Screen Enemies of the American Way: Political Paranoia About by Fraser A. Sherman

By Fraser A. Sherman

American movies, like the US itself, have lengthy been occupied with the specter of outsiders posing as electorate to spoil the yankee lifestyle. This booklet tracks real-world fears showing within the movies--Nazi brokers, Japanese-American spies, Communist occasion subversives, Islamic sleeper cells--as good because the science-fiction threats that play to an analogous fears, akin to alien body-snatchers and android doppelgangers. The paintings additionally examines fears encouraged by means of global conflict I German spies, the Japanese-American internment and the McCarthyite witch-hunts and exhibits how those concerns, and others, performed out on reveal.

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Additional info for Screen Enemies of the American Way: Political Paranoia About Nazis, Communists, Saboteurs, Terrorists and Body Snatching Aliens in Film and Television

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Jim Ransom’s (Lex Barker) warnings that the sabotage and murder happening around them are the work of Japanese fifth columnists. Mathews (James Westerfield), a white planter working for Japan, tries to exploit McRae’s racist contempt for labor radical Felix Agung (Glenn Dixon) to promote dissension and further the sabotage plot. In the end, Agung kills Mathews, and McRae dies stepping on one of the land mines Mathews planted around his home. Ann and Jim have fallen in love, and as the film ends, Jim assures her that with the spy ring smashed, Japan will give up on invading Hawaii.

This lightweight comedy foreshadows several themes that would be used in fifties anticommunist films: Activists and radicals are either enemy agents or Red dupes; leftwing issues are only a tool for attaining power; and when the feds spy on us, it’s always for the greater good. , the Soviets became our allies and criticism of them in the movies ceased; instead, we got Mission to Moscow and similar starry-eyed views of the USSR, such as 1943’s Song of Russia and The North Star. It was the post–World War II period when the fear of communism blossomed into a major political force that would influence American politics until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

23 S CREEN E NEMIES OF THE A MERICAN WAY The Odessa File (1974) The movie opens in 1963, as an Israeli officer tells Mossad that Egypt’s President Nasser is ready to erase Israel from the map with missiles bearing bacteriological and radioactive warheads. All he needs is for something called “Odessa” to provide the missile guidance systems. In Germany, freelance journalist Peter Miller ( Jon Voight) stumbles across the diary of a Holocaust survivor. Reading his account of SS commander Roschman (Maximilian Schell) and his crimes — including his murder of a Nazi officer who locked horns with him — Miller begins digging, discovers that Roschman is still alive and becomes obsessed with finding him.

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