REELPOLITIK: POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES IN THIRTIES AND FORTIES FILMS Review:
California Lutheran University Professor Kelley has brought film criticism back to its rightful place in literary excellence with her book REELPOLITIK. As the title tells us, the book looks at political ideologies in thirties and forties movies. Specifically Beverly, with the aid of three contributors, looks at populism in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, elitism in THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, fascism in GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE, antifascism in CITIZEN KANE, internationalism in CASABLANCA, isolationism in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, communism in OUR DAILY BREAD, and finally anticommunism in THE FOUNTAINHEAD. The book also has a bibliography of related materials.
These insights are extremely comprehensive. Each analysis looks at the history, the literary value, the theology, the politics, and the philosophy in a very helpful way. She relates these movies to their time and place, shows why they resonated with the audiences and shows how they had historical significance. The interplay between politics and movie is intriguing.
Many people reviews movies solely on their emotional reaction. Intellectual reviewers often get too heady, but Beverly Kelley’s insights fascinate. As a student of the history of the motion picture industry, I was impressed by all that I learned from this book, including the fact that Hollywood was originally established as a failed Christian utopia founded by Horace Wilcox and his wife. Little did they know what would happen to their 120-acre parcel of land.
For anybody who wants to understand movie criticism, understand movies, learn how to accurately analyze movies, or just be filled with a lot of worthwhile knowledge, we recommend REELPOLITIK and Beverly Kelley for putting together this useful book.