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Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage

ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
10/30/2006

Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage Overview

Wes Britton's Spy Television (2004) was an overview of espionage on the small screen from 1951 to 2002. His Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film (2004) wove spy literature, movies, radio, comics, and other popular media together with what the public knew about actual espionage to show the interrelationships between genres and approaches in the past century. Onscreen and Undercover, the last book in Britton's "Spy Trilogy," provides a history of spies on the large screen, with an emphasis on the stories these films present. Since the days of the silent documentary short, spying has been a staple of the movie business. It has been the subject of thrillers, melodramas, political films, romances, and endless parodies as well. But despite the developing mistrust of the spy as a figure of hope and good works, the variable relationship between real spying and screen spying over the past 100 years sheds light on how we live, what we fear, who we admire, and what we want our culture—and our world—to become.


Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"How well did The Manchurian Candidate describe the fears of the early 1960s? Who remembers that Buster Keaton's classic The General was actually a spy yarn? Enthusiast Britton starts his hunt from the silent film and treads to the films that are likely to come our way soon, looking at the former as a form of Victorian melodrama with a rather scattered system of villains and fears and the latter as what the viewing public assumes about terrorists. Along the way he examines early civil war flicks and oaters, the aristocratic and elegant espionage of the 1930s, various narratives of nazis from the 1930s to 2005, the Bond, et. al. worship of the 1960s and 1970s, and the antiheroes from then to now. A fascinating chapter details how those who made movies somehow found spies of World War II and the Cold War hilarious."

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