FilmTalk 2009/2010: Jews, Nazis, Hollywood

You can download the leaflet here.

A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London and The Wiener Library.

Was Hollywood the preferred destination for European and especially for German and Jewish actors fleeing Nazi persecution? Why was the American film industry interested in hiring these actors? What ideas, cultural codes and emotions were at stake when exiles played Nazis? And in which ways are the emotions of desire and hatred implicated in Nazi films about Jews?

FilmTalk stresses film as much as talk. The lectures are 20-25 minutes long and are followed or intercut with excerpts from the films under review.

Lectures are held at the Wiener Library, 4 Devonshire Street, London W1W 5BH
Underground: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street
Bus: C2, 18, 27, 30, 88, 453

Admission is free. Lectures will begin promptly at 7.00 pm.
Latecomers may not be admitted
Places are strictly limited and must be reserved in advance by contacting the
Leo Baeck Institute London
(t: +44 (0)20 7580 3493 or email )



Programme

29 October 2009

Prof Tim Bergfelder (University of Southhampton)

Exile Actors in Hollywood during World War II: An Introduction

This lecture aims to place migration patterns of Jewish exiles to Hollywood within wider industrial and political contexts, and analyse some distinctive career trajectories, such as those of  Felix Bressart and Curt Bois. Film examples to be drawn on will include Casablanca (1942) and To Be or Not to Be (1942).

Prof Tim Bergfelder is Head of Film Studies at the University of Southampton. His most recent books are: The Concise CineGraph (co-edited with Hans-Michael Bock, 2009), Destination London. German-speaking Emigrés and British Cinema 1925-50 (co-edited with Christian Cargnelli, 2008), Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination (co-authored with Sue Harris and Sarah Street, 2007), and International Adventures. Popular German Cinema and European Co-Productions in the 1960s (2005).

18 February 2010

Dr Joseph Garncarz (University of Cologne)

Jews Playing Nazis in Hollywood films – The Ultimate Irony?

During World War II, many Jewish actors exiled in Hollywood portrayed the very people who had driven them into exile. This lecture discusses how anti-Nazi films offered German-speaking exiled actors the chance to get work and analyses their reactions to playing Nazis. The lecture will draw on a number of actors who wrote or talked about their acting. Film examples include Man Hunt (1941), Lifeboat (1944) and Enemy of Women (1944).

Dr Joseph Garncarz teaches Film and Media Studies at the University of Cologne. He has published numerous articles on German film history, early cinema, popular European cinema, Hollywood’s influence abroad and star theory in international journals, edited collections and reference books. He is the author of Filmfassungen: Eine Theorie signifikanter Filmvariation (1992) and a book on the emergence of cinema in Germany (forthcoming).

22 April 2010

Dr Daniel Wildmann (LBI London, Queen Mary, University of London)

On the ambivalence of disgust – Jud Süss in Nazi Germany

What emotions did antisemitic films evoke in German viewers in the ”Third Reich“? How were these emotions linked to Jews on the one hand and to moral feelings on the other? Looking at the films, can emotional and moral justifications be found for the antisemitic policies of National Socialism? The lecture investigates these questions by focusing on the beginning of the film Jud Süss by Veit Harlan (1940).

Dr Daniel Wildmann is deputy director at the Leo Baeck Institute London and lecturer in history at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include Veränderbare Körper. Jüdische Turner, Männlichkeit und das Wiedergewinnen von Geschichte in Deutschland um 1900, 2009,  Schweizer Chemieunternehmen im Dritten Reich, 2001 (co-author with Lukas Straumann) and Begehrte Körper. Konstruktion und Inszenierung des “arischen” Männerkörpers im “Dritten Reich”, 1998. He is currently working on a book project entitled A History of Visual Expressions of Antisemitism, Emotions and Morality.

17 June 2010

Prof Erica Carter (University of Warwick)

Marlene Dietrich: the Prodigal Daughter returns. A Foreign Affair (Billy Wilder 1948)

When Marlene Dietrich left Germany for Hollywood after The Blue Angel (1930), she began a career that would establish her as one of Germany’s foremost émigré stars. Dietrich became the target of Nazi ire when she took US citizenship, and later supported the Allied war effort by entertaining troops on European front lines. Though she never returned to work in German cinema, Dietrich did stage a fictive return on screen in her role as Erika von Schluetow, the politically compromised femme fatale of Billy Wilder’s 1948 A Foreign Affair. This lecture takes the film as a starting point to explore the sexual and political ambiguities surrounding Dietrich’s star image, and considers her mixed reception by German audiences.

Erica Carter teaches German film history and cultural studies at the University of Warwick. Her books include Dietrich’s Ghosts. The Sublime and the Beautiful in Third Reich Film; the co-edited German Cinema Book; Béla Balázs. Early Film Theory; and How German is She? Post-War West German Reconstruction and the Consuming Woman.