By Prof. Dennis Broe

Film noir, which flourished in Forties and 50s, mirrored the struggles and sentiments of postwar the USA. Dennis Broe contends that the style, with its emphasis on darkish subject material, paralleled the category clash in exertions and union routine that ruled the period.

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Just as the new prestige of the heads of other industrial sectors was tied to their capacity to create the products of war, so too did increased prestige accrue to the studios because of their role in making fictional war films and documentaries and training films for the government. The studios welcomed this role as official and unofficial propaganda dispensers, a role that made criticism of what previously might have seemed a trivial “entertainment” industry unpatriotic. Government also greatly supported the growth and the monopolization of the industry during the war, as it did with industry as a whole.

He is in a way an artist” (qtd. in Horne 158). The crafts unions at the onset of the war were represented by the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), a member of the American Federation of Labor. Not only was the IATSE a union strongly accommodating to management (historians Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund characterize it as consistently more sensitive to the needs of the studio executives than to those of its rank and file), but IATSE members also made themselves available to the studios as “scabs, strike-breakers, and thugs” both during and increasingly after the war (Ceplair and Englund 87).

Of the 1930s and 1940s” (86). Brian Neve, in Film and Politics in America, claims that these “modestly budgeted crime films of the era were able to tell some home truths, as well as allowing some filmmakers on the left . . 16 However, the argument that working-class ideas were hegemonic has never been fully articulated. In “From the Nightmare Factory: HUAC and the Politics of Noir,” Philip Kemp implies that the structure of the genre had changed in the noir period and that this change conditioned the possible responses of the crime film directors.

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