Light Motives: German Popular Film in Perspective / Edition 1

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Critics rarely associate popular film with German cinema, despite the international success of such films as Das Boot (1981), The Never-Ending Story (1984), Run, Lola, Run (1998), and recent German comedies, all representing a rich body of work outside the parameters of high culture. This very success compels the authors of Light Motives to take an unprecedented look at German popular film across the historical spectrum and to challenge the tendency among critics to divvy up German film, like Germans themselves, into the Good and the Bad. Together the essays reexamine popular film production along with larger cultural, historical, and political meanings suggested by the term "popular."

Most critical accounts have focused on the golden era of Weimar film and the New German Cinema of the 1960s and 70s leaving much of popular film by the wayside. This volume attributes the division to such sources as Frankfurt School dictates, Goethe Haus film offerings, and state-funded film production during the 1970s, which promoted high-culture art films to broadcast the success of West German democratization.

The essays challenge the traditional shape of German film history, while offering in-depth analyses of films that have until now been beyond the pale of critical attention. What emerges is a "Never-Ending Story" of oft-repeated obsessions, overlapping generic forms, omnipresent or subtle nods to Hollywood, and myriad political concerns irreducible to a unified message or aesthetic form—all bearing witness to the vibrancy of German culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814330456
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Series: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Randall Norman Halle is an assistant professor of German Studies and Film Studies at the University of Rochester.

Margaret R. McCarthy is an assistant professor at Davidson College.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 From Ernst Lubitsch to Joe May: Challenging Kracauer's Demonology with Weimar Popular Film 1
Ch. 2 Regulating Hidden Pleasures and "Modern" Identities: Imagined Female Spectators, Early German Popular Cinema, and The Oyster Princess (1919) 24
Ch. 3 The Carnival of Humiliation: Sex, Spectacle, and Self-Reflexivity in E. A. Dupont's Variety [1925] 41
Ch. 4 "Postcards from the Edge": Education to Tourism in the German Mountain Film 61
Ch. 5 From "Mr. M" to "Mr. Murder": Peter Lorre and the Actor in Exile 85
Ch. 6 The Heroine of Fascist Virtue? Kristina Soderbaum in Veit Harlan's The Sacrifice [1943] 108
Ch. 7 Placing Green Is the Heath [1951]: Spatial Politics and Emergent West German Identity 130
Ch. 8 Sexual Reorientations: Homosexuality versus the Postwar German Man in Veit Harlan's Different from You and Me ([actual symbol not reproducible]175) [1957] 148
Ch. 9 Negotiating the Popular and the Avant Garde: The Failure of Herbert Vesely's The Bread of Those Early Years [1962] 171
Ch. 10 Exotic Thrills and Bedroom Manuals: West German B-Film Production in the 1960s 197
Ch. 11 The Politics of the Popular: Trace of the Stones [1966/89] and the Discourse on Stardom in the GDR Cinema 220
Ch. 12 Beleaguered under the Sea: Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot [1981] as a German Hollywood Film 237
Ch. 13 Crime and the Cynical Solution: Black Comedy, Critique, and the Spirit of Self-Concern in Recent German Film 259
Ch. 14 Unification Horror: Queer Desire and Uncanny Visions 281
Ch. 15 Picture-Perfect War: An Analysis of Joseph Vilsmaier's Stalingrad [1993] 304
Ch. 16 Fantasizing Integration and Escape in the Post-Unification Road Movie 326
Ch. 17 "Honor Your German Masters": History, Memory, and National Identity in Joseph Vilsmaier's Comedian Harmonists [1997] 349
Ch. 18 Angst Takes a Holiday in Doris Dorrie's Am I Beautiful? [1998] 376
Ch. 19 You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Transcultural Filmmaking in Run Lola Run [1998] 395
Contributors 417
Index 421
Index of Films 431
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