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All content tagged: spy films

Spy Culture - 2020-02-19 - Original post - cached version

Oddfinger: Eagle Kill is – hands down – one of the weirdest quasi-biopics I have ever seen, combining surrealism, satire...

Spy Culture - 2020-02-16 - Original post - cached version

To mark the 200th episode of this podcast I decided to combine several ideas into an open buffet of information...

Spy Culture - 2019-12-22 - Original post - cached version

Perhaps the most insidious rewriting of recent history by Hollywood is Zero Dark Thirty‘s narrative that torture helped find Bin...

Spy Culture - 2019-12-19 - Original post - cached version

Robbie Martin of Media Roots invited me back on the show for a lengthy, often funny discussion partly inspired by...

Spy Culture - 2019-12-09 - Original post - cached version

The Day Shall Come is the latest film from Chris Morris, the maker of Four Lions, and tells the story...

Spy Culture - 2019-11-20 - Original post - cached version

1992’s Patriot Games was supported by both the Pentagon and the CIA, filming at Langley and the US Naval Academy...

Spy Culture - 2019-10-09 - Original post - cached version

Former head of MI6 and Iraq War criminal Sir Richard Dearlove continued his recent speight of complaining about everything by...

Spy Culture - 2019-09-01 - Original post - cached version

Why isn’t the ‘political film’ a genre of cinema? Hollywood puts out a consistent stream of politically-themed films, but rarely...

Spy Culture - 2019-07-31 - Original post - cached version

I recently obtained 50 pages of documents from the CIA on the support they provided to Michael Bay’s Benghazi movie...

Spy Culture - 2019-07-16 - Original post - cached version

Michael Bay is well known for working closely with government agencies when making his films, mostly the Pentagon but also...

Spy Culture - 2019-06-06 - Original post - cached version

The DOD’s directive on working with Hollywood says that they can provide production assistance if it is deemed ‘in the...

Spy Culture - 2019-06-03 - Original post - cached version

When the producers of Clear and Present Danger approached the Pentagon to ask for military support they probably weren’t expecting...

Spy Culture - 2019-06-02 - Original post - cached version

1994’s Clear and Present Danger is one of the most important movies in the cinema of the war on drugs,...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-30 - Original post - cached version

The relationship between intelligence agencies and the entertainment industry is complex and multi-faceted.  Angles include the influence of the agencies...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-28 - Original post - cached version

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released nearly 200 pages of contracts between themselves and entertainment producers, which for the...

Spy Culture - 2019-05-26 - Original post - cached version

Iran-Contra is in many ways the definitive government conspiracy – involving guns, drugs, anti-communism and black operations, it went all...

Spy Culture - 2019-04-25 - Original post - cached version

In my latest article for Shadowproof I examine the FBI’s role in the Mark Felt biopic Mark Felt: The Man...

Spy Culture - 2019-04-24 - Original post - cached version

The 2010 thriller Unthinkable courted controversy by depicting the torture of a suspected terrorist who claims to have planted nuclear...

Spy Culture - 2019-04-21 - Original post - cached version

While it is now considered a Cold War classic Ice Station Zebra was a flop when it was first released....

Spy Culture - 2019-04-05 - Original post - cached version

Little Mizz Innocent has been languishing in development hell for several years as the ‘female Jason Bourne movie’ has struggled...

Spy Culture - 2019-04-03 - Original post - cached version

The production of Ice Station Zebra is a great case study in just how much influence the Pentagon can have...

Spy Culture - 2019-03-31 - Original post - cached version

Osama Bin Laden’s death is the perfect postmodern event, in that most of the reports detailing how, where and when...

Spy Culture - 2019-03-21 - Original post - cached version

The 1968 spy and counterspy classic Ice Station Zebra was inspired by a real life event during the CIA/Air Force...

Spy Culture - 2019-03-15 - Original post - cached version

Public Enemies is a 2009 historical drama/thriller film that tells the story of the Bureau of Investigation’s manhunt for Public...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-27 - Original post - cached version

Just like other government agencies the FBI are deeply involved in the entertainment industry, collaborating with film andTV producers to...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-20 - Original post - cached version

Compared to the DOD, the US intelligence agencies support a more politically diverse range of movies, from the hi-tech surveillance...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-10 - Original post - cached version

In this month’s subscriber-only podcast I explore several DOD-supported films and the files on them from the Lawrence Suid archive. ...

Spy Culture - 2019-02-04 - Original post - cached version

The Department of Defense’s entertainment liaison office file on the 1996 thriller Executive Decision was, for many years, secreted in...

