Hollywood started its downward descent in the aftermath of World War Two when the communists started pushing the ‘film noir’ aesthetic. These were movies that left the viewer leaving the theatre feeling less good than when they entered. ‘Thought provoking’ ‘challenging’ and etc. were all just code words for depressing.
This devolved into the 1970’s movies that I call the “Despair Aesthetic”. Movies of that period were filled with so-called ‘anti-heroes’ that set society on its head as audiences sympathized with the bad guys and then none of these movies ever had a happy ending. Horror movies of this period are notorious for having none of their protagonists alive at the end...a nice vehicle for instilling hopelessness into society.
In the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s some brave film makers went against the communist order of the day and they produced movies that were universally panned by the high brow leftist critics.
‘Star Wars’ early reviews panned the film. ‘Top Gun’ was denounced as jingoistic propaganda. ‘Red Dawn’ was denounced as paranoid and juvenile.
Yet all of them were blockbuster hits that featured people doing honorable things at great personal risk and then the movies had happy endings that left audiences feeling inspired and happy.
The 1990’s brought back an echo of the crap films of the 1970’s only to be slapped down as films like ‘The Patriot’, ‘Gladiator’, and, yes, even ‘Titanic’ brought back stories of individuals doing noble things that left audiences inspired and happy.
Hollywood does not want to make these films and they only allow these films to be made because the BILLIONS that these films earn allow them to keep producing crap.
To a very great extent it is a shame that the blacklist of the 1950’s did not also come with a firing squad to exterminate the Soviet moles who still work in Hollywood.
‘Battleship’ will no doubt be savaged by the leftist critics if it is the patriotic work that it seems to be.
“These were movies that left the viewer leaving the theatre feeling less good than when they entered.”
Exactly how I felt after seeing Oliver Stone’s “JFK” in 1991. I was so rattled that I went directly to the local watering hole and stayed until I ran out of money. I’ll never watch that movie again.
I would add to your history summary, the influx of casual immorality (adultery, open, self-congratulatoru pre-marital sex, etc) that I USED to believe started in the mid 1960’s.
However, I just viewed a 1958 Doris Day vehicle in which among other unsettling things, her neighbor (Gig Young), was an open and quite casual, serial adulterer.