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Berghahn Books, Incorporated
A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films / Edition 1

A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films / Edition 1

by Gerd Gemünden


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With six Academy Awards, four entries on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 greatest American movies, and more titles on the National Historic Register of classic films deemed worthy of preservation than any other director, Billy Wilder counts as one of the most accomplished filmmakers ever to work in Hollywood. Yet how American is Billy Wilder, the Jewish émigré from Central Europe? This book underscores this complex issue, unpacking underlying contradictions where previous commentators routinely smoothed them out. Wilder emerges as an artist with roots in sensationalist journalism and the world of entertainment as well as with an awareness of literary culture and the avant-garde, features that lead to productive and often highly original confrontations between high and low.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781845454180
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Series: Film Europa , #5
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Gerd Gemünden is Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German Studies, Film Studies, and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Framed Visions: Popular Culture, Americanization and the Contemporary German and Austrian Imagination (1998) and editor of volumes on Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Douglas Sirk, as well as an anthology of critical writings on Marlene Dietrich.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Chapter 1. An Accented Cinema

Chapter 2. The Insurance Man Always Rings Twice: Double Indemnity (1944)

Chapter 3. In the Ruins of Berlins: A Foreign Affair (1948)

Chapter 4. Ghosting Hollywood: Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Fedora (1978)

Chapter 5. All Dressed Up and Running Wild: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Chapter 6. Being a Mensch in the Administered World: The Apartment (1960)

Chapter 7. In the Closet of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)





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A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book for academics and pleasure reading alike. Gemunden's style of writing is so accessible and interesting, it makes for very pleasurable reading. Billy Wilder is famous in America for his films, but Gemunden connects his career back to his roots in Weimar Germany, Berlin and Vienna. In some of his most popular films, Gemunden makes connections back to his past. In Some Like It Hot for example, Gemunden cites traces of Vienna and the concept of Schein vs. Sein, the notion of masquerade and the challenge to traditional perceptions of gender. Gemunden maintains that due to Wilder's background, he had a multiplicity of perspectives, which translated themselves into his films.