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J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the MoviesThe FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War$
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John Sbardellati

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450082

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450082.001.0001

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Producing Hollywood’s Cold War

Producing Hollywood’s Cold War

(p.69) 3 Producing Hollywood’s Cold War
J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies

John Sbardellati

Cornell University Press

This chapter details the relationship between the FBI and the Hollywood anti-Communist pressure group, the Motion Picture Alliance. Formed in early 1944, the MPA shared with the FBI the assumptions that deceptive red propaganda had already pervaded the screen, and that the studio heads were responsible for this dangerous situation. Indeed, the FBI listed several of the most acclaimed Hollywood films of this era as Communist propaganda. These include William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Edward Dmytryk's Crossfire (1947), and Robert Rossen's Body and Soul (1947). These films, and many others, did put forward left-leaning political and ideological themes and messages, yet the explicit criticisms of these films existed largely in the secret files of the national security state. Ultimately, the bureau and its collaborators in the Motion Picture Alliance effectively turned this cultural battle into a question of domestic security.

Keywords:   FBI, Motion Picture Alliance, red propaganda, Communist propaganda, domestic security

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