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

By David Cochran

B-movies, crime novels, technology fiction- all of those varieties of mass media got here into their very own within the Fifties. brushed off by way of critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yankee lifestyles at a time while it used to be now not politically right to take action. David Cochran info how, on the peak of the chilly conflict, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of unfastened company, and the sanctity of the suburban kinfolk. Rod Serling's The Twilight region similar tales of sufferers of big, 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 classification and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the degree for the Nineteen Sixties counterculture's problem to the status quo. In doing so, they blurred the strains among "high" and "low" paintings.

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11 And, by the early fifties, John Steinbeck had foregone the class-consciousness of his Depression-era novels In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath for such ringing proclamations of the liberal values of freedom and individualism as these words of the narrator of East of Eden (1952): "This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. "12 Critical artists were also integrated into the liberal consensus.

Richard Condon and the Paranoid Surreal Style in American Politics 175 10. Another Dimension: Rod Serling, Consensus Liberalism, and The Twilight Zone 194 Conclusion: The Emancipation of Dissonance 215 Notes 223 Bibliography 261 Index 275 Page ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work has been a very long time in the making, and I have piled up many debts in the process. My family has proven endlessly supportive of my studies and writing. The constant encouragement of my mother and late father, Bette Cochran Reeves and Don Cochran, sustained me.

Growing up in Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska, he worked a variety of jobs that provided much of the raw material for his novels later. For example, working as a bellboy at the height of prohibition involved him in various illegal activities with potentially serious consequences. As Thompson would say: "To survive in that world [a boy] had to be very, very lucky and have a fair degree of intelligence. But more than anything else, he had to be able to 'take it,' to absorb the not-to-be-avoided abnormal without being absorbed by it.

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