politics Music played an important part in th is film, reflecting the growing cultural influence of such successful musical groups as The Beatles. Max achieves the American dream not through civic commitment, but th rough his musical talents. His band of followers is not comprised of politicians, but by his musical group. A large part of the commercial appeal of the film consisted of its soundtrack. Concert footage is included throughout the film and songs frequently a dvance story exposition. Christopher Jones was a competent singer of pop songs and looke d like any of a number of musical front

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71 men of the era. Audiences could relate the st aging of Maxs rock performances to similar ones they had seen on televised variety programs including The Ed Sullivan Show 4 The lyrics of Barry Mann and Cynthia We il also serve to express Maxs political platform. Max appears at a well-attended, en thusiastic political rally and exhorts his constituency to action through song, weve got the numbers now, we want the vote now, youth power thats where its at now. When protesters ar e killed by police in the film, the screen goes dark, and th en Max appears to perform The Shape of Things to Come This song instigates a revol ution among young television viewer s that results in Maxs final triumph. Once he becomes president, however, Max stops performing. The only thing that gets Max off is destroying the system. Senator Fergus is a representative of the system who suffers from a credibility gap similar to that of President Johnson. In th e film, Fergus misrepresents himself as supportive of the youth movement when, in fact, he is not. The sena tors public speeches promote enfranchisement of young people, but in private conversations, he admits that he is trying to manipulate them for political gain saying, we cant write these kids off, I need them. Unfortunately for Senator Fe rgus, he cannot control young people, nor can he control their leader. When events move beyond his control, Fergus becomes unhinged. A drunken fit causes him to tear posters off his childrens bedroom walls. The senators loss of control marks him as an unfit leader. Max, on the other hand, remains cool, calm, a nd collected. He is a charismatic rebel from outside the political ma instream who is capable of out-smarting the political 4 The soundtrack of Wild in the Streets was the 14th bestselling album in the country and had been on Varietys bestsellers list for 16 weeks as of 27 Nove mber 1968. See Variety Album Bestseller (a National Survey of Key Outlets), Variety 27 November 1968: 55.

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72 establishment. He takes over the governmen t not through armed conflict, but by lacing the water supply with LSD. Max is media sa vvy. He knows how to banter with the press in order to explain away the negative connotations connected with consigning old folks to concentration camps. Max also is aware of how to use his celebrity to manipulate an audience. He uses the death of twelve protes ters as a reason to st age the key political song of the film, The Shape of Things to Come How he convinced the networks to grant him the free time to broadcast this media event is not clear; perhaps the network executives were secret rock fans. Maxs constituency understands him only through popular culture. Televised musical performances are his means of communi cating with his constituency. In the film, nothing truly matters that is not broadcast. The origin of Maxs politi cal legitimacy lies in his celebrity. People follow him because he is famous and he uses fame to attain power. In the age of celebrity, the importance of political parties has decreased. In the film, new political leaders emerge fully formed a nd have no need for party loyalty. When Max becomes eligible to run for president, he has a choice as to which party he will be associated. Max and his band sit in the senate chamber to discuss which course to take. Max is encouraged by his group to run for pres ident as a member of the Republican Party for purely strategic rather than ideological reas ons. It seems that no real difference exists between either of the political parties winning is everyt hing. Max then addresses a political convention while huge black and white pictures of former Republican presidents Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower can be seen behind him. Ironically, the conservatives are now hip and the liberals are square.

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73 Political change is rapid in the film and so lutions to social problems are simplistic. It took a quarter century to lo wer the voting age in America fr om twenty-one to eighteen. In Wild In The Streets the voting age is lowered to fourt een in a matter of weeks. Social issues are no more intractable than the wa xy yellow build-up that plagued kitchens in television commercials of the era. Even natio nal security issues are easily surmountable. President Max Frost assures the public that givi ng away American agricultural surplus to potential foes will guarantee world peace. Despite the easy assurance of success, young people in Wild in the Streets are willing to work for political change. They are optimistic and enthusiastic in their commitment to Maxs agenda. Their revol ution does indeed succeed. Unfortunately, Maxs agenda is no different than that of th e leaders he seeks to replace. His only goals are to punish his parents and gain the pres idency. Once in power, Max and his followers become as old and obsolete as the previous leaders. No one in this film reaches a happy conc lusion. Maxs parents ar e carted away to a concentration camp, Senator Fergus hangs hi mself, and Max realizes the burden of power. The film suggests that revolution re sults in regret. Dise nfranchised young people commit themselves to achieving political change but their victory turns hollow. They too become metaphorically old. It is better to remain a passive consumer of pop culture than to go wild in the streets. The Whole World is Watching Medium Cool (1969), written and directed by Academy Award winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, walks the line between reality a nd fiction. Wexlers film is set in Chicago duri ng the 1968 Democratic national convention. The film includes scenes of professional actors interacting with non-actors, improvisational dialogue and

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74 documentary scenes of actual events. Wexler us ed this experimental structure in order to comment on the distancing effect of modern ma ss media and to tell a story about personal commitment. For him, the choice to embrace political activism in the 1960s was every bit as important as the choice to defend demo cracy from Axis powers was in the 1940s. The commitment fantasy contained in Casablanca was depicted as equivalent to that presented in Medium Cool. The films protagonist is a self-cente red, local television camera operator named John Cassellis (Robert Forster). Cassellis view s the world through the lens of his camera. He is as detached and cool as the medium in which he works. When Cassellis and his soundman Gus (Peter Bonerz) encounter an automobile accident on the highway, they make sure to capture usable footage of th e carnage before they bother to contact an ambulance to help the victim. Cassellis initia l reaction to seeing a televised documentary on assassinations is to comment on the cameraw ork saying, Jesus, I love to shoot film. Cassellis is emotionally removed from his girlfriend Ruth. After a romantic encounter, she asks him whether he is worried about the fate of beached turtles in an Italian movie she saw. She wonders if he th inks that the camera operators who shot the footage stopped to turn the tu rtles back around so that they could return to the sea. Cassellis expresses indifferen ce to the animals fate sayi ng, How the hell should I know, those were Italian cameramen. In this scene, Cassellis is framed next to a poster of French New Wave film star Jean Paul Belmondo. Cassellis mirrors Belmondos selfsatisfied attitude and his ac tion of smoking a cigarette. Th is establishes a connection

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75 between the two existential characters and il lustrates the influence of the French New Wave on Wexlers work.5 Ever the existential professional, Cassellis is disaffected by potential violence. He receives an assignment to cover emergency civil defense training being conducted by the Illinois National Guard in antic ipation of possible rioting at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Instead of co nsidering the potential violence, his first priority is to obtain action footage of the tr aining session including shots of reinforced jeeps and of guardsmen pretending to use tear gas on other guardsmen dressed to look like protesters. The Illinois National Guard training scene is an example of Wexlers unique production design. Wexler was a noted documen tary filmmaker. For this film, he attempted to achieve the opposite of a docu-dr ama. Instead of imposing a factual veneer upon a fictional work, he imposed his ficti onal characters upon real events. This technique freed Wexler from the requirements of journalistic object ivity that he would have encountered in a purely documentary form He could choose to include a shot of an extremely stiff general attempting to explai n the Illinois National Guards mission. Also included in this sequence is footage of a gua rdsman at the training session pretending to be Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. The gua rdsman playing Daley attempts to reason with the fake protesters by saying in a joking manner, W eve given you everything we thought you needed. Ive let you use our swim ming pools every Fourth of July. The most interesting thing about this scene is that the real Illinois National Guardsmen had an understanding of how th e government might be perceived to be 5 Wexler framed posters in the background of many shots as a counterpoint to primary action. This scene ends with a nude romp in front of a photograph of a South Vietnamese general executing a member of the Viet Cong. Later in the film, a black militant advocates the violent use of handguns while framed in front of a photograph of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King.

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76 disingenuous by letting people swim only one day pe r year. It is also interesting that the real life guardsmen are acting at their tr aining session. They perform the roles of both civil authorities and protestors, yet are unawa re of the ironic juxtaposition. They know what the opposition is for, but they do not care. Personal and Political Commitment Wexler intended Medium Cool to make a statement about responsibility. He compared the questions asked in his film to those asked at the time of the Nuremberg trials and commented on the ambiguous natu re of evil. According to Wexler: The biggest problem in our country today is that the bad guys dont look like bad guys. In movies, the bad guy comes into a room and he always needs a shave. And the music tells us hes a bad guy. But in real life, the bad guys are the guys who plan, who control the end of the world. Bact eriological warfare, chemical warfare, missiles that protect missiles. These me n speak grammatical English, they have Ph.D.s and they are undoubtedly nice to th eir wives and kids. If they think at all about what they are doing there are rati onalizations availabl e to them. Theyre doing it for peace. Theyre doing it to defend their country. Theyre doing it to protect mankind. If there is one word that characterizes our so ciety, it is hypocrisy. (Flatley D19) A cocktail party scene, attended by me mbers of the news media, expresses Wexlers theme of ratio nalized evil. When questioned about his professional choices to broadcast violent images, a colleague of Casse llis points out that viewers do not want to see boring shots of people talking about p eace. In response to the colleague, another member of the cocktail party points out that newscasters can afford to focus their stories on the loud and violent aspects of society because of their relative safety: All good people deplore problems at a distance. Like Thomas Jefferson, he loved the common man, but at a distance. This film condemns th e choice of cool distance, both in civic life and in personal affairs.

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77 Cassellis begins to find a sense of ci vic commitment when he receives an assignment to cover the story of a black cab driver who finds an envelope with $10,000 in his taxi. The police question the cabby cl osely as to where the money came from. When the cabby says that he doesnt know the or igin of the envelope, a detective, played by an actual city of Chicago policeman, turns aggressive, asking him if he was gonna get funny now? The portrayal of an innocen t working man being harassed by an overly aggressive cop is a standard plot device in countless Hollywood films, as is what happens next.6 Cassellis is a journalisti c pro who can smell a good story. He takes the cabbys story to his assignment editor, but the edito r is unwilling to pursue the details of the $10,000 envelope. He decries a lack of res ources due to coverage of the upcoming political convention. The editor tells Cassellis to forget the story, but the intrepid cameraman will not let it go. He and hi s soundman track the cabby down to the neighborhood where he lives. Once in the cabby s apartment, they encounter a group of black militants who accuse them of spying fo r the police. Cassellis and his soundman deny the charges, but are lectured about ne ws media exploitation and leave without any usable footage. When Cassellis returns to his station, he finds out that some of his past footage shot of draft card burners has in fact been given to the poli ce and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Cassellis becomes enraged at the duplicity of his superiors who would rob 6 For a discussion as to which characters in the film are actors working from a script, actors working via improvisation, non-actors working from improvisation, or non-actors unaware that th ey are taking part in a film, see Haskell Wexler, Special Features: Commentar y by Director, Writer and Director of Photography, Haskell Wexler, Editorial Consultant, Paul Go lding and actress Marianna Hill, Commentary. Medium Cool DVD. Paramount, 2001.

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78 him of his street credibilit y. Station management summarily fires Cassellis, who now appreciates the suspicions harbored by the black militants. He will not be fooled again. Cassellis begins to find a sense of pers onal commitment when he meets Eileen (Verna Bloom), a single mother from Appal achia, and her street-wise, young son named Harold. Cassellis teaches Harold to box and initiates a romance with Eileen. Wexler contrasts the idyllic life that Eileen and Harold had back in Appalachia with the mean streets of Chicago. The Appalachian scenes contain picturesque flashbacks of Harolds father teaching him to shoot a gun, walks through flowering fields, baptisms in rivers and pious religious services This is in keeping with tradit ional faith in bedrock American values derived from simple rural roots. Th e mean streets of Chicago, on the other hand, reveal tenement courtyards and impoverish ed street urchins emblematic of the complexities of modern times. Eileen is a good mother to Harold and is all the family he has left. Her husband, like bedrock American values, is only seen in flashbacks. His absence is variously explained as due to estrangeme nt, military service, or deat h. Eileen had been a teacher back in West Virginia, however, the state of Illinois does not recognize her teaching credentials from back home. Her husband is gone so she must support her family by working in a factory making televisions for the Motorola Corporation, another reference to television production. Eileen is different from the other women in Cassellis life. His last girlfriend, Ruth was a sex object while Eileen offers the stab ility of an instant family. Cassellis takes Eileen to a Frank Zappa concert. The scene is played in fast mo tion and strobe lights

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79 flash on and off as everyone dances with abandon. Zappas lyrics parody trendy, noncommittal members of the counterculture: Whats there to live for? Who needs the Peace Corps? Im completely stoned, Im a hippy and Im trippy, Im a gypsy on my own Ill stay a week and get the cr abs and take the bus back home Im really just a phony, but forgive me cause Im stoned Every town must have a place where phony hippies meet It is interesting that Wexl er includes Zappas scurrilous indictment of disingenuous political activists. This is not a politically nave film. Afte r the concert, Cassellis makes out with Eileen. Harold, still missing his fath er, runs away after seeing the couple. Eileen searches for Harold all night a nd into the next day. She finds herself searching for her son in the middle of a major conf rontation between protesters and police in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. The 1968 Chicago convention was extrem ely acrimonious. Differing slates of delegates fought over credentials. Delegates from New York and California interrupted speeches to chant, Stop the war. Speaker s chastised Chicago Mayor Daley from the podium. Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey received the partys nomination after withstanding challenges from South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. Outside the c onvention hall, a crowd of 15 thousand protestors mobilized in Grant Park and then attempted to march to the convention hall. The Chicago police halted their progress. At 8: 30 p.m., before a natio n-wide audience of prime time television viewers, th e police and protesters clashe d. By the end of the melee, 100 persons had been injured.7 7 In an action designed to unnerve convention organizers and to divert police resources protest leaders disseminated fictitious rumors that they were planning to inject Chicagos drinking water with LSD, a tactic similar to that employed in the film Wild in the Streets See Witcover 321.

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80 The actress, Verna Bloom, bravely walks in close proximity to both sides during the conflict. She is playing a fictional character, but everythi ng else in this sequence was real, or at least as real as footage can be that was shot by Wexler and later edited for dramatic narrative impact. Chants of pigs eat shit and pigs are whores are included on the soundtrack. Police are seen forcibly removing camera equipment from the scene. People are dragged into paddy wagons. Blood st reams down protesters faces. Tear gas explodes as Eileen frantically searches for her son. The key moment of personal commitment in the film occurs when Eileen telephones Cassellis while he is inside the convention hall working as a freelance cameraman. She tells him that Harold is missing and asks for his help. Without a moments hesitation, Cassellis leaves his job. He puts down the camera with which he coolly observed life and chooses to act. He joins Eileen in her search for Harold who ironically, has already left th e melee and returned home. The film ends with an arbitrary death scen e. Cassellis picks up Eileen in his car to help her search for Harold. Unfortunately, their car runs off the road in a horrible accident. The films sound track includes reports of violence at the convention. In a shot similar to the first scene in the film, a beat up old car full of rubber-neckers slowly drives by the carnage. A young man in the back seat snaps a photograph of the auto accident, but the driver does not stop to help. The last shot in the film is of Wexler pointing his camera at the audience while actual attendees of the protest repeat The whole worlds watching. The whole worlds watchi ng. The whole worlds watching. Production History Wexler, born in Chicago, had always wanted to be a filmmaker. My family traveled a lot, and I channeled my antisocial behavior into taking family movies. It was a

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81 socially acceptable way to be detached. Wexler traded detachment for commitment at the University of California where he was kic ked out my first year for being a radical. He then spent four and a half years in the Me rchant Marine before returning to his native Chicago where he began working on documenta ries and educationa l films. After many years perfecting his craft, he became a highly sought after Hollywood cinematographer and won an academy award for best cinematography in 1967 for Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf ? (1966) (Hunter A19). In Medium Cool, the character of Cassellis serves as a surrogate for Wexler. Both are accomplished cameramen from Chicago. Both have a rebellious streak and worked as cameramen in Vietnam. Wexler wrote, di rected, and photographed this very personal film. It is a tribute to the art and professionalism of ci nematographers. Almost every scene in the film was shot with a hand he ld camera and without the benefit of modern camera stabilizing technology. The extensive use of hand held camera used throughout the film promotes a documenta ry-like sense of realism. For Wexler the film became all too real wh en he received a dose of tear gas while shooting the Grant Park sequence of his f ilm. An Illinois National Guardsman fired a canister at him. At first Wexler thought th at it was only talcum powder, but soon blinded, he began to roll on the ground. A bit of water, administered by some of the protesters, brought him back around. The surreal nature of actual events struck Wexler who noted the disbelief was that it actua lly had happened. In the midst of the rioting, in Grant Park, some guys in their late 20s who I guess alwa ys played baseball there, went right on with their game with all that going on around them ( Beigel 7).

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82 Wexler wrote the script for Medium Cool in the winter of 1967, well in advance of the convention. His ability to forecast was due in part to an understa nding of the political dynamics of the city as well as his persona l relationships with key members of the community. Wexlers original sc ript did include scenes of pr otest and confrontation at the convention. Still it was extremely fortuitous for the production, if not for the city of Chicago, that violence did occur. He was ab le to stage graphic action sequences at minimal expense (Beigel 7). Wexler, a novice director, had to scramble in order to get his picture made. He donated his own equipment to th e production and shared in the films financing as well as profits with Paramount Pictures Wexler spent $ 800,000 of his own funds on the production and made a deal to receive $ 600,000 from Paramount in exchange for the completed work. He was also to receive 50 % of the net profits. Wexler was motivated to work fast and cheap, and in exchange, he secured relatively free rein over the films content.8 When Wexler first pitched his idea to Paramount, the story was titled The Concrete Wilderness. The film originally was to be more about the experiences of a young child from West Virginia who had an interest in racing pigeons. The film was also to be about Harolds adaptation to living in the urba n, Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Harolds story was retained by Wexler, along with newe r political content. The mayor of Chicago was more concerned with the films conten t than Paramount. According to Wexler, We 8 Paramount was more concerned about Wexlers ability to manage money rather than content. The studio sent an observer, disguised as a dialogue coach, to Chicago to watch over the films budget. Wexler discovered the ruse, told the spy not to get in his way, and wound up using him as an actor in one of the films scenes. See Beigel 7.

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83 got calls almost every other day from Da leys office wanting reassurance that we wouldnt show the city in a bad light. We didn t block any traffic so we didnt have to get a permit or a license to film. Wexler de livered his film to Paramount on time and on budget. Unfortunately, the film received an X rating at the time of its release for its inclusion of frontal nudity and profanity. In spite of this, the film still turned a profit (Beigel 7). Critical responses to Medium Cool applauded the films t echnical skill and topical relevance but found fault with Wexlers directorial ability. Washington Post film critic Gary Arnold thought the films blend of documentary and fiction captured the disjointed, volatile character of American society. On the other hand, he also thought Medium Cool to be not so much a finished, coherent work of art as it is a brilliant set of rushes. Arnold felt that the film tried to cover too many subjects, then could not resolve all of its many story lines (B1). Penelpe Gilliatt, of The New Yorker thought the film fit well within current taste in its mixture of illusion and disillusion, but fe lt it contained the same moral fallacy as Antonionis Blow Up which attacked the shallowness of a fashion photographer and of London swingers in a film that itself saw them only shallowly( 143). Newsweek critic Joseph Morgenstern thought th e film had moments of brilliance, but found fault with what he felt were uneven performances and the banalities and uncertainties of the script. Morgenstern t hought that Casselliss ch aracter transformation was unconvincing, and the films opening and closing scenes of automobile wrecks were an awkward attempt at parallelism. Morgenster n also charged Wexler with being didactic when the film lectured its viewers. Despit e Wexlers difficulty in handling fiction

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84 however, Morgenstern felt that Medium Cool was a brave, significant attempt to break out an American feature film into the real world (66). Mediated Realities The films title, Medium Cool is a play on words derived from the work of noted 1960s media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Acco rding to McLuhan, a hot medium supplies great amounts of information so that consumer s are not required to i nvest a great deal of involvement in a particular production. A cool medium, on the other hand, supplies minimal amounts of information requiring c onsumers to become more invested in a media production. In the presence of a cool medi um, the consumer must attempt to fill in the information that is lacking in the messa ge. This coolness promotes introspection and passivity rather than action. In addition, the c ontent of the medium is not so important to the consumers as much as the fact of inter acting with the medium itself. The medium can appear to be more real to the viewer th an its content. Radio, newspapers, and motion pictures are hot media, while tele vision is a cool medium (McLuhan). Medium Cool uses the hot medium of film to tell the story of a cameraman who works in the cool medium of television. It also examines how people interact with different media realities. At the time of its release, audiences could not be sure which scenes were real, partially real, or fictiona l. Wexler included footage of Reverend Jesse Jackson addressing followers at a national rall y held at the makeshift Resurrection City site in Washington D.C. This actual news even t could be verified as having taken place. Other events in the film, such as the roma nce between Eileen and Cassellis, fit movie audience expectations of a fictional plot. Still others scenes in the film could not obviously be judged either way. Gus can be seen at the protests along with other working soundmen. Who is a real soundman, who is an actor, and who is the soundman charged

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85 with obtaining sound for Wexlers film? The confrontations between protestors and police were real, but they just as easily could have been st aged and would have been if Wexler was not permitted to shoot in Chica go. Motion picture audiences had to decide for themselves what level of reality was being presented in this film. Wexler noted that people often had difficulty discerni ng real behavior from what the media conditioned them to expect. During shooting, he observed that average citizens were quite willing to allow the presence of te levision crews to alter their actions. He saw that rioters, police, and National Guardsmen in Chicago would often pause in their tracks when they saw a TV van. They would make certain that the cameraman was ready to shoot before resuming their confrontations and ritualized chanting (Beigel 22). The character of Cassellis addressed the me dias ritualized res ponse to violence. In the film, Cassellis and Eileen watch a tele vised documentary on the assassinations of President John Kennedy, Senator Robert Ke nnedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King. The television screen is not visible in the fram e, but its glow illuminates them from a dramatic, low angle. Eileens emotional respon se to the program causes her to state, I dont know what to think, it seems like no mans lifes worth anything anymore. The more cynical Cassellis finds fault with the program. He complains that the media has a script now, by the numbers. Flags at half-mast, trips cancelled, ballgames called off, schools closed, memo rial meetings, marches, mome nts of silence. The widow cries and then she says brave words, the mo ment of silence, the funeral procession. Cassellis feels that the real motivation behi nd the production was fear of black violence that might result from the assass ination of Dr. King and a wish to abrogate blame so that no ones really on the hook, you see?

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86 Marginalized Socio-Economic Groups Wexlers familiarity with Chicagos political dynamics provided him with unique access to participants in his film including a group of black activists. After the police harass the cab driver, he returns to his apartm ent only to be criticized by his friends. They insinuate that he is not sufficiently conscious of his race. The cabbys friends tell him that if he was acting as a black man rather than as a Negro he woul d have kept the money and bought guns with it. When Casselllis and his soundman Gus come to the apartment to follow up on the cabbys story, they meet with resistance. Th e militants accuse them of media exploitation and maintain that they cannot possibly tell the complete story or plac e it in its historical context in just fifteen-minutes. It is interesting that fifteen minutes was considered short for a news story in 1969. At the end of the scene, one angry man (Felton Perry) tells Cassellis what he thinks of the media. The m ilitant states that what little media coverage there has been of blacks has ridiculed, expl oited, and rendered them invisible. The resentment felt at being treated as a n on-person leads him to warn of violent consequences. It is surprising that a mainst ream American film managed to capture this level of anger toward the establishment. The scene in the cabbys apartment empl oyed a mixture of actors and non-actors. The cab driver and the last militant were actors; the other performers were a collection of activists, along with artists and sculptors, who were pretending to be more militant than they were in real life. Wexler supplied the performers with a script, however, they were free to improvise on specific wordings, a dd lines and decline a ny dialogue they felt uncomfortable speaking. This is true up to the long close-up at the scenes end, which was performed by an actual actor according to a script (Wexler).

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87 As the final militant speaks, he is framed in the center of a close up and directly addresses the camera. This privileged frami ng indicates that Wexler intended to make a point about what he perceived to be the me dias indifference to the lives of African Americans. The film also suggests that th e media has also ignor ed the lives of poor whites. Wexler juxtaposes an interview c onducted at a fancy hotel swimming pool with a social workers interview c onducted with Harold at his te nement apartment. In the poolside scene, Cassellis films a wealthy soci ety matron as she speaks about her plans to vacation in Ontario for the summer. The next scene shows Harold, alone in the middle of the day, trying to explain to a social worker where his father is. Unlike the society matron, Harolds world is not pleasant and his family cannot afford to vacation anywhere. Eileen and Harold are symbolic of an entire class of poor white pe ople that Wexler feels have been rendered invisible. Although Wexler is neither African American nor from Appalachia, his sympathies lie with marginalized socio-ec onomic groups. He reserves his antipathy for those in power. Messages in the Medium In Medium Cool establishment figures are objects of derision. The Illinois National Guardsmen train for protesters while carry ing toy guns and wear ing longhaired wigs. Frightened suburban housewives practice fi ring guns at a shooting range. When Gus points a shotgun mike at the shooting range manager (Peter Boyle), the manager cracks an obvious joke asking, is that thing loaded? Casselliss boss cares about budgetary limita tions more than he does about getting to the truth. He refuses Cassellis request to follow up on the cabbys story and fires Cassellis for insubordination. Cassellis qui ckly obtains a new job as a cameraman

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88 assigned to cover the Democratic conventi on. He conducts preproduction reconnaissance at the convention hall and re marks that the buildings proximity to the Chicago stockyards causes it to smell of dead an imals a foreshadowing of the climactic slaughter of protesters in the park. Inside the convention hall, political leaders ignore the street violence going on outside. They cast their votes by state. Banners wave, speeches are made, and a pretty campaign work er, in a silly, cone shaped hat, pins a political campaign button on Casselliss jack et. The Roosevelt era Democratic Party theme song, Happy Days are Here Again, is included on the sound track as an audio bridging device between s hots inside the hall and the action outside. An extended montage follows. Police beat pe ople to the ironic counterpoint of the up-beat musical standard. The editing seque nce depicts private citizens moving in one direction and uniformed guardsmen and police moving in opposition to them. Depersonalized close ups of boots are followed by shots of wounded protes tors being placed in ambulances. In contrast to the moving shots of anonymous policemen, the camera stops to show personalized, medium close-ups of individual protestors All is in chaos as the police march on. The film breaks new ground in its depicti on of political violence. Mainstream films had seldom depicted police and military pers onnel fighting against their fellow citizens. Authorities were trusted to serve and protect average citizens from attacks, but in this film, men in uniform turn against the people. It seems as if the American system has broken down, and the establishment is responsi ble for its demise. American leaders are depicted as not only illegitimat e, but down right dangerous.

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89 In the film, the nations media are equa lly dangerous, cocons pirators in the destruction of democracy. Newscasters substitute ritual for context and every story is the same as the last and the next. Individual cameramen, personified by Cassellis, are depicted as professional seek ers of truth who must negotia te between the animosity of those they cover, police inte rference, and the impatience of their editors. Casselliss editor is a harmless functionary. Those higher up at the station ar e another story. The bosses are unseen and dangerous. When Cassellis is given his severance letter, he runs through the stations hallways demanding to know who was responsible for his termination. No one takes responsibility fo r the action. In a film about a cameraman, being visible is important. That which is hidd en from society has the potential for grave danger. According to this film, the public good can only be maintained if a metaphorical camera is trained on both the weak and the powerful. One of the few establishment figures that receive respect in the film is Senator Robert Kennedy. Cassellis conducts an interv iew scene outside of a campaign office. Actual Kennedy campaign workers are asked why they support the senator. A young woman likes Kennedy because Hes got long hair. A young man says, He is against the war. The woman jokingly dismisses the man saying, Hes an idealist; hes for anybody who doesnt have a chance. This line echoes Senator Smith from Frank Capras Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for. Wexlers film maintains that sense of 1960s idealism. Later in the film, Wexler presents the a ssassination of Senator Kennedy in a unique manner. A continuous 360-degree panning shot shows the interior of a large commercial kitchen. The kitchen looks like the kitchen inside of the Ambassador Hotel in Los

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90 Angeles where Kennedy died. Kennedy is never s een in the sequence, but his last speech is heard on the sound track. The camera slowly scans the entire minutia of the kitchen including workers, dirty dishes etc. The pan continues until the camera arrives back at its starting point. Kennedy can be heard above a cheering crowd as he finishes his speech saying . . and now on to Chicago. The shot concludes when the pantry door explodes open, throngs of people rush in, and we r ealize that the senator has been shot.9 Wexlers film suggests that revolution co mes at great cost, as it did for Robert Kennedy, but is it worth the sacrifice. American s have failed to realiz e their full political and personal potential. Leaders have been slain, protestors beaten; Cassellis and Eileen have died in a fiery auto mobile crash. National governme nt alone, however, cannot be trusted to solve the complex pr oblems of society. As stated by various characters in the film, committed individuals must choose to affect change phony hippies need not apply. Good people should no longer view pr oblems at a distance because the whole world is watching. It is time for a change. The personal transformation th at Cassellis undergoes in Medium Cool occurs when he chooses to leave his work at the convention hall to join Eileen in searching for her son. His choice to join a new style of blended, nuclear family symbolizes the individual commitment needed to build a better family of man. Wexlers inexperience as a director, however, caused him to miss an opportunity to emphasize this key dramatic moment. One moment Cassellis is seen shooting footag e. He then gets a message and leaves the hall. 9 The kitchen scene was filmed at a date after the assassination of Kennedy. A Chicago kitchen stood in for the actual kitchen in the Ambassador Hotel. See Wexler.

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91 Wexler also fails to take a dvantage of the extended riot scenes that end the film. In simple movie terms, the cops are the bad guys in the blue hats and the protesters are the good guys without hats. It is easy to discer n who the filmmakers wish the audience to root for, but it is hard to discern the heroes political ag enda. The film does include a brief shot of a sign urging that American troops be brought home from Vietnam and the chant hell no we wont go can be heard on the sound track, but the au dience is left to fill in the extra information needed to unde rstand why this confrontation is happening. Unlike earlier, politically charged scenes, fe w protestors in the park are black or obviously, from Appalachia and other than a photograph on Cassellis desk, the issue of Vietnam is not emphasized in the film. The audience for this film most likely would skew politically left. This is not a film for centrists or right-wingers. The films ta rget audience would be aware of the political agenda championed by the protestors. They w ould have been aware of the concept of marginalized socio-economic groups. Even if th ey were not politically active, they would at least know who Frank Zappa was. Accordi ng to McLuhan, the tactic of forcing the audience to supply information to the films ma terial would be more at place in a cool medium like television that promotes passivit y. Viewing societys prob lems at a distance, however, was not the filmmakers intent. Wexler created Medium Cool in the hot medium of film. He wanted his audience to react. The very last shot in the film is of Wexler himself filming the car crash of Cassellis and Eileen. He then pans his movie camera di rectly toward the audience as an unseen newscaster reports on the on-going violence in Chicago. Were being thrown up against the wall. People are being hit by clubs and t hose are real nightsticks. According to

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92 Wexler, the director Jean Luc Goddard, who frequently employed filmic devises designed to make the audience aware that it was watching a motion pi cture, influenced this shot. This strategy had political ramifica tions. It was thought th at forcing people to realize they were being manipulated woul d allow audiences to break through their passive consumption of media. This shot wa s intended to challenge the viewer to act (Wexler commentary DVD). Both Wild in the Streets and Medium Cool portray revolution in action. Both films advocate the political involvement of those outside the mainstream. Both films champion young people as the best hope for a better wo rld. Both films promote a distrust of established leadership and a need for change. Wild in the Streets however, suggests that revolution can get out of hand, while Medium Cool suggests that change should start at the individual level. The basic premise of Wild in the Streets is that if we put new people in charge, they will turn into Fascists, while the basic premise of Medium Cool is that if we do not put new people in charge, we will be stuck with Fascists. One film revels in the coolness of celebrity-driven media while the other condemns it. One film asks, Whos afraid to die, but ends in joyless victory; the other stat es How the hell should I know? but ends with a call to arms. Medium Cool successfully reinforced its audiences belief in the potential for good that could be derived from the 1960s era of political commitment. That optimism would be challenged in the decade to come.

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93 CHAPTER 4 REFORM: THE CANDIDATE (1972), WALKING TALL (1973) Theres got to be a better way. --Bill McKay, The Candidate Revolutions do not require co mpromise. Politics, by its na ture, forces conciliation. In order to win election, a ca ndidate must appeal to the wants and needs of the voting public. Once in office, coalitions must be built, favors must be exchanged, and power must be shared. While attempting to survive in this environment, it can become easy to lose sight of the reason why one wanted to serve the public in the first place. The film The Candidate (1972) asks how much compromise a person can engage in before they themselves become compromised. Bill McKay (Robert Redford) grew up in the world of politics. He is the son of former California Governor John J. McKay (M elvin Douglas), but rejects his fathers world of political power and influence. McKay personifies 1960s era generational independence. Now a lawyer, he works to reform the political system through advocacy of environmental and community affairs issues. Instead of operating out of a corporate office, McKay chooses to work out of a nei ghborhood legal aid center. A stylized logo of the United Farm Workers Union appears in a close-up of the front window of the center. This shot is utilized by the filmmakers to indicate McKays alliance with the farm workers and is symbolic of his initial inte grity. This integrity will be tested throughout the film as McKay embarks upon a political odyssey.

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94 McKays well publicized success in litigat ing environmental issues draws the attention of veteran political campaign manager, Marvin Lucas (Peter Boyle). Lucas flies to California in order to r ecruit McKay to run for the se nate against the very popular Republican incumbent, Crocker Jarmon (Don Porter). Bill McKay turns Lucas down, but Lucas counters that someone who has somethi ng he believes in would indeed have a chance against Jarmon. McKays friend Jaime warns him not to trust Lucas. The legal center scene concludes with Jaime getting into Lucass face and angril y stating this stuff you call politics . Polit ics is bullshit. Lucas offers McKay a ride home where they meet McKays attractive wife Nancy (Karen Carlson). Nancy is confident that if McKay decides to run he will win because Hes got the looks and hes got the power. McKay is still undecided whether to run for the senate so Lucas seeks to calm McKay s fears. He gives McKay a matchbook cover on which he has written the words you lose. Lu cas explains to McKay that since there is no possible way for McKay to win, he can never be tempted to sell out. McKay attends a political rally for incu mbent Senator Crocker Jarmon. Jarmon is a stereotypical, political hack. The smooth talking, silver ha ired Crock glad-hands the public and fulfills the old politic al clich of kissing a baby. On the issues, he skews to the right, but strives not to offend saying, The so lution to welfare is not more welfare. On the environment, he maintains, Well find a wa y to love Mother Nature and preserve her . without going to extremes. McKay appr oaches Jarmon and pointedly asks if the Senator remembers him. Jarmon has no idea who McKay is, but the experienced campaigner covers it well. Jarmon assumes th at the athletic looking McKay was a former

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95 baseball pitcher and warmly greets him as an old acquaintance. At this point, McKay decides to run. He sees how clich ridden Jarmon has become.1 The Campaign Bill announces for candidacy at the neighborhood legal aid office. He is refreshingly candid on the issues. When asked by reporters what he thinks about welfare reform, McKay says, We subsidize planes, we subsidize trains, why not subsidize people? He tells the media that he is for bu ssing and refuses to move next to his office workers for a staged group photograph, thus eliciting applause from his staff and reinforcing his political independence. Next, it is on to meet the media manage r. Howard Klein (Allen Garfield) is a successful producer of political campaign ads. Kl ein crassly states that he has agreed to work for McKay because, Youve got balls, otherwise I wouldnt take you on. Klein is not ideologically motivated in his assessment; he just needs a candidate to back with kishkas. The film implies a growing suspic ion of media manipula tion of the political process. The film provides a noteworthy tutorial in the production of modern campaign media that is educational to both the audience and future office seekers. Klein shows Jarmons old television ads to McKay. Jarmon dr aws Kleins admiration at his ability to appear sincere while looking directly at a camer a. According to Klein, this is not an easy task. Most people move their eyes around too much and look shifty. Klein also admires Jarmons ability to engage in spontaneous inte ractions with the public that can be easily 1 According to screenwriter Jeremy Larner, California education official Max Rafferty and Governor Ronald Reagan inspired the character of Crocker Jarmon. Listening to Reagan, I got a lot of ideas for Crocker Jarmon Reagan is a master of right-wing rhetoric. See Sweeney A2.

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96 edited into man in the street political adve rtisements. Still, Klein feels confident in his new patron, promising that people are gonna take one look at our stuff and see a guy with guts. Theyre gonna take a look at the Crock and think he cant get it up anymore. As the campaign progresses, McKay ac quires an entourage of professional campaign organizers who train him for poli tical success and begin to reorganize his image. McKay attends an introductory dinne r for candidates in the upcoming election. Before the event, Nancy notices that he has shaved his sideburns and cut his hair. McKay has begun to compromise. At the candidates dinner, bright lights glare into the face of McKay in a harsh manner. The filmmakers make frequent use of unbalanced lighting, overlapping dialogue, shaky camera shots, and swish pans. This t echnique trades on audience familiarity with televised political news coverage in order to build an illusion of reality. The films production techniques also mirror McKays imme rsion into an ever more disorienting campaign experience. After the candidates dinner, the film cuts to a close-up of a television monitor. It appears that McKay is being interviewed on th e issues of the day. The shot then pulls back to reveal the monitor is not broadcasti ng a real program, but a practice session for the candidate. McKay sits on one side of a hotel room facing his handlers and a camera operator on the other. Unlike his first interview, conduc ted on his turf at the legal center, he is beginning to lose spontaneity. He stat es that he is for ab ortion, but this draws concern from his campaign staff. Lucas advi ses McKay that, if as ked, he should finesse the subject by saying Were studying it. When the candidate and staff search for a safe

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97 way to address the hot button issue of Vietnam, a staffer suggests that the candidate turn the issue into a joke about pa rking problems in Santa Monica. McKays campaign hits the road. An en tourage including campaign workers and a camera crew follow the candidate from stop to stop. The film often captures the absurd nature of the campaign process. In contrast to past political films, The Candidate ventures out of the soundstage and into the streets. McKays staff suggests that having him play basketball with children from the comm unity would provide a good photo opportunity. When the candidate is steered into an innercity playground, the local kids run in fear of all the men in suits. Despite the occasional missed photo opport unity, McKays campaign efforts bear fruit and he wins the democratic primary. Hi s contentment, however, is short lived. Lucas takes him into a bathroom, sits him on the to ilet, and points out that receiving 47 % of the primary votes will translate into only 32 % of the votes in the general election. Lucas tells McKay that he will be wiped out, humiliate d. McKay wants to quit the campaign, but it is too late to extricate himself from the proce ss. Like it or not, Lucas tells him, he is the nominee. McKay responds, You make th at sound like a deat h sentence. In spite of his misgivings, McKay forges onward. An environmental crisis provides an ironic opportunity to scor e points. Weve got a fire in Malibu, a staffer says, its perfect. The fire is a disa ster for the people of Malibu, but it provides McKay with an opportunity to trump his opponents reputat ion for being a good provider for his constituency. McKay arrives at the crisis area first and addresses the media with his proposals for improved water management regul ations and disaster insurance coverage.

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98 Much to McKays chagrin, Jarmon proceeds to upstage him. The senator disembarks from a helicopter. He draws the media pack away from McKay and informs them that that he has talked to the pres ident who has designated Malibu as a national disaster area. In addition, he announces that he will push through his senate committee an increase in federal disaster insurance and water management regulations. Jarmons power translates into action. Jarmon then boards hi s helicopter and ascends to the sky, only to disappear as quickly as he had come. McKa y remains on the scene to sputter agreement with all that Jarmon has senatorially intoned. Fathers and Sons The candidates handlers determine that Jarmons superior gravitas can best be countered by the political endorsement of McKays father. Throughout the campaign, McKay has stubbornly resisted s uggestions that he appeal fo r the help of his famous father. At this point in the campaign, however McKay relents. He visits his fathers house and encounters his fathers current co mpanion, Ms. Ford, who is not his mother. McKays father is busy watching a football game in his den, the walls of which are mounted with guns and the heads of dead animals. McKay engages his father in awkward conversation, and then father and son decide to go hunting. The senior McKay is much more enthusiastic than his son at the prospect of the kill. He draws a bead on a rabbit and blasts it to death. A reaction shot follows of the junior McKay si ghing in disapproval at the carnage. The film depicts a complex psychological relationship between McKay and his father. McKay does everything he can to be unlike his father. He advocates for the powerless instead of the powerfu l; he is an environmentalist instead of a hunter; and he wants to call his own shots rather than follo w orders. McKay seeks to kill the career of

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99 the Crock, a political elder just like his father, who fails to recognize him in public. In the course of the film however, McKay will come to court his fathers political endorsement. He will ultimately earn his fath ers respect by winning a televised debate against Jarmon. Only then will he receive his fathers endorsement and an acknowledgement of paternity with the words wheres that son of mine? At the same time that McKay attempts to re ject his father, the film suggests that he will eventually turn into his father. Fath er and son both enjoy the use of power. Bill McKay is not above forcing people to grovel. He purposely arrives la te to a hotel room meeting with a union leader who he detest s for opposing the Farm Workers Union. When the union leader says to McKay, we have a lot in common, McKay replies, We dont have shit in common. McKays father atte mpts to smooth over th e situation and the result is nervous laughter on the part of everyone, except McKay. Bill McKay has learned his lessons well. He knows that, once elected, the union leader will need him more than he needs the union leader. The two McKays are similar in other ways. Both have an eye for the ladies. Bill McKay was late to the meeting with the union head because of a dalliance with a woman. Earlier in the film, McKay was uncomfortable in conversation with his fathers second wife, but he also comes to take a relativistic view of marital vows. The Debate McKays tireless campaigning results in a 14-point improvement in his polling numbers forcing Jarmon to agree to a televise d debate. Before the debate, McKay and his brain trust meet in the cockpit of an airpla ne to discuss strategy. He receives a position paper on crime prevention to reference in th e upcoming debate. Lucas instructs McKay to answer all questions with prearranged answer s such as crime isnt an issue, its a

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100 symptom. In adopting this tactic, McKay begi ns to master political rhetoric. Jarmons The solution to welfare is not more welfare, is similar in syntax to McKays Crime isnt an issue: its a symptom. That night, during the debate a reporter asks McKay a bout the issue of bussing. In contrast to his statement earlier in the film he equivocates now saying the main problem is getting good education fo r everybody. When asked about abortion, McKay follows his script and asserts that it requires more study. McKays frie nd Jamie shakes his head in disgust. In the film, Jaime functions as Mc Kays conscious and cues the audience how to react to the inside world of politics. After the debate, a saddened Jamie meets with his old friend McKay one last time to shake his hand in farewell. He is disappointed at what politics has done to his friend. The Home Stretch McKay scored points in the debate by stic king to his five-point crime plan and by forcing Jarmon to over react. In contrast to Jarmon, McKays cool style came across better on television allowing hi m to narrow the gap in the polls. The campaign speeds onward from union rallies to garden parties to television appearances and ticker tape parades. The absurdly frenetic nature of political campaigning gets to be too much for McKay. While riding in the back of a limousine from one event to another he begins to imitate the singsong cadence of campaign-speak saying Ladies and gents, the time has passed. The time has passed. Got to be a better way, I say to you, can t any longer. Oh no! Cant any longer, play off the black against the old, young ag ainst the poor. This country cannot house its houseless, feed its foodless. . On Election Day, campaign workers get out the vote. Some round up obviously inebriated street people, while others surreptitiously replace Jarmon campaign door

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101 hangers with McKay advertisements. McKay s campaign proves successful and he wins the election. There is much cel ebrating on the part of loyal supporters. Nancy is delighted with the victory and begins to plan a m ove to an exclusive Washington neighborhood. Despite his victory, McKay is not as thrill ed as his wife. He is confused at the ramifications of what has happened. Out of nowhere, he has won, but what to do next? He sits on a bed next to his father. A ti ght two shot reveals his fathers yellowed teeth and graying hair as he gleefully intones the words son, youre a poli tician. There is a cut to an extreme close up of McKays face framed between his forehead and his chin. He is positioned in the left hand porti on of the screen, but looks back awkwardly to the right, toward his father, causing th e composition to become unbalanced. The sequence concludes with the orig inal two shot as McKay seni or laughs heh, heh, heh. McKay has achieved his personal and politic al goal, but he wonders if the ends justify the means. It is easy to be an outsid er who criticizes the sy stem. Once in office, however, will he retain enough in tegrity to call his own shots? Will he reform the system, or will he go over to the dark side like hi s father? The film concludes with a scene depicting McKay and Lucas in a hotel room. They have escaped the mad rush of wellwishers, campaign workers, and media repr esentatives. Lucas asks, Whats on your mind, Senator? McKay replies, Marvin, what do we do now? Lucas has no chance to reply. People rush into the room and the ne wly elected Senator is ushered away by an adoring throng. The door to the room closes and the end credits roll. We are left to ponder what future course the candidate will pursue. A Touch of Evil The structure of this film is that of a journey from integrit y to compromise. A campaign is a run for office and that is what McKay does. He rushes to meet

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102 appointment deadlines, strides through photo-ops and even runs away from the chaotic demands of his own campaign workers. Thr oughout the film, mode s of transportation drive the action forward. Lucas takes a plane to his initial meeting with McKay. McKay rides in a car to the fire in Malibu, on ly to be outdone by Jarmon who arrives by helicopter. Lucas and McKay discuss the upcomi ng debate in an airplane cockpit. They travel in a limousine while contemplating campaign strategy, and another limousine ride takes place during a ticker tape parade. In all of these scenes, the campaign professionals take McKay for a ride. He is not in control of the vehicles in wh ich he travels, nor is he in control of the campaign itself. In the film, McKays friend Jamie is his conscience and Lucas is his Mephistopheles. At the outset of the film, McKay is idealistic. He professes no interest in politics and is not even registered to vote. It is interesting to note that not being registered to vote is depicted as a positive attribute of th e films main character. In contrast to the handsome McKay, characters from the world of politics are less than attractive. Lucas is portrayed as a bearded, bespect acled, political operative. Klei n is coarse in language and short of stature. The amoral Lucas claims only to be motivated by an opportunity to acquire an air card, phone card, and one thousand bucks a week. If that is all he wants out of the campaign, however, why does he not work for a more established politician? Lucas has unusual insight into what ma kes McKay tick and uses it to tempt the candidate. In their very first meeting, McKa y is engaged in conve rsation with a fellow community activist, but Lucas captures his attention by addressing him with the single word Senator. The film suggests that McKa y is an innocent lawyer led astray by the manipulation of Lucas. At first, Lucas assures him that the campaign will be a lark. Initial

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103 successes, however, introduce new motiva tions. Thoughts of humiliating defeat, the urging of his status c onscious wife, and the chance to be st his father all cause McKay to reconsider the relative value of his personal integrity. McKay, however, is not quite as innocent as it seems. He professes to distain politics, but is quite capable of utilizing the power of gove rnment to achieve goals. In McKays first scene, he negotiates for the return of an automobile to the legal center, but objects to paying excessive storage charges. Wh en his friend Jamie says that the garage owner wont budge on the fee, McKay calls upon his training as a lawyer and directs Jamie to threaten the garage owner saying, A sk him if he knows wh at a license renewal hearing is. The character Jamie, so disdai nful of political bu llshit, has no problem following McKays directive. He agrees to strong arm the garage owner. As a lawyer, McKay knows that threats of a civil hearing will get the groups car back at a reasonable price. Not only does McKa y out-maneuver the garage owner, he also wins other battles. McKays presence in th e race induces Jarmon to steal the issue of watershed maintenance. Jarmons maneuver embarrasses McKay, but Jarmon now backs McKays plan. Later in the film, McKay forces the union head to show fealty to him, even after insulting the man. Despite thes e actions, however, McKay does not have sufficient insight to realize that he is just as interested in the cont rol and use of power as other politicians. A recurring theme in The Candidate is the connection be tween sex and power. Lucas and Klein seek a candidate to back with Kishkas to run against Jarmon. Klein characterizes the older candidate as a man w ho he will render impotent by defeating him.

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104 When Nancy teases McKay for cutting his hair, McKay deflects her by initiating a romantic encounter that makes the coupl e late for the candidates dinner. As McKay becomes more powerful, he has more options that are sexual. Campaign volunteers gush in McKays presence. A poste r in his headquarters emblazoned with the slogan Bill McKay: the better wa y is altered by magic marker to read, A toss in the hay with Bill McKay. Even celebrities fo rm crushes on the charismatic candidate. The film includes a scene with the actress Natali e Wood, playing herself, flirting with McKay after a campaign event. The ardor of his campaign workers suitably embarrasses McKay, but Ms. Wood charms him into discussing recipes involving yogurt. Eventually, McKay exercises his sexual opti ons by engaging in a relationship with an attractive brown-haired wo man. McKay forces political suitors to wait for a meeting with him while he engages in a sexual trys t with the woman elsewhere in the hotel. He enjoys making his political suitors wait. In pol itics, as well as sex, McKay always seeks the upper hand. The film suggests that there is no sanctity to the political process. Before his televised debate, McKay observes that poli tics are merely a better way to screw them all. Campaign Experiences of the Filmmakers By 1972, the film industry was in the midst of a period of financial recovery. From 1969 to 1971, the industry had experienced a recession caused by the over production of feature film inventory. According to Variet y reporter, A. D. Murphy Hollywood created this over production without any sensible appreciation of the likely return on its investment (3). A period of record-high interest rates on borrowed money further exacerbated the problem. Motion picture co rporations responded to the recession by cutting costs and reducing inventory.

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105 The recession experienced by the motion picture industry during the early 1970s resulted in new market strategies. As studi os sought to manipulate supply by producing fewer films, independent producers were ab le to capitalize. In creasingly, during the 1970s, films were initiated not by major studios but by independent producers, directors, stars, or writers with a track record of hits (Cook 19). In 1972, director Michael Ritchie and leading actor Robert Redford co produced The Candidate. They envisioned the film as part of a series on the American obsession with winning. The first film in the series, Downhill Racer (1969), cast Redford as an egotistical Olympic skier. The Candidate examined the inside wo rld of media politics and Ritchies third film in the trilogy, Smile (1975), made without Re dford, was a parody of the competitive world of beauty pageants. Ritchie, Redford, and writer Jeremy Larner all had various degrees of experience with political campaigning. In preparation for the film, Redford followed the 1970 race for governor in New York. As a result of hi s experience he concluded that politics was just a game, the public always getting rippe d off, all those infantile minds in the Pentagon and in office taking it out on the country because they never made the squad when they were kids ( Lear Sec 6: 31). Film and television director Ritchie wa s a media producer for the campaign of California Senator John Tunney. Ritchie drew upon his experiences with Tunney for the staging of a womens luncheon scene in The Candidate as well as an understanding of political campaign ads. For the sake of au thenticity, Ritchie hire d an actual production company from California that had created ad s for Maine Senator Ed Muskie. He noted

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106 that employees of the firm enjoyed produci ng the McKay ads for the film, referring to them as your standard Kennedy energy spot (Sweeney A2). In the film, the McKay commercials co mment on the tactics of actual media managers. When McKay complains that Klein has omitted scenes shot at an inner city health care clinic, the medi a producer plays back the raw footage revealing a grim scene. McKay looks uptight and the audio track contains excessive ambient sounds that drown out his voice. Even worse, a moth er at the clinic slaps her baby for crying, causing McKay to wince. The issue of health ca re failed to make the final cut of the ad because of these stylistic shortcomings. The film makes the point that selling a candidate is very much like selling deodorant; both re quire that the viewer not be upset by unpleasant sounds or images. The films screenwriter, Larner, was even more active in politics. In 1968, he worked as a speechwriter for the primary cam paign of Senator Eugene McCarthy. Larner was deeply committed to the cause, but ultima tely disappointed with the experience. In his 1969 memoir of the campaign, Larner cri ticized McCarthys instinct to avoid confrontation, fear of looking bad, into lerance toward criticism, unwillingness to appear ambitious, and his deep seated bitter ness which caused him to attack even his closest allies.2 Larner also found fault with some of McCarthys sycophantic followers who thought of themselves as above the crass world of political campaigning. Larner, on the other hand, valued involvement. On one occasion, he fooled Senator Robert Kennedy s 2 Note the similarity in names, McKay--McCarthy, Lucas--Lucifer--Larner. For Larners perceptions of McCarthy, see Larner 31-33.

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107 supporters into thinking he was one of them by donning a Kennedy campaign button. Larner then misdirected them to the wr ong hotel entrance allowi ng McCarthy to pass undetected through a different entrance. On a second occasion, Larner induced thr ee students from the McCarthy camp to stand in front of Kennedys car in hopes of delaying him and forcing a televised confrontation between the tw o candidates. As Kennedy maneuvered away from the potentially embarrassing confrontation, Larn er scored a victory by calling him coward, chicken in front of the gathered media. Afte r the event, Larner felt exhilarated, but later came to regret his actions, f eeling that he had acted from instinctjust like any other hack--to embarrass the opposition (100-101). Larners ambivalence toward the political process, and his involvement in it, is evident throughout the film, perhaps no more so than in McKays, and by extension Larners, address to th e candidates dinner: I guess it is funny. In fact, when you thi nk about it, the whole idea of two guys making decisions for 20 million people. . th ats pretty funny, but still you cant laugh too much when you think of whats at stake. The fact is, in the next few elections well decide what its like to liv e in this country, whether people will have more power to shape their own lives or whether were going to lose that power. I know that anyone can stand up and say that much, its the details thats hard, just how you get people involved. Our lives are more and more determined by forces that overwhelm the individual. (long pause) I dont know. Maybe, maybe these questions cant be raised in a political campaign (looks up). Maybe people arent ready to listen, but Im going to try and I hope that youll support that effort and at least give me the benefit of the doubt. Thank you. Larner won an Academy Award for his scri pt. Not only does it provide insights into the inner working of the campaign process, it ta ps into a wish for better political leaders, people who do not fear looking ba d, but take chances in orde r to improve peoples lives. The relationship between Larner and McCart hy parallels that between Bill McKay and his father. McCarthy proved not to be all that Larner wished he would be. From Larners

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108 point of view, McCarthys egotistical appr oach to politics cost him the election and compromised his campaigns chance at endi ng the war in Vietnam. As indicated by McKays dinner speech, Larner wished that poli tics were a nobler endeavor than what he experienced on the campaign tr ail, but feared th at governance would always overwhelm the individual citizen. Critical Reaction Despite Larners experience in the polit ical process, New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug found the film inauthentic. She al lowed that the film did have stabs of insight and lots of funny su rface bits culled from campaign trivia, (D1) but she wondered at the ease of McKays primary vi ctory and where the money for his campaign came from. Abzug thought the films depicti on of campaigning was too simplistic. Sure he makes one phone call, but what about the budget crises and rounds of fund raisers (D2). When Jarmon out-maneuvers McKay at th e Malibu fire, Abzug felt that a real politician would immediately start a debate with his opponent, ra ther than standing passively in the background. She criticized th e harsh depiction of union leaders and lack of intelligent females work ing in the McKay campaign. The Congresswoman also felt that McKays complaints about his lack of privacy were nave and asked, Why is he so surprised when he finds the reporter and photographer in his house and his wife dressed up like Jackie in a riding habit? Did he thi nk he was going to have a private life? (D2). Abzug reserved her most pointed criticism for the ending of The Candidate According to her experience, most politicians were unlike those depicted in the film if the hero couldnt figure out wh at to do once he got elected to the Senate, he didnt have much to begin with. Abzug noted that there have always been gutless politicians, who

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109 would do anything to win el ection and concluded that The Candidate was not saying anything new. In addition, Abzug worried that young viewers would find their worst fears confirmed by this simplistic film, and see politics as a determinist process that forces its participants from compromise s into doubletalk and sell-outs (D2). Director Ritchie responded to Congressw oman Abzug. In a letter to the New York Times he defended Redford, Larner, and himsel f from charges of tearing down the democratic process and feeding the pessi mism of youth. He acknowledged that Abzug might not know anyone in Congress like McKa y but questioned Abzugs interpretation of the film. Ritchie stated that the films pr otagonist was not mode led on an established political figure like Kennedy, but rather a polit ical outsider like cons umer affairs activist, Ralph Nader (D7). According to Ritchie, when the public ge ts fed up with ambitious politicians, it yearns for the freshness and purity of someone without apparent political ambition. Bill McKay is such a candidate. Ritchie then st ated the films central premises. If Ralph Nader ran for political office, he probably w ouldnt be Ralph Nader when he got elected. If Ralph Nader might be vulnera ble, what about George McGove rn or even Bella herself" (D7). Vincent Canby reviewed the film as one of the few good, truly funny American political comedies ever made, but at the sa me time labeled it as simplistic and biased. Crocker Jarmon looks as trustworthy as Wa rren G Harding and the film looks like it has been put together by people who have gi ven up hope. Canby perceptively noted that the film promoted an anti-amb ition attitude. If a candidate wants to win, he must be suspect. Ambition in itself is bad. Like athlet es foot, its not a si n, but it is unseemly.

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110 Canby felt that this Catch-22 mind-set would stifle political progress by inhibiting the participation of quality individua ls who might come to believe that the best man should lose or he isnt th e best man (A25). Penelope Gilliattt of The New Yorker panned the film. She found Larners script to be devoid of meaning, Ritchies compositions to be as crass as the script, and the casting of a handsome film star like Redford, so close in appearance to one of the dead Kennedys, to be one of the most vulgar pieces of casting that she could remember. She also condemned the way Redford wore no necktie as a mechanized sign of his characters integrity and the films clichd idolization of good-l ooking saintly dissidence in liberal politics (64-65). Wall Street Journal film reviewer Joy Gould Boyu m saw the film as a morality tale. In contrast to the trad itional films of director Frank Capra, corruption was no longer peripheral to American political life, but ha d become a constant and victorious evil. Gould favorably compared the films insider view of media driven politics to that of The Selling of the President: 1968, a best-selling book by Joe McGi nniss. She pointed out that the lesson of the film was similar to the book. In the television era, political candidates require new presentational skills because opinions and platforms are no longer as important as image. According to Boyum, th e American people learned this lesson before in the writing of McGinniss and McLuhan, as well as in their own personal experience, but the film drove home modern media realit y by allowing viewers to observe the exact process involved in creating political advertising (A4). To Thy Own Self Be True This film asks if the political ends jus tify the political means and answers in the negative. According to The Candidate the campaign process is not a noble quest.

