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Hollywood’s Relationship With Nazi Germany to be Discussed at Ramapo College October 15

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 17, 2013

(MAHWAH, NJ)  – Brandeis University Professor Thomas Doherty will discuss his recently published book, Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (Columbia Press University, 2013), at Ramapo College of New Jersey on October 15 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the H-Wing Auditorium (H129). The screening is being cosponsored by the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Communications major’s Cinematheque series.

At least until the outbreak of war in 1939, with the exception of Warner Brothers, the predominant attitude in Hollywood towards fascism was essentially one of denial and pragmatism. There was a belief that movie-going audiences would be turned off by politics. As Joseph I. Breen, the industry’s all-powerful lead censor put it:  “the purpose of the screen is to entertain and not to propagandize.” The studios also had to contend with the German consul in Los Angeles, Georg Gyssling, the U.S. State Department and Breen, who instilled the fear that offending the Third Reich would lead to exclusion from the hitherto lucrative German market. As Doherty’s book also points out, the studios’ treatment of the Spanish Civil War and of Fascist Italy was no less timid.

On the other hand, the movie capital was also home to the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League (HANL).  One of the only organizations in the U.S. to confront the fascist threat, it included among its members such A-list  actors, directors and screen writers as Dorothy Parker, Dashiell Hammett, Ernst Lubitsch, Mervyn LeRoy, Sylvia Sidney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chico Marx, Benny Goodman, Fred MacMurray, Frederic March, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Eddie Cantor. The HANL alarmed studio heads to the point that they threatened to insert “political clauses” into their contracts forbidding such activity.

A cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema, Thomas Doherty is a professor of American Studies and chair of the American Studies Program at Brandeis University.  He is an associate editor for the film magazine Cineaste and film review editor for the Journal of American History. He completed his undergraduate education at Gonzaga University and has M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa.

For a photo of Professor Doherty, click here:
https://www.ramapo.edu/news/files/2013/09/Doherty_Photo.jpeg

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About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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