David Stevenson

Theatre Spaces: ‘Hollywood – Europe’ in the 1920s

Year: 2008

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Institution:
Queen's University of Belfast
(at time of presentation)

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Abstract:

This paper examines 1920s Hollywood films of Ernst Lubitsch (The Marriage Circle (1924), So This is Paris (1925)) and F.W. Murnau (Sunrise (1927), City Girl (1930)) in terms of their critical  absorption of theatrical forms (Naturalism, Melodrama, Expressionism), arguing that these films represent an important moment of synthesis between editing styles that broadly defined ‘European’ and ‘American’ film cultures at this time (and that has largely characterised Hollywood’s assimilation of European forms and structures ever since). The paper argues for a corrective to the prevalence of 1930’s-orientated Hollywood history and criticism (Denning 1997; Taylor 1983), overshadowing the arrival of European émigrés film-makers in 1920’s Hollywood.