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111 Contenders for office must be willing to swallow stale sandwic hes and cough up stale rhetoric. They must place their safety, priv acy, and family relationships in jeopardy. Worse, they risk compromising their integrity by the act of joining the system. When an outsider like McKay enters the political pro cess, he finds it run by amoral professionals. They do not work for the steady improvement of society, but treat politics like a game. Lucas and Klein worked for other candidates before McKay and at the end of the film, they plan to move on to the next contest. They leave McKay alone to figure out what to do next. The film focuses on the individual rath er than on mass movements. Political leaders, as long as they remain pure, are th e only ones that have the power to right the wrongs of society. When they fail, so does the body politic. The mass electorate is not always worthy of its leaders. In the film McKay visits an inner-city neighborhood to discuss heath care, only to be stopped by a man with a dog w ho insists that the candidate comment on his pet. At a later campaign stop, a citizen asks McKay to hold his hot dog then suddenly punches him. The voters are also portrayed as unwort hy of their leaders because they are even more susceptible to manipulation than the candidates are. No one notices the transparency of McKays increa singly vacuous speeches. When McKay does say what he really thinks, as in the televised debate, th e candidate wonders if anyone truly understands what he means to say. This film suggests that political reform is next to impossible. The onerous task of achieving power wears McKay down to the point that he is susceptible to manipulation. American values of constant societal progr ess go unrealized under the political system depicted here. Senator-elect McKay knows that theres got to be a better way to improve

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112 the process, but the filmmakers offer no so lutions to his dilemma Presumably, McKay would have been better off resi sting the lure of politics. He could have remained at the neighborhood legal aid center, but then the incumb ent Jarmon would have continued in office and change would be even less likely to occur. If the filmmakers goal was to make its audience aware of the American ob session with winning and the compromises required to attain political power; th ey accomplished their mission. Ultimately, The Candidate would become highly influential in the level of cynicism contained in almost all future political films and within the Amer ican society. Gone is the call to commitment contained in films such as Medium Cool. Law and Order in America The film Walking Tall (1973) presented an alternativ e, more conservative, view on political change in America. According to political scientist Kevin Philips, majority control of the United States government has been cyclical in nature. Political parties have held power in alternating cycles lasting between 32 and 36 years. From the period 1932 to 1968, the Democratic Party was in ascendanc y. This held true until the election of Richard M. Nixon, who achieved the pres idency in 1968 by relying on a campaign strategy designed to dismantle the traditional Democratic coalition of labor, liberals, blacks, and southerners. Nixon aspired to the creation of a new conservative majority. In order to achieve his goal, he targeted Democratic voters by in timating that he would slow the pace of desegregation by appealing to their fears of crime and moral decay. 3 3 In the 1968 Presidential election, Nixon was particularly successful in southern border states, including Tennessee. See Schulman35-38. For an extensive histor ical analysis of American regional voting patterns, see Phillips.

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113 The issue of crime resonated with voters who saw the relative domestic security of the 1950s and 1960s begin to collapse. By th e late 1960s, the national crime rate had skyrocketed. In 1960, there were five mu rders per 100 thousand inhabitants; in 1968 there were seven; and in 1972, there were nine In the same period, forcible rapes doubled and robberies tripled. Police o fficers, increasingly, came under attack. The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty rose from 48 in 1960, to 123 in 1967, to 178 in 1971.4 Increases in criminal activ ities eroded Americas confid ence in the effectiveness of its criminal justice system. Citizens grew frustr ated at the inability of the local police to stem the tide of lawlessness. As a result, many crimes went unreported by victims. In addition, many Americans came to believe that courts were too le nient in sentencing lawbreakers and that government programs de signed by sociologists to attack the root causes of crime were in effective (Frum 12-19). Federal outlays for crime reduction pr ograms increased during Nixons first administration. The federal budget for crimin al law enforcement increased from $485 million in 1970 to $859 million in 1972, and outlays for all federal crime reduction programs more than doubled during the same period; however, crime remained a very important problem. In a Gallup Poll conducted in December of 1972, 51 % of respondents stated that there was more crime in this area than a year ago and 74 % responded that the courts were not hars h enough in dealin g with criminals. Despite 4 For crime rates and police officer mortality statistics, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Law Enforcement, Federal Courts, and Prisons, Crimes and Crime Rates, by Type: 1960 to 1972, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC: Government Printing Office,1973: 146; and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Law Enforcement, Federal Courts, and Prisons, Poli ce Officers Killed, by Geographic Divisions: 1960 to 1971, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973: 150.

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114 serving as the chief executive during a period of heightened public concern with crime, Nixon remained the law-and-order candidate by casting his rivals as excessively liberal.5 In the presidential election of 1972, Nixon avoided traditi onal party labels and ran as the champion of a silent majority of fo rgotten Americans. In order to capitalize on voter resentment, Nixon attacked liberals as being soft on crime, elitist in attitude, and draconian in their proposals for social engineering. The positioning of Nixon as a conservative, law-and-order, populist enabled him to achieve a lands lide victory over his rival, Democratic Senator George McGovern (Schulman 38 41). Walk Tall or Dont Walk At All Walking Tall is a law-and-order film that tell s the story of forgotten Americans. Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker) portrays a club -wielding, southern sheriff who eradicates vice from his community at great personal co st. The motion picture is a fictionalized version of actual events that transpired during the 1960s in Mc Nairy County, Tennessee. According to the film, McNairy County was rife with corruption and illegality. The county sheriff was on the take, gambling flour ished, prostitution was readily available, and moonshine whisky caused blindn ess in its unsuspecting consumers.6 The county, however, had not always been corrupt. Long ago, before Buford the Wild Bull Pusser left to pursue a career in professional wrestling, McNairy was a fine 5For federal anticrime budget figures, see U.S. Bu reau of the Census, Federal Outlays for Crime Reduction, by Program: 1970 to 1973, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973 : 155. For polling results, see January 14, Crime, Interviewing Date: 8 -11 December 1972, Survey # 861 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 1977 Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 82 -85. 6 The actual Buford Pusser was elected sheriff of McNairy County Tennessee in 1964. He initiated a crackdown on gambling, prostitution, and moonshining that resulted in seven attempts on his life, the murder of his wife, and 14 plastic surgery operations on hi s face. Pusser served thr ee terms as sheriff until he failed to win reelection in 1970. See Buford Pusser, Sheriff Depicted in Walking Tall Film, Is Dead, The New York Times 22 August 1974: A36.

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115 example of God-fearing, virtuous, small-to wn America. Unfortunately, the community lost its moral compass. A shadow government of vice-lords had ta ken control of the county and its citizens had become inured to cr iminality. In the context of the times, it is easy to see McNairy County as a symbolic microcosm of America. The film reflects public fear of crime and frus tration at political inaction. When Buford returns home to retire from his wrestling career, he confronts this changed world. Members of the crime syndicate expect Buford to behave like the rest of the submissive townspeople; however, he cannot overlook the wrongdoing he sees. Buford decides to fight, first with fists, then with a wooden club, then at the ballot box all the while enduring violent encounters that w ould shake a lesser mans resolve. Faced with such intractable corrup tion, one wonders if the efforts of one man can make a difference. This film asks how many beatings a man can take before he will give up. Coming Home When we first encounter Buford, he is driving his wife, two young children, and the family dog back to his boyhood home in Tenne ssee. Sentimental music accompanies long shots of bucolic country settings. The fam ily station wagon pulls up in front of a big white shingled house and Bufords parents ente r the scene. They are thrilled to see him and glad that he has quit the violent worl d of wrestling. When asked why he retired, Buford speaks of his disgust w ith organized dishonesty that is central to the theme of the film. He condemns wrestli ng because it systematically co ntrolled the individual. He says, You win when they let you win. You climb the ladder when they let you. You breathe when they feel like giving you air. I got fed up with other people running my life. Buford will reiterate his disgust with or ganized dishonesty later in the film when he encounters judicial, political, and law enforcement duplicity.

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116 The powerfully built Buford states that he no longer wants to fight. This pleases his wife, Pauline (Elizabeth Hartman), who is the voice of nonviolence throughout the film. Pauline is a loving wife and caring mother. Buford evidentl y cares for Pauline as well. The family enjoys a warm relationship that is emblematic of the simple country lifestyle the family hopes to recapture in the hill country of Tenness ee. Bufords father (Noah Beery, Jr.) tells him that a neighboring logging homestead is for sale. Buford agrees to buy the homestead and his happy family move s in to a little wh ite house that comes complete with a picket fence and a fish ing pond for the kids. He has realized the American dream. In contrast to McKay in The Candidate Buford looks up to his father and values his lifestyle. Buford enjoys working the la nd and sawing timber along side of the elder Pusser. He too, like McKay, ventured out into another profession, only to return to the family business. Buford, however, is proud of his heritage. Scenes of gift giving on Christmas and family picnics by the fishing pond celebrate kinship in the film. Bufords retirement goal is to return to an honest, family centered life exemplified by his father. Both men value their wives, children, and homestead. Ironically, Buford will spend most of his time in the film fulfilling his duties as sheriff rather than with his family. Nice Versus Vice Buford files the deed for his new homes tead at the county courthouse. When exiting the building, Bufords mother tentat ively warns him that the town has undergone some changes, but cautions her son to ignore them because they have nothing to do with us. The noisy entrance of Bufords ol d friend Lutie McVey interrupts them. A stereotypical good old boy, Lutie screeches his pickup truck to a halt and invites Buford

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117 for a drink at the Lucky Spot, a new roadhous e whose reputation is that of a shopping center for sin. That night, the two men enter the roa dhouse where they encounter loose women and hard liquor. When Buford and Lutie are ch eated out of their money at the craps table, Buford demands his money back from the management. The film turns gratuitously violent as Lutie is kicked in the face in a clos e-up. Part of the audien ce appeal of the film is the depiction of cathartic violence in re sponse to public frustration. Buford executes wrestling moves to punish the crooks, but fi nally is subdued. Buford then has his shirt torn off by the crooks and a knife repeatedly slices his chest. The film will repeatedly employ such Christ-like imagery repeatedly, such as the tearing of Bu fords garments and the piercing of his chest. The fight scene transitions to a ra in-splattered roadside where the bloodied Buford struggles for life until a passing truck driver notices his badly wounded body. This incident provides the mo tive for Bufords actions throughout the remainder of the film. From this point on, he wi ll engage in an ever-e scalating battle with those who control vice in the county. The battle of this lone man symbolically personalizes the struggle for re demption of the entire county. Buford is a traditional film hero, but not an antihero. For him, there is only right and wrong. Although he has traveled widely and participated in the sometimes-deceptive world of professional wrestling, we are led to believe that Buford is unaware of the true nature of roadhouse gambling. This lack of aw areness is similar to the naivet of Bill McKay in The Candidate who, although he grew up in a pol itical family, is taken aback at the true nature of political campaigning.

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118 Buford exits the hospital and returns ho me to recover from his wounds. County Sheriff Al Thurman (Gene Evans) visits him and intimates that the roadhouse incident was Bufords fault due to his excessive inebri ation, but he promises to look into it. Buford warns the sheriff against ignoring crime as he has done in the past because, people in the county gave you that badge a nd they can damn well take it away from you on Election Day. The blustery sheriff expl odes in anger and speeds away from the Pusser homestead. Buford and Obra Obra Eaker (Felton Perry) is a long time friend of Buford. When Obra comes to the Pusser family logging business to ask for empl oyment, Bufords father expresses disdain for the young black man. Bufords father dislikes Obra because he has acquired the new social disease of black power. The younger Pu sser responds to his fathers statement with incredulous laughter, eliciting an anti-a uthoritarian statement similar to Bufords own worldview. Bufords father states, I be lieve in equality just as much as anybody, but I dont want it forced on me, see. Buford convinces his father to hire Obra At lunch, Obra inquires about Bufords run-ins with the law: How does it feel to be part of the oppressed minority? Buford asks if Obra has any suggestions, to whic h Obra cautions him not to beat your head against the wall because itll probably fall on you. In this sequence, a commonality is shared, at least in the minds of the filmma kers, between the two men because of the political obstacles they have both encounter ed. For both poor blacks and poor whites, an unseen political system exploits them by only letting them breathe when they feel like giving you air. According to the film, races might have their differences, but everyone has an equal opportunity to unite in resentment of the system.

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119 Despite Obras advice, Buford returns to the Lucky Spot with a huge stick he has honed from a tree at his logging operation. He beats everybody up with the club and takes only the money that pays for his and Luties ga mbling loses, his stolen car, and his doctor bills. The police arrest Buford and put him on trial where Buford acts as his own legal counsel. Despite the objections of the prosecuto r and the county judge, he wins the case by tearing off his shirt while on the stand thus revealing the knife scars on his chest. Buford then directs his testimony to the jur y, saying You let them do this and get away with it and you give them eter nal license to do the same damn thing to all of you. A jury of his peers finds him not guilty. After his encounter with th e unresponsive criminal jus tice system, Buford decides to run for sheriff of the county. The country vi ce lords try to frame him for the murder of Sheriff Thurman, but Deputy Grady refuses to pe rjure himself at the trial. Buford easily wins victory at the ballot box and, as the ne w sheriff in town, initiates a program of reform. He has only two rules for his new depu ties. First, everyone is to obey the law equally; second, any deputy that takes a bribe will get his head chopped off personally by Buford. Needless to say, the deputies job performance greatly improves. A Touch of Evil Bufords reform efforts soon bear fruit. Moonshiners, gambling house operators, pimps, and madams all begin to feel th e pinch of decreasing illicit commodity transactions. Bufords reform efforts also are noticed at the state capitol as well. Mr. Witter, a man of indeterminate political position, pays a visit to Buford. They go for a ride and stop on a slightly elevated secti on of a secluded country road. The two men exit the vehicle and stand facing each other while framed by the rolling valley below them. Buford carries his hand hewn wooden club.

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120 Witter informs Buford that vice in McNairy County is more than just a local operation. He urges Buford to take care of his own interests first, and suggests that Buford come with him to the state capital, Nashville, in order to meet some of the fellows who could be very generous. He places his hand on Bufords shoulder, but Buford declines the offer. His response elicit s a warning that from Witter that Ideals and realities are very far apart. One day you re gonad see that son, and if you dont, someones gonna point that out to you. Clearly, Buford answers, you already have, thank you and the scene on the hilltop ends. The hilltop meeting between Witter and Buford once again suggests a biblical allegory to the story of Satan tempting Jesus on a desert hilltop. Witter, like Satan, is in town to tempt Buford. Buford, however, does no t even consider the politicians offer. According to the film, participation in big ci ty politics, as personified by Witter, requires that the individual sell his soul, whereas small town politics offers the hope of redemption. The allegory recurs in the film, as Buford is sc ourged, beaten, shot twice and left for dead, only to recover, much as the county will recover its moral direction by the end of the movie. Buford endures trials of Biblical propor tion but does not turn the other cheek. With every violent attack upon his person or fam ily, he escalates his war on the county crime syndicate. In response to Bufords crusade, the crime syndicate hires a gunman to attack Bufords house on Christmas Eve resulting in the shooting death of the family dog. Later, the syndicate ambushes Buford and his wife while they are driving in their car. A shotgun blast blows away the back of Paulines head in graphic detail. After stopping the car, bullets riddle Buford as he holds the dying body of his wife.

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121 Because of his injuries, Buford must wear a partial cast over his severely damaged face. After the funeral of his wife, Buford extracts final revenge upon the syndicate. He drives his car through a syndicate owned roadhou se wall killing the last remaining crime boss. Sympathetic to Bufords loss and empo wered by his actions, the townspeople rally behind him. They storm into the roadhouse, drag out all of the gambling devices contained inside and set them on fire. The town, now purified, will return to normal. Reaction to the Film Walking Tall received little critical attention and sparse attendan ce during its first run in 1973. David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor film critic, found the films social arguments simplistic, its violence excessive, its humo r slapdash, and its duration overly long (A11). Ster ritt also questioned the accura cy of historical events contained in the film due to the hiring of Sheriff Pusser as technical advisor for the production. Pusser countered allega tions of inaccuracy in a 1973 Newsweek interview where he maintained that the film was about 80 % real (Zimmerman 100). The modestly budgeted film, produced by Bing Crosby Productions (BCP), a subsidiary of the Cox Broadcasting Corporati on, struggled to earn back its initial $1.5 million investment. Attendance was light in all major markets. Walking Tall failed to appear on the Variety weekly list of 50 top gr ossing films from its in itial February release until October of 1973. 7 While the film faired badly in large citie s, it was more successful in small towns like Ogden, Utah; Peoria, Illi nois; and Huntsville, Alabam a. The films distributor, 7 The film earned $49,300 to finish in 29th position for the week and remained on the list through the remainder of the year. See 0 Top-Gro ssing Films (Week Ending Oct. 10), Variety 17 October 1973: 10.

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122 Cinerama, devised a new advertising campaign designed to coincide with a re-release of Walking Tall. The new marketing campaign de-emphasized the violent nature of the production, appealing instead to small town, family values. The love story between Buford and Pauline became the primary focu s of ads that showed the embracing couple and included the tag line when was the la st time you stood up and applauded a film? (Zimmerman 99). People did, indeed, stand up and applaud the film. Walking Tall became one of the biggest sleeper-film hits of th e year, a year that included su ch other action-oriented film phenomena as Enter The Dragon (1973) and Billy Jack (1973). All three of these productions share strong, indivi dualistic protagonists for ced, by circumstances beyond their control, to confront evil. All three pr otagonists fight to protect their family and community. All three productions we re very successful. Eventually, Walking Tall would go on to earn over $ 35 million dollars. The fi lm enjoyed successful second runs in all geographic regions of America, including la rge cities and small towns and spurred a series of sequels (Higham Sec 2: 13). The unexpected box office success of Walking Talls second run, caused national critics finally to take notice. They were not wholly positive in their assessments. Washington Post critic Gary Arnold called the film a self-congratulatory, law-and-order melodrama. Arnold found the film to be crudely made and lurid. In addition, he thought the filmmakers themes to be ambivalent. According to Arnold, th e price of Bufords obstinate heroism seems too high because it is not at all certain that the heros sacrifices have resulted in the triumph of justice. The realization that heroic acts might go

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123 unrewarded caused Arnold to suggest that, in stead of standing up a nd cheering, audiences should feel sorrow a nd exhaustion (B1). Arnold noted that the film focuses only on Bu fords vice war, to the exclusion of his other duties as sheriff. In the film, Bu ford dispenses justice only when he holds a personal stake in the offense. Arnold found this to be a sociological weakness of the film, but a source of its melodramatic streng th. In contrast to similar films like Billy Jack he felt that Walking Tall presented a more realistic premise and was more emotionally involving because its hero was an ordinary, vuln erable individual: a straight arrow with a traditional sense of justice, a family to support and a living to earn. Although critical of much in the film, Arnold felt that the images of violence contained in Walking Tall were well directed and succeeded in expa nding the emotional scope of the film by encompassing a number of memories from the public violence of the past decade (B12). While most critics focused on the films modern story New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael compared Walking Tall to the classic western genre. According to Kael, similar elements of both included nostalgia for the simplicity and purity of the past, a faultless hero-protector that wins because he is physically stronger than the villains, pastoral iconography that symbolizes the unspo iled country, villains as spoilers of the American dream, and townspeople that accommodate evil because they are defenseless to halt it (100). Kael maintained that the classic western was dead and had been replaced by the modern street western. Its action now moved from the m ythological purity of the old open range into the corrupt corridors of m odern cities and towns. According to Kael,

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124 Walking Tall was similar to the classic wester n because of its un-self-conscious celebration of simple virtues and its avocation of Biblical justice. On the other hand, Walking Tall was more crude than the classic western because it works almost exclusively on the blood and guts level of emotionally charged violence (101). According to Kael, the appeal of the stre et western is in its reassurance that solutions to problems can be fast, direct, and violent. Dirty Harry (1971), like Walking Tall was a prime example of the modern street western. Although Kael thought Walking Tall not to be as snide as Dirty Harry, she objected to both films fundamentalist political philosophy that a hero could b ecome a one man lynch mob, yet remain incapable of harming innocent pe ople in his God-lik e pursuit of vengeful justice (106). Kael noted the films poor cinematogr aphy, but felt that the crudeness added a sense of innocent honesty to the production. Kael did not find honesty in the films depiction of historical events According to Kael, the actual Buford Pusser was beaten up in a dispute over gambling money that he, not a friend, lost. Three year s later, the casino was robbed, but Buford was acquitted because he had an alibi, not because of a passionate appeal to justice. Four years later, when Pusser ran for sheriff, the incumbent did die in an auto accident, but Pusser was not involved nor did he attempt to save the man. The first deputy hired by Pusser was his father, not Obra Eaker. In addition, the large number of arrests Pusser made did not result in the demise of the criminal syndicate in McNairy County (103). Even some of the residents in McNairy C ounty came to question Pussers status as hero. They believed that he was not quite free of involvement in ille gal activity and that he brought violence upon himself. They al so felt that Pusser unduly capitalized on his

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125 notoriety. For his part, Pusser maintained that he was not interested in personal celebrity, nor was he a fanatic in his pursuit of justice (Zimmerman 100). Print the Legend Media fascination with the story of Walking Tall dates back to 1969 when CBS news correspondent Roger Mudd reported on Buford Pussers anticrime war in Tennessee. Motion picture producer Mort Briskin saw the ten-minute story and immediately contacted Pusser. In exchange for seven % of the box office and a promise that the film would not depict the So uth as a place where everybody walks around uneducated and in overalls, Pusser agreed to permit Briskin and his partner, director Phil Karlson, to tell his st ory ( Zimmerman 99). Karlson was a veteran B movie director of modest success. He occasionally found the opportunity to create poli tically conscious films such as The Phenix City Story (1955), but more often was forced to accept less er projects such as the story of a boy and his pet rat in Ben (1972). Karlson believed in the et hos of Pussers story. He felt that Americans were sick of corrupt politicians and tired of the recen t antiheroic trend of motion pictures that glorified crooks, petty chisellers, and con me n. He hoped that his picture would redeem American respect for its lawmen ( Higham 13) In answer to charges that his film encouraged vigilantism, Karlson hoped that people would see instead the violent consequenc es endured by Buford as an example of what actions not to take. According to Karls on, what Im saying in the picture is that if you want to get out and get the bad guys, dont do it on you own, find police to support you, get a whole community stirred up first a nd let them act along w ith you. Go talk to the city council. It should be pointed out however, that in the film, Buford does not consult city council. He acts as a majority of one (Higham 13).

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126 The real-life Buford Pusser failed in his reelection bid for sheriff in 1970, but became famous because of his depiction in Walking Tall. After the films release in 1973, Pusser made lucrative guest appearances at car dealerships and appeared at golf tournaments in the company of athletes and astronauts. Bing Cr osby Productions even tested him for the starring role in the firs t planned sequel to Walking Tall. While on his way back home from the successful Memphis audition, the 36-year-old former lawman drove his red sports car off Highway 64, near McNair y County, crashed into an embankment and died (Buford Pusser, Sher iff Depicted in Walking Tall Film, Is Dead). Political Values The film suggests that America, as sy mbolized by McNairy County, has lost its way. Outside forces have infected the nati on with organized dishonesty and only the actions of an independent leader can redeem society. The world of Walking Tall is clearly divided between good and evil. The film, just as in The Candidate strongly suggests that anyone who becomes part of the political system will inevitably become corrupt. Corruption extends to elected officials who are controlled by the crime syndicate as well as to the courts that cannot be trusted to render justice. The filmmakers distaste for the perceived leniency of the judi ciary is depicted in a scene where the newly elected Sheriff Pusser reassigns the country judges chambers from an office in the county courthouse to the lavatory. In the film, the American economy is ev ery bit as illegitimate as its political system. McNairy County depends on liquor, prostitution, and gambling for its viability. Outside of the Pusser familys logging busine ss, there is no other economic development in the county. The crime syndicate is able to exploit the dearth of economic options to

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127 impose its will on the community. The lure of materialism proves to be the undoing of simple townspeople like Bufords friend Lutie Self-sacrifice, on the other hand, provides redemption. According to the film, political legitim acy derives from innate qualities of individualism, strength, sacrifi ce, and love of the land. Buford personifies all of these traits. He is a physically imposing indivi dual who loves his family and fights for members of the community when they cannot fight for themselves. Bufords connection with nature is important in the film. He wo rks the land and his weapon of choice is an unrefined, hand-hewn billy club with which he attacks the evildoers as well as the distilled spirits of illegal moonshiners. Buford was absent from the county when it degenerated into its dishonest state and is unsullied by involvement in vice or by posse ssion of political office. When he returns to town, Buford tells Sheriff Thurman that he used to admire him until the sheriff done learned how to crawl. Buford will not crawl. When confronted with a political system in need of reform, Buford is certain of the course he should take. Unlike Bill McKay in The Candidate, he has a plan of action. Buford uses the power of office to legitimize his destruction of moonshine opera tions, confiscation of automo biles, beating of pimps, killing of crime bosses and retr ibution for personal injury. The citizens accept Bufords vigilantism due to their frustrated desire for change. They are unable to act without his example. Buford is the one man who can stand up to the system, walk tall, and return the community to its natural state. In this film, the ends justify the means, but it is implied that peopl e must wait for leadership before attempting

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128 reform. If Bill McKay was the template for fu ture cynicism in films, Buford Pusser was the template for future heroism. Walking Tall as critics have pointed out, was cr udely made, advocates vigilantism, is emotionally violent, and contains inaccurate timelines. Even its paid technical advisor, Buford Pusser, admitted that the film was less than completely accurate. These facts do not detract from the impact of th e film. The values contained in Walking Tall resonated with motion picture audiences. America, in the winter of 1973, was looking for a bastion of righteousness in a world buffeted by traumatic events.

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129 CAPTER 5 COVER-UP: CHINATOWN (1974), THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), AND ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN (1976) You may think you know what youre dealing with, but believe me you dont Noah Cross, C hinatown The media event of 1973 was the televised U. S. Senate Watergate hearings. The June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic Nati onal Headquarters in the Watergate hotel resulted in an investigation of a pattern of on-going illegality and obstruction of justice that reached to the highest levels of the Nixon administration. In May of 1973, the Senate Watergate Committee, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin, began hearing testimony from those involved in the break-in. All three ma jor networks televised the testimony. For the balance of the year, the conspiracy to c over-up involvement by the Nixon administration began to unravel. As ever more important pol itical figures were compelled to testify before the Watergate Committee, the nation pa id rapt attention to the unfolding national drama.1 From the beginning of the Watergate affa ir, Nixon maintained that no one in the White House had been directly involved. Many Americans believed their president. In a Gallup Poll conducted from June 1-4, 1973, only 8 % of respondents who had heard or 1 The Watergate hearings dominated the daytime Nati onal Nielson ratings. Three out of the eight highest rated daytime television programs for the week of 9-13 July 1973, were NBCs Watergate coverage at 10.7, placing it first, ABCs Watergate coverage at 9.6, placing it third, and CBSs Watergate coverage at 9.1, placing it in a tie for eighth. In addition, many viewer s tuned into the Public Broadcasting Service for prime time replays of gavel-to-gavel coverage of the hearings. See Greeley 1.

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130 read about Watergate felt that Nixon had planned the Wa tergate bugging from the beginning. Forty-six % of responde nts felt that the affair was j ust politics the kind of thing that both pa rties engage in.2 Nixons denial of involvement came into doubt in the period of June 25 29 when White House Counsel John Dean offered dr amatic testimony before the Watergate Committee. Dean stated that in April 1973, he and Nixon had discussed plans to raise one million dollars in hush money to silence the Watergate burglars. Dean also implicated other important members of the administrati on, including White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, chief advisor for domestic a ffairs, John Ehrlichman, and the Attorney General, John Mitchell. In the fall of 1973, presidential aid Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of a secret White Hous e taping system that could verify the level of involvement of the Nixon administra tion. Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox subpoenaed the tapes, but the president re fused to turn them over, citing executive privilege. In October, Nixon ordered the fi ring of Cox. Then Attorney General Elliot Richardson refused to carry out the order and resigned, as did Associate Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, leaving Solicitor Genera l Robert Bork to implement Nixons order (Schulman 46). The battle for the White House tapes t ook a further strange turn when America learned that an eighteen-and-a-half minute segment of a potentially incriminating conversation between Haldeman and Nixon ha d been accidentally erased. Only five persons, including Nixon, his personal secretar y, Rose Mary Woods, a nd three other staff 2 June 17 Watergate, Interviewing Date: 1-4 June 1973, Survey # 872 K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977. v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 128.

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131 members had access to both the tape and th e recording machine. Nixons credibility stretched even thinner when a group of technical experts i nvestigated the gap and found it to be the result of five separate manual erasures (Olson 27-32). In February 1974, the House of Representa tives voted 410 to 4 to begin a formal impeachment inquiry. Eventually, a federa l grand jury would indict Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell and would name Nixon as an unindicted coconspirator. The Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to turn over the subpoenaed tapes and the House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment against Nixon. Political and public confidence in Nixon rapidly decline d. In a Gallup Poll conducted in July of 1974, 51 % of respondents thought that there wa s enough evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the president to warrant a trial before the Senate. Nixon, who still maintained his innocence, had to choose between confronting his accusers in the Senate, or resigning in disgrace. He chose to resign.3 The dramatic series of Watergate related ev ents greatly decreased public trust in all forms of government. Nixon had been reelected because he seemed to share an American belief in respect for law and order. Nixon, how ever, had obstructed justice, lied about it, and was unwilling to walk tall in the face of adversity. The American people felt betrayed. In a Gallup Poll conducted in July of 1972, respondents cons idered corruption in government the eleventh most important problem facing the nation; by September of 1973, it was the third most important problem In addition, 64 % of respondents in a 3 July 28 President Nixon, Interviewing Date: 12-15 July 1974, Survey # 911 K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 294.

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132 Gallup Poll conducted in June of 1973 indicated that they woul d not choose politics as a career for their son.4 Politics as Usual The investigation of Watergate revealed se cret plans and back-stage cover-ups that shook American confidence in its political proce ss. At the height of this national political drama, the film Chinatown (1974) entered into production. This fictional work also contains secret plans, cover-ups and the betrayal of public trus t. Its very title entered into the language as a metaphor for corruption. The film, however, displace s the depiction of political illegality to a distant time and place. Chinatown is about the control of water ri ghts in 1930s era Los Angeles and the unseen forces that shape the citys desti ny. At a public meeting, the mayor of Los Angeles proposes the construc tion of the Alto Vallejo Dam and Reservoir. According to the mayor, the project would create a 112foot high dam and a 12 thousand acre water service that will irrigate crops, meet the fresh water needs of a rapidly growing metropolitan area, and be a fair price to pay to keep the desert from our streets. The Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwering), disagrees. He points out that core samples have revealed that the bedrock beneath the new dam site will be the same permeable shale that failed in the 4 For polling results, see August 6: Most Important Prob lem: Interviewing Date: 14-17 July 1972 Survey # 855 K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -197, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 48; September 27 Most Important Problem Interviewing Date 7-10 September 1973 Survey # 877 K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, vi. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 186; and July 12 Politics as a Career, Interviewing Date: 22-25 June 1973, Survey # 873 K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 136.

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133 recent Vanderlift Dam catastrophe that resu lted in 500 deaths. Based on the geological report, Mulwray emphatically states that he will not build the dam. A chorus of boos meets Mulwrays pronouncement. Farmers st omp their feet and accuse Mulwray of stealing water from the valley. A woman identifying herself as Mrs. Mulwra y hires private detective J. J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) to catch Mr. Mulwray in a compromising position with his mistress. The metropolitan newspapers obtain copies of the photos and publish front-page coverage of the liaison. Gittes wants to di scuss irregularities in the case with Mr. Mulwray and tracks him to the Oak Pass Reserv oir. When he arrives at the reservoir, Gittes finds that Mulwray is dead. Ironically, the chief water engineer of Los Angeles has drowned in the middle of a drought. Gittes susp icions increase when the coroner reveals that a local tramp has also drowned in th e supposedly bone-dry Los Angeles River on the same night as Mulwrays death. Gittes follows the flow of events to di scover an attempt at land speculation. He finds out that the proposed Alto Vallejo proj ect will not bring water to the city of Los Angeles, but rather to the adjacent San Fe rnando Valley. Land speculators, headed by Mulwrays former business partner and father -in-law Noah Cross (John Huston), seek to discredit Mulwray because of his opposition to the project. They have bought huge tracts of barren land in the valley in hopes of r eaping a fortune when a reliable source of irrigation is secured. Gittes discovers that Noah Cross has killed his son-in-law, Mulwray. He also discovers that Noah Cross has had an incest uous relationship with his daughter, the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), resulting in a child. The police, how ever, think that a

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134 jealous Mrs. Mulwray is res ponsible for the murder of he r husband. When they seek her arrest, Gittes tries to help Mrs. Mulwray a nd her daughter escape from LA. He instructs them to hide out at their butlers home in th e Chinatown section of Los Angeles while he misdirects the police. Unfortunately, the poli ce find out about the ruse and arrive in Chinatown in time to prevent their escape. Despite the protests of Gittes that Noah Cross is responsible for land fraud and the murder of Mr. Mulwray, the poli ce fail to arrest him. In a de sperate attempt to protect her daughter from falling under the control of he r father, Mrs. Mulwray shoots and wounds him. The police then kill Mrs. Mulwray. Gittes enters into a state of shock. Anger at police indifference causes him to mutter a s little as possible prompting a former coworker from his days in the District Attorney s office, Lieutenant Escobar, to threaten him with incarceration. Two employees from G ittes private investigation firm usher their boss away from the scene with the advi ce: Forget it, Jake, its Chinatown. Chinatown as Metaphor Chinatown is not only a neighborhood in Lo s Angeles it also represents a mental concept. The Chinatown of the mind exists as an unknowable, fatalistic world where individuals feel compelled to remain silent rather than confront evil. In the film, the entire political process is as un knowable and corrupt as the abstract Chinatown. Unlike Walking Tall organized dishonesty has spread beyond the sheriffs offi ce to society in general. In Chinatown, politics becomes the tool of a sha dow government that is totally in control of peoples lives. Politicians promise to use positions of power to effect civic improvements with no real intent to do s o. In addition, the public never truly knows who is in control of events and what deals tr anspire in the back rooms of government. The Alto Vallejo Dam will not bring much needed water to the city, and even worse, it might

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135 catastrophically fail. The public will never find out the true benefactor of the water project or the unethical actions of their local politicians. Systematic attempts to stem corruption are doomed from the start. The film indicts the actions of politicians and suggests th at the public is better off not knowing what is going on: Forget it Jake its Chinatown. There is little that the farmers in the San Fernando Valley can do to stave off the land speculators. It would be easier for all concerned if they would agree to cooperate. Eventually, they too will sell out at a cheap price. In anot her scene, the public is liken ed to senile nursing home residents who are unaware that they own so much of the valley. The land speculators have surreptitiously bought the land for the seniors, planning to cash in when they die. In the same manner, the film suggests that the American electorate is unaware of its potential power and fails to exercise it beca use their leaders routin ely withhold the truth from them. Chinatown represents a world where no one can swim against the tide of corruption. Placing the story in th e past increases the sense of the inevitability of present dishonesty. Film audiences were well aware of the popular image of Los Angeles. They were exposed to countless media representa tions of swimming pools and movie stars. Many were also aware of its development from a sleepy western town into a huge metropolis. The film illustrates how much control governmental authorities can have over metropolitan development. Given this high le vel of control, corruption seems not only possible, but also inevitable. In this political climate, the legitimacy of a government lies not in its stated moral underpinnings, but in its ability to outlast cha nge, a fact that Noah

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136 Cross points out when he says, Of course Im respectable. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectabl e if they last long enough. In the course of his work for the Distri ct Attorneys Office, Gittes pursued many cases in Chinatown. He may now be physically out of Chinatown, but metaphorically he cannot escape it. Gittes approaches life with wisecracking sarcasm th at covers a hidden sense of futility. While working in Chinatown, he tried to help a woman he was involved with and ended up insuring her misfortune. Gi ttes reluctantly recount s this incident to Mrs. Mulwray, foreshadowing the films ending. Gittes left the mean streets of Chinatown, but his work still depends on sord id investigations of marital infidelity. Gittes, however sleazy his profession, does have a code of ethics. He cannot be bought for love or money and he will pursu e truth no matter the personal consequences. The characters adherence to a personal code of ethics reflects the mythology of popular, hard-boiled detective charac ters including Raymond Chandl ers Phillip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammetts Sam Spade. They too we re antiheroes who remained untainted by corruption. Gittes is the central consciousness of the film and a stand-in for the audience. We see the tarnished political pr ocess through his eyes. He disp lays little respect for the political system. At the public meeting about th e Alto Vallejo Dam, he disdainfully reads the Racing Forum rather than pay attention to mundane events. Gittes also steals business cards from Mulwrays deputy at the Depart ment of Water and Power, Russ Yelburton (John Hillerman), and then later passes himsel f off as Yelburton. In addition, he easily out-smarts a petty bureaucrat at the County Clerks Office in order to steal a page of a

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137 public document. Gittes disrespect for thos e in government suggests that the audience should share his attitude. After Mr. Mulwrays demise, Gittes suspects Yelburton of being part of the conspiracy. He revisits Yelbur ton at the Department of Water and Power to obtain more information and tells the newly promoted bureaucrat, I dont wa nt to nail you; I want to find out who put you up to it. Who knows, ma ybe we can put the whole thing off on a few big shots and you can stay the head of th e department for the next twenty years. Gittes has contempt for stereotypical yes men who are willing only to do as little as possible. He does not want to ruin these men; instead, he wants to capture the big fish, men like Noah Cross. Gittes is the one pe rson who understands the power and potential threat to democracy represente d by Noah Cross and his like. Noah Cross, like the Biblical Noah, is a patriarchal figure. Before film action begins, he and Hollis Mulwray have made this city. Together they brought life out of the desert by establishing a water system for the city of Los Angeles. Originally, both men shared ownership of the citys water department, but the civic-minded Mr. Mulwray convinced his partner to relinqui sh control of the valuable wa ter resource. The sale of the water department to the city generated a fortune for both men. Noah Cross, however remained unsatisfied. He lusted after the one commodity that he could never totally control. When asked by Gittes what possible ga in he could attain though his schemes, he says enthusiastically, the future, Mr. Gittes, the future. According to the film, Mulwray and Cross are two sides of the same coin. They have had a politically incestuous relationship regarding the ownershi p of the city water supply and have even slept with the same wife/daughter. The difference is that Mr.

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138 Mulwray is portrayed as a be nign despot while Noah Cross is portrayed as a monster. Noah Cross is willing to do anything to obtai n his desired goals. When asked about his incestuous relations with his daughter, Noah Cr oss states that he does not blame himself because, you see Mr. Gittes, most people never ha ve to face the fact that at the right time and the right place theyre capable of anythi ng. Power corrupts absolutely. The films ending is one of the most dispir iting in film history as the audience comes to realize that with the death of Mrs. Mulwray, Noah Cross will now gain custody of his daughter/granddaughter with the accompanying pot ential for another generation of sexual violation. Chinatown is about violation of people, public trust, and nature. The woman who pretends to be Mrs. Mulwray winds up dead on her kitchen floor: the citizens of Los Angeles pay for water they will not drink; and the natural resources of California are commandeered to feed the needs of an artifi cial city in the San Fernando Valley. This film depicts leaders as obsessed, politicians as pawns, and citizens as clueless. Rape of the land equates to rape of the daughter eq uates to rape of the political system. Parallels to Watergate Chinatown is not the exact story of Watergate, but it does contain several allusions to it. Similar to real events, the film includes revelations of political dirty tricks and secret governmental wrongdoing. As in the televised Se nate Watergate hearings, the layers of corruption are slowly peeled back to expose a cancer on the administration. In the film, this cancer has infected the procurement of water, the very lifebl ood of the city, and the foundation of its continued existence. Given the time period of production, it cannot be coincidental that water imagery plays so prominent a part in the film. Several sc enes take place in or near bodies of water.

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139 Mulwray is obsessed with dams, charts patterns of water run off, and even drowns in a tidal pool. Later in the film, Gittes finds a key piece of evidence, the smoking eyeglasses, if you will, in Mulwrays backyard pond. Bo th Mulwray and Cross made their fortunes by owning and then selling the water compa ny. The film also depicts members of a trouble-shooting gang, similar in function to the Nixon administrations plumbers unit, who are employed by the c ity water company to ca rry out covert missions.5 Gittes encounters a thuggish looking memb er of this trouble-shooting gang, Claude Mulvihill (Roy Jenson), in a municipal bui lding. He asks the Deputy Chief of the Department of Water and Power, Russ Yel burton (John Hillerman), what Mulvihill is doing there. Yelburton informs Gittes that th e Department of Water and Power hired the former sheriff to protect the Los Angeles muni cipal water system from dynamite attacks. Reference to the potential de struction of the Los Angeles water system introduces a bit of history into the film that relates the past to the present. From its opening in 1913, the Los Angeles Aqueduct had been a highly contentious issue with ranchers in the Central Valley of California. The 250-mile long system of ditches and pipelines cost hundreds of millions of dollars and a decade to construct. It diverted water from Owens Lake in northern California a nd brought it to southern Calif ornia. This new source of water enabled the semi-arid city of Los A ngeles to expand greatly through the early decades of the 20th century. The water project, funded by municipal tax do llars, was sold to up-state ranchers by the Chief of the Los Angeles Department of Water, William Mulholland, as a source of 5 Members of this group include the films director Roman Polanski, billed as Man with Knife. For actions of the White House Plumbers Unit, see Olson 19.

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140 irrigation and cheap power. Unfortunately, fo r the ranchers, none of the promised irrigation water ever materiali zed. Similar to the plot of Chinatown agents from the city of Los Angeles bought up land near Owens Lake and let it turn to salt. In response to the perceived thievery of their water, the Centra l Valley ranchers engaged in a decades long guerilla war involving dynamiting portions of th e aqueduct as well as seizing control of water gates along its course.6 A water gate is a mechanical device util ized to redirect water. In a desert environment, water is power. A water gate is also an apt metaphor for the political process. Politics is not only about who wins el ections, but it is also about the allocation of goods and services and the power that accrues to those who exercise control over the flow of resources. In Chinatown Noah Cross is the ultimate keeper of the water gate. In his pursuit of power, Noah Cross caref ully avoids exposure. He allows his underlings to implement actions. This allows Cross, like Nixon, to remain protected by plausible deniability. This is tr ue until Gittes begins investig ating him. For the most part, Gittes is alone in his crusade. Minor govern mental officials are conditioned to do as little as possible to stem the tide of corruption. The film castigates these officials for their silence but offers no hope for society. The last scene of the film includes a shot of Chinese-Americans observing the dramatic conc lusion. After the shootout, they silently mill around the area and then disperse toward their homes. They have witnessed similar incidents before in this neighborhood, and they know that they probably will again. The film draws a parallel between the residents of the fictional Chinatown and viewers of the 6 For conflict over water rights, see Courts May Have to Settle Los Angeles Water Dispute, The Christian Science Monitor 23 August 1927: A4; Truce Reached in Water Feud in California, The Christian Science Monitor 20 November 1924: A 4; and Los Angeles Aqueduct is Dynamited Again, The New York Times 20 June 1927: A21.

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141 televised Watergate hearings. Both groups rubberneck at ca rnage from a safe distance, then turn elsewhere when the show is over. The Creative Process Robert Towne was a highly sought after young screenwriter who had contributed to a number of New Holly wood films including The Last Detail (1973) which starred Jack Nicholson. Towne, who was born in Los Angeles, wrote the script for Chinatown with Nicholson in mind. His original script c ontained all of the elements of a classic film noir. Towne provided the films sense of c ynicism through his knowledge of local history and his conversations with a Los Angeles vice cop who gave him insight into the philosophy of doing as little as possible. The origin al script was rather long at 180 pages in length and had a more positive ending than the final film version, but all of the essential elements of the film were in place. Paramount wunderkind producer Robert Evans green-lighted the production and brought internationally acclaimed Polish director Roman Polanski on board to provide a fresh perspective on America (Towne). Polanski was renowned for a series of visua lly stylish, yet violent, productions such as Knife In Water (1962), Repulsion (1965), and Rosemarys Baby (1968). This professional experience enabled Polanski to tu rn a detective story into a modern film classic. He inverted the scenic darkness of film noir, substituti ng for it the external, white-hot colors of southern California. The bright colors mask th e internal darkness of the films characters, much as everyday political normalcy obscured the underlying darkness of Watergate. Polanski carried a lot of emotional baggage with him; his mother had died in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, and his wife had been brutally murdered in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca killings in Los Angeles. Su ch extraordinarily horrific events had to

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142 have affected his outlook. Polanski rewrot e the films ending, changing Townes more positive resolution into a tragedy. Polanski stat ed that his take on America was influenced by events of the day. That kind of corrupti on in the film happens continually in the United States, he said. When I was s hooting the film, I was amazed sometimes, listening to the news programs, by the paralle ls between what I was hearing and what I was shooting. Not that I am hostile to the American system. It may be the only one that works now, despite all thats wr ong with America (Zimmerman 74). The films intent to comment on current events was noted by reviewer John Simon who observed that the Gittes character, unlik e the traditional film detective hero, was not coolly sure of himself all the way down the line and the villain was more modern as well because his evil has sociopolitical co loration and even a certain pathos (14). According to Simon, what really brought th e film into the 1970s was the loss of innocence that permeates its wo rld; the boundaries between ri ght and wrong have become hazy even in the goodor better people, and the two genuine innocen ts of the film are both, in one way or another, victimized. The en tire world is headed for Chinatown (14). Penelope Gilliatt called the film a thr iller for grownups that included clever humorous touches and was steeped in know ledge of older Hollywood thriller-masters, but is full of young verve, bowing to no one (70). David Sterritt applauded the films ability to capture 1930s period atmosphere and its ability to transcend specific times and locations (A14). On the other hand, film critic Vincen t Canby faulted Polanski and Towne for setting the film in the 1930s instead of th e modern era and found that viewing the film continually made me wi sh I were back seeing The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep

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143 (A26). Stanley Kaufman was critical as we ll. He disliked the acting of John Huston, Polanskis inclusion of revol ting cruelty, the length of the script, the fancy title, and the overall consciously paradigmatic impression of the film (16). Values Chinatown is an example of the manipula tion of a formulaic, consciously paradigmatic genre to convey deeper meani ng. Just as Frank Capra utilized screwball comedies to create film essays on Americ an civics in the 1930s, so too did Roman Polanski utilize the detective form to create a much different essay on American civics in the era of Watergate. It is interesting that both men were immigrants to America. With distance comes perspective. Despite an era of economic depression, Capra, along with favorite screenwriters Sidney Buchman and Robe rt Riskin, was uniquely able to identify the bedrock values that would enable Ameri ca to withstand national crisis. Polanski, in collaboration with Towne, was able to identify the climate of secrecy that had torn America apart. It is not surprising that th e film depicts political co rruption in America. Drama usually includes conflict between good and evil. It is surprisi ng that the corruptive forces emerge totally victorious. Few Hollywood moti on pictures risk alienating their audience by ending with the heroines de ath and the villains triumph. Most films conclude that crime does not pay, or at the least offer so me measure of moral victory, but 1974 was a different time. Public expectations of film content had been altered by exposure to current events including the Watergate revelations a nd thematic innovations contained in recently successful films such as The Godfather (1972) that depicted th e American Dream soured

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144 by greed. In this era, filmmakers had the fr eedom to question beliefs and still remain financially successful.7 In the early 1970s, successful films like The Godfather were becoming increasingly more violent. Chinatown does contain scenes of physical violence including that of Gittess nose being sliced open and a bloody shot of Mrs. Mulwrays eye socket, but the film is also significant in its emotional vi olence. Gittes slaps Mrs. Mulwrays face when she lies to him, a vengeful client of Gittes bruises the face of his unfaithful wife, Gittes questions Lieutenant Escobars manhood and late r grabs the crutch from a crippled ranch hand in order to beat him with it. Perhaps the most emotionally violent aspect of all is the incest uous relationship that exists at the heart of the film The emotionally violent aspects of the film might be traced, in part, to Polanskis personal history; th is however, overlooks the contributions of Towne. He is responsible fo r the original concept of Chinatown and the existential tone of the film fits within other scri pts that he has written, including Tequila Sunrise (1988), a story of crime and betrayal set in modern Los Angeles. Chinatown represents an important developmen t in the depiction of the political process because it is one of the first films of the era to address the issue of Watergate. Yet even here, events of the day are addressed indi rectly and set in the past. In the case of Chinatown water manipulation substitutes for electoral manipulation, and the past provides a safe place from which to address ev ents that are still too difficult for direct public discourse. Fictional works often ut ilize bygone eras to promote a sense of 7 Chinatown was the 21st most popular film of 1974. See Big Rental Films of 1974 (U.S.-Canada Market Only), Variety 8 January 1975: 24. Despite the increased cost of living caused by the Arab oil embargo of 1973, the American film industry experienced a particularly strong year in 1974. See Silverman 1.

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145 nostalgia, as in the case of The Sting (1974), the most popular film of the same year as Chinatown or to question American fa scination with social stat us in another top grossing film of the year, The Great Gatsby (1974). In this case, the pa st conveys an inevitable sense of defeat.8 Part of the box office resurgence of Walking Tall released in the same year as Chinatown can also be attributed to its depiction of govern mental corruption. It too displaces the depiction of corruption to the distant location of rural Tennessee. Walking Tall however, has a more positive conclusi on. Although Buford, like Gittes, loses the woman he loves, his community re covers its original integrity. In Chinatown Los Angles never had any honor to lose. Its very existence originated with stolen water. This film presents an extremely cynical view of an America where all political aspirations are equally susp ect. Gone are any notions of reform. In this film, the established power st ructure stifles change, techno logy subverts the environment, and corruption remains the status quo. Au thor Raymond Chandler said of his Los Angeles based protagonist, Phillip Marlowe, Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarn ished nor afraid (18). In his time, Marlowe was able to negotiate the mean streets on hi s own terms; Gittes fails to do so. The message the audience takes away from this film is that of anger and defeat reflecting the tarnished nature of 1970s era national events. 8 It is interesting to note that the most popular film of a year of Watergate revelations was a story of con artists and deception in Prohibition era Ch icago. See Variety, 8 January 1975: 24.

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146 The Fourth Estate Investigative journalists, like detectives, make good film heroes. In motion pictures, if not in real life, both are free to follow a story wherever it takes them. Journalists and detectives always seem to be present when key film action occurs and always seem to uncover information in a hi ghly suspenseful manner. Both tend to be outsiders to the established order and, as such, are free to expound on the actions of the establishment. In addition, j ournalists earn their living by de livering information to the public. This makes film journalists useful vehicles for delivering story exposition. The subject of investigative journalism was central to the plot of two mid-1970s political films directed by Alan J. Pakula. In June of 1974, The Parallax View (1974) was released. This was followed two years later by All The Presidents Men (1976). The films are stylistically similar, but mu ch different in resolution. The Parallax View released the same month as Chinatown and two months before the resi gnation of Nixon, takes the idea of political cover-up to a new level of obsessive paranoia. In the film, a secretive Parallax Corporation recruits misfits and brainwashes them into becoming political assassins. The film does not indicate a partic ular political motivation for these murders. The Parallax Corporation is an equal oppor tunity assassination bureau whos e covert operations target random leaders and exterminate all potential witnesses.9 The Parallax View expands on a theme put fo rward in a film of the previous year, Executive Action (1973), as well as a series of popul ar books of the era that offered supposed proof of a cover-up in the 1963 a ssassination of Pres ident Kennedy. Executive 9 Chinatown screenwriter Towne also contributed material to The Parallax View but was uncredited due to a screenwriters strike during the spring of 1973. See Biskind 107.

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147 Action attributes motivation for the presid ents assassination to a secret right-wing conspiracy motivated by a desire to curtail the United States withdrawal from Vietnam. The Parallax View turns conspiracy into a big business driven by profit.10 The film begins with a scene set at Seat tles Space Needle. Senator Charles Carroll arrives at the base of the stru cture riding in a vintage fire tr uck to the accompaniment of a marching band. The senator, along with his wi fe, his entourage, and various reporters board an elevator that takes them to a crowded rally held high above on the Space Needles observation deck. The senator de livers a speech celebrating Independence Day as personally meaningful to him because he sometimes has been called too independent for my own good. At this point, a waite r suddenly guns down the senator and blood splatters the observation deck window. Pande monium erupts as the gunman flees from the murder scene to the roof of the struct ure where he is cornered by pursuers then plunges to his death. This scene was clearly designed to echo th e 1968 assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. The filmmakers reference to that past national trauma also resonates with then current reports of the Watergate conspiracy. In the film, a second gunman actually shoots the senator. His presence is privileged to th e audience, but not to the characters at the rally. An extensive cover-up hides th e existence of the second gunman. The films second scene is a slow zoom in to a darkly lit panel of seven men. The men are part of a governmental inquiry meant to echo the Warren Commission, which 10 Skepticism that a single gunman was responsible for the Kennedy assassination was reflected in polling data of the era. In a Gallup Poll conducted in 1976, 81 % of respondents felt that others were involved and of these respondents, American politicians were judged responsible by 7 % of respondents, second only to Cubans/Castro at 15 %. See December 26, The Kennedy and King Assassina tions, Interviewing Date: 10-13 December 1976, Survey # 964-K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 927.

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148 investigated the assassination of Pres ident Kennedy. The film mocks the Warren Commission findings by employing a panel member who, speaking in monotones, informs his unseen audience that, after four mo nths of investigations and nine weeks of hearings, the panel has conclude d that a lone gunman motiv ated by a misguided sense of patriotism and chronic desire for rec ognition acted alone in the assassination. The film jumps ahead three years to the present. Many of those present at the assassination are winding up dead. At first, iconoclastic journalist Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) believes the deaths to be coinci dental. Frady, however, changes his mind when fellow journalist and friend (Paula Prentis s) dies in a suspicious manner. His investigation leads him to a small northwest ern fishing village where the local sheriff accosts him and nearly drowns him in runoff water from a dam--more water imagery here. Frady escapes, steals th e sheriffs car, and searches the sheriffs house where he finds recruitment information fr om The Parallax Corporation. Frady decides to infiltrate the Parallax Corporation by faking his own death. At first, his gruff but understanding editor Bill Rintels (Hume Cronyn) resists the idea. Rintels, logically, wants to go to the police. Frady talks his editor out of doing so because he wants to secure evidence for a good stor y. Frady joins The Parallax Corporation and endures an intensive montage of photographi c images designed to brainwash him. It is interesting to see what images the filmmakers consider suitable for brainwashing Frady. The brainwashing session begins with pleasant images of family, nature, and country. These are interspersed w ith flashing words including, me, God, and country. Gradually, negative images a ppear in the sequence including lynching, Nazi violence, the word enemy, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Eventually, the pleasant

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149 images mix with the negative images and words in such a manner that me follows violence and country follows Nazis. Technically this is an interesting montage, but the sequence greatly simplifies what it must take to brainwash as strong-willed an individual as Frady. The film is inconsistent here because Frady is not affected, although all past recruits were. Th e film also takes for granted the ability of the Parallax Corpor ation to control even ts. Parallax conducts brainwashing in its corporat e headquarters and escapes notoriety despite its public recruitment of sociopaths and the deaths of so many senators. In Chinatown Noah Cross has gotten away with murder, but has not yet figured out how to bend minds. In The Parallax View it is as if everyone in America has b een brainwashed; this is the ultimate mediated reality, and that is the point of the film. Frady learns of an attempt to assassinate ye t another senator, and tries to prevent it. Conveniently, he winds up standing on the very catwalk where the re al assassin stands preparing to shoot the next victim. Just as in the opening scene, marching music can be heard on the sound track as the senator rehear ses his speech, drives through the massive hall on a golf cart, and is shot. Spectators se e Frady in the catwalk and falsely identify him as the gunman. With government agents in pursuit, he runs for his life only to die just like the fall-guy assassin in the films Space Needle scene. The films final scene repeats the initial inquiry scene, except with a slow zoom ou t to an extreme long shot, as once again the clueless panel members find no ev idence of conspiracy despite months of investigations and hearings. The film concl udes, ironically, with the same patriotic marching music that played in the assassination sequences.

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150 The central thesis of the movie is that it is not paranoia if it is true. The government has no credibility here; its officials exist merely to be shot or to cover-up assassinations. The Parallax Corporation, an unknowable sour ce of power, controls all events. The film goes way over the bend here into unreality and total cynicism, merging big politics with large corporations into a faceless corporate poli tical machine that is as dangerous as it is massive. The narrative style of the f ilm is over statement and its visual style is hyperrealism. The interiors of th e Parallax Corporation displa y sleek diagonal lines that emphasize starkly contrasting patterns of black an d white. The outside of the building resembles the glass-enclosed, corporate offices that sprang up in the suburbs of American cities during the 1970s. Pakula had crafted st ylish thrillers in the past, including the detective story Klute (1971), and would again in the future. All The Presidents Men (1976) continued his use of icycold, florescent lit, corporat e offices, extremely cluttered pressrooms, and contrasting images of light and darkness meant to symbolize good and evil. Critical Response The film was successful financially but rej ected by critics. Stephen Farber of The New York Times termed the film mindless and irre sponsible, but found it interesting that the American public, in th e era of Watergate, embraced the films paranoia. Farber felt that the films suggestion that gian t corporations had carried out political assassinations was reassuring to audiences. If deranged assassins acted alone, Farber posited, Americans might be forced to view li fe as fundamentally senseless. He also felt that the film would have worked better as a black comedy that satirized American capitalistic principles (Sec 2: 11).

