So powerful are Hollywood movies as propaganda that America has never achieved victory in war without Hollywood’s support.
When Hollywood turns against America at war, defeat is assured. Witness Vietnam, the first casualty of Hollywood’s ideological wrath. The Jane Fonda, Jon Voight vehicle “Coming Home” (1978) was a turning point in Hollywood’s leftward tilt. This film convinced large segments of the American public that Vietnam was a war whose moral foundation—the fight against Communist dictatorship—was replaced by a grotesque narrative of veterans broken in body and spirit, who were, ultimately, victims of American imperialism.
Hollywood’s propaganda machine reaches beyond the content of movies into the very lives of movie stars. Certain roles register powerfully with the public in a manner impossible to predict. These performances end up defining an actor in a manner that resonates so profoundly with audiences that any deviation from that persona can thoroughly shatter an image—and a career.
Perhaps the most fascinating example is the career of Ingrid Bergman (1915-1982).