The vast and influential American military has been aided and abetted by cinema since the earliest days of the medium. The army, navy, and air force put films to work in myriad ways, enlisting them to entertain, train, and heal soldiers as well as to propagandize, strategize, spy, map, and develop weapons, from rifles to atomic bombs. Presenting new essays based on archival research, Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex addresses the relationship of military cinema to Hollywood, technological innovation, new modes of filmmaking, unique film styles and genres, and the rise of American soft power across the long twentieth century. This rich and timely volume is essential for scholars interested in the military’s use of media and the exercise of influence within and beyond American borders.
Haidee Wasson is Professor of Cinema Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the author of Museum Movies and the coeditor 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 coeditor 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 in the process 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