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Performing Arts History & Criticism

Projections of Passing

Postwar Anxieties and Hollywood Films, 1947-1960

by (author) N. Megan Kelley

University Press of Mississippi
Initial publish date
Apr 2016
History & Criticism, Popular Culture, Discrimination & Race Relations, 20th Century
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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How the cinematic act of passing embodied, exacerbated, and sometimes alleviated American fears

About the author

N. Megan Kelley is an independent scholar with a PhD in American history from York University.

N. Megan Kelley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Meticulously researched, vividly written, and amply illustrated with crisp digital frame enlargements, N. Megan Kelley's Projections of Passing takes the reader through the facets of collective angst that classic Cold War Hollywood problem films so lavishly represented. Racial passing and civil rights, homosexuality, gender ambiguity and changing roles of masculinity and femininity, and Communist and extraterrestrial infiltration?all add up to worries about identity, authenticity, performance, and the gnawing question of whether the notion of normalcy in an age of conformity was an illusion.

Werner Sollors, author of Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature and coeditor of A New Literary History of America

What's most impressive here is the historical sweep of this volume, which deals not with a closed set of films, but makes new discoveries in cinema history by crossing through artificial genre boundaries to create a series of new and revealing connections between different forms of cinema. This is not only a completely new way of looking at the concept of “passing? in cinema studies, but it is also a lively, accessible text which will be useful not only in the classroom, but also as recreational reading. Anyone who is interested in the history of motion pictures and in the social changes they mirror and create will be fascinated by this book. The research alone is prodigious?truly stunning, reflecting many, many hours in the archives and in the writing of the finished project. This is a fresh, original, and absolutely riveting book.

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, professor of film studies and author of numerous volumes