Simon Willmetts – Louis De Rochemont, Hollywood and the CIA: A Volatile Relationship

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Simon Willmetts (University of Warwick) – Louis De Rochemont, Hollywood and the CIA: A Volatile Relationship

To-date very little research has been undertaken with regards to the Cold War relationship between Hollywood and the CIA. By contrast, the Department of Defense and the FBI’s sustained and frequent liaison with the film industry in this period is relatively well-documented. Through an examination of the post-1945 career of the influential film-producer Louis De Rochemont, much can be gleaned of the early nature of the CIA’s relationship with Hollywood. In stark contrast to the military and the FBI, the CIA’s involvement with film producers was far more tentative and far less influential in defining the terms of their representation. This paper will examine this through an analysis of De Rochemont’s increasingly frustrated relationship with the CIA. It shall argue that the shifting representation of the CIA from the early Cold War to the late-1960s, was largely dependent upon changes within the film-industry itself and to the generic conventions of the spy genre, as opposed to any external pressure from the US government or the CIA.

Simon Willmetts is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Warwick employed on the AHRC-funded “Landscapes of Secrecy” project. His research looks at the representation of the CIA in Hollywood cinema from 1947 to the present day. Making use of extensive archival material and interviews, his research seeks to document the shifting relationship between Hollywood and the CIA, and its impact upon the public profile of the Agency.

Contact details: Department of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University, Coventry, CV4 7AL

E-mail: S.D.Willmetts@Warwick.ac.uk

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