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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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“A Treacherous Tightrope”

“A Treacherous Tightrope”

The Office of War Information, Psychological Warfare, and Film Distribution in Liberated Europe

(p.305) 17 “A Treacherous Tightrope”
Cinema's Military Industrial Complex

Alice Lovejoy

University of California Press

This chapter, by Alice Lovejoy, chronicles the United States Office of War Information’s plans to distribute forty Hollywood feature films in liberated Europe under the auspices of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force’s Psychological Warfare Division (PWD-SHAEF). From the comparative perspectives of OWI and the Allied countries for which the films were destined (Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Czechoslovakia, its central case study), it examines the economic, ideological, and pragmatic questions that intersected in these films’ selection and distribution, focusing on the tensions caused by OWI’s close relationship with the American film industry. The chapter argues that the case study of these forty films highlights Europe’s fraught political, cultural, and diplomatic relationship with American cinema on the cusp of the Cold War, as well as the complex logics underpinning film distribution in this period.

Keywords:   Office of War Information (OWI), film distribution, liberation, psychological warfare, Cold War, Hollywood, Europe, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Norway

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