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151 Washington Post film critic Arnold disliked the film as well. In a humorous manner, he hoped that fellow Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein would not be portrayed in the up-coming film versi on of their Watergate investigative efforts as stylized buffoons (B11). Time Magazine critic Richard Schickel thought the film over paranoid and the ending unsatisfactory, noti ng if the hero can break the conspiracy unaided, there cannot be much of a conspiracy (60). New York Times film critic Canby found the film to be fuzzy on logistics and demarcation of Parallax Corporation ideology (A47). New Yorker critic Gilliatt also found th e film to be noncommittal: the point of this sort of movie seems to be to arouse outrage without offending anyone (82). Gilliatt disliked the novel by Loren Singer that the film was based on and wished that the screenwriters could have inserted a stronger political or theological viewpoint into the film (83). The film is fuzzy in logic. In this sense, the film mirrors attitudes of the mid1970s. Once again, politics is organized dishone sty that is controlled by unseen forces. It is more comforting for the electorate to bl ame societys shortcomings on the actions of faceless corporations, empty suited bureaucrats or all the presidents men, rather than to question the system that put these individuals in power in the first place. This was not the first paranoid film moment, but it was a leap forward in conspiracy theory. The notion that an a ssassination bureau coul d exist as a public corporation is unlikely, yet there it is on film. It is also interesting that those inside the government are depicted as completely in capable of understanding the assassination crisis. According to the film, everyone is a potential victim of brainwashing. The idea that anyone can be brainwashed has intensif ied over time. By extension, liberal and

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152 conservative political factions began to s ee conspiracy everywhere, and to view each other as externally controlled. In the midst of these presum ed conspiracies, filmmakers sought a new type of hero. At this time, any outsider, even a slight ly paranoid, antisocial member of the fourth estate, was considered more trustworthy than elected political leaders. The Journalist as Hero The literary event of 1974 was the release of All The Presidents Men by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. This runaway best-seller recounted Woodward and Bernst eins reportage on the earl y days of the Watergate investigation. At the time, few other journalists were interest ed in the story of the break in. According to media historian Louis Li ebovich, after World War II, established Washington journalists increas ingly relied upon press confer ences or mixing with White House staffers at social events in order to obtain their leads. The Nixon administration employed a calculated strategy designed to redu ce press access to information previously obtained through theses sources.11 Woodward and Bernstein benefited by not knowing the system. They were too inexperienced to know how the game was play ed. Instead of attending traditional press conferences and dinners with high-level offici als, they pursued secretaries, clerical staffers, and assistants for information until th ey could piece together their reports. Other 11 In an examination of fifteen major newspapers conducted between June 18 and December 31, 1972, Liebovich found that the majority of national newspa per articles, magazine articles, and opinion pieces traced their origin back to the Wash ington Post reportage of Woodward and Bernstein. Liebovich did note some original coverage by newspapers including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times See Liebovich 66-68.

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153 media did not pursue the story as vigorously because they did not want to trail along eating dust in the wake of the intrepid Washington Post reporters (Liebovich 71). Woodward and Bernsteins book appeared on bookshelves in the same month as Chinatown and The Parallax View arrived in movie theaters. Chinatown and The Parallax View represented the nadir of pessimism experienced in the aftermath of the Watergate period. The book and film version of All The Presidents Men represented a more positive outlook. Both offered hope that the American political system was selfcorrecting. Wrongdoing occurred, but the a ttempted cover-up was discovered and punished. The film All The Presidents Men (1976), released in a bicentennial year, represented the possibility of revitalization. The depiction of the journalist as hero offered reassurance at a time when America needed it most. The film still presents politics as a shady business, but asserts th at the press can act as a c ounter-weight to the abuse of power. All The Presidents Men is much different in tone from the earlier Chinatown or The Parallax View In this film, dogged determina tion of its heroes, along with the courage of the Washington Post editors, seems to accomplish nothing short of saving the republic. Falling in Love with The Post The resulting film of All The Presidents Men evolved through many layers. The first layer included the actual events surr ounding the Watergate affair, the second was the newspaper accounts of Woodward and Bernstei n, the third was the authors repackaging of the story in book form and finally the film version of the book. These were not discrete stages in production. The films producer a nd star, Robert Redfor d, became involved in the project as early as the second stage. Re dford followed the Wate rgate story from an early period, seeing potential in it as a character study. He was fascinated by the odd

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154 couple quality of the two repor ters--one WASP and self-contr olled, the other Jewish and volatile (Watergate on Film 54). Redford began visiting the Washington Post offices to observe Woodward and Bernstein in action. When the reporters inac curately reported on grand jury testimony, resulting in strong Nixon admi nistration denials and condemna tion of the paper, Redford found the incident revealing of character. Observing how the reporters reacted to adversity fascinated Redford. I wanted to see them when they had bottomed out. Redford fell in love with the Post as a subject when he witn essed the different life of a reporter, I saw all the leads that Bob and Ca rl couldnt go with; it was such fat, juicy stuff (Watergate on Film 56). Redford bought the movie rights to th e book, even before completion, for $ 450,000 and proceeded to hire screenwriter W illiam Goldman, who also had written the successful Redford vehicle, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). The Washington Post however, almost backed out of the deal. Staff members were displeased with their potential film images. Bernstein felt th e original script to be a caricature of real reporters and Metro editor Ha rry Rosenfeld felt his role in the investigation to be deemphasized. Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee cautione d Redford to remember, You go off and ride a horse or jump in th e sack with some g ood looking woman in your next film but I am forever an asshole (Watergate on Film 56). Redford was also disappointed in the script because he felt it lacked substance. At this point, Bernstein took a crack at rewriting it, but th at too proved unsatisfactory. Bernstein could not resist the impulse to play up his image as a swinger. Carl, Redford said to him, Errol Flynn is dead. Redford turned back to Goldman for further rewrites.

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155 Finally satisfied with the script, Redford brought in director Pakula, in part because of his ability to provide dramatic tension to a stor y. Pakula was responsible for the use of deep focus in all of the scenes s hot at the recreation of the Washington Post city room that provide the film with detailed authenticity. Redford and Pakula spent a lot of time in the Washington Post newsroom soaking up atmosphere and information. While pr oducing the film, they would check detail accuracy by phoning the real Washington Post from the fake Washington Post . Some film details, however, were the result of improvisations. The filmmakers observed budget meetings where editors lobby for fr ont-page space and incorporated them into the film (Sterritt A23). The resulting film met with the appr oval of the book authors. According to Woodward, the movies not just pretty damn tr ue, it is true. I just think, if reporters see it, theyll say this is how we do it (Watergate on Film 63). It could also be the case that this was Woodwards idea lized view of how reporters should be portrayed. Journalists make their living by mediating betw een real events and their readership. They have experience appl ying objective assessments to political spin, but lack personal experience with how filmmake rs mediate reality. It is interesting that editor Bradlee regarded filmmake rs with a level of distrust similar to the way politicians have come to distrust the media. Redford, like a good journalist, was looking for a juicy story and as producer/star he received unique access to the Washington Post Who wouldnt want to be portrayed by a m ovie star of Redfords stature? Upon the films completion, the filmmakers, along with Woodward, Bernstein, Bradleee, senior editors, and publisher Katharin e Graham attended a private screening. At

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156 its conclusion, no one uttered a word until Redford pleaded for a response, prompting everyone in attendance to give hi s or her approval (Bradlee 404). Redfords enthusiasm for the story result ed in a mostly positive portrayal that recast journalists as superheroes and altered the perception of politics. A new reality existed where politics became the subject of investigation rather than debate. The political process became increasingly adve rsarial, as rivals believed that hidden conspiracy always lurked beneath surface legitimacy. The film served to educate young reporters on how to negotiate a new relations hip between the press and the presidency. The cozy report of the past was replaced with distrust as later administrations endured the scrutiny of countless investigative journali sts and special prosecutors that drew inspiration from the images contained in this film. Follow The Money All The Presidents Men is painstakingly thorough in providing exposition. This procedural drama derives credib ility through the inclusion of numerous actual characters and events. At times, it becomes difficult to te ll the metro editor from the national editor without a scorecard. If one wants to keep tr ack of the investigation as it winds its way through the Nixon administration, one would be advised to read the book before watching the film. The book and movie are very similar in content. The film however, unlike the book, begins with a televised Nixon speech fo llowed by a recreation of the Watergate break-in. As in the book, Woodward (Robert Re dford) is assigned the story and attends the burglars preliminary hearing. The reporter s suspicions are aroused when he asks an

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157 attorney, Mr. Markum, are you here in conne ction with the Watergate burglary only to be answered, Im not here.12 Woodward begins investigating a strange li sting in one of the burglars address books that reads H. H. at W. H. Eventually he learns that the initials stand for Howard Hunt at the White House. From this poi nt on, the film becomes a connect-the-dots exercise that leads from low-level burg lars to the highest levels of the Nixon administration. Much is made of depicti ng the authentic work life of a reporter. Numerous scenes are included of phone convers ations with sources and of information scribbled onto note pads. The reporters always rely on multiple, even if unnamed, sources. The early emphasis on authentic details ma kes it easier for the audience to accept the somewhat irregular reliance on these secr et sources. When politicians cover their actions it is wrong, but the film heroes escap e audience mistrust because they are so earnest. Realism extends to scenic design. The sh ot perspective of almost every city room scene is from a low angle emphasizing the room s florescent-lit ceili ng. It is as if the filmmakers worry that the audience will fa il to appreciate how much money went into recreating such an authentic set. In an era of mistrust, credibility is vital to the motion picture. Film heroes Woodward and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) fulfill a buddy-movie clich by moving from initial rivalry to coll aboration. After developing leads for a while, Woodward types a story and de livers it to a copy editor, pr ompting Bernstein to sneak 12 A measure of the extensive amount of detail contained in the story is indicated by the use of only about 198 pages out of Woodward and Bernsteins original 336-page book in the resulting 139-minute film. See Arnold K1.

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158 over and read it. Bernstein decides to im prove upon Woodwards prose, but Woodward catches him. Upon reading the revisions, how ever, Woodward acknowledges the superior clarity of the rewrite and a team is formed. Woodward plays Felix Unger to Bernstei ns Oscar Madison. The two reporters, nicknamed Woodstein by coworkers, are hungry young reporters, ca pable of staying up all night to follow leads. Their superior at the Washington Post Harry Rosenfeld, (Jack Warden), also fulfills a clich as the gru ff, but understanding, metro editor who supports the boys in their efforts. When Bernstein sp eculates that the break-in was an attempt to bug Democratic National Chairman Larry OBria ns office, Rosenfeld intones, Im not interested in what you think is obvious, Im interested in what you know. Still Rosenfeld trusts the boys and runs interference for them with Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards). Bradlee too, is concerned with proof and at one point chastises the reporters saying, you havent got the story, and get some harder information next time. In an attempt to obtain harder inform ation, Woodward contacts a well-placed informant (Hal Holbrook) who might be ab le to further their investigation. The informant, nicknamed Deep Throat after a successful pornographi c film of the era, agrees to provide background information about Watergate, but refuses to go on record. They meet in an underground garage where th e informant tells Woodward to forget the myths that the medias created about the White House. The truth is they are not very bright guys. He advises the re porter to, follow the money. What Ever it Takes Eventually, the two reporters learn of a secret slush fund used by the Nixon administration to finance political dirty tr icks. Independent of each other, the two

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159 discover evidence of a connection between cam paign contributions and money channeled to the burglars. Woodward ut ilizes his phone skills to i nduce a regional campaign finance chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) to admit complicity. I know I shouldnt be telling you this. I gave it to Mr. Stans, says the head of finance for Nixons reelection committee. For his part, Bernstein cleverly bypasses an officious secretary to obtain access to official Miami Dade County re cords of campaign financial activity. The film emphasizes how clever the reporters are and contrasts them with easily outsmarted bureaucrats or members of the Ni xon administration who appear rattled as they talk on the tele phone with the reporters. Because of their efforts, Woodward and Bernstein secure a below the fold, front-pag e story, with the headline, Bug Suspect Got Campaign Funds. Woodward and Bernsteins stories cause concern for the editorial staff. Nixon administration spokespeople deny everything they report and, in the film if not in reality, no other paper reprints their efforts. Once again, Bradlee meets with the reporters to gauge their progress only to find that th eir garage freak is a prime source of information. The skeptical editor demands that they obtain some evidence of a connection between CREEP and the slush fund. The attempt to discover a link becomes the central plot of the film. The reporters start with effo rts to obtain a list of CREEP employees. In a scene that is interesting because it not in the book and never happened, the reporters coerce a female coworker, named Kay (Lindsay Crouse) to ma nipulate a former love r to provide the key list of CREEP staffers. In a series of shot-re verse-shots, Woodward and Bernstein appear larger within the frame and physically dominate the woman who defensively leans

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160 backward in her office chair. The reporters be gin the scene in a jovial manner with easy banter, but soon their intenti on becomes clear to Kay, who dr ops her head and grits her teeth: Kay: Youre asking me to use a guy I care about. Bernstein: No, were not asking you to use him, just help us. I mean, wed do the same for you. Kay: My only chance of getting that story is if I see him. I dont want to see him again. Bernstein: Do you have to see him? Kay: Sure, I have to see him. Bernstein: Well, do you have to see him that way? Cant you call him on the telephone and say you want to have a dr ink with him. Just feel him out. You said the relationship was ove r. What do you have to lose? At this point, Woodward break s in and assures Kay that sh e does not have to revisit her former lover, if she would not feel right about it, and the scene ends. The filmmakers and, one would suppose, Woodward and Bernstei n were aware of the negative depiction of journalists contained in this scene. This is a remarkably self -critical inclusion. The scene suggests that journalists are every bit as capable of entertaining moral relativity as all the presidents men. Under the right ci rcumstances, the ambitious young reporters might undertake the same underhanded tasks that Nixon lawyer and dirty trickster, Donald Segretti, admits to later in the film On the other hand, a more cynical viewer of the film would note that Redfor ds character chivalrously informs Kay that she need not compromise herself in pursuit of a headline. This makes him the good guy in the eyes of the audience. According to the film, politic ians will not think twice abut pimping out their friends, but reporters will do so. In a coda to this scene, Kay drops a fo lder on Woodwards typewriter. In it is the list of CREEP employees that allows the re porters to crack the investigation. They continue to follow the story from secretar ies, to book keepers, to administration

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161 members. When they want to learn the identi ties of the five people who controlled the slush fund, they trick a frightened woman into revealing their names. Many of this films plot revelations rely on the w illingness of low level, governme ntal functionaries to name names. Such activity was condemned during th e era of the Red Scare; here the ends justify the means. The reporters follow the list of employees to CREEP Treasurer, Hugh Sloan. When Woodward and Bernstein visit hi m, he reluctantly provides in formation, but feels unfairly singled out as the fall guy. Sloan is depict ed as an honest family man caught in the wheels of government. He is more concerned ab out his pregnant wife, Debbie is in the hospital and my in-laws are coming over. In sp ite of the reporters intrusion, Sloan does provide information to the reporters that po ints them in the direction of White House involvement in the cover-up. For confirmati on of this involvem ent, Woodward recontacts his informant, Deep Throat. Your Lives Are In Danger The character Deep Throat provides an element of cloak and dagger action to an otherwise static film. The film works hard to establish authenticity, but it is difficult to generate excitement by showing endless one -sided telephone conversations. Once in a while, you have to get out of the office. When Woodward wants to meet Deep Throat, he places a red flag in a flowerpot on his balc ony. Soon after, the two men rendezvous at an underground parking garage. Suspense builds as Deep Throat appears in heavy shadows. Light and dark are symbolic in the film. The Washington Post city room is bathed in flat white light that reveals everyt hing in full detail while interv iews with CREEP informants are conducted at night.

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162 Periodically, the suspicious sound of scre eching tires interrupts the conversations between Woodward and his informant. In one scene, Woodward glances toward a rapidly departing car, then turns back, only to find that Deep Throat has vanished. Deep Throat is a bit paranoid, frequently sayi ng things like you ll have to find that out for yourself, dont you understand what youre onto, and y our lives are in danger. He also places the Watergate break in into a larger c ontext, accusing the Nixon administration of destroying the reputation of potential Democratic Party presidential candidates in order to run against hand-picked rivals and subvert th e Constitution. This scene works just like a conversation about motivation for political manipulation conducted between Gittes and Noah Cross in Chinatown -the future Mr. Woodward, the future. Whether or not the lives of the real W oodward and Bernstein were in danger is beside the point. In the film, they are heroes and are symbolic of all of the jour nalists who worked on Watergate. Everyone else is afraid. The Washington Posts legal advisor is concerned about exposure, and government officials are worried about potential indictments. The reporters are willing to take risks and these risks pay off. Eventually they obtain information tying Haldeman to Wate rgate. At this key moment, the film turns dramatic as Bradlee assesses th e seriousness of what his paper is about to print. Were about to accuse Haldeman, who happens to be the second most important man in this country, of conducting a conspiracy from inside the White House. It would be nice if we were right. Unfortunately, their source denies having testified to the grand jury about a connection between Haldeman and Watergat e. The connection did exist, but the testimony did not. This revelation results in an opportunity for a dramatic close up of

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163 Bradlee yelling Woodstein! at his cub re porters who now must retrace their story. Although they were wrong on this story, the crusty editor decides to ca st his papers fate with the intrepid reporters: Lets stand by our boys. Bradlee sums up the meaning of the film with his statement that nothings riding on this except the First Amendment of th e Constitution and freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country. In this film the future of the country resides not with the politicians, but with thos e who investigate them. Wood ward and Bernstein weather the storm over their erroneous report and rewa rd Bradlees faith. By the end of the film, close up shots of typewritten st ories reveal that the cover-up did in fact reach inside the White House and even to the president. In an ironic tone, these shots alternate with shots of a television set broadcasting Nixons ina uguration ceremony where the president-elect swears to uphold the Constitution of the United St ates. There is no sense of failure at the end of this film as a typewritten account of Nixons resignation flashes across the screen. Critical Response It is understandable that fe llow journalists responded so positively to a film that heroically portrayed one of their own. Newsweek critic Jack Kroll felt that the film marked a critical chapter in the shifting re lationship between what we know and how we know it (85). He favorably comp ared it to poli tical thriller Z (1969) by Greek filmmaker, Costa-Gavras in its ability to discern the h idden meaning of an event in a culture (85). Kroll felt that Watergate was a modern morality tale, and that All The Presidents Men used the event to update j ournalistic myths contained in classic Hollywood films. New Yorker critic Gilliatt comp limented the films authentic scen ic detail, effective acting, and its celebration of journalistic muckraking (119). Wall Street Journal critic Joy Gould Boyum noted that audiences who already knew the outcome of events portrayed in the

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164 film would find it so ultimately moving, that we tend to experience its familiar materials almost as revelations (A13). New York Times critic Vincent Canby labeled the film the thinking mans Jaws , presumably, a search for the ki ller conspiracy w ith Woodstein as the pursuers and Nixon as the shark (A42). On the other hand, National Review critic Kauffman considered the film trite. He compared it to clich newspaper films of the past that also seemed to include tough, but good-hearted editors and crus ading reporters. He found the film tiresome in its determination to document journalistic proced ures. Kauffman pointed out how un-vivid investigative reporting life really is. Accord ing to Kauffman, inves tigative reporters, like detectives, spend most of their time engage d in inherently boring legwork. The second revelation obtained by Kauffman was the great good luck Woodward had in knowing Deep Throat. According to Kauffman, without Deep Throat, there would not have been a story (16). In a more recent assessment of the film prominent historian William Leuchtenburg also found fault, maintaining that it was accu rate without being true. According to Leuchtenburg, the inherent danger to reporte rs was overstated. In addition, the film intimates that Woodward and Bernstein accomplished everything by themselves, thus overlooking the efforts of governmental figures including Senator Sam Ervin, Congressmen Peter Rodino and Special Prosecu tor Archibald Cox. In the end, the film suggests that the press is more important than the subject it covers (Leuchtenburg 288). The Role of The Press in the Political Process The film certainly emphasizes the role of journalists in the Watergate investigation. American ideals are not colle ctivist ideals. Popular imag ination demands individual heroism as symbolic of the best traits of the nation. Unlike characters in past journalistic

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165 films, the reporters in All The Presidents Men are both rebels as well as official heroes. Like many films of the era, outsiders ar e Americas hip new heroes. Established government figures are relegated to facele ss voices stammering at the other end of a telephone conversation while the reporters are viewed as dashing of men of action. To demonstrate their credibility as outsiders, the filmmakers make sure that the front wheel of a bicycle is visibly propped up against Bernsteins desk and Woodward drives an obscure foreign car. These reporters, like Frady in the Parallax View are rebels with a cause. Despite their outsider status, the reporters in All The Presidents Men are not much different from the earnest Clark Kents of the past. They earn success through legwork, fact checking, perseverance, and a bit of s ubterfuge. Woodward even claims to be a Republican. In their diligence, Woodward and Bernstein fill the role of traditional film heroes by assuring viewers that America rema ins the best possible society, a place where a system of checks and balances prov ides a safeguard against secrecy. Ben Bradlee noted an influx of hungry young journalists to the profession who emulated this ambition. According to Bradlee, follow the money became the new shibboleth of journalism. The cozy rela tionship that had existed between older journalists and the political elit e was replaced by a new, mo re adversarial relationship. This adversarial relationship brought increased status to th e profession. Bradlee noted a further cultural shift in the stat us of reporters who had finally separated themselves from the rough-and-tumble, hard drinking journalist s made famous in the 1920s in Hecht and MacArthurs Front Page (1931). Finally, journalists had joined the ranks of the establishment (Bradlee 406-408).

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166 In addition to emphasizing journalistic roles, the film also simplifies events. This is true, but including every important historical individual or development would result in a prohibitively long and boring motion picture. Ce rtainly more films could have told other aspects of the Watergate story. It is interesting, however, that a vast number of such films were not rushed into production. Even Woodw ard and Bernsteins best selling follow up, The Final Days, did not result in a sequel. Political films often lag behind historical events. The Parallax View was still referencing 1960s events to explore the mist rust of the 1970s. The lack of Watergate films in the later half of the 1970s can be explained by national fatigue with exposure to endless real and ficti onal conspiracies. The publics need for heroes might also explain a lack of such productions. Vietnam was a simila rly traumatic national event that received more depictions than Watergate. Its war stories, however, ofte n revolved around heroic young soldiers in life and death struggles. Watergate was a more complex, less action packed subject. One might expect filmmakers to return to Watergate films in the 1980s, but by that time, attitudes had changed. Amer ica experienced a resurgence of selfconfidence and was reluctant to revisit films that were directly about Watergate. Despite a lack of histori cally-based Watergate productions, the incident remained thematically influential. The skeptical attitudes contained in Chinatown, The Parallax View and All The Presidents Men permeated most future political films. From this point on, conspiracies flourished, antiheroes inves tigated, and politicians ran for cover.

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167 CHAPTER 6 REPLACEMENT: NASHVILLE (1975), TAXI DRIVER (1976) We must be doing something right to last 200 years --Haven Hamilton, Nashville One Day a real rain will come and wash the scum from these streets --Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. According to President Gerald Ford, our long national nightmare was over. As the nation approached its bicentennial, Americans could take pride in the endurance of their democratic institutions, if not always in the conduct of their leaders. At the same time, the post-Watergate era remained a time of disquiet haunted by political vi olence. On September 6, 1975, Lynette Alice Fromme, a 26-year-old follower of Charles Ma nson, pointed a gun at President Ford, but was stopped in her assassination attempt by a secret service agent who grabbed the gun and forced it to the ground.1 In the political realm, urban financial difficulties, the high price of gasoline, the after-taste of scandal, and a stagnant economy brought atte ntion to the seeming inability of mainstream leaders to answer current cha llenges. In response to these difficult times, the natural inclination of a democratic people might be a desire to kick the bums out and replace them with new faces from outside th e seemingly fallible political establishment. 1 The actions of United States Secret Service Ag ent Larry Buendorf averted Frommes attempted assassination of Ford. See Naughton A49.

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168 It was yet to be asked, however, what w ould be the consequences of replacement. Nashville (1975) addresses the consequences of replacement: of instant politicians for statesmen, of populist rhetoric for logic, of ironic distance for political engagement. New Roots Nashville is a character study of twenty-four individuals, observed during a fiveday period, leading up to a political rally for third party presidential candidate, Hal Phillip Walker. The rally takes place in Nashville, the cultural center of country and western music and emblematic of Middle America. The films director, Robert Altman, had often worked within established genres including the service comedy in M*A*S*H (1970), the western in McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), and the detective in The Long Goodbye (1973). In these films, Altman inverted expect ed genre conventions. Unlike the hero in a traditional western, the person who bri ngs civilization to the west in McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) is an antiheroic procurer and the detective in The Long Goodbye (1973) cannot find his own cat. Nashville continued Altmans explor ation of genre inversion. The film also fit within the an tiheroic trend of many 1970s films.2 Nashville combines a story about the music indus try with a political drama in order to describe Americas cultural landscape on the eve of its bicentennial. The film consists of a series of vignettes loosely organized aroun d a political campaign. In contrast to most political films, the central political charac ter in this film, Hal Philip Walker, never appears on screen. Instead, we see a white ca rgo van driving around th e city of Nashville while the candidates voice emanates from an attached loudspeaker. The voice is 2 In the 1970s, several films with antiheroic main characters were produced including; Five Easy Pieces (1970); The French Connection (1971); Death Wish (1974); One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975); and Saturday Night Fever (1977).

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169 southern in accent and populist in its messa ge. In his speeches, Walker addresses the current political alienation fe lt by average citizens. In res ponse to this alienation, he points out that, like it or not, politics directly affects every person because, when you pay more for an automobile than it cost Co lumbus to make his first voyage to America, thats politics. Walker is for getting la wyers out of government, eliminating farm subsidies, changing the national anthem to something easier to sing, abolishing the Electoral College, taxing c hurch property, and replacing those in power with new leadership. The Replacement Partys logo is a map of the United States. The map depicts a tree growing out of the top of the map, where Ca nada should be, while roots extend through the middle of the country. Above the tree appears the partys campaign slogan New Roots For The Nation. The logo is an obvi ous attempt to embrace the heartland. The filmmakers choice of this sent imental logo for the Replacement Party is an attack on the cynical manipulation of image th at is often employed by real life political parties. The film suggests that such slogane ering is not sincere. Walker, himself, is also prone to simplistic political punditry, as in his assessment of the legal profession: Ever ask a lawyer the time of day? He told you how to make a watch, didnt he? Ever ask a lawyer how to get to Mr. J ones house in the country? You got lost, didnt you? Congress is composed of 535 individuals, 288 are lawyers, and you wonder whats wrong in congress. No wonder we often know how to make a watch, but we dont know the time of day. . Walkers diatribe takes place just before a massive traffic jam caused by a multiple car freeway accident. Despite the wreckage, Wa lker does not miss a beat. He continues to denounce the lawyers who, he says, wrote the U.S. National Anthem. At the same time, uninjured motorists mill around in a carnival-lik e setting. The motorists are oblivious to Walkers pronouncements. Here, and throughout th e film, continual intercutting and the

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170 innovative use of overlapping dialogue does not permit emphasis on any one character. Walkers words eventually drift off and become inaudible in the mixture of sounds. He is one more insignificant talking head in the traffic jam of life. Walker and his party do not always make sense. He offers easy solutions to complex problems and portrays himself as all things to all constituents. The film suggests that this tactic mirrors that of all real political figures Walkers down-home aphorisms can be interpreted as either pro conservati ve or pro liberal, depending on the listeners point of view. For instance, Walker rails agai nst high oil prices, while at the same time, complaining about the use of petroleum taxe s to fund food stamps programs. Walkers easy solution is to eliminate both, thus appealing to both si des of the political spectrum. Walker displays a further contradiction by professing to abhor la wyers and political insiders, while employing a slick political ad vanceman, John Triplette (Michael Murphy), to manage his campaign. The most illogical f acet of the Walker campaign is the notion that a serious presidential ca ndidate would ride around a single city for five days, talking over a loudspeaker, instead of marsha ling his national media resources. In spite of Walkers contradictions, or perhaps because of them, he becomes a national political force. Walkers success caus es network television reporter, Howard K. Smith to label him a mystery man with genuine appeal who came out of nowhere with a handful of students and scarcely any pros to win three primaries. According to Smith, Walker has a fighting chance to win a f ourth in Tennessee, a state that has failed to vote for the winning candidate only once in the last 50 years. The film points out that the national media falls for Walkers act just as easily as the electorate. Political journalistic clich abounds throughout Smiths report, as does illogic. Of course, Walker

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171 has won three primaries; he is running on his own third part y ticket, not against the two established parties.3 The third party candidacy of Walker mirrors that of George Wallace who also was able to obtain national pr ominence in the elections of 1968 and 1972 and predicted the more recent third party candidacy of Ross Pero t. Both Wallace and Perot were firebrand; throw the bums out, iconoclasts. The film clearly questions the sincerity of pseudo populist candidates who, like Walk er, prey on the publics gullibility. According to the film, candidates from outside the Washingt on Beltway are no better than those from within its confines; neither makes sense. The pronouncements of Hal Philip Walker were the product of collaboration between Altman and liberal Mississippi auth or, Thomas Hal Phillips. Phillips had been instrumental in helping Altman negotiate with local Mississippi politicians when the director was producing Thieves Like Us (1974). In addition, Phillip s brother had run for governor of the state, providing him with e xperience writing political speeches. Altman asked Phillips to author Walkers speeches fo r his film and to provi de their narration. The content of the speeches relied on Phillips discretion. Eventually, he submitted an eighteen-and-a-half minute monologue to Altma n, who cut it up and inserted it at various places in the film. Altman then provided budget for a van, volunteers, buttons, and a driver to organize a miniature campaign within his film. Altman was not always aware of 3 The character of BBC reporter, Opal (Geraldine Chap lin) also parodies political journalistic clichs when she records her observations on American car culture while standing in a junkyard. Im wondering in a graveyard. The dead here have no crosses, now tombstones, nor wreaths to sing of their past glory.

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172 where and when the van would appear: the onl y instruction given to Phillips was to invade the film (Stuart 69-71). 200 Years This film is not earnest in its depiction of the political process. The overriding tone of the film is that of irony. Nothing is quite as it seems. By this time, politics had become the subject of mockery. Public expectations of leaders ha d been lowered by scandal and misfortune to the extent that President Gerald R. Ford, an all-American collegiate athlete, was portrayed as a clumsy oaf on the newl y popular late night television program, Saturday Night Live The program premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975 and provided viewers with comedic skits that used irony as a comedic strategy. An example of this strategy was a skit that portrayed Presiden t Jimmy Carter (Dan Aykroyd) receiving a telephone call from a LSD drug user while a ppearing in a live phone-in telecast that was moderated by an actor portraying respected CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. The fictional Cronkite tries to bring the telecast back to more serious phone calls, but Carter countermands the anchorman and proceeds to talk the drug user down from his high. According to images contained in popular culture, politici ans of the day seemed to be more common than statesmanlike. In addi tion to reporting on President Fords errant golf swings, the press began reporting on skitlike incidents like President Carters encounter with an attack rabbit. Entertainers and sports figures be gan to replace political leaders in the domination of popular thought. The film Nashville focuses on the ascendancy of these new celebrities in public influence and on the blurring between entertainment and reality. Altman attacks the false patriotism of self-identified leaders displayed in the sanctimonious lyrics of Haven Hamilton (Hen ry Gibson).When first encountered, country

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173 music legend Haven Hamilton is in the process of recording a patriotic anthem celebrating Americas bicentennial: Ive lived through two depressions and seven dust-bowl droughts, Floods, locusts, and tornadoes, but I dont have any doubts. Were all a part of history, why Old Glory waves to show, How far weve come along till now, how far weve got to go. Its been hard work, but every time we get into a fix, Lets think of what our child ren face in two-ought-seven six. Its up to us to pave the way w ith our blood and sweat and tears, For we must be doing something ri ght to last two hundred years. The approaching national bicente nnial provided context for Nashville. The motion picture, produced in the year before the nations 200th birthday, is a microcosm of what the filmmakers believed to be wrong with America. Perhaps most of all, the film disparages an American tendency toward self -congratulations. In this sense, it is a negative film. In fact, it is hard to find a posit ive American political film from this year. The initial industry respons e to the approaching bicen tennial was tepid. A July 1975 front-page Variety article noted the lack of patrio tic-themed films in production that year. According to the article, the major American television networks planned to produce a far greater amount of patriotic fa re than the film industry. The article speculated that this might be because of th e recent box office failure of patriotically themed productions and the fact that the United States governme nt more directly regulated the broadcast industr y than the film industry. The article speculate d that this regulatory imbalance motivated broadcasters to curry governmental favor through selfcensorship (Harwood 1). The success of blockbuster films Jaws (1975) and The Towering Inferno (1975) dominated 1975. According to Variety these two films finished first and second at the

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174 box office (Harwood 1). These films continued th e so-called disaster film cycle of the 1970s. In these films, authority figures are portrayed as ineffectual, as in The Towering Inferno or self-serving, as in Jaws In both, commerce trumps public safety. Even in 1976, the most popular film, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1976) and the third most attended film, The Omen (1976), took a dark view of the established order. However, two celebratory films were rel eased concurrent with the bicentennial. The second and sixth most popular films of the year were All The Presidents Men (1976) and Midway (1976) (Harwood 1). All The Presidents Men, released four years after Watergate, provided evidence that the Ameri can system of checks and balances still worked, and Midway, released just one year after th e fall of Saigon, harkened back to American military victory in World War II. Significantly, the efforts of World War II fighting men were chosen rather than the military involvement in Vietnam. The celebration of America reached far greater heights after the bicentennial year. The unexpectedly successful Rocky (1976), released very late in 1976, told the story of a heroic American underdog; Star Wars (1977) projected American military supremacy into the future; and Superman (1978) reaffirmed faith in tr uth justice and the American way. New Leaders Haven Hamilton displays unshaken faith in his version of truth, justice and the American way. He the patriarch of a musical community, and to some extent, he has replaced the political leaders of the city of Na shville. In the film, he is the most famous and respected country and western performer in the industry. Celebrities want to meet him and perform with him. His fans love him. Haven is aware of his power, so much so that he feels free to imperiously dismiss a musician from his recording session, when I

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175 ask for Pig, you get me Pig, then well be able to record this here tune, as well as a reporter from the BBC (Geraldine Chaplin ). Ultimately, everyone meets Havens demands and the session proceeds. Although he is the leader of his musical community, he is also a pompous object of derision. When British Prime Minister Winst on Churchill spoke of blood sweat and tears, he achieved a profound rhetoric. In contrast, Havens banal delivery of the same words serves to undercut their m eaning. The film suggests that America has lasted 200 years by some other means than the self-righte ousness of leaders like Haven Hamilton. After Havens recording session, he has other duties to perform. It seems that the most popular performer in country and western music, Barbara Jean (Ronnie Blakely) has recovered from a hospitalization at the Baltimore Burn Center and will be arriving at the Nashville airport. Haven, along with local re presentatives of the Chamber of Commerce, meets her there. Barbara Jeans arrival at the Nashville airport produces a display of pomp and circumstance worthy of a state vis it. Marching bands, the Tennessee Twirlers precision drill-team, and local media all de scend on the tarmac to attend the beloved singers arrival. The white robed, musical superstar exits the airplane and moves to a podium to address her constituency. So many fans are on hand to greet Barbara Jean that many are forced to remain locked in the airport term inal and watch the festivities through the glass doors of the structure. Despite her hosp italization, the singer shows no physical impairment. She does, however, appear to display a heightened sense of emotion that would fit right into a Tennessee William s play about neurotic southern womanhood. After completing her appreciative remarks to the dignitaries and bands, Barbara Jean

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176 decides to visit with the fans locked in the terminal. Unfortunately, she comes down with an attack of the vapors that cause her to fain t. At this point, Barbar a Jeans fans become uncontainable. In a scene that foreshadow s the films ending, they overtake airport security and crash throug h the terminal doors. Equal parts Evita Peron and Greta Garbo, Ba rbara Jean is more important in her fans lives than traditional civi c leaders. She is able to insp ire adulation, yet she longs for a release from the burdens of her public role. Ti red of celebrity, she wa nts to return to the remembered comfort of family and her chil dhood home. Barbara Jeans fans love her because her nostalgic songs make them feel good about themselves and speak of bedrock family values. Several of the actors composed their own s ongs for the film. In contrast to actor Gibsons compositions for his character, Blak elys compositions for her character are less satiric of the country music form. In addition, Blakely had professional musical experience that provided Barbara Jean with greater musical skill. As a result, the character Barbara Jean is less an object of derision than Haven Hamilton. Barbara Jean, like most of the women in this film, is por trayed as a victim. Those woman who are not victims are either emotionally unstabl e or unfaithful to their lovers. Barbara Jean has worked her entire life in pursuit of success. She is now a troubled artist and cannot seem to escape the unwante d responsibility of her idol status. Her husband Barnett (Allen Garfield) drives Barb ara Jean onward. Barnett, played by the same actor who handled Bill McKays media campaign in The Candidate fulfills much of the same duties as a celebrity manager in Nashville that he did as a political operative in The Candidate It is Barnetts responsibility to make sure Barbara Jean performs on

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177 cue while he maintains her emotional stabilit y and protects her public image. According to the film, running a political campaign is not much different from managing a singing career. In addition, the burden s endured by celebrities are ju st as onerous as those of political leaders. Management In the film, while Barnett serves as Barbara Jeans celebrity manager, John Triplette functions as Hal Phillip Walkers political manager. His job it is to recruit singers to perform at an upcoming concert in support his candidate. Triplette feels that movie stars have become too eccentric to connect with the heartland, whereas country music stars have grass roots appeal. To that end, Triplette visits Barbara Jean in the hospital in order to ask her to perform at a Walker concert and political rally. Her husband Barnett dismisses Triplette out of hand, but will later do business with him. Triplette moves on to recruiting Haven Hamilton. He attends a cookout at the singers country ranch. Hamilton also rejects Tr iplettes efforts, but becomes intrigued by Triplettes promise that Walker will back Hamilton if he ever decides to run for governor of Tennessee. Havens wife, Lady Pearl (Barba ra Baxley) does not trust Triplette. She would prefer that Haven not publicly commit to a particular political leaning. Despite his wifes reticence, Hamilton agrees to particip ate in the concert if Barbara Jean will as well. Triplette, like most political organizers in film s of this era, is amoral. He recruits an extremely untalented, yet desperately ambiti ous singer, Sueleen Gay (Gwen Welles) to appear at a smoker held to raise funds for Walk er. Sueleen thinks that this is her chance to break into show business, but sadly, that is not the case. Triplette coerces her into performing a striptease for the contributors amusement. In yet another parallel to

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178 political films of this era, Nashville links sexual degradation with politics. After the smoker, Triplette continues his recruitment until he secures enough performers to put on a show at a Walker campaign rally, to be held at The Parthenon, in Nashvilles Centennial Park. Assassination The Parthenon is a massive structure de signed to resemble the original Greek temple. Originally conceived as a tempor ary structure, The Parthenon went through a reconstruction into its present concrete state. The day of the concert begins inauspiciously with an argument between Barnett and Triplette about the huge New Roots For the Nation campaign banner that is on display a bove the stage. Barnett does not want his wife connected with overtly political imagery a nd threatens that they will leave. Triplette, however, threatens to go on the microphone and inform the audience that their beloved singer will not perform. The still angry Barnett acquiesces and the show goes on. In the midst of a duet between Haven Ham ilton and Barbara Jean, a series of crowd shots take place. These shots capture both ex tras and cast members. Throughout the film, a series of troubled, offbeat, or disconnecte d, minor characters have woven their stories throughout the five days leading up to the concert in the park. For that matter, all of the films major characters are troubled, offbeat, or disconnected The crowd scene alternates between the concert and an outlaw biker, an elderly man who has just buried his wife, a spaced out California chic, a taciturn sold ier in uniform and a clean cut young man who constantly carries a violin case. The film establishes a sense of foreboding as Walkers limousine motorcade arrives in the park and deploys behind the Parthenon while he waits to go on. Walkers cargo van a nd the candidate are nowhere in sight. Time and again, we return to the loners in the crowd.

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179 The film suggests a possible violent conn ection between the disaffected loners and the political candidate. It is interesting that the filmmakers do not feel compelled to emphasize this connection. Countless 1970s film s and real world ev ents, including the then recent attempts on the lives of Gerald Ford and George Wallace, conditioned audiences to expect the worst. Their expect ations are confirmed wh en the man with the violin case opens it and shoots, not candidate Walker, but singing star Barbara Jean. In response to the shooting of Barbara Jea n, the characters in the film, even those that had been derisively depi cted, rise to the occasion. A di sconsolate Barnett carries his dying wifes body off stage for the final time, philandering lovers reconnect with family, and even Haven Hamilton achieves a moment of bravery. Hamilton, who is shot in the arm and has lost his toupee, comes to the mi crophone to reassure the crowd yall take it easy now. This isnt Dallas, its Nashville. The community does not panic and the lone gunman is subdued. Hamilton then turns the microphone over to an aspiring female singer who leads the assembled musi cians in a heart-felt rendition of It Dont Worry Me and the film ends on a positive, redemptive note. The replacement of the death of Barbara Jean for that of Walker is nicely representative of a symbolic replacement of celebrity for po litician, but it is also a bit formulaic. The film attacks country musi cians for reaching for easy sentiments, yet indulges in the often used, crazed-lone-gunman plot. In addition, the assassins decision to replace Walker with Barbara Jean is thinly motivated. He obviously arrived at the concert with intent to kill somebody, most likel y Walker. If he had wanted to kill Barbara Jean, he had had many opportunities. In the midst of her duet with Haven Hamilton, the killer suddenly alters his deadly pr iorities, leaving one to ask; why?

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180 Production of the Film Before Nashville Altman had spent over a decade working in television before moving to films. In 1970, he achieved cri tical and financial success with the motion picture version of M*A*S*H (1970). Based on that success, United Artists offered him a country and western based screenplay entitled The Great Southern Amusement Company Altman found the existing screenplay too conventional for his needs and proposed the creation of an entirely original script. Not knowing a great deal about country music, the director assigned screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury the task of visiting Nashville where she was to develop material for the script (Michner and Kasndorf 46-49). Tewkesbury made several trips to Nashvi lle where she encountered a number of characters and events that inspired similar incidents in the film. For instance, the character of Barbara Jean is noticeably si milar to country star Loretta Lynn and the character of Haven Hamilton is similar to Hank Snow and Roy Acuff. Another film related occurrence took place during Tewkesbur ys first trip to Nashville when she endured a two-hour traffic jam caused by a freeway accident. Inspired by her experiences, Tewksbury eventually completed a script that became the backbone of the motion picture (Michner and Kasndorf 49). Tewksburys original work contained the fi ve-day story arc, eighteen of the twentyfour characters, location ideas, and a climatic death scene that Altman had asked for. The director added characters to the story, including Hal Philip Walker, and a greater emphasis on politics. Altman also rethought th e films climax. Originally, the aspiring singer Sueleen Gay was to commit suicide. Al tman thought it would be better to stage a political assassination, but with a twist. He w ould replace the conventio nal target with an

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181 unexpected victim. In the film, candidate Walker escapes assassination, but superstar Barbara Jean does not (Stuart 65). Altman recruited a mixture of trusted regul ar performers from his past films as well as newcomers including Tomlin and Gibson, fresh off their success in televisions Laugh In. Actors were encouraged to research thei r roles and to improvise lines. This choice, along with multi tracking of dialogue provide d an unstaged quality to scenes. A more controversial choice involved allowing the ac tors to compose their own songs. Originally, the film was to use actual country sta ndards, but Altman thought this would be inauthentic to the aspiring nature of the struggling characters. Musical director, and composer of some of the films songs, Richar d Baskin pointed out that this was not to be just a musical and concluded that we want ed to allow the performers to express themselves in whatever music felt best to them ( Michner and Kasndorf 49). Songs serve an important part in the film. Some reveal character, Im Easy others emotional longing, My Idaho Home others illustrate popu list political beliefs, 200 Years and Keep a Goin The political songs are all ironic in nature. Each proposes a populist ideal then undercuts its message. This is especially true of It Dont Worry Me reprised by different characters six times within the film. The song alternates lyrics of hard times and affirmation such as, And you may say that I aint free, but it dont worry me in a manner that can either be taken as a declarat ion of national resolve or a condemnation of a vacuous electorate. Altman maintained that the film was not an attempt to denigrate country and western music, but it is hard to take him at his word. In the film, performers appear to be petty, their personas exaggera ted, and their lyrics banal. Altman acknowledged that

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182 established Nashville musicians were antagon istic to the films music. The director, however, attributed their antipathy to bruise d egos. Altman felt that the country and western musicians were not as a ngry at the inclusion of original songs as they were at the exclusion of their own individual songs.4 Most film critics favorably reviewed the original music in the film. On the other hand, New York Times music critic John Rockwell found fa ult with its quality. I suspect that many of those who love country musi c will be bored or even annoyed by these songs, and will find it patronizing that Mr. Al tman hasnt cared as much about music as he obviously does about acting (A24). Altman was not so much dismissive of count ry music as he was oblivious to it. The director admitted that he was not a fan a nd knew little about the musical genre. Altman maintained that the film was not about Na shville, but was rather a metaphor for his perspective on society. Altman used the music industry as a plot device in much the same manner that director Alfred Hitchcock used espi onage in his films, as a vehicle to set the film in motion. The use of a musical subculture provided A ltman a chance to channel his impression of 1970s America. According to Altman, Nashvilles music scene, like the world of politics, offered the promise of su ccess without commitment. Both institutions keep blaring repetitive word s until no one can pay attention to the lyrics. The film indicts the instant stars, in stant music, and instant poli ticians that were supplanting 4 Altman maintains that the Nashville musicians have come to embrace the film in recent years. See Robert Altman, Exclusive Interview with Director Robert Altman, Commentary. Nashville. DVD. Paramount, 2000.

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183 established, conservative Eise nhower politics as well as established, liberal Kennedy politics (Altman). Critical Response Reviews of Nashville were mostly positive. New York Times reviewer Canby labeled it the movie sensation that all other American movies this year will be measured against (A32). Canby complimented the acto rs, their original songs, and Altmans direction, maintaining that he had escaped his reputation of a filmmaker who appealed only to critics. Canby, however, misread the f ilms sardonic take on Middle America. He felt that the inclusion of songs such as Haven Hamiltons rendition of 200 Years did not patronize country and western fans because th e film also appreciat es the songs stirring beat and the vast earnest public fo r whom it will have meaning (A32). Time Magazine reviewer Jay Cooks thought Nashville to be a splendidly gifted film, vibrant and immediate, with moments of true greatness (67). Cooks also felt Altman to be fearless in his ambition to explore themes of contemporary American contradictions. According to Cooks, the film offered contra sts of workday energy versus moral deadness and respect for history versus a constant American need to mythologize (67). Newsweek devoted a cover story to the film, labeling it one of the few Hollywood films as fresh as the morning headlines (Michner and Kasndorf 46). Washington Post reviewer Arnold also referenced the current political climate. For him, Nashville was a brilliant black joke on the seventies (H1) Arnolds opinion that the films content reflected Altmans depressed vi ew of life contrasted with Christian Science Monitor critic Sterritts view that the films fina l vision is at once hopeful, skeptical, andabove allaffirmative of the throbbing social rhyt hms that help hold us together (A29).

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184 New Yorker film critic Kael was extremely enthusiastic about Nashville After viewing a rough-cut version of the film, she ca lled it a radical, evol utionary leap (79), and the funniest epic vision of America ev er to reach the screen (84). According to Kael, the use of intertwined stories, the multi tracking of dialogue, and the actors freedom to work up their own lines and s ongs allowed the film to create a natural representation of real life. Kael felt that Altmans sure hande d direction made the difficult task of constructing this film look easy. Kael went on to compare Altman to Godda rd in his ability to fuse documentary, fiction, and personal essay. Kael also rema rked on the metaphoric use of country and western stars as symbolic ordinary fi gures who become more like political demagogues than artists by their false insist ence that they do not crave success (81). Finally, Kael remarked on the films cauti on against self-congratulation in the postWatergate era. She noted that average citizens, just like the characte rs in Nashville, are just as capable of deceit as disreputable politicians.5 Fellow New Yorker reviewer Gilliatt was not as kind to the film, finding it technically masterful but intellectually simple, es pecially the climax that she felt to be an attempt to tidy up loose ends (104). In a ddition, Gilliatt felt that some of the improvised scenes dragged on too long (104). New Republic reviewer Kauffman also identified some banalities of image (22) in the film such as the stripper practicing in her bedroom in front of religious figurines. He felt that Altman was trying to be too ironic in these instances. Kauffman, however, praised Tewkesburys dialogue, Altmans 5 Kael was an early champion of the film and was in strumental in rallying critical support in order to forestall difficulties in its ability to secure distribution. See Kael 79-84.

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185 juggling of multiple stories, and the actors performances. He also liked the films depiction of the symbiotic nature of politics and s how business (22). Esquire reviewer Simon was a bit more nega tive in his assessment. The film had been trimmed from its original eight hours, to six, and fi nally to its present two-andthree-quarter-hours in length. Simon thought th at the film was well done, but its drastic cutting had robbed it of character development. He felt that many of the actors provided quality performances but felt that the film lack ed sufficient detail about the stories of the twenty-four characters. Simon, like Kauffm an, also thought the film crude in its symbolism. According to Simon, the parallel between the horse sense, half sense and nonsense of Walkers speeches and Country an d Western lyrics was too pat. He also found heavy-handed metaphorical significance in the final Parthenon sequence (34). Conservative political columnist George Will tore into the film and its many enthusiasts. The columnist sarcastically repr inted glowing vignettes from various reviews in order to make them appear inane in their cu mulative force. This is, ironically, the same technique used by Altman in his film to parody Middle American culture. Will did not think Nashville as so many critics did, to be a meta phor for America, but rather a naked attempt at greed on the part of Altman. Will concluded that Nashville is to America what country music is to music not a close approximation (A23). The last statement is ironic in that Will denigrated the music of country and western loving, Middle Americans, the very backbone of the modern conservative movement, a movement within which Will became a media star. Perhaps Nashville is not so much a metaphor for America as it is a litm us test. Liberals love it and conservatives

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186 hate it. One can read the film in a number of ways. This is a tribute to Altmans work as Nashville is equal parts satire, dram a, musical, and soap opera. Replacement In his book, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society and Politics Schulman delineates the 1970s emer gence of the Sunbelt and the growing popularity of Redneck Chic. According to Schulman, as the new south began to replace the northeast in population supremacy and in political power, its re gional culture took on more influence. Among other cultural touchsto nes, an interest in football, stock car racing, and western attire b ecame more popular. An important component of southern regional culture, country music enjoyed new le vels of national appeal. Its message of conservative populism resonated with the public, as did its fashions and celebration of resistance to government. Nashville comments on the emergence of this new cultural force. (Schulman 114 -117). The film attacks pomposity but reaffirm s the need for community. Established media found it easy to be enthusiastic about the film because it parodied what mainstream media felt to be the false myths and inauthentic figures embraced by Middle America. This stance presupposes that no symbolic myth s are contained in films set in New York City or Washington D.C. The fans of country music were less enthusiastic about the film because they recognized ridi cule when they saw it. It is to the films credit that it did at tempt to explore the populist ideals of Middle America. At this time ordinary leaders, or at least leaders who could pretend to be ordinary, replaced the imperial presidenci es of Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. The film also documents the crossover from a time wh en statesmen were preeminent in national political influence to a time of celebrity power. Charismatic cultural leaders like Merle

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187 Haggard and John Lennon soon rivaled tradi tional leaders like Pr esident Ford and President Carter in national in fluence. This trend would continue into later decades as rock stars like U2s Bono began to influence economic polices for en tire continents and film stars ran for public office. In fact, 1976 was the first time that Hollywood movie star Ronald Reagan ran for the presidency, an offi ce he would achieve within the next decade. Eventually, in 2007, the trend would come full circle when former presidential candidate Al Gore achieved success in Hollywood by pa rticipating in the Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (2006). Nashville attacks the new celebrity leaders as neurotic demigods who are no more worthy of public trust than mainstream politicians. The film locates the strength of the republic in the average citizen and a family of like-minded musicians. For a film that is so obviously cynical in its depiction of Mi ddle American populism, it is interesting to observe its high regard for the lives of ordi nary people who must endure coping with deaf children, dying spouses, and unrea lized dreams. In the film, these characters achieve a measure of heroic stature th rough their perseverance. Only those who betray themselves, through greed, insincerity or lust for power are portrayed as unredeemable. The film also is significant in that it resurrects the importance of the symbolically ordinary hero. In the past, political leader s assumed the mantle of prestige, as in Wilson (1944) and Sunrise at Campobello (1960). America has always embraced the political myth of the everyman, who remains untainted by the world, yet emerges as a leader. From the young George Washington, who refu ses to lie after cu tting down the cherry tree, to Abraham Lincoln who trained to beco me a modest country lawyer, the nation has embraced this myth. It does not make any difference if the image is not authentic; the

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188 symbolic importance is quite real. Voters want to see themselves in their leaders. In Nashville the musical leaders unders tand this and act accordingly. This film is very prescient in its understanding of the future of symbolically based popu list politics. In the future, successful political leaders would understand how to use media to obtain celebrity. Conversely, successful political leaders would also know how to feign commonality, even if they possessed an oil business, a Hollywood agent, or a degree from Oxford University. A final significance of the film is that of perspective. In response to over a decadelong bombardment of national crisis, the film reflects a replacement of outrage with ironic distance. From this point on, political films became more sardonic. This use of irony within these films repres ents a defense mechanism against the disappointment of constant political crisis. Nashville fits the tenor of its times in its contention that all political activity is a joke. According to the film, politically committed individuals must be either ignorant, conservative, country rube s or shifty, liberal, city slickers. In this sense, Americans, like minor characters w ithin the film, were troubled, offbeat, and disconnected. Their only hope was to fi nd a group of like-minded individuals, a community such as that achieve d by the musicians depicted in Nashville Alienation The film Taxi Driver (1976) offers little chance of finding communal salvation. Authorship of the film sprung from dark, psychological places. In 1972, aspiring film critic Paul Schrader was at a low point in hi s life. He had recently endured the breakup of his marriage, burdensome debts, a painful stom ach ulcer, and the ill effects of excessive drinking. At one point, he even resorted to living out of his automobile. Schraders depressive state was influential in the creation of his screenplay for the film Taxi Driver.

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189 According to Schrader he was, looking for so mething like the metaphor of the cab driver to express the loneliness and a gony I was feeling ( Arnold B1). Another influence on Schrader was his reading of the publ ished diaries of attempted political assassin, Arthur Brem er. On May 15, 1972, Arthur Herman Bremer, a twenty-one-year-old busboy from Milwaukee shot and paralyzed third-party presidential candidate George Wallace. Bremer was an en igma. His personal diary, put into evidence at trial, revealed no ideological motivation for the crime. In fact, Bremer had stalked other prominent political figures including, Ni xon, McGovern and Humphrey with intent to kill them. In the end, Wallace was mere ly an unfortunate target of opportunity. Bremers diary entries, including his frustration at not being able to get off a clean shot at Nixon during a presidential motorcade, convinced a jury that he was sane at the moment of his attack and that his motivation for the crime was primarily an attempt to seek fame (Bigart A1; Smith A1). Schrader drew upon the Bremer diary as an organizational device for his screenplay. His protagonist was a Bremer-like character, who would narrate the film as he wrote events into his diary. Schraders inspiration led quickly to his writing a screenplay that took only twelve days to co mplete. The resulting script, however, did not go into production for three years. Many studios rejected the violent script until Columbia decided to take a chance on th is unknown author. The producti on received the green light in 1975 thanks to its limited budget of $800,000 and the attachment of recent Academy Award winning actor Robert DeNi ro and of hot, new director Martin Scorsese, who was fresh off his successful production of Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore (1974).

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190 Schrader, raised as a Calvinist, and Scor sese, raised as a Roman Catholic, shared strict religious backgrounds. In fact, the young Scorsese ha d studied for the priesthood, only to rebel in later years and leave the chur ch. An unmistakable religious symbolism is evident throughout Taxi Driver This is especially true in the films eschatological confrontation between the self -sacrificing Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) and the evil pimps he pumps full of lead. Scorseses formative years in New York Citys Little Italy neighborhood, his religious upbringing, and his intere st in illustration all influe nced his future career. After graduating from the New York University film school, he worked in television, and then moved on to working for producer Roger Corman. Corman provided Scorsese with his big break when he assigned the young director production of Box Car Bertha (1972), a low budget movie that taught Scor sese how to make first-rate films on an inexpensive budget. Eventually Scorsese progressed to the direction of main stream films that provided the success needed to obtain backing for Taxi Driver (Flatley 34). Scorsese felt that he needed to make the film in order to explore his own internal psychology. The aimless nature of violence scar ed yet fascinated him. Scorsese also identified with the tormented lead character of hi s film and sought to explore his own, as well as societys psychoses. Altman used an entire community as a loosely drawn microcosm of American society whereas the more introspective Scorsese analyzed a single individual. According to Scorsese, th e film was about the outsider struggling for recognition and the character Travis Bickle wa s the representative outsider (Flately 43). In the film, Travis is a lonely ex-marine with no past and little future. His former military status harkens back to American involvement in Vietnam and the recent fall of

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191 Saigon, which had transpired a year before the films release. Almost every serious filmmaker of this era was asked to commen t on the influence that Vietnam had on his work. Scorsese answered that events such as Vietnam and Watergat e had influenced his desire to see changes in America but main tained it was important to start with an understanding of individuals. Y ou begin by going into a microcosm, the best way is to start with a character, and th en put him through scenes, through conflicts, that illustrate your theme (Flately 43). Scorsese and Schrader did not want the audience to iden tify with Travis, who in the film attempts political assassi nation, displays racist tenden cies, and ultimately commits murder. In spite of this depiction, the filmmakers were surprised at audience identification of Travis as a hero as well as their enjoyment of the films extremely bloody climax. The film ends with a violent shootout wherein Tr avis attempts to rescue a twelve-year-old girl named Iris (Jodie Foster ) from a life of pros titution. The ending was so graphic that the Motion Picture Associa tion of America (MPAA) initially gave the film an X rating. The MPAA revised the films rating to an R when the filmmakers altered the final print by de-s aturating the color red visibl e in the blood seen spewing from the gun shot wounds sustaine d by Travis and his antagonists.6 The films increased level of brutalit y mirrored that of American society. Throughout the 1970s, violent crime continued to escalate. The number of such crimes committed rose from 817,000, in 1971, to 987,000, in 1976. In addition, America became one of the most violent countries on eart h, with a homicide rate of 9.1 per 100,000 in 6 Violence in media prompted concern for its psychological effect, especially on children. In 1972, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a report that found some evidence of a relationship between television violence and aggressive behavior in children. See Shales C1. For an account of de-saturation in Taxi Driver see Arnold B1.

