An Army of Phantoms by J. Hoberman
American Movies and the Making of the Cold War

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Synopsis

An Army of Phantoms is a major new work of history and film criticism from the highly regarded critic J. Hoberman. Here he applies the same dynamic synergy of American politics and American popular culture to the Cold War’s first decade that he brought to the 1960s in the critically acclaimed The Dream Life.

The years between 1946 and 1956 brought U.S. dominance over Europe and a new war in Asia, as well as the birth of the civil rights movement and the stirrings of a new youth culture. The period saw the movie industry purged of its political left while the rise of ideological action hero John Wayne came to dominate theaters. Analyzing movies and media events, Hoberman has organized a pageant of cavalry Westerns, apocalyptic sci-fi flicks, and biblical spectaculars wherein Cecil B. DeMille rubs shoulders with Douglas MacArthur, atomic tests are shown on live TV, God talks on the radio, and Joe McCarthy is bracketed with Marilyn Monroe. Here is a history of film that is also, to paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, about the film of history.

Essential reading for film and history buffs, An Army of Phantoms recasts a crucial era in the light of the silver screen.
 

About J. Hoberman

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J. Hoberman has been the senior film critic at The Village Voice since 1988. He has taught at Harvard, NYU, and Cooper Union, and is the author of ten books, including Bridge of Light, The Red Atlantis, and The Dream Life.
 
Published April 5, 2011 by New Press, The. 408 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Quoting period memoirs, FBI files, HUAC hearing transcripts and movie reviews from the mainstream and communist press, Hoberman argues that many of the themes of these movies—fear of alien invasion and the rescue of captives, to name two of the most pungent examples—were already deeply ingrained ...

Feb 01 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

Publishers Weekly

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Village Voice film critic Hoberman offers the first installment of a projected three-volume chronicle of American films during the cold war years 1946–1956.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

The Wall Street Journal

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Mr. Smedley glancingly mentions the altogether different reception that met Charlie Chaplin's Nazi-lampooning "The Great Dictator" in 1940 but doesn't weigh the movie in any serious way because .

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The Wall Street Journal

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But, as Mr. Hoberman acknowledges, there is another way of interpreting "High Noon": "Just as Marshall Kane cleaned up Hadleyville, making it safe for women and children, so the Truman Doctrine had maintained that it was now America's obligation 'to support free peoples who are resisting attempte...

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

Bookmarks Magazine

Here is a history of film that is also, to paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, about the film of history.

Essential reading for film and history buffs, An Army of Phantoms recasts a crucial era in the light of the silver screen.

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

Los Angeles Review of Books

Hoberman is at his best showing how these fears played out in a number of genres during the late 1940s and early 1950s: Westerns, World War II dramas, Korean War films, political films, and even science fiction fantasies of interplanetary war.

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

Time Out Chicago

Film critic Hoberman’s 11th book takes a cue from the 1950 William Wellman feature, The Next Voice You Hear, a film in which God takes to the airwaves to reassure America everything is going to be okay.

Mar 23 2011 | Read Full Review of An Army of Phantoms: American...

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