Celluloid Mushroom Clouds: Hollywood And Atomic Bomb by Joyce Evans

By Joyce Evans

Celluloid Mushroom Clouds is a old account of the way the motion picture answered to precise fiscal and political forces over the postwar years. Joyce Evans investigates the transformation of the imagery linked to atomic know-how present in Hollywood movie produced and disbursed among 1947 and 1964. Incorporating qualitative and quantitative learn equipment, over ninety movies are analyzed by way of their historic context and the context of movie construction and distribution.The industry-focused procedure offered within the e-book perspectives cultural construction as a cloth procedure unfolding lower than particular fiscal, political, and cultural stipulations and emphasizes the “pressures and boundaries” of construction which are inscribed in cinematic texts. The examine illustrates in concrete element how the cinematic texts negotiated by way of audiences are produced in hugely targeted industries and are developed due to frequently contradictory determinants. those determinants paintings to form the texts produced through encouraging, for instance, the construction of specific genres and via privileging a selected set of pictures over others. Evans argues that via those photos, Hollywood articulated a restricted critique of the chilly conflict ideology, which it additionally helped to create. She concludes that Hollywood’s total ideological impression has been to limit the discursive skill to be had for outlining social truth.

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Is typical of early films involving atomic themes in that it devotes much film time to showing bomb explosions and scientific technology. The camera lingers upon the fabricated atomic explosion, for example, and presents an abundance of rapid cuts between explosions and the awestruck faces of spectators. This repeated image emphasizes the powerful force and unbelievable potential of the technology, a moving spectacle only available in theaters to pretelevision audiences. However, actual footage of atomic explosions was unavailable to Hollywood at that: time.

Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, Leslie Groves, and Vannevar Bush had already accepted fees from MGM, some as high as $10,000, in return for their permission to be depicted in the film. However, senior Manhattan Project personnel protested the original propagandistic tone of the screenplay, and MGM was forced to make some changes in the script to allow moral soul-searching on the part of the fictional scientist Matt and to adhere more closely with historical events. Hence, through negotiations between these individuals, the interests of the dissident scientists were at least partially served.

49 The Beginning or the End? depends to a large extent upon stock and newsreel footage for the development of its narrative. This technique ties the film and the events depicted to reality, where they are afforded more credibility. This use of newsreel footage as a reference point for the real world was a popular style in the late 1940s, particularly in docudramas of this type. Because of the reliance upon stock footage of, for example, the mushroom cloud of the detonated atomic bomb, the same scenes were found in many different movies and soon became familiar referents to nuclear development.

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