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The Fatal Alliance : A Century of War on Film

David Thomson
Format: Hardback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc (Harper)
Published: January 18, 2024
ISBN: 9780063041417
448 pages
Country of publication: United States

£25.00

From one of the greatest living writers on film, a magisterial look at a century of battle depicted on screen, and a meditation on the twisted relationship between war and the movies.

In The Fatal Alliance the acclaimed film critic David Thomson offers us one of his most provocative books yet—a rich, arresting, and troubling study of that most beloved genre: the war movie. It is not a standard history or survey of war films, although Thomson turns his typically piercing eye to many favorites—from All Quiet on the Western Front to The Bridge on the River Kwai to Saving Private Ryan. But The Fatal Alliance does much more, exploring how war and cinema in the twentieth century became inextricably linked. Movies had only begun to exist by the beginning of World War I, yet in less than a century, had transformed civilian experience of war—and history itself—for millions around the globe. This reality is the moral conundrum at the heart of Thomson’s book. War movies bring both prestige and are so often box office blockbusters; but is there something problematic at how much moviegoers enjoy depictions of violence on a grand scale, such as Apocalypse Now, Black Hawk Down, or even Star Wars? And what does this truth say about us, our culture, and our changing sense of warfare and the past?

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