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Hollywood and the Great DepressionAmerican Film, Politics and Society in the 1930s$
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Iwan Morgan and Philip John Davies

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699926

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699926.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Embodying the State: Federal Architecture and Masculine Transformation in Hollywood Films of the New Deal Era

Embodying the State: Federal Architecture and Masculine Transformation in Hollywood Films of the New Deal Era

Chapter:
(p.198) Chapter 10 Embodying the State: Federal Architecture and Masculine Transformation in Hollywood Films of the New Deal Era
Source:
Hollywood and the Great Depression
Author(s):

Anna Siomopoulos

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699926.003.0011

This chapter analyses how Hollywood focused on recognizable and venerable architectural representations of federal institutions to symbolise the new relationship that had developed between the citizenry and the national government under the aegis of the New Deal. Through case studies of three films respectively featuring the executive, legislative and judicial edifices of the national state – Gabriel over the White House (1933), Mr Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and The Talk of the Town (1942) – become sites of masculine transformations, as the three male protagonists each experience private revelations that help them take on new roles as president, senator and Supreme Court Justice respectively. Though each contains a romantic sub-plot, none of the movies ends with the expected scene of romantic coupling whose trajectory was established in the early scenes. Accordingly the male leads become defined less by private heterosexuality than by public involvement in the Roosveltian state.

Keywords:   New Deal, White House, Senate, Supreme Court, Masculinity

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