Film and the Nuclear Age

Representing Cultural Anxiety

Toni A. Perrine

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Fotografie, Film, Video, TV


Just as we generally pay scant attention to the potential dangers of nuclear power and nuclear war, until quite recently, scholars have made limited critical attempts to understand the cultural manifestations of the nuclear status quo. Films that feature nuclear issues most often simplify and trivialize the subject. They also convey a sense of the ambivalence and anxiety that pervades cultural responses to our nuclear capability. The production of popular narrative films with nuclear topics largely conforms to periods of heightened nuclear awareness or fear, such as the fear of fallout from nuclear testing manifested in the atomic creatures in science fiction movies of the late 1950s. By their very numbers, and through a set of recurring stylistic and narrative conventions, nuclear films reflect a deep-seated cultural anxiety. This study includes detailed textual analysis of films that depict nuclear issues including the development and use of the first atomic bombs, nuclear testing and the fear of fallout, nuclear power, the Cold War arms race, loose nukes, and future nuclear war and its aftermath.(Includes bibliographic references, index, filmography, choronology; Illustrated)

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