An account of Hollywood in the 1950s - arguably America's most flamboyant, prosperous, yet paranoid decade. Its typical publication was "Confidential" magazine, "the most scandalous scandal magazine in the history of the world" whose lens on Hollywood was the window to America's collective fears and fantasies: race, communism, sex, homosexuality, criminality and mistrust of most basic institutions. Hollywood in the 1950s was a bizarre juxtaposition of high and low culture, a place where the sublime paid tribute to the ridiculous. Yet for all their seeming banality, mainstream Hollywood films also dealt with challenging issues such as race ("The Defiant Ones", "Imitation of Life", "Baby Doll"), sex ("Some Like It Hot", "Rebel Without a Cause"), anti-Semitism ("Crossfire"), drug abuse ("The Man With the Golden Arm"), mental illness ("Cobweb", "Lust for Life"), and the possibility of nuclear annihilation ("On the Beach", "Kiss Me Deadly"). This book explores the decade that helped shape the Hollywood of today.
Sam Kashner is a teacher and much-acclaimed biographer and critic. This is Jennifer MacNair's first book.