The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema

June 2010
61 black and white illustrations
368 pages
9x6 in
Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC PER004030, HIS014000

The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema

Rediscovering Germany's Filmic Legacy

Edited by Christian Rogowski

eBook for Handhelds
New essays re-evaluating Weimar cinema from a broadened, up-to-date perspective.
Traditionally, Weimar cinema has been equated with the work of a handful of auteurist filmmakers and a limited number of canonical films. Often a single, limited phenomenon, "expressionist film," has been taken as synonymous with the cinema of the entire period. But in recent decades, such reductive assessments have been challenged by developments in film theory and archival research that highlight the tremendous richness and diversity of Weimar cinema. This widening of focus has brought attention to issues such as film as commodity; questions of technology and genre; transnational collaborations and national identity; effects of changes in socioeconomics and gender roles on film spectatorship; and connections between film and other arts and media. Such shifts have been accompanied by archival research that has made a cornucopia of new information available, now augmented by the increased availability of films from the period on DVD. This wealth of new source material calls for a re-evaluation of Weimar cinema that considers the legacies of lesser-known directors and producers, popular genres, experiments of the artistic avant-garde, and nonfiction films, all of which are aspects attended to by the essays in this volume.

Contributors: Ofer Ashkenazi, Jaimey Fisher, Veronika Fuechtner, Joseph Garncarz, Barbara Hales, Anjeana Hans, Richard W. McCormick, Nancy P. Nenno, Elizabeth Otto, Mihaela Petrescu, Theodore F. Rippey, Christian Rogowski, Jill Smith, Philipp Stiasny, Chris Wahl, Cynthia Walk, Valerie Weinstein, Joel Westerdale.

Christian Rogowski is Professor of German at Amherst College.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Images and Imaginaries - Christian Rogowski
Richard Oswald and the Social Hygiene Film: Promoting Public Health or Promiscuity? - Jill Suzanne Smith
Unsettling Nerves: Investigating War Trauma in Robert Reinert's Nerven (1919) -
Humanity Unleashed: Anti-Bolshevism as Popular Culture in Early Weimar Cinema - Philipp Stiasny
Desire versus Despotism: The Politics of Sumurun (1920), Ernst Lubitsch's "Oriental" Fantasy - Richard W. McCormick
Romeo with Sidelocks: Jewish-Gentile Romance in E. A. Dupont's Das alte Gesetz (1923) and Other Early Weimar Assimilation Films - Cynthia Walk
"These Hands Are Not My Hands": War Trauma and Masculinity in Crisis in Robert Wiene's Orlacs Hände (1924) - Anjeana Hans
The Star System in Weimar Cinema - Joseph Garncarz
Schaulust: Sexuality and Trauma in Conrad Veidt's Masculine Masquerades - Elizabeth Otto
The Musical Promise of Abstract Film - Joel Westerdale
The International Project of National(ist) Film: Franz Osten in India - Veronika Fuechtner
The Body in Time: Wilhelm Prager's Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit (1926) -
Henrik Galeen's Alraune (1927): The Vamp and The Root of Horror -
The Dialectic of (Sexual) Enlightenment: Wilhelm Dieterle's Geschlecht in Fesseln (1928) - Christian Rogowski
Babel's Business - On Ufa's Multiple Language Film Versions, 1929-1933 - Chris Wahl
"A New Era of Peace and Understanding": The Integration of Sound Film into German Popular Cinema, 1929-1932 - Ofer Ashkenazi
Landscapes of Death: Space and the Mobilization Genre in G. W. Pabst's Westfront 1918 (1930) - John F Fetzer
Undermining Babel: Victor Trivas's Niemandsland (1931) - Nancy P. Nenno
Unmasking Brigitte Helm and Marlene Dietrich: The Vamp in German Romantic Comedies (1930-33) -


An important contribution to the literature on Weimar cinema. . . . The editor, Christian Rogowski . . . places in focus not the canonical films of the time like Caligari, Nosferatu, or Metropolis, but instead important films of the "second rank" and specific thematic connections. . . . Almost all the essays are conceived and formulated at a high level and make visible connections between film and society in the Weimar period. The approximately sixty images are helpful to the reader. . . . HANS-HELMUT PRINZLER, WWW.HHPRINZLER.DE

[A]n enormously important and didactically helpful intervention . . . . [The book] lives up to the promise of its title and should soon become mandatory reading for everyone interested in new perspectives on Weimar Cinema. FILMBLATT

Goes beyond a mere reevaluation of film classics in matters of film and topic selection. . . . offer[s] readers fresh perspectives on . . . a cornucopia of undiscovered or relatively unknown filmic gems, paired with long overdue approaches of media studies . . . . keeps its promise as claimed in the subtitle, as it genuinely rediscovers Germany's filmic legacy. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

[T]he scholars' excitement about exploring this hitherto uncharted territory is palpable and infectious. The balance of theoretical scaffolding and ambitious storytelling make the articles . . . perfectly suited for undergraduates and should find ample use in film classes . . .[and] inspire more classes on the early years of German cinema. WOMEN IN GERMAN NEWSLETTER

Rogowski's outstanding collection moves beyond the familiar canon to reevaluate the diverse legacy of Weimar film . . . provide[s] new social, historical, and aesthetic contexts for understanding Weimar cinema and introduce[s] readers to less-familiar popular, abstract, documentary, and genre films. CHOICE

A bold attempt at expanding the field and revising the standard literature. . . . [Its] main achievement is the emphasis it places on a formerly neglected set of films and topics. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

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