Part 2 of the excellent Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War series aired this week and is available to download via CBC’s website. This second chapter focuses on the Vietnam and post-Vietnam period where the pro-war cinema of the 40s, 50s and 60s declined, and Hollywood began showing more critical views of the US military, of wars involving the US and of the consequences for American fighting men. As I say in this episode, this fundamentally changed the nature of the war movie, and of the military movie more broadly, and gave rise to stories like Top Gun and Transformers, which are quite different from the military stories of Hollywood’s Golden Era.
This is another terrific episode despite not featuring as much of Matt and I as one might like, though producer Mary O’Connell assures me the final chapter next week will foreground our contributions to this topic. As a three-part history of the war movie genre this series is outstanding, and it never shies away from the Pentagon’s influence on key movies in this genre, nor from the contrasts between government-supported entertainment and the realities of US foreign policy.
Part 3 next week.