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One World, Big ScreenHollywood, the Allies, and World War II$
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M. Todd Bennett

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807835746

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807837467_bennett

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The “Magic Bullet”

The “Magic Bullet”

Hollywood, Washington, and the Moviegoing Public

Chapter:
(p.24) 1 The “Magic Bullet”
Source:
One World, Big Screen
Author(s):

M. Todd Bennett

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807837467_bennett.6

The Warner Brothers film Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) is the story of the real-life Nobel Prize-winning German physician who discovered a cure for syphilis. His remedy involved a pharmacological “magic bullet,” a chemical toxin that selectively targeted and killed disease-causing organisms. This chapter discusses the magic bullet theory or the hypodermic needle model, which was the conventional social scientific wisdom at the time the film was released. Propaganda, commonly likened to a “magic bullet” or a “hypodermic needle,” can exert tremendous power over people by inculcating ideas into the body politic and altering people's thoughts and determining their actions. The chapter describes how the U.S. motion picture industry led policymakers to turn to film propaganda to move the masses and inspire Americans to join forces with the Allies against the Axis powers.

Keywords:   Warner Brothers, Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet, magic bullet theory, hypodermic needle model, lm propaganda, Allies, Axis

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