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Cinema's Military Industrial Complex$
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Haidee Wasson and Lee Grieveson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291508

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291508.001.0001

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The Cinema Intelligence Apparatus

The Cinema Intelligence Apparatus

Gregory Bateson, the Museum of Modern Art Film Library, and the Intelligence Work of Film Studies during World War II

(p.137) 8 The Cinema Intelligence Apparatus
Cinema's Military Industrial Complex

Nathaniel Brennan

University of California Press

This chapter, by Nathaniel Brennan, discusses the efforts of the Museum of Modern Art Film Library to make use of captured enemy motion pictures on behalf of the federal government’s wartime intelligence programs during World War II. While the chapter presents an overview of the film library’s governmental intelligence work, ranging from matters of storage to the challenges of training analysts, the central case study examines the work of British anthropologist Gregory Bateson, whose work at the film library consisted of trying to define an objective approach to the study of culture through cinema and the preparation of a test film that would instruct American soldiers about the peculiarities of the German character. Although Bateson’s plans did not materialize, the efforts of Margaret Mead to adapt Bateson’s anthropological film methodology for the Cold War nonetheless influenced the development of postwar film studies and the analysis of national cinemas.

Keywords:   applied anthropology, film studies, Gregory Bateson, intelligence, Margaret Mead, Museum of Modern Art, Nazi cinema, propaganda

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