This is the definitive account of how America’s film industry remembered and reimagined World War I from the Armistice in 1918 to the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Based on detailed archival research, Michael Hammond shows how the war and the sociocultural changes it brought made their way into cinematic stories and images. He traces the development of the war’s memory in films dealing with combat on the ground and in the air, the role of women behind the lines, returning veterans, and through the social problem and horror genres. Hammond first examines movies that dealt directly with the war and the men and women who experienced it. He then turns to the consequences of the war as they played out across a range of films, some only tangentially related to the conflict itself. Hammond finds that the Great War acted as a storehouse of motifs and tropes drawn upon in the service of an industry actively seeking to deliver clearly told, entertaining stories to paying audiences. Films analyzed include The Big Parade, Grand Hotel, Hell’s Angels, The Black Cat, and Wings. Drawing on production records, set designs, personal accounts, and the advertising and reception of key films, the book offers unique insight into a cinematic remembering that was a product of the studio system as it emerged as a global entertainment industry.
“Hammond’s intelligent and insightful account of the formation of cinematic treatments of the Great War in America constitutes a major addition to the critical literature on film. It acts as a prism through which to see refracted multiple themes central to the social and cultural history of the interwar years.” — Jay Winter, author of War beyond Words: Languages of Memory from the Great War to the Present
Michael Hammond is Associate Professor of Film History at the University of Southampton and the author of several books, including The Big Show: British Cinema Culture in the Great War, 1914–1918.
"the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."—NPR Books
The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger
The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...