Date of Award
Master of Communication
Dr. Jay Beck
Dr. Paul Booth
This paper examines the cultural function of docudrama crime films. The docudrama is a hybrid of the conventional Hollywood fiction film and the documentary. Blurring fact and fiction, these films manufacture an illusion of realism around the framework of the standard feature film using visual and narrative appeals to real life and real events. By asserting that they are "based on a true story," these films are able to shape and enhance a desired reading of the text in order to convey a particular social message to audiences. To understand the initial development of the docudrama crime form and how it changes to reflect shifts in culture, I analyize the following films: Boomerang and Call Northside 777, justice docudramas from the 1940s, and The Captive City and The Phenix City Story, syndicate fiims from the 1950s.
Schleser, Jamie, "SELLING TRUE STORIES: A CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF MANUFACTURED REALISM IN THE DOCUDRAMA CRIME FILM" (2010). College of Communication Master of Arts Theses. 5.