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192 1976, compared to homicide rates of 2.4 in Canada and 1.3 in Germany. Perhaps the audience identified with Travis because they we re troubled as well. Fed up with political and social crisis, they too wished for a real rain to wash the scum from the streets of America.7 Crazed Loner As Ironic Hero The entire film takes place within the head of Travis Bickle as he narrates the story. Because of this, there is a possibility that everything in the film is the psychotic wanderings of a madman. At his trial, Brem er expressed self-absorbed fatalism rather than remorse for his actions saying, Looking ba ck on my life, I would have liked it if society had protected me from myself (Bigart 54 ). Travis also expresses a fatalistic lack of control saying, My whole life has been poi nted in one direction, there never has been a choice. If Travis is a microcosm of societ y, then all of society is fated to experience the same alienation. In the end, Travis, like Bremer, turns to violence, which ironically transforms him from a lonely assassin into a celebrity. Travis is the archetype of the crazed Vietnam vet character that became familiar in numerous films including Coming Home (1978), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Rambo First Blood Part II (1985). Travis is th e quintessential troubled loner with vigilante tendencies. His only interests are in pornography, working an d dispatching evil doers. It is interesting that Schrader assigned a former military status to Travis. According to the film, the insanity of a man pers onified the insanity of war. 7 For crime rates, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Crimes and Crime Rates, by Type: 1971 to 1980, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1981 (102nd edition) Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981: 173; and U.S Bureau of the Census, H omicideVictims and Rate, Se lected Countries: 1976 to 1979, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1981 (102nd edition) Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981: 178.

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193 Travis also expresses the rage then fe lt by many working class Americans who saw crime, high-energy costs, and inflation erode their chance at realizing the American dream. Travis, like the average Joe, works long hours, six to seven days a week, at a thankless job and rails against the dregs of society that rob life of meaning. This identification, along with the dynamic portrayal by DeNiro, is why the audience found the character so appealing. Just li ke the character Howard Beale in Network (1976), Travis is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. He strikes out at perverse criminals and disingenuous polit icians in a manner that the audience only wishes they could emulate. Despite his faults, Travis is a likeable figure. When he first applies for a hack license, he states that he will go anywhere at any time. He will even go to supposedly bad neighborhoods, I dont care, it dont make no difference to me. Travis is unassuming and strangely nice, especially to campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who works at the campaign office of presidential candidate Senator Palantine. Travis likes Betsy because she is untouched by the filth of mode rn society. The film is very much about purification and redemption. The two female lead s are idealized figures that Travis tries to rescue from their unclean surroundings. It is interesting that the film equate s the political world of Betsy and the prostitution of Iris. Both work for pow erful men who use them to succeed. Betsy, however, is not as chaste as Travis would beli eve her to be; she is very good at marketing her candidate. When she lays out her proj ected campaign strategy for the senator, a fellow campaign worker remarks that you sound like you are selling mouthwash, to which Betsy replies we ar e selling mouthwash.

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194 Candidate Palantine is a charlatan. He engage s in the same facile rhetoric that Hal Philip Walker did in Nashville. We meet at a crossroads in history, for far too long the wrong roads have been taken. The wrong roads ha ve led us into war, into poverty into unemployment and inflation. Today I say to you we have reached the turning point. The film depicts Palantine as being able to identify the central problems of the time, but unable to rise above reference to crossroads and turning points. In a manner similar to Palantine, President Ford identified the then current national problem of rampant inflation, but famously resorted to urging th e wearing of symbolic Whip Inflation Now (WIN) buttons in an effort to address the pr oblem. In this instan ce, national politics turned ironic as buttons replaced policy. One day, Betsy notices Travis watching her at work but he quickly drives away, only to return a day later wearing a blazer desi gned to impress the ice princess. He wants to volunteer as a campaign worker, this despite th e fact he has no real interest in politics. When asked what he thinks of Palantine, Tr avis admits that he does not know much about the candidate, but asserts, Im sure hel l make a good president. When asked how he feels about the Senators sta nd on welfare he says, I dont know the senators stand but Im sure its a good one. For some reason, Betsy agrees to go and dine with Travis. He recognizes her as another lonely person just li ke him. She is charmed. Travis is obsessed. Travis likes Betsy but hates her coworker Tom (Albert Brooks) because of his glib nature. Once again, in films of this era, cam paign workers come in for a hard time as Travis challenges Tom to fight. Travis becomes interested in politics fo r the wrong reasons. His obsession with Betsy causes him to root for Palantine, whom he starts to stalk. In a disturbing scene,

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195 Travis picks up the senator at his hotel a nd assures him he is one of his biggest supporters. Travis says that he will tell everyone he knows to vot e for the candidate. Despite obvious discomfort at riding in a common taxi, Palantine tells Travis he has learned more about America from riding in taxi cabs than in all the limos in the country. The candidate makes the mistake of asking Travis what is the one thing that bugs him the most in America, to which Trav is responds with a diatribe about cleaning up the city: Its like the pres ident should clean up this w hole mess here. He should flush it down the fucking toilet. Palantine becomes noticeably uncomfortable while listening to Travis speak, yet fails to stray from his well-rehearsed talk ing points. Palantine assures Travis he understands his sentiments but tells him it wont be easy and we have to make some radical changes to which Travis answers, damn straight. Littl e does the Senator know that, in the mind of Travis Bickle, he has b ecome the scum that now needs to be washed away from the streets. Travis insensitively takes Betsy to a porn show on a date and, as a result, their relationship ends. The next day he returns to the campaign headquarters, but Betsy will not see him. He enters the headquarters and, af ter a confrontation, warn s her to get out of politics: Youre in a hell, a nd youre gonna die in a hell like the rest of them. After Betsys rejection and encounter ing a violent racist passenger in his taxicab, played by Scorsese, Travis mental state rapidly deteri orates. He buys a cache of guns from an illicit gun dealer and begins practicing with them. Endless repetition produces proficiency at the quick draw as Travis challenges his im age in a mirror with the ominous question: You talking to me?

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196 Travis begins to exercise and changes his diet. He needs to be ready. Travis begins following Palantine to all of his campaign stops. Also at this point, Travis meets Iris and sublimates his interest in Betsy for an intere st in her. This inte rest is not sexual but paternalistic. Travis wants to save her from her life on the streets. Finally, Travis is ready for action. He attends a Palantine campaign rally with intent to a ssassinate the Senator but woefully fails in his mission. When the se cret service notices his presence, Travis runs away in fear. This is a rare filmic mo ment when an assassin fails in his mission. At this point Travis wrath shifts from Palant ine to Iris pimp and he goes on a shooting rampage, eventually killing three men. On ce again, the film equates politics with prostitution. Travis survives multiple gunshot wounds, but ultimately succeeds in returning Iris to an innocent life in her hometown of Pittsburgh. Because of his sacrifice, Travis becomes a media hero. Later in the film, Travis reads a letter written to him from Iriss grateful parents while close-ups of newspaper clippings procla im his good works. It is as if her past life of prostituti on never transpired. The negation of past exploitation mirrored a mid 1970s desire to forget about recent polit ical malfeasance. A second consequence of Travis violent actions is that he finally im presses Betsy. He proves to her that men of action, as he fancies himself, ar e superior to men of rhetoric like Palatine. In the last scene, Travis returns to work as a cab driver and picks up Betsy as a fare. They exchange pleasantries and part as friends. All is well, at least in the in ternalized thoughts of Travis Bickle. Disengagement Taxi Driver is a political drama where the assa ssin is the hero. In thirteen short years, American films have gone from a comp lete unwillingness to ad dress the subject of

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197 assassination, to a film where a character ba sed on the attempted assassin Arthur Bremer is now the hero. Even more significantly, one in which the audience can identify with the assassin. This is a complete reversal of st andard plot development. The bad guy is now the good guy. Taxi Driver employs this reversal to e xpress the then current, ironic detachment from politics. Travis is a microcosm of an alienated electorate who feel unable to control national events. Increasingly, Americans turned inward in their focus. Local issues replaced nationa l issues as people became det ached from civic involvement. In the end however, we do not fully come to understand the reason for Traviss detachment. His motivations seem to be an unfocussed rage. He, like Bremer, is expressly apolitical in his ideology. Kill them all. A measure of American disengagement from civic life occurred in the response to the 1975 financial crisis that t ook place in New York City. At that time, the city of New York was in dire straits. A severe monetary shortage threatened to place the city in bankruptcy. At the peak of New York Citys financial crisis, President Ford delivered a speech to The National Press Club indicating he would veto any bailout for the city to prevent its default. According to Ford, The re is a practical limit to our public bounty. This sentiment reflected the sentiment of th e rest of the country. Only 42 % of Gallup Poll respondents felt that th e federal government should pr ovide funds to bail out New York.8 It is interesting to note how Scorsese depicts the city of his birth and how it mirrored popular perceptions of the Big A pple. Unlike Altman, who was an outsider looking in at a community; Scorsese was an in sider looking out at America. In Altmans 8 For a transcript of Fords speech see, New YorkUnwanted and Abandoned, The Wall Street Journal 30 October 1975: A20. For poll results, see Carroll A1.

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198 film, many characters are disingenuous demigods, but the actions of a few good characters redeem the city. In contrast, the characters in Scorseses film are grifters, rootless loners, and exploiters. Even its mi nor characters are c onstantly arguing and fighting while seen on the periph ery of the action. Both film s use vehicular movement to propel action; however, Nashville sets its action on th e open highway whereas Taxi Driver resides within the claustrophobic confines of an urban jungle. Most scenes in Taxi Driver take place at night, rendering New York City as a dark, barren wasteland. This film is not an ode to the romanticism of a major American metropolis, but rather an exposition of its rotten core. The film also expresses a rejection of, and a wish to escape, the past. Travis attempts to flee his demons in his taxicab. At the same time, Americans were increasingly moving away from their history es tablished in the older cities of the northeast and the rust belt. Consequently, those citi es were losing political power and influence. People were moving to Sun Belt cities like Nashville that promised a brighter tomorrow economically, climatically and psychologically. In addition to its demographics, America al so changed its perceptions of political outsiders. The legitimacy of established politic al leaders further eroded as presidents became the object of derision. Those outside the Washington beltway were considered more authentic because everyone inside the be ltway was perceived to be rotten. In this film, there is a complete rejection of the po ssibility of effecting nonviolent change within the established system. Nor is there a sens e of a redemptive community that can band together to provide relief from crisis.

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199 In America at large, confidence in progre ss and social change eroded to the point that individuals turned inward in their attempts to make sense of their lives. This inward focus extended to political issues as well. The stature of political le aders declined and the health and superiority of the American ec onomy was not to be trusted. When leaders projected that the econo my would soon turn around if we would just Whip Inflation Now, the electorate took it as a cynical ma nipulation of their hopes and dreams. Critical Response Christian Science Monitor reviewer Sterritt called Taxi Driver a nasty masterpiece that captures Travis despera tion, but wallows in excessive gore (A23). Wall Street Journal reviewer Boyum acknowledged the pa ne of glass metaphor of the taxicab windshield as a means of looking at the lower depths of the modern city. He complimented the camerawork of Michael Chapin for his evocative depiction of New York City at night and the lush compositio ns of renowned composer Bernard Herrmann who had died shortly after completing his fi nal film score. Boyum however, found fault with Schraders script, conte nding that it violated the films point of view by showing scenes that Travis could not possibly know about. Boyum noted the films connection with the story of Arthur Bremer. According to Boyum, both are a political rebels whose only motivation is the desperate n eed to achieve notoriety (A11). Both Nashville and Taxi Driver were prescient in thei r understanding of this desperate need on the part of some disturbed individuals for attention. Nashville predicted the celebrity assassin ation of John Lennon and Taxi Driver actually motivated the attempted political assassination of Presid ent Ronald Reagan. Violence, celebrity, and politics seem to go hand in hand in Ameri can history. John Wilkes Booth, slayer of President Lincoln, was himself an actor driven to murderous action. The difference in the

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200 modern era is the apolitical na ture of assassins. No longer solely motivated by frustration at political events, men like Bremer seek fame for its own sake. Newsweek critic Kroll called Taxi Driver a traffic pattern of despair, fear, and frustration and favorably compared the f ilm to the work of Dostoevskys underground man in its examination of loneliness. In addi tion, Kroll drew compar isons to director Sam Peckinpahs depiction of film violence. The climactic blood bath is post-Peckinpah in its choreography of repressed forces blasting their way from deep inside a thwarted personality (82). Kroll, along w ith most critics, also prai sed the intense performance by DeNiro. New Yorker critic Kael gave a positive review to the film. She thought Scorseses appetite for pulp sensationalism made hi m the appropriate director to capture underground resentment of American men ( 82). According to Kael, No other film has ever dramatized urban indifference so powerfu lly (83). She also liked Scorseses ability to draw quality performances from the cast, especially Sheppard and DeNiro. On the other hand, Kael found fault with Herrm anns over-wrought musical score and Scorseses tendency to call attention to his directorial style (85). Kael cited the scene where the camera pans to an empty hallway wh ile the rejected and dejected Travis talks on the phone to Betsy as particularly overdone because it aped strategies used in Antonioni films (85). New York Times critic Canby gave the film a mixed review. He thought that Scorseses direction was fine and DeNiros acting excellent but disliked Schraders script, calling it simplistic. According to Ca nby, At the end you may feel a bit cheated, as you do when the solution of a whodunit fail s to match the grandeur of the crime

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201 (A35). Time Magazine critic Cocks was more negative, charging that the film was an overly familiar case study. He disliked how the film attempted to take a slice of life and turn it into full-scale melodrama. Cocks concluded that social commentary was beyond Scorsese and that the director could only resolve conflict th rough forced violence (Cocks 62). New Republic critic Kauffman liked the film even less. From the opening shot of steam coming out of a manhole, he thought the film was metaphor ically simplistic. Schrader comes under explicit criticism. Ka uffmann accused Schrader of imitating the themes of French director Robert Bresson, cat ering to the audience, and tacking on a fake ending devoid of meaning. He acknowledged the ironic intent of the film but questioned its message. According to Kauffmann, the conc lusion implies either that Travis will kill again or that he achieves a miraculous cu re. Kauffmann thought Herrmanns score to be elephantine and the acting inadequate. He labeled DeNiro superfluous, saying actor Robert Blake could have done as well, and Jodi e Foster as only mini mally effective. In his review, Kauffmann underestim ated the abilities of DeNiro and Foster and betrayed a bit of ageism, criticizing the 33-year-old Scorsese as one of the new, young Hollywood directors who seeks to replace the forced clichs of old Hollywood tinsel, yet only achieves facile naturalism. (Kauffman 18). A New Generation Has Gone Forth Scorsese was part of a new cohort of fil mmakers who adopted a different view of America. Mediated by media versions of r eality, they assumed a more self-reflexively cynical view of the world. For instance, Hal Ashby addressed sexual politics in Shampoo (1975), Paddy Chayefsky, who was not so new, addressed media practices in Network (1976) and John Badham addressed white ethnic aspirations in Saturday Night Fever

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202 (1977). For them, the realm of current social ev ents was dramatically ironic. In order to appreciate their films, the audience require d some prior knowledge of how their themes fit into film history and an understanding that what that was projected on the screen was not to be taken literally. This is not to say that all films of the era were so cynical. Rocky released in the same year as Taxi Driver was very upbeat and Star Wars (1977) presented a mythic hero journey similar in theme to PT109. Perhaps this accounts for their massive box office success. Political films always seem more willing to tackle darker themes. In Taxi Driver Travis Bickle embarks on one of the most nega tive hero journeys in narrative history. He is the anti-Rocky Balboa or an ti-Luke Skywalker in his pursu it of righteousness. Despite their differences, however, it is significant th at all three films present the redemption of society through violence. Whether it be boxing, destruction of a death star or vigilantism, America still valued a strong hand when dealing with perceived threats to its way of life. The stories of Rocky and Star Wars are more reassuring than the nihilistic Taxi Driver This duality represents th e schizophrenic nature of 1970s America. On the one hand, the nation proudly celebra ted its bicentennial. On th e other hand, it fretted over political, economic, and social shortcomings. Taxi Driver relates to the political climate of its time in its expression of an unfoc used rage over these failings, the resulting diminution of political involvement, and a wish for escape to a better world free from duplicity.

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203 CHAPTER 7 INTROSPECTION: THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN (1979) & BEING THERE (1979) But I am in politic s, I am politics. -The Seduction of Joe Tynan In 1976, Jimmy Carter pledged that he w ould never lie to the American people. Carters perceived sincerity helped him to win a close presidential election over the incumbent Ford. Carter, like the fictional Hal Philip Walker, was southern, homespun, and ideologically hazy. Unlike Walker, his or atory was not bombastic At first, Carter was a popular president. His attention to detail and his plainspoken style reassured America. The new president promised to balance the budget, reor ganize the executive branch, deregulate the airline, banking, and communicati on industries while at the same time helping the less fortunate. In an effort to move past the national split over Vietnam, Carter immediately granted a limited pardon to those who re sisted the draft (Schulman 124-125). Carter remained popular into 1977. In a Gallup Poll conducted in March of 1977, 75 % of respondents stated th at they approved of the pr esidents job performance. Unfortunately for Carter, his approval rating would never be as high again. Problems of inflation and energy shortage s eroded his popularity. Carter proposed extremely detailed plans to deal with national problems. These comprehensive plans confused and alienated

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204 the public. Despite Carters efforts, economic and energy problems persisted throughout the remainder of his presidency. By 1979, Cart ers approval rating had declined to 29 %.1 Once again, in the view of the American publ ic, a political leader proved not to be all he seemed. Ironically, the ve ry traits that had propelled Ca rter into office proved to be his undoing. The public voted for Carter b ecause of his mixture of intellect and unassuming style. Disenchantment with Cart er grew because of his insistence on the engineering of policy detail and his inability to inspire hope. Even tually, Carter would fail in his 1980 bid for reelec tion, losing to charismatic fi lm actor Ronald Reagan. Industry Trends By the first year of the Carter presidenc y, the film industry had completely shaken off the slump of the early 1970s. According to Variety the year 1977 was the most profitable in film history with box office revenues topping over $ 2.3 billion. The most popular film of that year, Star Wars was a science fiction saga set in outer space. The film depicted a popular rebellion against an evil empire. In a manner similar to most political films of the era, representatives of the government were evil and the rebels were heroes (: Biggest Y ear in Film History). Star Wars became a blockbuster because of its innovative special effects and dynamic action sequences, as well as because of its idealized view of societys potential 1 In an October, 1977 survey, 35 % of respondents indicated that inflation was the most important problem facing the country, followed by unemployment at 24 % and energy at 18 %. See November 10, Most Important National Problem, Interviewing Date: 21-24 October 1977, Survey # 986-K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -197, v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 1219; For job approval ratings, see April 8, President Carter, Interv iewing Date: 18-21 March 1977, Survey # 970-K, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 1036; and June 29, President Carter, Interviewing Date: 22-25 June 1979, Survey # 131-G, in The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1979 Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1980: 190.

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205 for good. This is in contrast to films about the political process, which by their very nature, question national motivatio ns. It is interesting that Star Wars takes place in a different time and location than 1970s America. This choice allows the film to offer an uplifting message to an American public th at was tired of bad news. In outer space, if not always in the terrestrial realm, the good guys always win. The film expresses faith in a metaphysical force that is responsible for maintaining social harmony. Inclusion of a metaphysical force for good reconnects the film to American core beliefs in self-sacrifice and communal good. The force is available only to an elite group of pure individuals. At the same time, destruction of the empire requires the communal contribution of many different individuals. In Star Wars, social change entails great difficulty, but ultimately it is achieved. In 1977, heroism in space trumped heroism on earth. In that year, Tom Laughlin attempted to release Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977), the fourth film in his very successful Billy Jack series detailing the exploits of a metaphysical martial arts expert. The character Billy Jack, like the Jedi knights in Star Wars champions rebels against those holding power. The film is an updated version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that substitutes manipulation of the nuclear power industry for manipulation of the hydroelectric industry. Despite the Billy Jack series past success, film distributors regarded Billy Jack Goes to Washington of so little potential in terest to their audiences that it never had a re gular theatr ical run. A more successful film about nuclear ener gy is the environmental action thriller The China Syndrome (1979). In a stroke of good fortune for its producers, the film was released concurrent with a highly publicized environmental accident at the Three Mile

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206 Island nuclear power facility in Pennsylvania. As in All the Presidents Men and The Parallax View this film depicts journalists to be more reliable guardians of the publics interest than corporate officials. The China Syndrome also continued a trend, established in many political films of the decade, toward the depiction of cover-ups and ineffectual leadership. Films of this period also began to address the Vietnam War in greater depth. Coming Home (1978) and The Deer Hunter (1978) addressed the ps ychological impact of military engagement upon the individual, and Apocalypse Now (1979) cast the conflict as a national journey into psychosis. Charisma The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979) is about a journey in to neurosis. It is about covering up ones true ambitions, both public a nd personal. The film is similar to and derivative of The Candidate a film that preceded it by seven years. Once again, the trappings of power seduce a handsome young sena tor to betray his integrity. Once again, he must make a choice between career and family. In both films, the lead char acter is a much more charis matic figure than the actual political leaders of their time. In the 1970s, neither Nixon nor Carter could generate as much star power as the fictional McKay or Tynan, not to mention the actors portraying their respective film roles. R obert Redford, who starred in The Candidate, was a highly celebrated film actor and Alan Alda, who starred in The Seduction of Joe Tynan, was an established actor in the extr emely popular television series M*A*S*H. It is not surprising that th e stars of these two political films were so charismatic. Both films were star-driven vehicles, packaged by the lead actors, and designed to appeal to a ready-made fan base. What is surprising is that so many of the po litical leaders of the decade, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, were not very charismatic. These leaders came from an

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207 earlier generation than that which matured in this period. Their public images favored Fords over Lincolns and peanuts over fancy cu isine. In this sense, the leaders of the 1970s were out of step with the times. As the children of the television generation matured, the face of politics would literally chan ge. In future decades, fictional characters like Joe Tynan and Bill McKay would become more representative of what a successful political leader looked like. Not only is Tynan charismatic, he is e ffective. Unlike McKay, or the real life Carter, Tynans service in the senate provides him with the inside knowledge required to manipulate the system in order to further his political agenda. As a result, Tynan does not suffer from policy gridlock or malaise. He is the very model of what the electorate desires in a leader. This was especi ally true of times of econom ic, energy, and foreign policy crisis like those experienced by America the late 1970s. The Seduction of Joe Tynan is unique in the 1970s in its portrayal of a political insider as lead characte r. In this entire study so far, no lead political character begins a film in governmental office a nd successfully remains there for the films duration. Most are either seeking office, forced by circumst ances to assume the burden of office, or subjected to investigation while in offi ce. Many films focus on those working in opposition to government. Almost uniformly, those already in power are evil or irrelevant. Joe Tynan possesses only a touch of evil, a nd as such, presages political depictions contained in films of more recent vintage. Despite his flaws, Tyna n has some redeeming qualities. He is as a champion of civil right s and loves his family. In the film, Tynans political liberalism defines him as capable of redemption. The ends justify the means.

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208 This film suggests that, although the political system around him is evil, strong men like Tynan can bend it to their will in or der to the benefit of society. Ambition The premise of The Seduction of Joe Tynan is that ambition can undermine friendship and family. The film opens with a montage of inner-city children experiencing the patriotically inspiring monuments of Wa shington D.C. In ironic contrast, the next scene transitions to the nearly empty United States Senate Chamber where Tynan delivers an impassioned speech to empty chairs and a few bored senators seen reading newspapers or conversing. How ma ny children can this nation afford to let go hungry? Tynan asks, knowing that his histrionics go unnoticed. This scene establishes Tynan as a clever, yet caring professional, the other senators as polit ical hacks, and confirms real life concerns that the political leaders of the 1970s do not care about grid lock. It is interesting to contrast Tynans senate chamber speech with Jefferson Smiths in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The earlier rendition is both impassione d and earnest while Tynans speech is impassioned yet self-aware. Tynan knows that politics is also s how business and that he is really performing for the media. Tynan is astute at the bu siness of politics. He promises his political rival and mentor Louisiana Senator Birney (Melvyn Douglas) that he will not oppose the appointment of Supreme Court nominee Anders on. Senator Birney, who is getting old and a bit senile, wants the man appointed so th at he will not have to run against him in a state election. The film establishes a collegial relationship between th e conserve Senators Birney and Kittner (Rip Torn) and the liber al New York Senator Tynan. They meet in private basement offices where Kittner and Tynan engage in a bipartisan food-eating contest while discussing politics with Birne y. This competition establishes a connection

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209 between Tynans appetites for food and fo r power. Later scenes will expand Tynans appetites to include sex. Tynans chief of staff, Francis (Charles Kimbrough), wishes that his boss had tried to extract more from Birney in exchange for noninvolvement. Once again, the unelected political staffer fills the role of villain. S oon, Andersons racist past catches up to him and Francis sees great potential. It seems ther e is an old kinescope of the Supreme Court nominee saying, In my heart, I have never accepted integration and I never will. No one thought that the kinescope still existed, bu t rumors of its discovery now had surfaced. An African American community leader m eets with Tynan to discuss the film. He threatens to release the nominees statement with or without Tynans support. When the community leader leaves, Tynan indicates that he does not think that the nominee is now a racist to which Francis replies, He is to them and also its a he ll of an opportunity. Still, Tynan states his reluctance to, bet ray a friend for the sake of opportunity. In an effort to seek more proof as to th e nominees racist leanings, Tynan travels to Louisiana. Once there, he joins southern la bor leader, Karen Traynor (Meryl Streep) in search of the kinescope copy. They fly in an airplane, piloted by Traynor, to a remote soybean field where Tynan attempts to pers uade a black woman congressional candidate to give him the kinescope. The title of the f ilm implies that Tynan is the one seduced, but throughout the film, he is the one who persuades people to act against th eir best interests. The candidate points out that sh e risks a great deal by aiding T ynan and that he stands to gain far more by this political gambit. As a minority candidate in 1970s America, she must avoid racial issues th at could compromise her an ticipated Democratic Party campaign funding and organizational support. In spite of her reluctance, she agrees to

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210 turn over the kinescope to Tynan who then pr omises to remember her favorably when he ascends to power. Traynor and Tynan obtain the kinescope a nd eagerly view its damning content. A flirtatious relationship begins to take hold. In the senators office, he kisses Traynor and confesses, I think Im infatuated with you, you remind me of John F. Kennedy. If you looked behind his eyes you could see his intel ligence, his wit, his compassion, just like you to which Traynor asks, Did you make a pass at Kennedy? After bedding Traynor, the couple eats in bed, discuss political strategy, and engage in a food fight. The film portrays Tynans marital indisc retion as romantical ly humorous. Other politicians do not fair as well. Uncouth Senator Kittner provides comedic relief when caught receiving oral sex under his desk in hi s senate office--the ultimate under-the-table political deal. Later, Kittners wife sees hi m dancing lasciviously with a young woman at a political cocktail party. Tynan advises Kittn ers wife to go on vacation together with the senator in order to reesta blish marital bonds, but she responds, why would I take a vacation with him, I wont even drink out of the same cup as him. The film differentiates between charismatic and non-charis matic leaders. Tynan is more suave than his ill-mannered colleague is and for this reas on, alone he is a more legitimate leader. Domestic Conflict The film offers little new about the seducti ve nature of politics, but it does provide a new perspective on the personal life of politi cal leaders. Several scenes incorporate family dinners and domestic life. Tynan has a tryst with Traynor, but he still loves his wife. Just as Tynan is the model charismatic politician of the late twentieth century, his wife Ellie (Barbara Harris) is the model pol itical wife. She is attractive, loyal, and intelligent. Unfortunately, for Tynan, she dislik es politics. An early exchange establishes

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211 their relationship when Ellie complains a bout campaigning with her husband as he makes the same boring speech everyday. According to Ellie, I may not like politics, but I love you to which Tynan replies, but I am in politics, I am politics. Later a prying reporter tricks Ellie to reveal her distaste for politics. This revelation angers Tynan who asks, How could you let her get you to run down politics like that? Her error precipitated a domestic squabble. In the same story, Ellie also reveals having received psychiatric treatment in the past due to a miscarriage experienced while campaigning for her husband. Ellie, now recovered from her illness, works in New York City at a prominent psychoanalytic clinic. This too causes friction in the marriage because Tynan would like her to give up her career and move to Washington to be a dutiful senators wife, and presumabl y, forestall temptation from Traynor. The film sets up a dichotomy between ho memaker and career woman; however, the film favors the more glamorous Traynor. Tr aynor has many traits that Tynan finds captivating. She wears suits, has long hair, sm okes cigarettes, flies an airplane, has a father who is a career politician and speaks glowingly of the impact Tynan will make with his opposition to Anders on. Tynan feels conf lict between his commitment to his wife and his attraction to this modern, femini st woman. The fact that Ellie also wants a career and Traynor already has a husband further complicates the matter. By this point in time, American woman were moving into care ers in ever-greater numbers as a matter of personal choice as well as their familys econom ic necessity. As in the film, adaptation to new gender roles did not always go smoothly. The Ellie/Traynor split in The Seduction of Joe Tynan reflects the 1970s cultural battle fought over womans role in society. Ellie represents the woman as homemaker

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212 whereas Traynor represents feminism. In 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment and sent it to state legislators for ratification. At first, the amendment enjoyed easy confirmation. By 1973, thirty stat es had ratified, but the amendment became bogged down after the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision legali zed abortion. By 1977, thirty-five out of a required thirty-ei ght states had ratified the amendment. Ultimately, no more states would back the am endment and it failed to gain ratification. By the time of the films re lease, the legislation was mo ribund, but still a subject of intense debate (Schulman 168-169). In The Seduction of Joe Tynan the conflict between career woman and wife plays out neatly for the always-fortunate Tynan. The senator gets to romance a Kennedyesque woman without promise of commitment. Tyna n can leave Traynor at any time without fear of losing of her suppor t in their efforts to thwa rt Andersons Supreme Court nomination. Reconciling with hi s wife proves to be more difficult for Tynan, but not impossible. Ellie finds out about her husband s affair and reacts with anger. Tynan assures Ellie that everything he cares about in his life was a result of their joint efforts, implying that he values domestic life more than politics. Eventually, she too will acquiesce to his wishes. The Seduction Of Joe Tynan reflects ambivalence toward the changing gender roles. Tynan is attracted to Traynors power, but in the end chooses the safety of traditional marriage. Traynor might be a dalliance for Tynan, but his true love is wielding political power. Senator Birney once again asks Tyna n not to block Andersons nomination. When pleading does not work, Birney threatens to bot tle up all of Tynans future legislation in committee. Birneys threats do not faze T ynan. He skillfully grills Anderson during

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213 confirmation hearings before the Senate. Ande rson claims not to have made the racist remarks, allowing Tynan an opening to ask A nderson if he would like to see film of the event. The revelation of a smoking gun cause s a Watergate-like sensation within the Senate chamber and generates huge medi a attention for the telegenic Tynan. Tynans crusade against Anderson receives attention from the party hierarchy. He obtains an opportunity to give a nomina ting speech before the Democratic National Convention. The senator knows that if this sp eech goes well, so will his political future. Before his speech, Tynan meets backstage with Ellie. The film takes a melodramatic turn as Tynan asks Ellie for another chance and promises to pay more attention to his neglected family. Tynans stated motivation for this promise is his love of Ellie, but it could also be his need for the show of public support from his political wife. The couple then reconciles while exchanging know ing looks during Tyna ns career making performance. Ambition is Tynans other mistress, a mistre ss that Ellie can never defeat. The film suggests that such seductive political leader s will, and should, rise to power. Their legitimacy to govern derives from an ability to manage events rather than ethical or ideological purity. The Seduction of Joe Tynan offers the vision of an effective, liberal politician in marked contrast to the perceive d malaise of the Carter presidency. In this sense, the film represents a wish to return to an era of strong leaders and a trust that they will do what is best to improve society. Creative Influences Alda, who wrote the films screenplay, wa nted to create a motion picture that would address the tension between private life and success. The film and television actor was familiar with this tension due to a lifet ime spent in show business. Alda recognized

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214 the many parallels between show business a nd politics. His successf ul run in M*A*S*H often required that he fly back and forth betw een a sound stage in California and home in New Jersey in order to visit his wife Arlene and their three children. Alda was aware of the strain this arrangement placed upon a marriage. Accord ing to Alda, most men feel that family kind of works on its own steam and you can keep the family on the self for a while, while you do this other, so-called, tr uly important work of you business, your career. 2 Aldas professed awareness of gender issues led him into the political arena. Alda became very committed to campaigning for the ERA. During a ten-year period, he took time out from his acting career to appear in local churches and town halls lobbying for ratification of the amendment. In the key state of Illinois, he addressed the state legislature, only to encounter catcalls. Aldas experience in politics left him with a negative impression. According to Alda, Ive met too many pe ople in state legislatures who didnt even seem especially inspired by the founding fathers (sic); if theyd ever heard of them. In addition, Alda was discourag ed to learn that some legislators offered to trade votes in exchange for participation in parades or for arrangement of sexual favors (175-176). Alda expresses his distaste for political hacks in The Seduction of Joe Tynan In the film, Tynan offers encouragement to a veteran senator who is in the midst of losing a roll call vote. The vanquished sena tor rejects Tynans encouragement saying, I wont be here next session, Ive had enough. After a while, you start to forget what youre here for 2 Alda wrote several episodes of M*A*S*H from 1973 -1982, but this was his first screenplay, see Kaye D1.

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215 and then getting clout and keeping it is all there is. You start lyi ng to your constituents, your colleagues, to everybody, and you forget what you thought you ca red most about in life. In this film, even the insiders want term limits. Alda stated that The Seduction of Joe Tynan was not autobiographical, but his own experiences certainly must have influenced the films content. In his memoir, Alda recounts his life-long struggle with his moth ers psychiatric disorder. Her infirmity progressed from eccentric episodes as a young mo ther, to mental illness, and finally to her death while Alda worked on M*A*S*H. Al das experience with his mothers illness certainly informed his sympathetic characteriza tion of Ellies despair at being a political wife as well as with Senator Birn eys early stage dementia (171-174). Critical Reaction Newsweek Critic David Ansen thought the film to be intelligent and beautifully acted (62). Christian Science Monitor critic David Serritt gave the film credit for making useful observations on politics (A19). Washington Post critic Judith Martin labeled The Seduction of Joe Tynan a rare film of subtle political satire that refuses to rehash the story of a politician lusting fo r success, instead choosing to tell a more complicated story of managing success (A29) According to Martin, the senators dual nature was fascinating. The senator campa igns against the Supreme Court nominee despite acknowledging the man is not a racist. In addition, Tynan is immoral, not because of traditional notions of sin, but because he is not torn between wife and mistress and would like to keep the support of both (A29). Other reviews were not as positive. Time Magazine critic Frank Rich acknowledged Aldas breakthrough performance and the work of actors Streep, Douglas, and Torn, but found Aldas script to be ove rambitious. According to Rich, the script

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216 contained, an exhausting round robin of ethical and personal conflicts for its hero (56). In contrast to Martin, Rich thought the conflicts and thei r resolution predictable and dated. Rich also thought director Jerry Schatzbergs use of s tale details made the film look like a rehash of 1950s political dramas (56). The New Yorker critic Veronica Geng also disliked Schatzbergs dire ction, especially what she consid ered to be clichd shots of hats and confetti at the Democratic Nationa l Convention and the too pat concluding scene of Ellie signaling her reacceptance of T ynan by twitching her mouth and holding a paper flag (89). New York Times critic Janet Maslin felt that th e film tried to achieve simplistic solutions to complex problems. In one scene, Tynan is busy preparing for a possible presidential campaign, and then suddenly returns home to te nd to the problems of his teen-aged daughter without an explanation as to how the campaign could spare him. Maslin also notes how implausibly easy it is for Tynan to resolve the situation between his wife and mistress without massive reperc ussions. Most interes tingly, Maslin points out the misnomer contained in the movies title. According to Maslin, Tynan is not passive enough to be seduced, nor is he obs essed enough to care only for political life (C6). New Republic critic Stanley Kauffman found The Seduction of Joe Tynan interesting because it dea lt with a different sort of politic al life. He applauded its focus on the day-to-day reality of life in office. Acco rding to Kauffman, most political films begin with campaigns and end with elections; few pi ck up the story after that point. Up until this time, few films depicted the consequen ces of victory on the public and personal lives of politicians (25).

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217 Dual Nature As Kauffman noted, The Seduction of Joe Tynan is unique for its time in portraying the home-life of politicians. Until this period, in film and real life, the private affairs of leaders remained somewhat obscured. A tacit agreement existed between the press and the powerful that insured circumspection in private matters, but the glare of media gradually penetrated the wall of confidentiality. The public craved information about their leaders and cultural icons as never before. The August 1977 death of musical icon Elvis Presley resulted in a massive wave of book publishing, memorabilia sales and even house tours of his mansion, all devo ted to knowing the real Elvis. The need to know about private lives gra dually extended into politics as the pubic took interest, as never before, in whether thei r president lusted in his heart or how the first lady viewed important national issues. Past first ladies had conducted televised White House tours and attended state dinners, but in this era, they moved from their husbands shadows to being co campaigners. The lives of Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter now became newsworthy. On a positive note, increased familiarity brought the public closer to its leaders. On the other hand, increased fa miliarly eroded the ceremonial dignity of public office. Tynan espouses a belief in family values a nd almost half of the film deals with his relations with his son, daughter, and wife. He and his wife Ellie struggle to balance career and private life in a manner familiar to th e increasing number of two income American families of the decade. This novel insight into domestic politics might account for Kaufmans favorable assessment of the film. Tynan is a political animal as well as a family man.

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218 As Martin maintained, Tynan did possess a dua l nature; in the film, he professes to love his family, but conducts an extramarital affair. Despite his wifes distaste for politics, Tynan induces Ellie to return to his si de when he requires her to be on display in public life. After his affair wi th Traynor, Tynan returns to his wife, but at some cost to her emotional well-being. Ellie does not want to be a political wife. She wishes to pursue a career in New York, but she will not be able to do so if her husband achieves higher office in Washington. A second facet of Tynans dual nature reveal s itself in his political life. Just as Tynan experiences ambivalence between his mist ress and wife, so too does he experience a dichotomy between liberals and conservatives. Tynan pr omotes high profile liberal issues in public, but spends mo st of his quality ti me with conservative colleagues. In his personal life, Tynan has a dall iance with the wild side of life and returns to a more conservative lifestyle. In politics, Tynan reve rses this choice. Despite his word to the contrary, Tynan quite willingly rescinds his promise of noninvolvement to Senator Birney. The fact that he does so in the stat ed cause of furthering civil rights is an interesting aspect of the film. The film, ironically, depicts Tynan as a hero for his opposition to Senator Birney. This forces the audience to ask, if Tynan can so readily abandon his mentor, will he not also abandon th e cause of civil rights when it becomes politically expedient? Although Kaufman thought the film unique in its lack of cynicism, the film does contain a number of weighted comparisons. The issue of racism makes Anderson a very easy target for Tynan. In addition, conservati ve Senator Kittner is impossibly uncouth, while liberal senator Tynan remains suave, even while besting Kittner at their gumbo-

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219 eating contest. Senator Birney approaches se nile dementia while Tynan remains mentally sharp and even sympathetic toward the elderl y politician. Kittner and Birney also make convenient foes for Tynan. Their personali ties are no match for Tynans charisma; therefore, their political positions must be susp ect. Perhaps it would be more interesting if the filmmakers had included less clear-cut c hoices between competing political factions. Tynan also escapes blame for compromisi ng his integrity. According to the film, political pressure compels him to rescind his political promises, his wifes shrewish lack of commitment to politics makes him seek a nother woman, and his lover is so captivating that he cannot resist her char ms. Finally, the fact that f ilm and television star Alda portrays Tynan seduces the audi ence into identifying with the senator. The film implies that politics is a realm contro lled by those with the countenan ce of movie stars rather than by those who posses the ability to govern. The Me Decade The Seduction of Joe Tynan indicts a prevalent attitude in what has derisively been called The Me Decade. The popular perception has come to be that the 1960s were a period of altruistic social activism and th e 1970s a period of excessive self-interest. Others contend that to view the 1970s as devoid of political involvement because of a decline in mass-movement politics is inco rrect. According to Michael Nevin Willard, those who label the decade as apolitical suffer from 1960s era nostalgia or historical amnesia. Willard contends that the decade was immersed in c onflict as the system of political accountability and the administrati ve intervention in (and oversight of) the

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220 economic and social instituti ons that made industrial soci ety possible were taken apart and reassembled. 3 The Seduction of Joe Tynan shares the popular anti-Me Decade position. In the struggle between what is best for the indivi dual versus what is best for the community, Tynan certainly favors his own self-interests The character continually indulges his various appetites without concern for others In addition, the sena tor avoids paying the price for any of his actions. Ironically, the wo rse Tynan behaves, the more he succeeds. For example, even though Tynan goes back on his word to the conservative wing of his party, Senator Kittner still glowingly in troduces him at the national convention. Tynan is not the only self-centered ch aracter. His children pout over meal selections, his wife complains about submitti ng to an interview, his chief of staff jealously guards access to him and his ment or refuses to step down from the Senate despite encroaching senility. In the film, confor mity to social norms is not valued when it gets in the way of gratification. The film is ambivalent on this point however, at once condemning self-interest and rewarding charac ters who put themselves above the needs of others. Interestingly, the only truly altruistic character is labor lawyer Traynor. For this, she pays a price. This symbolic, career woma n maintains integrity by walking away from her love affair with Tynan and returning to a more stai d relationship with her husband. On the other hand, the symbolic traditiona l woman Ellie chooses to remain at her husbands side, but ironically, will now have to embark on a public career. The Tynan family must leave its home in New York and go on the campaign trial. The film calls into 3 For a discussion of opposing views on relative le vels of political awareness in the Me Decade, see Willard 182-183 and Schulman 193-199.

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221 question the bedrock nature of the family as the fundamental American social unit. Tynan returns to his wife and children, but none of his familys issues have been resolved. The end of this film is much different from The Candidate Tynan suffers from marital malaise but not from political malaise. Here, the films solutions are a bit simplistic. Tynan is definitely not apolitical and unlike McKay, has a plan of action. One gets the sense that he will succeed in fu lfilling his political am bitions. He will suffer momentary remorse over compromising his personal integrity, but will survive unscathed. In politics, as in sausage making, it is best that one not que stion the attainment of results. The self-indulgent characters in The Seduction of Joe Tynan are perhaps a more genuine depiction of the American people than displayed in previous political films. A democratic form of government promotes self -interest so it should not be surprising that the motivations of American citizens are not always altruistic. There has always been a duality in the American psyc he, a conflict between indivi dual and community. This was especially so in the uncertain transitional period of the 1970s. In the words of a popular Fleetwood Mac song of the era, You can go your own way, but dont go away (Buckingham). The dual nature of the film inco rporates a chastisemen t of the politics of self-absorbsion along with an acknowledgement of the inherent fallibility of political leaders. Changing Channels The film Being There (1979) takes self-abs orption to the ultima te degree. The main character of the film Chaun cey (Peter Sellers) has no thought s of his own except those acquired through endless hours watching tele vision. Chauncey is a blank slate and absorbs whatever attitudes others project on him. Those who encounter Chauncey seem

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222 extremely gullible. When Chauncey talks about gardening procedures, they assume that he is speaking in metaphor. Seeing themselves mirrored in Chaunceys responses, they think him profound. Chauncey is so proficient at spoutin g perceived metaphors that he acquires a reputation as an economic sage. Eventually Chauncey develops into a potential presidential candidate. This very cynical film reduces democracy to the absurd. According to Being There the electorate is easily convin ced to back any leader capable of parroting their thoughts. It makes no differen ce if the leader does so with or without awareness of their own actions. This is a hars h indictment of politic ians and of voters; ironically, it came at a time wh en the political process became more transparent. Thanks to investigative journalists and increased media attention during the decade, people found out more about their leaders, maybe more than they really wanted to know. At the same time, political communication strategies became much more sophisticated and manipulative. Chauncey has spent his entire life as a gardener in the employ of a wealthy Washington businessman. He has never learned to read or write, drive a car, and has never left the businessmans townhouse. He ha s no social security number, or paper trail. Even his clothes are not his own. Chauncey wears old suits donated from his employer. The seemingly autistic Chauncey spends every minute he can viewing television. Chauncey learns all of his lif e lessons from the tube includ ing such mundane activities as exercising and shaking hands. The film attacks the banality of popular culture at every turn, suggesting that America has become a nation of video obsessed idiots.

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223 This was not a new complaint. In 1961, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Newton Minnow addressed th e National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on the need for television to serve the public interest. In his speech to the industry executives, he labeled te levision a vast wasteland. This sentiment resonated with many intellectual and cultural elit es who thought the masses needed paternalistic protection from their own worst impulses.4 In addition to government officials like Minow, even veterans of the television industrys golden age of cr itically acclaimed live producti ons chose to attack the medium. In 1976, former television sc reenwriter Paddy Chayefskys film Network (1976) deconstructed the myth of broadcast news cred ibility. In the film, th e industrys instinct for profit corrupted the journali stic mission of a network news program turning it into an entertainment program. Of course, Chayef sky was swimming in the same pool of entertainment while he was criticizing television. If an entertaining film, like his Network could serve to educate the audience, could not an entertaining news program do the same? Network also contained the quintessential popular response to a decade of frustrating social and political transitions. In the film, a ne twork news anchor screams, Im mad as hell and Im not going to take it anymore. Pressure from the broadcast industry drove the news anchor to insanity, a characterization that implied that all things influenced by television were in dang er of sliding into madness. The film Being There adopted a similar dismissive view of modern media culture. The film also implies a desire to return to a supposed ly ideal age of high culture. Note that most scenes take 4 Minow continues to criticize the television industry and to advocate increased public service requirements. See Jones 3-8.

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224 place within a stately mansion and are augmented by symphonic music on the sound track. Throughout the film, the chaotic modern world only intrudes into the characters lives through the television sc reen or during Chaunceys br ief trek through a Washington ghetto. This film is positively Socratic in it s political stance. Accord ing to the film, the masses are as unworthy of power as are the plutocrats. The Rich, They Are Not Like Us When the old man expires, Chauncey lose s his status as gardener and must move out of the businessmans brownstone. He exits the house for the first time in his life, not to symphonic music, but to a jazz-fusion rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss A more traditional version of this work was used in 2001 A Space Odyssey (1968) to herald in the birth of a new age of humanity in outer space. Here, Chauncey emerges to what has become an inner-city ghetto. He begins walking the streets of Washington. When confronted by a youth gang, Chauncey attempts to use his television remote control to change the channel. For Chauncey, television is more r eal than reality. After wandering around Washington for a day, Chauncey happens upon an image of himself displayed on a large screen television on display in a department store window. Chauncey is so interested in his own image that he absentmindedly backs up into traffic and is hit by a limousine that belongs to Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), th e wife of prominent businessman Benjamin Rand (Melvyn Douglas). Actor Douglas seems to have specialized in portraying elderly men of power who succumb to old age or illness. In The Candidate, The Seduction of Joe Tynan and here he plays a role that symbolizes a connecti on between established power and decrepitude.

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225 Seeking to avoid litigation, Mrs. Rand offers to take Chauncey to her mansion in order to allow her husbands doc tor to examine him. She offers Chauncey a drink and asks his name. When he says his true name Chance the gardener while choking on alcohol, Mrs. Rand takes him to say Chauncey Ga rdiner. It will be the first in a series of misunderstandings of what Chance/Chauncey ha s said. Because Chauncey is dressed in his former employers expensive suit, the Rands jump to the conclusion that he must be a successful executive. While talk ing over dinner, Chauncey tells his hosts that he had to leave his house. The Rands mistake this statem ent to mean that he has lost his business due to a financial reversal. Rand expresse s sympathy for Chauncey and states his contempt for the governments hars h treatment of business leaders. Being There depicts the upper class as extremel y dense. In the film, the wealthy make an easy target. Rand is obviously not part of the middle class nor does he care about their basic freedoms. The film trades on both liberal and conservative fears that Washington fat cats have gained control of the nations economy and act as its kingmakers. In this sense, the film refl ects the anti-Washington populism that helped Carter, and later Reagan, to achieve the pr esidency. Carter began his campaign as an unknown personality upon which th e electorate could project its hopes and aspirations. Reagan was more of a known political comm odity who embraced many positions that Rand would have admired. Interestingly, the pub lic did not view Reagan as a plutocrat. He was able to project a populist pers ona that resonated with voters. The Wise Fool Rand is dying of Aplastic Anemia and ha ving Chauncey around serves to lift his spirits. When the President of the United St ates (Jack Warden) pays a visit to discuss national affairs, Mr. Rand insures that his new friend Chauncey is there as well. The

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226 single joke of the movie is that no one except Mr. Rands physician, Dr. Allenby (Richard Dysart), ever realizes that Chaun cey is simple minded. Dr. Allenby, as a man of science, serves as a Socratic observer. He questions events but does not intrude upon their outcome. The president, along with Chauncey, joins Mr. Rand in his massive library to discuss the nations business cycle. The pr esident solicits advi ce on his proposal to improve the economy. Rand tends to disagree wi th the president and asks his new friend Chauncey what he thinks. After a long pause that is taken by the ot her men as careful deliberation, but more likely to be incomprehension, Chauncey replies. As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well in the garden. To this respons e the president looks confused but Chauncey continues, In a garden gr owth has its season, first comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter and then we get spring and summer again. The president and Rand are still confused until Rand concludes that Chauncy must be speaking in metaphor. Rand interprets Cha unceys statement as a comparison between the cycles of nature and the American busin ess cycle. Rands conservative heart loves the idea that neither requires tampering. When Ch auncey assures them that there will be growth again in the spring, he literally means in a real garden--not a metaphorical one. At this point even the president begins hear ing what he wants to hear and considers Chaunceys analysis refreshing and optim istic. Chauncey is the ultimate political pundit, capable of spouting authoritative-sound ing predictions in convenient sound bite packages. The film suggests that real life political commentators are no more aware of economic reality than Chauncey and that they march lemming--like toward embracing fashionable trends of thought.

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227 Soon Chauncey becomes a media celebr ity. The financial reporter for the Washington Post calls him for a clarification of hi s relationship to the Rand owned First American Financial Corporation. Unfortunate ly, Chauncey is busy watching television when the call reaches him. He tells the reporte r to talk to Rand instead of him, and puts the receiver down. The re porter takes this action as evidence of Chaunceys laconic nature and mastery at playing his cards cl ose to the vest. Ironically, Chaunceys unwillingness and inability to articulate thoughts gains him even more credibility with the media. The less he says the smarter he seems. According to theological scholar Peter Pha n, the concept of the wise fool has been a staple of both western and eastern philos ophy. With every advance in human existence, most cultures have experienced nostalgia for a simpler, nonempirical path to wisdom, a path where the wise are foolish and the foolis h are wise. The prototyp ical wise fool was Socrates. In his rhetorical conversations, Socrates feigned ignorance with his supposedly superior foes until his innocent questions gradually undermined their philosophical positions. Other examples of the wise fool include the Zen Buddhist concept of holy madness that leads to enlightenment and the Christian traditions emulation of Christ the Fool who faithfully surrendered himself to the benevolence of higher power (730753). The wise fool entered the world of politic s with the establishment of the medieval court jester, a comedic performer who could sa vagely mock the powerful, yet felt no fear of retribution. The idea of wise fool reached its fullest expression in the Renaissance, typified by the character of Don Quixote, a man tilting at windmills. Phan sees the Renaissance as a time of transition be tween the Middle Ages and modernity and

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228 compares it to our own. According to Phan, pe riods of transition require mechanisms to hold tensions together whether it is betw een rationality and irra tionality or between wisdom and folly (746). In times of crisis, the American republic has often embraced the leadership of holy fools, or at the very least of wise innocents According to this line of thought, providence chose George Washington over the more expe rienced Jefferson and Franklin to be the father of his country. Born in a log cabin, Abraham Lincoln wrote his lessons on the back of a shovel. He then emerged from relative obscurity to lead the nation through the civil war. On a more dangerous level, Senato r Joe McCarthy reported knowledge of far reaching Communist cold war conspiracies re vealed only to him. All of these widely believed myths belie the true nature of much more complex men. In times of transition, people seek the reassura nce of enlightenment. The 1970s were a period of transition be tween the postwar liberal consensus and the conservative ascendancy under Reagan. This period required mechanisms to bridge the gap between eras, and modern holy fools such as Chauncey Gardener filled that role. The character of Chauncey, like the Renaissa nce court jester, or hugely successful 1970s comedian Steve Martin, obtains license to poke holes in the foibles of the modern world through his foolish wisdom. Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me! Media Reality Chauncey draws the attenti on of the producers of a national television talk show. They offer him a chance to appear on the program, an offer to which he readily agrees. When told that more people will tune in to see him in one night on the talk show than have witnessed all of Shakespeares plays, Chauncey innocently asks why? once again displaying the filmmakers bi as against television.

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229 Once on the talk show, Chauncey continues to speak of gardening. Others mistake this as political metaphor. The host maneuve rs Chauncey to question the presidents competency asking him do you feel that we ha ve in your words a very good gardener in office at this time? At this point in the f ilm, there is a cut to a disgusted president. Chauncey eventually agrees that the nation needs a lot of gardening, producing even more apoplexy in the president. One wo rd from a total unknown on a talk show undermines his entire economic policy. Soon af ter Chaunceys critic al appearance, the president begins to experience sexual im potence due to increasing anxiety over his national image. Once again, the film contains a connection between sex and politics at a most elemental level. Those with power are ab le to perform; those who are weak are not able to perform. Politics is all about potency. Chaunceys punditry extends to foreign rela tions. He and Mrs. Rand attend a party given for the Russian ambassador. Chauncey es corts the now infatuated Mrs. Rand with the blessings of Mr. Rand. At the party, a sena tor informs the guests that the ever more famous Chauncey is both a lawyer, a doctor and speaks multiple languages. A book editor offers Chauncey a contract to which he replies I cant write. The editor takes this as a witty observation on mode rn life and he offers the service of a ghostwriter to which Chauncey replies, I cant read. The film repeatedly attacks the elitism of the upper class, but it also contains inherent elitis m of its own by suggesting illiteracy among the great-unwashed masses. Rand grows ever fonder of Chauncey and in preparation of his death begins transferring shares of stock in his company to him. Rand also encourages his wife to sleep with Chauncey, but the asexual Chauncey claims that he only likes to watch,

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230 meaning watch television not sex. Mrs. Rand, however, takes this to mean that Chauncey wishes to watch as she pleasures herself. Ironically, she experiences her peak sexual experience. In sex and in politics, he who governs least governs best. Rands disease progresses and he dies. Th e film ends at his funeral where the president commemorates Rand with the man s own words. In the ultimate straw man argument he is quoted as saying, I have no use for those on welfare, no patience whatsoever. But if I am to be honest with my self, I must admit that they have no use for me either. As the president speaks, six pallbe arers take Rands coffin up a series of steps to his crypt. The grey old men plan for the nations future leader ship. They want to replace the sitting president b ecause they agree that to have him run for a second term would be a disaster. After discussing a couple of options for potential replacements, they land on Chauncey. The grey old men express whispered concerns about Chaunceys lack of a past, but conclude that this lack could be an asset in politics. A mans past cripples him. His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny. The men agree that Chauncey would be perfect for the job; he has no reco rd on issues that coul d be held against him and after his appearance on the national talk show, his approval rating was an incredible 95 % positive. The faceless kingmakers agree that this is why they must implement Rands final wishes and back Chauncey. While they negotia te the fate of the nation, Chauncey walks off to a nearby pond. He straight ens a little shrub tree then be gins to literally walk out onto the water. Here again we see the holy fool. Chauncey does not sink as he moves forward on the liquid surface. Chauncey tests the waters depth by placing his umbrella in

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231 to the hilt while the president quotes Rands fi nal observation that life is a state of mind. Who are we to trust? According to the f ilm, media is a tool of Fascism, the upper class is dim-witted, and the average citizen is easily swayed. Democratic institutions do not safeguard against despotism and rationalism bows to the fool. Of co urse, this film, as is the case with many political films, is dida ctic in nature. It captured a general unease with the current state of affairs and re commends increased scrutiny of all social institutions. The film also promotes the need for a philosopher king who could rise above the self-absorbed materialism of capitalist and the media obsession of the masses. Production History Being There was a collaborative effort of thre e individuals: author Jerzy Kosinski, director Hal Ashby and actor Peter Sellers Kosinski, a childhood survivor of the Holocaust, immigrated to the United States in 1957, where he studied Sociology at Columbia University. Eight years later, he published his first and most successful novel, The Painted Bird based on his own experiences as a homeless, mute child escaping the Nazis in his native Poland. Th e novel established Kosinskis international reputation as an author, but came to haunt him in later years. Polish authorities reacted to the publishing of The Painted Bird by accusing Kosinski of natio nal slander. Later, in 1982, they accused Kosinski of plagiarizing all of his fictional works including Being There. Kosinski denied these allegations and many pr ominent authors rose to his defense (Corry D1; Rothstein A10). Kosinski wrote Being There in 1971 as a commentary on the influence of television and celebrity in America. Kosinski was ahead of the curve in his understanding of media culture in America. (The final release of the film in 1979 might put it a bit behind the

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232 curve) Kosinski saw celebrity as devoid of depth. It is based on appearing as a man of importance. The question asked is not is he a good man? its what circles does he move in? According to Kosinski, Martha Mitchell, the wife of discredi ted Attorney General John Mitchell, was similar to Chauncey Gardin er because, the more pathetic and sick she was, the more of a celebrity she became (Harmetz C18). As further evidence of the vacuous nature of celebrity, Kosinski also re ferred to a survey that indicated 88 % of the voters who cast ballots for Republican presid ential candidate Pete McCloskey had done so because he seemed sincere on television ra ther than because of their understanding of his political position on the issues (C18). Soon after publishing the novel, Kosinski received a cable from Peter Sellers indicating his intense interest in portraying the character of Chauncey. Over the years, actor Sellers had acquired a reput ation for his ability to disappear into his film roles, an ability that made him similar to and perf ect for the portrayal of a cipher such as Chauncey. Sellers went so far as to pretend to be the character every time he chanced to meet Kosinski in public. Eventually, Kosins ki began to receive reports that several Hollywood producers were soliciting scripts simila r in plot to his novel. He then decided to sell a screenplay of his wo rk with the caveat that Sellers receive the lead role in the film (Harmetz D1). Sellers, along with Ashby, brought the project to Lorimar in 1978. Ashby had a career as a successful film editor before moving to the directors chair. He had created several films tinged with sociopol itical commentary including Shampoo (1975) dealing with the self-centered narcissism of a Los Angeles hair dresser, Bound For Glory (1976) the story of folk singer Woody Guthrie, and Coming Home (1978) dealing with re-

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233 assimilation to society after horrific Viet nam wartime experiences. Ashby was a good fit as director. He understood the delicate hand re quired to interpret Kosinskis metaphorical work. The balance is just in credible. It could be ruined in a second if you let it become too broad. Peters character is a s ponge. ( Harmetz D19). Transition from novel to film required cha nges. In the novel, Chaunceys youthful attractiveness accounted for some of his abilit y to transfix those around him. In the film, Chauncey is much older due to his portrayal by Sellers. In addition, th e setting of the film moved from New York to Washington thus em phasizing the political aspects of the story. In one sense, Sellers was the perfect actor fo r the role based on his sponge-like ability to inhabit characters, on the other hand a younge r actor would have rendered Chauncey less idiot savant and more a cutting commenta ry on political figures who display the vacuousness of game show hosts. The setti ng of the film, whether in New York or Washington, reflected an ingrained American suspicion that government was beyond the control of the average citizen. Christian Science Monitor film critic Sterritt applauded the changes from book to film. He found the book to be an icy vi sion of human experience whereas he thought the film more nuanced because of its more empathetic portrayal of Chauncey. Sterritt credited Ashbys controlled styl e and Sellers versatility as an actor for creating this empathetic response (A19). New York Times critic Maslin called the film a stately, beautifully acted satire, but found Ashbys elaborate, solemn, approach to the material wore thin. Maslin also maintained that the plot becomes repetitive because every situation Chauncey encounters tends to resemble one anothe r. According to Maslin, the film began to drag (C20). Washington Post critic Arnold went even further, calling

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234 Kosinskis original novel extravagantly ove r-praised and the film over reliant on the suspension of disbelief (D1). For a film about the pernicious impact of media, Being There is remarkably conservative in visual style. Ashbys directi on is devoid of the qui ck cuts and altered framing found in many television programs of the period. Before becoming a director, Ashby was a highly accomplished editor. For this film, he assumed a very solemn, almost literary, approach. The pacing fits the approach of literary satire, but not necessarily that of film. If the filmmakers wanted to demons trate that television wa s leading the nation on the road to Fascism, it might have better serv ed their purpose if th e film exhibited more evidence of how this transition would occu r. Instead, Ashby repeats the same themes over and again. Ashby does insert footage from ac tual television shows, but they seem to be part of Minows uninteresting, vast wast eland rather than seductive examples of modern media. It requires a suspension of disb elief that such conten t could warp minds. Being There is cynical to the extreme. Big bus iness, the media, and the electorate all come under attack as either Fascists or self-absorbed fools. According to the film, there is not merely a conspiracy to cove r up wrongdoing, but rather the entire government is superfluous. There is no trauma in this pi cture as there was in earlier political films. Fascism is the status quo. The president of the United States willingly reports to the Rand estate when summoned. He is an employee of the shadow power elite and his legitimacy derives from their blessing. Leaders assu me their positions of power by appointment. They are not strong or bright, but rather infirm and easily duped by their own ego. Society does not change thr ough violence or the ballot box bu t by the whim of a cabal.

