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Cinematic Cold War: The American and Soviet Struggle for Hearts and Minds
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2011
"Cinematic Cold War" is based on an idea so brilliant, you wonder why no one ever tried doing it before. The book looks at key American and Soviet films of the Cold War era. It is written in a very accessible style, and it is knowledgeable about both Hollywood and Soviet films.

Best of all, "Cinematic Cold War" does not try to cover every film, but focuses on key films from each era. The authors do not view the Cold War as one undifferentiated era but note how attitudes and depictions of "the other" changed over time. This allows the reader to see the differences between the "classic" Cold War of 1947-53 and the Reagan era of the 80s.

"Cinematic Cold War" lets us look at film history from a new perspective. I hope this book inspires others that walk in its footsteps.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The reason (thankfully) that the Cold War was cold was its battles were fought by surrogates or waged in unconventional ways, through propaganda, sports, espionage and cultural warfare. Olympic games, chess tournaments and ballet tours took on political and diplomatic significance far out of proportion to reality. So it was with film. In fact, the Cold War may have played out more fiercely on this cultural front than on any other, because film lends itself so well to propagandizing, and because film peaked as a media of influence in the post WWII era.

Shaw and Youngblood (disclaimer: who sits on our magazine's Editorial Advisory Board) have published the first full account of how the Cold War played out on American and Soviet silver screens. They show, through chronological essays and comparative case studies, that both film industries colluded with their respective states to churn out films that mixed entertainment and propaganda, yet were always in step with the reigning diplomatic mood. Only rarely did filmmakers dare to step outside the bounds of political correctness or ideological purity to make an independent statement.

The downside of this book is its frustration factor: so many fascinating films are mentioned, and so few of them are readily available through movie rental outlets, Netflix or elsewhere. But the fine plot summaries, especially in the comparative section, helps make up for this, and we can learn about such seminal Soviet movies as Spring on Zarechnaya Street,Incident at Map Grid 36-80 (Sluchay v kvadrate) [VHS], Nine Days in One Year, and Officers.

A bit of trivia to put in your back pocket for a future cocktail party. The current Hollywood release, Never Let Me Go, based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name, actually had namesake twin: Never Let Me Go (1953), starring Clark Gable, about an American journalist who falls in love with a Soviet ballerina.

As reviewed in Russian Life
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on March 11, 2014
Simply Fascinating! For those of you who lived during the cold war, or those who have only studied it in school; you'll gain
an important perspective on a very important period of the 20th century.
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