Spy Culture - 2018-12-28 - Original post - cached version
After actor Dominic West suggested that the next James Bond be transgender the commentariat have gone batshit arguing over whether this is a key moment in the struggle for trans rights or another sign that the entertainment industry is dominated by damn commie liberals with their Jewish gay-loving...
Spy Culture - 2018-12-01 - Original post - cached version
The Spook Who Sat by the Door tells the story of the first African-American to be recruited by the CIA. After becoming disillusioned with the Agency he quits and sets up a black power guerilla army that wages urban war across the United States. According to its writer Sam Greenlee the film was...
Spy Culture - 2018-11-28 - Original post - cached version
The FBI got back to me recently with a response to my request on The Spook Who Sat by the Door, including a few pages from Sam Greenlee's FBI file, which they'd previously claimed they could not find. Amusingly, the version of this file released to my by the National Archives contains several...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-28 - Original post - cached version
In September 1977 the renowned Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett appeared on Good Morning America to talk about spy films. Sat alongside her was CIA director Stansfield Turner, who commented that Hollywood movies would make poor training films for CIA spies. Within days a memo was...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-22 - Original post - cached version
Joanne invited me on the Around the Empire podcast to do a ‘high level compare and contrast’ of two war comedy films set in different wars in Afghanistan: Charlie Wilson’s War and War Machine. The films are similar in many respects – both comedies, both have A-list lead actors, both set in wars...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-20 - Original post - cached version
Joanne invited me on the Around the Empire podcast to do a 'high level compare and contrast' of two war comedy films set in different wars in Afghanistan: Charlie Wilson's War and War Machine. The films are similar in many respects - both comedies, both have A-list lead actors, both set in wars...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-18 - Original post - cached version
Amazon's new headline streaming series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, after a fairly disastrous run that saw two awful movies along with an awful TV programme film there circa 2014. In keeping with the CIA's longstanding love affair with...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-14 - Original post - cached version
The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) was established in the late 1970s and contains their entertainment liaison office. This week I go through an 8-page summary of the CIA’s Entertainment Liaison and Media Outreach activities covering 2014-16. This includes their relationships with journalists...
Spy Culture - 2018-10-10 - Original post - cached version
The CIA's Office of Public Affairs is - ironically - very tight-lipped about what they actually do, so I was pleased that they recently responded to a 3 year old FOIA request and provided me with a document summarising their activities from 2014 to 2016. This includes numerous meetings with...
Spy Culture - 2018-09-09 - Original post - cached version
Mark Felt is a 2017 biopic starring Liam Neeson as FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt, telling the story of his role in becoming a source for the Washington Post's reporting on Watergate. Following on from recent episodes on John Paisley and the Weather Underground, I offer a deconstructive view of...
Spy Culture - 2018-09-05 - Original post - cached version
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House is a 2017 biopic of former deputy director Mark Felt a.k.a. Deep Throat.  The FBI were involved with the film early on in its development, which is odd because in many ways the film portrays the Bureau very badly. The movie tells the story of...
Spy Culture - 2018-08-29 - Original post - cached version
The FBI’s entertainment liaison office has supported a wide range of Hollywood productions, from conspiracy thrillers like Shooter to comedy adventures like So Undercover to action dramas including Captain Phillips.  But they also rejected a large proportion of the requests they receive for...
Spy Culture - 2018-08-19 - Original post - cached version
The Weather Underground were the most active and successful militant left-wing group in US history. As part of their anti-Vietnam war operations they bombed the Pentagon, the State Department, corporate headquarters and other high-profile targets. In this episode I examine whether they were a...
Spy Culture - 2018-08-13 - Original post - cached version
The Weather Underground were the most successful Leftist militant group in history, a radical offshoot of the SDS and the anti-Vietnam War movement.  As a result, Hollywood has almost no interest in telling stories about them and the only recent film on the Weathermen was Robert Redford’s low...
Spy Culture - 2018-08-12 - Original post - cached version
Rear Window is one of my all-time favourite films so in this episode I discuss its unique production, the ethics of spying and voyeurism explored in the story, and feminist critiques of both Hitchcock and his movies.  Transcript Rear Window is one of my favourite films of all time,...
Spy Culture - 2018-07-23 - Original post - cached version
While most entertainment supports or promote the military, police and intelligence agencies there is a smaller but important sub-genre that critiques and satirises the security state.  On this month’s subscriber-only podcast I look at four examples – two TV series and two films – that mock and...
Spy Culture - 2018-06-20 - Original post - cached version
As the Russian football team stands on the brink of qualification for the World Cup knockout rounds for the first time since the Soviet era, Western media begrudgingly grants them some credit. However, there is no sign of any apology for the years-long propaganda campaign that pre-emptively...
Spy Culture - 2018-04-08 - Original post - cached version
I am joined today by Robbie Martin and Pearse Redmond to talk about the 2008 9/11 conspiracy thriller The Reflecting Pool. We pick on various aspects of the film that relate or comment on the 9/11 truth movement, including the bizarre consensus that thermite brought down the WTC which has...
Spy Culture - 2018-02-19 - Original post - cached version
Keelan Balderson invited me back onto the WideShut Webcast to chat about the research that went into National Security Cinema, as well as the response and reception the book has enjoyed.  We get quite deeply into the notion that the CIA are cultivating a ‘bad boy image’ through Hollywood, and how...
Spy Culture - 2018-01-28 - Original post - cached version
Aside from Ian Fleming, there is no more influential spy author than Tom Clancy. Clancy’s books (and the films and computer games based on them) benefited from his close contact with the US government. This week we shed light on his relationships with the CIA and the NSA, and ask whether the CIA’s...
Spy Culture - 2017-12-17 - Original post - cached version
This week I welcome Martin Darlington, co-host of the History by Hollywood podcast, which reviews and analyses films claiming to be based on real events. We talk about Martin’s adopted homeland of Qatar, his views on history and politics, how he and his co-host Andrew prepare and produce the...
Spy Culture - 2017-12-06 - Original post - cached version
One of the first films to be made with the help of former CIA officers was 1985's The Man With One Red Shoe. This badly-written, weakly-executed action-comedy depict the Agency running surveillance on a musician played by Tom Hanks, who they believe is a CIA agent who is going to testify in a...

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