Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

American Cultural Studies


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Lutz Koepnick


As the United States endured the depths of the Great Depression, Hollywood's studio system sought to entertain the masses through a standardized process designed to maximize profit. Frank Capra, a director with more freedom than was customary under the classical model, attempted to reassure the American public of the fundamental strenghth of the American system through his populist films of the period. This, however, became more difficult as the financial concerns of the decade were joined by the totalitarian threats emerging in Europe.


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