1950s Science Fiction Films and 9/11: Hostile Aliens, Hollywood, and Today's News

Algora Publishing
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1950s Cold War-era monsters meet 21st-century terrorists: Matthews provides a thoughtful interpretation of sci-fi movies that examines the similarities and differences between the political environment and popular culture of two eras. This well-researched examination and appreciation of science fiction films includes behind-the-scenes tales about their production and many quotes from those who produced and starred in the films. The book will tantalize not only fans of the science fiction genre but also sociologists, film historians, and politicians. The author draws parallels between the Cold War fears of the 1950s and 60s and the constant terrorism alerts of the September 11th era, exploring how the politics and the psychological climate of the times influences and is reflected in this vehicle of popular culture. This book is the first of its kind, studying the pop culture genre in the wake of the September 11th tragedy. The alien invaders of the 1950s signified a Russian invasion of America, while other films of the genre such as Invaders from Mars depicted aliens utilizing mind control to manipulate humans to commit acts of sabotage, signifying Communist enslavement. If such a film were made now, such invaders could be seen as terrorist masterminds using human slaves to commit terrorist acts. Them the 1954 atomic mutation classic, is the spiritual ancestor of the 2002 film Eight Legged Freaks. Finally, several 1950s films depicted the end of the world at a time when Americans expected a nuclear war with Russia. Godzilla, the only 1950s-era monster to remain a movie star beyond that era, can be fashioned to reflect whatever issues dominate the times: nuclear war in the1950s, environmental pollution in the 1970s. Conceivably a Godzilla for the age of terrorism is soon to be released. The immediate pre-September 11th era witnessed films presenting galactic threats to mankind's existence (Independence Day, Armageddon, Deep Impact), while the early 2000s witnessed the popularity of the Left Behind Christian films dramatizing the Tribulation period in the Book of Revelation. It seems that whatever the era and whatever the challenges and crises confronting America, many entertainment themes remain the same, reflecting their respective times and the relevant issues. * Melvin E. Matthews, Jr. is a freelance writer and a horror movie aficionado who has been studying the genre for thirty years. In this work he shares his personal correspondence with film and television star Beverly Garland, and brings together a wealth of detail about the fun and the challenges of the costumes, stunts and special effects, as well as the actors' and producers' thoughts on the meaning behind the stories.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algora Publishing
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
163
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ISBN
9780875864990
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Film / Genres / Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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2019 SCIBA Book Award Winner for Biography

A Thrillist Best Book of the Year

A Book Riot Best Book of 2019

One of Booklist’s 10 Best Art Books of the Year

The Los Angeles Times Bestseller

A PureWow “Book We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019”

A Bustle Nonfiction Book Coming Out In 2019 To Start Getting Excited About

The Lady from the Black Lagoon uncovers the life and work of Milicent Patrick—one of Disney’s first female animators and the only woman in history to create one of Hollywood’s classic movie monsters

As a teenager, Mallory O’Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O’Meara soon discovered, Patrick’s contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive.

As a young woman working in the horror film industry, O’Meara set out to right the wrong, and in the process discovered the full, fascinating story of an ambitious, artistic woman ahead of her time. Patrick’s contribution to special effects proved to be just the latest chapter in a remarkable, unconventional life, from her youth growing up in the shadow of Hearst Castle, to her career as one of Disney’s first female animators. And at last, O’Meara discovered what really had happened to Patrick after The Creature’s success, and where she went.

A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
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