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Hollywood's Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World
  • Author Image
    Ross Melnick
  • Publisher Logo
    Columbia University Press

Hollywood's Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World

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  • Ross Melnick
  • Columbia University Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780231201513
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  • Performing Arts > Film - History & Criticism
  • English
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Book Description

Beginning in the 1920s, audiences around the globe were seduced not only by Hollywood films but also by lavish movie theaters that were owned and operated by the major American film companies. These theaters aimed to provide a quintessentially American experience. Outfitted with American technology and accoutrements, they allowed local audiences to watch American films in an American-owned cinema in a distinctly American way.

In a history that stretches from Buenos Aires and Tokyo to Johannesburg and Cairo, Ross Melnick considers these movie houses as cultural embassies. He examines how the exhibition of Hollywood films became a constant flow of political and consumerist messaging, selling American ideas, products, and power, especially during fractious eras. Melnick demonstrates that while Hollywood's marketing of luxury and consumption often struck a chord with local audiences, it was also frequently tone-deaf to new social, cultural, racial, and political movements. He argues that the story of Hollywood's global cinemas is not a simple narrative of cultural and industrial indoctrination and colonization. Instead, it is one of negotiation, booms and busts, successes and failures, adoptions and rejections, and a precursor to later conflicts over the spread of American consumer culture. A truly global account, Hollywood's Embassies shows how the entanglement of worldwide movie theaters with American empire offers a new way of understanding film history and the history of U.S. soft power.

Hollywood's Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World

Author Bio

Ross Melnick is associate professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935 (Columbia, 2012).

 

Education 

Ph.D. Cinema and Media Studies - UCLA
M.A. Cinema and Media Studies - UCLA
B.A. American Studies - Brandeis University

 

Source: University of California Santa Barbara 

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