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January 29, 2007

Lotte Eisner on Murnau's Nosferatu 1922

Writing about web page /michaelwalford/entry/the_weimar_cinema_1_2/

Lotte Eisner on Murnau's Nosferatu (1922)

Here I have summarised some of the key points that Eisner makes about Murnau's Nosferatu 1922. The complete title of the film is Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror). Eisner describes Murnau as the greatest of the German filmmakers through his creation of poignant and overwhelming images which go beyond mere decorative stylisation. Murnau was trained as an art historian and in many of his shots he plays with the memory of great paintings, whilst Lang by comparison tries to make faithful reproductions of great paintings when he has recourse to them. In Faust the shooting of a prostrate man stricken with plague there is a ‘transposed reflection of Mantegna’s Christ’. (Eisner, 1969:98)

Eisner notes that Murnau was gay and suggests that his films ‘bear the impress of of his inner complexity’ noting that born in 1888 he lived under the shadow of Paragraph 175 of the pre 1918 German penal code outlawing homosexuality. Fear of blackmail was thus always present. She suggests that Murnau’s origins in Westphalia a rural farming area influenced his work which came through in a sense of  nostalgia for the countryside.

Nosferatu was filmed on location which was unusual at the time. Using Gothic Baltic towns he filmed on the dunes of the Baltic ‘ He makes us feel the freshness of a meadow in which horses gallop around with a marvellous lightness’. (Eisner:1969, 99). The use of the architecture of these Baltic towns obviated the need to use artificial chiaroscuro. Murnau uses nature combined with editing to make waves foretell the arrival of the vampire. Murnau’s direction is tight with each shot having a precise function using momentary close-up of billowing sails to contribute to the narrative drive.

‘ It is reasonable to argue that the German cinema is a development of German Romanticism, and that modern technique merely lends visible form to Romantic fantasies’. (Eisner, 1969: 11).

On this last comment the short documentary by the art historian Christopher Frayling on the British Film insitute DVD usefully explores this notion in relation to Nosferatu


November 16, 2006

Open Studies in European Cinema. Weimar and Nazi Cinema: Bibliography

Bibliography

Introduction

This will take the form of a conventional bibliography dealing with not just the cinema of the Weimar and Nazi periods but providing some titles for general history and cultural history of the Weimar and Nazi Period. Where relevant good quality articles are discovered on the web they will be hyperlinked for your convenience. These hyperlinked articles are categorised in a separate section with standard bibliography being place d below this. Please suggest any hyperlinks or additions in the comments box.Thanks.

Web-linked bibliography

Baackmann Susanne: Review of Carter et al. German Cinema Book. In Seminar journal of Germanic Studies July 2006

Baranowsky, Shelley.2004. Strength Through Joy Cambridge: CUP

Bruns, Jana. Review of Anja Aschied Hitler’s Heroines: Stardom and Womanhood in Nazi Cinema H-German October 2003.

Conboy, Martin. The Discourse of Location: Realigning the Popular in German Cinema. European Journal of Communications. Sage. 1999 vol 14.3

Dassanowsky, Robert von. Review of: Hake, Sabina German National Cinema. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. 232pp. ISBN 0-41508-902-6

Horak Jan-Christopher. Review of Guerin, Francis. A Culture of Light. Cinema and technology in 1920s Germany. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2005. ISBN: 0 8166 4286 9. In Screening the Past March 2006

Horak Jan-Christopher Film history and film preservation: reconstructing the text of The Joyless Street (1925)

Lee, Jennifer.Selling the Nazi Dream: Advertisement of the Musical Comedy Film in the Third Reich MA Candidate University of Victoria. Supervisor, Dr. Thomas Saunders

Malone Paul M. Negotiating Modernity in Weimar Film Theory. Film Philosophy, Volume 3 Number 37, September 1999ISSN 1466-4615

Author: Mennel, Barbara. Publication Date: 22-MAR-04 The New Paradigms of German Film Studies Review)

“Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. “Re-imagining German Film History. Film-Philosophy Journal | Salon | Portal (ISSN 1466-4615) Vol. 5 No. 43, December 2001

Reading, Anna. “Scarlet Lips in Belsen:culture gender an ethnicity in the policies of the Holocaust”. Media Culture and Society 21.4. Sage.

Rosenthal, Alan. Review of Reeves Nicholas. 1999 The Power of Film Propaganda: Myth or Reality. London: Cassell. ‘Film Quarterly’, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Winter, 2001-2002), pp. 67-69

Seçil Deren: “Cinema and Film Industry in Weimar Republic, 1918-1933” from The Cradle of Modernity: Politics and Art in Weimar Republic (1918-1933), unpublished MSc thesis submitted to the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, 1997, pp. 129-163.

Spector, Scott. “Was the Third Reich Movie-Made?
Interdisciplinarity and the Reframing of “Ideology” ” American Historical Review. Vol 106 No 2. April 2001.

Tegel, Susan.The politics of censorship: Britain’s ‘Jew Suss’ in London, New York and Vienna -1934. Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television 1995

von Papen, Manuela. Opportunities and Limitations: New Woman in Third Reich Cinema. Women’s History Review Vol 8 No 4 1999.

