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Cold War Paranoia

In the several decades that followed the end of the Second World War, threats of nuclear annihilation and fears about the "Red menace" permeated the American culture in ways that were both explicit and implicit. Behind the scenes in Hollywood, paranoia about these issues—and government responses to them—boiled over into open and ideological warfare that resulted in the infamous blacklist of the McCarthy era. But on screen, in films that both supported and challenged the dominant political agenda of the times, these widely discussed threats expressed themselves in works that ranged from the quietly subversive to the apocalyptic. In industrial films and B-movies to major studio productions, the anxieties of the period translated themselves into the stuff of science fiction, westerns, crime movies, and melodrama. This program includes a selection of films drawn largely from the HFA collection, including rarely screened prints of Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly and Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three.

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