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Hollywood in HavanaUS Cinema and Revolutionary Nationalism in Cuba before 1959$
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Megan Feeney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226593555

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226593722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Our Men in Havana: Hollywood and Good Neighborly Bonds, 1934–1941

Our Men in Havana: Hollywood and Good Neighborly Bonds, 1934–1941

(p.71) 3 Our Men in Havana: Hollywood and Good Neighborly Bonds, 1934–1941
Hollywood in Havana

Megan Feeney

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the distribution, exhibition, and reception of Hollywood in Havana during the period of US-Cuban rapprochement that followed the 1933 revolution. Towards easing anti-Yankee sentiment throughout Latin America, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted the Good Neighbor Policy, pledging the United States to non-intervention as well as to greater respect and equity for its “sister” republics. Hollywood worked to promote the Good Neighbor Policy throughout Latin America, revising its business practices and its representations of Latin America (to avoid giving offense) and of the United States (to present it as a progressive democracy worthy of hemispheric leadership). This chapter finds that Hollywood’s efforts were well-received in Havana, and played a role in US-Cuban rapprochement. However, anti-imperialist revolutionary Cuban nationalism was not completely suppressed by Pan-American film musicals nor by shared profits and/or improved relationships in Havana’s film business community. Cuban critics and film businessmen (e.g., trade publishers and exhibitors) remained skeptical about US imperial hegemony, a skepticism still confirmed by plenty of Hollywood content and business practices as well as the rise of another US-supported strongman, namely Fulgencio Batista. The chapter ends with the reception in Havana of A Message to Garcia, Modern Times, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Keywords:   Good Neighbor Policy, Good Neighbor films, international film business, business culture, masculinity, economic dependency, film trade journals, Fulgencio Batista, Charles Chaplin, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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