The vast, and vastly influential, American military machine has been aided and abetted by cinema since the earliest days of the medium. The US military realized very quickly that film could be used in myriad ways: training, testing, surveying and mapping, surveillance, medical and psychological management of soldiers, and of course, propaganda. Bringing together a collection of new essays, based on archival research, Wasson and Grieveson seek to cover the complex history of how the military deployed cinema for varied purposes across the the long twentieth century, from the incipient wars of US imperialism in the late nineteenth century to the ongoing War on Terror. This engagement includes cinema created and used by and for the military itself (such as training films), the codevelopment of technologies (chemical, mechanical, and digital), and the use of film (and related mass media) as a key aspect of American "soft power," at home and around the world. A rich and timely set of essays, this volume will become a go-to for scholars interested in all aspects of how the military creates and uses moving-image media.
Haidee Wasson is Professor of Cinema Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the author of Museum Movies and the co-editor of Inventing Film Studies and Useful Cinema.
Lee Grieveson is Professor of Media History at University College London. He is the author of Policing Cinema and Cinema and the Wealth of Nations and the co-editor of several volumes, including Inventing Film Studies and Empire and Film.
“Ranging from exhibition practices and screen technologies to government policies and various types of useful cinema, the new research gathered in this ambitious, timely, and necessary book expands and reorients how we might think about the entwined history of motion pictures and the American military.”—Gregory A. Waller, Provost Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, Indiana University
“This vital collection takes us into the vortex of military institutions and explores how they have used cinema to project their power across complex geographies and into hearts and minds. Contributors rethink the cinematic apparatus, uncovering forgotten technologies, unknown exhibition strategies, and secret intelligence operations along the way.”—Lisa Parks, Professor of Comparative Media Studies, MIT
“The modern American military didn’t project only its power around the world. It projected movies, too, and along the way developed audiences, technologies, and narratives that linked imperial progress with motion pictures. This stunning volume shows that the relationship between the movies and the military has shaped the geopolitics of the past 125 years.”—Eric Smoodin, Professor of American Studies and Film Studies, University of California, Davis