A reflection of society and political economy of 1930's America through the guise of the Marx Brothers

Medcraft, Leigh William (2016) A reflection of society and political economy of 1930's America through the guise of the Marx Brothers. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Through reflective analysis, the social and political economy within the films of the Marx Brothers is analysed and used alongside the historical context of 1930s America. This is done through analysing the meanings behind the socio-political satire that is present throughout the Marx Brothers oeuvre. In doing so, the analysis's results reveal the intentions of the brothers; disclosing their own political beliefs and whether this concurs with the policies introduced by the newly elected progressive president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Marx Brothers Jewish heritage is also used to develop the context of the brothers themselves, addressing why they hold their political socio-political stances. Due to being the voice of the troupe, Groucho will be the primary brother that the dissertation focuses on, using his motivations to gather the required study. Using the era of the great depression gathers notions of how these policies would affect both the wealthy and underprivileged, and therefore how the Marx Brothers respond to this within their films. The introduction of the Hays code also factors on how the brothers deal with changes in motion picture rules and whether censorship disrupts their ability to develop a social commentary on the contemporary issues that were significant during the 1930s. The issues addressed within the films are class, wealth, race, gender and social ethics. The statements made on these subjects are then applied to the social and political context of 1930s America which results in a determination of the progressive stance the Marx Brothers held. After intentions are shown in the satire, the socio-political leaning of the brothers are resolved revealing their progressive left-wing position and the impact of their films of the 1930s American populous.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 11:31
    Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 11:32
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22750

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