Bringing History to Life: Cold War Cinema

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Bringing History to Life: Cold War Cinema

<p>We bring history to life through an exploration of five films reflecting the peak of the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s. Excerpts of each of the selected films will be shown and students will

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We bring history to life through an exploration of five films reflecting the peak of the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s. Excerpts of each of the selected films will be shown and students will receive reviews of the movies. We will then explore and discuss these films in the political context of the Cold War and the worldwide struggle for supremacy between the USA and the Soviet Union.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • The Third Man (1949) - A classic mystery Cold War thriller of treachery and blackmarkets; directed by Carol Reed, starring Trevor Howard, Alida Valli and – as Harry Lime – Orson Welles. Last but not least the title melody performed on a cither by Anton Karas.
  • Them! (1954) - An Oscar nominated cult science fiction film about mutated gigantic ants that threaten civilization on earth, due to the earliest atomic tests in New Mexico.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) - Don Siegel’s thrilling and disturbing science fiction film, set in a small American town, is an allegory for the sweeping mass hysteria of Communism and McCarthyism in America in the 1950s.
  • One, Two, Three (1961) - This fast paced Billy Wilder political comedy – starring James Cagney in the leading role as the Coca Cola Manager of West-Berlin – plays in1961 at the height of the Cold War confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Stanley Kubrick’s classic cult Cold War movie is about an insane US general, who triggers a path to nuclear destruction that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a better understanding of the Cold War era history through film.
  2. Recognize the variety of ways historians approach the past – here through visualization via film.
  3. Gain a sense of the excitement of studying history.