War relic and forgotten man: Richard Barthelmess as celluloid veteran in Hollywood 1922-1933
Journal of War and Culture Studies, 6, (4), .
Restricted to Repository staff only
Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s the Hollywood industry’s attempts to imagine the Great War veteran’s experience on screen were characterized by tensions between traditional and modern versions. Throughout much of the 1920s the veteran was a ‘relic’ of the past to be honoured and feted. But during periods of social unrest and particularly the financial crises of the 1930s, the veteran became an unwelcome reminder of the war’s cost and a threat to the social order, a ‘forgotten man’. This article focuses on the popular star Richard Barthelmess whose career traversed this period and this representational trajectory. His roles as a wounded flyer in The Enchanted Cottage (1924) and as a reformed addict in Heroes for Sale provide the subject of this study, which explores the role of popular film culture in the construction and commemoration of the World War One veteran in American culture.
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