‘Look to Norway!’ The Nazi occupation of Norway in Hollywood wartime cinema, 1942–1945

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Abstract:

The article explores the cycle of six feature-length fiction films made in Hollywood during World War II that represented on-screen the Nazi occupation of Norway between 1940 and 1945. These six features in order of release are Spencer Gordon Bennett's They Raid by Night (1942), John Farrow's Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942), Lewis Milestone's Edge of Darkness (1943), Irving Pichel's The Moon is Down (1943), Dorothy Arzner's First Comes Courage (1943) and Sylvan Simon's Son of Lassie (1945). While several scholarly surveys of Hollywood war films from this period have paid some limited attention to this subgenre, this article offers a more comprehensive, deep-focused examination, paying special attention to the material specificity of the six films and differentiations among them. The analysis investigates how differences in Hollywood studios and house styles, budgetary concerns, production conditions, casting choices, music scores, uses of location shooting in synthesizing a Norwegian landscape, marketing campaigns and other factors all contributed to differentiated final products in each case.

Keywords: Hollywood classic cinema; Norwegian occupation; World War II; film locations; propaganda; war genre

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jsca.2.3.299_1

Affiliations: UCLA

Publication date: November 19, 2012

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  • The Journal of Scandinavian Cinema is a new scholarly journal devoted to film in the Scandinavian countries. It aims to become the prime site for excellent research and engaging discussions on cinema in Scandinavia, both within the national context of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and as a region existing in a globalized world.
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