The contention of Film and the American Presidency is that over the twentieth century the cinema has been a silent partner in setting the parameters of what we might call the presidential imaginary. This volume surveys the partnership in its longevity, placing stress on especially iconic presidents such as Lincoln and FDR. The contributions to this collection probe the rich interactions between these high institutions of culture and politics—Hollywood and the presidency—and argue that not only did Hollywood acting become an idiom for presidential style, but that Hollywood early on understood its own identity through the presidency’s peculiar mix of national epic and unified protagonist. Additionally, they contend that studios often made their films to sway political outcomes; that the performance of presidential personae has been constrained by the kinds of bodies (for so long, white and male) that have occupied the office, such that presidential embodiment obscures the body politic; and that Hollywood and the presidency may finally be nothing more than two privileged figures of media-age power.
Table of Contents
1. The Fictional Lives of American Presidents Jeff Menne and Christian B. Long Part I: Early Cinema and the Classicalizing of the Presidential Image 2. The Media Reconfigured: The US Presidential Elections of 1892 and 1896 Charles Musser 3. "So typically Southern": Abraham Lincoln, the New South, and the Romance of Reunion David Hoogland Noon 4. Mr. Lincoln by Mr. Ford and Mr. Griffith: Image and History in American Cinema Tom Gunning 5. Wilson and the War Effort: Film, Pedagogy, and the Presidency Josh Glick Part II: FDR and the Mediated President 6. The Talented Mr. Roosevelt Jennifer Fay and Scott J. Juengel 7. The Vanishing President Jonathan Auerbach Part III: Post-Classical Presidents 8. Clean Cuts: Kennedy Modernism on Screen J.D. Connor 9. LBJ and the Astronauts Jeff Menne 10. Richard Nixon and the Arts of Power Deak Nabers Part IV: Beyond the Reaganite Presidential Imaginary 11. Angry Presidents: Hollywood Film and the Post-9/11 American Presidency Susan Jeffords 12. Obama and the (Raced) Presidential Imaginary Diane Rubenstein Part V: The Mise-en-Scene of the Presidency 13. Anna Deavere Smith and Her West Wing Residencies Jacqueline O’Connor 14. The Mysteries of Washington DC: Hollywood’s White House Tunnels Christian B. Long Afterword Dana D. Nelson
Jeff Menne is Assistant Professor and Program Director of Screen Studies at Oklahoma State University, USA. His essays have appeared in Representations, Cinema Journal, Post Script, and elsewhere.
Christian B. Long works in the Academic Language and Learning unit at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and he is also an honorary research fellow at The University of Queensland, Australia.