John F. Kennedy and the Artful Collaboration of Film and Politics

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This is the first historical analysis that reveals the depth and scope of the contribution that the Kennedy family, professional staff, and outside collaborators made in creating the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign image. Documenting the origins of this ground-breaking strategy as the combined result of both 1920s Hollywood film production and propaganda films in Europe during the 1930s, it sheds new light on the effectiveness of the Kennedy influence during the 1960s and up to the present. The Kennedy boundary-spanning approach to the development and dispersal of public/private information has since become an integral component of media-based politics. The business of enhancing the aesthetics of the run for the presidency through pictorial and cinematic representation has become an essential contributing factor in many of the more controversial aspects of Hollywood filmmaking, as well as a governmental propaganda resource. The work particularly examines the campaign film The New Frontier. With illustrations.


“…a thoroughly researched account of the political construction of public image by the Kennedys. Melissa Wye Geraci has successfully brought together approaches from various scholarly disciplines and her own rich experiences in Hollywood to examine the contributions of the Kennedy family to John Kennedy’s image. … traces the family’s connections to and understanding of the cinema and media, unearthing important gems along the way….an important and fresh perspective on not only John F. Kennedy’s public image, but on the process of political image making he and his family helped to initiate.” – Robert P. Watson, PhD, Editor of the journal White House Studies, Florida Atlantic University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface; Foreword; Introduction
1. The New Frontier: A Prototype and a Standard (A Critical Reading of The New Frontier; The Making of The New Frontier)
2. The Cult of Personality: A Prolegomenon to Twentieth-Century Politics and the Media
3. Political Rites of Passage: Multiples Images of Death and Leadership (The Road to Leadership; Untitled Reagan 1984; The Man from Hope; What does it all mean?)
4. That Brief Shining Moment, Redux
5. The Convergence of Popular Culture and Politics in 1960 and the 21st Century
Bibliography; Index

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