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Germ-USA Hollywood Era

ENGL 291.601
instructor(s):
TR 6:30-8 Screenings W 6-9
fulfills requirements:
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course will examine the relationship between German and American cinema during the Classical Hollywood Era. Frequently accounts of the relationship between the two national cinemas emphasize the influence of Germany on Hollywood. This course will nuance this uni-directional story through careful consideration of both the silent films from Hollywood imported to Germany and the subsequent productions of émigrés in the United States. In addition to the usual emphasis on how Expressionism influenced film noir, we will also consider comedy and documentary forms. This rethinking of the relationship of influence between the two countries will include the examination of films from the early 1920s to the early 1950s, from Karl Grune’s Expressionist Die Strasse (1923) to one of Fritz Lang’s contributions to the Western genre, Rancho Notorious (1952). We will consider a number of directors, cinematographers, and actors, with an emphasis on three directors who will allow us to examine more thoroughly the varied ways these filmmakers and their films functioned in Hollywood. Films made both in Germany and America by F. W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder will form the basis of the course. The important continuities and differences in each director’s work as they negotiate a new culture will give focus to the course’s larger social and cultural questions and concerns.