A Road Scholar Program by Ed Finch
During the World War II era, the movie industry was characterized by rapid, formulaic, almost factory-like mass production. When a particular innovation proved commercially successful, it was sure to be replicated in other movies in short order. Thus, movies portraying the experiences of military personnel in World War II soon developed certain stylistic conventions, coalescing into a new genre: the combat film. The stylistic features that defined the combat film genre in the 1940s have remained influential ever since but have been modified in various ways, reflecting changes in cultural perceptions of war and military life. This presentation explores the emergence of the combat film genre, its evolution up to the present, and what it can teach us about American cultural history.