Date of Award

6-3-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Comments

The study of the type of films Americans create and consume demonstrates how cultural attitudes are often reflected and reinforced in Western films. Based on the viewing and analysis of approximately two dozen films, I have determined that Western filmmakers working between 193 9 and 2010 have chosen to depict Russian men and women in decidedly different ways. Representations of male Russian characters shifted significantly based on the state of foreign relations. In contrast, female Russian film characters changed little over time. In the interest of producing profitable entertainment, filmmakers developed this formula prior to the start of the Cold War and have continued to employ it. This gender dichotomy is representative of a melding of the belief in the superiority of Western society and patriarchal attitudes. This study documents the changes in depictions of Russian men while also describing the static portrayal of Russian women. Filmmakers are likely to adhere to their current methods of developing Russian characters as long as the films they make continue to be profitable.

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