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Views of Jews : antisemitism, Hollywood, and American Jews, 1913-1947 / Felicia Herman.

Publication | Library Call Number: PN1995.9.J46 H479 2002

This study traces the evolution of Jewish concerns about the motion picture industry and its products through one of the most volatile periods in American, American Jewish, and film history. It does so in two ways: by examining the ways these concerns informed Jewish communal leaders' efforts to shape the content of films relevant to Jews, and by exploring the ways the Jewish press reflected these concerns in its coverage of specific films and of the industry in general. In their relations with and coverage of the film industry, Jewish leaders and the Jewish press were forced to articulate quite clearly—even visually—the image of themselves they wanted films to project to the outside world. Thus an analysis of the Jewish relationship to the film industry in this period casts new light onto several familiar tropes in American Jewish history: the diversity of American Jewry—the differences among American Jewish elites and between these elites and nonelites—and the ways this diversity shaped the multiple Jewish responses to Nazism and American antisemitism; the tension between Jewish feelings of “at-home-ness” and insecurity in America; American Jewish efforts to reconcile their identities as Americans and as Jews, especially their efforts to demonstrate their patriotism and dedication to American values; and the effort to improve Jewish-Christian relations in this period through the nascent goodwill movement. This study also offers a new perspective on one of the most important themes in film history: the decades-long battle to regulate the moral content of American motion pictures. Jews became active and even public participants in this battle, especially as it intensified in the early 1930s, but they were frequently motivated by different concerns and pursued different strategies than other would-be film reformers.

Herman, Felicia.
United States
Record last modified: 2018-04-24 16:01:00
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