Review of G-Men

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In the early 1930’s, America fantasized with the crime and criminals portrayed in films, newspapers and magazines. Movies like The Public Enemy and Scarface made the gangster popular, while the law appeared boring and ineffective. As a crime wave swept the Midwest in 1933 criminals like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd were made out to be the heroes of the working class by the media. The Robin Hoods of their time, these men justified their crimes by helping the ‘little guys’ in the process. The 1935 film G-Men changed that point of view by distorting the image of law enforcement making them look exciting and effective. Hoover quickly discovered that the distortion of the FBI through film was an effective way to achieve popularity in American society. Hoover supported the making of these films and manipulated the image of the FBI for propaganda before eventually providing a more realistic view in the 1945 film House on 92nd Street. G-Men were the driving force to manipulate popular opinion on both criminals and FBI agents. J Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI during the 1930’s was the major influence on how FBI agents were going to be viewed and with respect to the gangsters, drive them out of motion pictures. Hoover was concerned on the way criminals were being viewed as heroes while g-men were made to look like the bad guys. By casting a loveable gangster actor, James Cagney, and a rookie going into the FBI, Hoover’s image was starting to form. The audience was now able to see one of the most popular actors of the time in a role in which he was stopping the crime instead of aiding it. Hoover realized that the film industry was an easily accessible market to influence and G-men was the beginning of this change from heroism of criminals to the glorification of federal agents across the nation. With Hoover’s drastic change to the film industry, he not only showed the importance of FBI agents to the country but also gained an enormous amount of power over the...
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