THE FACES OF AMERICAN CINEMA
Monsters inside us and aliens above us: representation of science and the role of scientists in american science-fiction films of the 1950s
The text offers an analysis of science fiction films produced in Hollywood in the 50s, whose narratives – often sceptical towards scientific progress – serve as antimilitary propaganda. Critical studies often connected the fear of the A-bomb and the global destruction to the concept of paranoia (of communism) as the cultural and psychological interpretative model for dealing with science fiction of the period. In The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951), compared here to its 2008 remake (Scott Derrickson), the antiwar message is embodied in an alien named Klaatu, who sends the message of piece to extremely hostile and distrustful Americans. The article also discusses the role of the scientist – in these films, structurally the scientist is often in the centre of the narrative, usually being the one who is opposing the government/army, as in The Thing from Another World (Christian Nyby, 1951). Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956) serves here as an example of sceptical attitude towards the role of science. But still, although they do question the roles of army, science, faith and progress, science fiction films of the 50s still perpetuate the dominant discourse of American propaganda by means of religious iconography and defence of the US traditional values.