• James Stewart in Strategic Air Command

In one ring of the media circus surrounding Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, journalists and politicians alike have taken issue with Bigelow and cowriter Mark Boal’s relationship with the CIA in preparing the film. A few days ago Tina Daunt noted in the Hollywood Reporter that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has launched a probe into whether the CIA granted the filmmakers inappropriate access to information. Yet intimate relationships between Hollywood and government agencies are hardly new. In his 2011 history An Army of Phantoms, critic J. Hoberman describes how major films of the early cold-war era were made with the collaboration (and often the editorial say-so) of the agencies they depicted.