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235 The film also condemns the electorate. The age of media obsession results in vacuous leaders who have nothing to say. Th e American people wish only a blank slate upon which to project their dream s. This film, as so many political films do, refers back to the work of Capra. In Meet John Doe (1941), a similar wise fool captures media attention because of his pe rceived innocence and encounters manipulation by powerful business leaders. Fears of economic ruin, a nd of creeping Fascism, influenced Capras film. Being There, produced in similarly complex tim es, also represents fears of a corporate takeover of government during a peri od of malaise. The difference between the two films is that Capras film ends with J ohn Does awareness of s ubterfuge, whereas in Being There the wise fool remains innocent and ir onically assumes power. This contrast reflects depression-era optimism versus 1970s era defeatism. In both films, the means of manipula ting the public is achieved through mass media. Being There is extremely critical of televisi on. The mere act of watching seems to warp Chaunceys mind. Interestingly, watchi ng television does not destroy the minds of the other characters. They are qu ite capable of self-delusion w ithout its pernicious effects. Chauncey is least self-delus ional; he makes no pretense of knowing a great deal about anything except gardening. The othe rs are so self absorbed that they cannot get past their own ego driven lives. In fact, Chauncey is more aware than the others are as to what the new order will be and quickly learns the skills required of a skilled television performer. American media project an image of the na tion as a future role model for the world. According to the film, Chauncey represents th at future. In it, Americans will not have to face hard political choices. They, like Chauncey will trust banal media celebrities to lead them. In the film, Chauncey intently watches the childrens television program Mr.

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236 Rodgers Neighborhood a program designed to help young children feel good about themselves as they naturally are rather than as harshly critical society ordains them to be. There is a parallel here to Nashville. The slogan New Roots For a New Nation is very similar to Chaunceys gardening advice. Both films speak of a return to the garden and at the same time attack the insincerity of modern political rhetoric. When Chauncey speaks of harvesting in the fall, televisi on viewers believe him to be profound. Unlike Nashville however, no redemptive community counter balances insincere members of the group. This lack of hope serves to dampen pot ential for political involvement among the films viewers. Being There conveys a sense of inevitability to the triumph of plutocrats over democratic ideals. This could be because of Kosinskis horrific wartime travails. Like fellow compatriot Polanski, he was a survivor of the Holocaust and experienced America as an immigrant, seeing Ameri ca, as he feared it might one day become. Writer Kosinski however, was not solely respons ible for the thematic conten t of the film. Director Ashby also contributed to the cabalistic nature of Being There including such subtle visual information as the Masonic iconography depict ed on the front wall of Rands funereal crypt that implied an un seen hand ruled the land. The film suggests that te chnology in all of its forms including medicine and media is more of a burden than a boon to society. Furt her, the film maintain s, as do most films, that money is the ruination of the political pro cess. In spite of this belief, expressed in film after film, the real life American elec torate never marshals the will to divorce money from politics. A love-hate component exists within class warfare. The film depicts the mean streets of Washington D. C. and contra sts them with pleasantness within the Rand

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237 mansion. The sedate nature of the film enc ourages viewers to identify with the upper class while, at the same time, fear its control. In many films, politics is seen as a battle between youth and age. This is not true in Being There Significantly, the age of Chauncey was altered to make him older. In fact, everyone in the film is old. This too suggests a belief in the inevitabil ity of the status quo. The film also encourages political apathy. Th e only character to decipher Chaunceys true nature is Dr. Allenby. However, he does nothing to prevent Chaunceys increasing influence. It is very unlikely that no one else would have recognized Chauncey as a fool, but his true nature remains unrevealed. This inclusion reflects a profound distrust in a political system where a ma n of marginal celebrity can assume ultimate power. The film suggests that rational citizens ha ve opted out of the political process and that this is the logical course for others to follow suit. The process is beyond redemption. The Seduction of Joe Tynan and Being There represent a trend toward introspection. In each, the filmmakers find the political process in a hopeless state and advocate avoidance of its seductive charms. Based upon a decadelong experience of political scandal and failed government policies culminating with the 1979 Iranian hostage cris is this is not an unreasonable conclusion. In November of 1979, Iranian militants took 53 Americans hostage after storming the United States embassy in Teheran. Once again, the nation experienced televised images of Ameri can failure in response to crisis. The Iranian hostage crisis dragged on into the following electi on year and helped Ronald Reagan win the presidency. The film Being There presages the election of Reagan. In his campaign rhetoric, Reagan re assured the electorate that it was morning again in America. He was very clever in allowing the public to project a wish for a

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238 brighter tomorrow upon his persona. Reagan was al so efficient in his ability to break with issues of political irrelevance and cover-ups. These traits enabled him to reconnect with past political film heroes, Fonda, Stewart a nd Robertson, instead of the then current, vacillating, heroes of 1970s political films. Being There and The Seduction of Joe Tynan are self-critical film s. Each contains a knowing cynicism of a system ruined beyond re pair. Each contains flawed, self-obsessed characters that serve to indict governmental institutions. For the most part, liberals create films about the political process. This is espe cially true of political films produced in the 1970s. Something exists within the nature of liberal philosophy th at promotes selfexamination, and even self-recrimination. Time and again, political films exposed the negative aspects of public life. Not only did th ey attack traditional liberal targets of the upper class, they also attacked mass culture. In this sense, the filmmakers abdicated the political playing field to those who could provide a more positive outlook. The tendency toward self-examination can ma ke for great art, but often promotes political quiescence. Conservative filmmakers on the other hand, tend to work in more celebratory genres including war movies, west erns, and science fiction sagas. The decade of the 1970s was a time of transition from c onfidence to uncertainty. Political films of this era reflected this transition and set the stage for a conservative ascendancy. In addition, 1970s films established the template for future filmic themes of ironic political irrelevance and of ingraine d political conspiracy that would remain unchanged throughout later decades.

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239 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION This study examined motion pictures as artifacts of Ameri can history during a twelve-year-period from 1968 to 1980. Films are appropriate historical documents because they are instruments of mass comm unication. The word mass implies a need to appeal to a large commercial audience. Am erican filmmakers must respond to market forces. In order to show a profit, they must identify and replicate the values, attitudes, and aspirations of a mass audience. It is for this reason that motion pictures serve as a unique record of the time period of their creation. Th is study examined how political films have replicated changing American values and how they have functioned as critics, forecasters, and mediators of political reality. The period from the late 1960s to1980 was important in film history and national history. The 1960s saw the end of American postwar consensus and the emergence of political divisiveness as new social movements challenged the status quo. The period from 1968 to 1980 saw a corresponding upheaval in the American film industry. A new production model more amenable to experi mentation replaced the Hollywood studio system. Films enjoyed unprecedented freedom to confront political norms. Ongoing traumatic events including the war in Vietnam, student unrest, crim e, Watergate, race relations, economic stagnation, inflation, and the Iranian hos tage crisis challenged America to reexamine its nati onal direction. Political norms are not static. They change over time as new realities replace old beliefs and political films from 1968 to 1980 helped record these new realities.

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240 This study asked a number of questions about political films. First, how did films mediate political reality for audiences? What r ituals and fables were considered important and how did they change? Second, what were the political critiques put forward in the films? Were they effective, did they change and why? Third, what were the important political values of the age? Did they change why and how? Fourth, to what extent do the films of the period from 1968 to 1980 conform to historical reality and other accounts of historical reality? Fi fth, to what extent did the films influence future political values, critiques, events? Lastly, what are the implications for fu ture research based upon these findings? Rituals of Power Nimmo and Combs identify rituals of power as popular fables that are included in films. These popular fables mediate politic al reality by instituting learning through fantasy. For example, the populist fantasy contained in 1930 films was a response to the great depression and the commitment fantasy contained in the 1940s films was a response to potential involvement in World War II. Each film cycle offered instruction in how to react to national crisis. Acco rding to Nimmo and Combs, Casablanca mediates the reality of war by recasting it as an opportunity fo r redemption. In the film, redemption was achieved through commitment to a noble cause (110). How then did rituals of power develop in political films from 1968 to 1980? Early period films recalled fantasies from past decades Wild in the Streets relied on the alien fantasy often found in 1950s films. Th e film is ostensibly a camp send-up of the 1960s generation gap, but concludes with the hippie ideal gone horribly wrong. A band of hedonistic young people use rock music to manipulate young minds and take over the government. The film recast student protests as nihilistic exercise s in self-indulgence.

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241 Eventually, absolute power corrupts absolu tely, resulting in the establishment of concentration camps. It seems that too much democracy can be a bad thing. The film obviously responded to fears of destruction from within. Wild in the Streets is comparable to George Orwells Animal Farm a similar allegory for power run amuck. Interestingly, the film could also be read as an allegory for the establishment run amuck. In the film, established political leaders turn to violence when they cannot cope with the shape of things to come. In this sense, Wild in the Streets presented a youth culture fantasy that was similar to the adolescent rebellion contai ned in a great deal of 1960s popular music. Films of political conspiracy, cover-up, a nd assassination were never more popular than during this era. This era spawned the r itualized crazed Vietna m vet as disaffected loner that would recur throughout later decades. The assassins of Taxi Driver, Executive Action, and Nashville recast psychopathic behavior as i ndictments of the entire American system. According to these films, the aliens among us were symptomatic of a deeper national sickness. The fear was that this sick ness could manifest itself in anyone at any time, even within ourselves. To this day, assa ssination films seem to fascinate audiences. Viewers often embrace conspiracy fables as a means of searching the past in hopes of finding out where things firs t went wrong. For them, it is somehow comforting to blame present troubles on past atrocities committed by a convenient scapegoat or representatives of a broader malaise. Similar to the alien fantasy was the shadow government fantasy that became extremely popular after the Watergate re velations in mid decade. Films like Walking Tall, The Parallax View, Being There and All The Presidents Men recast political history as a struggle between indigenous populations and ma levolent aliens who mi ght as well have

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242 been from outer space. The word Chinatown became a metaphor for a spiral of silence. According to these films, no one from the big city, big business, or CREEP could be trusted to leave America unconquered. This fear traces back to the founding of the republic when small states feared the power of larger states and frontier states feared original colonies. In the 1970s, America became more and more interconnected by interstates and mass media, but remained distrustful of pow er wielded from a distance. The preoccupation with conspiracy caused Nimmo and Combs to refer to the 1970s as a decade of doubt and drift, and Cook to re fer to a decade of lost illusions. Certainly, there was a lot of malaise in 1970s politic al films. However, there also were countervailing fantasies that offered altern atives to doubt and drift. Fantasies of commitment were popular within this era. Medium Cool recast 1960s era radicalism as a left-wing version of World War II. In this case, the films political backdrop changes from prewar Casablanca to the 1968 Democr atic National Convention in Chicago. Its protagonist begins the film as an existent ial camera operator who is unwilling to stick his neck out for anyone. Later in the film, he e xperiences a change of heart. His personal relationship with a mother and child inspires him to choose e ngagement over the safety of ironic distance. Welcome back to the fight. All the Presidents Men is an old-fashioned celebrati on of investigative journalism. The committed journalist fable has long been a staple of Hollywood films. In the film, the little people defeat the big people through their dedication to journalistic ideals. The Watergate affair was recast as a struggle to preserve the constitution of the United States. This film turned the alien fantasy on its head. In this case, the aliens fail to take over the country thanks to the efforts of journa listic heroes and the decision of low-level

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243 secretaries and bureaucrats to help them unr avel the cover-up. Americans like to think that they will do the right thing, and in this case, they do. The journalistic fable, contained in this film, was also very reassuring to audiences who learned that someone more cynical and perceptive than the common fo lks was out there pr otecting them from nefarious politicians. Waling Tall introduced the western fable to politi cal films of this era. In the film, Buford Pussers small town origins provide him the resolve needed to resist the seductive force of power. At first reluctant, Buford Pusse r eventually decides to fight the vice-lords who have taken over his community. The film suggested that evil thrives when good men fail to act. Concurrent with this theme was the disturbingly anti-popu list notion that only a strong man can lead the way to reform. Hollywood films are star driven vehicles; consequently, individual heroes often do minate stories at the expense of mass movements. The resulting fable is often that of the lone gunslinge r as savior of the embattled townsfolk. Nashville introduced the populist tr end to 1970s films. The film was very harsh on elements of hypocrisy that it identified within th e establishment of country and western music, but just like Walking Tall, the film concludes with a lesson of redemption through commitment. According to Nashville political success is not as important as love of family, broadly defined to include members of musical subcultures. In both films, key individuals rise to the occasion at a point of crisis. It is in teresting that redemption occurs not in Washington but in the nations heartl and. Traditionally, political films have cast Washington as a land of evil enchantment and Middle America as a land of virtue.

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244 Besides alien fantasies and commitment fa ntasies, a third category of fantasies exhibited in the time period was the fable of lost innocence. The victorious youths in Wild in the Streets find governing far less enjoyable than being musicians. Bill McKay, in The Candidate starts with noble ideals, but slow ly comes to realize he is no less ambitious than his father, and Joe Tyna n sees himself as protective of the disenfranchised, until he too betrays friends and family. On the other hand, Chauncey Gardiner never loses his innocence because he is mentally impaired. Many of these films include a political consulta nt who leads the once pure pol itician astray, seemingly absolving him of culpability. Upon closer insp ection however, personal egos lead them to stray. Repeatedly, political films of this era criticized ambition as evil. This is a double bind however, because political victory require s some sense of ego and social problems cannot be resolved without ambition to effect change. The period from 1968 to 1980 was beset by national crisis. L eaders elected to confront these trials were often found wanting. It is not surprising that films of the period answered this failure with a critique of ethi cs. This critique maintained that the ethical responsibility of political leaders was to resi st the seduction of power, often symbolized by sexual indiscretion. In both l eaders and private citizens, in tegrity was most prized and compromise frowned upon. Films containing the loss of innocence fable spoke to the hubris of the 1960s. Political films expressed frustration at the sl ow pace of change as issues of war, poverty, and race carried over into the next decade. Perh aps the most frequently occurring ritual in films of this era was the bogus political rally. Several films took great pains to instruct viewers as to the difference between public politics and backstage politics. What the

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245 candidate tried to sell in public was not necessa rily, what he believed in private. In this sense, films that contained the loss of i nnocence fable undermined films that presented the commitment fantasy. By the end of the de cade, the loss of innocence fable overtook the commitment fantasy in political films. The prime lesson of the age was the wisdom of ironic detachment. The films suggested that the best way to avoid frustration with government was through lowered expectati ons, or perhaps through commitment to smaller groups of like-minded individuals who focused on local issues. Political Critiques According to Neal, difficult times lead to ei ther deliberation or liberation. In such situations, individuals can resort to moral judgments of right and wrong, efforts designed to right social ills or restore traditional values, overwhelming fatalism, or a search to discover underlying problems through investig ation and national de bate. Films of the study period responded to hist orical uncertainty in sim ilar fashion (Neal 17-18). Political films, circa 1968 through 1980, tended to exercise moral judgment of right and wrong. Deceit, above all, was most of ten condemned. Those who misrepresented events or themselves were demonized. In contra st to other film eras few films outside of Medium Cool and Walking Tall attempted to spur a crusade to right societys ills. A number of films advocated the restoration of traditional values. Interestingly, the films that ended with a restoration of traditional values achieved the highe st financial reward. Audiences stood at the conclusion of Walking Tall and All The Presidents Men inspired a generation of future investig ative reporters. It would appe ar that many political films adopted a stance of overwhelming fatalism. Uniformly, the political films from 1968 to 1980 ended badly. However, if we examine th em with regard to their strategy of

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246 adjustment to national trauma, they present a different story. Most political films sought to uncover underlying problems through investigation. Time after time, political films called for a changing of the guard. Political amateurs were preferred to political prof essionals. Film heroes were uniformly younger than film villains. In The Candidate Senator Jarmon is nickna med the crocodile. In The Seduction of Joe Tynan Senator Birney suffers from early stage dementia. The desire for new voices stemmed from the emerging po litical power of the baby boom generation as well as the experiences of the filmmake rs, many of whom cam e from outside the Hollywood establishment. Frustrations with the slow pace of change led to negative portrayals of senior political figures. While perhaps this was an accurate portrayal of changing political attitudes, it did not repres ent a change in political reality. The Bill McKay cohort did not come to dominate political office until the 1990s. The growing influence of media met with harsh criticism th roughout the period. In several films, audiences learned of the pivotal role that media played in the political process. Filmmakers sought to demystify poli tical process by showing exactly how media covered politics. Familiarity often leads to contempt. The media often received negative marks as either passive bystander or willful manipulator of events. It is interesting however, that several films contained hi ghly positive portrayals of journalists and broadcasters. In many films, j ournalists and camera operators were cast as defenders of the constitution. According to films of this er a, their professionalism helped save the country. This was most especially true of All The Presidents Men a financially successful film as well as a film that was hi ghly influential in the career choice of many future investigative reporters. On the ot her hand, the role of campaign organizers and

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247 media consultants was uniformly condemned. This dichotomy reflects a common fear of a permanent political class of professional manipulators and a positive view of political outsiders. Political professionals would learn ho w to capitalize on this fear and eventually everyone would run as a political outsider. Films of this era lauded newspapers, but condemned television as a potential instrument of brainwashing. Visual images proved capable of warping minds in The Parallax View and Being There and the suggestion was made that the viewing public could not resist the seductive charms of television. This contention was a bit hypocritical, as practitioners of one visual art leveled it against practitioners of another. More perceptive was the recurring critique that television changed the political process by forcing politicians to stage media events similar to The Candidates hastily organized photo opportunity at a Malibu fire The films were also percep tive in criticizing media for creating instant politicia ns, and for its ritualized attracti on to violence. In spite of these critiques, television became mo re important in the political process with every passing decade. Increasingly, the relationship between those who govern and the governed became more distant. Early period films depicted one-to-one interaction be tween politicians and voters. These physical interactions were not always pleasant, but they still implied an opportunity to reach the candidate. In later films, such interaction became rare to nonexistent. For instance, the municipal wate r department ignored the complaints of small farm holders in Chinatown and then threw them out of their meeting. Another instance of distant government occurred in The Parallax View, when a star chamber sequestered itself while investigating an assassination Eventually, politicians became

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248 disembodied voices in Nashville or images on television in The Seduction of Joes Tynan. Filmmakers might have intended the depiction of an ever more distant government as a critique designed to promote political involvement, but instead promoted the opposite response. Depictions of inaccessible govern ment promoted fatalism and alienation. Passivity was criticized in filmic depictions of the electorate. In an early film of this period, Wexler embraced the role of the elector ate. Protesters exercise their right of public petition in Medium Cool. At the conclusion of his f ilm, Wexler symbolically turns the camera toward the audience, thus inviting viewers to join in the protest movement. On the other hand, many of the later films depicted the voters as unworthy of their leaders. Plant workers are indifferent to Mc Kays campaigning, and later in the film: an irate voter slugs him for no good reason: the townspeople in Walking Tall tolerate vice until a champion arrives to rescue them: and ev en political assassins like Travis Bickle are uninformed about the issues. In general, political films, of the era, portray the public as gullible followers of fashion who are in need of strong leadersh ip. This implication, once again, served to depress political involvement by encouraging audience identification with passive characters. Filmmakers are acutely aware of the fick le nature of audiences. It must be frustrating to devote time and energy to a pr oject only to see it i gnored at the box office. It would be tempting for jaded filmmakers to conclude that the motion picture audience was not worthy of their ideas and creativity. Th is would help explain the mistrust of the public found in many films. Mistrust also st ems from a larger frustration with national events. From viewing the films, it seems that filmmakers did not tr ust the abilities of

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249 American voters to choose the future course of the nation and as the decade wore on, their suspicion increased. Political films of this era tackled a variety of issues. In order of films discussed in this study, the agenda of most important issu es consisted of voting rights, race relations and Appalachian poverty, environmentalism, cr ime, water rights, freedom of information, campaign finance reform, lyrics to the nationa l anthem and tort reform, prostitution, past racism of a Supreme Court nominee, and excessive taxation of the wealthy. The agenda is interesting for what it in cludes and what it leaves out. Every film addressed domestic policy issues. No film di rectly addressed foreign policy issues. There was no Fail Safe or Dr. Strangelove. The Vietnam War received tangential reference in films including Medium Cool and Taxi Driver. For most of the period of this study, Vietnam remained too divisive an issue for commercial film presentation. Even when Hollywood began to produce films about the wa r, political films of the period did not address the conflict. One must extrapolate th at Travis Bickles rampage stands for the horrific experience of war. On the domestic front, Watergate wa s referenced allegorically in Chinatown and directly in All The Presidents Men. In the latter film, the focus was on the detective work required to discover names on a list of c ontributors to the presidents reelection committee rather than the inner workings of the Nixon administration. Watergate also was a divisive issue. On the other hand, crim e and violent assassinations were important in the agenda of film issues. Action plays well at the box office. Complex geopolitical issues and depressing revelations of co rruption do not. In Hollywood, commercial considerations often trump pers onal inspiration. It is for this very reason that American

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250 films provide such a valuable insight into national values, attitudes, and beliefs. Only those novel ideas, that survive the production process of a mass entertainment medium, can be judged as important to a society. Issues of class appeared repeatedly in political films of this era. Young people, blacks, poor whites, and country music fans fo rmed a coalition agai nst the Rands of the world. In America, the wealthy make an eas y target as no one c onsiders himself or herself to be elitist. As in the case of violence, populism pl ays well at the box office. This was a strange critique, coming as it did from wealthy filmma kers and corporate giants within the entertainment industry. Values Having examined the mediation of politic al reality and the political critiques presented in political films of the period, changes in political values will now be analyzed. From World War II to the mid 1960s, America enjoyed a period of selfconfidence based on a shared system of beliefs including the assured safety, sanctity and legitimacy of leadership, the gradual nature of social change, the hea lth and superiority of the American economy, the superiority of th e American military, th e need to contain communism, the ability of American ingenuity to solve problems, and that America was the best role model for the world and the future (Schachtman 22-30). An important issue in any form of governme nt is the legitimacy of its institutions. In a republic like the United States, institutional legitimacy derives from adherence to a core set of constitutional beliefs established at the beginning of the nations history and preserved by the rule of law. The legitimacy of individual political leaders derives in turn from the constitution as well as the will of the people as ex pressed at the ballot box. How

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251 was legitimacy reflected in political films? Wh at were the inherent tensions contained in these portrayals, and what can we learn about political values of the period? In such a volatile time, it is interesting th at so many films maintained belief in basic constitutional values. Medium Cool stood for the right of assembly, All The Presidents Men stood for freedom of the press, and Walking Tall for the establishment of a system of justice. From this, we learn that no matter how negatively Americans view their current leaders, they still maintain faith in basi c concepts set forth in the Constitution. The constitution never lost legitimacy, and only one film, Wild in the Streets advocated overthrowing the government. Even then, the government fell by constitutional means. The institutions of governmental administrati on did not fair as we ll as the abstract constitution. Some films depicted government al actions that violat ed civil rights. In others, government bureaucracy proved ineffect ive in establishing justice, providing for the general welfare or insuring domestic tranquility. According to the films of this era, bureaucrats lacked legitimacy because they were appointed rather than elected. Repeatedly, individuals were blamed for po litical failures and co re beliefs were not. Films of the era, characte rized the political process as organized dishonesty. Campaigning for office forced candidates to compromise their positions. The need to reach the public through television caused ca ndidates to court celebrity, or become as blank a slate as Chauncey Gardiner in Being There. It is not surprisi ng that bureaucrats and television came under fire in political films. What we learn here is that the level of public frustration with the poli tical process was never higher and would set the tone for future decades of cynicism.

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252 Hollywood films usually focus on the actions of single individuals. This is true of political films as well. As so often is the case in real life, the legitimacy of positively depicted political leaders derive d not only from serving in office, but personal character traits. Here we learn that ch aracter was more important to Americans than ideology, at least as long as the rule of law was maintained. Positive leaders drew their legitimacy from their youthfulness, charisma, percei ved strength, and willingness to act. This reflected an antidemocratic wish for a single dominant leader. Unfortunately, positive political leaders were few and far between. This period in film history is remarkable in its almost tota l lack of positive political figures. In the rare instance that positive political figures did appear, they often had feet of clay. This speaks to disenchantment with actual political leaders of the period. The taped, private conversations of President Nixon hardly pres erved the sanctity of executive office. The safety of political office was very much in doubt. Several films contained violent attacks on political le aders. The only films that di d not contain an attack on a political leader were All The Presidents Men Nashville, which did include an attack on a surrogate community leader, and The Seduction of Joe Tynan An entire subgenre of assassination films could be listed within this genre. As late as 1980 Winter Kills still dredged the Kennedy assassination for material This trend continued throughout future decades. Often the films would cast doubt upon o fficial accounts of historical events suggesting conspiracy. This reflects mistrust with governmental inve stigations of past assassinations and a lingering nostalgia for what was perceived to have been an idealized time. It is interesting that 1960s political violence predomin ates. No films were produced about the assassinations of Pr esidents McKinley, Garfield or even the attempt on Ford.

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253 No bio-pics of Johnson, Nixon, or Carter were created. In this sense, 1970s political films looked backward more than forward.1 A second important established American value was the belief in gradual nature of social change. Films of this era were more willin g to challenge the status quo. This reflects the infusion of new creative talent to Hollywood and the influence of the emerging youth market. Early films, like Medium Cool, were very committed to rapid change. Later films like, The Candidate and Chinatown introduced a note of doubt that change was possible in the current political system. Other films suggested that change comes only through violent means. Nashville poked fun at reform movements with their new roots for the nation. Some films did not advocate change at all, but rather promoted a return to a prior state of social equilibrium. Buford Pusse r wants to return his community to its natural, vice free state; so too do Bickle, Woodward and Bernstein. Pusser, Bickle, Woodward and Bernstein all su cceed in their reform efforts. What we learn here is that political films of this er a were slightly more reactionary than they appear to be. They do not resi st change but do wish that re form would reestablish a prior idealized state. How then is change made possible? Accord ing to the films, if change is at all possible, one of two means will achieve it. Some films advocate trust in established constitutional ideals, while most others a dvocate trust in political outsiders or even political amateurs. In either case, strong individual leader ship provides th e impetus for community involvement. Other instruments of change have traditionally included money, technology, and ingenuity. It cert ainly is not surprising that Americans harbor ambivalent 1 The film, Winter Kills concerned investigative efforts of the young er brother of an assassinated president to find the responsible parties. It was not included here because it failed to turn a profit.

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254 attitudes toward money in politics. The films ce rtainly indicate that it takes money to gain political power, and in turn, an opportunity to achieve good things for society. However, the films suggest that once in office, money will inevitably become a corrupting influence. In fact, the most famous politic al sound bite of the era was follow the money. The unfavorable portrayal of the wealthy McKay and Rand families provides an example of class warfare re miniscent to depression era films. The difference being, wealth was not portrayed as glamorously he re as it was in 1930s Hollywood productions. In Being There, Rand is depicted as a dying old ma n whose money cannot save him, nor can modern technology. Technology, most ofte n represented by mass media, receives very low marks as an agent of change. In assassination films, tec hnologically advanced weaponry is downright dangerous. American ingenuity, however, receives favorable treatment in political films. For example, plucky candidate McKay outsmarts Jarmon at their televised debate and Woodward and Bern stein find a way to trick secretaries into naming names. Here we learn nothing new; according to political films of this period, hardworking, ingenious, committed indivi duals can still beat the system. Is America still the best possible role m odel for the rest of the world and for the future? No, it is not, at least according to th e films studied here. Here we learn that selfdoubt first entered the American psyche. Of course, political films are by their very nature ambivalent. It is interesting that the political films of this era do not address other foreign issues, except tangentiall y, Vietnam. These films seem to be totally about internal political events. The Cold War is not referen ced, as it was in films produced in the 1950s and 1960s, nor are larger global issues, as in f ilms of more recent vint age. It is surprising

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255 that conflict with the Soviet Union failed to be included. This was still an era of intense rivalry between the two superpow ers. From this omission, we learn that Americans feared the enemy from within more than they fear ed the enemy from wit hout. Perhaps political leaders misread the importance of th e cold war to average Americans. According to the films of this era, politic al values changed from earlier eras due to a growing lack of confidence. Be lief in the legitimacy of l eaders eroded and faith in the gradual improvement of society declined. Th e lack in confidence was not so much in government as it was in individuals. Hollyw ood films adhere to a bad man theory of history wherein evil resides within symbolical ly evil villains. Accord ing to this point of view, eradication of evil re quires vanquishing of the Simon Legrees of the world. The decade of the 1970s, in film, represented the search for new political values including such inherently contradictory notions as legitimacy of leadership based on charisma as well as integrity, political commitment a nd political cynicism, self-sacrifice and promotion of self-interest. Conformity to History While it was not the intention of this st udy to find how film interpreted actual historical events, changing valu es in film do reflect changing values in society. Further, historical events alter values in society. How then did political film s respond to historical trends and to what extent did they conform to hist orical reality? First it must be stated that there is an inherent lag time built into the motion picture production process. The American motion pi cture industry requires huge financial investment and long production schedules. Ne gotiations required to green light a project can take years. Rights must be acquired, scripts written, financing secured, actors attached to the project, and locations prepar ed -all before shooti ng begins. Witness the

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256 time it took for All The Presidents Men to transform from newspaper articles to book to film. By the time a film wraps, its subject may no longer be of interest to the public. This factor forces filmmakers to consider carefully what stories they tell. A second factor that can affect the lag time of a film is psychological. Certain subjects are so sensitive th at filmmakers shy away from them lest they upset the audience. Of course, it could be argued th at great art is that which does upset the audience. The Hollywood production model en courages a much quicker turn-around time on sensational issues rather than on sensit ive issues. A perceptive scene in Preston Sturges comedy Sullivans Travels (1941) depicts a successful director of fluff who proposes that his next film will be a more serious social drama entitled Oh Brother Where Art Thou to which the studio head offers the a ddendum, with a little sex. The director agrees and production moves forward. Films of the study period encountered pr oblems of lag time to greater and lesser degrees. Wild in the Streets was a low budget AIP production. AIP actually encouraged topicality. The film capitalized on front-pag e stories of campus revolt and rode the popular wave of youth protest films; however, th e film greatly sensat ionalized its subject matter. The film offers more about the ge neration gap than it does the mindset of the Weather Underground. Conversely, Medium Cool does offer a bit of the mindset of the radical movement, all the more amazing gi ven its production by a major entertainment corporation. The 1960s recession in the film i ndustry prompted production companies to seek out innovative new voices. When the industry recovered in the late 1970s, corporations were less willing to entertain controversy and the films director, Wexler, had a much harder time mounting projects.

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257 The Candidate drew inspiration from the Euge ne McCarthy presidential campaign in 1968. Despite a four-year lag time, the film accurately portrayed the ins and outs of a modern political campaign. The film is si milar to other exposs including the 1969 book The Selling of the President by Joe McGinnis and The Making of the President series by Theodore White. These popular books also brou ght their readers inside the complicated world of political campaigning. The film, The Candidate was perhaps as influential in its era as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was in the past. The film provided the template for many future political films including The Seduction of Joe Tynan, the revival of political films in the 1990s, and the production of The West Wing on television in the 2000s. Like The Candidate these works focused on the marketing of candidates and the complex, moral choices encountered by modern politicians. This film was also ahead of its time in real world political events. The Candidate did not predict Watergate but it did capture the ambiguous moral climate that would lead to the event. Walking Tall captured Middle Americas frustr ation with the moral ambiguity depicted in works like The Candidate Based on the actual anti crime crusade prosecuted by a Tennessee sheriff in the 1960s, the 1973 film reflected public concerns with crime in the streets. Examination of Gallup poll results finds that crime was a very important issue at the time. A number of politicians, includ ing Nixon, seized on this issue to run on a law and order platform. Walking Talls violent revenge fantasy resona ted with audience fears, earning it blockbuster status. Crime is an often violent, visual, and se nsational issue. The resulting film was as well. Interestingly, th e films revenues increased in its 1974 rerelease, a period concurrent with increased Watergate revelations.

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258 Chinatown employed a fictional account of munici pal cover-up as an allegory for Watergate whereas All The Presidents Men was a docudrama about actual historical events. Watergate dominated popular culture as no political scandal had ever done before. The Watergate hearings drew extensive news coverage and huge television ratings. Woodward and Bernsteins book was a best sell er initiating an avalanche of books about the subject penned by every reporter, invest igator and codefendant involved in the conspiracy. All the Presidents Men capitalized on this trend to be one of the most profitable political films of all time. The film version of All The Presidents Men told history from the point of view of journalists The film did simplify the contributions of legislators, justice department investigator s and other journalists in cracking the case. This is somewhat understandable given the time constraints of a tw o-and-a-quarter hour motion picture. The connection between violence and po litics increased in the period under study. The Parallax View presented a rather unrealistic depict ion of a vast polit ical assassination conspiracy. The film is a paranoid fantasy, but it also reflects suspicions of investigative cover-ups that linger to this day. The decad e of the 1970s taught Americans to become better informed about investig ative procedures. The time requi red to assimilate the death of admired national leaders can be quite long. It is interesting to see how long it takes motion pictures to digest traumatic national events. Vietnam took at least two decades to play out and we still see films about 1960s assassinations as in Bobby (2006). The events of September 11, 2001 took five y ears to reach the screen in United 93 (2006) and will undoubtedly remain an important film subject.

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259 Taxi Driver presented a chillingly violent view inside the mind of an Arthur Bremer-like assassin. In fact, the film was ba sed, in part, on the Bremer diaries. More than merely the account of a psychopath, the fi lm reflected deeper na tional fears. At the time, people were afraid of violence, ur ban decay, an uncertain economy, and moral decline. Travis Bickle, intended by the film makers to be a villain, actually drew a sympathetic response from the audience for his vigilantism. They too wished to clean up the streets. Unfortunately, the film Taxi Driver inspired two unintended future events, creation of the Crazed Vietnam Vet film cycle and the attempted assassination of President Reagan by John Hinckle y. Such is the power of film. Just as Taxi Driver inspired violence, Nashville predicted it. Nashville concludes with the assassination of a beloved musical icon. The murder of Barbara Jean, however, was not intended to be the central element of the film, but rather a dramatic device designed to tie together a mosa ic of storylines. Never-the-le ss, the murder did highlight a growing national obsession with celebrity. This obsession turned violent and eerily mimicked Nashville when Mark David Chapman assa ssinated musical legend John Lennon. Despite its violent conclusion, Nashville is much more about the splintering of America. The film rejects national politics in favor of family and loyalty to local, likeminded communities. The film sensationalizes its depiction of the Nashville music community, but it accurately depi cts America at the time of its bicentennial. Included in the film, are different religions, political part y affiliations, races and musical tastes, all overlapping in dialogue and motion and sometim es resulting in a massive freeway jam. The last three years of the 1970s were the beginning of Hollywoods blockbuster era. As the financial stakes increased, the willingness to invest in less profitable genres

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260 decreased. This factor resulted in a reducti on of films about the political process. A second contributing factor to declining produc tion was national fatigue with bad news. Only so many introspective films that can be made in a given period before the audience looses interest. It was bad enough that the public witnessed actual domestic and foreign policy crisis without having to see them again as entertainment. In 1979, the motion picture industry did produce The Seduction of Joe Tynan which was derivative of The Candidate and Being There based on a book originally published in 1971. The Seduction of Joe Tynan did however, offer new insights into the domestic life of political leaders and reflected the changing role of women in society. For its part, Being There was prescient in predicting the coming domination of television in the political process. This films obsession w ith the negative impact of media brings us full circle with the first two films discussed in this study. Americans do not only have an ambivalent relationship with the political process, they also fear and love the seducti ve force of visual entertainment. Being There asks the intriguing question whether the audience is an active participant in the media experience or a passive vessel waiting to be fill ed with information. The creators of Being There imply that the audience is no more than a passive vessel. On the other hand, motion pictures like Being There provide the audience with in creased sophistication about the political process as well about how media, ev en film, manipulates the viewer. Insight into such techniques provides defense against manipulation. Future Political Values, Films, and Events It is difficult to attribute direct causal effects between individual films and changes in society. Rarely does a motion picture provi de so powerful an impact that it radically changes the world. More often than not, films subtly alter their audiences worldview.

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261 Films such as The Candidate Walking Tall and Being There helped change popular perceptions of what it takes to be a leader. There is a large difference between the extremely positive portrayal of the political establishment in Sunrise at Campobello and the promotion of those from outsi de the political establishment in The Candidate and Being There. In the modern era, being an outsider has become almost a prerequisite for gaining the trust of the electorate. Political films have also had uninte nded consequences. Scorsese intended Taxi Driver to be a negative portrayal of alienati on and loneliness in modern society. The director was shocked, however, to discover th at audiences cheered th e vigilantism of the films main character. This en thusiastic response can be attributed, in part, to the casting of one of Hollywoods most dynamic actors, Robe rt DeNiro in the lead role. Instead of decreasing the level of violence in society, Taxi Driver served to inure audiences to increased brutality. Yet another film that had unintended consequences was All The Presidents Men. The film not only made audiences aware of the Watergate affair, it also helped change the relationship the press and the government. A new generation of reporters, influenced by Woodward and Bernstein, or maybe Redford and Hoffman, entered the profession. The new generation of journalists broke the convi vial relationship that existed between the press and politicians. Journalists came to beli eve that they possessed an inherent checksand-balance role within the political proce ss and acted upon that be lief with increasing vigor. Another consequence of the pol itical films of the era was an increased awareness of political manipulation. Films like The Candidate and The Seduction of Joe Tynan made

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262 audiences aware of their susceptibility to image management. As media became more sophisticated manipulators of image, so t oo did political leaders. President Carter jettisoned trappings of an imperial presiden cy in favor of a symbolic walk to the inauguration designed to promote a connection with the common people. Future political leaders would rely more and more upon prof essional media consultants to mold their public image. Politicians were more willi ng to appear on entertainment programs and informal interviews rather than organized pr ess conferences. Being seen with movie stars became more valuable than being seen at the Kremlin. Politicians emulated Bill McKays campaign strategy, but were not burdened w ith his ambivalence toward exploitation. Awareness of political manipulation leads to the adoption of ironic distance as a political stance. Books and motion pictures de mystified the political process. In addition, news reports revealed that trusted political figures had feet of clay. A more perceptive electorate was less willing to place unconditional trust in nati onal leaders. They had been disappointed too many times before. In the 1970s, popular culture esta blished irony as the proper defense mechanism for the complexity of modern life. Taxi Driver recast the political assassin as community activist. By the 1980s, Rambo asked, do we get to win this time? This statement employs a heavy layer of sarcasm to buttress frustrations at defeat in South East Asia. By the 1990s, Wag The Dog (1997) presented war in the Balkans as political cover rather than an international crisis to be taken seriously. In the 2000s, ironic political distance exploded in popularity. Both conser vative talk show radi o and liberal cable pseudo newscasts sought to arm their loyal fans with the sarcastic armor required to fend off, and not think about, opposing political vi ewpoints. The ironic divide of the modern

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263 era derives from 1970s era films that champione d political cynicism and greatly enhanced techniques for the effective use of derisi ve depiction of ideological opponents. Films of this era encouraged a more a dversarial relationship between those with opposing viewpoints. Films provided paranoid c onspiracy stories that readily provided rhetorical ammunition to left-leaning as well as right-leaning opponents. This trend toward paranoia accelerated through later decad es and continues to this day. Violence in films continued to escalate as well. Politi cal assassination films remain popular to this day. It is interesting that, while political violence remains a problem of society, it is overrepresented in film. Filmic depiction of political violence has increased national anxiety and promoted a mean worl d perspective of modern life. Depictions of political violence, political malfeasance, and a tendency toward selfrecrimination have led to political passivity within the electorate. The number of citizens who register and who actually vote in elections has tr ended downward throughout the period. Many other reasons have contribu ted to this phenomenon, but the negative depiction of the political proce ss in popular fiction must also be a contributory factor. The depiction of governmental leaders in motion pictures colors the audiences understanding of the political pr ocess. This is especially true of younger audiences who are still forming political attitudes. In the period from 1968 to 1980, young people attended films in ever-increasing numbers. Many drew upon films for information about the political system and for defini tions of leadership. In this se nse, future politicians have had to measure themselves against the film pe rsonas of Alan Alda and Robert Redford. In comparison to such figures, motion picture hero es make it hard for political leaders to shine. Is it any wonder that f ilm actor Ronald Reagan won el ection to the presidency in

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264 1980? Here was a candidate who projected the ne w values of effectiveness, charisma, and returning to core beliefs. Implications for Future Research The findings of this study suggest other avenues of possible research. This study provided insight into the developm ent of a particular genre of films, in a particular period of time. Inherent in the selection process of films and times are certain decisions. One decision that must be made is when does an era begin and when does it end. Historical eras are not always neatly packaged into disc rete blocks of time, nor are film trends. For instance, Dr. Strangelove has the same sense of ironic detachment that would become standard in political films of the 1970s. The film was ahead of its time, but not included in this study. The years 1968 and 1980 seemed quite logi cal bookends for this study because of the many important history-making events of 1968 and the changing of the guard in 1980. A selection of different time periods w ould provide insight in to other important moments in history. It would be interesting to learn of the changing American values depicted in films between Wo rld War I and World War II and to compare them to those of the study period. This effo rt might prove difficult due to missing and deteriorating copies of early motion pictures. Films of mo re recent vintage are much more available and will doubtlessly be used to explore values of the Reagan era, the post cold war era, and changing political values in the age of globalization. The decision of which films to include a nd which to keep out also is important. This study excluded non-profitable films because they did not reflect mass appeal. However, a study of non-profitable or less pub licized films might also be worthwhile. The reasons for a films failure often speak volumes as well as the reasons for another

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265 films success. This study assumed that mainst ream films speak for America. That is why widely released, commercial films were select ed. Such films reflect the values of most Americans. Regional differences in attitudes, values, and beliefs are harder to detect, as are the values of nonconformist, sociologica l subgroups. A study of nontraditional films would be of value. A third avenue of research would be a comparison between 1970s political film values and values found in other genres of the same period. Films about police work might provide a more conservative view of Am erica. Then again, it would be interesting to find the points of agreement between political films and Dirty Harry or even between political films and anti westerns. Another comparison would be cross-cultural. The values, attitudes, and beliefs contained in Am erican political films could be compared to those from other nations. This examination might prove difficult due to the need for expertise in foreign languages requir ed to grasp nuances of dialogue. This study explored politics and governm ental institutions. Selection of other institutions would provide insight into other importan t aspects of society. A mass communication history of science in film w ould provide information on the changing role played by technology in society. Other topics could be health care and society, labor and society, the judicial system and society, religion and societ y, and even the role of the entertainment industry within society. All w ould tell us something about how Americans think about important societ al institutions over a part icular period of time. This study relied on historical analysis of changing political values. A quantitative approach would also provide interesting resu lts. A content analysis of political films could discover what the filmmakers and the mo tion picture industry considered to be the

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266 most important issues of a pa rticular time period. In addition, the character traits assigned to legitimate political leaders could be identi fied. Data could then be compared to data from other media at the time of the selection of films release. Un fortunately, it would be impossible to discover the effect of historical film content on audiences. That ship has long since sailed. Finally, the study of individual filmmakers or groups of filmmakers, would be interesting. The politics of Ne w Hollywood could be compared to the political values of filmmakers from other eras. The developm ent of individual filmmakers should be studied, especially those who had a particular interest in political issues. Director Hal Ashby would make a fascinating subject for a biography. Much has been written about Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese, but it w ould be interesting to trace the political development in their films. Robert Redfor d has not only produced and appeared in politically themed films, he has been activel y involved in environmental issues. Redford is not the only celebrity who has lent star power to favored causes. It would be interesting to examine the increasing role of cel ebrity in real world politics. What Do We Do Now The history of mass communica tion is both vast and small: vast in terms of impact on modern society and small in terms of hist orical duration. The mo tion picture industry has existed for little over a century. Scholar s are still coming to grips with how film affected, and in turn, was affected by societ y. Different approaches have resulted in different interpretations. Films have been extensively studied from aesthetic and biographical points of view. Film has not been extensively examined as an artifact of mass communication history. Mass communicati on history requires not only an account

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267 of truth told about the past but how filmmakers, acting as opinion leaders, have used advanced technology to discover truth. It used to be that everyone wanted to write the great American novel. This changed in the Twentieth Century. Now, everyone want s to create the great American film. Even in the television and internet era, films retain cultural cache. Film al so remains one or our best records of intellectual history. Film is not an ephemeral medium. Motion pictures record a long-lasting summation of deeply felt thoughts and feelings. Filmmakers play a unique role in society as conduits of those thoughts and feelings. This study sought to understand how fil mmakers served as intellectual and emotional conduits. It advances the fiel d of mass communication history by adapting long standing and highly reliab ly techniques, often associ ated with the pursuit of journalistic history, to the fiel d of entertainment history. Ther e exists a vast history of how journalists have served as intellectual and emotional conduits of American values, attitudes, and beliefs. This study provides an incremental step toward understanding how film does the same. One could spend a great deal of time examin ing political films. Some of the most entertaining and intellectually challenging films ever made ha ve considered the American political process. They tell much about di fferent eras. The 1970s were a fascinating period in film history. This period produced so me of the greatest works ever, perhaps equaled in quality only by films of the 1930s Real craft and genuinely new ideas were presented in motion pictures of the peri od. As Hollywood became more dependent on blockbusters, the level of quality of political films sagged a bit, only to be revitalized in the new independent film production envir onment. Interestingly, 1970s political film

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268 veteran Robert Redford helped pioneer this new production model by creating The Sundance Film Institute that offered s upport to independent film production and distribution. The seventies will remain a very signifi cant time in film history because of a significant influx of new talent. Filmmakers from television and from film schools explored new avenues of discourse that conti nue in viability to this day. This era is significant in political film history because it provided a bridge between films of the American political consensus and films of th e modern era. Many recent trends had their origin in this era including abhorrence of celebrity politics, political indifference, ideological polarization, and c ondemnation of self-indulgence. This study assumed that political cynici sm would be found within films of the study period. Cynicism certainly was found. This can be explained by the genre of selection and by the difficult times under study. Po litical films, by their very nature, seek to comment on core beliefs. This is a hea lthy endeavor. Sunny, popular films can be even more cynical than political f ilms by hiding the true nature of events. There comes a time when society must face its pol itical shortcomings. From 1968 to 1980, American political films delineated those critiques and traced changes in political values of an important era.

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269 APPENDIX A FILMS IN STUDY All The Presidents Men. Prod. Walter Coblenz. Dir. Al an J. Pakula. Writ. William Goldman. Perf. Dustin Hoffman, Robe rt Redford, and Jason Robards. 138 minutes. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1976. Being There. Prod. Andrew Braunsberg. Dir. Hal As hby. Writ. Jerzy Kosinski. Perf. Peter Sellers, Melvyn Douglas, and Shirley MacLaine. 130 minutes. DVD. Lorimar Film Entertainment, 1979. The Candidate. Prod. Rupert Coblenz. Dir. Michael Ri tchie. Writ. Jeremy Larner. Perf. Robert Redford, Melvyn Douglas, and Peter Boyle. 109 minutes. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1972. Chinatown. Prod. Robert Evans. Dir. Roman Polans ki. Writ. Robert Towne. Perf. Jack Nicholson, John Huston, and Fa ye Dunaway. 131 minutes. DVD. Paramount, 1974. Medium Cool. Prod. Tully Friedman, Haskell Wexler, and Jerrold Wexler. Dir. Haskell Wexler. Writ. Haskell Wexler. Perf. Robe rt Foster, Verna Bloom, and Harold Blankenship. 110 minutes. DVD. Paramount, 1969 Nashville. Prod. Robert Altman. Dir. Robert Altm an. Writ. Joan Tewkesbury. Perf. Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Lily Tomli n, and Henry Gibson. 159 minutes. DVD. American Broadcasting Company, 1975. The Parallax View. Prod. Alan J. Pakula. Dir. Alan J. Pakula. Writ. David Giler and Lorenzo Semple Jr. Perf. Warren Bea tty, Hume Cronyn, and William Daniels. 102 minutes. DVD. Paramount, 1974. The Seduction of Joe Tynan. Prod. Martin Bregman Dir. Je rry Schatzberg. Writ. Alan Alda. Perf. Alan Alda, Barbara Harr is, and Meryl Streep. 107 minutes. DVD.Universal, 1979. Taxi Driver. Prod. Julia Phillips and Mich ael Phillips. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Writ. Paul Schrader. Perf. Robert DeNiro, Cybil Shepard, and Jodie Foster. 113 minutes. DVD. Columbia, 1976. Walking Tall. Prod. Mort Briskin Dir. Phil Karlso n. Writ. Mort Briskin and Stephen Dowling. Perf. Joe Don Baker and Elizabeth Hartman. 125 minutes. DVD. Bing Crosby Productions, 1973.

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270 Wild In The Streets Prod. Samuel Z. Arkoff and James F. Zanuck. Dir. Barry Shear. Writ. Robert Thom. Perf. Shelley Winter s, and Christopher Jones. 94 minutes. DVD. AIP, 1968.

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271 WORKS CITED : Biggest Year in Film History, Variety 11 January 1978: 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Abzug, Bella S. Why is Bella Bored? The New York Times 23 July 1972: D1-2. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Adler, Renata. Rev. of Wild in the Streets directed by Barry Shear. AIP. The New York Times 16 June 1968: D1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Advise and Consent. Produced and directed by Otto Pr eminger. Perf. Henry Fonda, and Charles Laughton. DVD. Columbia, 1962. Alda, Alan. Never Have Your Dog Stuffed and Other Things Ive Learned. New York: Random House, 2005. Alfie. Prod. Lewis Gilbert. Dir. Lewis Gilber t. Perf. Michael Caine. DVD. Sheldrake Films, 1966. Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore. Prods. Audrey Mass and David Susskind. Dir. Martin Scorsese Perf. Ellen Burstyn. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1974 Alices Restaurant. Prod. Hillard Elkins. Dir. Arthur Penn. Perf. Arlo Guthrie. DVD. United Artists, 1969. All The Kings Men. Produced and directed by Robert Rossen. Perf. Broderick Crawford. DVD. Columbia, 1964. All The Presidents Men. Prod. Walter Coblenz. Dir. Al an J. Pakula. Perf. Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Redford. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1976. All-Time Box Office Champs (Over $4,000,000, U.S.-Canada Rentals), Variety 8 January 1969: 14. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Allen, John. Rev. of Wild in the Streets, directed by Barry Shear. AIP. The Christian Science Monitor 14 June 1968: A 6. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Altman, Robert. Exclusive Interview with Director R obert Altman, Commentary. Nashville DVD. Paramount, 2000.

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272 Ansen, David. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. Universal. Newsweek 27 August 1979: 62. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Apocalypse Now. Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Marlon Brando, and Martin Sheen. DVD. Am erican Zoetrope, 1979. Apple, R. W. The States Ratify Full Vote at 18, The New York Times 1 July 1971: A1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Archer, Eugene. Kennedys Death Affects Movies, The New York Times 30 November 1963: A17. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Arnold, Gary. Altmans Nashville: An American Allegory on Film, The Washington Post 29 June 1975: H 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Presidents Men: Absorbing, Meticulous . and Incomplete, The Washington Post 4 April 1976: K 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. -------. Rev. of Being There directed by Hal Ashby. Lorimar. The Washington Post 8 February 1980: D1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Medium Cool directed by Haskell Wexler. Paramount. The Washington Post 17 September 1969: B1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Parallax View, dire cted by Allen J. Pakula. Paramount. The Washington Post 28 June 1974: B 11. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Walking Tall, directed by Phil Karlson. Bing Crosby Productions. The Washington Post 4 October 1973: B 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Scorsese: Igniting th e Slow Fuse of Repression, The Washington Post 10 February 1976: B1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Balio, Tino. Hollywood in the Age of Television Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990. Bart, Peter. Hollywood: New Riches, New Doubts, The New York Times 12 December 1966: A 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Hollywood Ponders a Parad ox of Great Riches Among Flops, The New York Times 16 July 1965: A 14. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. The Battle of Algiers. Prod. Antonio Musu and Yacef Saad i. Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo. Perf. Brahim Hadjadj. DVD. Casbah Film, 1965. The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes. Prod. Samuel Z. Arkoff. Di r. David Kramarsky. Perf. Paul Birch. DVD. American Releasing Corporation, 1955.

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273 Beigel, Jerry. Medium Cool From Chi cago: Wexlers Woes on First Pic, Variety 11 December 1968: 7. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Being There. Prod. Andrew Braunsberg. Dir. Hal As hby. Perf. Peter Sellers, and Shirley MacLaine. DVD. Lorimar Film Entertainment, 1979. Ben. Prod. Mort Briskin. Dir. Phil Karlson. Perf. Lee Montgomery. DVD. Bing Crosby Productions, 1972. Ben Hur. Prod. Samuel Zimbalist. Dir. Willia m Wyler. Perf. Charlton Heston. DVD. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1959. Bernstein, Carl & Woodward Bob. All The Presidents Men. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974. Bernstein, Irving. Guns or Butter: The Presidency of Lyndon Johnson New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1971. Big Rental Films of 1974 (U .S. Canada Market Only), Variety 8 January 1975: 24. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. The Big Sleep. Prod. Jack L. Warner. Dir. Howard Hawks. Perf. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1946. Bigart, Homer. Bremer Guilty in Shooting of Wallace, Gets 63 Years, The New York Times 5 August 1972: A1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Billy Jack. Produced and directed by Tom Laugh lin. Perf. Tom Laughlin, and Delores Taylor. DVD. National Stude nt Film Corporation, 1973. Billy Jack Goes To Washington. Prod. Frank Capra Jr. Di r. Tom Laughlin. Perf. Tom Laughlin. DVD. Billy Jack Enterprises, 1977. Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. New York, NY: Touchstone, 1998. Blow Up. Prod. Carlo Ponti. Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni. Perf. Vanessa Redgrave, and David Hemmings. DVD. Bridge Films, 1966. Bob Roberts. Prod. Forrest Murray. Dir. Tim Robbins. Perf. Tim Robbins. DVD. Miramax Films, 1992. Bobby. Prod. Edward Bass, Michel Litvak, and Holly Wiersma. Dir. Emilio Estevez. Perf. Emilio Estevez. DVD. Bold Films and Holly Wiersma Productions, 2006. Bogdonovich, Peter. John Ford Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968. Bonnie and Clyde. Prod. Warren Beatty. Dir. Arthur Penn. Perf. Warren Beatty, and Faye Dunaway. DVD. Warner Brothers-Seven Arts, 1967.

