Reconstructing American Historical Cinema (Paperback)
From Cimarron to Citizen Kane
Reconstructing American Historical Cinema explores Hollywood's pivotal interpretations of national history during the height of the studio system. In a radical departure from traditional studies of film and history, J. E. Smyth looks at rarely discussed production records and scripts from studio archives, arguing that certain classical Hollywood filmmakers were actively engaged in a self-conscious and often critical filmic writing of national history. Her unique approach unites the study of popular and academic historical writing, historical fiction, and screenwriting, providing a rich context for the industry's commitment to American history. Reconstructing American Historical Cinema uncovers Hollywood's diverse and conflicted attitudes toward American history in narratives including nineteenth-century frontier epics, gangster biopics, and histories of silent-era Hollywood.