Date of Award

5-18-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Grace Burton

Second Reader

Sandra Welter

Abstract

Although it is not possible to ascertain with certainty the mood of an entire country at a particular time in history, films of an era can reflect glimpses of the prevalent milieu of a society. The films of the 1 930s reflect a grim view of life as Americans struggle to overcome the Great Depression, while films of the 1940s espouse great patriotism as Americans fight for freedom in World War II. Post-war America of the 1950s is an enigma: great prosperity mingled with Cold War fears. Filmmakers of this era are challenged to reflect the American psyche during this period. The horror film genre emerges in response to the hidden fears of nuclear annihilation. This is balanced out with movies that include musicals, comedies and stories of the good life in suburbia. This paper will look at post-war American society through the lenses of two renowned directors of the time.

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