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274 Booker, M. Keith. Film and the American Left: a Research Guide. Westport CN: Greenwood Press, 1999. Bordwell, David and Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: An Introduction Reading: AddisonWesley, 1980. Bound For Glory. Prod. Robert R. Blumofe, Harold Leventhal, and Jeffrey M. Sneller. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. David Carradine. DVD. United Artists 1976. Box Car Bertha. Prod. Roger Corman. Dir. Martin Sc orsese. Perf. David Carradine, and Barbara Hershey. DVD. AIP, 1972. Boyum, Joy Gould. Rev. of All The Presidents Men directed by Alan J. Pakula. Warner Brothers. The Wall Street Journal 5 April 1976: A13. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Candidate directed by Michael Ritc hie. Warner Brothers. The Wall Street Journal 7 July 1972: A4. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. The Wall Street Journal 9 February 1976: A11. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Bradlee, Ben. A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. The Bridge on the River Kwai. Prod. Sam Spiegel. Dir. David Lean. Perf. William Holden, and Alec Guinness. DVD. Columbia, 1957. Brook, V. Courting Controversy: the Making and Selling of Baby Doll and the Demise of the Production Code, Quarterly Rev. of Film and Video. v 18, 2001. Buckingham, Lindsey. Go Your Own Way, Rumours Fleetwood Mac. Recording. Warner Brothers Records, 1977. Buford Pusser, Sheriff Depicted in Walking Tall Film, Is Dead, The New York Times 22 August 1974: A36. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Bullworth. Produced and directed by Warren Beat ty. Perf. Warren Beatty, and Halle Berry. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1998. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. Prod. John Foreman. Dir. George Roy Hill. Perf. Paul Newman, and Robert Redfor d. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1969. Canby, Vincent. Rev. of All The Presidents Men directed by Alan J. Pakula. Warner Brothers. The New York Times 8 April 1976: A42. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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275 --------.Rev. of The Candidate directed by Michael Richie. Warner Brothers. The New York Times 30 June 1972: A25. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski. The New York Times Paramount. 21 June 1974: A26. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altman. American Broadcasting Company. The New York Times 12 June 1975: A32. Univers ity of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Parallax View directed by Alan J. Pakula. Paramount. The New York Times 20 June 1974: A47. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese Columbia. The New York Times 9 February 1976: A35. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. The Candidate. Prod. Rupert Coblenz. Dir. Michael Ritchie. Perf. Robert Redford. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1972. Carnes, Mark. ed. Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies New York: Henry Holt and Co, 1995. Carroll, Maurice. Poll Finds Na tion Closely Split on City Aid, The New York Times 2 November 1975: A1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Casablanca. Prod. Hal B. Wallis. Dir. Michael Cu rtiz. Perf. Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1942. Cavallo, Dominick. A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History New York: St. Martins Press, 1999. Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder, an Essay, The Simple Art of Murder. New York: Random House, 1988. The China Syndrome. Prod. Michael Douglas. Dir. Jame s Bridges. Perf. Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, and Jack Lemmon. DVD. IPC Films, 1979. Chinatown. Prod. Robert Evans. Dir. Roman Polans ki. Perf. Jack Nicholson, and Faye Dunaway. DVD. Paramount, 1974. Citizen Kane. Produced and directed by Orson We lles. Perf. Joseph Cotton, and Orson Welles. DVD. RKO Radio Pictures, 1941. Cleopatra. Prod. Walter Wagner. Dir. Joseph L. Ma nkiewicz. Perf. Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1963. Coming Home. Prod. Jerome Hellman. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Jane Fonda, and John Voight. DVD. Jerome Hellman Productions, 1978.

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276 Cook, David. Lost Illusions: American Cine ma in the Shadow of Watergate and Vietnam, 1970 -1979, in History of the American Cinema New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 2000. Cooks, Jay. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altman. American Broadcasting Company. Time Magazine 16 June 1975: 67. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. Time Magazine 16 February 1976: 62. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Corry, John. Seventeen Years of Ideol ogical Attack on a Cultural Target, The New York Times 7 November 1982: D1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Courts May Have to Settle Los Angeles Water Dispute, The Christian Science Monitor 23 August 1927: A4. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Czitrom, Daniel. Media and The American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan. University of North Carolina Press, 1982. Dallek, Robert. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963 Boston: Little Brown & Company, 2003. The Dear Hunter. Produced and directed by Michael Cimino. Perf. Robert DeNiro, and Meryl Streep. DVD. EMI Films LTD, 1978. Death Wish. Prod. Hal Landers and Bobby Roberts. Dir. Michael Winner. Perf. Charles Bronson. DVD. Dino DeLaurentis Productions, 1974. Dick, Bernard. Engulfed: the Death of Paramount Pi ctures and the Birth of Corporate Hollywood Lexington: University Press Kentucky, 2001. Dirty Harry. Produced and directed by Don Siegel Perf. Clint Eastwood. DVD. Malpaso, Warner Brothers, 1971. Dr. Dolittle. Prod. Arthur Jacobs. Dir. Richard Fleischer. Perf. Rex Harrison. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1967. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Peter Sellers. DVD. Columbia, 1964. Dr. Zhivago. Prod. David Lean and Carlo Ponti. Dir. David Lean. Perf. Omar Sharif, and Julie Christie. DVD. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1965. Downhill Racer. Prod. Richard Gregson. Dir. Michael Ritchie. Perf. Robert Redford. 101 minutes. DVD. Paramount, 1969.

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277 Easy Rider. Prod. Peter Fonda. Dir. Dennis Hoppe r. Perf. Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper. DVD. Raybert Productions, 1969. Eckstein, Arthur. The Hollywood Ten in History and Memory, Film History v16, i4, 2004. Eisenstein, Sergei. The Dram aturgy of Film Form (the Dialectical Approach to Film Form), 1929. In Braudy, Leo & Cohen, Marshall, eds. Film Theory and Criticism New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Enter The Dragon. Prod. Paul M. Heller, Bruce Lee, and Fred Weintraub. Dir. Robert Clouse. Perf. Bruce Lee. Concor d Productions, Warner Brothers, 1973. Executive Action. Prod. Edward Lewis. Dir. David Mi ller. Perf. Burt Langcaster, and Robert Ryan. DVD. Executive Action En terprises and National General, 1973. Eyman, Scott. Lion of Hollywood: the Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. Fail-Safe. Prod. Max E. Youngstein. Dir. Sidne y Lumet. Perf. Henry Fonda. DVD. Columbia, 1964. Farber, David. The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994. Farber, Stephen. Conspiracy Movies, The New York Times 11 August 1974, Sec. 2:11. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Five Easy Pieces. Produced and directed by Bob Ra felson. Perf. Jack Nicholson. DVD. BBS Productions, 1970. Top-Grossing Films (Week Ending Oct. 10), Variety 17 October 1973: 10. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Flatley, Guy. Chicago and Other Voices, The New York Times 7 September 1969: D 19. University of Florid a Libraries Microfilm. --------. Martin Scorseses Gamble, The New York Times 8 February 1976. Sunday Magazine: 34 and 43. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Flying Down To Rio Prod. Merian C. Cooper. Dir. Thornton Freeland. Perf. Ginger Rogers, and Fred Astaire. DVD. RKO Radio Pictures. 1933. Freedland, Michael. The Warner Brothers New York: St. Martins Press, 1983. The French Connection. Prod. Philip D`Antoni. Dir. William Friedkin. Perf. Gene Hackman. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1971.

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278 The Front Page. Produced and directed by Lewis M ilestone. Perf. Adolphe Menjou, and Pat OBrien. DVD. United Artists, 1931. Frum, David. How We Got Here, The 70s: the Dec ade that Brought you Modern Life For Better or Worse New York: Basic Books, 2000. Gabler, Neal. An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. New York: Anchor Books, 1988. --------. Life the Movie: How Ente rtainment Conquered Reality New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 1998. The Gallup Poll. August 6, Most Important Problem: Interviewing Date: 14-17 July 1972 Survey # 855 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion1972 -1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 48. --------. January 14, Crime, Interviewing Date: 8 -11 December 1972, Survey # 861 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 82. ---------. June 17, Watergat e, Interviewing Date: 1-4 June 1973, Survey # 872 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 128. --------. July 12, Politics as a Career, Interviewing Date: 22-25 June 1973, Survey # 873 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 136. --------. September 27, Most Important Probl em Interviewing Date 7-10 September 1973 Survey # 877 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 186. --------. July 28, President Nixon, Interviewing Date: 12-15 July 1974, Survey # 911 K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 1977, v1. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 294. --------. December 26, The Kennedy and King Assassinations, Inte rviewing Date: 10-13 December 1976, Survey # 964-K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977, v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 927. --------. April 8, President Ca rter, Interviewing Date: 18 21 March 1977, Survey # 970K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 1977 v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 1036. --------. November 10, Most Important Na tional Problem, Interviewing Date: 21-24 October 1977, Survey # 986-K, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972 -1977 v2. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1978: 1219.

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279 --------. June 29, President Carter, Interviewing Date: 22-25 June 1979, Survey # 131G, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1979. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1980: 190. Geng, Veronica. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. The New Yorker 20 August 1979: 89. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. Georgy Girl Prod. Robert A. Goldston and Otto Plas chkes. Dir. Silvio Narizzano. Perf. Alan Bates, and Lynn Redgrave. DVD. Columbia, 1966. Gertner, Richard: ed. Theat er Grosses, 1931-1970:U.S. Box Office Receipts in Relation to Personal Consumpti on Expenditures, in 1972 International Motion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley Publications, 1972. Gianos, Philip. Politics and Politicians in American Film. Westport CT: Praeger, 1998. Gilliatt, Penelope. Rev. of All The Presidents Men directed by Alan J. Pakula. Warner Brothers. The New Yorker 12 April 1976: 119. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Candidate directed by Michael Ritc hie. Warner Brothers. The New Yorker 1 July 1972: 64-65. Alachua Count y, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski. Paramount. The New Yorker 1 July 1974: 70. Alachua County, Fl orida Libraries Microfilm. --------.Rev. of Medium Cool directed by Haskell Wexler. Paramount. The New Yorker 13 September 1969: 143. Alachua Count y, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altman. American Broadcasting Company. The New Yorker 16 June 1975: 104. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Parallax View directed by Alan J. Pakula. Paramount. The New Yorker 24 June 1974: 82-83. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. The Godfather. Prod. Albert S. Ruddy. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Marlon Brando, and Al Pacino. DVD. Paramount, 1972. Gold, Ronald. U.S. Cant Get on the Offbeat, Variety 10 May 1967: 3. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Goldfinger. Prod. Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Sa ltzman. Dir. Guy Hamilton. Perf. Sean Connery. DVD. United Artists, 1964. Goodbye Columbus. Prod. Stanley R. Jaffe. Dir. Larry Peerce. Perf. Richard Benjamin, and Ali MacGraw. DVD. Paramount, 1969.

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280 The Graduate. Prod. Lawrence Turman. Dir. Mike Nic hols. Perf. Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman. DVD. Embassy Pictures, 1967. The Great Escape. Produced and directed by John Sturges. Perf. Steve McQueen, and James Garner. DVD. The Mirisch Corporation and United Artists, 1963. The Great Gatsby. Prod. David Merrick. Dir. Jack Cl ayton. Perf. Robert Redford, Mia Farrow. DVD. Paramount, 1974. Greeley, Bill. Ervin & Co. Soaking the Soap s: Watergate Cast Tops Daytime Ratings, Variety 8 August 1973: 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Guerrero, Ed. Framing Blackness: The Af rican American in Film. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997. The Guns of Navarone. Prod. Carl Foreman. Dir. J. Lee Thompson. Perf. Gregory Peck, David Niven. DVD. Columbia, 1961. Hampton, Benjamin. History of the Film Industry: From its Beginnings to 1931 New York: Dover, 1970. Harmetz, Aljean. Book By Kosinski, Film by Ashby, The New York Times 23 December 1979: D1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. The Dime-Store Way to Make Movies and Money, The New York Times 4 August 1974, Sec 6: 12 and 32 34. Universi ty of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------, Kosinskis Being There Will Star Peter Sellers, The New York Times 14 February 1979: C18. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Harwood, James. U.S. Films Snubbing Bicen tennial: Patriotism Looms as video Monopoly, Variety 9 July 1975: 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Heavens Gate. Prod. Joann Carelli. Dir. Michael Cimino. Perf. Kris Kristofferson, and Christopher Walken. DVD. Partisan Productions, 1980. Heffernan, Jeanne. Poised Between Savagery and Civilization: Forging Political Communities in Fords Westerns, Perspectives on Political Science v28, i3, 1999. Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam. Manufacturing Consent New York: Pantheon, 1988. Higham, Charles. A Mild and Modest Man and his Very Violent Movie, The New York Times 12 May 1974, Sec. 2: 13. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Hunter, Paul. Haskell Wexler : Filming on a Mortgage, Christian Science Monitor 16 December 1969: 19. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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281 I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Prod. Herman Cohen. Dir. Gene Fowler Jr. Perf. Michael Landon. DVD. AIP, 1957. An Inconvenient Truth. Prods. Lawrence Bender, Scott Burn s, and Lesley Chilcoit. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Perf. Al Gore. DVD. Lawrence Bender Productions and Participant Productions, 2006. The Internet Movie Data Base . Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Prod. Walter Wagner. Dir. Don Siegel. Perf. Kevin McCarthy. DVD. Allied Artists, 1956. Jaws. Prod. David Brown and Richard D. Zanuc k. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. DVD. Universal,1975. Jones, Alex. Still the Wasteland? An Interview with Newton Minow. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics v11, 2006: 3-8. Jones, David. Johnson Submits Plan for Voting By 18-year-Olds, The New York Times 28 June 1968: A1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Jowett, Garth. & Linton James. Movies as Mass Communication. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 1980. Kael, Pauline. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altm an. American Broadcasting Company. The New Yorker 3 March 1975: 79. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. The New Yorker 9 February 1976: 82. Alachua Count y, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------.Rev. of Walking Tall directed by Phil Karlson. Bing Crosby Productions. The New Yorker 25 February 1974: 100-106. Alac hua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. Kauffmann, Stanley. Rev. of All The Presidents Men directed by Alan J. Pakula. Warner Brothers. The New Republic 24 April 1976: 16. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski. Paramount. The New Republic 20 July 1974: 16. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Nashville Directed by Robert Altman. American Broadcasting Company. The New Republic 28 June 1975: 22. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. Universal. The New Republic 25 August 1979: 25. Alachua Count y, Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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282 --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. The New Republic 6 March 1976: 18. Alachua County, Fl orida Libraries Microfilm. Kaye, Jeffery. Alan Alda, The Reluctant Campaigner, The Washington Post 16 August 1975: D1. University of Flor ida Libraries Microfilm. Keathley, Christian. Trapped in the Aff ection Image: Hollywoods Post-Traumatic Cycle (1970-1976), in The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s Thomas Elsaesser, Alexander Horwath, and Noel King, eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004. Kelley, Beverly Merill with Pitn ey Jr., John J., Smith, Craig R., and Gooch III, Herbert E. Introduction: Purpose, Me thodology, and Background, in Reelpolitik: Political Ideologies in s and s Films Westport. CT: Praeger, 1998. Keyishian, Harry. Screening Politics: The Politic ian in American Movies, 1931-2001 Lanham, ML: The Scarecrow Press. 2003. Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn. Native Americans and Film Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. King, Noel. The Last Good Time We Ever Had Remembering the New Hollywood Cinema, In The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s Thomas Elsaesser, Alexander Horwath, and Noel King, eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004. Klute. Produced and directed by Alan J. Pakula. Perf. Jane Fonda, and Alan J. Pakula. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1971. Knife In Water ( Noz W Wodzie ) Prod. Stanislaw Zylewicz. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Leon Niemczyk. DVD. Zespol Filmowy, The Criterion Collection, 1962. Kroll, Jack. Rev. of All The Presidents Men directed by Alan J. Pakula. Warner Brothers. Newsweek 5 April 1976: 85. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. Newsweek 1 March 1976: 82. University of Flor ida Libraries Microfilm. Larner, Jeremy. Nobody Knows. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1969. The Last Detail. Prod. Gerald Ayres. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Jack Nicholson. DVD. Acrobat Productions, Bright Pers ky Associates, and Columbia, 1973. The Last Hurrah. Produced and directed by John Ford. Perf. Spencer Tracy. DVD. Columbia, 1958. Lawrence, H. Draft Bill Rider for Ban on Liquor Pressed in Senate, The New York Times 20 October 1942: A1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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283 Lear, Martha Weinman. Ana tomy of a Sex Symbol, The New York Times 7 July 1974, Sec. 6: 31. University of Fl orida Libraries Microfilm. Liebovich, Louis W. Richard Nixon, Watergate, and the Press: A Historical Retrospective Westport, CN: Praeger, 2003. The Long Goodbye. Prod. Jerry Bick. Dir. Robert Altman. Perf. Elliot Gould. DVD. Lions Gate Films, 1973. The Longest Day. Prod. Darryl F. Zanuck. Dir. Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, and Bernhard Wicki. Perf. Richard Burt on and Henry Fonda. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1962. Lopez, Daniel. Political Film, Film by Genre: 775 Categories, Styles, Trends, and Movements Defined, with a Filmogrphy for Each. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 1993. Los Angeles Aqueduct is Dynamited Again, The New York Times 20 June 1927: A21. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Lucia, Cynthia. Framing Female Lawyers: Woman on Trial in Film Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005. The Maltese Falcon. Prod. Hal B. Wallis. Dir. John Huston. Perf. Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1941. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. Prod. Willis Goldbeck. Dir. John Ford. Perf. John Wayne, and James Stewart. DVD. John Ford Productions, and Paramount, 1962. The Manchurian Candidate. Prod. George Axelrod and John Frankenheimer. Dir. John Frankenheimer. Perf. Frank Sinatra, a nd Laurence Harvey. DVD. United Artists, 1962. Martin, Judith. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. The Washington Post 24 August 1979: A29. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Mary Poppins. Prod. Walt Disney. Dir. Robert Steven son. Perf. Julie Andrews, and Dick Van Dyke. DVD. Walt Disney, 1964. M*A*S*H. Prod. Ingo Preminger. Dir. Robert A ltman. Perf. Donald Southerland, and Elliot Gould. DVD. Ingo Preminge r Productions, Aspen Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox, 1970. Maslin, Janet. Rev. of Being There directed by Hal Ashby. Lorimar. The New York Times 20 December 1979: C20. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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284 --------. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. Universal. The New York Times 17 August 1979: C6. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Mayer, Arthur. Hardeni ng of Film Arteries, Variety 4 January 1967: 5. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Prod. Mitchell Brower and David Foster. Dir. Robert Altman. Perf. Warren Beatty, and Julie Chris tie. DVD. David Fost er Productions and Warner Brothers, 1971. McGinniss, Joe. The Selling of the President: 1968 New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man New York: New American Library, 1965. Medium Cool. Prod. Tully Friedman, Haskell Wexler, and Jerrold Wexler. Dir. Haskell Wexler. Perf. Robert Foster. DVD. Paramount, 1969 Michner, Charles & Kasndorf, Ma rtin. Altmans Opryland Epic, Newsweek 30 June 1975: 46-49. University of Fl orida Libraries Microfilm. Midway. Prod. Walter Mirisch. Dir. Jack Sm ight. Perf. Charlton Heston, and Henry Fonda. DVD. The Mirisch Corporation, 1976. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Produced and directed by Frank Capra. Perf. James Stewart. DVD. Columbia, 1939. Monaco, Paul. The Sixties: 1960 -1969, History of the American Cinema. Harpole Charles, ed. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons, 2000. Morgenstern, Joseph. Rev. of Medium Cool directed by Haskell Wexler. Paramount. Newsweek 1 September 1969: 66. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------.Rev. of Wild In The Streets directed by Barry Shear. AIP. Newsweek 3 June 1968: 101. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Munsterberg, Hugo. The Means of the Photoplay, from The Film A psychological Study 1916. in Braudy, Leo & Cohen, Marshall, eds. Film Theory and Criticism New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Murphy, A. D. Film Trade Sanity Asserts It self: Inventory Down From Crazy Highs, Variety 12 April 1972: 3. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. My Fair Lady. Prod. Jack L. Warner. Dir. George Cukor. Perf. Audrey Hepburn, and Rex Harrison. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1964. Nashville. Prod. Robert Altman. Dir. Robert Al tman. Perf. Karen Black, and Henry Gibson. DVD. American Broadcasting Company, 1975.

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285 Naughton, James. Ford Safe as Guard Sei zes a Gun Woman Pointed at Him on Coast; Follower of Manson is Charged, The New York Times 6 September 1975: A49. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Neal, Arthur. National Trauma and Collective Memory : Extraordinary Events in the American Experience Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2005. Network. Prod. Howard Gottfried. Dir. Sidney Lumet. Perf. Faye Dunaway, and William Holden. DVD. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1976. Network TVs Top Twenty (Nielson Ratings, Nov. 11 -17), Variety 27 November 1968: 33. University of Flor ida Libraries Microfilm. Neve, Brian. Frames of Presidential and Candidate Politics in American Films of the 1990s, Popular Culture as Political Communication v7, i2, 2000. Nevins, Allen. The Essence of Biography, in Allan Nevins on History Ray Allen Billington, ed. New York: Schribner and Sons, 1975. New York Unwanted and Abandoned, The Wall Street Journal 30 October 1975: A20. University of Florid a Libraries Microfilm. Night Moves. Prod. Robert M. Sherman. Dir. Arthur Penn. Perf. Gene Hackman. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1975. Nimmo, Dan & Combs, James. Mediated Political Realities New York: Longman. 1990. OConnor, John. Image as Artifact: The Historical Analysis of Film and Television. Malabar FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, 1990. Olson, Keith W. Watergate: The Presidential Scandal that Shook America Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003. The Omen. Prod. Harvey Bernhard. Dir. Richar d Donner. Perf. Gregory Peck. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1976. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Prod. Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz. Dir.Milos Forman. Perf. Jack Nicholson, and Loui se Fletcher. DVD. Fantasy Films, 1975. PT 109. Prod. Bryan Foy. Dir. Leslie Martins on. Perf. Cliff Robe rtson. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1963. The Parallax View. Prod. Alan J. Pakula. Dir. Alan J. Pakula. Perf. Warren Beatty. 102 minutes. DVD. Paramount, 1974. Parenti, Michael. Make-Believe Media: The Politics of Entertainment New York: ST. Martins Press, 1992.

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286 Penn, Stanley. Focusing on Youth: A New Br eed of Movie Attrac ts the Young, Shakes Up Hollywood, New York Times 4 November 1969: A1. Un iversity of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Phan, Peter. The Wisdom of Holy Fools in Postmodernity, Theological Studies v62, i4, 2001. The Phenix City Story. Prod. Samuel Bischoff and Davi d Diamond. Dir. Phil Karlson. Perf. John McIntire. DVD. Allied Artists, 1955. Phillips, Kevin. The Emerging Republican Majority New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1969. Polan, Dana B. The Political Language of Film and the Avant-Garde Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1985. Posner, Gerald. Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. New York: Random House, 1993. The Public Enemy Prod. Darryl F. Zanuck. Dir. Willia m Wellman. Perf. James Cagney, and Jean Harlow. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1931. Quigley, Eileen; ed. Q.P. Money Making Stars of 1933-2001, 2004 International Motion Picture Almanac New York: Quigley Publications, 2004. Rambo First Blood: Part Two. Prod. Buzz Feitshans. Dir. George Cosmatos. Perf. Sylvester Stallone. DVD. Carolco, 1985. Ray, Robert. A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980 Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985. Repulsion. Prod. Gene Gutowski. Dir. Roman Po lanski. Perf. Catherine Deneuve. DVD. Royal Films International and Compton Films, 1965. Rich, Frank. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. Universal. Time Magazine 20 August 1979: 56. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Ritchie, Michael. If Nader Ran, The New York Times 3 September 1972: D7. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Rockwell, John. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altman. American Broadcasting Company. The New York Times 13 June 1975: A24. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Rocky. Prod. Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkl er. Dir. John Avildsen. Perf. Sylvester Stallone. DVD. Chartoff-Winkler Productions, United Artists, 1976.

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287 Rogers, Everett M. A History of Communication Study New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994. Rosemarys Baby. Prod. William Castle. Dir. Roman Polanski. Perf. Mia Farrow, and John Cassavetes. DVD. William Cas tle Productions, Paramount, 1968. Rosenbaum, Jonathan. Movies as Politics Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997. Rothstein, Mervyn, In Novels and Life a Maverick and an Eccentric, The New York Times 4 May 1991: A10. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Sachleben, Mark & Yenerall, Kevan. Seeing the Big Picture: Understanding Politics Through Film and Television. New York: Peter Lang, 2004. Sarris, Andrew. Politics and Cinema New York: Columbia University Press, 1978. Saturday Night Fever. Prod. Robert Stigwood. Dir. J ohn Badham. Perf. John Travolta. DVD. Robert Stigwood Organization, Paramount, 1977. Saturday Night Live The National Broadcasting Corporation. 1975-Present. Schatz, Thomas. & Perren, Alisa. Hollywood, in Downing, John. ed. The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies Thousand Oaks, CA:SAGE, 2004. Schickel, Richard. The Men Who Made the Movies: Interviews with Frank Capra, George Cukor, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli, King Vidor, Raol Walsh and William Wellman. New York: Atheneum, 1975. --------. Rev. of The Parallax View directed by Alan J. Pakula. Paramount. Time Magazine 8 July 1974: 60. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Schulman, Bruce, J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001. The Seduction of Joe Tynan. Prod. Martin Bregman Dir. Je rry Schatzberg. Perf. Alan Alda, and Meryl Streep. DVD.Universal, 1979. Seven Days in May. Prod. Edward Lewis and John Frankenheimer. Dir. John Frankenheimer. Perf. Burt Langcaster, Ki rk Douglas, and Fredric March. DVD. Paramount, 1964. Shachtman, Tom. Decade of Shocks: Dallas to Watergate, 1963 1974 New York: Poseidon Press, 1983. Shales, Tom. TV Violence Report, The Washington Post 12 Jan 1972: C1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Silverman, Syd. : Economic Gloom, Show Biz Boom, Variety 8 January 1975: 1. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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288 Skinner, James. The Cross and the Cinema: the Le gion of Decency and the National Catholic Office: 1933 1970. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993. Shampoo. Prod. Warren Beatty. Dir. Hal Ashby. Pe rf. Warren Beatty. DVD. Columbia, 1975. Sklar, Robert. Movie Made America: A Cultura l History of American Movies. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Simon, John. Rev. of Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski. Paramount. Esquire October 1974: 14. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Nashville, directed by Robert Altman American Broadcasting Company. Esquire September 1975: 34. Alachua County, Florida Libraries Microfilm. Smith, Terence. Reports Hint Bremer Stalked Others, The New York Times 26 May 1972: A1. University of Fl orida Libraries Microfilm. The Sound of Music. Produced and directed by Robert Wise. Perf. Julie Andrews, and Christopher Plummer. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1965. Spartacus. Prod. Edward Lewis. Dir. Stanley Ku brick. Perf. Kirk Douglas. DVD. Byna Productions, 1960. Squire, J. E. The Movie Business Book, Third Edition. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2004. Stagecoach. Prod. Walter Wagner. Dir. John Ford. Perf. Claire Tre vor, and John Wayne. DVD. United Artists, 1939. Star. Prod. Saul Chaplin. Dir. Robert Wise. Pe rf. Julie Andrews, and Richard Crenna. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1968. Star Wars. Prod. Gary Kurtz. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford. DVD. Lucas Film LTD and Twentieth Century Fox, 1977. Startt, James. & Sloan, William. Historical Methods in Mass Communication Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989. Sterling, Christopher & Haight, Timothy, eds. Number of Network Affiliate Television Stations in U. S.: 1947 -1977, The Mass Media: Aspen Institute Guide to Communication Industry Trends New York: Praeger, 1978. Sterritt, David. The Making of All the Presidents Men, The Christian Science Monitor 16 April 1976: A23. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Being There, directed by Hal Ashby. Lorimar. The Christian Science Monitor 28 January 1980: A19. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

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289 --------. Rev. of Chinatown directed by Roman Polanski. Paramount. The Christian Science Monitor 18 July 1974: A14. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. ---------. Rev. of Nashville directed by Robert Altm an. American Broadcasting Company. The Christian Science Monitor 23 June 1975: A29. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese. Columbia. The Christian Science Monitor 19 February 1976: A23. Univer sity of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of The Seduction of Joe Tynan directed by Jerry Schatzberg. Universal. The Christian Science Monitor. 6 September 1979, A19. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Rev. of Walking Tall directed by Phil Karlson. Bing Crosby Productions. The Christian Science Monitor 23 May 1973: A 11. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. The Sting. Prod. Tony Bill, Julia Phillips, and Mich ael Plillips. Dir. George Roy Hill. Perf. Paul Newman, and Robert Redf ord. DVD. Zanuck-Brown Productions and Universal, 1974. Stuart, Jan. The Nashville Chronicles New York: Simon & Shuster, 2000. Sullivans Travels. Prod. Paul Jones. Dir. Preston Sturges. Perf. Joel McCrea, and Veronica Lake. DVD. Paramount, 1941. Sunrise at Campobello. Prod. Dore Schary. Dir. Vin cent Donohue. Perf. Ralph Bellamy, and Greer Garson. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1960. Superman. Prod. Alexander Salkind. Dir. Richard Donner. Perf. Christopher Reeve, and Gene Hackman. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1978. Sweeney, Louis. Speeding The Candidate to the Box Office, The Christian Science Monitor 13 July 1972: A2. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Taxi Driver. Prod. Julia Phillips and Mich ael Phillips. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perf. Robert DeNiro, and Jodie Foster. DVD. Columbia, 1976. The Ten Commandments. Produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Perf. Charleton Heston. DVD. Paramount, 1957. Tequila Sunrise. Prod. Thom Mount. Dir. Robert Towne. Perf. Mel Gibson, Michelle Pheiffer, and Kurt Russell. DVD. Warner Brothers, 1988. Terminator Two: Judgment Day. Produced and directed by James Cameron. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton. DVD. Carolco, 1991.

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290 Thieves Like Us. Prod. Jerry Bick. Dir. Robert Altma n. Perf. Keith Carradine, and Shelley Duval. DVD. George Litto Productions, 1974. Thompson, David. The Whole Equation: a History of Hollywood New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 2005. Toplin, Robert. Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. Towne, Robert. Retrospective Interviews w ith Roman Polanski, Robert Towne and Robert Evans, Chinatown. Commentary DVD. Paramount, 1999. Truce Reached in Wate r Feud in California, The Christian Science Monitor 20 November 1924: A4. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. th Fox Breakdown Shows Sound 36 % of Theatricals, TV 40% of Total, Variety 22 March 1967: 5. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Produced and directed by Stan ley Kubrick. Perf. Keir Dullea, and Gary Lockwood. DVD. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1968. United 93. Prod. Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Lloyd Levin. Dir. Paul Greenglass. Perf. Christian Clemenson, and Trish Gates. DVD. Universal, 2006. U. S. Bureau of the Census. Armed Forces Personnel, 1968 and 1969, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 814. --------. Classification of Selectiv e Service Registrants: 1965 to 1970, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971: 257. --------. Coal, Petroleum, Cement, Iron Ore, Sulfuric Acid and Steel by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 823. --------. Communicatio ns-Telephones, Telegrams, Mail, Newspapers, Radio and Television by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 831. --------. Crimes and Crime Ra tes, by Type: 1971 to 1980, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1981 (102nd edition) Washington D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980: 173. --------. Education and Health, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. G overnment Printing Office, 1963: 936.

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291 --------. Education by Country, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. G overnment Printing Office, 1970: 835. --------. Families and Unrelated Individuals Below the Poverty Level By Selected Characteristics of Head: 1959 to 1969, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S.Government Printing Office, 1971: 323. --------. Federal B udget Outlays for National Defens e and Veterans Benefits and Services: 1959 to 1971, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. G overnment Printing Office, 1970: 246. --------. Federal Outlays for Crim e Reduction, by Program: 1970 to 1973, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973: 155. --------. HomicideVictims and Rate Selected Countries: 1976 to 1979, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1981 (102nd edition) Washington D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981: 178. --------. HousingDwellings, Room s, Occupancy and Facilities, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 934. --------. Law Enforcement, Federal Courts, and Prisons: Crimes and Crime Rates, by Type: 1960 to 1972, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC: U. S. Governme nt Printing Office, 1973: 144. --------. Law Enforcement, Federal Cour ts, and Prisons: Police Officers Killed, by Geographic Divisions: 1960 to 1971, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1973 (94th edition) Washington DC. U. S. G overnment Printing Office: 1973: 146. --------. Milk, Beer, Cigarettes, Fish, Co tton, Spindles and Yarn by Country: 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 825. --------. National Defense Expenditures, 1967 and 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 814. --------. Per Capita Gross Nationa l Product by Country: 1958, 1963 and 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 810. --------. Political A ssassinations and A ssaults: 1835 to 1968, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: G overnment Printing Office, 1971: 144.

PAGE 301

292 --------. Transportation-Shippi ng, Railway Traffic, Civil Av iation and Motor Vehicles, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 930. --------. Vietnam Conflict U.S. Military Fo rces in Vietnam and Casualties Incurred: 1961 to 1970, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Governme nt Printing Office, 1970: 258. --------. Vital Statistic s and Net Food Supply, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84th edition) Washington DC: U.S. G overnment Printing Office, 1963: 910. Variety Album Bestseller (a National Survey of Key Outlets), Variety 27 November 1968: 55. University of Flor ida Libraries Microfilm. Wag The Dog. Prod. Robert DeNiro, Barry Levinson, and Jane Rosenthal. Dir. Barry Levinson. Perf. Dustin Hoffman, and R obert DeNiro. DVD. New Line Cinema, 1997. Walking Tall. Prod. Mort Briskin Dir. Phil Karlson. Perf. Joe Don Baker. DVD. Bing Crosby Productions, 1973. Watergate on Film, Time Magazine 29 March 1976: 54. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Wayne, Mike. The Dialectics of Third Cinema London: Pluto Press, 1988. Wexler, Haskell. Special Features: Commen tary by Director, Writer and Director of Photography, Haskell Wexler, Editorial Consultant, Paul Golding and actress Marianna Hill, Commentary. DVD. Medium Cool. Paramount, 2001. White, David and Averson, Richard. The Celluloid Weapon: Social Comment in the American Film Boston: Beacon Press, 1972. White, Theodore H. The Making of The President: 1968 New York: Athenaeum, 1969. Wild In The Streets Prod. Samuel Z. Arkoff and James F. Zanuck. Dir. Barry Shear. Perf. Shelley Winters, and Christ opher Jones. DVD. AIP, 1968. Will, George F. A Metaphor for America? The Washington Post 30 June 1975: A23. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. Willard, Michael Nevin. Cutback: Skate and Punk at the Far End of the American Century, in Beth Bailey & David Farber, eds., America in the 70. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2004. Wills, Gary. John Waynes America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

PAGE 302

293 Wilson. Prod. Darryl F. Zanuck. Dir. Henry Ki ng. Perf. Charles Coburn. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1944. Winter Kills. Prod. Daniel H. Blatt and Fred Caruso. Dir. William Richert. Perf. Jeff Bridges, and John Huston. DVD. Avco Embassy, 1979. Witcover, Jules. The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America New York: Warner Books, 1997. Young Mr. Lincoln. Prod. Darryl F. Zanuck. Dir. John Ford. Perf. Henry Fonda. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 1939. Z Prod. Philippe dArgila. Dir. CostaGavras. Perf. Yves Montand. DVD. Office National pour le Commerce et lIndust rie Cinematographique, Cinema V, 1969. Zavarzadeh, Masud. Seeing Films Politically. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991. Zimmerman, Paul. Blood and Water, Newsweek 1 July 1974: 74. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm. --------. Support Your Local Sheriff, Newsweek 8 October 1973: 100. University of Florida Libraries Microfilm.

PAGE 303

294 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH William Renkus is a graduate of The Univer sity of Pittsburgh where he obtained a B.A. in English in 1978, and an M.A. in communications in 1982. He has written and directed numerous public access television programs while serving as a community producer in the city of Pittsburgh. Before pur suing his doctorate at the University of Florida, he worked for The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (ROSNHA) where he conducted public tours of the so ciological, cultural, and techno logical history of the steel industry in western Pennsylvania.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0019801/00001

Material Information

Title: American political films : 1968-1980
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Renkus, William A. ( Dissertant )
Roberts, Churchill L. ( Thesis advisor )
Tripp, Bernell ( Reviewer )
Kaid, Lynda ( Reviewer )
Pleasants, Julian ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Mass Communication thesis, Ph.D
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Journalism and Communications
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States

Notes

Abstract: My study examined the values, attitudes, and beliefs depicted in American political films from 1968 to 1980. A historical analysis of eleven films was used to chart the changing landscape of an important transitional period in both American film and political history. Motion pictures are instruments of mass communication. As such, they are products of their times and are answerable to market forces. For this reason, they can be used as artifacts of cultural history. Examination of the political film genre contributes increased knowledge into the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. The political film genre has reflected society’s changing attitudes toward political leaders, the role of the electorate, the role of the media, the proper response to national crisis, the proper agenda of public issues, and the ethical responsibilities of governmental leaders.
Subject: 70s, American, communication, drama, films, history, hollywood, motion, new, pictures, political, reform
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 303 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0019801:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0019801/00001

Material Information

Title: American political films : 1968-1980
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Renkus, William A. ( Dissertant )
Roberts, Churchill L. ( Thesis advisor )
Tripp, Bernell ( Reviewer )
Kaid, Lynda ( Reviewer )
Pleasants, Julian ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Mass Communication thesis, Ph.D
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Journalism and Communications
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States

Notes

Abstract: My study examined the values, attitudes, and beliefs depicted in American political films from 1968 to 1980. A historical analysis of eleven films was used to chart the changing landscape of an important transitional period in both American film and political history. Motion pictures are instruments of mass communication. As such, they are products of their times and are answerable to market forces. For this reason, they can be used as artifacts of cultural history. Examination of the political film genre contributes increased knowledge into the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. The political film genre has reflected society’s changing attitudes toward political leaders, the role of the electorate, the role of the media, the proper response to national crisis, the proper agenda of public issues, and the ethical responsibilities of governmental leaders.
Subject: 70s, American, communication, drama, films, history, hollywood, motion, new, pictures, political, reform
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 303 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0019801:00001


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AMERICAN POLITICAL FILMS: 1968-1980


By

WILLIAM A. RENKUS















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2007













































O 2007 William A. Renkus


































In loving memory to my parents
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank Dr. Churchill Roberts for his advice, encouragement, and patience in

dealing with a work in process. I also wish to thank Dr. Bernell Tripp for inspiring an

interest in mass communication history and for our productive discussions on film

history. I thank Dr. Lynda Kaid for her mentorship and expertise in political

communications. I thank Dr. Julian Pleasants for lectures that provided historical context

to my research.

I thank Dr. Margot Lamme for her insights into research methodology and Dr.

Julian Williams for helping me to improve as a teacher. I also thank my professors, my

fellow students, and the administrative staff in the College of Journalism and

Communications, for challenging me intellectually and assisting me in my academic

pursuits.

I acknowledge a lifetime of relationships that have provided a platform for

achievement. Everyone I have worked with at Pittsburgh Community Television (PCTV),

Spectacor Management Group (SMG), and the Rivers Of Steel National Heritage Area

(ROSNHA) provided treasured comradeship and a wealth of important life experiences.

Finally, I could not have achieved a fraction of my goals without the love and support of

my mother and father and my sister Tracy.



















TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ..........._..._ viii..


CHAPTER


1 BACKGROUND ................. ...............1....._.._ ......


Significance of the Study ........_................. ............_........1
Film Studies ..........._..._ ...............8....._.._ ......
Film History ....._ ._ .................. ..........._.........1
The Developmental School ........_................. ........_._ ......... 1
T he Economic School ................. ..............._ 13......... ....
The Cultural School ................. ...............15...............
Film History as a Genre ........_................. .........._. .......1
Politics in Film ........._..._... ............. ...............20.....
The Historical Analysis of Film .............. ...............28....

2 FROM POSTWAR CONSENSUS TO THE TURBULENT 1960s IN
AMERICAN POLITICS AND FILM .............. ...............32....


American Political Consensus 1940s -1960s .....__.___ ..... ... ._._ ......_.... ......3
The 1960s: Ferment in America .............. ...............37....._.__ ...
National Trauma and Social Disruption .............. ...............45....
American Consensus in Films: 1940s 1960s ................. ............... 46.............
Presidential Biographies and Political Films ................. ....._._. .............. .....48
The 1960s: Ferment in the Film Industry ................. ............_._.... 52._._._..


3 REVOLUTION: WILD IN THE STREETS (1968), M~EDIUM COOL (1969) ...........57


Key Political Events of 1968 .............. ...............59....
Fourteen or Fight .............. ...............61....
Film Style............... ......... ..........6
American International Pictures .............. ...............66....
Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss ....__ ......_____ ...... ......_......6
Music and Politics............... ...............70
The Whole World is Watching ............ .....___ ...............73..
Personal and Political Commitment .............. ...............76....
Production History ............ ..... .._ ...............80...












Mediated Realities .............. ...... ...............84

Marginalized Socio-Economic Groups............... ...............86.
Messages in the Medium .............. ...............87....


4 REFORM: THE CANDIDA TE (1972), WALKING TALL (1973) .............. ..... ..........93


The Campaign............... ...............95
Fathers and Sons ................. ...............98.___ ......
The Debate............... ...............99.
The Home Stretch ............. ...... ._ ...............100...
A Touch of Evil ................... ......__ .......__ ...........10

Campaign Experiences of the Filmmakers ......._ ......... ___ ........._ ......10
Critical Reaction ............. ...... __ ...............108...

To Thy Own Self Be True ................. ...............110....... ...
Law and Order in America ................. ...............112............
Walk Tall or Don't Walk At All ............... ...............114..._.._ ...

Coming Home ................. ...............115__._.......
Nice Versus Vice ....... ................ ........___.........11
Buford and Obra ................ ...............118................
A Touch of Evil ................. ...............119......... .....
Reaction to the Film............... ...............121.

Print the Legend ................. ...............125................
Political Values ................. ...............126................


5 COVER-UP: CHINA TO WN (1974), THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974), and ALL
THE PRESIDENT 'S M~EN (1 976) ............. .....__ ...._ ...........2


Politics as Usual ............. ...... ._ ...............132..

Chinatown as Metaphor ............. ...... .__ ...............134..
Parallels to W atergate ............. ...... ._ ...............138..
The Creative Process .............. ...............141....
V alues ............. ...... ._ ...............143..
The Fourth Estate ............. ...... ._ ...............146..
Critical Response ............. ...... ._ ...............150..
The Journalist as Hero .............. ...............152....

Falling in Love with The Post .............. ...............153....
Follow The M oney .............. ...............156....
W hat Ever it Takes .............. ...............158....

Your Lives Are In Danger ............. ...... .__ ...............161.
Critical Response ............... ......... ._ .......__ ............16
The Role of The Press in the Political Process ......____ .......___ ...............164


6 REPLACEMENT: NASHVILLE (1975), TAXT DRIVER (1976) ................... ...........167


New Roots .............. ...............168....
200 Years ............. ...... ._ ...............172....
New Leaders ............. ...... __ ...............174...













M management .............. ...............177....
Assassination .............. ...............178....
Production of the Film ................ ...............180...............

Critical Response ................. ...............183................

Replacem ent .............. ...............186....
Alienation .............. ... ...............188.
Crazed Loner As Ironic Hero .............. ...............192....

Disengagement .............. ...............196....
Critical Response ................. .. .......... ...............199......
A New Generation Has Gone Forth............... ...............201.


7 INTRO SECTION: THE SEDUCTION OF JOE TYNAN (1979) & BEING
THERE (1979) ................. ...............203......... .....


Industry Trends ................. ...............204................
Charisma ................. ...............206................
Ambition ................. ...............208................
Domestic Conflict............... ...............210
Creative Influences ................ ...............213................
Critical Reaction ................ ...............215................
Dual Nature............... ...............217
The Me Decade ................. ...............219................

Changing Channels.................... .............22
The Rich, They Are Not Like Us............... ...............224..
The Wise Fool ................. ...............225...............

M edia Reality ................. ...............228................
Production Hi story ................. ...............23. 1......... ....


8 CONCLU SION................ ..............23


Rituals of Power ................. ...............240...............

Political Critiques .............. ...............245....
Values ................... ...............250.

Conformity to History............... .... .............25
Future Political Values, Films, and Events............... ...............260

Implications for Future Research............... ...............26
What Do We Do Now............... ...............266..


APPENDIX: FILMS IN STUDY .............. ...............269....


WORKS CITED .............. ...............271....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............294....

















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

AMERICAN POLITICAL FILMS: 1968-1980

By

William A. Renkus

May 2007

Chair: Churchill L. Roberts
Major: Mass Communication

My study examined the values, attitudes, and beliefs depicted in American political

films from 1968 to 1980. A historical analysis of eleven films was used to chart the

changing landscape of an important transitional period in both American film and

political history.

Motion pictures are instruments of mass communication. As such, they are

products of their times and are answerable to market forces. For this reason, they can be

used as artifacts of cultural history. Examination of the political film genre contributes

increased knowledge into the relationship between those who govern and those who are

governed. The political film genre has reflected society's changing attitudes toward

political leaders, the role of the electorate, the role of the media, the proper response to

national crisis, the proper agenda of public issues, and the ethical responsibilities of

governmental leaders.









Historical analysis of eleven films was used to chart the changing landscape of an

important transitional period in both American film and political history. Films were

chosen based on the inclusion of recurring genre conventions of character and plot,

including maj or characters that aspire to or hold political office, are removed from

political office, or report on the political activities of governmental office holders.

Political films of this era reflected and abetted the erosion of the American political

consensus of the post World War II era. These films found fault with political leaders and

the political process, offered harsh critiques of the pace of social reform, questioned the

value of existing economic and media structures. As a result, an era of American self-

confidence was replaced by an era of ironic detachment and political cynicism.
















CHAPTER 1
BACKGROUND

This study examined the depiction of politics in American motion pictures from

1968 to 1980. Motion pictures have been one of the most important entertainment forums

of the last century. Because of their influential status, films can be used to help identify

the values that were deemed important by a particular society at a particular time. The

study of films can contribute another facet to the mosaic of historical truth. For this

reason, they are worthy of historical analysis. The study of film provides insight into how

filmmakers reacted to the changing political climate of the time, which political norms,

attitudes, and beliefs were challenged, and how these norms, attitudes, and beliefs have

altered over time.

Significance of the Study

Creators of popular entertainment have often commented on the political climate of

their times. Aristophanes' Lysistrata satirized pacifism, Shakespeare' s Hamnlet addressed

the choice of regicide, and Arthur Miller' s The Crucible was an allegory for the excesses

of McCarthyism. Filmmakers have also utilized their medium to comment on politics.

Frank Capra' s Mr. Smlithr Goes to Wa~shington (1939) cautioned against the evils of

political corruption, The Can2didate (1972) depicted the corrosive effects of personal

ambition and Wag the Dog (1997) illustrated the ease with which political reality can be

manipulated.









Artists who operated within popular entertainment forums created all of these

works. Market forces compelled them to reflect the perspectives of their audiences.

Individual beliefs motivated them to inspire new ways of thinking. This is also true of

many filmmakers who have worked in the American motion picture industry.

Filmmakers are products of their times. They have both an economic and an artistic

motivation to understand the society they live in. At the same time, filmmakers must

make choices as to what is included in and excluded from their productions. Because of

these factors, motion pictures can be utilized as valuable historical artifacts. An

examination of the plot, characters, style, and structure contained in a film helps to

explain the historical context in which it was produced. Therefore, an examination of

American political films produced from 1968 to 1980 increases our understanding of the

historical context within which they were created.

Films of this period are worthy of study for other reasons. An examination of

motion pictures adds to the literature of mass communication history. A great deal has

been written about film history in such other disciplines as English and Rhetoric. These

disciplines have approached the study of film from an aesthetic point of view. They have

sought to trace the history of film language and film art. Mass communications history

provides a unique perspective that leads to a greater understanding of the role that each

mass medium has played in the development of society.

The field of mass communication has contributed a great deal to the understanding

of the effects that media have had on society, but there is a need for the reverse. It is

important to discover the effects that society has had upon media. It is also important to

increase our knowledge of film history. There has been a great deal of valuable research










on journalism, print, and broadcasting in mass communication history, but not as much

research on entertainment media. The field of mass communication history is a proper

venue for the study of motion pictures as well as j ournalism, radio, and television. If one

wishes to understand American society in the era of the penny press, it is necessary to

turn to The New York Sun. In order to understand American society in the twentieth

century, one must go to the movies.

The motion picture has long held a unique place in the national consciousness.

Motion pictures have offered an experience that other media could not. Attendance at a

motion picture has always required its audience to make an effort. They have had to leave

their homes, travel to the theater, and purchase a ticket. Films have also occupied a

unique place in the audience's imagination. Images found on the silver screen could often

seem to be more real than reality. Are schools of great white sharks to be found lurking at

every beach in America? Did John Wayne really win World War II single handedly?

Who is the more real Lincoln, the man pictured on our currency, or the man portrayed by

Henry Fonda?

Historical reality can be mediated by film reality. It is important for society to

understand how filmmakers have used their craft to mediate the reality of important

issues. Issues of governance and political leadership have always been of paramount

importance. The communication of these mediated realities has changed through different

eras in history.

The history of American motion pictures can be divided into different eras

including, the silent era, the classic era, and the current era of multinational corporate

ownership. Each era has presented a different vision of America. The Great Depression,









for instance, resulted in both escapist dance movies -- Flying Down to Rio (1933) -- as

well as antihero gangster films -- The Public Enemy (1931). Moments of crisis within

society or within the motion picture industry have often resulted in films that have broken

previous conventions. This was true of the period beginning in the late 1960s.

The late 1960s and early 1970s has been labeled the era of the "New Hollywood."

This was an important period in film history because several influential filmmakers had

an opportunity to exercise unprecedented creative freedom. Economic factors within the

industry provided an opportunity for new filmmakers to emerge. These new writers and

directors were fresh from film schools or from the television medium. They took chances

both artistically and thematically. Their work remained commercially successful, but it

also challenged traditionally held values regarding morality, authority, and social norms

(King 25).

This period in film history was the last time that motion pictures could stand alone

as important cultural events. After this time, films became but one part of a corporate

media package designed to cross promote video rentals, music sales, and product

endorsements. By the end of the 1970s, the American motion picture industry had

regained its economic footing. That economic turn around was facilitated by the

production of big budget blockbusters that could no longer afford to challenge the status

quo (Biskind 343).

The period from 1968 to 1980 was not only significant in film history; it was also

an important period in American political history. The year 1968 was especially eventful.

Violence at the Democratic National Convention tore the party apart and provided

headlines for the antiwar movement. The country was traumatized by the assassinations









of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy. President Lyndon Johnson

announced that he would not seek reelection. Johnson's "Great Society" would come to

be replaced by Richard Nixon' s Silent Maj ority." The election of Richard Nixon

signaled a shift from the liberalism of the 1960s to greater conservatism of the 1970s.

The decade of the 1970s continued to bring change. This era was marked by

important events that would shake public confidence in their government. These events

included scandals, tax revolts, terrorism, and national malaise. By the end in the 1970s,

America was a different nation. The electorate had become disenchanted with the

political status quo. A new maj ority rej ected the politics of the 1960s. This new majority

would eventually turn to a man from outside the political establishment to fill the

presidency. Motion pictures reflected these important real world events. They have been

depicted directly in motion picture content as well as in the back-story within film plots,

the characterization of maj or players, and in the violation of audience expectations.

Films involving the depiction of the political process in the United States are the

subj ect of this study. Other genres of motion pictures, no doubt, would provide insight

into certain aspects of American society as well. Important public issues have been the

subject of a broad array of film genres including the gangster film, the labor film, the

prison film, the juvenile delinquent film, the racial conflict film, the ecological disaster

film, and the war film. Each one of these genres addresses a social problem. Social

problem films are differentiated from political films by their presentation of a single

topical issue rather than an examination of the established political structures designed to

govern over the long term. It is the political film genre that best illustrates the relationship

between those who govern and those who are governed. The political film genre has most









directly addressed society's attitudes toward political leaders, the role of the electorate,

the role of the media, the proper response to national crisis, the proper agenda of public

issues and the ethical responsibilities of governmental leaders.

At this point, it should be asked what the definition of a political film is. Some

authors rely on personal experience to recognize a political film when they see one.

Noted film critic Andrew Sarris remarked, "Even the most escapist movies manage to

make statements about society and its ideology" (9). Many scholars have accepted a

broad definition, based on the presence of ideological content within each film. This is

especially true of radical film theorists. In his definition of political films, Mike Wayne

considered issues of social and cultural emancipation of prime importance. According to

Wayne, political films are those designed to radicalize the masses in their struggle against

dominant culture (5). Mas'ud Zavarzadeh agreed with Wayne's analysis, adding that

western political films are often designed to homogenize the past or to make dominate

culture appear harmless and therefore inevitable (153). These are rather broad definitions

of political films because almost all Hollywood films tend to reflect the dominant culture.

Beverly Kelly agreed that filmmakers utilize a diverse range of vehicles to deliver a

political message, from screwball comedy to biography to western. In an attempt to

narrow the field of discussion, Kelly suggested a definition based on the presence of

political ideology defined as "integrated assertions, theories, and aims that constitute a

governmental policy" (2). The presence of ideology alone, however, still would result in

the inclusion of most Hollywood productions.

In Films by Genre, Daniel Lopez defines political films as those that attempt to

reaffirm the political beliefs shared by a social group, convert others to that point of view,









or discover the hidden motivations behind the actions undertaken by an established

political bureaucracy. This definition of the political film genre is quite useful because it

includes the presence of both ideological content, as well as an examination of the

underlying political structure of a society. As an example of this definition, Lopez cited

the Greek film Z (1968) as a seminal work in the political film genre because of its

critique of political expediency and injustice in the 1960s Greek political system (228-

229).

Political films are defined as those that seek to examine the shared ideology, as

well as the underlying political structure of a society. In addition, the political film is

more narrowly defined as those films that incorporate recurring genre conventions of

character and plot, including major characters that aspire to or hold political office, are

political staff members, organize anti-govemnmental protests, or report on the political

activities of governmental office holders.

Based on this definition, The Internet M~ovie Data Ba~se online film bibliography

was consulted . The resulting eleven films were judged to represent the

selection criteria and to provide the most valuable historical film artifacts of the study

period. No attempt was made to favorably or unfavorably judge the ideology found in the

work of writers, directors, or producers. Because filmmaking is a collaborative business,

the work of all key contributors was examined. Only profitable films produced and

distributed in America, from 1968 to 1980, were considered. The most complete DVD

versions of the films were then secured for viewing. They are as follows:

All The President 's 2en. Warner Brothers, 1976.

Being There. Lorimar Film Entertainment, 1979.

The Candidate. Warner Brothers, 1972.










Chinatown. Paramount, 1974.

Medium Cool. Paramount, 1969

Nashville. American Broadcasting Company, 1975.

The ParallarPPP~~~~PPP~~~PPP View. Paramount, 1974.

The Seduction of Joe Tynan. Universal, 1979.

Taxi Driver. Columbia, 1976.

Walking Tall. Bing Crosby Productions, 1973.

Wildln The Streets. American International Pictures, 1968.

Film Studies

Motion pictures have always generated intense popular interest. The exploits of

early pioneers were enthusiastically reported on in the press of the day. To most people,

motion pictures were an interesting new technology that provided harmless

entertainment. Others saw them as escapist and not worthy of serious thought. Many

people still do. The early study of motion pictures suffered because of these popular

perceptions.l

The movies became the subj ect of countless fan magazines, gossip columns, and

movie star biographies. These writings were beamed toward the popular mass market.

There was, however, some early academic interest in film. In 1916, the psychologist

Hugo Munsterberg commented on motion picture's ability to break down rational notions

of space and time within the minds of the audience (401). In 1929, Russian director

Sergei Eisenstein explained the art of film editing and its mastery by D. W. Griffith (25).

SThe study of film did not become popular until the latter half of the twentieth century. The 1960s saw an
explosion of film studies classes and in the number of film related publications. See Jowett and Linton 13).









In 1933, a team of sociologists, under the direction of the head of the Bureau of

Educational Research at Ohio State University W. W. Charters, produced a series of ten

volumes that became known as The Payne Fund Studies. The Payne Fund Studies found

that children were frequent viewers of movies and that these movies depicted themes of

crime and sex that had ill effects on America' s youth (Rogers 191). In addition, noted

critics such as James Agee and Manny Farber wrote serious pieces about films and the

motion picture industry. The Nation, The New Republic, and Time Magazine published

their work in the 1940s and 1950s.

Film continued to be studied throughout the mid-century, but it was primarily

through the work of European writers that Hollywood films finally achieved artistic

legitimacy. The auteur theory of film, promoted by the writers of the French publication

Calhiers du Cinema, elevated underappreciated American directors to the status of artists.

The Auteur movement was soon endorsed by American film critics who began to

champion directors working within the Hollywood studio system (Schatz and Perren

495).

The idea that American filmmakers could be worthy of the term "artist" would

eventually lead to an explosion of academic interest in motion pictures. Knowledge of

critically acclaimed films and filmmakers became the mark of intellectual hipness.

Universities initiated degree programs in film studies and in film production. These

programs led to the development of more scholars as well as a generation of directors

who would begin to create innovative fi1ms in the 1960s and 1970s.

According to Schatz and Perren, the study of film has continued to evolve. It has

now achieved academic legitimacy. The field has diversified over the last quarter century









to include the study of genre, structures and semiotics, feminism, power, and economics

among others. However, the development of film studies "has been a bumpy one, as

scholars have attempted to strike a balance between industrial/institutional analyses and

textual/interpretive studies" (510). Significant advances in the field of film history have

helped to strike this balance by situating Hollywood "within the larger social and cultural

context" (510).

