For me there is no truth of the American mainstream militaristic film. I ask of Americans who enjoy these films only that they be Americans who enjoy these films. I do not ask them to be intelligent, sensible, original. Very basically, I’m tired of Americans who do not understand the immanence of ideology in their own media. The Internet Movie Database has a tendency to do that. A film is simply one piece of a larger American ideological superstructure. But no film, no musical genre, no artist, or director can ever be the entirety of an ideological attitude. IMDB users have unrealistic expectations for anything they think you’re labeling as a “propaganda film”. Hardly anybody is in the business of making “propaganda films” these days. Most propagandists work in documentary making, for example Michael Moore. I think the modern documentary is truly the last vestige of traditional propaganda.
‘Films that tell a story’ are into doing something much more subtle. But it works quite well at giving us attitudes we like, attitudes we think fits with our lives, an outlook we find acceptable, and even giving examples of things we ought to find acceptable, etc.
Films unintentionally put up a smokescreen, or a facade, which says this film is not to be taken “seriously”. I can only say to this that 1940s Looney Toons shows, with all their acerbic propaganda and definitive purpose, appear to say it is not meant to be taken “seriously” either. Yet we watch these now and immediate understand them as serious propaganda. While the films are simply reflecting American ideology, it is also insulating their own propaganda. It is a form of cultural communication, the culture talking to itself. And understood this way, it is propaganda, yet not Leni Riefenstahl style. It’s a subconscious reflection.