America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the by David Cochran

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By David Cochran

B-movies, crime novels, technological know-how fiction- all of those kinds of mass media got here into their very own within the Fifties. brushed aside via critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yank existence at a time while it was once now not politically right to take action. David Cochran information how, on the top of the chilly conflict, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of loose company, and the sanctity of the suburban kin. Rod Serling's The Twilight region similar tales of sufferers of gigantic, faceless bureaucratic powers. Jim Thompson's The Grifters portrayed the ravages of capitalism on these on the backside of the social ladder. Patricia Highsmith's The gifted Mr. Ripley featured an amoral con guy who infiltrated the privileged type and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the level for the Nineteen Sixties counterculture's problem to the status quo. In doing so, they blurred the traces among "high" and "low" artwork.

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32 In the postwar period this view was expanded and gained wider currency among intellectuals increasingly distrustful of mass movements. Ex-leftists, simultaneously seeking to atone for their former faith in the masses while not altogether comfortable with their integration into the dominant cultural consensus, seized upon mass culture as a means of maintaining a critical stance toward American society, seeing it as the major domestic threat to Americans' freedom. "33 Mass culture, in the view of its critics, grew out of the increasing regimentation and routinization of work in modern capitalist society.

Son" the father shook his head, aghast. "What happened to you? " "Thinking about it is all that's kept me alive," the kid said. " Page 20 At this point, the father explains that in drilling the well the two had mortgaged everything and so were broke. " 'Goddam,' the kid said. " As father and son leave town on foot, they look back at Big Spring, already developing into a vibrant oil town. "We did that son," [the father says]. "You and I. We caused a city to bloom in the wilderness. " "We should have stood in bed," the kid said.

Finally, Thompson's works were marked by a twisted theology emphasizing innate sinfulness, an inscrutable and wrathful God, and the ubiquity of hell, which stood in sharp distinction to the increasingly vapid religion of the dominant culture. Bad Boy Thompson's literary journeys among the socially dispossessed grew out of his life experiences. Born in 1906 in Anadarko, Oklahoma Territory, Thompson was the son of a local politician, lawyer, and oil man who gained and lost several fortunes. Thus Thompson learned early on about the fundamental insecurity of American capitalism.

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