Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance

Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance

J.E. Smyth

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617039645

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


Between 1944 and 1977, director Fred Zinnemann made a surprising number of historical films about the rise and resistance to fascism, the Spanish Civil War and Second World War, the Cold War, and the post-war impact on Europe and America. Yet in contrast with many European and American filmmakers, Zinnemann's documentation of the Resistance was completely at odds with Charles de Gaulle's view of an elite, French-dominated, nationwide movement against Nazi oppression born in 1940, and the prevailing conservative historiography which excluded the roles of women and communists. While his film narratives often explored the contexts and histories of “resistance,” Zinnemann's career in Hollywood and its critical legacy followed a similar creative trajectory, and this book explores his confrontations with Hollywood genre conventions, the studio system, and critics. Based on extensive archival research in the director's papers, Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance engages Zinnemann's self-conscious visual and textual interventions in the wider historiography of the Resistance and its post-war aftermath. In particular, the book will explore his research, script and editing notes for The Seventh Cross (1944), The Search (1948), High Noon (1952), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Nun's Story (1959), Behold a Pale Horse (1964), Day of the Jackal (1973), and Julia (1977), and will make a case for Zinnemann as a significant historian of the anti-fascist resistance and the defining conflicts of the twentieth century.