Cinema: Magic Shadows From a Melting Pot for New Americans, the Movies Offered the Ticket for Assimilation

"We are not a nation," Herman Melville said of this country of immigrants, "so much as a world." That judgment is ringingly appropriate to an art industry that since its inception has dominated the world market and consciousness. A wistful tramp wreaks havoc in a Manhattan pawnshop, and Asians fall in love with Charlie Chaplin. Judy Garland sings about a rainbow, and Europeans know it is only a dream away from Kansas. A California child opens the eyes of his extraterrestrial friend to a toy store's worth of American brand names, and E.T. strikes a responsive chord on every continent. For...

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