Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language

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Berghahn Books, Sep 30, 2009 - Performing Arts - 318 pages
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The history of postwar German cinema has most often been told as a story of failure, a failure paradoxically epitomized by the remarkable popularity of film throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. Through the analysis of 10 representative films, Hester Baer reassesses this period, looking in particular at how the attempt to 'dismantle the dream factory' of Nazi entertainment cinema resulted in a new cinematic language which developed as a result of the changing audience demographic. In an era when female viewers comprised 70 per cent of cinema audiences a 'women's cinema' emerged, which sought to appeal to female spectators through its genres, star choices, stories and formal conventions. In addition to analyzing the formal language and narrative content of these films, Baer uses a wide array of other sources to reconstruct the original context of their reception, including promotional and publicity materials, film programs, censorship documents, reviews and spreads in fan magazines. This book presents a new take on an essential period, which saw the rebirth of German cinema after its thorough delegitimization under the Nazi regime.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Female Spectators and the Problem of Representation
19
The Female Gaze in Wolfgang Staudtes the Murderers are Coming Us 1946
21
Authorship and Stardom in Rudolf Jugerts Film Without a Title 1948
49
Wolfgang Libeneiners Love 47 1949 As Womans Film
73
Race Ethnicity and Gender in Helmut Kautners Epilogue 1950
101
Representing Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema
125
Regendering Representation in Willi Forsts The Sinner 1951
127
Problems of Gender and Sexuality in Veit Harlans Different From You and Me 1957
183
Gender and the Critique of Popular Cinema
207
Spectatorship and Genre in Helmut Kautners AntiTearjerker Engagement in Zurich1957
209
The Critical Strategies of Rolf Thieles The Girl Rosemarie 1958
235
Herbert Veselys The Bread of Those Early Years 1962 as Transitional Film
257
Epilogue
279
Bibliography
283
Index
291

Visual Pleasure and Cinematic Realism in Alfons Stummers The Forester of the Silver Wood 1955
161

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About the author (2009)

Hester Baer is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has published widely on postwar and contemporary German cinema, women's literature, and feminism.

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