James Bond Films in Response to Growing Tensions During the Cold War

Finally, my pièce de résistance for Digital Humanities is complete. This project’s main goal is to show the connections between the precedents set in Cold War influenced reality and how they compare to the fictional life of James Bond – Britain’s most powerful propaganda film series amidst rising tensions during the Cold War. By doing so, I establish the connections that show the way in which the U.S. and Britain had each other’s backs during one of the most anxiety-inducing times in global history.

My project sets out to accomplish traditional humanities work by explaining the allied relationships between the U.S. and Britain during the height of the Cold War. It’s important to show this relationship because of the severity of crisis at the time. The James Bond films, while brilliant popcorn movies, served a large role in defining British and American nationalism during a period where morale was down and peoples’ level of fear was up.The idea of nuclear annihilation, as well as devastation resulting from the Soviet Union’s nuclear stockade, was present in the minds of the British and Americans alike. With the help of these movies, people took solace in knowing that James Bond, who is a representation of British nationalism as well as American hardheadedness, would ultimately end up taking out the enemy – Britain always wins in the end, he has never failed to complete his mission.

By using the arcGIS Map Journal platform, my project goes above and beyond the ways traditional humanities work could have portrayed these connections. The interface of the online program makes it easy to navigate the five sections that I have created.

Above is the homepage that the viewer first sees when they click on the project. On the left is an introduction of the project, as well as what its main goal is. On the right is the map section of the website. Here you can see several locations on the map, all of which are color-coded and correspond to their respective movies.

As you scroll down through the webpage, information about the movies appears on the left. For all of my sections, the first paragraph explains, briefly, the plot of the movie in order to help the viewer understand the relationships better. Following the summary of the film is where the meat of the project is – the information that draws parallels between the films and reality. Also as the viewer scrolls down, the map limits its focus on the points where the the setting is explained. Every point on the map is specific to each movie, but they all serve the same purpose of explaining why the setting of the film is important. This serves the purpose to help solidify the ‘bonds’ between reality and fiction in each film.

As well as key metadata and textual information on the left-hand side, I also decided to implement video clips from each movie. Luckily, all of my arguments were supported by the clips previously uploaded to YouTube, meaning I didn’t have to purchase all five movies and rip clips from the original film. This not only saved me time (and money), but it also puts the reader in the movie. By adding clips, the viewer can see, first-hand, the dynamics between the Bond and/or the villains in each section of the respective films.

I did not have many problems with my project, for it was all pretty straight-forward; however, there were a few tool errors that impeded on how quickly I was able to compile my data. For example, the image below shows the administration screen that allows me to edit the data placed in the pointed spots on the map. Whenever I tried to save the the data, it would, however it would not update on the original screen. The solution to this, while easy enough, proved to be quite time consuming. Every time I was to save my data, I had to refresh the admin page, save the data on the main screen, and only then could I actually save the textual information on the administration page.

This project taught me a large amount of information about the importance of using digital tools to expand on social problems. Earlier in the semester, I looked at a site called, “The Story of the Stuff,” which is a website dedicated to promoting the importance of human kindness by providing information on the amount of hand-written cards and other sentiments that were sent to Sandy Hook Elementary. At the time, I didn’t understand why the use of a digital platform served such a large purpose, but in my own project, I now understand that by digitalizing the humanities, the level of understanding through the viewer becomes more thorough wile remaining easy to understand. I enjoyed my time in class this semester, and I will be sure to use the digital tools I learned in the class in the future.

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