Pub. Date:
Amsterdam University Press
Films That Work. Industrial Film And The Productivity Of Media

Films That Work. Industrial Film And The Productivity Of Media

by Vinzenz Hediger, Patrick Vonderau


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Only available in hardback: ISBN 978 90 8964 012 3

The history of industrial films – an orphan genre of twentieth-century cinema composed of government-produced and industrially sponsored movies that sought to achieve the goals of their sponsors,
rather than the creative artists involved –
seems to have left no trace in filmic cultural discourse. At its height the industrial film industry employed thousands, produced several trade journals and festival circuits,
engaged with giants of twentieth-century industry like Shell and AT & T, and featured the talents of iconic actors and directors such as Buster Keaton, John Grierson and Alain Resnais. This is the first full-length book, anthology, and annotated bibliography to analyse the industrial film and its remarkable history. Exploring the potential of the industrial film to uncover renewed and unexplored areas of media studies, this remarkable volume brings together renowned scholars such as
Rick Prelinger and Thomas Elsaesser in a discussion of the radical potential and new possibilities in considering the history of this unexplored corporate medium.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789089640130
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Publication date: 06/10/2009
Series: Film Culture in Transition
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Vinzenz Hediger is professor of cinema studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, where he directs the Research Training Programm 2279 "Configurations of film" and the Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre ( He is a past president of the German association of media studies (, a founding member of NECS ( and a full member of the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature. His publications include "Films That Work. Industrial Cinema and the Productivity of Media" (together with Patrick Vonderau, AUP 2009).

Patrick Vonderau is an assistant professor in the department of media studies at the same university.

Table of Contents

Contents - 6
Introduction - 10
I Navigating the Archive - 18
Archives and Archaeologies - 20
Record, Rhetoric, Rationalization - 36
Vernacular Archiving - 52
II Visuality and Efficiency - 64
Early Industrial Moving Pictures in Germany - 66
Layers of Cheese - 76
Images of Efficiency - 86
“What Hollywood Is to America, the Corporate Film Is to Switzerland” - 102
Poussières - 120
Thermodynamic Kitsch - 128
III Films and Factories - 152
Touring as a Cultural Technique - 154
Corporate Films of IndustrialWork - 168
Filming Work on Behalf of the Automobile Firm - 188
Eccentricity, Education and the Evolution of Corporate Speech - 212
Centron, an Industrial/Educational Film Studio, 1947-1981 - 222
Films from Beyond the Well - 244
IV See, Learn, Control - 258
The Personnel Is Political - 260
Behaviorism, Animation, and Effective Cinema - 284
Technologies of Organizational Learning - 304
The Central Film Library of Vocational Education - 316
“Reality Is There, but It’s Manipulated” - 330
V Urbanity, Industry, Film - 348
Modernism, Industry, Film - 350
A Modern Medium for a Modern Message - 378
Harbor, Architecture, Film - 392
Industrial Films - 406
The Desiderata of Business-Film Research1 - 464
Contributors - 472
Index of Names - 477
Index of Film Titles - 481
Index of Subjects - 486

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