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LGM Film Club, Part 116: The Evolution of the Oil Industry

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I recently read Megan Black’s 2018 book The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power, which explores the relationship between the Department of the Interior and American empire. In it, she discusses the 1951 film The Evolution of the Oil Industry, created by both the Interior Department and the lovely people of the Sinclair Refining Company. This film provides a historical arc to oil, culminating in the technological and civilizing (and perhaps even moral) power of the U.S. oil industry. Somewhat amazingly, the government used this as actual propaganda, showing it when workers threatened to strike against the American interests. When Cuban miners threatened to strike in 1954, not even oil workers, the DOI had the film screened to demonstrate how their American masters had everyone’s best interests in mind. Doesn’t seem as it would be that effective to me, but what do I know.

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