Looking at the figures for movie attendance in the 1930s, one might conclude that the America of the Great Depression was a land of Bijous, Gems, Orpheums, Strands, and Rivieras. Americans needed their movies, as Mr. Bergman notes, and they needed them not just for escape. In We're in the Money, Mr. Bergman looks at the films of the thirties (many of them which we now regard as classics) and shows how Hollywood helped prop up the nation's fundamental institutions during the gravest economic crisis in history. Movies, he demonstrates, kept alive the myth of a mobile and classless society, focused on the endless possibilities for individual success, turned social evil into personal evil, and made the New Deal into a veritable leading man. "The kind of book that both old film buffs and the new post-grads of 'Sesame Street' can really enjoy. It makes history fun, enables teachers and kids to test out their own assumptions about how the 30s turned out the gangsters, the hi-steppers, the FBI gurus, the zany anarchists and the mythical down-on-the-farm good guys who took on the whole punchy and reeling microcosm of America."—Robert Geller, Center for Understanding Media. "First rate. It should stand for a long time as a pioneer work in a field where all too little has been written."—Alfred B. Rollins, Jr.
Andrew Bergman, who studied history at the University of Wisconsin, is a Hollywood screenwriter whose films include Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, Fletch, and The Freshman, which he also directed. He lives in New York City.
Part 1 Introduction xi Part 2 A Note on the Movie Industry and the Depression xix Part 3 PART ONE 1930–1933 Chapter 4 The Gangsters 3 Chapter 5 The Shyster and the City 18 Chapter 6 Some Anarcho-Nihilist Laff Riots 30 Chapter 7 Sex and Personal Relations: Women of the Streets, Women of the World 49 Chapter 8 A Musical Interlude 62 Part 9 PART TWO 1933–1939 Chapter 10 Back to the Earth: King Kong and King Vidor 69 Chapter 11 The G-Man and the Cowboy 83 Chapter 12 Warner Brothers Presents Social Consciousness 92 Chapter 13 The Mob and the Search for Authority, 1933–1937 110 Chapter 14 Frank Capra and Screwball Comedy, 1931–1941 132 Chapter 15 A Solution to Environment: The Juvenile Delinquent 149 Chapter 16 Conclusions 167 Part 17 Notes 175 Part 18 Bibliography 187 Part 19 Index 195