Film History

Film history can be seen as a part of film studies as well as mass communication

history. According to James Startt and William Sloan, the study of mass communications

history can be approached from three different perspectives including ideological,

professional, and cultural. Each of these perspectives has developed over time and has

subdivided into various schools.

The ideological approach encompasses the four earliest schools of mass

communication history. The Nationalist School interpreted early journalists as patriotic

figures; The Romantic School promoted the "great man theory" of history, The

Progressive School brought a reformist view to their work and The Consensus School,

which sought to emphasize the achievements of America and its mass media; especially

during times of national crisis. Those working from the professional perspective can be

found in the Developmental School. This group of scholars examined the professional

development of the media. The final perspective of mass communications historians

would be from the perspective of culture. Other perspectives assumed that media had a

maj or impact on society, but the Cultural School sought to study the impact of society on

the media. The cultural perspective enabled scholars to provide a better understanding of









how sociological forces, economics, and technology have acted on media (Startt and

Sloan 22-39).

The Developmental School

Motion picture technology developed at a much later date than print technology.

Film is a relatively new medium when compared to newspapers or books. Consequently,

many film histories have fallen into the more recent Developmental and Neo-Romantic

Schools. The primary focus of the Developmental School has been on the creation and

advancement of a new mass media industry. The contributions of pioneers and the

discovery of early inventions have been told continually. Biographies of important

writers, directors, producers, and movie stars have been written throughout every film

era. The structure of the Hollywood studio system and issues of film censorship also have

been explored.

The work of early inventors has been a popular subj ect of the Developmental

School. The perfection of the first moving photographs by Eadweard Muybridge led to

the refinement of the first motion picture camera by Etienne Jules Marey. These

developments, along with the invention of the perforated film strip by the Edison

Laboratories and the first large screen proj ector by the Lumiere brothers in 1895, made it

possible for motion pictures to become both commercial and artistic successes. Soon,

millions of Americans thronged to nickelodeons and theaters to see the latest movies.2

A large body of work has celebrated the great films that were produced by the great

men in film history. This emphasis on great men would also indicate that the authors



SFor accounts of the development of the early motion picture industry, see Hampton; Bordwell and
Thompson; and Sklar.









were writing from the point of view of the Romantic School. Stories of individual

achievements can be found in works including Peter Bogdonovich's biography of John

Ford and Richard Schickel's book containing a series of interviews with other noted

directors such as George Cukor, Frank Capra, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, and

Raol Walsh. Other works examined the lives of studio heads such as the Warner brothers

and Louis B. Mayer. These biographies portray their subj ects as vital to the development

of the American film industry and reveal a great deal about the development of

production techniques. They also provide insight into the structure of the Hollywood

studio system and the industry's response to external attempts to control content.3

Issues of cinematic censorship have also been explored within the Developmental

School. The demise of the production code was researched by Brook. The history of the

Catholic Church' s Legion of Decency was studied by Skinner. Other challenges to the

ability of filmmakers to exercise their craft are found in Eckstein's account of events

surrounding the actions of the U. S. Congress House Committee on Un-American

Activities (HUAC). (Brook; Skinner; Eckstein).

Those writing in the Developmental School sought to explain how the motion

picture industry became successful. The contributions of early pioneers were highly

praised. This school's perspective has been favorable to its subj ects. They have been

depicted as contributing to free enterprise and artistic expression. More recent writers in

this School have congratulated filmmakers as promoters of freedom of speech.






3 For biographies of early pioneers of the motion picture industry, see Bogdonovich; Schickel; Freedland
and Eyeman.









The Economic School

The economic structure of the film industry has become a prime subj ect for film

historians. The movie business, however, has been difficult to analyze because of its

uncertain nature. Financing a motion picture is a gamble at best with investment

decisions made before anyone knows if the end product will be marketable. According to

J. E. Squire:

Many essential choices spring from intuitive leaps; most successful practitioners
possess a personal mix of creative and business sense; judgments frequently rely on
relationships and personalities; decision are often made with a long lead time,
making it harder to anticipate audience trends; and as far as profits are concerned,
the sky's the limit. (5)

For the first half of the twentieth century, the motion picture studios enjoyed

vertical integration. They controlled everything from production to distribution. Creative

personnel were signed to long term unbreakable contracts forcing them to work on

whatever proj ect management deemed appropriate. The final product was distributed to

theaters owned by the movie studios. As a consequence, competition was kept to a

minimum. During this period there were only seven maj or studios in the industry, and

studio heads ruled with almost complete autonomy.4

Hollywood's artistic and economic golden era spanned the period between the

invention of sychchronous sound in 1927 and the peak years for movie theater attendance

in the United States, 1946-1948. After this time, the industry faced many challenges

including antitrust lawsuits, the growth of the television industry, the increased

availability of highly innovative European films, and demographic changes in audiences.

The motion picture industry's response to these challenges proved to be inadequate.


SAccounts of the early structural development in the film industry can be found in Sklar; and Gabler.










Highly publicized productions such as Cleopatra (1963) lost considerable amounts of

money. A series of expensive theatrical failures had a negative influence on both the

Hollywood establishment and the nation's movie critics. Both groups began to believe

that European filmmakers had surpassed their American counterparts. Hollywood studios

had no solution for changing market situation and began to hemorrhage money. By the

decade of the 1960s, the vertical monopolies of several maj or studios were broken and an

era of corporate conglomeration had begun (Monaco 3-9).

Bernard Dick' s Engulfed: the Death ofParamount~~~PP~~~PP~~~PP Pictures and the Birth of

Corporate Hollywood (2001) on Gulf and Western' s take over of Paramount Pictures

illustrated how control of the film industry was wrested away from the old time studio

heads by modern corporations. Film moguls who, for all their faults, still loved movie

making no longer controlled the motion picture industry. Corporations replaced the studio

system with a cold, dispassionate emphasis on profits. This led to an increased number of

blockbuster productions that served to maximize the corporate bottom line.

All schools of film history have addressed budgets and box office--at least to some

degree. Those who wrote about the great studios of the 1930s would certainly include

analysis of the struggle for power between the moguls in Hollywood and the financial

executives of the studio who worked in New York. The Economic School, however, has

reflected a cultural perspective of history. They have moved away from the "great man"

theory of history to an investigation into motion pictures as an industry in the larger

national economic system. This industry-wide perspective has usually been negative and

has become even more prevalent in the modern era of corporate convergence.









The Cultural School

According to media historian Daniel Czitrom, the invention of motion pictures

initiated a new kind of art form that was made for a new kind of mass audience. Movies

used pictures and common language to convey their narrative. They brought together

large numbers of the working class and newly arrived immigrants to comprise their

audience. Films were shown in urban slum neighborhoods by enterprising exhibitors who

soon came to control the industry. The exhibitors and the audience were not members of

the upper class or the cultural elite. This was an art form for the masses. As such, it

caused growing concern among cultural traditionalists who sought to control this new

popular entertainment medium (44-45).

When members of the upper class pressured those in government to examine the

buildings in which fi1ms were presented, they found conditions to be wanting. Theaters

were dark and sanitation was poor. In 1908, the licenses of 550 movie theaters were

revoked in New York City. It was not until exhibitors began to build movie palaces in

neighborhoods beyond the urban slums that movies became socially acceptable. By the

1920s, films attracted not only lower class audiences, but middle and upper class

audiences as well (Czitrom 50).

Czitrom's concern was to discover how Americans thought about and reacted to the

creation of new media including telegraph, fi1m, and radio. Because of his interest in

early development, he limited his study of film history only to the first three decades of

the last century. A more comprehensive cultural history of motion pictures can be found

in the work of Robert Sklar.

In his book M~ovie Made America: A cultural History ofAmerican M~ovies, Sklar

wrote of the Hollywood Dream Factory and the importance of cultural myths in the









maintenance of social stability during the trying times of the 1930s and 1940s. According

to Sklar:

The high priority the nation's leaders placed on recementing the foundations of
public morale was not lost on those producers and directors whose goal was
enhanced prestige, respectability, and cultural power. Moreover, they were quickly
gaining considerable skill at communicating their messages with subtle nuances
beneath the surface of overt content. (196)

Perhaps two of the most influential Hollywood mythmakers of mid century were

studio head Walt Disney and the director Frank Capra. In his discussion of Disney, Sklar

was able to incorporate anthropological research of Claude Levi-Strauss to show how

Disney's cartoons moved from fantasy to idealization. In his discussion of Capra, Sklar

illustrated the director' s ability to tackle contemporary social themes in fictional films as

well as in documentaries about World War II (199-214).

According to Robert Ray, Hollywood's ability to maintain social stability has been

related to structural and thematic elements of filmmaking. The continuity editing system

became the standard procedure for crafting a mainstream film. This system was

developed in the silent era and codified during Hollywood's Classic Era. Continuity

editing was meant to be seamless and imperceptible by the audience. As a consequence,

audiences were unaware that they were being swept away by the underlying ideology of

what they viewed (32).

The underlying ideology of classic period Hollywood productions was "the

avoidance of choice" between the outlaw hero and the official hero. According to Ray,

the outlaw hero represented American belief in self-determinism and freedom from

entanglements whereas the official hero stood for communal action and the rule of law.

The antihero and the hero have been present in numerous motion pictures. They have

echoed America' s tendency to mythologize historical individuals such as Davy Crockett









and George Washington. Film audiences encountered both outlaw heroes as well as

official heroes and the American film industry encouraged them to believe that they

could reconcile the values reflected by the two opposite film personas (59).

Ray's argument was that this reconciliation cultivated a cynical view of the world

and political inaction on the part of the audience. In their book Manufacturing Consent

Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky maintained that motion pictures tendency to induce

political inaction is evidence of hegemony. These social critics have been interested in

exploring how powerful elites maintain the political status quo through manipulation of

film and other mass media (Herman and Chomsky).

Challenges to America' s status quo have been depicted in the genre of the

American social problem film. The history of this genre was researched by David

Manning White and Richard Averson. The authors found a long history of motion

pictures that have explored social problems of "racial and ethnic prejudice, drug

addiction, alcoholism, labor inequities, penal inhumanity, crime and juvenile

delinquency, corruption in politics and government, and that most cancerous of all social

ills, war"( 260).

The cultural perspective has provided a consideration of efforts by marginalized

groups to claim their stake in American popular awareness. The stereotypical portrayal of

Native Americans and the work of current Native American filmmakers have been

studied by Jacquelyn Kilpatrick. The identification with, and resistance to, the black

American cinema experience has also been explored by Ed Guerrero. In addition, Cynthia

Lucia has examined the theme of patriarchy in crisis in the female lawyer film genre.

(Kilpatrick; Guerrero; Lucia).









The study of genre history has provided a valuable entree into American cultural

history. The film portrayal of a particular sociological group can tell us how they were

regarded by society at different periods of time. The changing nature of an individual

genre can provide insight into the changing needs of an audience. The western has been a

staple of the American motion picture industry. Gary Wills' John Wayne 's America goes

beyond the Developmental School to examine why America has needed a frontier myth

and how a particular star has personified that myth.

A markedly different vision of the American hero was depicted in the "post-

traumatic cycle of films" that was produced in the period from 1970 to 1976. These films

reflected a loss of confidence in America and its institutions. The protagonists of the

films produced in this cycle were confident that they could control events, but their sense

of control is revealed to be an illusion. Eventually, the protagonists become trapped in

events that spiral out of their control. The result for the protagonist was tragedy, trauma,

and an inability to respond.'

Fictional characters were subject to lost illusions in films of the 1970s. According

to David Cook, this was also tr-ue of filmmakers. The late 1960s through the early 1970s

was a period of great social activism. The antiwar movement encouraged belief that a

new liberal consensus would emerge. Filmmakers bought into the permanence of this

new consensus and reflected this belief in the creation of more politically liberal films.

There was to be no permanent shift to the left however. The new consensus was an

illusion. By 1980, conservatives had regained control of the presidency and the country.


5 Films in this cycle include The Long Goodbye (1973), ht~roves (1975), and Heaven's Gate (1980).
See Keathley 297.









A second illusion, on the part of the filmmakers, was that mainstream American

audiences had become more interested in serious social and political films. This illusion

was shattered by the success of Jauys (1975) and Star Wars (1977) both of which

promoted "a juvenile mythos of 'awe' and 'wonder' in movies that embraced

conservative cultural values, yet did so within a superstructure of high-tech special

effects and nostalgia for classical genres" (Cook xv-xvi).

Film History as a Genre

Motion pictures have served as both conscious and unconscious recorders of

history. American motion pictures have often turned to historical events or biographies

for their subject matter. History has been used to apply a patina of prestige to fictional

works. This has been especially true of biographies. As a measure of this prestige, one

can tally the numerous awards that have been earned by this genre. In fact, the Academy

of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated at least one historical film for Best

Picture every year from 1986 to 2001 (Toplin 6).

Not everyone has been pleased with the success of historical motion pictures. The

portrayal of historical events on film has been chastised by historians for its inaccuracy.

These fi1ms have often been misleading in their depiction of real events, and academics

fear that the public will obtain their knowledge of history solely from cinema. Those who

learn from false history are doomed to repeat this falsehood.

On the other hand, Robert Toplin maintains that a blanket condemnation of the

historical film genre has been unrealistic because filmmakers must operate under

different commercial and structural constraints than historians. In addition, to dismiss










cinematic history "comes with a price. It segregates scholars from important discussions

of the subj ect that are taking place beyond the academy." 6

An interesting facet of motion pictures is that they can also perform the function of

unconscious recorders of history. According to Charles Maland, Stanley Kubrick' s 1964

fil m, Dr. Strange love: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, was

created within the dominant American cold war paradigm, but used satire to rej ect the

ideology of liberal consensus. This nightmare comedy rej ected the two cornerstone

assumptions of that ideology: "that the structure of American society was basically sound

and that Communism was a clear and present danger to the survival of the United States"

(191). This film marked a turning point in American thought. The national complacency

of the 1950s was soon to be replaced as Americans began to question its political

leadership and that leadership's foreign policy.

The history of motion pictures has been examined from the perspective of various

schools of thought. Films have been viewed as examples of artistic expression,

technological innovation, economic development, governmental regulation, sociological

impact, cultural transmission, mythic reality, and recorders of history. Each perspective

has increased our understanding of the medium. An examination of the history of the

depiction of politics on film has benefited from a variety of perspectives as well.

Politics in Film

Politics plays a vital part in the life of every citizen. The allocation of goods and

services can mean life and death to a community in crisis. The application of power can


b For a series of articles on inaccuracies in historical films, see Carnes. For a defense of the film history
genre, see Toplin 4.









change the course of history for good or for ill. Those who wield political power inspire

great passion as well as ambivalence. According to Philip Gianos:

It is difficult to imagine an area of human life more fraught with ambivalence than
politics. It is not that we love politicians or hate them; it is that we love and hate
them. Political life embodies, simultaneously, great aspiration and great
disillusionment, and this mix of aspiration and disillusionment is simultaneously
individual and collective. The success or failure of an individual politician becomes
the success or failure of the community from which the person comes and which
that person, at some level, represents. Everyone is happy when Jefferson Smith
wins. (169)

According to Beverly Merill Kelly, this tension between the individual and

community is the most reliable method of recognizing a truly American fi1m. The first

American settlers arrived on these shores seeking independence from their native lands.

Once they established a new country, they faced the duality of political reality. Since the

beginning of the republic, Americans have both hated strong central authority and

idealized group consensus. Other dualities exist in the American political psyche

including contrasting goals of populism/elitism, fascism/antifascism,

intervention sm/i solationi sm, and personal responsibility/social safety nets. According to

Kelly, these contrasting ideologies typify classic Hollywood productions such as M~r.

.Glithr Goes to Wa~shington (1939) (4).

Jefferson Smith, the protagonist in Frank Capra' s film M~r. .Glithr Goes to

Wa~shington, is the archetypal American political film hero. He represents populism,

antifascism and personal responsibility, with just a touch of elitism included for good

measure. This motion picture, produced during the classic period of American

Hollywood cinema, totally captures the values of depression era America. It also falls

within the first of three historical periods within the political film genre.









According to Harry Keyishian, motion pictures of the first period, from 1900 to the

mid 1940's, depicted a hero who could maintain both integrity and political power. The

hero would often be an amateur or an outsider who would redeem society. In the films of

the second period, from the mid 1940's to the 1990's, the protagonist was forced to make

a choice between integrity and political power. To choose one would serve to forfeit the

other. In films from 1990 onward, there has been a return to the outsider who has

attempted to redeem the political process. These films present a more sophisticated

political hero than the innocent protagonists of the classic period.'

There would appear to be little ambiguity present in the film character of Jefferson

Smith. He appears to be the quintessential film hero and is depicted as "a simple man

whose strength comes from the land and his family and friends" (Gianos 100). Jefferson

Smith believes in the purity of the American constitution and the rule of law. This is in

contrast to the sophistication of the corr-upt city dwellers and their "jungle law." Smith is

an example of the official hero. He has confidence in the nobility of the average citizen

and it is he who tries to redeem the corrupt political system by refusing to compromise.

the strength and purity of Smith' s personality save the soul of the Senate (Gianos 100).

The depiction of Jefferson Smith as a hero of the little people resonated with

depression era progressivism and the audience's distrust of class elites. Smith also can be

seen as a member of the elite class. Throughout the film he claims to speak for the

downtrodden, but he refuses to listen to their telegraph messages urging him to stop his

Senate filibuster. According to Gianos, this makes Smith a more ambivalent character


SExamples of films from the first period include Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and Wilson (1944). Films from
the second period include The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Seduction ofJoe Tynan
(1979). Films from the last period include Bob Roberts (1992) and Bulworth (1998). See Keyishian.









and changes the meaning of the fi1m into a question of which elite should rule, rather than

which class (100).

According to Keyishian, political films of the second period included films about a

corrupted hero such as All The King 's M~en (1949). This film was based on a Pulitzer

Prize winning novel by Robert Penn Warren. The book, as well as the film, was a thinly

veiled retelling of the political career of Louisiana Governor Huey Long. All The King 's

Men contrasted the idealism of Governor Willie Stark' s early campaign rhetoric with his

later dishonesty in office. The fi1m asks whether Stark' s downfall is the "product of free

will or of original sin; whether he is a good man corrupted by the political process; or a

bad one whose inherent vice emerges when he gets a chance for power" (Keyishian 18).

Political films of the third period have been studied as well. Films such as Bob

Roberts (1992), Wag the Dog (1997), and Birk1 1, thr (1998) continued the ambivalent

trend toward politics and politicians. In contrast to Keyishian however, Brian Neve has

maintained that the fi1ms of the 1990s have emphasized the self-interest of politicians and

have provided no sense of their possible redemptive qualities (19).

Political films have been studied according to the chronological era in which they

were produced. In addition, films have also been categorized according to how directly

they have addressed the subject of politics. Films can be either overtly concerned with the

political process as in M~r. SGittit Goes to Wa~shington (1939), partially concerned with

certain elements of the political process as in Citizen Kane (1941), or they can introduce

political themes into other genres as in Stagecoach (1939).

The American presidency has been central to the plot of numerous films in the

political genre. Abraham Lincoln has been the subj ect of over thirty theatrical releases.









Lincoln was a great man, in history as well as in film. The deliberate and skillful casting

of certain actors reinforces his positive image. In particular, three legends of the silver

screen-Henry Fonda, Fredric March and Spencer Tracy-stand out as being "the

prototypical heroic Hollywood president" (Schleben and Yenerall 87).

This focus on presidential character has moved from the movies to real life.

Character issues hounded Gary Hart during the 1988 Democratic primaries and President

Bill Clinton endured "Monicagate" in 1998-1999. The way that the presidency has been

portrayed has come to influence the way the public perceives the executive branch (111).

How can a modern president possibly measure up to the public perception of a man

perceived to be as noble as Lincoln? One way would be to adopt the myth making

strategy of American motion pictures. President John Kennedy had a natural gift for

proj ecting a likable image. President Richard Nixon did not. According to Neal Gabler,

his solution was to provide the media with set pieces that:

Presented you as having achieved what you had said you wanted to achieve
whether or not you had actually achieved it, just as during the campaign one
provided set piece that showed you were what you said you were whether or not
you actually were. (109)

The modern politician has become a skilled manipulator of image. He has also

blended popular film culture with reality. President Ronald Reagan adopted Star Wars

(1977) terminology in his proposals for national defense against the "evil empire." At a

more subtle level, the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) reversed the role of the

robot from the future portrayed by actor, now governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The

robot, once evil, was now good. This simplistic reversal echoed and eased other real

policy reversals "toward Saddam in the Gulf and, two years earlier, Noriega in Panama"

(Rosenbaum 3).









According to Gianos, an example of a film that is partially concerned with politics

would be Citizen Kane. The political aspects of this film are used to reveal the

psychological makeup of its main character. The young Kane was deprived of maternal

love and substitutes a drive for power for that loss. He maintains that he is running for

office because of a motivation for political reform, but he is really interested in public

adoration. Ultimately, the film is about "the tragedy of wealth and idealism gone wrong"

(170 -184).

It would not seem likely that a traditional American western movie would address

serious political issues. Stagecoach, directed by John Ford, is the story of how a

mismatched band of people struggles to survive a perilous trek through Indian country.

Ford's film, like many of his other westerns, trades on the American frontier myth of

civilization's triumph over nature. According to Jeanne Heffernan, a closer inspection of

his films reveals that Ford's use of setting:

Provokes a thoughtful uneasiness about the very myths the films present. Indeed,
Ford's Westemns reveal a subtle appreciation for the complexity of human relations,
a wariness of pretensions to virtue, and a profound ambivalence toward the
possession of power. (147)

A number of film scholars, including Michael Parenti, have maintained that

American entertainment films, including classic westerns, propagate images supportive

of imperialism, capitalism, authoritarianism, and militarism in what he considers to be an

insidious mix of entertainment and reality. Other authors, including Dana Polan,

contrasted American avant-garde films with mainstream productions such as Grea~se

(1978) finding that they contained escapist fantasies and a promotion of capitalism. In

addition, M. Keith Booker provided a comprehensive survey of film and the American









left identifying political films as those that addressed an inherent conflict between

proletariat ideals and maj ority repression (Parenti 2; Polan 59; Booker x-xii).

Dan Nimmo and James Combs also examined films as rituals of power. They

maintain that the movie-going experience serves to mediate reality for the audience. The

Hollywood Dream Factory bridges the real world and the reel world through the creation

of fantasy. The Hollywood Dream Factory constructs stories that tap into the "mythic

folklore and narrative tradition of a culture." Audiences recognize and respond to these

metaphorical representations of reality and fables of cultural heritage through "fantastic

learning" that results in "a learned sense of who and where they are" (109-1 10).

Nimmo and Combs go on to identify the different fantasies of ritualized political

power that Hollywood has created during the decades of the last century. The Populist

Fantasy, found in films from the 1930's, helped audiences find scapegoats for hard times.

The Commitment Fantasy of the 1940's was personified in the choice of political

reengagement made by the Rick Blaine character in Casablanzca (1942). The Alien

Fantasy, of the 1950s, could be manifested by different audiences in different manners

even when watching the same film. hzvasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) invited dual

interpretations as a fear either of creeping socialism or of creeping fascism. The Fantasy

of Change and Hope, of the 1960s, was seen in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey

(1968) that promised the triumph of a "transcendent power that would bring to earth

reconciliation through benevolent technology legitimized through higher truths." The

Fantasy of Renewal and Reflection of the 1980s brought nostalgia for a fantasy America

that newer quite existed (112-126).









The authors categorized the 1970s as "the big chill" era and the "me decade" when

"The American Dream drifted, and no political leader or force seemed able to capture the

public imagination." Nimmo and Combs also found it difficult to identify the focus of

political power in films of the 1970s. According to Nimmo and Combs "the social hopes

and commitments of previous movie heroes seemed to dissipate in the confusion and

even cynicism of the decade." This resulted in the creation of the Fantasy of Doubt and

Drift in motion pictures of the period (123 -124).

The decade of the 1970s was a transitional period. Nimmo and Combs intimate that

nothing much happened in this period. The popular conception of the era was one of self-

indulgence and inactivity, as in the "me decade." It is not necessarily true that the 1970s

were inconsequential. Periods of transition are interesting because they set the stage for

the next period of history. America did not just jump from Camelot to the Reagan era. It

would be wrong to overlook the history in between. Finding artifacts of this historical

journey is important because they provide us with a road map from one era to the next.

The unifying theme of the literature on political dramas has been ambivalence. The

political arena is where society allocates resources, settles scores, and redresses

grievances. The buck stops here. When hard times befall the nation, politicians feel the

heat. This is true in the real world as well as the world of Ection. Discovering the

political fables that have been used to mediate the realities of film audiences has helped

film historians understand different eras in the American experience.

Nimmo and Combs devoted but one chapter of their book to the mediation of

political realities through film and only two pages to the 1970s. Further exploration of

this decade adds to the body of knowledge within the Hield. In addition, Nimmo and









Combs found it difficult to identify the important political themes contained in films of

the 1970s. According to Allan Nevins, periods of crisis can reveal the innermost truths

about an individual--truths that even that person is not aware. This is true of society as

well. The American political system experienced a continual state of crisis in the 1970s.

A study of how society and mass culture reacted to those crises can reveal some of the

innermost truths about the nation (Nevins 217-23 5).

The work of Nimmo and Combs has provided a good starting point for further

research into mediated political realities. This study is an expanded examination of

cinematic mediated realities. Authors such as Keyishian have provided a broad overview

of political dramas. This study is an examination of one specific period of political film

history. Writers from critical approaches such as Rosenbaum, Parenti, and Polan have

added to our understanding of political films. There is still a need however, for research

from a historical rather than a theoretical point of view. An examination of film content

as historical artifact adds to our understanding of mediated political realities.

The Historical Analysis of Film

The goal of the historical analysis of film is to understand the social, economic, and

cultural context within which a production was created and/or to understand how a

production was received by audiences over time. In order to achieve this understanding, a

coherent and comprehensive methodology must be employed. The study of film as

historical artifact involves two stages of analysis (O'Connor 8).

The first stage in the historical analysis of film involves answering questions of

content, production, and reception. Answering questions of content involve close,

repeated viewings of the film under study. It is important to note what appears on the

screen, the sounds on the sound track, editing patterns used, point of view favored, and









characterizations that are included in the production. Are the costumes, dialects, and

rituals authentic to the time period of the film? It is also important to note how signs

symbols and narrative structures are utilized in order to communicate the film's message

(O'Connor 11-17).

Answering questions of production involves finding out how and why things were

included in the final work. A single person often creates historical manuscripts.

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. It is useful to discover who or what most

influenced the shaping of the film, the orientation and background of those involved in its

creation, the institutional constraints imposed by the films financial backers, and any

unexpected experiences that occurred during its creation. It is also important to discover

the historical context that the film was created in and to what extent the film was true to

that period (O'Connor 17 -19).

Answering questions of reception must be specific to the time of its creation and

not influenced by modern responses. It is useful to know what effect, if any, the film had

on the pace or direction of events at the time it was made, who saw the film and how it

was critically reviewed at the time of its release (O'Connor 19-23).

The second stage in the historical analysis of film requires the selection of one of

four frameworks of inquiry. According to O'Connor the frameworks are:

The Moving Image as Representation of History The representation on film of an actual
historical event either in the form of a documentary or a docudrama.

The Moving Picture as Evidence of Social and Cultural History The representation on
film of the values and belief systems of a society.

Actual Footage as Evidence of Historical Fact Actual historical events recorded as they
happened.

The History of the Moving Image as Industry and Art Form Industrial and artistic
developments within the film industry.









The second framework was chosen to examine political films because it facilitated

an investigation into the widely held core beliefs of the mass audience. The other three

frameworks seek to test fidelity to actual historic events or to chart the development of

the creative process. It was the purpose of this study, however, to contribute insight into

ongoing cultural change of the period. Motion pictures, it is true, provide but a single

avenue to investigate cultural change. Other media would provide additional insights.

Motion pictures were chosen because of their ability to capture the mass market, their

reliance on individual ticket sales rather than advertising revenue, and their traditional

role as repository of American dreams and aspirations.

The utilization of film as evidence of political, social, and cultural history involves

an examination of what political values are present in the film and how those values

correspond to other political, cultural, or social entities of the time. One must investigate

whether the film leads or follows political, social, or cultural trends. Interpretive biases,

as well as evidence of shared cultural plots, characters, symbols, or myths, must be

found. Is the film a strictly commercial work designed to strike existing chords, or is it

the work of an individual seeking to change the perceptions, values, or beliefs of society?

Finally, it should be noted that a film does not have to be hugely successful in order to be

a useful historical artifact. Productions that anger or bore an audience also produce a

response that can be significant to history (O'Connor 108 -117).

Based on a consideration of the literature and methodology, this study asked a

number of questions about political films of the period from 1968 to 1980. First, how did

films mediate political reality for audiences? What rituals and fables were considered

important and how did they change? Second, what were the political critiques put









forward in the films? Were they effective, did they change, and why? Third, what were

the important political values of the age? Did they change, why and how? Fourth, to what

extent do the films of the period from 1968 to 1980 conform to historical reality and other

accounts of historical reality? Finally, to what extent did the films influence present and

future political values, critiques, events?















CHAPTER 2
FROM POSTWAR CONSENSUS TO THE TURBULENT 1960S INT AMERICAN
POLITICS AND FILM

The outcome of World War II had a profound effect on the confidence of the

American people. National belief in the supremacy of the American way of life had been

confirmed through victorious struggle on the battlefields of Europe and Asia. Americans

had united to defeat the dark forces of fascism and the nation emerged from the war as

one of the most dominant economic, military, and political powers on earth.

At the conclusion of World War II, America was one of the world leaders in terms

of its standard of living. This prosperity continued for the next two decades. The per

capital gross national product for the United States rose from $2,602 in 1958 to $4,379 in

1968. This compared to figures for the United Kingdom in the same years of $1,254 in

1958 to $1,861 in 1968. In 1962, America's infant mortality rate had fallen to 25.4 per

1000 live births. This compared to rates for the Federal Republic of Germany at 29.2 per

1000 live births in 1962 and India at 86.5 per 1000 live births in 1960. In 1967, the

United States spent 6.5 % of its national income on education and had a comparatively

high literacy rate of 97.8 % in 1959. Interestingly, the Soviet Union reported better

statistics for the same years at 7.3 % of its budget for education in 1967 and a literacy

rate of 98.5 % in 1959.


i See U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Per Capita Gross National Product by Country: 1958, 1963 and 1968,"
Statistical abstract of tie United States: 1970 (91"t edition) Washington DC: GovernmentPrinting Office,
1970: 810: "Vital Statistics and Net Food Supply," Statistical abstract of tie United States: 1963 (84th
edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 910: and "Education by Country,"
Statistical abstract of tie United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1970: 835.










The American manufacturing sector also led the world. In the 1960s, the United

States was ranked first in steel production, motor vehicles in use, and televisions in use.

In addition, the nation had more than six times the number of telephones in use than its

nearest competitor, Japan.2

It was in consumer products, however, that America most visibly outstripped the

rest of the world. America had more dwellings and more rooms per dwelling than any

other country. The United States also led the world in the production of cotton, rayon,

milk, beer, and cigarettes. In 1968, the United States produced 19.9 % of the world's

milk, 24.5 % of the world' s beer, and 22.8 % of the world' s cigarettes. Perhaps the

production of so much beer and cigarettes helps to explain why America also had by far

the most physicians. In any event, America in the postwar period experienced ever-

increasing material prosperity.3

The only possible threat to America's way of life was thought to be from the Soviet

Union. In the years after World War II, the number of communist nations had increased

to include The People' s Republic of China, much of Eastern Europe and some emerging



2 In 1968 the United States had 109,225,000 telephones in use compared to Japan with 17,331,000. See
U. S. Bureau of the Census, "Coal, Petroleum, Cement, Iron Ore, Sulfuric Acid and Steel by Country:
1968," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office,1968: 823; Transportation-Shipping, Railway Traffic, Civil Aviation and Motor
Vehicles," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84 h edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1963: 930; and "Communications-Telephones, Telegrams, Mail, Newspapers, Radio and
Television by Country: 1968," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC:
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 831.

3 For consumer statistics, see U. S. Bureau of the Census, Housing- Dwellings, Rooms, Occupancy and
Facilities," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84 h edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office,1963: 934; "Milk, Beer, Cigarettes, Fish, Cotton, Spindles and Yarn by Country: 1968,"
Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1970 (91st edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1970: 826; and "Education and Health," in Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1963 (84 h
edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963: 936.










third world nations including Cuba. The Soviets were seen as potential military rivals

bent on expanding what was thought to be a monolithic Communist Block. This potential

danger was met by the United States with a policy of containment designed to resist

Soviet expansion at every counterpoint. This policy of containment lead to a protracted

Cold War but spared the nation from a direct super power confrontation that could have

exploded into World War III.4

American Political Consensus 1940s -1960s

America' s postwar prosperity, along with its ability to maintain a policy of

containment, promoted a feeling of self-confidence. According to author Tom

Shachtman, this self-confidence was built on a shared system of beliefs that "were widely

held, honed to a Eine point and were most important to those who held them." Looking

back at the years from the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s, Shachtman identified a number of

shared American beliefs for the post World War II period. They are listed here

(Shachtman 22-30).

The first widely held American belief was in the "safety, sanctity and legitimacy"

of its national leaders. Americans believed that their society was stable and that it was

capable of changing leadership through the ballot box rather than through violence. They

also assumed that their leaders were of good character, their motives were pure, and they

were working for the steady improvement of society (Shachtman 22).


SIn 1968, the United States had 3,500,000 men under arms: the Soviet Union had 3,220,000, and mainland
China had 2,761,000. This is compared to much lower numbers for The United Kingdom of 450,000. See
"National Defense Expenditures, 1967 and 1968" and "Armed Forces Personnel, 1968 and 1969," in
Statistical~bstract of the United States: 1970 (91"t edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1970: 814. In 1960, national defense expenditures represented 49.8 % of the total federal outlay. It
is interesting to note that the % of total federal outlays actually went down to 45.0 % during 1968, the peak
year of the Vietnam conflict in terms of casualties. See "Federal Budget Outlays for National Defense and
Veterans Benefits and Services: 1959 to 1971," Statistical~bstract of the United States: 1970 (91"t edition)
Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 246.









The second belief was that of the gradual nature of social change. America had

problems, but they would be resolved. Along with this belief came a requirement that all

citizens willingly accept their lot in life. This requirement held even if their lot in life was

second-class citizenship due to poverty, race, class, or gender (Shachtman 22).

The third belief was in the health and superiority of the American economy. By the

1960s, Americans had "an almost unlimited sense of economic prosperity." The nation

had witnessed two decades of economic stability and growth. Americans had been freed

from the fear of economic depression and felt entitled to consume ever-greater levels of

material goods and services (Shachtman 23).

Americans also assumed that their natural resources were virtually limitless.

Energy was perceived to be cheap and plentiful. Pollution of the environment was "a

minor price to pay" for an advanced standard of living. American economic superiority

required no limits on its consumer culture (Shachtman 25).

Americans believed that they were and would continue to be militarily superior to

all other nations. The United States had succeeded in turning Germany and Japan into

allies, had dominated NATO, and had "won" in Korea. Americans believed that their

country had never lost a war. The basis of American foreign policy was in "defending the

world against communist encroachment," a task for which the nation needed to "remain

eternally vigilant" (24). This belief was the basis of what became know as The Cold War.

In addition, Americans believed that only they and the Soviets really mattered. It was

assumed that China was under the control of the Soviet Union and that the smaller, third

world and emerging nations could not affect the overall strategic balance of power.









According to Shachtman, Americans believed that their technology, ingenuity, and

money could solve all problems. Coupled with this was a profound belief in progress.

The United States was destined to conquer new frontiers and meet new challenges. This

progress was measured in growth. If a company did not increase sales each year, it was

said to be stagnating (26).

It was assumed that America' s youth would wait their turn on the ladder of upward

mobility. The national economy was thought to be ever growing. Because of this growth,

it was thought that young people should be willing to postpone gratification. The good

life was measured in the acquisition of creature comforts. It was assumed that young

people would conform to social norms in order to attain their eventual share of the good

life (Shachtman 27).

At the same time, the nuclear family was thought to be the bedrock of society.

Traditional gender roles were the norm for breadwinner, homemaker, and student.

Alternative family structures, sexual promiscuity, sexual experimentation, and graphic

sexual depictions were considered affronts to the sanctity of the nuclear family

(Shachtman 28).

According to Shachtman, a final postwar belief was that American society was the

"best possible realization of our potential, the model for the rest of the world and for the

future" (29). Americans believed that as a people they were constantly improving. It was

believed that America was a land of opportunity where even the son of a poor immigrant

family had the potential to become the leader of the most powerful and prosperous nation

on earth.









Some of the beliefs shared by Americans in the post World War II era were

contradictory in nature. Individuals were encouraged to delay gratification at the same

time that they were bombarded with advertised images portraying the joys of mass

consumption. Americans believed theirs to be a rapidly improving land of opportunity,

but this belief was not universally applied. Some segments of society were encouraged to

accept improvement with the inherently contradictory "deliberate speed" rather than

actual speed. The contradictory nature of some of America' s shared beliefs would

eventually lead to uncertainty within individuals and ferment within society.

The 1960s: Ferment in America

The aftermath of World War II brought relative peace and prosperity to America.

Peace and prosperity however, also brought conformity. Many American leaders were

centrist in political philosophy. They firmly believed in the American system and the

need for stability. Men of this generation had lived through the economic trauma of the

Great Depression and had survived the carnage of World War II. Surviving such

upheaval made them less likely to tackle massive change.

A new political cohort, the first born in the Twentieth Century, would soon

challenge the conformity of the postwar years. A charismatic Senator from Massachusetts

would be elected president in 1960. President John F. Kennedy seemed to embody all that

was right about the American way of life. His family had risen from immigrant status to

great wealth. In his life, Kennedy became a war hero, married a glamorous wife, and

attained the highest onfce in the land.




5 For a biography of Kennedy's early life, military career, political career and presidency, see Dallek; for
Kennedy's charisma and generational impact, see Farber 31.









A new generation of Americans was also to challenge the conformity of the post

war years. This "baby boom" generation was different from past generations. They had

been exposed to the middle class aspirations of their parents. They had been marketed to

as a separate demographic group. They had been encouraged by their parents to think for

themselves, to be self reliant, competitive, and at the same time, empathetic toward those

less fortunate (Cavallo 4).

The baby boomers were certain that they would avoid the conformity of the post

war years. Members of this group would comprise the counterculture movement of the

1960s. Some challenged cultural norms, some opted out of the system entirely, and others

sought to address the evils of society. They joined the Peace Corps and became freedom

riders for civil rights. Not everyone in the baby boom generation would become members

of the counterculture. Many of this generation thought that conservative ideologies were

required to improve society. Members of the baby boomer generation of both persuasions

sought new leaders who had new ideas and offered new possibilities. For many of this

generation, Kennedy seemed to represent these new ideas.

Once in office, Kennedy surrounded himself with the best and brightest of

intellectuals and policy experts. Great plans were proposed. America would land a man

on the moon by the end of the decade; poverty would be reduced; and Peace Corps

members would help to promote the benefits of American technology throughout the

world. The American way of life seemed like it would continue to improve and the

political philosophy of liberal consensus would be maintained.

In the early 1960s, the American way of life did continue to improve. The economy

was sound and the nation was at peace. The president was perceived to be a strong leader










as he stood up to the Communists, first in Berlin and then during the Cuban missile crisis.

Once again, war was averted as the nation stood toe-to-toe with the Soviets. On the

domestic front, Kennedy began to address the problem of racism through his support of

Dr. Martin Luther King. Hopes for America were high in a period of history that became

known as "Camelot" after a popular Broadway musical play of the same name. Camnelot

told the story of an idealized, ancient noble kingdom.

The era of Camelot ended on November 22, 1963 with the assassination of

Kennedy. The young, idealized American leader was struck dead. Media coverage of this

event was broadcast by all three-television networks without commercial interruption

from Friday afternoon when the murder took place until the following mid-Monday when

the president was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. According to Shachtman,

the event' s massive media coverage resulted in "the greatest simultaneous event in the

history of the world" that had occurred up until that time (46). During those four days,

everyday life stopped in America as millions of viewers watched the sequence of events

ending with Kennedy's funeral. The national trauma deepened with every televised ritual.

Political assassination and assault has recurred throughout United States history.

From 1835 to 1968 there were 81 such occurrences including four presidential

assassinations.6 Americans had witnessed the death of past presidents, but the

assassination of Kennedy was different. President Abraham Lincoln' s death was the

culmination of a war that had cost over 600,000 lives. The assassinations of Presidents

James A. Garfield and William McKinley were not as traumatic for the nation due to



6 For assassination figures, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Political Assassinations and Assaults: 1835 to
1968," Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office, 1971: 814.









their service during a period of a politically diminished presidency. In contrast to Garfield

and McKinley, Kennedy was still a relatively young and vital political figure at the time

of his death. His murder "seemed to deprive the country and the world of a better future"

(Dalek 694).

In contrast to earlier presidents, the public had a more intimate relationship with

Kennedy because of extensive media exposure. The national trauma that resulted from

this relationship was intense and long lasting. The American public's reactions to the

assassination passed through a series of stages: from initial shock, to an endless review of

the events in an attempt to better understand them, to a Einal stage when the disaster and

the reactions it evoked were permanently incorporated into national consciousness.

(Shachtman 47).

The assassination of Kennedy was the first chink in the armor of the nation' s faith

in the superiority of the American way of life. If a society could produce an assassin

capable of snuffing out the life of such a beloved figure, could there be other flaws in our

society as well? Did the nation possess the resolve to find solutions to these flaws?

The legacy and the challenges faced by Kennedy passed on to his successor,

President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson was a man of immense personal persuasive

powers. He had been a very effective leader within the United States Senate and had

dutifully served as Kennedy's Vice President. When Johnson assumed office, he

inherited many problems. In 1963, 19.5 % of American families lived in poverty.

Although poverty affected American people from Appalachia to Anaheim, this problem










was much more severe among African American families where over 63 % were poverty-

stri cken.7

Johnson attempted to address America' s domestic concerns through a body of

social legislation that came to be labeled as the Great Society. These programs were

designed to combat a myriad of social concerns including not only poverty, but

inadequate heath care, racial discrimination, and environmental issues as well. Johnson

was able to usher much of this legislation through congress because of the high esteem

that the public still held for their fallen president and because of Johnson' s own mastery

at guiding legislation through congress.8

President Johnson promised a variety of programs designed to appeal to many

different constituencies. His Great Society programs however, relied for their success

upon continued prosperity. Unfortunately, Johnson chose to fight a war on poverty while

conducting an escalating war in Vietnam. His decision to pursue both stretched both

American economic reserves and national resolve.9

American involvement in Southeast Asia began immediately after World War II.

The United States provided economic support to the French in their efforts to retain a

colonial presence in Vietnam. In spite of billions of dollars of financial assistance, the

French were defeated in 1954. This did not curtail American interests in Vietnam.

SFor poverty figures, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Families and Unrelated Individuals Below the
Poverty Level By Selected Characteristics of Head: 1959 to 1969," Statistical~bstract of the United
States: 1971 (92"d edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971: 323.

SA remarkable amount of landmark legislation was passed during the first three years of the Johnson
Administration including, The Voting Rights Act, The Immigration Act, The Clean Air Act, The Fair
Labor Standards Act, The Model Cities Act, and The Public Broadcasting Act. Amounts of such legislation
would decrease with growing involvement in Vietnam. See Bemnstein 530.

9 JOhnson kept the true cost of the Vietnam War hidden from the public and waited two years before asking
congress to increase taxes to pay for it thus precipitating an inflationary trend that would not abate until
1982. See Bemnstein 358 -378.










Involvement continued through the later administrations of both Presidents Eisenhower

and Kennedy. America poured vast resources into the country. The United States Defense

Department worked to create and train a viable South Vietnamese army. The Central

Intelligence Agency aided in the creation of a police force to control dissidents and

executive branch agencies worked to stabilize the national currency. 10

It was thought at the time that uncontained Communist aggression in Southeast

Asia would certainly lead to a domino effect wherein each country in the region would

fall to the enemy. No American president wanted to be the first to lose a country to the

Communists. As a result, a surrogate manifestation of the Cold War was fought in the

streets and jungles of Southeast Asia. At first, a limited number of American advisors

were sent to aid the army of South Vietnam. When advisors alone proved insufficient,

American involvement escalated. A reported attack on United States vessels in the Gulf

of Tonkin led to The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that gave Johnson a blank check to

increase American military involvement. Soon regular Army personal were deployed and

bombing missions were instituted in the skies above North Vietnam. American military

commitment continued to increase. This escalation was most pronounced under President

Johnson. By 1968, over 500,000 service members were deployed in Vietnam. American

battle deaths increased as well-from 147 in 1964 to 5008 in 1966 to 14,592 in 1968.11





'n The American public was largely unaware of these activities. See, Farber 125-128.

11 In 1964, 23,000 United States troops were stationed in Vietnam. By 1968, troop strength had risen to
536,100. See U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Vietnam Conflict-U.S. Military Forces in Vietnam and
Casualties Incurred: 1961 to 1970," Statistical~bstract of the United States: 1970 (91"t edition)
Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970: 258.









America' s prolonged involvement in Vietnam and its inability to articulate its war

goals to the public began to erode confidence in the foreign policy component of

America' s philosophy of consensus. America did not seem to be making progress in the

war. Official military body counts of enemy dead seemed to promise victory, but the Viet

Cong continued to fight. A credibility gap began to develop between what the

administration said was true and what the American people believed. Eventually, large

segments of the American people came to believe that the war could not be won. This

realization further served to undermine belief in American military supremacy and faith

in the character of our national leaders.

Confidence in the American way of life was undermined as well by growing unrest

in the nation' s cities. America' s involvement in Vietnam siphoned off funds that could

have been used to fund domestic programs. Those in poverty were most likely to feel the

brunt of economic uncertainty. They were also more likely to be involved in fighting for

America in Vietnam. In addition, the passage of civil rights legislation had not put an end

to discrimination. Unmet expectations for social and economic change led to frustration

within African American communities.

On August 1 1, 1965, riots broke out in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The confrontation began with a traffic incident involving an African American motorist

and a white police officer. Those in the neighborhood felt that the police had engaged in

brutality toward the motorist. They began throwing rocks and bottles at the police. By the

next day, their anger had escalated into a riot that would last six days and nights resulting

in thirty-four deaths, 4000 arrests, and extensive property damage. This was not to be the

last urban riot. In 1967, riots engulfed 167 American cities. In that year, forty-three










people were killed in Detroit and almost three-quarters of the city was set ablaze. After

the riots, Johnson's approval ratings dropped to thirty-seven % (Farber 111-116).

President Johnson had problems on other fronts. A national protest movement

coalesced in opposition to the Vietnam War. This movement encouraged political action

in an effort to halt the conflict. Student groups organized "teach-ins" and "sit-ins" against

the war. Mainstream religious groups began to oppose involvement as well. National

protests grew in size. In April of 1967, a quarter million people in San Francisco and

New York City rallied against the war. These protests, however, failed to alter the

Johnson administration' s prosecution of the war. By late 1967, a minority of antiwar

protesters became convinced that United States policies in Vietnam were symptomatic of

a greater underlying fallibility within the American system that could not be exorcized

without radical action (Farber 159-164).

Millions of young men sought to avoid the draft. Those who came from affluence

or had the benefit of higher education found ways to obtain draft deferments or

enlistment in the National Guard. Those from poor and working class families were

drafted to fight. The war in Vietnam became the most divisive issue in America. Many

Americans still supported the war. Not only was an antiwar movement established but a

backlash developed as well. A cultural divide between conservatives who were in favor

of the war and liberals who were opposed to it began in the mid 1960s. This division

would widen and deepen as the war continued. It would also expand to include other

divisive social issues in the following decades. 12


12 In 1965, student deferments accounted for 12.3 % of Selective Service registrants. See U.S. Bureau of the
Census, "Classification of Selective Service Registrants: 1965 to 1970," Statistical Abstract of the United
States: 1971 (92nd edition) Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1971: 257. For support of the
war and cultural divide, see Farber 149.









National Trauma and Social Disruption

America experienced several traumatic events during the 1960s. According to

sociologist Arthur Neal, national traumas fall into two different categories. One type

occurs when an abrupt or dramatic event disrupts the social order. Historical examples of

this type of event are the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the assassination of

President Kennedy. The second type of trauma can occur when a national crisis is chronic

and long lasting. Examples of this kind of trauma were the Vietnam War, the struggle for

civil rights, and violence in the streets during the 1960s (6-7).

Individuals must work their way through the intense experience of national trauma.

The experience of a crisis will cause people to react in ways unique to each individual.

The least complicated personal response is a simple, moralistic judgment of right and

wrong that places events into preexisting political or religious ideologies. Others in

society use a crisis as a reason to justify a new social crusade designed to right the ills of

society or to restore traditional values. Some individuals are simply overwhelmed by

national trauma and become fatalistic over events that they feel they cannot control.

Others seek rational answers to underlying problems through investigations and national

debate (Neal 17-18).

National traumas can have a debilitating or a liberating effect on a society. People

can engage either in rational debate or in divisive confrontation. The manner in which

Americans reacted to the traumatic events of the 1960s was unique to each individual.

These events induced both debate and confrontation. The country continued to experience

national trauma into the next decade and America' s response to these traumas would be

an important factor in its political future for many years to come.










American Consensus in Films: 1940s 1960s

The development of the American motion picture industry in the middle of the

twentieth century reflected a similar traj ectory to the nation at large. American films

progressed from a period of self-confidence to one of turbulence. This progression

included changes in both industry economics and film content.

American motion pictures have always been star driven vehicles. It is interesting to

look back to see which actors have achieved the greatest popularity. It is even more

interesting to examine the view of financial stakeholders. Motion picture exhibitors and

independent theater owners have been polled for the last seventy years as to which film

star they thought to be most bankable. American films were much different in the years

immediately after World War II. In 1946, Bing Crosby took top honors. Other notable

actors including Bob Hope, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and James Stewart followed

Crosby's victory in the next decade. In the early 1960s, Doris Day assumed the top

position. She was followed in the 1960 poll by Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Elizabeth

Taylor, and Debbie Reynolds. 13

American self-confidence was reflected in the selection of its cultural icons. These

well-established movie stars were glamorous, charismatic, and uniquely American in

their film personas. In their road pictures, Hope and Crosby confidently wisecracked their

way out of dangerous situations while traveling the world in search of adventure. In their

westerns, Cooper, Wayne, and Stewart explored the vastness of the American frontier

while righting wrongs and dispensing justice. In their comedies, Day and Hudson shared



13 Cary Grant was the only non-American on the 1960 list. See "Q.P. Money-Making Stars of 1933-2001,"
Eileen S. Quigley, ed. 2004 International M~otion Picture Almanac. New York: Quigley Publications: 19-
20.










the bliss of domestic family life after meeting and Einding true love. Motion picture stars

tend to have well defined film personas and to favor certain genres. Popular genres of the

early 1960s would often reflect widely shared American attitudes, beliefs, and values.

According to a list of all-time box office champions, published in 1969 by the

motion picture trade publication Variety, The Sound of2~usic (1965) was the most

successful film produced up until that date. Another musical, Mary Poppins (1964) was

number seven. 14 In each film, a family finds itself in crisis until a maternal figure enters

the scene to reestablish order. She encounters resistance at first, but eventually wins the

family over. The inclusion of cheerful songs and their far-off settings-the charming

Swiss Alps and the picturesque 1910s London enhance the fairy tale nature of both

productions.

Historical romances were a popular genre during the early 1960s. Their distance

from present times reinforced a sense of nostalgia for an idealized world. Films in this

genre included tales of Roman conquest in Cleopatra (1963) and the Russian Revolution

in Doctor Zhivago (1965). Legendary biblical epics were retold in The Ten

Commandments (1957), Ben Hur (1959), and Spartacus (1960). In these films, old world

ideologies, values, and beliefs are shown to be morally bankrupt. The Roman lust for

empire and the Bolshevik drive for a socialist world destroyed both lovers and

democracy. In addition, corrupt old world empires collapse when confronted by

enlightened men.

Legends of another sort were the subj ect of the World War II film genre. Some of

the most successful films of this genre tell the story of groups of service members who

14 For theatrical receipts, see "All-Time Box Office Champs (Over $4,000,000, U.S.-Canada Rentals),"
Variety 8 January 1969: 14.









are charged with a difficult mission. Examples include The Guns ofNavarone (1961),

The Longest Day (1962), and The Great Escape (1963). In each film, American service

members succeed in defeating Axis powers through effective leadership, teamwork, and

self-sacrifice. Another war film of the early 1960s was PT 109.

Presidential Biographies and Political Films

In July of 1963, a film version of Robert Donovan' s best selling book PT 109 was

released. This film depicted the heroic wartime adventures of the then current United

States President, John F. Kennedy. The film's action took place when Kennedy was a

naval officer serving in the Solomon Islands. The motion picture was based on actual

events that occurred when the young Lieutenant Kennedy was given command of a small

PT boat. He and his twelve-man crew took the boat into battle only to have it sunk by a

Japanese destroyer. Despite injuring his back, Kennedy rescued the boat' s chief engineer

who had been seriously burned. He then swam back to rescue two more of his injured

crewmember who he dragged to safety. Kennedy and his crew would spend fourteen

hours in the water before reaching land. All but two of his men survived the ordeal. For

his efforts, Kennedy received the Purple Heart (Dallek 95-96).

The film' s depiction of Kennedy is very reverential. Not only does he perform

courageously under fire, but the filmic Kennedy also displays exemplary character traits.

Early in the film, an enlisted man recognizes Kennedy and questions him as to why he

did not pull strings via his father to avoid combat. The lieutenant replies with a stiff upper

lip that he would seek no special treatment because he is "willing to fight for what he

believes in." Later in the film, Kennedy goes on to refurbish a derelict PT boat and lead

his crew to safety after their boat sinks.









The fi1m' s historical events were reasonably accurate and the likeness of its lead

actor was very similar to Kennedy. This made it easy to attribute traits that would reflect

American optimism upon Kennedy. The fi1m PT 109 plays upon the familiar legend of

King Arthur where a young knight-errant proves himself worthy through trial. Thus

sanctified, he rises to greatness. Throughout PT 109, Kennedy proj ects the persona of a

potential leader including such characteristics as grace under fire, bravery in a crisis and

compassion toward his subj ects. These traits reinforced the audience' s belief in the

safety, sanctity, and legitimacy of the real life president.

Another biographical film of the postwar era served to reinforce the legitimacy of

political leaders. Sunrise at Camnpobello (1960) told the story of future president, Franklin

D. Roosevelt' s inspirational struggle against polio. The young Roosevelt's trial in this

film is that of illness, which he overcomes in order to merit future greatness. Films of this

era reinforced confidence in a logical world that rewarded meritorious behavior. John

Ford's The Last Hurrah (1958) presents a big city mayor who willingly plays the morally

questionable game of politics with skill and enthusiasm. Despite the mayor' s ethical

relativism, however, he will not compromise when it comes to the issue of obtaining low-

cost housing for his constituents, even if it means his electoral defeat.

American preoccupation with the Cold War influenced a number of political

dramas of the postwar era. Advise and Consent (1962), based on a Broadway play and a

Pulitzer Prize winning novel, is a procedural story about the inner workings of

government. Action begins when an ailing president nominates a distinguished professor

(Henry Fonda) to be his new Secretary of State. In his Senate confirmation committee

hearings, the appointee encounters allegations of former membership in Communist-front










organizations. Although the allegations are true, the appointee is able to present evidence

that undermines the mental stability of his accuser. Individuals in the film are flawed, but

are not completely without merit. The appointee is a capable professor, the blackmailed

Senator is a happily married family man, and the southern Senator eventually comes

around to reason. A compromise is reached as the American government proves to be

stable enough to withstand impropriety and inspirational enough to encourage bipartisan

diplomacy.

Cold War paranoia was the subj ect of several political films of the early 1960s. In

John Frankenheimer' s film The Manchurian Candidate (1962), a brainwashed Korean

prisoner of war (Lawrence Harvey) returns to America after being programmed by his

Communist captors into becoming an assassin. The triggering agent for the assassination

plot is the veteran's own mother (Angela Lansbury). She intends for her son to shoot the

presidential nominee so that her second husband can take his place. The assassination

plot fails when a fellow prisoner of war (Frank Sinatra) frees the unfortunate veteran

from his brainwashing, thus preventing a national tragedy. The veteran then kills his

stepfather, his mother, and himself.

In Seven Days in May (1964), also directed by Frankenheimer, it is not

Communists who try to subvert the American government, but right wing military

leaders. A rogue Air Force general (Burt Lancaster) plots to stage a military coup. Once

again, the nation avoids chaos when a few good men resist evil. The president is notified

of the plot just in time and the general is forced to resign. The President of the United

States saves the day yet again in Sidney Lumet's Fail Safe (1964). When a technological

failure causes an errant United States Air Force bomber to drop a nuclear warhead on









Moscow, the world faces annihilation. The noble American President (Henry Fonda) then

decides that the only way to avert a nuclear holocaust is to destroy New York City as

well, thus sacrificing millions of citizens as well as his own family.

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), a

nightmare comedy directed by Stanley Kubrick, told the same story as Fail Safe, but from

an absurdist point of view. Here, a nuclear extremist (Peter Sellers) carries the day,

American political leadership is viewed as a joke, and the world is destroyed by the

actions of yet another rogue American General (Sterling Hayden). This film was ahead of

its time in its absolute rej section of Cold War ideology and would be more at home in the

decade to come in its ironic stance. Significantly, an ex-patriot American director

working in England, not in Hollywood, directed Dr. Strangelove.

The themes of these motion pictures reflected American Cold War beliefs of the

1950s and early 1960s including the need to contain Soviet aggression, prevent nuclear

proliferation, and maintain control over advanced weapon technology. These fi1ms

certainly called into question American beliefs in the postwar era. Political films of all

eras have done this. At the same time, these fi1ms all tell a story of superior American

bravery and ingenuity.