Paris, Michael. Review of Carter Erica.2004. Dietrich’s Ghosts:The Sublime and the Beautiful in Third Reich Film London: BFI. Scope No 6, October 2006.

When Biology Became Destiny. This is a PDF download of a discussion with authors of this groundbreaking book 25 years on.

This is a useful internet ‘Gateway’ link to the search term European Cinema. It includes several useful sites on German cinema.

Another useful gateway into German cinema is the Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung

Standard Bibliography

A fine recent list of resources and bibliography including websites is contained in Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz. Eds. 2002. The German Cinema Book. London. British Film Institute. This is a first port of call for those interested in a serious follow up to the course.

Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz. 2002. ‘Introduction’. Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz. 2002. The German Cinema Book. London. British Film Institute

Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz. Eds. 2002. The German Cinema Book. London. British Film Institute

Burleigh, Michael. 2000. The Third Reich a New History. London: Macmillan

Cook Pam Ed. 1985. The Cinema Book. British Film Institute : London : ISBN 0-85170-144-2

Downing, Taylor.Olympia. London: BFI

Eisner, Lotte H. 1969. The Haunted Screen. London: Thames and Hudson

Elsaesser Thomas: 1996.Germany : The Weimar Years : Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema : OUP : Oxford. ISBN 0-19-874242-8

Elsaesser, Thomas. _ Metropolis_. London: BFI

Elsaesser, Thomas. 2000. Weimar Cinema and After. London: Routledge

Evans, Richard. 2003.The Coming of the Third Reich. Harmondsworth: Viking / Penguin

Faletti Heidi. 2000. “Reflections of Weimar Cinema in the Nazi Propaganda films SA-Mann Brand, Hitlerjunge Quex, and Hans Westmar” in Reimer, Robert C. 2000. Cultural History Through a National Socialist Lens. New York: Camden House

Gunning, Tom. 2000. The Films of Fritz Lang. London: BFI

Hake , Sabine. 2002. German National Cinema. London : Routledge

Hake, Sabine. 2001. Popular Cinema of the Third Reich. Austin: University of Texas Press

Hake, Sabine. 1997. ‘The melodramatic imagination of Detlef Sierck: Final Chord and its reonances’. Screen 38.2 Summer 1997 pp 129-148

Horak, Jan Christopher. 2002. ‘German Film Comedy’. Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz eds. The German Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute

Jung Uli and Schatzberg Walter.1999. _Beyond Caligari: The Films of Robert Wiene _ . Oxford : Berghan Books. ISBN 1-57181-196-6

Kaes. Anton. 2000. M . London : BFI

Kaes Anton: 1996 : The New German Cinema : Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema : OUP : Oxford : ISBN 0-19-874242-8

Kaes, Anton. 2004. Weimar Cinema: The Predicament of Modernity. In Ezra, Elizabeth. Ed . European Cinema. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Kershaw, Ian. 1993 (3rd Ed).The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation. London: Edward Arnold

Kracauer, Siegfried. 2004 re. From Caligari to Hitler. Princeton: Princeton University Press

Leiser Erwin : 1974. Nazi Cinema . Secker and Warburg : London

McGilligan Patrick: 1997 : Fritz Lang : Faber : London: ISBN 0-571-19175-4

Moltke von, Johannes. 2002 ‘Evergreens: The Heimat Genre.’ Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz eds. The German Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute

Murray, Bruce. Film and the German Left . Austin Texas: University of Texas Press , 1990

O’Brien, Mary-Elizabeth. Nazi Cinema as Enchantment. New York: Camden House

Petley, Julien. Capital and Culture: German Cinema 1933-45. London. BFI, 1979

Petley, Julian. ‘Film Policy in the Third Reich’. Bergfelder Tim, Carter Erica and Goturk Deniz eds. 2002. The German Cinema Book. London: British Film Institute

Prawer, S.S. 2002. The Blue Angel. London: BFI

Reimer, Robert C. 2000. Cultural History Through a National Socialist Lens. New York: Camden House

Reimer, Robert C, Zachau Reinhard. 2005. German Culture Through Film. Newburyport MA: Focus

Rentschler, Eric. 1996. ‘Germany : Nazism and After’. Nowell-Smith Geoffrey Ed. Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford: OUP

Rentschler, Eric. 1996. The Ministry of Illusion. Cambridge Mass: Harvard

Rosenbaum, Jonathan. Greed. London, BFI

Rother, Rainer. 2002. Leni Riefenstahl: the Seduction of Genius. London: Continuum

Saunders, Thomas. J.1994. From Berlin to Hollywood: American Cinema and Weimar Germany. Berkeley: University of California Press

Saunders, Thomas. J. 1999. ‘Germany and Film Europe’. In Higson, Andrew and Maltby Richard. eds. 1999. Film Europe and Film America. Exeter: Exeter University Press

Taylor, Richard. (1998 Re). Film Propaganda. London: I. B. Tauris

Welch, David. 2002 (2nd ed). The Third Reich Politics and Propaganda .London: Routledge


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