Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Hidden Messages and Films

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hidden Messages and Films

If someone were to ask people why they watch films, the majority would say because the movie(s) they are watching interest them. As a follow-up question, if someone were to ask what was the message behind the movie(s), most people would struggle to find the answer or simply don't care to know.

The films of today are geared to provide a cheap form of entertainment for the patron while the production companies reap the financial windfall. As I ponder on the films I have seen in the last year (Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Quantum of Solace etc.), I'm trying to recall the messages I received from these films and yet I draw a blank.

Some might wonder do films have messages in them to provoke some form of action. In the case of modern films, it varies to a degree. However films released during the early 20th Century had messages in them in which most individuals failed to realize. We can find out more about this practice in the following:

"Employing this powerful new tool-with all its suggestive implications-the CPI's Division of Films
launched an unprecedented effort to deploy movies as implements of war. Under the division's direction, a number of feature films were produced for worldwide theatrical distribution: Pershing's Crusaders, America's Answer, Under Four Flags, and others, shown alongside more conventional Hollywood productions" (Ewen, PR!, 115).

The films mentioned in the snippet were produced to do two things, the first was to gain support for the nation's involvement in World War I and the second was to encourage men in America to help the nation by participating in the war as soldiers.

After reading this chapter, one must feel compelled to watch today's films from an analytical prospective because we do not know what hidden messages are interwoven into films especially given the two wars that America is fighting in.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A thoughtful post.

World War I was the first war that the U.S. government used film to get there message to the American people and to the world. One of the advantages of silent film is that it could be shown to audiences at home and abroad without worrying if they spoke english.

2/23/2009 8:47 PM  

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