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Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies Hardcover – April 30, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"...a shocking look at governmental interference in the filmmaking business over the past 50 years or so..." -- Tennessee Tribune, July 15, 2004
"...a tour of the integral workings of Hollywood's deal with the Pentagon. Our rating: A" -- Rocky Mountain News, April 23, 2004
"...addresses half a century of propaganda techniques used in Hollywood movies." -- Seattle Times/ Post-Intelligencer, May 30, 2004
"...one of the best I've read in a long time...[Robb's] a great writer and the researcher is far-reaching." -- MovieWeb.com, August 16, 2004
"...tremendous job of documenting how far film producers and television shows bend their vision to the military line..." -- OC Weekly, July 23-29, 2004
"An indignant, unsettling analysis of the military's influence on the film industry." -- Hollywood Reporter, May 13, 2004
"Anyone interested in the truth, in propaganda, movies, or the military should definitely read this book. It's an eye-opener." -- About.com (Agnosticism/Atheism)
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Top Customer Reviews
Much of the book's examples are from the 1950s and earlier, so it would've been good to have updated stories from the 90s and 2000s...but overall a decent thought-provoking book.
Hollywood makes many kinds of films. Fantasy, science fiction and comedies and war movies. While they can re create many of their own props much of the time, its tough to build a dozen helicopters or even an aircraft carrier from scratch. So in order to properly tell a good war movie, there are times when its very, very cost effective to use authentic machines.
The problem is that the military, while eager to help, ( after all the people in uniform enjoy watching movies too) understandably wants to be shown in a good light.
And that's where the compromising begins. And the drama that happens behind the scenes, in and of itself, makes for some good story telling. Fact of the matter is, it was Hollywood that has done most of the compromising. While we have seen many many moving, dramatic stories of our military in action over the years, Robb reveals in these pages that there were times when story had to be watered down a bit to please the military in order to gain access to the machines it needed in order to put the films on the screen.
If you are a fan of war movies and are interested in what goes on behind the scenes, this particular book might provide some eye opening insight. You may in fact find yourself going back to re watch your favorite war film after reading what Hollywood had to do in order to tell that story. Very good book!
I, like many, I would guess, did not realize that those credits at the end of the movie, thanking the armed forces, are more than a simple thank you. They indicate the Pentagon has approved the movie for propoganda purposes.
Most people realize that propoganda was a prevailing force in the movies of the World War II era. But the same propoganda continues today, in a much more subtle form.
A more interesting book would have covered the history of government propoganda in Hollywood releases, not just centered on mostly movies of the last 20 years. There was not a mention of the Disney movies seen on the DVD release "On the Front Lines", or of other movies of the era (such as Abbott and Costello's "Buck Privates"). This was propoganda at its peak.
Also, it would have been interesting to understand the logic behind how the Pentagon would think movies such as "The Swarm" and "Airport 77" would make individuals want to join the armed forces.
I also continue to wonder, as it wasn't mentioned in the book, why the Pentagon supported movies such as "Run Silent Run Deep" or "The Caine Mutiny", both of which deal with mutiny in great detail.
While I admire the author for tackling such a subject, and in bringing it to the public's attention, I just wish he had tackled it with a bit more fervor.
If David Lee Robb wrote it, you can take it to the bank. Within the investigative journalistic crowd, he has always been the most exhaustive and thorough researcher in the industry. Unlike 99.9% of the others, Robb has never had to retract a word.
The book shows how pro-military movies leads to spikes in recruitment and as a result, the military wants to control everything that goes into a movie. All too often, Hollywood acquiesces to their demands. The military believes that they are only enforcing accuracy, but they also maintain that any film that does not reflect well on the military is "inaccurate."
This baleful influence has altered the view that Americans now have of the military. They believe that the U.S. military is intrincsically good and is incapable of doing anything wrong.
Operation Hollywood is an interesting and revealing book. As such it is recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An eye-opening book about frightening tactics used by the Pentagon to control how the military branches are portrayed in films and television shows.Published 11 months ago by epsilon
A book that uncovers and describes yet more facts of how taxpayer money goes to pay for propaganda to warp our minds. Truth is stranger than fiction, and maybe always was.Published 17 months ago by Deborah M. Alexander
Gosh I was looking forward to this book. Living outside DC & knowing majority of these films, it made sense I'd enjoy this read. Read morePublished on March 27, 2014 by E. Alton
The military is not a public library, where you can check out a few hundred soldiers, a submarine, or an aircraft carrier just because you want to make a movie. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Lee Powell
If this guy didn't have such a personal hatred of the military, he might have been able to write a decent history of what is a fascinating and deep history between the military and... Read morePublished on January 22, 2013 by Erik J. Reynolds
The strain of keeping the secrets that have been entrusted to me are today, too much to bare. They rip at my soul and are destroying my sanity. I can no longer eat. Read morePublished on September 26, 2011 by Jon Gordon
This book documents how the Pentagon and branches of the United States military bully filmmakers into revising scripts, editing scenes from movies and even rewriting factual... Read morePublished on March 22, 2010 by Cwn_Annwn