In both Fail Safe and Dr. Stran2gelove, American pilots succeed in completing their

missions despite extreme odds. In Fail Safe a pilot conserves fuel by altering his target

and in Dr. Strangelove a pilot figures out a way to release a nuclear bomb that is stuck in

his airplane's fuselage. These fi1ms, with the exception of Dr. Strangelove, suggest that

were it not for the occasional psychotic general, out of touch senator, or brainwashed









assassin, enough rational leaders still exist who can get on with the task of running

America.

An unusually large number of politically themed motion pictures were produced

during the Kennedy administration. This trend abruptly ended with President Kennedy's

assassination on November 22, 1963. By November 30 of that year it was announced that

PT109 had been withdrawn from distribution, the advertising campaign for Seven Days in

May would be altered, a proposed film version of Gore Vidal's Pulitzer Prize winning

play The Best Man would remove references to Cuba, and the London premier of Dr.

Strangelove would be postponed (Archer Al7).

The 1960s: Ferment in the Film Industry

Turmoil in the streets of America in the mid 1960s was mirrored by upheaval in the

corporate boardrooms of Hollywood. American movie moguls, however, were fighting

different battles. The turbulent nature of the film industry was summed up by one

executive who noted in 1965 "at the same time that the ceiling blew off, the floor

dropped out" (Bart Al4). In the previous year, four Hollywood pictures had wildly

exceeded expectations for grosses including, M~y Fair Lady (1964), Goldfinger (1964),

Mary Poppins (1964), and The Sound of2~usic (1965). At the same time, producers

found that their unsuccessful films were doing far worse than ever. The films that did not

do well in their initial runs could no longer recoup their production costs through runs in

smaller towns, or as second features. As a result, movie making became even more of a

speculative business (Bart Al4).

The state of the American film industry had been in general decline since the

1940s. This was in direct contrast to the boom years experienced by most other American

industries. In 1946, total admissions to United States motion picture theaters topped $1.6










billion. By 1962, ticket sales had fallen to their lowest point of $903 million. In the same

period, average weekly motion picture attendance dropped from 90 million to 43

-11-on 15

A number of reasons contributed to Hollywood' s decline. Up until 1948, the

studios enjoyed an almost vertical monopoly. They owned production facilities and had

large rosters of stars and artisans under contract. In addition, the five largest studios

controlled chains of theaters in which they could guarantee exhibition of their final

product. In 1948, an antitrust case was settled by the United States Supreme Court in

favor of the United States Justice Department. The case, known as United States v.

Paramount Pictures, Inc. et al., forced the five largest studios to divest themselves of a

number of their theaters (Balio 3).

The growth of television as a competitor for spectator dollars was also a culprit in

Hollywood' s decline. The television industry exploded after World War II. In 1947, there

were twelve television stations in America. By 1965 there were 569 stations providing

news and entertainment directly to the living rooms of almost all American homes

(Sterling and Haight 53).

The medium of television was both a bane and a boon to the film industry.

Television robbed films of spectators, but lined its coffers with money. Television

networks had a constant insatiable need for original programming sufficient to fill their

scheduled hours all day long and seven days a week. At first, television viewers were

amused with the novelty of the new medium. When the novelty wore off, viewers


15 The 1946 figure represented 19.8 % of all American recreational expenditures. Recreational spending on
motion pictures declined in 1962 to 4.07 %. See "Theater Grosses, 1931-1970: U.S. Box Office Receipts in
Relation to Personal Consumption Expenditures," Richard Gertner, ed., 1972 International Motion Picture
Almanac. New York: Quigley Publications: 42A.









demanded higher production values similar to what they could see on the big screen.

Demand for new entertainment created a symbiotic relationship between television and

Hollywood.

Television executives turned to Hollywood studios to provide important sources of

programming. According to Variety, 20th Century Fox garnered almost 40 % of its 1966

rental income from television, an increase of 6 % from the prior two years. This rental

income was derived from both made-for-television movies and from theatrical films. The

number of televised motion pictures rapidly increased. At the same time, film companies

were becoming more dependent on them for their economic survival in the high-risk

world of film production. A measure of this risk was that television rentals, combined

with only one theatrical release, The Sound of2\~usic, accounted for 76 % of all of 20th

Century Fox rentals for the entire year of 1966 ("20th-Fox Breakdown Shows Sound'

36% of Theatricals").

As valuable as television rentals were as a source of income, film libraries were

even more lucrative. The 1966 airing of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) on network

television was a huge rating hit. After this successful broadcast, the American

Broadcasting Company spent close to $100 million to purchase a catalog of old

Hollywood films for prices of up to $2 million each (Bart Al).

The libraries of old movies controlled by the Hollywood studios increased in value,

but the stock prices of the motion picture companies continued to sell at price to earnings

ratios well below comparable companies in other industries. This made them prime take-

over candidates. Corporate raiders would soon act as Paramount Pictures was taken over

by Gulf and Western in 1966; United Artists merged with Transamerica Corporation in









1967; Kinney National Services acquired Wamner Brothers in 1969; and MGM was taken

over by investor Kirk Kerkorian in 1969. A new era of corporate conglomeration had

begun (Bart Al).

A generation of "tough minded young executives from outside industry" was

brought in to replace motion picture leadership. The great film pioneers of the early

twentieth century were retiring and being replaced. In 1966 Charles G. Bluhdom, the

forty-year-old chairperson of Gulf and Westemn, assumed control of Paramount. He then

turned over control of studio production to Robert Evans, a thirty-eight-year-old

businessperson and former actor. This new corporate studio ownership brought an

infusion of much needed venture capital, and instituted other changes as well. The new

studio owners began to sell off studio property, shoot films abroad, or on location, and to

put an end to the studio contract system (Bart Al).

The American motion picture industry experienced a period of financial upheaval

at the same time as it was facing artistic challenges. Audiences were changing and the

industry had to adapt to their evolving tastes. The key to attracting new film audiences

was thought to be through originality of content and style. More often than not, this

originality was found in independent productions or in European films. World War II had

devastated the motion picture industries of several European countries. By the 1960s, a

number of nations had recovered. The distinctive films of Italy, France, and Sweden

became quite popular with American art house viewers and societies of film enthusiasts.

Innovative foreign films including Aljie (1966), Georgy Girl (1966), and Blow Up (1966)

box office successes that year prompting trade publication Variety to ask, "Why can't we

make the same kind of picture here?" (Gold 3).









Veteran film publicist Arthur Mayer attributed the lack of innovation in American

fi1ms to both the caution and the age of industry leadership. Mayer pointed out that in

1967 the "king of Hollywood," Cary Grant, was sixty-two, Bob Hope was sixty-one, and

both Henry Fonda and John Wayne were sixty-years-old. He also lamented that some of

America' s best young directors had to go to Europe to have an opportunity to succeed.

Mayer noted that several "superb fi1m schools" were teaching a new generation of

filmmakers in Paris, Rome, and Moscow. Mayer proposed that the fi1m industry take it

upon itself to address this imbalance by contributing funding to America' s film schools.

According to Mayer, embracing new talent was the only way to retain the "world wide

prestige" that American films had acquired in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (Mayer 5).

A period of transition in the American film industry began in the late 1960s.

Changes in production, distribution, competition, and capitalization precipitated a

recasting in the corporate boardrooms of Hollywood. This would soon result in changes

regarding who would be permitted to make motion pictures, and who would be permitted

to determine their content.















CHAPTER 3
REVOLUTION: WILD IN THE STREETS (1968), M~EDH7M COOL (1969)

Let the old world make believe it 's blind and deaf and dumb

But nothing can change the shape of thing to come


-Les Baxter, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Wild in the Streets

In 1968 America was listening to new voices. These voices maintained that the

shape of things to come was anything but square. It was fashionable for young people to

rej ect the status quo. Some j oined protest groups in hopes of improving society. Others

advocated revolution. Some opted out of the system altogether to form utopian,

communal societies. Others merely chose to follow fashion. They grew their hair a little

longer, listened to rock music or experimented with drugs while remaining a part of

consumer society.

Those most in tune with fashion acquired cultural currency. They were considered

hip, cool, aware, and in on the joke about a square society. Antiheroes supplanted heroes

in the worlds of music, sports, and art. Actors who cultivated images as cinematic rebels

- Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Elliot Gould, and Dustin

Hoffman soon replaced Doris Day and Rock Hudson as the most bankable film stars

(Quigley 19-20).

Serving a younger demographic market became very important in the entertainment

industry. Those under the age of thirty comprised fewer than 50 % of the total population

but accounted for over 76 % of the movie-going public. This new audience, weaned on









television viewing, was not interested in the lavish productions that employed thousands

of extras or in seeing established movie stars. They wanted to identify with the characters

they saw on the screen and sought out films that had something unique to say to them.

Carefully crafted films that were "small in scope but intense in drama" found an

audience with young people. The personal vision of a particular director or producer

became valued. An increasing number of small, youth oriented films were produced

including Alice 's Restaurant (1969) with a budget of $1.7 million, and Goodbye

Columbus (1969) with a budget of $1.9 million, this at a time when a budget of under $3

million was considered cheap. Small, profitable fi1ms were the new industry fashion, but

not all Hollywood studios could Eind the formula required for their creation. Studios

sought out filmmakers from outside of the Hollywood establishment who were capable of

deciphering what was hip. Established producers, who did not know "the difference

between rock music and the music from The King andl," were out of favor (Penn Al).

Hollywood was late to latch onto the new creative bandwagon. Films are expensive

to make, so risks are not often taken. In 1967, however, two landmark films were

released that "sent tremors through the industry" (Biskind 15). Bonnie and Clyde (1967),

directed by Arthur Penn, and The Graduate (1967), directed by Mike Nichols were

influenced by European artistic style and film content. They broke with the old

conventions of narrative str-ucture, included sex scenes, and graphic violence that would

not have been permissible under the old Hollywood Production Code, and they critiqued




SIn 1969, 77 % of filmgoers were between 12 and 29 years old. This number would remain consistent
throughout the 1970s. See Sterling and Haight 353.









American society from a satirical perspective. The success of Bonnie and Clyde and 7Jhe

Graduate opened the floodgates for other new filmmakers to follow suit (Biskind 15).

Directors of this era enjoyed a level of power, prestige, and wealth that had not

existed in Hollywood before. The first wave of these outsiders was comprised of men

who had started their careers in television or the theater including, Arthur Penn, Alan

Pakula, Michael Ritchie, Hal Ashby and Robert Altman. The second wave was made up

of post World War II baby boomers including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George

Lucas, and Brian DePalma. These filmmakers would have a profound effect on American

film for decades to come. Their success was based on artistic merit, as well as on their

ability to identify and channel the voice of America (Biskind 15).

Key Political Events of 1968

In 1968, established political leaders were being rej ected and new leaders were

being embraced. The Johnson administration was accused of harboring a credibility gap

between its public statements and the actual state of national affairs. Johnson frequently

appeared on television to inform the American people about progress in Vietnam. The

president' s positive version of events, however, did not always correspond with what the

viewers could see for themselves. The television networks dispatched camera operators to

Vietnam who captured the chaotic violence of war. These images were dispatched to

network news divisions back home and within days they were broadcast into the living

rooms of America. The powerful images of stalemate in Vietnam caused viewers to doubt

the Johnson administration's war plans.

Johnson's credibility was further compromised by the Tet Offensive of January

1968. The ability of the North Vietnamese to invade and briefly hold some of the cities of

the South was a decisive event in the conflict. The Tet Offensive was even more










important in the battle for hearts and minds on the American home front. The North

Vietnamese incurred massive casualties, but their tenacity gave every indication that they

would not soon give up the fight (Witcover 72-75).

America' s progress in Vietnam led to disenchantment with Johnson. A grass roots

organization of young people worked to promote the candidacy of Minnesota Senator,

Eugene McCarthy. Shock waves resounded when he narrowly lost to Johnson in the New

Hampshire primary by a margin of 49.4 % to 42.2 %. This poor showing was one of the

motivating factors in Johnson's decision not to seek reelection and provided an opening

for other candidates to seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. The party's

spring and summer primary races were thrown wide open as different factions fought for

control (Witcover 100).

The spring of 1968 was a time of tragic violence. Dr. Martin Luther King traveled

to Memphis in April to rally the city's striking sanitation workers. On the night of April

3, he addressed a capacity crowd at Mason Temple speaking about racial hatred and

violence in America. Dr. King also spoke of rumors of death threats that he had received.

On the next day these premonitions were made tragically real as an assassin's bullet

struck him dead.

Once again, America witnessed the violent death of a national leader (Witcover

152). The murder of Dr. King was followed in June by yet another traumatic event, the

assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. Kennedy was a candidate in 1968 for the

presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. After winning the California primary,

he left a celebratory rally, held in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles

only to be fatally shot in the hotel's kitchen pantry corridor (Witcover 253).









The spring of 1968 was also a time of youthful revolt. Student protests occurred on

American campuses all across the country. In April, Columbia University's proposed

construction of a gymnasium that would have taken land away from a Harlem

neighborhood park in New York City. This proposal sparked student and neighborhood

protests. The students, including members of the Students for a Democratic Society

(SDS), took over five buildings and staged a demonstration at the offices of university

president Grayson Kirk (Witcover 188).

The sixty-four year old Kirk criticized the students' lack of respect for authority

and suggested their motives were nihilistic rather than constructive. SDS local chapter

leader Mark Rudd then issued an open letter to Kirk. The profanity-laced letter was

designed to underscore Rudd' s belief that the president of the university was out of touch

with the younger generation and unable to understand the pressing need for social change

(Witcover 188).

Fourteen or Fight

The film Wild in the Streets (1968) is a parody of the sort of intergenerational

conflict that was actually happening on American university campuses. The film's

protagonist Max Frost (Christopher Jones) is an only child, born into a middle class

family. His mother (Shelly Winters) is a high-strung, anally compulsive person who

insists on covering the living room furniture in plastic. Max' s father is so hen-pecked that

he can only gain his son's respect by tearing the plastic from the sofa. Max's mother

informs him that sex is "dirty" and slaps him around for his supposedly rebellious

attitude. When Max turns nineteen, he creates a bomb to blow up the family Chrysler,

then leaves home to seek his fortune.










Within a short time, the twenty-two-year-old Max becomes a millionaire rock star.

He affects the appearance of 1950s film star James Dean and the attitude of an SDS

leader. Max wears paisley shirts, says things like "blow their minds," and sports a

colonial era ponytail. He is surrounded by a collection of perpetually bored, hippie

hangers-on, which include a brilliant fifteen-year-old Yale law school graduate who

handles his business dealings, a Japanese typewriter heiress, and a Black Power Party

member (Richard Pryor) who is also his drummer.

Max's popularity with young people comes to the attention of a liberal politician

from California, Johnnie Fergus (Hal Holbrook) who reporters compare to President

Kennedy and the filmmakers depict as a phony hipster. Fergus seeks to manipulate Max's

celebrity in order to win election as senator. Max negotiates a pledge that Fergus will

lower the state's voting age to fifteen in exchange for Max' s endorsement. Max also

agrees to appear at a televised concert in support of Fergus, but surprises the senator by

singing a song entitled Fourteen or Fight that demands lowering the voting age even

further.

Thanks to Max's support, Senator Fergus wins election and, in return, lowers the

voting age in California. When Max and his gang realize their potential power, they

decide to run one of their own in a special election for the seat of a deceased Senator. The

twenty-five-year-old candidate, Sally Leroy, wins. She then appears on the floor of the

United States Senate in a leather mini dress, and a colonial tri-corner hat while obviously

stoned. Sally proposes legislation lowering the eligible age for senators, congressional

representatives, and presidents to 14 thus producing wild cheers from young people in the

senate gallery and consternation from the much older member of the seated legislative










body. Congress resists the proposed legislation and young people take to the streets in

protest. Twelve young people die in the ensuing riot prompting Max to appear on

television to sing a song of warning entitled The \hape'l of Things to Come.

Max and his band of hippies decide to put LSD into the drinking water in order to

incapacitate the politicians and fool them into passing an amendment to lower the voting

age. The drugged legislators happily vote for the amendment. Max, who is now legally

old enough to be eligible, decides to run for president of the United States. He carries

every state but Hawaii. Once in office, Max assumes absolute power. He decides that a

mandatory retirement age of thirty will be established and that black-suited police squads

will round up everyone over thirty-five and take them to mandatory rehabilitation camps.

Old people are bussed into the camps and forced to drink liquid LSD. Once they partake

of the drink, the old folks exhibit an exaggerated sense of bliss as they stumble around in

bathrobes emblazoned with peace symbols on their sleeves. In a disturbingly graphic

moment, Senator Fergus hangs himself from a tree.

After neutralizing all those over thirty, Max decides to disband the armed forces.

He states that America' s great wealth will allow it to ship free grain to all nations of the

world, thus making war unnecessary and allowing the United States to become the most

hedonistic society on earth. The film ends on an ironic note when Max goes sightseeing

in the country and stumbles upon a small crawdad attached to a pier. Max picks it up to

examine it, is bitten, and then stomps it dead. It is then revealed that the crawdad was the

pet of a young child who enters the scene and warns ominously that "we're gonna put

everybody over ten out of business."









Film Style

The fi1m is purposely unreal. The scene of the Senators laughing hysterically after

being dosed with LSD is tinted red and the composition of shots is canted. Performances

especially that of Shelly Winters, are way over the top. Costumes are exaggerated as

well. When Max becomes president, his mother is seen wearing a flowing robe and

smoking a hash pipe. His father is an obj ect of derision, robbed of his toupee, and forced

to use a wheelchair. The characters in the fi1m have little depth. Young people are good

because they are young and old people are all phony, especially the Kennedyesque

Senator Fergus who pretends to befriend Max but eventually attempts to assassinate him.

The message is you can never trust politicians who, according to Max, all play "sneaky

panther games."

The fi1m reiterates the theme of age versus youth. Max tells his band of hippies that

he does not want to live too much longer because "thirty's death man." Max also states,

"The only thing that blows your mind when you're thirty is getting guys to kill other

guys, only in another city or another country where you don't see it or know anything

about it." For such an exploitative film, this is a surprisingly subtle reference to the war in

Vietnam and reflects an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the war present even in

popular culture. The film suggests that the established political order has botched things

up. Max tells congress that the villains in history are not the Communists, John Birchers,

Jews, labor leaders, bankers, Russians or Chinese. The people who cause all of the

trouble are "those who are stiff, baby, not with love, but with age."

As unreal as Wild in the Streets seems to be, it was based on a germ of historical

reality. As early as the 1940s United States senators had proposed reducing the voting

age from twenty-one to eighteen. In 1942, Michigan Senator Vandenberg proposed a









constitutional amendment to that effect. Vandenberg maintained that if young men were

"old enough to fight for their government they ought to be entitled to vote."2

Legislation aimed at lowering the voting age was proposed in every administration

up to and including that of Johnson. In June of 1968, Johnson once again proposed a

constitutional amendment lowering the voting age to eighteen years of age. According to

Johnson, the legislation would be a signal to young people that "they are respected, that

they are trusted, that their commitment to America is honored and that the day is soon to

come when they are to be participants, not spectators, in the adventure of self-

government" (Jones Al).

A Gallup Poll conducted in 1968 found that 64 % of Americans were in favor of

lowering the voting age (Jones Al). Those in favor of the amendment felt that young

people were better educated than in the past and would be more sophisticated in their

political choices. The notion that willingness to fight for country should equate to

suffrage also was brought up as was a hope that granting the vote would "channel student

protests into more acceptable directions" (Apple Al).

The release of Wild in the Streets in May of 1968 was perfectly timed to take

advantage of a push for suffrage as well as current news events. Students literally were

going "wild in the streets" at Columbia University and other institutions of higher

education. Young people were no longer easily channeled into acceptable directions.

Intergenerational conflict was at the forefront of national consciousness. Wild in the

Streets took the concept of a "generation gap" that existed between the adversarial parties



SThe draft age for American men had been reduced to speed victory in World War II. See Lawrence Al.









at actual institutions like Columbia University and reduced it to the absurd. Ominously,

the film suggests that such conflict can never be resolved. On the surface, the film is only

a parody, but its scenes of violence and anger are disturbingly close to actual events.

Protesters die and senators hang as the nation spins out of control.

American International Pictures

James Nicholson and Samuel Arkoff of American International Pictures (AIP)

produced Wild in the Streets. Since its founding in 1954, AIP had never lost money. The

company specialized in cheaply made exploitation films designed to appeal to a young

audience. Favorite genres included beach movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette

Funicello, gothic horror films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and outlaw biker

films with actors like Peter Fonda.

Famed "B" movie director Roger Corman received an early opportunity to direct at

AIP. While there, Corman produced a string of successful low cost films. He worked on a

budget and at an economical pace that greatly pleased Arkoff. Corman made The Beast

0I itr 1, 000, 000 Eyes (1955) in eight days for $35 thousand. He shot I was a Teen-Age

Werewolf(1957) for $123 thousand, and brought back $2 million in profit. Wild in The

Streets also adhered to this production model (Harmetz Sec 6: 12).

Arkoff made no apologies for the unsophisticated nature of his films. Even films

presented with extreme dignity had to be sold to the public. "I look upon my movies as

being merchandise. The fact that many of my acquaintances wouldn't buy Woolworth' s

merchandise doesn't keep it from being perfectly good merchandise" (Harmetz Sec 6:12).

Arkoff felt that the reason why his company consistently made a profit while the

maj or film studios struggled was the result of his unwillingness to insult his audience and

his sense of timing. Arkoff constantly sought dramatic stories that captured public









attention and was willing to take chances on a hunch. "We made 'Wild Angels '(1966)

because three different people threw on my desk the Life magazine story that had the

Hell's Angels on the cover" (Harmetz Sec 6: 32).

In addition to topicality, AIP was willing to take chances on new talent. Many

young directors, actors, and writers were given their start by Arkoff and Corman.

Directors of high future renown, including Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard, produced

their first films at AIP. As long as they were willing to count pennies and work fast, they

were hired. If a picture went over budget or exceeded its shooting schedule, Arkoff would

appear on the set and threaten to tear five pages from the script. Generally, that persuaded

the director to work faster. If it did not, Arkoff would actually rip up the script. AIP also

saved money by avoiding shooting inside studios and never paying for anything it could

obtain free. Arkoff prized a filmmaker' s creativity in the art of saving money and

disparaged one hit wonders who took on the trappings of royalty. Arkoff felt that in

Hollywood "90 % of the people consider themselves geniuses. In actuality, 10 % are

brightly creative, and the other 90 % do a competent, workmanlike job" (Harmetz Sec 6:

34).

A workmanlike job was just what AIP received from the creative team behind Wild

in the Streets. Both its screenwriter, Robert Thom and its director, Barry Shear, had

forged careers in network television. Thom, along with cowriter Reginald Rose, had won

a television Emmy in 1963 for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama for an

episode of The Defenders. Shear had an extensive career as a television director, working

on such network staples of the 1960s as Ironside, It Takes a ThiefJ The Girl From










U.N.C.L.E., and five episodes of Tarzan~~~~TTTTT~~~~TTTT from 1967 to 1968. Wild in the Streets was

Shear' s first theatrical release.

Thom's script affected a tone of camp and pseudo hipness. AIP sought to tap the

youth market that had grown up watching television. Both Thom and Shear were familiar

with how to put together a production that would appeal to this new audience and the

resulting film accomplished their goal. The use of irony and self-awareness were popular

in several successful television programs of the era including The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.,

Get Smart, and Rowan and Martin 's Laugh-hz. In a manner similar to popular television

programs, Wild in the Streets encouraged its audience to see how absurd everything in the

modern world could be. This irony extended to the American political process. In the

film, established political leaders are out of touch with the interests of their constituencies

and, supposedly, committed young political leaders become shallow and vindictive.3

Not everyone shared in the j oke. Some film critics took the film seriously.

According to Christian Science M~onitor film critic John Allen, Wild in the Streets was "a

coarse exhibition of almost everything that can go wrong with a viable film idea" (6). The

reviewer obj ected to the film's equation of a child' s death with the death of a crawdad,

the misrepresentation of the intent of concerned young people, and a lack of emotional

perspective. At the other extreme, Renata Adler of The New York Times thought the film

to be one of the best American films of the year and compared it in quality and political

perceptiveness to critically acclaimed French political drama The Battle ofAlgiers(1965)



SIn November of 1968, Rowan and Miartin 's Laugh-In was the highest rated regularly scheduled network
television program. Other highly rated, self-referential comedies of the era included Bewitched and Get
Smart. See "Network TV's Top Twenty (Nielson Ratings, Nov. 11 -17)," Variety, 27 November 1968: 33.










(DI). Joseph Morgenstern of Newsweek was closer to the true motivations of AIP and the

filmmakers when he labeled the fi1m as "made for no other motive than profit" (101).

Nonetheless, the fi1m was a financial success and preceded by one year the release

of the even more successful sleeper hit Easy Rider (1969). Wildln The Streets was

similar in theme and budget to Easy Rider and helped build a potential audience for the

later film. Both productions were part of a cycle of youthful rebellion films that reached

its zenith with Easy Rider and continued into the next decade.

Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss

On one level, the central theme of Wild in the Streets is that you can't trust anyone

over thirty. Throughout the film, establishment figures are lampooned as stodgy and

obsolete. This parody of authority figures would have appealed to the target audience of

AIP. Thom, however, included an opposing theme in the film. When confronted with

Max's demands, Senator Albright complains, "youth is not only wasted on the young it is

a disease." Something has gone horribly wrong. The film also provides a cautionary story

of what happens to young people when they are exposed to popular culture. Sex, drugs,

music, and television rob them of their ability to reason and turn them into aliens who, in

effect, go wild in the streets. This alien transformation was already a typical plot device

of AIP horror films. In this instance, I Was a Teen-Age Werewolf was recycled as I Was a

Teenage Revolutionary.

Not so subtle parallels to fascism occur throughout the film. Young people follow

Max's musical directives without hesitation, even to the point of martyrdom. Violence is

condoned when a member of Max' s gang suggests assassination of legislators as an

expedient way to promote passage of Max's political agenda. When Max and his group

gain control of the government, they prove to be even worse than those that they have










replaced. Once Max wins election, he assumes absolute power. He is quite willing to

consign old people to concentration camps. The filmmakers chose to show him smirking

as he fields a reporter' s question about old people hiding in attics to avoid capture. The

policemen who capture the elderly are clad in identical black uniforms that resemble

those worn by Nazi storm troupers. The end of the film is not subtle either. Max crushes

the child's pet crawdad under his feet as a symbol of how easily freedom can be crushed

by new political bosses.

Thom was 39 years old when Wild in the Streets was released. Twice in the film,

the age of 37 is referred to as being excessively old. He would have been close to this age

when writing the original story. Thom seems to have been trying to please AIP by

scripting a youth rebellion picture while at the same time satirizing the excessive nature

of a youth culture of which he was quickly aging out.

Music and Politics

Music played an important part in this film, reflecting the growing cultural

influence of such successful musical groups as The Beatles. Max achieves the American

dream not through civic commitment, but through his musical talents. His band of

followers is not comprised of politicians, but by his musical group. A large part of the

commercial appeal of the film consisted of its soundtrack. Concert footage is included

throughout the film and songs frequently advance story exposition. Christopher Jones

was a competent singer of pop songs and looked like any of a number of musical front










men of the era. Audiences could relate the staging of Max's rock performances to similar

ones they had seen on televised variety programs including The Ed Sullivan .1/ww~l. 4

The lyrics of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil also serve to express Max's political

platform. Max appears at a well-attended, enthusiastic political rally and exhorts his

constituency to action through song, "we've got the numbers now, we want the vote now,

youth power that' s where it' s at now." When protesters are killed by police in the film,

the screen goes dark, and then Max appears to perform The \1/Aipel of things to Come.

This song instigates a revolution among young television viewers that results in Max's

Einal triumph. Once he becomes president, however, Max stops performing. The only

thing that gets Max off is destroying the system.

Senator Fergus is a representative of the system who suffers from a credibility gap

similar to that of President Johnson. In the film, Fergus misrepresents himself as

supportive of the youth movement when, in fact, he is not. The senator' s public speeches

promote enfranchisement of young people, but in private conversations, he admits that he

is trying to manipulate them for political gain saying, "we can't write these kids off, I

need them." Unfortunately for Senator Fergus, he cannot control young people, nor can

he control their leader. When events move beyond his control, Fergus becomes unhinged.

A drunken fit causes him to tear posters off his children' s bedroom walls. The senator' s

loss of control marks him as an unfit leader.

Max, on the other hand, remains cool, calm, and collected. He is a charismatic rebel

from outside the political mainstream who is capable of out-smarting the political



SThe soundtrack of Wild in the Streets was the 14th bestselling album in the country and had been on
Variety's bestsellers list for 16 weeks as of 27 November 1968. See "Variety Album Bestseller (a National
Survey of Key Outlets)," Variety 27 November 1968: 55.










establishment. He takes over the government not through armed conflict, but by lacing

the water supply with LSD. Max is media savvy. He knows how to banter with the press

in order to explain away the negative connotations connected with consigning old folks to

concentration camps. Max also is aware of how to use his celebrity to manipulate an

audience. He uses the death of twelve protesters as a reason to stage the key political

song of the film, The Mapel'l of Things to Come. How he convinced the networks to grant

him the free time to broadcast this media event is not clear; perhaps the network

executives were secret rock fans.

Max's constituency understands him only through popular culture. Televised

musical performances are his means of communicating with his constituency. In the film,

nothing truly matters that is not broadcast. The origin of Max' s political legitimacy lies in

his celebrity. People follow him because he is famous and he uses fame to attain power.

In the age of celebrity, the importance of political parties has decreased. In the film,

new political leaders emerge fully formed and have no need for party loyalty. When Max

becomes eligible to run for president, he has a choice as to which party he will be

associated. Max and his band sit in the senate chamber to discuss which course to take.

Max is encouraged by his group to run for president as a member of the Republican Party

for purely strategic rather than ideological reasons. It seems that no real difference exists

between either of the political parties winning is everything. Max then addresses a

political convention while huge black and white pictures of former Republican presidents

Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower can be seen behind him. Ironically, the

conservatives are now hip and the liberals are square.









Political change is rapid in the film and solutions to social problems are simplistic.

It took a quarter century to lower the voting age in America from twenty-one to eighteen.

In Wildln 7he Streets, the voting age is lowered to fourteen in a matter of weeks. Social

issues are no more intractable than the waxy yellow build-up that plagued kitchens in

television commercials of the era. Even national security issues are easily surmountable.

President Max Frost assures the public that giving away American agricultural surplus to

potential foes will guarantee world peace.

Despite the easy assurance of success, young people in Wild in the Streets are

willing to work for political change. They are optimistic and enthusiastic in their

commitment to Max's agenda. Their revolution does indeed succeed. Unfortunately,

Max' s agenda is no different than that of the leaders he seeks to replace. His only goals

are to punish his parents and gain the presidency. Once in power, Max and his followers

become as old and obsolete as the previous leaders.

No one in this fim reaches a happy conclusion. Max's parents are carted away to a

concentration camp, Senator Fergus hangs himself, and Max realizes the burden of

power. The fi1m suggests that revolution results in regret. Disenfranchised young people

commit themselves to achieving political change, but their victory turns hollow. They too

become metaphorically old. It is better to remain a passive consumer of pop culture than

to go wild in the streets.

The Whole World is Watching

Medium Cool (1969), written and directed by Academy Award winning

cinematographer Haskell Wexler, walks the line between reality and fiction. Wexler' s

film is set in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic national convention. The fi1m includes

scenes of professional actors interacting with non-actors, improvisational dialogue and










documentary scenes of actual events. Wexler used this experimental structure in order to

comment on the distancing effect of modern mass media and to tell a story about personal

commitment. For him, the choice to embrace political activism in the 1960s was every bit

as important as the choice to defend democracy from Axis powers was in the 1940s. The

commitment fantasy contained in Casablan2ca was depicted as equivalent to that

presented in M~edium Cool.

The film's protagonist is a self-centered, local television camera operator named

John Cassellis (Robert Forster). Cassellis views the world through the lens of his camera.

He is as detached and cool as the medium in which he works. When Cassellis and his

soundman Gus (Peter Bonerz) encounter an automobile accident on the highway, they

make sure to capture usable footage of the carnage before they bother to contact an

ambulance to help the victim. Cassellis' initial reaction to seeing a televised documentary

on assassinations is to comment on the camerawork saying, "Jesus, I love to shoot film."

Cassellis is emotionally removed from his girlfriend Ruth. After a romantic

encounter, she asks him whether he is worried about the fate of beached turtles in an

Italian movie she saw. She wonders if he thinks that the camera operators who shot the

footage stopped to turn the turtles back around so that they could return to the sea.

Cassellis expresses indifference to the animal's fate saying, "How the hell should I know,

those were Italian cameramen." In this scene, Cassellis is framed next to a poster of

French New Wave film star Jean Paul Belmondo. Cassellis mirrors Belmondo's self-

satisfied attitude and his action of smoking a cigarette. This establishes a connection










between the two existential characters and illustrates the influence of the French New

Wave on Wexler's work.

Ever the existential professional, Cassellis is disaffected by potential violence. He

receives an assignment to cover emergency civil defense training being conducted by the

Illinois National Guard in anticipation of possible rioting at the upcoming Democratic

National Convention. Instead of considering the potential violence, his first priority is to

obtain action footage of the training session including shots of reinforced j eeps and of

guardsmen pretending to use tear gas on other guardsmen dressed to look like protesters.

The Illinois National Guard training scene is an example of Wexler' s unique

production design. Wexler was a noted documentary filmmaker. For this film, he

attempted to achieve the opposite of a docu-drama. Instead of imposing a factual veneer

upon a Sictional work, he imposed his fictional characters upon real events. This

technique freed Wexler from the requirements of j ournalistic obj activity that he would

have encountered in a purely documentary form. He could choose to include a shot of an

extremely stiff general attempting to explain the Illinois National Guard's mission. Also

included in this sequence is footage of a guardsman at the training session pretending to

be Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. The guardsman playing Daley attempts to reason

with the fake protesters by saying in a joking manner, "We've given you everything we

thought you needed. I've let you use our swimming pools every Fourth of July."

The most interesting thing about this scene is that the real Illinois National

Guardsmen had an understanding of how the government might be perceived to be


5 Wexler framed posters in the background of many shots as a counterpoint to primary action. This scene
ends with a nude romp in front of a photograph of a South Vietnamese general executing a member of the
Viet Cong. Later in the film, a black militant advocates the violent use of handguns while framed in front of
a photograph of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Martin Luther King.









disingenuous by letting people swim only one day per year. It is also interesting that the

real life guardsmen are "acting" at their training session. They perform the roles of both

civil authorities and protesters, yet are unaware of the ironic juxtaposition. They know

what the opposition is for, but they do not care.

Personal and Political Commitment

Wexler intended M~edium Cool to make a statement about responsibility. He

compared the questions asked in his film to those asked at the time of the Nuremberg

trials and commented on the ambiguous nature of evil. According to Wexler:

The biggest problem in our country today is that the bad guys don't look like bad
guys. In movies, the bad guy comes into a room and he always needs a shave. And
the music tells us he's a bad guy. But in real life, the bad guys are the guys who
plan, who control the end of the world. Bacteriological warfare, chemical warfare,
missiles that protect missiles. These men speak grammatical English, they have
Ph.D.'s and they are undoubtedly nice to their wives and kids. If they think at all
about what they are doing there are rationalizations available to them. They're
doing it for peace. They're doing it to defend their country. They're doing it to
protect mankind. If there is one word that characterizes our society, it is hypocrisy.
(Flatley D19)

A cocktail party scene, attended by members of the news media, expresses

Wexler' s theme of rationalized evil. When questioned about his professional choices to

broadcast violent images, a colleague of Cassellis points out that viewers do not want to

see boring shots of people talking about peace. In response to the colleague, another

member of the cocktail party points out that newscasters can afford to focus their stories

on the loud and violent aspects of society because of their relative safety: "All good

people deplore problems at a distance. Like Thomas Jefferson, he loved the common

man, but at a distance." This film condemns the choice of cool distance, both in civic life

and in personal affairs.










Cassellis begins to find a sense of civic commitment when he receives an

assignment to cover the story of a black cab driver who finds an envelope with $10,000

in his taxi. The police question the cabby closely as to where the money came from.

When the cabby says that he doesn't know the origin of the envelope, a detective, played

by an actual city of Chicago policeman, turns aggressive, asking him if he was "gonna

get funny now?" The portrayal of an innocent working man being harassed by an overly

aggressive cop is a standard plot device in countless Hollywood films, as is what happens

next. 6

Cassellis is a journalistic pro who can smell a good story. He takes the cabby's

story to his assignment editor, but the editor is unwilling to pursue the details of the

$10,000 envelope. He decries a lack of resources due to coverage of the upcoming

political convention. The editor tells Cassellis to forget the story, but the intrepid

cameraman will not let it go. He and his soundman track the cabby down to the

neighborhood where he lives. Once in the cabby's apartment, they encounter a group of

black militants who accuse them of spying for the police. Cassellis and his soundman

deny the charges, but are lectured about news media exploitation and leave without any

usable footage.

When Cassellis returns to his station, he finds out that some of his past footage shot

of draft card burners has in fact been given to the police and the Federal Bureau of

Investigations. Cassellis becomes enraged at the duplicity of his superiors who would rob

6 For a discussion as to which characters in the film are actors working from a script, actors worlang via
improvisation, non-actors working from improvisation, or non-actors unaware that they are taking part in a
film, see Haskell Wexler, "Special Features: Commentary by Director, Writer and Director of Photography,
Haskell Wexler, Editorial Consultant, Paul Golding and actress Marianna Hill," Commentary. Medium
Cool. DVD. Paramount, 2001.









him of his street credibility. Station management summarily fires Cassellis, who now

appreciates the suspicions harbored by the black militants. He will not be fooled again.

Cassellis begins to Eind a sense of personal commitment when he meets Eileen

(Verna Bloom), a single mother from Appalachia, and her street-wise, young son named

Harold. Cassellis teaches Harold to box and initiates a romance with Eileen. Wexler

contrasts the idyllic life that Eileen and Harold had back in Appalachia with the mean

streets of Chicago. The Appalachian scenes contain picturesque flashbacks of Harold' s

father teaching him to shoot a gun, walks through flowering Hields, baptisms in rivers and

pious religious services. This is in keeping with traditional faith in bedrock American

values derived from simple rural roots. The mean streets of Chicago, on the other hand,

reveal tenement courtyards and impoverished street urchins emblematic of the

complexities of modern times.

Eileen is a good mother to Harold and is all the family he has left. Her husband,

like bedrock American values, is only seen in flashbacks. His absence is variously

explained as due to estrangement, military service, or death. Eileen had been a teacher

back in West Virginia, however, the state of Illinois does not recognize her teaching

credentials from back home. Her husband is gone so she must support her family by

working in a factory making televisions for the Motorola Corporation, another reference

to television production.

Eileen is different from the other women in Cassellis' life. His last girlfriend, Ruth

was a sex obj ect while Eileen offers the stability of an instant family. Cassellis takes

Eileen to a Frank Zappa concert. The scene is played in fast motion and strobe lights










flash on and off as everyone dances with abandon. Zappa' s lyrics parody trendy,

noncommittal members of the counterculture:

What' s there to live for? Who needs the Peace Corps?
I'm completely stoned, I'm a hippy and I'm trippy, I'm a gypsy on my own
I'll stay a week and get the crabs and take the bus back home
I'm really just a phony, but forgive me 'cause I'm stoned
Every town must have a place where phony hippies meet

It is interesting that Wexler includes Zappa's scurrilous indictment of disingenuous

political activists. This is not a politically naive film. After the concert, Cassellis makes

out with Eileen. Harold, still missing his father, runs away after seeing the couple. Eileen

searches for Harold all night and into the next day. She finds herself searching for her son

in the middle of a maj or confrontation between protesters and police in the streets of

Chicago during the Democratic National Convention.

The 1968 Chicago convention was extremely acrimonious. Differing slates of

delegates fought over credentials. Delegates from New York and California interrupted

speeches to chant, "Stop the war." Speakers chastised Chicago Mayor Daley from the

podium. Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey received the party's nomination after

withstanding challenges from South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota

Senator Eugene McCarthy. Outside the convention hall, a crowd of 15 thousand

protesters mobilized in Grant Park and then attempted to march to the convention hall.

The Chicago police halted their progress. At 8:30 p.m., before a nation-wide audience of

prime time television viewers, the police and protesters clashed. By the end of the melee,

100 persons had been injured.'



SIn an action designed to unnerve convention organizers and to divert police resources protest leaders
disseminated fictitious rumors that they were planning to inject Chicago's drinking water with LSD, a
tactic similar to that employed in the film Wild in the Streets. See Witcover 321.









The actress, Verna Bloom, bravely walks in close proximity to both sides during

the conflict. She is playing a fictional character, but everything else in this sequence was

real, or at least as real as footage can be that was shot by Wexler and later edited for

dramatic narrative impact. Chants of "pigs eat shit" and "pigs are whores" are included

on the soundtrack. Police are seen forcibly removing camera equipment from the scene.

People are dragged into paddy wagons. Blood streams down protesters faces. Tear gas

explodes as Eileen frantically searches for her son.

The key moment of personal commitment in the film occurs when Eileen

telephones Cassellis while he is inside the convention hall working as a freelance

cameraman. She tells him that Harold is missing and asks for his help. Without a

moment' s hesitation, Cassellis leaves his job. He puts down the camera with which he

coolly observed life and chooses to act. He joins Eileen in her search for Harold who

ironically, has already left the melee and returned home.

The film ends with an arbitrary death scene. Cassellis picks up Eileen in his car to

help her search for Harold. Unfortunately, their car runs off the road in a horrible

accident. The film's sound track includes reports of violence at the convention. In a shot

similar to the first scene in the film, a beat up old car full of rubber-neckers slowly drives

by the carnage. A young man in the back seat snaps a photograph of the auto accident,

but the driver does not stop to help. The last shot in the film is of Wexler pointing his

camera at the audience while actual attendees of the protest repeat, "The whole world' s

watching. The whole world's watching. The whole world's watching."

Production History

Wexler, born in Chicago, had always wanted to be a filmmaker. "My family

traveled a lot, and I channeled my antisocial behavior into taking family movies. It was a









socially acceptable way to be detached." Wexler traded detachment for commitment at

the University of California where he was "kicked out my first year for being a radical."

He then spent four and a half years in the Merchant Marine before returning to his native

Chicago where he began working on documentaries and educational films. After many

years perfecting his craft, he became a highly sought after Hollywood cinematographer

and won an academy award for best cinematography in 1967 for Who 's Afraid of Virginia

Woolf! (1966) (Hunter Al9).

In Medium Cool, the character of Cassellis serves as a surrogate for Wexler. Both

are accomplished cameramen from Chicago. Both have a rebellious streak and worked as

cameramen in Vietnam. Wexler wrote, directed, and photographed this very personal

film. It is a tribute to the art and professionalism of cinematographers. Almost every

scene in the film was shot with a hand held camera and without the benefit of modern

camera stabilizing technology. The extensive use of hand held camera used throughout

the film promotes a documentary-like sense of realism.

For Wexler the film became all too real when he received a dose of tear gas while

shooting the Grant Park sequence of his film. An Illinois National Guardsman fired a

canister at him. At first Wexler thought that it was only talcum powder, but soon blinded,

he began to roll on the ground. A bit of water, administered by some of the protesters,

brought him back around. The surreal nature of actual events struck Wexler who noted

"the disbelief was that it actually had happened. In the midst of the rioting, in Grant Park,

some guys in their late 20's who I guess always played baseball there, went right on with

their game with all that going on around them" ( Beigel 7).










Wexler wrote the script for M~edium Cool in the winter of 1967, well in advance of

the convention. His ability to forecast was due in part to an understanding of the political

dynamics of the city as well as his personal relationships with key members of the

community. Wexler' s original script did include scenes of protest and confrontation at the

convention. Still it was extremely fortuitous for the production, if not for the city of

Chicago, that violence did occur. He was able to stage graphic action sequences at

minimal expense (Beigel 7).

Wexler, a novice director, had to scramble in order to get his picture made. He

donated his own equipment to the production and shared in the film's financing as well as

profits with Paramount Pictures. Wexler spent $ 800,000 of his own funds on the

production and made a deal to receive $ 600,000 from Paramount in exchange for the

completed work. He was also to receive 50 % of the net profits. Wexler was motivated to

work fast and cheap, and in exchange, he secured relatively free rein over the film's

content.

When Wexler first pitched his idea to Paramount, the story was titled The Concrete

Wilderness. The film originally was to be more about the experiences of a young child

from West Virginia who had an interest in racing pigeons. The film was also to be about

Harold's adaptation to living in the urban, Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Harold's

story was retained by Wexler, along with newer political content. The mayor of Chicago

was more concerned with the film's content than Paramount. According to Wexler, "We


SParamount was more concerned about Wexler's ability to manage money rather than content. The studio
sent an observer, disguised as a dialogue coach, to Chicago to watch over the film's budget. Wexler
discovered the ruse, told the spy not to get in his way, and wound up using him as an actor in one of the
film's scenes. See Beigel 7.









got calls almost every other day from Daley's office wanting reassurance that we

wouldn't show the city in a bad light. We didn't block any traffic so we didn't have to get

a permit or a license to film." Wexler delivered his film to Paramount on time and on

budget. Unfortunately, the film received an X rating at the time of its release for its

inclusion of frontal nudity and profanity. In spite of this, the film still turned a profit

(Beigel 7).

Critical responses to M~edium Cool applauded the film's technical skill and topical

relevance but found fault with Wexler' s directorial ability. Wa~shington Post film critic

Gary Amold thought the film's blend of documentary and fiction captured "the

disj pointed, volatile character of American society." On the other hand, he also thought

Medium Cool to be "not so much a finished, coherent work of art as it is a brilliant set of

rushes." Amold felt that the film tried to cover too many subj ects, then could not resolve

all of its many story lines (B l).

Penelpe Gilliatt, of 7hze New Yorker, thought the film fit well within current taste in

its mixture of illusion and disillusion, but felt it contained the same "moral fallacy as

Antonioni's Blow Up, which attacked the shallowness of a fashion photographer and of

London swingers in a film that itself saw them only shallowly"( 143).

Newsweek critic Joseph Morgenstemn thought the film had moments of brilliance,

but found fault with what he felt were "uneven performances and the banalities and

uncertainties of the script." Morgenstern thought that Cassellis's character transformation

was unconvincing, and the film's opening and closing scenes of automobile wrecks were

an awkward attempt at parallelism. Morgenstern also charged Wexler with being didactic

when the film lectured its viewers. Despite Wexler' s difficulty in handling fiction










however, Morgenstern felt that M~edium Cool was "a brave, significant attempt to break

out an American feature fi1m into the real world" (66).

Mediated Realities

The fi1m' s title, M~edium Cool, is a play on words derived from the work of noted

1960s media theorist Marshall McLuhan. According to McLuhan, a hot medium supplies

great amounts of information so that consumers are not required to invest a great deal of

involvement in a particular production. A cool medium, on the other hand, supplies

minimal amounts of information requiring consumers to become more invested in a

media production. In the presence of a cool medium, the consumer must attempt to fill in

the information that is lacking in the message. This coolness promotes introspection and

passivity rather than action. In addition, the content of the medium is not so important to

the consumers as much as the fact of interacting with the medium itself. The medium can

appear to be more real to the viewer than its content. Radio, newspapers, and motion

pictures are hot media, while television is a cool medium (McLuhan).

Medium Cool uses the hot medium of film to tell the story of a cameraman who

works in the cool medium of television. It also examines how people interact with

different media realities. At the time of its release, audiences could not be sure which

scenes were real, partially real, or fictional. Wexler included footage of Reverend Jesse

Jackson addressing followers at a national rally held at the makeshift Resurrection City

site in Washington D.C. This actual news event could be verified as having taken place.

Other events in the film, such as the romance between Eileen and Cassellis, fit movie

audience expectations of a fictional plot. Still others scenes in the film could not

obviously be judged either way. Gus can be seen at the protests along with other working

soundmen. Who is a real soundman, who is an actor, and who is the soundman charged









with obtaining sound for Wexler' s film? The confrontations between protesters and

police were real, but they just as easily could have been staged and would have been if

Wexler was not permitted to shoot in Chicago. Motion picture audiences had to decide

for themselves what level of reality was being presented in this film.

Wexler noted that people often had difficulty discerning real behavior from what

the media conditioned them to expect. During shooting, he observed that average citizens

were quite willing to allow the presence of television crews to alter their actions. He saw

that rioters, police, and National Guardsmen in Chicago would often pause in their tracks

when they saw a TV van. They would make certain that the cameraman was ready to

shoot before resuming their confrontations and ritualized chanting (Beigel 22).

The character of Cassellis addressed the media's ritualized response to violence. In

the film, Cassellis and Eileen watch a televised documentary on the assassinations of

President John Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King. The

television screen is not visible in the frame, but its glow illuminates them from a

dramatic, low angle. Eileen's emotional response to the program causes her to state, "I

don't know what to think, it seems like no man's life's worth anything anymore."

The more cynical Cassellis finds fault with the program. He complains that the

media has a script now, by the numbers. "Flags at half-mast, trips cancelled, ballgames

called off, schools closed, memorial meetings, marches, moments of silence. The widow

cries and then she says brave words, the moment of silence, the funeral procession."

Cassellis feels that the real motivation behind the production was fear of black violence

that might result from the assassination of Dr. King and a wish to abrogate blame so that

"no one's really on the hook, you see?"










Marginalized Socio-Economic Groups

Wexler' s familiarity with Chicago's political dynamics provided him with unique

access to participants in his film including a group of black activists. After the police

harass the cab driver, he returns to his apartment only to be criticized by his friends. They

insinuate that he is not sufficiently conscious of his race. The cabby's friends tell him that

if he was "acting as a black man" rather than "as a Negro" he would have kept the money

and bought guns with it.

When Casselllis and his soundman Gus come to the apartment to follow up on the

cabby's story, they meet with resistance. The militants accuse them of media exploitation

and maintain that they cannot possibly tell the complete story or place it in its historical

context in just fifteen-minutes. It is interesting that fifteen minutes was considered short

for a news story in 1969. At the end of the scene, one angry man (Felton Perry) tells

Cassellis what he thinks of the media. The militant states that what little media coverage

there has been of blacks has ridiculed, exploited, and rendered them invisible. The

resentment felt at being treated as a non-person leads him to warn of violent

consequences. It is surprising that a mainstream American film managed to capture this

level of anger toward the establishment.

The scene in the cabby's apartment employed a mixture of actors and non-actors.

The cab driver and the last militant were actors; the other performers were a collection of

activists, along with artists and sculptors, who were pretending to be more militant than

they were in real life. Wexler supplied the performers with a script, however, they were

free to improvise on specific wordings, add lines and decline any dialogue they felt

uncomfortable speaking. This is true up to the long close-up at the scene's end, which

was performed by an actual actor according to a script (Wexler).









As the final militant speaks, he is framed in the center of a close up and directly

addresses the camera. This privileged framing indicates that Wexler intended to make a

point about what he perceived to be the media's indifference to the lives of African

Americans. The film also suggests that the media has also ignored the lives of poor

whites. Wexler juxtaposes an interview conducted at a fancy hotel swimming pool with a

social worker' s interview conducted with Harold at his tenement apartment. In the

poolside scene, Cassellis films a wealthy society matron as she speaks about her plans to

vacation in Ontario for the summer.

The next scene shows Harold, alone in the middle of the day, trying to explain to a

social worker where his father is. Unlike the society matron, Harold's world is not

pleasant and his family cannot afford to vacation anywhere. Eileen and Harold are

symbolic of an entire class of poor white people that Wexler feels have been rendered

invisible. Although Wexler is neither African American nor from Appalachia, his

sympathies lie with marginalized socio-economic groups. He reserves his antipathy for

those in power.

Messages in the Medium

In Medium Cool, establishment figures are obj ects of derision. The Illinois National

Guardsmen train for protesters while carrying toy guns and wearing longhaired wigs.

Frightened suburban housewives practice firing guns at a shooting range. When Gus

points a shotgun mike at the shooting range manager (Peter Boyle), the manager cracks

an obvious joke asking, "is that thing loaded?"

Cassellis's boss cares about budgetary limitations more than he does about getting

to the truth. He refuses Cassellis' request to follow up on the cabby's story and fires

Cassellis for insubordination. Cassellis quickly obtains a new j ob as a cameraman










assigned to cover the Democratic convention. He conducts preproduction reconnaissance

at the convention hall and remarks that the building's proximity to the Chicago

stockyards causes it to smell of dead animals- a foreshadowing of the climactic

"slaughter" of protesters in the park. Inside the convention hall, political leaders ignore

the street violence going on outside. They cast their votes by state. Banners wave,

speeches are made, and a pretty campaign worker, in a silly, cone shaped hat, pins a

political campaign button on Cassellis' s jacket. The Roosevelt era Democratic Party

theme song, Happy Days are Here Again, is included on the sound track as an audio

bridging device between shots inside the hall and the action outside.

An extended montage follows. Police beat people to the ironic counterpoint of the

up-beat musical standard. The editing sequence depicts private citizens moving in one

direction and uniformed guardsmen and police moving in opposition to them. De-

personalized close ups of boots are followed by shots of wounded protesters being placed

in ambulances. In contrast to the moving shots of anonymous policemen, the camera

stops to show personalized, medium close-ups of individual protesters. All is in chaos as

the police march on.

The fi1m breaks new ground in its depiction of political violence. Mainstream films

had seldom depicted police and military personnel fighting against their fellow citizens.

Authorities were trusted to serve and protect average citizens from attacks, but in this

film, men in uniform turn against the people. It seems as if the American system has

broken down, and the establishment is responsible for its demise. American leaders are

depicted as not only illegitimate, but down right dangerous.










In the film, the nation's media are equally dangerous, coconspirators in the

destruction of democracy. Newscasters substitute ritual for context and every story is the

same as the last and the next. Individual cameramen, personified by Cassellis, are

depicted as professional seekers of truth who must negotiate between the animosity of

those they cover, police interference, and the impatience of their editors. Cassellis's

editor is a harmless functionary. Those higher up at the station are another story. The

bosses are unseen and dangerous. When Cassellis is given his severance letter, he runs

through the station's hallways demanding to know who was responsible for his

termination. No one takes responsibility for the action. In a film about a cameraman,

being visible is important. That which is hidden from society has the potential for grave

danger. According to this film, the public good can only be maintained if a metaphorical

camera is trained on both the weak and the powerful.

One of the few establishment Eigures that receive respect in the fi1m is Senator

Robert Kennedy. Cassellis conducts an interview scene outside of a campaign office.

Actual Kennedy campaign workers are asked why they support the senator. A young

woman likes Kennedy because "He's got long hair." A young man says, "He is against

the war." The woman jokingly dismisses the man saying, "He' s an idealist; he' s for

anybody who doesn't have a chance." This line echoes Senator Smith from Frank Capra' s

M~r. Smith Goes to Wa~shington, "Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for."

Wexler' s film maintains that sense of 1960s idealism.

Later in the film, Wexler presents the assassination of Senator Kennedy in a unique

manner. A continuous 360-degree panning shot shows the interior of a large commercial

kitchen. The kitchen looks like the kitchen inside of the Ambassador Hotel in Los










Angeles where Kennedy died. Kennedy is never seen in the sequence, but his last speech

is heard on the sound track. The camera slowly scans the entire minutia of the kitchen

including workers, dirty dishes, etc. The pan continues until the camera arrives back at its

starting point. Kennedy can be heard above a cheering crowd as he finishes his speech

saying ". and now on to Chicago." The shot concludes when the pantry door explodes

open, throngs of people rush in, and we realize that the senator has been shot. 9

Wexler' s film suggests that revolution comes at great cost, as it did for Robert

Kennedy, but is it worth the sacrifice. Americans have failed to realize their full political

and personal potential. Leaders have been slain, protesters beaten; Cassellis and Eileen

have died in a fiery automobile crash. National government alone, however, cannot be

trusted to solve the complex problems of society. As stated by various characters in the

film, committed individuals must choose to affect change "phony hippies" need not

apply. Good people should no longer "view problems at a distance" because "the whole

world is watching." It is time for a change.

The personal transformation that Cassellis undergoes in M~edium Cool occurs when

he chooses to leave his work at the convention hall to join Eileen in searching for her son.

His choice to j oin a new style of blended, nuclear family symbolizes the individual

commitment needed to build a better family of man. Wexler' s inexperience as a director,

however, caused him to miss an opportunity to emphasize this key dramatic moment.

One moment Cassellis is seen shooting footage. He then gets a message and leaves the

hall.




9 The kitchen scene was filmed at a date after the assassination of Kennedy. A Chicago kitchen stood in for
the actual kitchen in the Ambassador Hotel. See Wexler.









Wexler also fails to take advantage of the extended riot scenes that end the fi1m. In

simple movie terms, the cops are the bad guys in the blue hats and the protesters are the

good guys without hats. It is easy to discern who the filmmakers wish the audience to

root for, but it is hard to discern the heroes' political agenda. The fi1m does include a

brief shot of a sign urging that American troops be brought home from Vietnam and the

chant "hell no we won't go" can be heard on the sound track, but the audience is left to

fi11 in the extra information needed to understand why this confrontation is happening.

Unlike earlier, politically charged scenes, few protesters in the park are black or

obviously, from Appalachia and other than a photograph on Cassellis' desk, the issue of

Vietnam is not emphasized in the fi1m.

The audience for this film most likely would skew politically left. This is not a film

for centrists or right-wingers. The film's target audience would be aware of the political

agenda championed by the protesters. They would have been aware of the concept of

marginalized socio-economic groups. Even if they were not politically active, they would

at least know who Frank Zappa was. According to McLuhan, the tactic of forcing the

audience to supply information to the fi1ms material would be more at place in a cool

medium like television that promotes passivity. Viewing society's problems at a distance,

however, was not the filmmaker's intent.

Wexler created M~edium Cool in the hot medium of film. He wanted his audience to

react. The very last shot in the fi1m is of Wexler himself filming the car crash of Cassellis

and Eileen. He then pans his movie camera directly toward the audience as an unseen

newscaster reports on the on-going violence in Chicago. "We're being thrown up against

the wall. People are being hit by clubs and those are real nightsticks." According to