Test of the Emergency Broadcast System

Flying Saucers Attack


Test of the Emergency Broadcast System:
Cinephilia and Sci-Fi
with Professor Rashna Richards
March 27, 2014, 7 p.m., Humanities Center 218

Sci-fi films from the 1950s are usually thought to invoke fear of Communist invasion and the threat of nuclear disaster. But, made at a time when the slow but ceaseless crumble of the studio system was already underway, they also reveal Hollywood's own eschatological anxieties. Drawing on cinephiliac moments from various sci-fi films, Rashna Richards, Professor of English at Rhodes College and the author of Cinematic Flashes: Cinephilia and Classical Hollywood (Indiana University Press, 2013), will explore how American cinema of this era aligns itself with sagacious storytelling, in competition with a new rival, television, which offered nothing more than cold, indifferent information. She will show how, in representing itself as the endangered species, Hollywood became allied with all that was wholesome, masculine and American — and under threat from the alien Other. For her, this illustrates how quickly the movies adjusted to the new popular culture landscape; while the studio system did not survive, Hollywood did, by unpredictably adjusting to a new media universe. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture.