CINEMATIC

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C I N E P H I L I A A N D C L A S S I C A L H O L LY W O O D

CINEMATIC

Flashes

RASHNA WADIA RICHARDS

INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Bloomington & Indianapolis

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Cinematic flashes : cinephilia and
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Contents Acknowledgments ix · Introduction: Inventing Cinephiliac Historiography 1 1 Sonic Booms: 1929 and the Sensational Transition to Sound 33 2 Show Stopper s: 1937 and the Chance Encounter with Chiffons 77 3 Signatur e Cr imes: 1946 and the Strange Case of the Lost Scene (as Well as the Stranger Case of the Missing Auteur) 113 4 A poca lyptic A ntenna e: 1954 and the End of Storytelling 161 · Conclusion: The Cinephiliac Return 211 Notes 221 Bibliography 243 Index 257 .

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and I am truly grateful for his enduring influence on my work and my life. and provided encourage- ment at just the right moments. Morris. Christopher D. James Naremore. Robert in- troduced me to the concept of cinephilia and guided critically my many inchoate ideas. Their insightful comments and thoughtful suggestions have made this book much stronger. I am lucky to work every day with Mark Behr. After graduate school. Ray’s seminar on experimental film criticism at the University of Florida in the fall of 2001. Marshall Boswell. I am profoundly indebted to the two anonymous reviewers who read my manuscript for Indiana Univer- sity Press. I also benefited immensely from the guidance and encour- agement offered by Nora Alter. This book would not exist without his support and wise counsel. In the English department at UF. read my work. Susan Hegeman. Acknowledgments This book was conceived in Robert B. I want to thank especially Chris Holm- lund. many mentors and friends have helped this project along. Christian Keathley. Having encouraging colleagues and amazing students has made the process of revising and completing this book much easier. and Greg Ulmer. I was thrilled to find a stimulating and demanding intellectual environment where I could hone my ideas and prepare for life as a teacher-scholar. Gordon Bigelow. and I am extremely grateful to them. David T. Members of the English department at Rhodes College have been terrific men- tors and wonderful friends. responded to email inquiries. ix . Among those who offered helpful feedback at conferences. and Drake Stutesman. Johnson. Lori Garner. They challenged me to think historically and helped refine my arguments considerably. Jenny Brady.

2. . I am also grateful to Kristi McKim for inviting me to present my work at Hendrix College. I am thrilled to have Jeanne Lopiparo. My students (too many to name) at Rhodes College and SUNY Brockport deserve special thanks for their passionate and thoughtful engagement with the movies. Portions of this project were presented at conferences organized by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the Literature/Film Association. Outside my department. Brian Shaffer – and especially. and I am fortunate to have them as my closest allies. have been generous and encouraging. Sangreal and Eric Smith have offered their life- long friendship.x Ack now l e dgm e n ts Judy Haas. I really value the institutional support I have received for research and travel over the years. 2007). especially old Hollywood movies. nurtured my love for the movies. Seth Rudy. that enormously invigorating research trip was exactly what I needed while completing this book. Scott Newstok. even when it led me so far away from them. Aban and Yazdi Wadia. and Evie Perry as my buddies. and I thank Wayne State University Press for use of that material. My research has been greatly aided by the knowledgeable staff at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills. they have regaled me with stories of the studio era (Joseph Breen happens to be my great-grandfather-in-law). Finally. California. My parents. who helped bring this book to life. my editors at Indiana University Press. Patti and Mike Richards. I would like to recognize my friends and family for their countless kindnesses. Laura Loth. and Candace McNulty. and I am forever and deeply grateful that they encouraged me to follow my passion. I also thank June Silay. thanks go to the University of Florida for awarding me the Alumni Fellowship from 2001 to 2005 and to Rhodes College for giving me a Faculty Development Endowment grant in 2009. Rebecca Finlayson. my copy- editor. where we tested the viability of cinephiliac historiography as a research method with tremendous success. I am grateful to Jane Behnken and Raina Nadine Polivka. My parents-in-law. for their confidence in this project. and I am thankful for the intellectual stimulation offered by those forums. In particu- lar. Mike Leslie. An earlier version of chapter 2 was published in Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media (48. Leslie Petty. I am indebted especially to students in my seminars on film noir and fifties American cinema at Rhodes. my project manager.

Writing at my desk day after day would be far more tedious without his occasional nudging. who has watched every movie and read every word in this project multiple times. I am most grateful to my husband. and general goofy antics. yawning (yes. he yawns when he’s excited!). Jason Richards. Eustis Richards’s gentle canine sensibilities have brought me immense joy. strange trip would not have been imaginable or worthwhile. I am really glad I asked him in to watch Chaplin’s Modern Times all those years ago. without his love and partnership. . Ultimately. Ack now l e dgm e n ts xi and I really appreciate being able to make their home my home base in Southern California. this long. I dedicate this book to him.

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Arcades Project.The things that have gone out of fashion have become inexhaustible containers of memories. Wa lter Benja min. “J [Baudelaire]” Is there a theory that can make use of the concept of contingency? Nik las Luhm a nn. Observations on Modernity .

During the shoot. enhanced by a glimpse of the troubled star’s sorrowful face (Figure 0.1). the shot will have to be redone. Introduction Inventing Cinephiliac Historiography I n a Mom ent Her Hollywood debut is a fleeting farewell. After Esther is quickly wrapped into a burly fur coat. Fortuitously. we see what is necessary to keep the plot roll- ing: just a solitary hand. Whereas the first take is clearly designed to be memorable. Made at a time when the studio system had already begun its slow but ceaseless crumble. it is under- standable why George Cukor’s A Star Is Born (1954) struggles with good- bye. What is meant to be a memorable shot of a handkerchief trembling in the wind as the train leaves the station reveals a face. During a second take. the camera begins to roll. there is a glitch. I am always struck by Judy Garland’s discombobulated 1 . The moment is cut. But there is something about this other goodbye that always overwhelms me. On set various technicians prepare for the shot by gearing up the ar- tificial lights. a disruption that cannot be afforded at this point in the narrative. this frame is highly cluttered and yet almost mundane (Figure 0. Esther Blodgett (Judy Gar- land) is to wave a melancholy goodbye from a mock-up train window. Then. so it carries the narrative along. In comparison to the former’s poetic exterior shot of a frozen train window. Judy Garland’s bewildered visage inadvertently peeks through the window. Next to the un- glamorous inner workings of the studio system that take up more than half the frame. the next shot is better choreographed. waving adieu. wind. and steam. the second take has a startling irresistibility.2). snow.

As René Crevel argued. Looking back on classical Hollywood today. in his tilted torso and his gloves. and cherish their entranc- ing interruptions? The Impressionists called such ineffable moments photogénie. I can never quite explain its emotional potency.”4 Indeed.”2 The focus here is entirely on cinematic details. petrifying coincidences. his torso held at a slight angle.1. Opens a door. but I am always startled by the unexpected pleasure of this excessive moment.” noticed in fleeting flashes. catalog them. George Cukor. He crosses a room quite naturally. to be dismissed as interesting but insignificant? Can we do more than collect them.”3 The Surrealists also favored such uncanny moments that could unexpectedly reveal. and it “sweeps the scenario aside. as André Breton suggested.2 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 0. “a few instances offer the magnificent sight of his harmony in movement. Photogénie is in Hayakawa’s glide across the room. the narrative situation was never as appealing as the poetic pull of cinema’s alluring interruptions. A Star Is Born (dir. closes it. what is most compelling . what can we say about such momentary audiovisual pleasures? Are these moments merely daz- zling disruptions.1 For Epstein. He hands his gloves to a servant. body. Jean Epstein likened photogénie to “a spark that appears in fits and starts. having gone out. DeMille’s The Honor of His House (1918). “an almost forbidden world of sud- den parallels. 1954). like Ses- sue Hayakawa walking out of a room in William C. estranged from her own hand waving goodbye by the frame of the mock-up train. for the Surrealists. reveling in the camera’s ability to render mundane objects or gestures suddenly enigmatic. Then.

Can cinephilia be more than that? After all. curious gestures. I n t roduct ion 3 0. 1954). and fetishism. unable to say goodbye (to cinephilia) even after the studio system’s machinery has been exposed? Is there a way to return to cinephilia’s pleasures. Influenced by structuralism and psychoanalysis as well as a politically charged intel- lectual milieu. is there a critical methodology that can make use of . such striking moments have belonged to the tradition of cinephilia. voyeurism. and idiosyncratic traces.” because its enchantment is “capable of making us forget all sorts of wretched stories. condemned alongside the guilty pleasures of scopophilia.2. practiced most ardently by a generation of post–World War II French critics enamored with American narrative cinema. found particularly euphoric when encountered in standard studio films. the surprise of a ges- ture. film theory came to regard cinephilia as an obsessively personal relationship with the screen rather than a theoretically rigor- ous approach to cinema. awkwardly at- tached to striking details. cinephilia has been mostly aligned with an uncritical buffism. cinephilia fell into disrepute by the late 1960s. while also offering a rigorous critique of the cinematic apparatus? To paraphrase Niklas Luhmann’s question cited in the epigraph. when audiovisual pleasure was discredited. the detail of a face. Classical cinephilia was an attempt to capture in writing the thrill of cinema’s peculiar details. isn’t the contemporary cinephile in the same predicament as Esther Blodgett. is “a single minute’s lyricism. Since then.”5 In film theory. As the next section will show. George Cukor. A Star Is Born (dir.

By using such moments of inexplicable audiovisual pleasure as alternative points of entry into the studio system. where excess seems counterintuitive. “an escape from systematicity. they appear unexpectedly. Here. The moments I am interested in interrupt that onward drive and offer. let me . I will present a comprehensive sketch of Benjamin’s theory of historical materialism and how it might offer a model for cinephiliac historiography. Benjamin sought to recuperate the fragmentary experi- ence of the modern age through an unorthodox form of historiography that would itself be fragmentary. something more than what is required by the narrative onscreen. the moments I am interested in exceed the classical paradigm.” 7 They are not the defining cinematic moments that are intended to be crucial and memorable – like the rebellious promise to survive from Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) in Victor Fleming’s Gone with the Wind (1939) or the shower sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). In short. These moments are drawn primarily from classical Hollywood cinema. I take my cue for this alternative form of history from Walter Ben- jamin. as Mary Ann Doane suggests. They make the viewer feel as though she is seeing. in otherwise standard scenes or films. Writing at a time when the dependable linearity of history was being shattered. which escapes existing networks of critical discourse and theoretical frameworks. they signify in excess. whose work informs this book both thematically and method- ologically. Instead. almost inadvertently. and relentless narrative momentum. Rather than advancing the plot. and offer momentary delight. they are affective. Later in this chapter.4 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s the experience of cinephilia? In a dialogue with Noel King. Film historians have long portrayed classical Hollywood as a unified body of work or a standardized system with an unwavering style. they distract attention from it. unyielding commercialism. The moments I am interested in threaten to disrupt the linear structures of the narratives that contain them. That is. contending that it hints at “some- thing which resists.”6 Cinematic Flashes activates this surplus signification of cinephilia by using moments of intense yet inscrutable audiovisual pleasure for an alternative way of writing film history. Paul Wille- men identifies cinephilia with surplus. The studio system is defined by its rigid classi- cism. this book transforms the spark of cinephilia into a practice of materialist film historiography.

Instead of grand.”12 After being relegated to the margins for a long time.”10 As Benjamin puts it in the unfinished Arcades Project.”8 But Benjamin is most concerned with the effect of these shocks on the practice of historiography. Like Georg Simmel and Siegfried Kracauer. knowledge comes only in lightning flashes. cinephilia has experienced a rebirth in film studies. Rather. Instead of the standard narrative about the studio system’s standardization. sometimes in the margins of the cinematic frame. the past could “be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again. Benjamin imagines modernity in terms of “a series of shocks and collisions” that could make “nervous impulses flow through [people] in rapid succession. Benjamin prefers a materialist historiography that renounces the epic element of history. and contingencies. traffic. No longer could a historian write history by straightfor- wardly comprehending the past as it really was.”11 This book treats cinephiliac moments like lightning flashes that fulgurate. the mate- rialist historian seeks fragmentary moments of the past that flash up in order “to blast open the continuum of history. R et u r n i ng to Cin ephi li a Introducing a collection of pieces on cinephilia in a recent “In Focus” section of Cinema Journal. Mark Betz suggests that “in the last decade the tide has turned for cinephilia. exceed- ing their narrative contexts and offering unusual modes of accessing the cultural history of classical Hollywood. The last few years have witnessed renewed enthusiasm for this once-frenzied . For him. like the energy from a bat- tery. a work that tries to model this alternative historiography. coincidences. “In the fields with which we are concerned. modernity destroyed the ability to believe in history as a series of exceptional events linked by causal connections. The text is the long roll of thunder that follows. episodic history of the era.”9 In place of traditional historicism. Cinematic Flashes offers an interdisciplinary. By now. and crowds is fairly familiar. the perception of modernity as a jolt triggered by the emergence of the modern city and its corollar- ies of mechanization. summative narratives. I n t roduct ion 5 identify the argument in general. enabling us to rethink clas- sical Hollywood as an uncanny network of incongruities.

Mary Ann Doane attributes this resurgence to the digital era’s ostensible threat to the very existence of the medium that gave rise to cinephilia.”16 Back then. before the age of television and then digitization. from the end of World War II until the political shift ushered in by May 1968. which poured into France after the Liberation. at the centennial marking the invention of cinema.18 By the 1950s. for what was arguably the most dynamic and influential art form of the twentieth cen- tury. appears to have been resurrected “to delineate more precisely the contours of an object at the moment of its historical demise.14 Tracing the “life cycle” of cinema’s first one hundred years. cinephilia was a fetishistic mode of spectatorship privileging the fleeting elements in a cinematic frame that could explode into moments of revelation. As a cinematic discourse. given “wholly ‘unreasonable’ priority or value. poetic and mysterious and erotic and moral – all at the same time” has now become “a decadent art. as Roger Cardinal puts it. she observes.”15 Why? Because what was once a vibrant medium of cultural expression has now fallen prey to hyperindustrialization.”13 Doane’s argument certainly makes sense if we trace the contemporary engagement with cinephilia back to Susan Sontag’s dirge. cinephiles believed that “the movies encapsulated everything – and they did. Présence du Cinéma.”17 The then Sontag refers to is the roughly two-decade period. Back then. Back then.6 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s discourse. Sontag argued that the medium once regarded as “quintessentially modern. it was fueled by an intense nostalgia for the slowly disintegrating Holly- wood studio system and an equally intense desire to experiment with filmmaking techniques. cinema had sweeping social and intellectual force. and most especially at Cahiers du Cinéma dur- ing what is now regarded as its classical phase. “you fell in love not just with actors but with cinema itself. which ultimately developed into the French Nouvelle Vague. during which cinephilia was at the peak of its popularity. Ciné-love. Classical cinephiles were drawn to Hollywood cinema because in its rigidly standardized mode of representation. It was both the book of art and the book of life. Practiced at such journals as Positif.”19 Like Jean-Luc Godard’s obsessive depiction of Eve Brent framed through the barrel of a . cinephilia became especially popular among a generation of postwar French critics captivated by American narrative cinema. distinctively accessible. they discov- ered moments of excess that could be fetishized and.

Jean Simmons’s role. That the last bowling pin symbolizes Karloff as the last survivor in the narrative is only secondary to the pleasure of seeing that last bowling pin finally falling. I n t roduct ion 7 gun in Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns (1957). Cinephiliac discourse was driven by detailed descriptions of such capricious moments. the exact symbol of Karloff himself. Jacques Rivette stands on the threshold of a systematic exploration of the direc- tor’s oeuvre. Auteurism allowed them to rationalize their discourse to a certain degree. Consider François Truffaut’s account of a moment from Howard Hawks’s Scarface (1932): The most striking scene in the movie is unquestionably Boris Karloff’s death. It is certainly cinema. a scene he would recreate with a rolled-up poster in Breathless (1960). Their favored moments offered proof of authorship. be- cause the classical cinephile was interested in preserving the enigmas of cinema. the last survivor of a rival gang that’s been wiped out by [Paul] Muni. He squats down to throw a ball in a game of ninepins and doesn’t get up. and its analogies with or divergences from some of our director’s other heroines etc. In his review of Otto Preminger’s Angel Face (1952). a rifle shot prostrates him. Showing consistency of style or theme across a body of work appeared to produce a schema for evaluating directorial talent. more importantly. which developed into praise for the films’ mise en scène and subsequently into la politique des auteurs. . The camera follows the ball he’s thrown as it knocks down all the pins except one that keeps spinning until it finally falls over. For instance. It is certainly cinephilia. This isn’t literature. . but the devil is whispering in my ear. for seeing the director as an artist. It may be a sketch or a review. I can see that very well. Among the Cahiers cinephiles. 20 What Truffaut focuses on is the visual force of the moment. This isn’t analysis. cinephiliac discourse could not be fully codified into a theory. which might have gone unnoticed by the average viewer conditioned to be absorbed in the narrative at the expense of its strik- ing details. . It may be dance or poetry. Still. writing about such moments pro- duced a clandestine mythology. “Is it really important. Theirs became a crusade for seeing popular cinema as art and. is that false and criminal purity not the very site of convention and artifice?”21 . but then he backs away: I can see very well that this would be the right moment for a predictable elabora- tion of the theme or the characters.

Having identi- fied Preminger’s directorial technique with improvisation. By the latter part of the decade.” Rivette refuses to find the key that could unlock all its mysteries. and reflexes remain ultimately inexplicable. Thus. Cahiers was also absorbing the political and cultural unrest spreading throughout France and much of the world. Rivette may gesture toward them. protests began over the French government’s decision to replace Henri Langlois as the head of the Cinémathèque Française. by way of corporate conglom- . . idiosyncratic meaning . Revolution was in the air.S. Although Langlois’s dismissal was reversed. and occupations. They were interested in new cinemas and were far more receptive to films from Latin America and other third-world cultures than from Hollywood. They now included students and labor and led to extensive strikes. even though that ini- tial experience remained untranslatable. At Ca- hiers. It was a kind of manic spectatorship translated into writing. rather than interpretation and analysis. attitudes and reflexes – which are the raison d’être of [Preminger’s] film. inarticulable. the protests widened to register comprehensive antipathy toward the de Gaulle government. 22 He returns obsessively not to Angel Face’s narrative but to its “particular gestures. economic expansion. but he cannot (or will not) fully elucidate their effect on him. shut-ins. Instead. Jean Narboni. U. the film archive where Langlois screened an eclectic mix of films and nur- tured the young Cahiers Turks’ cinephilia. and its real subject. his review tries to preserve the film’s ambiguity.”23 But these gestures. eccentric love of cinema. classical cinephilia focused on experience.8 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Rivette is not interested in explaining Preminger’s work. By the late 60s. trouble began brewing in 1963. Younger critics like Jean-Louis Comolli. characterized by the compulsion to share what is unsharable. But this kind of writing came under attack by the late 1960s. attitudes. reproduced eccentrically. and Claude Ollier soon joined the board and brought with them a new political consciousness. What was at stake immediately was a struggle between classicists and modernists. and it was at least partly fueled by a growing anti-Americanism. In February 1968. when the journal replaced the chief editor’s position with an editorial board. Classical cinephiles invested themselves in “a private.”24 And cinephilia remained an intensely personal. . with prefer- ring “chance discoveries that mean things cannot go according to plan.

“To be a theoretician of the cinema. In fact. film scholarship committed itself. As James Morrison has shown.”25 The task of the critic now became to subvert personal cin- ematic pleasures and uncover the films’ underlying ideologies. As David Kehr points out. the love of cinema appeared quaint at best and dangerous at worst. after May ’68. were widely criticized.”27 A classic example of this cine-structuralism is the Cahiers editorial collective’s analysis of John Ford’s Young Mr. whose insidious ideological machinations they hoped to uncover by revealing how the film was based on a “double repres- sion – politics and eroticism. and thinking about directors as artists was dismissed as subjective and romantic. one should ideally no longer love the cinema and yet still love it: have loved it a lot and only have detached oneself from it by taking it up again from the other end. and auteurs. Lincoln (1939).”29 Once struc- turalist criticism took hold.”28 There was no more room for an overtly subjective mode of writing or for the love of cinema itself. “Althusser and Marx replaced Hitchcock and Hawks as Cahiers icons. taking it as the target for the very same scopic drive which had made one love it. in order to expose cinema’s structuring ab- sences and repressed meanings. American cinema came to be seen as representing the bourgeois status quo. Drawing on semiotic and psychoanalytic theories.”26 From a political perspective. as Dudley Andrew puts it. studio Hollywood stood no chance. I n t roduct ion 9 erations. Serge Daney argued in “Theorize/ . from that point. Christian Metz inaugurated a more scientific approach to cinema. film fragments. Attention thus shifted from the cinematic experience to the cinematic apparatus. they also became exceedingly suspicious of visual pleasure. as an arm of the American power machine. the Cahiers critics “promptly repudiated any lingering allegiance to Hollywood on the grounds that it could only be seen. As cinephiles became increasingly political. most notably in Vietnam. regulating its function within economies of the psyche and of society. a film critic could no longer have any affection for spectatorial pleasures. In this environment. As Metz famously declared. In place of the quasi- mystical adulation of films. to understanding “both the textual system that comprises any film and the larger systems that make up the cinema. Like Metz. and military expansion. and cinephilia was replaced by a theoretically informed and critically rigorous structuralism.

Even during subsequent turns toward historical poetics.”32 In the age of blockbusters. becomes also a sustained critique of the ideology of Hollywood. . . Her elegy was not just for cinema but also for cinephilia. Cinephilia remained mostly submerged until Susan Sontag’s req- uiem for the fading of cinema. Meanwhile auteurism was co-opted by the film industry. Son- tag noted. ciné-love could not survive. digitiza- tion. cinema is dead. a notion we will return to in the conclusion. that passion is now gone. talking about movies became a passion among university students and other young people. the naive obsession of one’s youth had to be abandoned in order to perform serious scholarship. Laura Mulvey confirms the transition from cinephilia to film studies at this time: “What begins with cinephilia.”30 That is to say. Newly christened auteurs from Martin Scorsese to Peter Bogdanovich to Brian De Palma filled their films with quotations from. cognitive psychology. structuralism became codified in France as well as in Britain and the United States. In a recent dialogue with Peter Wollen and Lee Grieveson.”33 By extension.” a critique that is only possible via “a rejection of your own cinephilia. with the love of Hollywood. What began as skepticism about cinephilia quickly bloomed into a desire to destroy it. classical Hollywood cinema. By the 1970s. because it is no longer possible to imagine film spectatorship in terms of “unique. thinking about movies. With the balance having shifted definitively in favor of cinema as an industry. because it doesn’t inspire the kind of reverential awe it once did when cinephilia was in vogue. to reverse it like a glove. Sontag’s piece was meant to be . continued for another three decades. She lamented the passing of a time when “going to movies. and cultural studies. sometimes homages to. But cinephiliac discourse stayed buried in film studies for almost thirty years. unrepeatable. and the internet. becomes the theoretical study of Hollywood. cinephiliac discourse largely disappeared. Sontag argued. “to turn cinephilia back against itself. which promoted directors as products af- ter the birth of New Hollywood. Auteurist commentaries or directorial cuts became exceedingly popu- lar. Cinephilia is dead. and it ushered in a new age of academic film studies.”31 Such ani- mosity toward cinephilia.10 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Terrorize” that the critic now had to get away from cinephilia. . magic experiences.

A few scholars have begun to hint at a third way. Initial reflections came from film critics. In the last decade. if the period between 1945 and the late 1960s was the moment of cinephilia. the focus shifted quickly in some quarters to what it might yet become. Sontag’s elegy sparked a resurgence of international interest in cinephilia. I n t roduct ion 11 both a generational lament and a fin de siècle rumination. the Catholic discourse of revelation. edited collections. journal issues. film scholars engaged the conversation with a spate of articles. either historicizing classical cinephilia or theo- rizing its transformation in today’s global film culture.” as David Denby did in The New Yorker. and the notion of excess. who relates it to the Surrealists’ celebration of chance. not only to assess the contemporary recep- tion of cinephilia in film studies but also to explain where cinephiliac historiography fits in. In any case. He revisits André Bazin’s faith in the ontology of the photographic image. then the last decade has seen something of a resurrection. or lamented the waning of public taste for the “right movies. others address the issue of what might be at stake in a reconsideration of the love of cinema at this stage. however. Historicizing Classical Cinephilia Among the first to return to a discussion of classical cinephilia is Paul Willemen. While some have argued directly with Sontag’s premise that cinephilia is dead. most recent studies of cinephilia have traveled along two axes. proving that cinephilia may have been dead. and monographs on the subject.34 Shortly thereafter. suggest- . 1. It mourned the loss of a certain style of movies as well as the pleasures of movie-going. Rather than serving as the final word on a passionate mode of spec- tatorship. It looks as though.” the title of Stan- ley Kauffmann’s piece for The New Republic. cinephilia has reemerged as a vital and vitalizing force in film studies. many of whom. took up the work of mourning “a lost love. Although the conver- sation about the reemergence of cinephilia a little over a decade ago may have begun wistfully. numerous reassessments of cin- ephilia have appeared. after a long stupor. like Sontag. considering what it was and mourning or disputing its alleged demise. but its ghost has lingered in writing about cinema. which I will outline after addressing each of these moves in turn. Indeed.

That is why classical cinephiles emphasized fleeting cinephiliac moments that exceeded their representational or symbolic functions. where cinephiliac musings found an outlet until the ideological shifts of the late 1960s made them untenable. Antoine de Baecque’s La Cinéphilie fleshes out the history of cinephiliac culture in France from 1944 to 1968 by expanding the context to encompass postwar French society. according to de Baecque.”38 He traces its roots back to postwar criticism at Cahiers. but his book is more ambitious because it offers an intellectual history of the idea of cinephilia.”35 That “something beyond” is the cinephile’s be- lief that. a primary response to cinephilia. arguing that its popularity enabled the enthusiastic reception of such unconventional films as Godard’s Breathless and Alain Resnais’s Last Year at Marienbad (1961).12 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s ing that what motivated classical cinephilia’s interest in sparks of con- tingency contained within seemingly ordinary moments was the desire to witness a “potential dislocation” by “seeing something beyond what is given to you to see. “finding formulations to convey something about the intensity of that spark” has always been. Christian Keathley also locates classical cinephilia in this period. His narrative ends in 1968. Keathley emphasizes a particular aspect of cinephiliac spectatorship.” or the scanning of the cinematic frame for “marginal details and contingencies” that might increase “the possibility of encounters with cinephiliac moments. Writing or. as many historians . But it was not enough to watch these moments or even to catalog them. “panoramic perception. something of the real can appear on the screen inadver- tently. according to Wille- men. more accurately. He attributes the birth of the Nouvelle Vague to cinephiliac discourse as well. was not just a love of cinema but also a cultural practice and a way of life. De Baecque’s is ultimately a melancholy text about a bygone era and its passions. which encouraged movie-going as well as a broader culture of ciné-clubs and film journals. 37 Cinephilia. because of cinema’s indexicality. Subsequent histories have charted the rise and fall of cinephilia along this terrain established by Willemen. 36 That is why cinephiliac dis- course was so well suited to magazines like Cahiers. even in the most controlled circumstances. which marked the death of classical cinephilia in part because cinema failed to satisfactorily film the political events of the year.

Walter Benjamin’s flânerie. he offers the “cinephiliac anecdote. Theorizing Contemporary Cinephilia Whereas historians have focused on thinking about what cinephilia was before its demise.”40 Unlike the historical approach’s tendency to locate cinephilia in France. Their focus is on employing web-based communities and film fes- tivals as sites for rediscovering cinematic pleasures in independents. Movie Mutations. cinephilia may be dead. assuming that cinephilia still thrives and has never expired. whose collaborations can be facilitated by new media technologies as well as international film festi- vals. which consists of five years of correspondence between film scholars and filmmakers. Marcel Proust’s mémoires involuntaires. The most influential recent work on redefining cinephilia for our time is Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin’s edited collection. but he also aligns cinephilia with other disruptive reading/viewing practices. there is another group of scholars who rejected outright Sontag’s premise that cinephilia was dead. and cinephiliac historiography takes up that call.” which aims at reinjecting the cinephiliac spirit into film studies.”39 In place of interpreting cinephiliac moments. His approach remains subjective. and Roland Barthes’s “third meaning” or punctum. but Keathley tries to revive its disruptive ener- gies for doing film criticism today. Thus. Rather. The debate among these critics is not whether cinephilia is viable. the cinephiliac moment ends up being “an area of spectatorial experience that resists co-optation by meaning” and therefore “seems to draw its intensity partly from the fact that it cannot be reduced or tamed by interpretation. I n t roduct ion 13 do. Rosenbaum and Martin are interested in delineat- ing a transnational approach to contemporary cinephilia. they are primarily con- cerned with new forms of ciné-love in the age of new media. but the imploration that cinephilia should not be seen simply as a historical object of study is enormously valuable. including Jean Epstein’s photogénie. reflecting on. the avant-garde. 2. as their subtitle puts it. For Keathley. Contrary to Sontag’s claim. the new cinephilia . “the changing face of world cinephilia. calling for the study of global communities of cinephiles. and films from developing national cinemas for the second generation of cinephiles.

”41 But they also present cinephilia as “a period break and in doing so introduce Cinephilia 2 as a marker for future research.14 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s appears to be living up to the spirit. even frenzy. and Hou Hsiao-hsien. At once global and local. the overall notion of seeing new cinephiles as differently and globally connected. The essays in this volume explore these differences and the changes in marketing. interface with cinema via new media. of classical cinephilia. Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener present a series of essays that rethink contemporary cinephilia “as an umbrella term for a number of different affective engagements with the moving image. Still. new cinephilia cannot help but slip into its own version of auteurism. where the desire for a gestural outlet that Willemen identifies as essential to classical cinephilia finds a fresh avenue for expression. younger cinephiles. New cinephilia. and filmmaking that have emerged in response to the new wave of cinephilia. a lover and a savvy consumer. with all the benefits of downloading. India. He purchased not only the “classics” but also forgotten films . videos offered the possibility of owning movies he had grown up with in the 1950s and ’60s and had assumed he would never see again. Growing up in Bombay. More- over. at first by the videotape boom of the 1980s and then the rise of cable television and the internet in the 1990s. sampling. Instead of lamenting the fact that cinephiles no longer frequent movie theaters or local ciné- clubs.43 In other words.” 42 Compared to their classical predecessors. it would seem. most of whom are born after the introduction of video recording technology. distribution. Like Rosenbaum and Martin. is highly useful. new cinephilia flourishes online. despite the anthology’s global scope and its attention to film- makers like Rául Ruiz. the new cinephile has become a collec- tor and a trader. a self-identified “old Holly- wood buff. and new cinephilia as enabling cross-cultural communication. my own initial interest in cinephilia was fueled by these emerging technologies. Abbas Kiarostami. new directors are often recognized because they reaffirm the great masters. the new generation is differ- ently networked. file swapping. has embraced new technologies to further democratize the pleasures of cinema. However. The coming of video provided access to a whole archive of films that I had only heard about from my father. and even bootlegging.” For him.

which screened Hollywood and Bollywood releases alike – my most vivid memories of movie-going consist of renting old videos and later DVDs. Rummaging through tiny rental stores. Old. I trace this brief personal history to show where I came in. more movies became accessible via cable. anyone who owns a copy of Mr. I would watch these films obsessively. Then. what kind of knowledge can we generate using cinephilia? How do we deploy cinephilia as a critical practice? . as we have seen. so to speak. They confirm Truffaut’s remark that “when the use of video cassettes becomes widespread and people watch the films they love at home. which he watched repeatedly after acquir- ing them. Ulmer’s Detour (1945) and Marilyn Monroe being violently shaken on the beach in Fritz Lang’s Clash by Night (1952). I tried to get my hands on the complete canons of known auteurs like Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles and also discovered unknown (to me) di- rectors like Mitchell Leisen and Ida Lupino. While I did go to the movies – at the Eros Theater or the Regal Cinema. But this renewal. and I began devouring films that had been hereto- fore unavailable to most people living outside a few Western metropo- lises. like the enormous coffee cup in Edgar G. usually black-and-white images were seemingly trifling details. My father’s obsessive video consumption habits were mo- tivated perhaps by the irrational fear that he might lose these cherished films again. has functioned dif- ferently from the earlier generation’s practices. What I remember noticing in those grainy. overlooked films became mandatory weekend viewing at our house. imagine my excitement when I discovered that there was a name for this way of viewing movies and that it could be the focus of serious study.”44 Truffaut rightly anticipated the revitalizing possibilities for a new gen- eration of movie geeks in the age of video and perhaps the renewal of cinephilia itself. rewinding my privileged moments over and over again. both built during the cinema boom of the 1930s. That experience also motivates the fundamental questions of this book: once we have identified it. Arkadin will be lucky indeed. and to confess that my interest in classical Hollywood cinema was shaped by my experience as an accidental cinephile before I became engaged in studying it critically. Years later. I n t roduct ion 15 like Boris Ingster’s Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) and John Sturges’s Last Train from Gun Hill (1959).

always fascinated by a mysteri- ous parental drama.”47 Still. “stands for an unknown quantity – for the strange fascination that makes us remember a particular shot or a particular camera movement. Is cinephilia not the name for this irresistible moment that remains elusive as well? If so. what has primarily been at issue is a question of definition.” or obsessively charting a course through London so he and his friends might watch multiple films back to back without missing the ending of one or the beginning of the next. if cinephilia survives and thrives today.”49 In other words. returning to cinephilia as a work of mourning for a lost past. always seeking to master one’s anxiety by compul- sive repetition. scholars who have refused to forfeit the love of cinema to an earlier generation have fought vigor- ously to demarcate Cinephilia 2. like sand between your fingers. and its similarities to media- philia at large. refracted through French culture” in England. none of these offers a satisfactory explanation for Wollen’s watching ten or twenty old films a week in “decrepit. the more urgent question for us is: how can . Wollen tries to define X. which he compares with photogénie and Barthes’s punc- tum. On the other hand. a forgotten tradition. “it vanishes.” Willemen argues. “As soon as you look at it more closely. when cinephilia was initially revived. Later in that essay. C stands for Cinephilia. what has it become? But those questions are not easily answered. If cinephilia is limited to a historical tradition. it was dis- cussed in terms of a lost love. he observes. which by turns appears as “an obsessive infatuation.’ a malady. or euphorically consuming “Hollywood films . In his alphabetized entries.16 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 3. X in cinema.”46 In a beautifully moving piece about his varied preoccupations with cinema. a piece that began as a Serge Daney Memorial Lecture at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 1998. A Third Way As I mentioned earlier.45 For both approaches.” and “a desire to remain within the child’s view of the world. Peter Wollen runs into similar difficulty when trying to define cinephilia. its stakes. Cinephiliac histories have tended to follow that narrative. X is that moment that eludes complete comprehension and therefore forces our obsessive re- turn to it. as cinephilia has always been a very slippery concept. . run-down cinemas. . always outside.48 The meaning of cinephilia remains dicey. what was it? Alternatively.” “a ‘sickness.

on closer inspection born of intuition or feeling. via another cinephiliac instance. “Return and repetition. providing access to “key moments and meanings .”50 These interruptions break down the relentless onward drive of narrative events. how the inconsequen- tial is essential.”53 For him. Writing about the ways in which new media technolo- gies have transformed our experience of cinema. They do not eroticize the pleasures of looking or reinforce the patriarchal narrative of voyeur- ism. the rescue of fragments is the new task for cinephilia. George Toles offers a similar directive to work on film fragments that may lead us “to discover. Toles urges us to isolate moments that appear to signify in excess of their narrative contexts and use them to return to film history from a less frequented direction. the ability to pause. The next section outlines that methodology. in order to demonstrate how we might utilize an intense moment that has gone unnoticed in a longer history. Video and digital media have led to new modes of seeing old movies.”54 But how can we use cinephilia for doing film history? A different approach will have to involve opening cinephilia up to multiple vectors. I n t roduct ion 17 we reengage with cinephilia without getting caught up in the ontological bind of the current historical and theoretical approaches? Stimulus for a third way of thinking about cinephilia comes from an unlikely source.”52 That is why Mulvey is hopeful about using cinematic extracts.” Mulvey suggests. “necessarily involve interrupt- ing the flow of film. connections. these cinephiliac interruptions run counter to the flows of narrative development. rewind. and frameworks. . Laura Mulvey has re- cently argued that films need not be tethered to their narratives anymore. she notes. Like Mulvey. Consequently. delaying its progress. for a reinvigorated film analysis.”51 Unlike the scopophilic delights offered by linear narratives that Mulvey decried and sought to destroy in the 1970s. . That is also why Keathley advocates employing them as “clues perhaps to another history flashing through the cracks of those histories we already know. and review offers unexpected opportunities. These interruptions. can “bring about a ‘reinvention’ of textual analysis and a new wave of cinephilia. Viewers are no longer chained to the darkened theater or bound to the inexorable forward momentum of classical storytelling. that could not have been perceived when hidden under the narrative flow and the movement of film. located by pursuing cinephiliac spectatorship. .

a nineteenth- century woman whose life was not grand enough to make it into the official history books. owner of the independent Argosy bookstore and oral historian. and she returns to places in and around San Francisco that re- mind her of Carlotta. Although I cannot point out why. she whispers. Her zealous energy is replicated by Scottie after her death and later by some of Vertigo’s most passionate . It is simply a standard Hitchcockian close-up.” This haunting moment from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) trans- fixes me. explains to Scottie. The concentric rings on the felled trunk denote celebrated events of history. She died roaming the streets. its sparse poignancy appears astounding. as the camera pans left to reveal white loops indicating the conquest of territory.18 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Ci n eph i li ac H istor iogr a ph y On a cross-section of an ancient sequoia. as if directly to the dead sequoia. But Madeleine’s hand drifts to a spot unmarked in that history. people you’ve never heard of.” she faintly enunciates. not as emotive as the following scene. or as iconic as the zoom in/track out shot that replicates Scottie’s (James Stewart) vertigo in the bell tower later. When the camera pulls back to reveal her ghostly visage. you know.” “Somewhere in here I was born. . however. the prom- ulgation of a charter. Scottie seeks out Pop Liebel because this tale. Carlotta was just an ordinary woman abandoned by a rich and powerful man after she had their baby. of “the small stuff. monumental events of the last two thousand years leave their mark.” while her trembling hand points at two absent moments on the massive trunk (Figure 0. from the Mission Dolores to the Palace of the Le- gion of Honor art gallery to Fort Point. where she enigmatically traces her own life and “death. is deceptive. despondently preoccupied by the loss of her beloved child. you took no notice. Its simplicity. But Madeleine Elster (Kim Novak) is not entranced by this imposing dendrochronology. Madeleine is haunted by that haunted woman. the birth of a nation. “It was only a moment for you. That unidentified “moment” marks the life of Carlotta Valdes. a black-gloved hand pauses to mark the passage of a lifetime in a moment. where lovers embrace with waves crashing in the background. . “and there I died.3). You . As Pop Liebel (Konstantin Shayne).” cannot be found at any library. Her fingers linger over a gap in that grand narrative. On that cross-section of an old Sequoia sempervi- rens.

”56 In fact. who continue to retrace the sites of Madeleine’s and Scottie’s wanderings. might be seen as a mise en abyme of cinephilia. As Geoffrey O’Brien notes. how to read it and write it. Alfred Hitchcock. Vertigo (dir. I n t roduct ion 19 0. During this time he worked on such pieces as “One-Way Street. it is the kind of moment that can “brush history against the grain. these cinephiliac pilgrims “seem fated to reenact Vertigo’s central gesture – the meticulous but fruitless attempt to re-create a lost object – with regard to the movie itself. then.” “A Short .3. a text that sought to uncover an alternative history of Paris by reading its kaleidoscopic. transient diver- sions and detritus. Benjamin was preoccupied with the question of history. 1958). it represents precisely the kind of nineteenth-century moment that might belong to the Arcades Project.”55 In that sense. from around 1927 until his death in 1940. The moment that Madeleine points to on the dead sequoia. As Walter Benjamin would put it. viewers. that moment interrupts the systematic flow of history because it does not fit the causal narrative of celebrated events. throughout his career. But he was especially engaged with the concept and its methodologies during what is generally regarded as his Parisian production cycle. Like an ideal cine- philiac moment whose pull is as overwhelming as it is inscrutable. Vertigo might be the ultimate cinephiliac object that remains enigmatic.

offers an interruptive model of history. industrial production. it musters a mass of data to fill the homogenous. But the shift from a traditional. modernity brought about an abrupt break in the form of a “wholesale fragmentation of experience.” Richard Wolin observes. empty time. Benjamin attempts to historicize the pivotal change in human experience that oc- curred as a result of modernity. thereby drawing a straight line from the past to the present. however. agrarian society to the modern.” all the while also composing the Arcades Project. Instead of castigating modernity for destroying our traditional understanding of experience. on the other hand. then our relationship to the past and our methods for understanding it would need to change too. “Whereas experience was traditionally governed by the principles of continuity.” Benjamin argues. crowds and automobiles. where fleeting images from the past rup- ture the tedious narration of timeless truths.60 Historical materialism. Schwartz points out. In each of these works.” modern life could primarily be encountered via a series of shocks – produced by urban life. something that was always familiar and predictable.” and “Theses on the Philosophy of History.”58 Unlike many of his contemporaries. mechanical reproduction.” “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. industrial era brought about a corresponding modification in the ways we understand experi- ence. breaking with the conventional model of history expressed in terms of linear progress. Vanessa R. and changing human perception. That is why Benjamin’s work distinguishes materialist historiogra- phy from traditional historicism. and it was transmissible from one generation to the next. experience – not only of life but also of art and history – was governed by the logic of causality. at least in theory. “Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal connection between various moments in history. he wanted to “reimagine history and its study from the vantage point of a world transformed by capitalism. “making it. Traditionally. which was to become an illustrative realization of his philosophy of history.”59 If moder- nity had changed the very nature of experience. and so on. 57 In place of the continuity of experience. Benjamin argued. Traditional historicism’s “method is additive.” whereas a materialist historian actively seeks out flashes . Benjamin was not distraught over the changes wrought by the advent of modernity.20 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s History of Photography.

historical materialism encourages disengaged or distracted participation. I n t roduct ion 21 of lightning. instead of immersing oneself into the historical object of study. is that “histories would need to be written not only for their times but to embody the forms of their times. what Benjamin calls “monads. as Schwartz puts it. those moments that mark the limits of traditional histori- ography and point the way out of the continuum of history.”62 But the materialist historian realizes that the past cannot be mastered in that way. “thinking suddenly stops in a configu- ration pregnant with tensions. materialist historians capture the striking fragments or images or traces as and when they flash up distractedly. then the writing of history needs to be infused with such frag- ments. materialist historiography embodies the fragmentary experience of modernity. historical materialism’s “thinking is always rhizomatic. They can be grasped “much less through rapt attention than by noticing the object in inci- dental fashion. . It develops associatively. if the past can only be read frag- mentarily.” 65 Atget’s pho- tographs appear like fragments snatched out of the jaws of linear his- tory.” Benjamin argues that “they demand a specific kind of approach. which he compares to the “scenes of crime. a becoming encountering a blockage. Benjamin’s central insight. Writing about Eugène Atget’s photographs of deserted Parisian streets around the turn of the century. more than anything. History is only accessible in brief moments that fly by.”64 Thus.” that are extracted from their places in linear history and positioned within alternative contexts. traditional historicism “gives the ‘eternal’ image of the past. Ultimately.” 68 The alternative history that emerges from this process is neither com- plete nor universal. At such moments.61 Accepting the “once upon a time” view of history.”63 In the modern age. using a visual rather than linear logic. encountering another becoming.” 66 That is to say. they cannot be received contemplatively. What is the method for observing history in fragments? Work- ing with fragments requires a shift from contemplation to distraction. free-floating contemplation is not appropriate to them. Unlike traditional historians focusing on understanding history as a continuum.” 67 The materialist historian delights in such tensions. because “the past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.

Susan Buck-Morss notes. department stores and panoramas. old gas torches and snow globes for an understanding of the past. The flâneur is the best known of such alter-historian figures.” Benjamin considers a worthless object. is peopled with figures who are capable of engaging with precisely those moments that do not fit neatly into sequential histories.” 70 Although Theodor Adorno criticizes him for being “drawn to the petrified. Charles Baudelaire first identified the flâneur . worth more than any major find. frozen or obsolete elements of civilization.22 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s What kinds of material would be suitable for this form of material- ist historiography? Unlike other intellectuals of the Frankfurt School.” he argues. returning to such objects can reveal the forgotten histories locked within them. fashion and films. Who would be adept at writing this kind of historical materialism? Since a materialist historiography is substantially different from tradi- tional historicism. . Gerhard Richter points out that his interest in kitschy objects must be seen as “an eminently political gesture . marginal figures from the nine- teenth century are much more suited to composing such a history.’” 72 The Arcades Project demonstrates this philosophy by showing how the ephemeral and excessive consumer culture of nineteenth-cen- tury Paris tells us more about the past than do grand ideas. like a well-worn stamp. because it refuses to accept the condition of insignificance as something natural. he breaks “radi- cally with the philosophical canon by searching for truth in the ‘garbage heap. He believed that a materialist historian could mine wax museums and city streets. For Benjamin. Benjamin perceived the possibility of excavating modernity’s phantasmagorias for historiography. “To someone looking through piles of old letters. Where his fellow Marxists saw dangers of enchantment with the stuff of mass culture. . perishable things. celebrated events. which began to proliferate after the mid-nineteenth century. In fact.71 That is how. or the works of eminent people. Benjamin proposes.”69 That is why he was particularly intrigued by the forgotten details of mundane. “a stamp that has long been out of cir- culation on a torn envelope often says more than a reading of dozens of pages. exposing it instead as a cultural and political con- struction that relies on problematic unspoken assumptions. His later work. especially the Arcades Project. Benjamin was genuinely interested in the cultural products of modern industrial capitalism.

flânerie and its corresponding customs. pausing wherever an ordinary object. as Dimitris Vardoulakis notes. and the storyteller’s attention to the slow piling up of details unveiled over various retellings.” 74 They do not fully participate in the capitalist economy. Ideal for historiciz- ing the nineteenth century. detecting. Cinematic Flashes draws on these models both thematically and me- thodologically in order to translate cinephilia into a practice of materi- alist historiography. become exemplary ways of writing alternative histories. fleeting. and non-utilitarian investment in the glittering merchandise at the arcades parallels the gambler’s interest in the bodily sensations offered by the roll of the dice. Nor are they fully detached from it.76 In that way. Rather. like gambling. figures residing within as well as outside the market- place. because they do not stand outside history. Cinephiliac moments.73 The flâneur’s idle. Or. cinephilia is invested in stunning distractions. catches the eye. and it offers a similar kind of fortuitous exhilaration. as I am treating them. observing it objectively. the detective’s scrutiny of the superficial trace.and glass-covered Parisian arcades.” 75 That is to say. and storytelling. They are . in order to discover an entire history out of a single detail – just as Victor Fournel would reconstruct “an entire conversation. I n t roduct ion 23 as a detached pedestrian who follows a whimsical trail rather than the rules of traffic. the ragpicker’s pursuit of discarded or outmoded scraps. “subjec- tivity is implicated in method. ragpicking. Like the eccentric activities Benjamin identifies. It is noteworthy that Benja- min uses these marginal characters not to evoke historically specific persons but to employ their historical practices – what Schwartz calls each character’s “historically specific mode of experiencing the spectacle of the city” – as methodologies for accessing the past from a materialist perspective. They are liminal figures who are unwilling to grasp the past in its totality. their subjectivity informs the methods of materialist historiography. these minor characters–turned–material- ist historians exist on the periphery. Benjamin’s alternative historians are “figures in the middle – that is. an entire existence” out of a word heard in passing. between the worlds of money and magic – figures on the thresh- old. Flânerie becomes a capricious method of traversing the modern city. particularly at the iron. as Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin point out. are instances that escape or outshine their narrative contexts.

who may well be regarded as a descendant of Benjamin’s unorthodox historian figures. emphasized only a desire to reproduce the initial encounter with the lightning flash. . one that stands in some contrast to the spectatorial posture assumed by dominant cinema. in these excessive moments. They offer tiny glimpses of points where the coherent system of representation breaks down.” 77 That is why cinephiliac moments may be regarded as moments of cinematic excess. I combine the passionate stance of classical cinephilia with the critical rigor of subsequent film criticism in order to use cinephilia as a way of writing film history. like lightning flashes. ready to be activated for an alternative discourse. A contemporary cinephile. my purpose is not simply to reproduce or even to interpret them but to expand upon them. cinephilia might be deemed “an investment in the graspability of the asystematic. As Doane suggests. although their writing. “the function of the material elements of the film is accom- plished. highly prevalent in classical Hollywood films.”80 But my inten- tion here is to move beyond the paralyzing nostalgic impasse of classical cinephilia.” 79 Cinephilia cuts against the linearizing tendency of narrative cinema. but their perceptual interest is by no means exhausted in the process. I am especially drawn to such distracting details.24 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s thrilling because they appear like raised seams within their plotlines. insofar as they surpass their diegetic requirements.” 78 It is this inexhaustible element that electrifies the cinephile. the contingent. In that sense. which expect their viewers to focus on the systematic tale and not be diverted by any distracting details. cinephilia may be seen as “an alternative spec- tatorial practice. as we have seen. For the cinephile is similarly drawn to moments that rise up. Unlike moments that are designed to be unforgettable. cinephiliac discourse was necessarily nostalgic. While I begin with moments that are indeed dead but alive in memory. To quote Kristin Thompson. as they offer the potential to prompt unantici- pated discussions between film history. writing about and yet being so far removed from the studio system. but alive in memory. In that sense. and visual culture. cinephiliac mo- ments are relatively minor. past. because writing about pleasurable moments was a way of mourning for lost fragments and films. may also be focused on “something that is dead. Clas- sical cinephiles at Cahiers were interested in similar moments. In the absence of video recording technologies. theory.

but their arrest as well. or techno- logical contexts and ultimately paves the way for fresh theses about the object of study. In the introduction. materialist historiography is intrigued more by “the ruffle on a dress than some idea. which is personal. networks. By way of contrast.” Thus. Since cinephiliac historiography begins with specific moments rather than theoretical narratives. How- ever. The history that follows is partly a way of accessing and un- derstanding that subjective experience. industrial. Moreover. which offers a fairly conventional way of thinking about Hollywood history.”84 Cinephiliac moments are such pregnant pauses that have the potential to develop into unforeseen critical directions. they provide access to the dialectical tensions or monads required for an al- ternative mode of thinking that “involves not only the flow of thoughts. Hollywood is best understood by considering the intricacies and contradictions of what I have called its commercial aesthetic. cinephiliac histories have the potential to activate various voices.”81 In fact. which is explained in terms of its “commercial aesthetic. As Walter Benjamin has suggested. Cinephilia works differently.”82 I would not dispute this assertion about Hollywood. This means that the cinephile-historian begins with a moment of inexplicable audiovisual pleasure. I would argue that Maltby’s text is far more concerned with the idea of Hollywood. it offers “an escape from systematicity – both . Because there are no presuppo- sitions made about the initial encounter. Rather than opening with a hypothesis about the period being investigated. emphasizing a single argument about any era necessarily implies privileging those moments that fit the overarching thesis and support that narrative. the book follows his stated proposition that “the aesthetic systems at work in Hollywood movies cannot sensi- bly be separated from their underlying commercial ambitions. he suggests that “this book is as concerned with the idea of Hollywood as it is with individual movies.”83 Such ruffles allow us to investigate history from its particulars rather than from any generalizations. and connections that may not all fit into traditional histories. and that as a cultural institution. cinephilia’s point of departure is an intriguing frag- ment or a mesmerizing trace. I n t roduct ion 25 Cinephiliac historiography differs from traditional ways of writing history in the following way: it starts with a moment that leads to a re- search question that then opens up new cultural. consider Rich- ard Maltby’s Hollywood Cinema.

placing them in alternative contexts.” the focus is on a moment of crisis in the late 1920s.”85 Indeed. “Sonic Booms. The Surrealist world of chance jux- tapositions seems quite distant from the standardized system of studio filmmaking. Along the way. Beginning with a startling gunshot from Jacques Feyder’s The Kiss (1929). By extracting alluring film fragments from their other- wise ordinary classical narratives.” I explore the accidental encounters between Surrealism and the studio system through an eerie fur coat that falls on an unsuspecting working girl’s head in Mitchell Leisen’s screwball comedy Easy Living (1937).26 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s that of a tightly regulated classical system and that of its vaguely oppres- sive abstract analysis. and draw- ing on cinephiliac instants from other early sound experiments. who do not see sound as a revolution and therefore emphasize the calcu- lated corporate decisions about resulting profits rather than confusion or disarray. is disputed by media historians. I try to imagine what la mode reveals about le mode. The industry’s account of the arrival of sound. when classical Hollywood temporarily rediscovers its corporeality as well as its modernity. inclusive thesis. cinephiliac historiography liberates the historian from constructing a singular. Using the Benjaminian gambler’s dependence on tactility. Employing the Benjaminian ragpicker’s reliance on outmoded or neglected articles. what fashion designing unexpectedly reveals about the method of studio filmmaking. In chapter 1. As the episodic chapters or case studies in this book demonstrate. fur coats and chiffon dresses from women’s films become unexpected mediators between the studio system and avant-garde art. and. I trace the surprisingly visceral sen- sations of early sound cinema. cinephiliac moments offer varied points of entry into the cinematic and cultural terrain of clas- sical Hollywood. but glimpses of their implausible association are discov- ered through their ties to haute couture. But both of them have missed the sensational effects of the transition to sound. I argue that we can regard the conversion as a gamble. and linking them with kindred fragments associatively. cinephiliac his- toriography can uncover multiple histories that might otherwise remain buried under the weight of grand narratives about classical Hollywood. from chaos to standardization. when the studios are busily scrambling to incorporate sound into their classical narrative style. for an uncanny mo- . “Show Stoppers. Both versions of the conversion are accurate. In chapter 2.

in fact explain Hollywood’s own eschatological anxieties. about gigantic mutant ants heading toward Los Angeles in Gordon Douglas’s Them! (1954).” I investigate the troubled role of the auteur within the studio system. In the process. typically so carefully regu- lated in Hollywood. while the studio system does not survive. Hollywood connects itself with sagacious storytelling. Hollywood does. Using the Benjaminian detective’s inversion of exteriority and interiority. in competition with an imprudent media rival. In chapter 3. and drawing on cinephiliac moments from other sci-fi films. that amplifies the sense of doom. The chapter begins with an ominous television broadcast. I show how. becomes the key to rethinking Welles’s most un-Wellesian film. masculine. we uncover the unpre- dictable operations of names and naming. That alignment enables us to discover how a seemingly rational industry represents its irrationally excessive antagonism toward its fledgling media rival. It is usually claimed that film studies was born as an academic dis- cipline in the late 1960s when critics made the transition from cine- philia to a more rigorously defined and theoretically informed field of . Hollywood becomes allied with all that is wholesome. In chapter 4. Hollywood looks a lot less like a standardized system than a strange network of accidents and coincidences. An unremarkable “signature” moment from Orson Welles’s The Stranger (1946). indifferent information. in represent- ing itself as the endangered species. Ultimately. “Apocalyptic Antennae. I n t roduct ion 27 ment in 1937.” I examine how sci-fi films from the 1950s. it illustrates how quickly the movies adjust to the new popular culture landscape. see how fakery might be unexpectedly aligned with genre-driven studio cinema. by unpredictably adjusting to a new media universe. which offers nothing more than cold. in the context of proto-McCarthyism in the immediate postwar era. “Signature Crimes. and American – and under threat from the alien Other. television. where a former Nazi mastermind sketches a swastika on a notepad in a phone booth. Following the Benjaminian storyteller’s ability to tell and retell tales. usually thought to invoke fear of Communist invasion. I demonstrate how we might cir- cumvent the traditional auteurist approach for digging deep for inner meaning by looking at the cinematic surface for clues that might be hid- ing in plain sight. and.

however partial. implied in the recent resurgence of cinephilia.86 Initially.” most historians have empha- sized the American film industry’s reliance on a coherent model of classi- cal filmmaking. studio films were then character- ized by and critiqued for offering the illusion of completeness while masking their processes of production. Classical Hollywood has long been defined by a standardized film style and a consistent mode of film production.” and they offered profitability as the ra- tionale for this type of classicism. Influenced by Althusserian and Lacanian thought. “The Cinephiliac Return.” Thomas Schatz famously argued that classical Hollywood might best be regarded as “a . and Kristin Thompson developed this conception of the studio system by emphasizing how the studios’ classical style was perfectly suited for its vertically integrated mode of production and how that combination helped the studios stay profitably in business until around 1960.87 David Bordwell. but the genius of the system. proportion.88 Robert B.28 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s study. together. where “everything holds together.89 Elaborating Bazin’s notion of “the genius of the system. Following André Bazin’s lead that Hollywood’s success depended on “not only the talent of this or that film-maker. they created a seemingly homogenous and unchang- ing formula for box-office success during the studio era (and beyond). self-effacing craftsmanship. Borrowing Roland Barthes’s op- position of readerly versus writerly texts. Ray built on this argument when he observed that the success of Hollywood depended on consis- tent formal and thematic paradigms. and cool con- trol of the perceiver’s response. respect for tradition. The formal paradigm enabled the “habitual subordination of style to story. this notion of Hollywood as classical cinema was formulated during the post-1968 turn to film theory. formal harmony. Cinematic Flashes may appear eclectic.” I turn to an assess- ment of the return. In the final chapter. mimesis. This epilogic treatment also reflects on the critical value of interruptions. It does not try to develop a cohesive argument about the studio era – and that is precisely the point.” and the thematic paradigm offered ideological resolution by drawing on traditional American my- thology.” as opposed to writerly texts that are open-ended and ultimately modern- ist. studio films were linked to the nineteenth-century realist novel. Janet Staiger. Their groundbreaking text stressed clas- sicality in relation to “notions of decorum.

cinephiliac historiography offers what Miriam Hansen might call “a scaffold. its . I n t roduct ion 29 period when various social.” Without wholly opposing this standardized view of Hollywood his- tory. economic. for it was also a disjointed network of accidents.” which “require more open-ended. As Robert B.”94 While the studio system appeared to be a rational institution.”90 For roughly four decades. and aesthetic forces struck a delicate balance.”93 For although the stu- dio system may have been based on rational. excesses. the industry developed “a set of formalized cre- ative practices and constraints. and the systematic regulation of all tasks. Looking back. promiscuous. Hollywood was not making model Ts. industrial. or web that allows for a wide range of aesthetic effects and experiences.”91 Thus. If anything. Holly- wood films have not always behaved according to those expectations. where vertical integration reigns supreme. classical principles. the majority of historians continue to consider the studio system’s operations as being similar to Taylorist and Fordist mod- els of production. the studio era continues to be noted for its reliable product and predictable system. from the 1920s until 1960 or so. that delicate balance enabled the industry to thrive. and style that can assimilate a great range of thematic material. this book takes a somewhat different approach. For Schatz. a narrative about classical Hol- lywood as an unfailingly rational and standardized system developed in the 1970s and ’80s. and imaginative types of inquiry. from camera work and cutting to plot structure and thematics. matrix. plot. and profits override all aesthetic decisions. And classical Hollywood history remains focused on what Maltby calls “the idea of Hollywood. Ray has suggested. In order to write the era’s history. standardized models. technological. with strict division of labor. I see classical Hollywood not just as a stan- dardized system with an unwavering style. “for all its commitment to the positivism that Taylor and Ford had perfected. Douglas Gomery emphasizes this model. David Bordwell claims that the system Bazin praised was in fact “a coherent approach to genre. and some of them can come into focus by following cinephiliac historiography.”92 Thus. similarly. and thus a body of work with a uniform style – a standard way of telling stories. Cinematic Flashes suggests that alternative practices were always at work within the studio system. and coincidences. and it has survived.

driven by chance. may be discovered anew in its cinephiliac flashes as well. If Paris. By proceeding episodically. By rethinking cinephilia as materialist historiography. By stepping out of bounds. Hollywood. forgo- ing a grand narrative logic. argu- ably the capital of the twentieth century.” F. we can see classical Hollywood as a body of films replete with contradictions that cannot be contained by its traditional histories. Fitzgerald argued. How do we investigate such instants that are “left out.30 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s products were not merely functional but also enthralling. and irrational. . Scott Fitzgerald had intuited this approach to classical Hollywood. brief sketches that illuminated the studio system.”96 Cinematic Flashes pursues those flashes fur- ther. and dismissing the desire for interpretive clo- sure. we can discover a method for writing with moments of excessive yet inexplicable au- diovisual pleasure and not just about them. In place of a linear history that confirms conventional arguments about classical Hollywood’s standardization. Writing in 1940 “with the resignation of a ghost assigned to a haunted house. could be understood “only dimly and in flashes. unpredictable. is revealed in its multiple. he wrote quirky. marginalized. Much less has been said by film historians about those alluring moments and the unexpected pleasures they afford. Instead of trying to find a rational narrative. or repressed in the totalizing account of classical cinema”?95 Cinephiliac historiography allows us to explore those moments that exceed the bounds of the standardized system as well as the limits of standard histories. it explores four instances where the studio system reveals itself to be excessive. we can uncover alternative views of the studio era. then Hollywood. marginal traces. the capital of the nineteenth cen- tury.

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. Robert Spa doni. The silent cinema. the sound cinema. Ever son. and it continued to do so until Hollywood and its audiences learned to adjust to the new films. peaked late. Uncanny Bodies . . American Silent Film The mechanical marvel that astonished and disturbed viewers at the start of cinema history astonished and disturbed them again thirty years later. W illia m K. progressing steadily. .In a strange. convoluted way. learning from the silent. peaked early. the period of motion pictures most dominated by technology and profit considerations also became one of the most creative periods in all film history.

Narratively. She may be curious about their presence. where she claims to have slept through the bang of the original gunshot that killed her husband. Her defense. the two detectives fix their gaze on her. but she remains ostensibly unconcerned. ignoring with characteristic Garboesque poise the figures who saunter about her room and pretend to gather additional data.” two officers go up to Irene’s bedroom. while a quick crosscut shows the officer downstairs raising his gun in the air and firing a shot. while a third officer waits in the study downstairs. The silent shot is first marked by the rising note in back- ground music. for which she is charged and nearly convicted. but having no concrete evidence to prosecute her. its reverberations register in multiple ways. Still. Irene lies on her chaise lounge reading. the Lyonnais police scheme to fire another shot and use her unsuspect- ing visceral response to it to challenge her tale of the night of the mur- der. After timing their sonic reconstruction for “exactly three-fifteen. Then a cut reveals an immensely startled Irene (Figure 1.1). on e Sonic Booms 1929 and the Sensational Transition to Sound “Di d You H e a r t h e Shot?” Although the second gunshot is not heard. its startling boom causes far-reaching upheaval. ready to aurally recreate the sound of the crime. Unlike the explosion that kills Guarry (Anders Randolf) – that initial shot functions as one of the film’s only two sound effects – this second shot remains diegetically unheard. At the prearranged moment. her loss of composure at the sound of the simulated gunshot exposes her involvement in Guarry’s murder. Convinced that Irene Guarry (Greta Garbo) has shot her husband. that she did not hear the shot 33 .

1929). And yet. as well as her clandes- tine affair with André Dubail (Conrad Nagel).” The boom of the initial gunshot is thus attributed to the crash of the stock market. All of France seems to be in uproar over the socialite’s trial. is not surprising at a time when the industry is experiencing a . and whether or not the protagonist hears it. who discloses that Guarry was “on the verge of bankruptcy” and therefore “utterly depressed. Irene is exonerated. that killed her husband the night before. Tumult over a single gunshot. the young son of her husband’s business associate.1. which threatens to divulge her innocent liaison with Pierre Lassalle (Lew Ayres). is viscerally disproved.34 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 1. her current lawyer. Jacques Feyder. While the film itself returns comfortably to silence. After some visible clamor in the courtroom. it remains striking because it is so unnervingly excessive. But Irene is acquitted by the testimony of her husband’s business partner Lassalle (Holmes Herbert). The Kiss (dir. the mo- ment when Irene is physically shaken by sound lingers for me.

Irene Guarry’s stunned response to the simulated gunshot mirrors Hollywood’s own startled reaction to the quick success of Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer (1927) and the ensuing rapid conversion to sound technology. Michael Curtiz’s Noah’s Ark (1928). “Novelty is always welcome. many in Hollywood had insisted that sound would not dramatically disrupt filmmaking prac- tices. watched in astounded silence. that focus keenly on the effects of sound. Jacques Feyder’s The Kiss (1929) is not unlike other films made during the transition era.” as William K. The success of Vitaphone at Warner Bros. Everson suggests. and John G. when all of Hollywood’s power players. “thunderous clapping finally brought the houselights up. when so many films were neither wholly silent nor completely talkies.” but Goldwyn’s wife Frances Howard recalls seeing “‘terror in all their faces’ – the fear that ‘the game they had been playing for years was finally over.” sound became a cen- tral. sent all of Hol- lywood into a temporary panic. element of the diegesis. on his honeymoon with Norma Shearer.1 In a sense. not incidental. and when many others were originally “conceived as pure silents. between 1926 and 1929. Perhaps it was never too early to begin worrying about the collapse of the studio system.2 In Samuel Goldwyn’s biography. the astounding impact of sound was undeniable. the arrival of sound was “‘the most impor- tant event in cultural history since Martin Luther nailed his theses on the church door.’” Before that opening night. During the conversion years. W. “but talking pictures are just a passing fad. D.”4 But after The Jazz Singer became a sensation at the box office.”3 Irving Thalberg also did not ap- pear rattled when.” he dismissively argued. Son ic Boom s 35 startling conversion to sound. The effects were not just psychological . For Frances. Scott Berg recounts the Los An- geles premiere of Crosland’s film. such predictions were quickly dropped. using this premiere night as her novel’s opening scene. Griffith claimed that talkies were “impossible” and insisted that they would soon be “abandoned. Blystone’s Thru Different Eyes (1929). reporters asked him about the possibility of talkies on the horizon.’” Frances would later contemplate writing a murder mystery set in Hollywood. Even if we allow Frances Howard some gratuitous hysteria. A. and then later “given last-minute doctoring to include long and usually unnecessary [sound] sequences. At the end. including the Goldwyns and Irving Thalberg. like Roy Del Ruth’s The First Auto (1927).

conversion was nearly complete within two years because “so much did the public love the novelty of the sound film that the best- made silent film could not compete at the box office with the worst. some careers are de- stroyed. built over a 15-year period.” But it is soon integrated into filmmaking.” adopted by the studios because it offers “a usable retell- ing of the incidents. But film historians have naturally been circumspect about such an orderly. Aida Hozic notes that retrofitting for sound may have cost approximately $10. That is the version of the arrival of sound. as a “sensation. The best known among them. conversion is represented as a success story. sets up this narrative. To be sure. and other stars fade – many due to their own inability to memo- rize scripts or sound wholesomely middle-American. With all the hysteria tamed. and the talkies were standardized within the studio system. classical tale. Sound is seen. that Hollywood has created for itself in films about the period of transition. 5 Douglas Gomery suggests that the investments might have ranged from $23 million to $50 million.”8 So how do we think about the “complicated parts” of the transition from silent cinema to complete synchroniza- . expansion. Overall. competition. in addition to exorbitant millions spent on sound stages and new theaters nationwide. and the stylistic maneuvering that had modified cinema practice. thus revolutionizing the business and making movies better than ever. Hollywood is at first shocked and rocked by the popularity of sound. Singin’ in the Rain’s faultless optimism about and faith in the studio system might be understandable. conversion came to be seen as sound business practice. after the deafening applause received by The Jazz Singer. surpassed by Lloyd Bacon’s The Singing Fool (1928) a year later. silent films had become a relic of the past. most clumsily crafted ‘talkie. omitting the complicated parts about capitaliza- tion.’”7 By 1930 or so. as the producer tells Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly). from chaos to standard- ization. As Marilyn Fabe argues. were valued at only $65 million. Made at a time when Hol- lywood was facing a significant threat from a rival medium. however.36 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s but also financial. sound became just another addition to naturalistic filmmaking in Hollywood. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Donald Crafton calls it the “‘revolu- tion’ scenario. numbers that appear even more amazing when considering that “the original studios.”6 However.000 per theater.

it was anticipated for many years. While Gom- ery’s insistence that the addition of sound was a purely business decision. sound could not have caused such upheaval because silent and sound cinema are not so different after all. If anything. and a global colossus known to the world as simply Hollywood. and Thompson have argued. sound as sound. Douglas Gomery has insisted that any notion of upheaval during the transition is fully misguided.9 More- over. causing no uproar in the studio backlots. was inserted into the already-constituted system of the classical Hollywood style. Son ic Boom s 37 tion? More importantly. media scholars and historians have sought mostly to demystify Hollywood’s version of the happy transition from turmoil to standardization.”10 That is to say. and by 1927 it was inevitable. But need we consider the moment of con- version in such starkly opposing terms? While sound may not necessar- ily have been “akin to a cinematic earthquake. “was not a radical alter- native to silent filmmaking. film history has generally opted for thinking of Hollywood’s conversion to sound more or less in terms of integration into the studio system rather than hysterical pandemonium. sound technology was wholly and relatively smoothly incorporated into the studio aesthetic. not confusion or disarray. Rather. “Sound cinema. Staiger. the collection of more revenues. Scott Eyman’s argument that “as 1927 became 1928.” they contend. Gomery maintains that “there was no chaos. suggesting that sound did not hit Hollywood like a bolt of light- ning with the premiere of The Jazz Singer. as a material and as a set of technical procedures. as James Lastra suggests.”12 Is it not more likely that sound. may be an overstatement.” the narrative of smooth conversion. More recently. the limitless bowl of blue sky that habitu- ally hovered over Los Angeles was about to start falling on explorer and homesteader alike” is usually discounted as being too hyperbolic. the addition of sound only further streamlined and stan- dardized the assembly-line mode of filmmaking. many have argued against the “chaos” theory. Focusing entirely on the economic aspects of the transition to sound. Thus. although anticipated and rapidly integrated. but a consolidation of economic power. Indeed. also did arrive rather capriciously and sometimes riotously? .”11 Profits and mergers are Gomery’s key words. how do we evaluate the sensation caused by sound? In the last three decades. “appears this tidy only in retro- spect. as Bordwell.

So. becomes so rattled that she virtually jumps out of her skin. industrial. Sound. as expected. Disregarding both conventional versions. Crafton suggests. we might say that Irene Guarry’s startled reaction to the silent gunshot in The Kiss demonstrates that sound caused a somatic sensation. it was no revolution overthrowing the previous regime. as a bodily response.17 If not as expected. instead of the technological. that preoccupies this chapter. how did sound behave? Based on this chapter’s opening cinephiliac moment. a carefully executed changeover. The talkies did not attract more sophisticated audiences.38 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Donald Crafton argues that. long known for her poise. More recently. “was more like an experiment that produced unexpected results. as expected. at the other extreme. and socioeconomic effects of sound. Michel Chion has noted “the variety of experimentation going on” during the conversion. her stunned response becomes especially intriguing if we see it as an allegory of Hollywood’s sensational transition to sound. Although the conversion was swift. Silent films did not continue to be made alongside the talkies. What draws me to it is that Garbo. during this transitional moment. evoked during the conversion era? To put it differently. Stars who spoke with European or non-American accents were not instantaneously rejected. Crafton emphasizes how most of Hollywood’s own predictions about sound did not come true. sound is regarded not only as aural or visual but also carnal. Indeed. during the transition era. as many studio insiders had feared. sound did not behave as Hollywood expected. as expected.”15 It is this notion of sound as an experiment. how do we think about that other sense of sensation. Crafton suggests that “there was neither a chaotic upheaval nor.”16 But he does not fully explore the effects of those films. how do we ex- . neither wholly silent nor wholly sound. Instead. Not enough attention has been paid to this aspect of the transition between 1926 and 1929.”13 He does accept that the distinction between silence and sound is not so clear cut and that “the concept of a dividing line between antediluvian silent cinema and the modern talkies was coscripted by the industry and the media. almost a kind of gamble.”14 Crafton also rebuffs the notion of an insurgency or a revolt. What lingers for me is the feeling that. but his analysis also does not elaborate the specific forms of such experimenta- tion. Everson observes that conversion-era films are “a vast no-man’s land of hybrid produc- tions.

listened in. chronicling John the Savage’s retreat to a lighthouse in the countryside. tried the effect of a little amplification.18 This final cinematic image in Huxley’s novel brings the text’s cri- tique of mass culture to a close. making them what Mustafa Mond. . From his hiding place in the woods. where The Savage of Surrey becomes an enormous hit. they find his limp body hang- ing in the lighthouse archway. Bonaparte captures his subject’s every feral move. And cinema bears the brunt of the attack.” The film is released twelve days later. the groans. mean- while. switched over. While Huxley’s novel is most often noted for his dystopian imagining of a future where human beings are mass- produced and conditioned for lives of conformity and consumption. to the blows. Darwin Bona- parte shoots The Savage of Surrey. they are so awed by his performance that they whip themselves into a frenzy and devolve into a mass orgy of soma and sex. crowds gather outside the Savage’s lighthouse to ogle him. when filmmakers were still experimenting and gambling with sound and its effects? Bodi ly Sensations Near the end of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). . to show motion (an exquisitely comical effect. and feel the pictures. the grand controller for . the wild and raving words that were being recorded on the sound-track at the edge of his film. like two unhurried compass needles” that have lost all sense of direction. it also offers a withering account of how popular culture contributes to the mind-numbing zombification of individuals. followed by his riotous self-flagellation routine. Patrons at the feely-palaces are able to see. he promised himself). Soon. for half a minute. . hear. The crowd’s hysterical response no doubt parallels the audience’s experience at all the feely-palaces. Son ic Boom s 39 plore Hollywood’s visceral reaction to the aural innovation? And what does the corporeal functioning of sound tell us about the transition era. One morning. because in the form of “feelies. This is how Huxley describes the master film- maker: “He kept his telescopic cameras carefully aimed – glued to their moving objective. his feet dangling “very slowly. when the gawking throngs return to see the Savage.” it offers titillating pleasures that lull the consciousness and lead to artistic and cultural degeneration.

.” Three Weeks in a Helicop- ter is. all dancing” feature. His dangling. “Huxley opposes meaning to sensation and pleasure. but it is the feelies that provide “‘a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience. looking for the next thrill in their soma ration or games or unrestrained. quite still. no desire for digging deep for mean- ing. “‘But they don’t mean anything. directionless feet are a somber reminder of the fatal effects of sensational distractions. the brave new world has chosen “‘between happiness and what people used to call high art. high art is sacrificed to transitory pleasures that placate the public and dampen their conscious- ness. regards as “works of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.”20 Their immersion in the film. however.40 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Western Europe. There is no distance for intellectual analysis. is purely superficial.’” Of course Othello is better. which MGM had advertised as an “all talking. the pictures are no more than fluff.’”22 Thus. who has been raised as an outcast on a res- ervation in New Mexico and is an outsider in the “brave new world.” and Lenina Crowne go to the feelies to see Three Weeks in a Helicopter – a perfectly inane film about a “negro” falling in love with a “Beta blonde. Mond concedes. ever more feebly. Soon “the last stereoscopic kiss [has] faded into darkness.’” he later protests to Mond.”23 This is why it is tragic indeed when John the Savage ultimately becomes a victim of mass entertainment. a key scene crystallizes this critique of cin- ema when John the Savage. quivers. who argues that in opting for stability. the last electric titillation died on the lips like a dying moth that quivers. in this dystopian future.” At the feely-palace. colour ed. in his critique of popular culture. they quiver “with almost intolerable galvanic pleasure. polygamous copulation. ster eoscopic feely. all sing- ing. sy nthetic- ta lking. “a n a ll-super-singing. Earlier in the narrative.”19 In other words. This is why John the Savage criticizes the feelies as horrid. ever more faintly. when the audience grabs hold of the metal knobs on the arms of their cinema chairs. and at last is quite.” 21 The audience leaves the feely-palace dutifully. as the ad claims in a parody of Harry Beaumont’s The Broadway Melody (1929). As Laura Frost astutely observes.” kidnapping and ravishing her in the skies for three weeks until she is rescued by “three handsome young Alphas. providing a form of mass entertainment similar to hypnosis or intoxica- tion via the soma drug.

films that one can not only see and hear but also feel. as it is produced today. Potamkin called cinema “no more than a physical attack. the kinds that offer physical stimulation but nothing else. has further lowered the level of this physical attack. I felt ashamed of myself for listening to such things. for even being a member of the species to which such things are addressed.” Arguing that “their acceptance marks the most spectacular act of self-destruction that has yet come out of Hollywood. and there is no telling how well he was able to watch movies. the feelies. Writing in Close Up. Huxley may have been particularly provoked by sound because he went nearly blind at the age of sixteen. his critical emphasis was on sound as a vulgarizing. sagging melody. As Laura Frost notes. Son ic Boom s 41 Taken literally. “to the circus from whence it came.”25 Early sound cinema became associated with base forms of spectacle.” Betts equated the talkies with artistic decay. Potamkin went one step further. But what is truly notewor- thy about Huxley’s critique of sensory cinema is how closely it echoes his review of the talkies. that greasy. A.” suggesting that “the talking film.”27 Interestingly.” “My flesh crept.”26 Such bodily responses suggest that early sound cinema was regarded by cultural critics on both sides of the Atlantic not merely as a novelty but also as a somatic disrup- tion. Huxley noted his horror at experiencing Al Jolson sing “My Mammy. these reactions to the new raucous attractions cranking out sensory delights and terrors offer “unexpected insight into a time when cinema’s technological innovations were not just observed but were truly felt. But he was not alone in aligning early sound cinema with corporeality at this time. “The film now returns.” he lamented. What alarmed him were the bodily sensations offered by the embodied experience of watching the talkies during the transition to sound. “as the loud-speaker poured out those sodden words.” he maintained. remain a futuristic fabrication. Huxley was appalled by the advent of sound cinema. In “Silence Is Golden. Rather. Like him. sensational addition to cinema. they also serve as a reminder of the . among the freaks and fat ladies.” written at the height of the talkie rage. H.”24 It should be noted that Huxley wasn’t primarily offended by Jolson’s blackface rendition and its racial implications. Just as John the Savage was creeped out by the feelies. Ernest Betts claimed that “there is something monstrous about a speaking film.

”28 These comments focus on the thrill rides of Coney Island. Whereas it used to be regarded as “the machine in which the self lived. without attendant sacrifice of life and limb. and cultural capital.42 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s critical responses to early cinema. and so- cioeconomics. they provide “all the sensation of being carried away by a cyclone. “For the insignificant expenditure of five cents. financial. but also in “In the Penal Colony” and “A Hunger Artist. and the rise of consumer culture. neurological. although they might apply to any aspect of modern life. But they also became the site where “the raw embryonic elements of physical sensation and mechanical invention were tested. subjecting it to new modes of per- ception. While the railroads had made Coney Island a beach resort after the Civil War. psychology. and with a perceptual. mechanization.”29 By turning the potential for physi- cal violence into a source of rousing pleasures. urbanization.” he suggests. Coney Island epitomized modernity’s emphasis on hyperstimulus and its attention to the body. Modernity revitalized the body. Consider an observer’s reflections on the new amusements defining America’s budding popular culture in the late nineteenth century. they link the conversion to sound to the nervous stimulations of early cinema – and to the sensory excesses of modernity itself. when viewers were also terrorized by the strange materiality of the cinematic image. it quickly emerged as an amusement destination for the masses.” And it is this new body that became particularly sensitive to the shocks of modernity – the jolts of rapid industrialization. The very notion of what a body means underwent drastic change over the course of the nineteenth century. Most importantly. the modern body was reconceived as capricious and pen- etrable. once the Brooklyn Bridge (completed in 1883) connected Brooklyn with Manhattan. It is also this mutable body that Franz Kafka addressed. and performative apparatus. particularly in The Metamorphosis. incor- porating evolutionary survivals. For these changes not only marked the coming of modernity but also signified . the body “became a more contingent mechanism.”30 In place of a stable entity with well-defined boundaries. It is this redefined. Located on the outer edge of the seat of America’s industrial. representation. Coney Island’s amusement rides were the epitome of fun and frolic at the turn of the century. and commodification. almost borderless body that Edouard Manet’s work focused on.” due to a series of advances in medicine.

A feeling of disorientation and continual danger became a condition of modernity itself. streets broken through and stopped. propped by great beams of wood. As Wolf- gang Schivelbusch has noted. which was now characterized by a daily assault on old certainties and a barrage of new stimuli – or what Georg Simmel called the “rapid crowding of changing images.” then “automobiles and fire-arms rav- aged society. It also carried the potential for bodily trauma. Charles Dickens was already writing about such train terrors. Controversial new scien- tific ailments called the “railway spine. Son ic Boom s 43 an alteration of everyday experience. which promised to tear through the natural landscape and create a trail of disaster. enormous heaps of earth and clay thrown up.”32 But the railroad wasn’t merely a threat to the old neighborhood or countryside. and the “railway brain. until it became a “natural” element of the landscape. and the unexpectedness of onrushing impression. the railway is cast as an earthquake: “Traces of its course were visible on every side. buildings that were undermined and shaking. and the inability to exercise any influence on the running of the cars. In Dombey and Son (1848). disorienting. there was a general sense of peril associated with rail travel. Quoting a traveler from 1845.”34 Even walking around the metropolis was not possible . In the 1840s. Even though steamboat accidents killed many more people. Schivelbusch suggests that “that anxiety can be explained by the always ‘close possibility of an accident. the sharp discontinuity in the grasp of a single glance. deep pits and trenches dug in the ground. Henry Adams observed.”31 The slow and steady pace of daily life was displaced by a more chaotic.” thought to be the psychological impact of rail accidents. this feeling of being endangered was prompted by the rail- ways. railway crashes became sensational in the nineteenth cen- tury because the former were typically considered acts of God whereas the latter became a circumstance of modernity. and frantic experience where life seemed to be in perpetual peril. “approached the carnage of war.” thought to be the result of spinal injury caused during rail accidents. Initially.’”33 Such anxiety was not entirely unwarranted. since railway collisions were not an infrequent occurrence. were hotly debated in the latter half of the century. Houses were knocked down. Such psychological disorders were not limited to victims of railway accidents. If the railways.

trade. cre- ated an environment where the individual was always at risk of bodily harm – as if he or she were perpetually on one of the Coney Island rides.”35 The masses filling the cities themselves provided unnerving shocks too. they replicated those shocks.44 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s without being jolted by a plethora of sensory alarms. and hybridization of people and all other social things as they spread out within and across cultures via the media. the “thrill” became a defining characteristic of modern entertainments. and. uniformity. Moving through traffic.”36 Such mobilization of subjects. like the energy from a battery. for a meager nickel. after cinema was no longer feared like the devil. and other forms of social contact. advertisements. where. “In L’Arrivée d’un Train.” Ben Singer argues. tourism. coming from the background of the screen. Unlike “the rela- tive isolation. and other diversions.”37 Apocryphal tales of spectators shrieking and running for cover at the Grand Café in Paris in December 1895 and after are by now quite familiar. “modern mobility and circulation entailed the unprec- edented diffusion. It has become commonplace to think of early cinema in terms of a series of thrills. while being distracted by billboards. All of these elements combined to make it impossible to disengage from the hustle and bustle of modernity. migration. interpenetration. combined with the speed of technologi- cal innovations and the sensationalism of popular entertainments. who jumped in shock. Among the earliest spectators who advanced this account was Maxim Gorky. In fact. as they feared get- . became treacherous for any individual who felt “nervous impulses flow through him in rapid succession. early cinema became the apogee of such entertainments. Instead of providing respite from the hyperkinetic shocks of modernity. “the locomotive. And this is what is most intriguing about popular amusements in the late nineteenth century. blending anxiety and exhilaration as well as commodifying and thereby trying to provide a coping mechanism for the visceral jolts of modernity. rushed toward the spectators. as sev- eral scholars have pointed out. or what Tom Gunning has called “an aesthetic of aston- ishment.” he argued.” Many years later. Georges Sa- doul was still elaborating this founding legend. whose 1896 review of a program of Lumière shorts addressed how terrifying it was to see “the movement of shadows. and continuity of traditional societies. “all the sensation of being carried away by a cyclone” could indeed be experienced.

interrupt. whose invest- ment in cinema was temporal and whose interest was in following the narrative thread of the film. from dance films . was characterized by what Miriam Hansen calls “an excess of appeals. Porter’s Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show (1902). he leaps out of its path and back into his box. terrified of an oncoming train in the next short film. Uncle Josh’s catalog of earlier films replicates the variety format that was the staple of early cinema. Uncle Josh nevertheless demonstrates that early film spectatorship. which encapsulates the varied and contradictory pleasures of early cinema spectatorship. much like the instantaneous jolts of modernity. credulous audience “submit- ting passively to an all-dominating apparatus. Uncle Josh’s viewers were seduced and over-stimulated by the heterogeneity of its subject matter. Son ic Boom s 45 ting run over. which were in fact scenes from earlier Edison films. before the institutionalization of narrativity. As Gunning has maintained. before the birth of the classical spectator. apparently agitated. Rather than a mythical. That is because early cinema drew inspiration from vaudeville and other variety entertainments that were hugely popular at the turn of the century. At any given screen- ing. Consider Edwin S. as though they were revelers at the thrill rides at Coney Island. early viewers went to the movies for a differ- ent sort of pleasure. jumping out of his the- ater box to interact with. in order to connect them to the thrills of early sound cinema. While the spectator of the film is assumed to be more sophisticated than the spectator in the film.”40 It was not only voyeuristic but also kinesthetic. then.”38 But while the physical danger posed to or imagined by its initial spectators may have been exaggerated. In fact. one could see a range of film genres or subgenres.” Gunning distinguishes early spectators for their immersion in a series of sensational instants. The infamous country rube mistakes the short films flickering onscreen for actual actualités. the mul- tiple films-within-a-film. there is no denying that early cinema’s impact was indeed both visual and visceral. finally. or immerse himself into the scenes. Instead of a linear narrative. At first. 39 It is specifically these bodily thrills of early films that I want to focus on for a moment. unfolded like a series of jolts. he attempts to thwart the love-making of a country couple but succeeds only in tearing down the movie screen and engaging in a fight with the projectionist hiding behind it. Uncle Josh (Charles Manley) tries to mimic and dance with a Parisian dancer.

as if it might crash into the audience. Hansen cites an early review of this film that captures its embodied appeal: “The spectator was not an outsider watching from safety the rush of the cars. While these films represented the era’s worst fears. appar- ently provided by the Pennsylvania Railroad. modernity’s perils into visceral pleasures. Drawing on Freud’s work on anxiety as a protective shield against potential trauma. That is perhaps why one of the most popular genres at this time was the phantom ride film.”41 That is how early cinema came to be understood and ex- perienced as a visceral medium. and surprises. Hepworth’s How It Feels to Be Run Over (1900). which placed the viewer at the edge of his or her seat and seemingly in the path of danger. In addition to the variety format. an automobile comes hurtling toward the camera. crash into each other.” Hansen notes.46 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s to travelogues to comedies to boxing matches to military parades. early films’ content often directly simulated the body blows of modern life. Porter’s Railroad Smashup (1904).” he suggests. In Edwin S. “Man’s need to expose himself to shock ef- fects. Biograph’s A Mighty Tumble (1901) shows the dramatic demolishment of a building in New Jersey. a mobilization of the viewer’s attention through a discontinuous series of attractions. “If the traditional arts required an extended contemplation of and concentration upon a singular object or event. they also offered a kind of respite from those terrors. an impending car ac- cident or controlled building explosion or train collision was more than a visual delight. restaging. Walter Benjamin has argued that cinema offered a kind of training for dealing with the shocks of modernity. In Cecil M. This new format changed the way images were experienced. “is his adjustment to the dangers threatening him. Biograph’s Through the Haverstraw Tunnel (1897) is the perfect example of this genre. He was a passenger on a phantom train ride that whirled him through space at . Of course. wherein a camera was secured to the front of a moving vehicle in order to replicate the kinesthetic sensation of moving through space. a catastrophe widely feared at this time.”42 So the sensations provided by these films helped viewers adapt to the shocks of everyday life. offering momentary shocks that caused bodily sensations. as Coney Island did. two trains. “the variety format promised a short-term but incessant sensorial stimulation. shocks.

multi-shot films that told stories gained in popularity after 1903.” and Lynne Kirby suggests that “‘shock’ was the very basis of its appeal. Moreover. gave way to linear causality. for instance. A portion of Porter’s Railroad Smashup. which further standardized filmmaking and led to the establish- ment of the vertically integrated studio system. The emphasis in these films clearly shifted from visceral thrills to narrative closure. multi-reel films called “features” became the norm. But this exhibitionist thrill of early cinema. and exhibition. distribution. Due to a number of interconnected developments in production.”43 What might prompt early spectators to want to endure and even enjoy this catastrophic feeling? Robert C. Allen has argued that the phantom ride film was “designed to produce an almost physiological thrill. where the protagonist passionately kisses unsus- pecting women and is later chased by a group of bystanders.” 44 If any early spectators ever shrieked at the arrival of Lumière’s train. the establish- ment of nickelodeons. which in- corporated the forward momentum of narrativity. For instance. intensified competition between the studios. Porter’s Jack the Kisser (1907). the rush of invisible force and the uncertainty of the issues made one instinctively hold his breath as when on the edge of a crisis that might become a catastrophe. Son ic Boom s 47 nearly a mile a minute. By the early 1910s. The earlier film’s sensational energies were thus contained within a larger narrative. reappeared in another film. the fear is real and palpable. and the increasing use of complex editing techniques all contributed to the shift away from the disruptive effects of early shorts and the emergence of naturalistic narrative principles that controlled (and sometimes repressed) such effects. As Lee Grieveson and Peter Krämer suggest. as “the shadows. The settling of copyright disputes. new genres that drew on the continuity principle emerged. although now it was used to tell the longer tale of a robbery gone awry. longer. the most popular among them being the chase film. as is well known.” During this ride. the rising influence of theater and fiction rather than vaudeville. Rounding Up the Yeggmen (1904). draws on the chase within the context of the romantic comedy. the production of features “depended on the in- troduction of continuity scripts serving as detailed blueprints to be used . This does not imply that earlier popular genres disappeared. then within a few years it is clear that they welcomed such shocks.

DeMille’s films. when a nurse’s blunder results in her overdosing on sleeping potion. “sensed in periodic doses of non-narrative spectacle given to audiences (musicals and slapstick comedy provide clear examples).47 These are moments that provide “an underground current flowing beneath narrative logic and diegetic re- alism. as Hollywood established itself as the domi- nant film industry worldwide. If cinema had caused visceral sensations before. her parents realize the error of their ways. the thrills that so delighted cinema’s earliest audiences popped up from time to time in otherwise standard narrative films. violence. as Gunning has himself noted. the aesthetic of astonishment did not entirely disappear after the institutionalization of narrative film- making. the success of the narra- tive depended on linear causality leading to resolution. and the rise of the central producer sys- tem.” André Bazin charac- teristically asks “if the technical revolution created by the sound track” in .”46 To this list.” 45 By the mid to late teens. Gwendolyn (Mary Pickford) is ignored by her rich parents. heightened emotionality or melodrama. a more layered hierarchy and greater power for company executives.”48 But the moments that Gunning outlines are arguably intended for bodily stimulations. or moments of couture extravagance in Cecil B. were expectedly thrilling. which will be discussed in the next chapter. although suppressed by the establishment of narrative filmmaking. we might add moments of action. and adhered strictly to principles of unity. At the begin- ning of “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema. offered conflict based on character relationships. A film like Maurice Tourneur’s The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917) demonstrates how classical narration functioned.48 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s by all production personnel. Still. In a film such as Tourneur’s. Rather. There was no more room for the disruptive jolts of modernity. What is more intriguing is that early cinema’s visceral delights and disturbances. they appeared to be successfully buried by classical narration. who are only interested in enhancing their social status. involving greater division of labor between production personnel. and spectacular sights. After all. instances of spectacular pleasure of- fered by Rudolph Valentino films. and all ends well. reap- peared rather unexpectedly during the transition to sound. the product generated as a result of this standardization typically followed narrative continuity meticulously. which Gaylyn Studlar addresses.

by visible movement. convincing Warner Bros. Edison attempted to combine the phonograph with cinema. but nothing came of his experiments. and his own brother Abe had declared the talkies bunk. Each (failed) innovation was merely a bet or a gamble. and by logical extension. rattled viewers and filmmakers alike. Benjamin outlines the figure . In the beginning. But. The failures of these apparatuses had as much to do with their inherent inefficiencies as with the fact that their outcomes could not be standardized. Son ic Boom s 49 the late 1920s meant that we had witnessed “the birth of a new cinema. the notion that “Warners was broke and thus gambled on talkies” is a myth. W. as Hollywood experimented with aural techniques and tried to incorporate them into the classical narrative.”49 For Bazin. but its synchronization effects were not consistent. which was nothing more than a novelty. articulate or not. the conversion to sound appears to have been a sure thing. before and during the transition. the answer is no – hence Bazin’s case for historical continuity between silent and sound cinema. which is why the bodily stimulations of early cinema recurred and. 51 In fact. the gamble on talkies can be traced all the way back to the invention of cinema itself. Even D. for a brief time. and Erwin Panofsky’s suggestion that “the sound. realistic narrative tradition. as for most critics since. In a sense. cannot express any more than is expressed. Sam Warner decided to take a chance on sound. and the Cinephone. In 1913. at the same time. and hence it was not widely successful. sound becomes just another subordinate element in the classical. in the first decade of the twentieth century.. Then. But during the transition. Norton gambled on devices like the Chronophone. to invest in Vitaphone – or so the story goes. inventors like Leon Gaumont and E. E. the Cameraphone. Ga m bling w ith History Although all the major studios had eschewed experiments with sound. Edi- son’s Kinetophone appeared promising. whose effects could not be replicated. resembles Walter Benjamin’s sketch of gambling as a series of mostly disconnected yet thrilling events.”50 Seen retrospectively. as Gomery shows. Hollywood’s gamble with sound. which was not too fiscally stable. Griffith wagered on sound for Dream Street (1921). sound was a gamble.

because what these betting moments offer are fleeting stimuli that resemble the shocks of modernity. The preliminary thrill of gambling. gambling began to take hold among the bourgeoisie and the working classes.”52 Gambling became an enormously popular cul- tural practice in the nineteenth century. “the ball now rolling. His travels have no purpose. he pauses spontaneously to respond to “the magnetism of the next street- . He must instead give himself over to the thrill of the game and respond to bodily stimulation. looking for moments of rapture. By the middle of the century. as Susan Buck-Morss notes. The gambler cannot use his previ- ous knowledge or skills of observation and analysis to win a bet.” Benjamin quotes Anatole France.”55 That is why Benjamin thinks of gam- bling as a visceral experience. His bets are placed at the last possible minute. Initially. aristocratic society. But. of course. His bets are spontaneous. castles and manors lifting heavenward their pointed turrets and fretted roofs. “The gambler’s reaction to chance.”54 But gambling is about much more than money. The real thrill of gam- bling is the gambler’s encounter with shock: “It is the mingling of terror with delight that intoxicates. The flâneur wanders aimlessly through the Parisian streets. That is why Benjamin compares the gambler to the flâneur and the factory worker. Benjamin is not interested in “the social history of gambling as a pastime among ruling classes” or its effects on the masses. 53 Rather. is financial. will give the player parks and gardens. it was associated with the excesses of elite.50 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s of the gambler in order to trace “the disintegration of coherent experi- ence in modern life. “is more like that of the knee to the ham- mer in the patellar reflex. Gambling enables Benjamin to speculate on the passing of time during the industrial revolution – what he calls the “phantasmagoria of time” – and the gambler becomes a crucial figure for analyzing the bodily sensations of modernity. he is intrigued by the sociohistorical form of gambling and how it represents the fleeting experience of mo- dernity. “Perhaps the next card turned. not reason. fields and forests.”56 It is almost as if the gambler is constantly at the edge of the precipice. gambling depends on luck or chance. Here is how gambling works: it is not a systematized activity that can depend on logic or rationality. Rather. so his behavior is not analytical but reflexive.” Benjamin notes.

or visceral. the hard toil of the factory worker might seem antithetical to the thrills of gambling. of a distant mass of foliage.”57 For the flâneur as for the gambler. is not merely visual but tactile.” Benjamin argues. the camera and cameraman were placed in sound- proof. any object an actor could . As we know. gambling begins to resemble Benjamin’s privileged act of being able to “blast open the continuum of history. In that way. studio heads set out to incorporate sound into the classical mode of production. of a street name. the factory worker and the gambler rely on the thrill of fragmented experiences. “is like the so-called coup in a game of chance. Their emphasis was on using any means possible to achieve synchronization quickly and smoothly. If microphones picked up too much noise on the set. Since each bet is experienced as distinct in a series of shocks. And that is what makes gambling a productive encounter with mo- dernity. of loosing them from the contexts of experience. they were “concealed in vases. There is no sense of logical progression or development in gambling or in factory work. the factory worker replicates his previous actions. however. suggests that the two seemingly unrelated activities are connected inso- far as they both depend on repetitive. That is how we might historicize Hollywood’s transition to sound as well. Son ic Boom s 51 corner.”60 The bodily sensations of gambling enable the gambler to detach himself from the long tedium of history. like the flâneur who thrives on sporadic sensations. The case of the factory worker is slightly different. “The wager.”58 Both figures seek out tactile sensations in order to escape the mind-numbing continuum of history. Both figures only experience a series of shocks in their respective actions. automatic operations. it involves their whole sensorium. “The jolt in the movement of a machine. At first.”61 The gambler does not experience time’s linear monotony. “their reception in distraction. Benjamin.”59 In fact.” Benjamin contends. “is a means of conferring shock value on events. telephones. like that of the movie audience. the gambler is able to experience time as the material- ist historian does. he engages with history through sensational moments. If the microphones’ range was too short. Just as the gambler repeats himself with each roll of the dice or turn of the cards. immediately after the success of The Jazz Singer. unventilated booths. Rather. But neither figure gains anything from what has happened a moment before.

in his incessant insistence on repetition. during the gamble of conversion. With the addition of sound. and then to Bryan Foy’s Lights of New York (1928) and Beaumont’s The Broadway Melody. then gambling can be seen as a pretty good metaphor for the practice of filmmaking dur- ing the transition to sound. early sound films evoked bodily responses. the gambler’s resemblance to the factory worker.52 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s address without looking completely balmy. In the next section. As Robert Spadoni points out in his astute study of the uncanniness of early sound film and its influence on horror cinema. the audience experienced almost the opposite effect for a time. “the sensations that could result had the power to infiltrate and counteract impressions of the medium’s advancement toward greater re- alism. while the studios strove for en- hanced realism. The gambler is the finest figure for this transitional time because sound in Hollywood was a gamble. the transition was chaotic – and it was far from a sure thing.”62 If the variable speeds of cameras and projectors became inconvenient. Instead of absorption in the classical narrative. . drawing on the methodologies of the gambler- historian. If the gambler relies on erratic sensations of shock. the studios responded to sound’s rising popularity in the way a gambler reacts haptically to bodily sensations. Although Singin’ in the Rain would later playfully mock the process that led to synchronization. Moreover. from time to time early sound films inadvertently came to resemble the thrills of early cinema. most traditional film histories trace the transition to sound chronologically from Crosland’s Don Juan and The Jazz Singer to Lloyd Bacon’s The Singing Fool. they were standardized to twenty-four frames per second. While audiences may not have shrieked and run out of the way. However. These films had the winning formulas. Instead of standardization.”63 In that sense. as examples of part-talkies that signaled the definitive arrival of sound. In many ways. the transition era is characterized by a series of thrills or gambles. if they ever did. Viewers who were drawn to early sound films for their novelty also began to notice their strange materiality. charting an irreversible trajectory from silence to realistic sound. makes him an ideal historian for a moment when each new sound film appeared to be an experiment that jolted that machinery of the studio system. they likely responded viscerally. as examples of pictures that solidified the status of the talkies. we will locate the thrills of early sound cinema.

having broken its ties to early amusements. one that emphasizes the visceral sensations of early sound cinema and analyzes the implications of its many ruptures. In the film. Hays’s own bow to various sections of the auditorium and direct address to the camera betray early sound cinema’s self-consciousness and its temporary return to relying on theatrical techniques. In what follows. president of the Motion Picture Producers and Dis- tributors of America (MPPDA). we can gamble on their titillating sound effects to uncover a slightly different history of conversion. are hardly that different from earlier entertainments.”64 Similarly. U nsou n d Effects When Will Hays. these transitional films tried to imagine what sound could do and ended up allegorizing the sensational impact of the arrival of sound as well as resurrecting the exhibitionist thrill of early cinema. and yet he did not seem to be present. of Giovanni Martinelli’s booming performance . 1926.” he argues. to the “few seconds of the shadow. Most importantly. appeared in front of Don Juan’s premiere audience in New York on August 6. Writing about Hays’s uncanny direct address. “We have advanced. or the short films that follow. But Hays’s introduction. But his brief appearance was also meant to showcase the talkies as a clear sign of progress in the history of motion pictures. “from that few seconds of the shadow of a serpentine dancer thirty years ago when the motion picture was born. the program of early shorts that precedes the main feature recalls the variety format of early cinema as well as vaudeville. the novelty of hearing a human being speak onscreen threatens to turn Hays himself into a shadow. drawing on moments of aural cinephilia. Fitzhugh Green noted that he “seemed to be present.” cinema can now be considered a mature art. to this. Most of them were more or less failed ventures. Hays suggests that the talkies represent a cinematic evolution. In addition. he was ostensibly present to in- troduce the new Vitaphone technology. there were several others at all the studios that were experiments in sound technology. or even the part-talkie that is to be the highlight of the evening. In the absence of clear principles for incorporating sound into the narrative.” Presumably. Son ic Boom s 53 But for every successful transition film.

initially its sounds cre- ated aural disruptions.54 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 1. Alan Crosland’s Old San Francisco (1927). The film saves the major- ity of its sound effects for the climactic 1906 San Francisco earthquake. is one of several War- ner Bros. While Vitaphone bore the promise of synchronization. Old San Francisco (dir. While these films were meant to ease the transi- tion. both for audiences as well as for theaters not yet wired for sound. 1927). gambles on partial synchronization. Many films dur- ing the conversion period were released with some synchronized music and/or sound effects. they unwittingly exacerbated their aural intrusions. Mordaunt Hall wrote that “the singer’s tones appeared to echo in the body of the theatre as they tore from a shadow on the screen.”65 Thus. of “Vesti la Giubba” from I Pagliacci. early sounds were jolting. which may be seen (and heard) as an allegory of the panic generated by . released before The Jazz Singer. then the varied sound effects used in early sound films caused even more turbulence. Alan Crosland.2. If the human voice startled audiences.

Son ic Boom s 55 1. The sound of the gunshot functions as one of the first shots across the bow signaling the end of silent cinema. In the film’s prologue. compares the coming of sound to an earthquake. As James Lastra suggests. as mentioned earlier. this “gratu- . But his traditional weapon and his “Spanish honor” are no match for the captain’s gun. fires crackling. the patriarch is shot dead (Figure 1. With one loud bang. 1927). the new technology. Alan Crosland. But even before we get to the film’s climactic sequence (Figure 1. So. and its aural effect may be as jarring as that earlier visual shot fired directly at the audience in The Great Train Robbery. The film echoes the generational conflict over the technological revolution that is later popularized by The Jazz Singer. Gerald Horne. a single sonic boom exemplifies the dis- concerting effects of sound.3). and police sirens wailing are heard.2). the narrative recedes so that sound may be foregrounded. the senior Vasquez (Lawson Butt) hopes to fight off the marauding rebels under Captain Stoner (Tom Santschi) during the gold rush with his family sword. buildings collapsing. Old San Francisco (dir.3. when the sounds of people shrieking.

sound effects merely complement the visual track. where sound effects ex- ceed their narrative contexts. if Warner Bros. The First Auto dra- matizes the pandemonium caused by the transition. and even Will Hays insisted that sound represented a progressive step forward. During Hank’s horse race.56 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s itous display of sound” works to “address the audience directly – to hail them – to say. Calvert) comes to Maple City to introduce the marvelous sensa- . then that repressed returns during the transition period with a vengeance. ‘Hey! Look and listen! This is important.”67 Thus.” But it is much more than that. More than any other Vitaphone film. The appropriately named Mr. in the way it actually behaved. who becomes charmed by the arrival of the automobile at the turn of the century. For it is precisely such moments of visceral excess. The First Auto presents the arrival of sound in terms of a generational clash between traditional father Hank Armstrong (Russell Simpson). and his son Bob (Charles Emmett Mack). Hank’s horse Sloe Eyes has a stroke. H. Such is the case with The First Auto as well. who is a devoted horse racer and stable owner.’”66 Such hailing harkens back to an earlier era when the technological wonder of cin- ema was itself the “attraction. Vitaphone. these earliest moments of aural cinephilia demonstrate that.” But soon sound’s erratic energies come to the fore. Like Old San Francisco and The Jazz Singer.” Early on. coming to town. perhaps in anticipation of its replacement. Hayes (E. and cinematic pleasure momentarily di- vorces itself from plot. that now rupture the evolution of narrative cinema. submerged by the force of classical linearity. The film begins nostalgically. sound was unpredict- able and not so easily incorporated as a sonic supplement to the classical narrative tradition. As Lastra puts it. then early sound films like Old San Francisco suggest that it was also a metaphorical step back – to the days when narrative was not vital to cinema. in early sound films. narrative “clearly takes a backseat to the display of pure technological marvel. the automobile. while a large crowd cheers “hooray.. with praise for a time when “a horse was a horse” and “a nickel was still respected. the film is “a ro- mance of the last horse and the first horseless carriage. As the subtitle points out. musical beats provide the effect of galloping horses. Interestingly. if the sensational aesthetic of attractions represents the silent narrative cinema’s repressed.” Indeed.

Son ic Boom s 57 1. Hayes turns to a slide of workers posing for a photograph out- side the factory where he manufactures “three cars per month – which will soon be increased to five!” Until now.” Hayes demonstrates how the horse is destined to become “a curiosity. except for the fact that the slide is momentarily pictured upside down (Figure 1. “Everything’s speeding up. 1927). tion. but this slide causes an uproar. sending the crowd into a laughing frenzy (Figure 1.4). particularly the automobile. The sight of twenty or so men outside a factory is noth- ing unusual. What appeared to be a silent scene. of course. However. and sound has been mostly in the background.”68 The arrival of the “horseless carriage” is proof of modernity.” he claims.5). In an homage to Lumière’s Workers Leaving the Lumière Fac- tory (1895). Roy Del Ruth. and his lecture aligns the history of cinema with other technologi- cal innovations. jumps to sound effects . the crowd has been mostly incredulous. their laughter is not fully synchronized. With the help of slides that Bob volunteers to run through a “magic lantern. The First Auto (dir. with intertitles for dialogue.4.

5. Indeed. The First Auto (dir. rather disconcertingly. This is a highly self-conscious moment of the transition to sound. asynchronous laughter remains grating. and as Donald Crafton suggests. it is the asynchronous laughter that is far more jarring than the ominous shadow of a cat walking across the screen. Roy Del Ruth. a result of an actual cat walking in front of the projector.”69 Roy Del Ruth’s film tries to narrativize such instances. but the effect of instantaneous. which basically provided recorded sound on a separate disc that was to play in sync with the image track. The result. But those catcalls did not disappear with the advent of sound-on-disk. . 1927). as we see and hear in The First Auto.58 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 1. and before Vitaphone’s amplifiers. there were often problems during screen- ings. One can imagine the myriad possibilities for such delicate synchroniza- tion to malfunction. sound features had attracted only boos and heckles. “any- thing found to be jarring or disconcerting tended to be greeted with jeers or laughter. during the conversion. was disturbing. Even though films using the Vitaphone sound-on-disk technology offered far superior sound than earlier attempts. Before Don Juan.

For in place of a sustained musical score and continuous dialogue and sound effects. no bumping. The automobile. the car becomes not only a visual marvel but also a spectacle that physically threatens the entire town. in 1905. which recreated the physical experience of rail travel. Along the lines of the popular Hale’s tours. who wants “to give the town its most breathless sensation. becomes a different kind of “breathless sen- sation. As the car zigzags through town. which is now fully associated with nascent sound technology. Indeed. depending on whether an automobile is onscreen. Son ic Boom s 59 Even more discordant are the numerous jumps between the silent and sound portions of the film. the anarchic sound effects are picked up. no discordant noises” were promised by these auto tours. knocking over yard fences. Maple City’s first car is purchased by its wealthiest citizen. repeatedly reverting to silence and then back into synchronized sound. and trampling horses and poultry.” Due to its unpredictability. each aural shot is accompanied by a visual flash. Ju- lian Smith notes that “an entrepreneur tried to combine the motoring and movie-going experience via the Tim Hurst Auto Tours. “part-talkie films tend to unravel before the audience’s eyes and ears. Squire Rufus Stebbins (Douglas Ger- rard). Then.” sending tiny shockwaves through the audience and replicating the effects of such early automobile films as Hepworth’s How It Feels to Be Run Over or Alf Collins’s Runaway Match (1903). While the clanking and jingling are meant to suggest the zany antics of early au- tomobiles. when we get to the car racing sequences. Although he doesn’t try any “stunts. they also sound like gunshots firing intermittently.” 70 Unlike Old San Francisco.” 71 “No jarring.” per the instructions in the owner’s manual. running into the crowd.6. the film tries to re- produce the sensations of the phantom rides by placing the camera right behind or in front of the car itself. As John Belton has pointed out. where the cacophonous sound effects are mostly saved for the end. thrilling yet terrifying. in which an audience sat in a theater designed to look like a huge touring car and watched motion pictures photographed along the main thoroughfares of famous cities. as seen in Figure 1. Stebbins’s new ride does not behave conventionally.72 No such promises could . conversion-era films switch between silent cinema’s “background” music and sound cinema’s com- plete synchronization. The First Auto gambles with turning sound effects on and off. no jolting.

Generic cheers of “hooray” are heard from crowds dur- ing the races. As Crafton points out. The father’s plea for his son to wake up when Sloe Eyes dies is articulated only with his name “Bob!.6. and they no longer audibly belch or rattle anymore. early sound films were an admixture of partially synchronized music and sound effects . although The First Auto ends with a fantasy of standardization.” while the rest of the dia- logue switches to intertitles. Mostly monosyllabic words are heard. speech is only used “as a ‘thrill’ to surprise the moviegoer. as Hank calls it. Just as the explosion buggy.60 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 1. such a fate is far from guaranteed for the sound film. In the absence of formulated conventions. The starter of the race between the horse and the automobile exclaims “Go!. be made by The First Auto. crisscrosses the little town of Maple City and then race tracks in Detroit. The First Auto (dir. Human voices similarly stagger in and out. Roy Del Ruth.”73 So. 1927). where automobiles have become a permanent and non-threatening fixture of small towns everywhere. jolting and jarring sound effects weave in and out of the diegesis.” although the word is also repeated on the intertitle.

“Although this is a silent film. a sound-on-film recording system. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927). the Movietone sequences will be scrapped. shown with much fanfare that same evening to thousands of patrons at the Roxy theater – the stu- dio did not have as many talkies under production that year. it is typically hailed as a visual masterpiece. Belton suggests that part-talkies threatened to “transform the medium into a monstrous hybrid. and further experiments under- taken. The film’s acoustic techniques are generally discussed only in terms of how they visual- ize sound. Sunrise failed at the box office. William Fox was more cautious than Sam Warner and seemingly more focused on financial considerations. before the Movietone picture is presented as a practical commer- cial proposition. While Fox offered successful demon- strations of Movietone newsreels – most famously of Charles Lindberg’s transatlantic flight to Paris on May 20. the combination of Murnau and sound in 1927 is anything but cautious. The First Auto took in about one-third as much and was pulled after a month. a partial talkie.” Lotte Eisner argues. Murnau’s “song of two humans” is widely regarded as a paean to silent film. W. who lamented the loss of the silent film aesthetic. Son ic Boom s 61 with a few spoken words. then. Drawing on Rudolf Arnheim. A successful German Expression- ist. Ironically. “sound . Crafton notes that “Old San Francisco grossed only about half as much per seat as Don Juan.”75 Even at the end of 1927. 1927. Movietone. Intriguingly.”74 It is no wonder. and what kinds of sounds would be welcomed. how sound would be absorbed by the principles of classical narration. remained a gamble. that during the transition period. That is why William Fox decided to hedge his bets by initially subli- censing Vitaphone but also investing in its rival technology. not all sound films were wholeheartedly embraced by the public. and helped establish the use of sound-on-film rather than sound-on-disk. noting that talkies would be released by Fox “only when and if the Movietone sequences are successful. provided Fox with a much-desired prestige film. Although it was marketed as one of the earliest uses of Movi- etone.” 76 That is what makes F. Murnau was invited to Hollywood by William Fox at a time when the latter was trying to increase the profile of his studio. even more noteworthy. while it received praise from the critics. If not. a desire that also led him to wade cautiously into sound.

it is certainly inferred by the Man turning toward the window. and pounding drums.” 79 Near the end. There are three sequences in particular. are used very differently in this film.” she notes. Rather. when the Wife appears to have drowned. the Woman keeps jiggling her body frenetically to the city’s now silent beats (Figure 1. we hear honking horns. In fact. Sunrise is yet another par- tially synchronized sound film with sequences that burst into sound. but his desperate cries go unheard. . When the Woman from the City (Margaret Livingston) tries to lure the Man (George O’Brien) away from his Wife (Janet Gaynor) at the beginning of the film.” urban images flash in front of them. “Many of Mur- nau’s complex camera movements and shot compositions. which becomes particularly resonant after the arrival of sound. ruptur- . and the Woman of the City tries to seduce the Man to “come to the city.62 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s becomes perceptible everywhere through the power of the images and the eloquence and precision of the acting. lingers moments after it has been heard. she purses her lips and whistles. the husband looks for her. Sound effects. their dog starts barking violently but to us inaudibly. blaring trumpets. crucial sounds audible for the characters and visible (and thus audible) for the spectator.” 78 It is true that Murnau utilizes silence.” 77 More recently. “serve to render . Similarly. it is easy to see why Sunrise is sometimes called the epitome of silent cinema. she looks toward the camera. Melinda Szaloky has beautifully analyzed how Murnau expresses aural ideas in a silent narrative with a synchronized music track visually.7). the background music recedes. As they lie among the reeds on the moonlit shore in the country. in other words. thus visualiz- ing “a doubly silent voice: that of the (silent) conscience of a guilt-ridden man in a silent cinema. Sun- rise does not seem to be interested in realistic synchronization. before the Man takes his Wife on a boat ride where he hopes to drown her. In the visual rhythm and grace of these moments. and the sound effects go mute. where the image and sound tracks blend as well as clash. Even when the scene returns to their tranquil countryside reverie. it may be the earliest example of the sonic dialectic. . although no sound effects make her whistling audible. calls out to her. Alongside im- ages of a dizzying modern city. where sound does more than just complement the visuals. to convey acoustic signals visually. But Murnau was not making a silent film. all of them located in the city. Sound. however.

W. 1927). he breaks down. and generic voices jeering jolt the couple back to reality. and he follows her. where another couple is getting married. When they walk down a busy street.7. she tries to flee from him. ing their stealthy. after the Man fails to drown his Wife. where sounds of people cheering clash with ringing bells and clanging whistles and the noise of a squealing pig. They make their way to a church. hushed lovemaking. Finally. dissolving into an idyllic meadow. they go to an amusement park. The . where they kiss ardently – and that is when the city and its noises interject. That is. before they leave the city. As they witness a solemn ceremony. Son ic Boom s 63 1. and they reconcile. Sound also interrupts the Man and his Wife. horses braying. the oncoming traffic disappears. The noises of horns hooting. The amuse- ment park is a place of chaos. the frenzied city reasserts itself through sound. disallowing the couple to disappear in silence. F. once they get back together in the city. Murnau. When they get to the city. where asynchronous sound effects make their final assault. begging for forgiveness. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (dir.

bringing the aural carnivalesque to the horror film. like Bio- graph’s Around the Flip-Flap Railroad (1902) and Edwin S. Like Sunrise.”80 If that is the case. one that does not subordinate the aural to the visual but exploits it to draw out the visceral effects of cinema. After such successful ventures in the Expressionist tradition as Backstairs (1921) and Waxworks (1924). unlike the soothing absorption provided by classical narrative cinema. the sonic effects expect a corporeal involvement from the audience. Thus. They are remi- niscent of early city films that tried to capture the physical perils and pleasures of urban life.”81 The city sequences in Murnau’s film recreate these twists and turns with asynchronous sound. trying to burst into the peaceful haven of the country. The amusement park scene in particular is evocative of films set in Coney Island. amusement parks. turns. and tumbles.64 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s frenzied atmosphere is enhanced by the riotous sound effects that excite and exceed the narrative. like Edison’s What Happened on Twenty-Third Street (1901) and Biograph’s Lower Broadway (1902). Porter’s Rube and Mandy at Coney Island (1903). were used to “offering the moviegoer not only the voyeuristic privi- lege of looking at others as among the pleasures of both the amusement park and of the cinema but of the body connected to a device in order to produce moments of physically comical reactions and twists. then Murnau’s notion of what a sound film might be is hardly realistic. jolts. for instance. they are associated with the threatening and deafening city. The city scenes in Sunrise offer a carnivalesque energy. each time sound effects materialize in Sunrise. as Lauren Rabinovitz puts it. Like the Wife. Paul Leni’s The Man Who Laughs (1928) works in much the same way. Therefore. Molly Haskell has argued that “Murnau’s city often seems like a metaphor for the sound film. thus linking sound film to the fairgrounds. Murnau seems to imagine an alternate future for sound film. pre-narrative cinema. Le- ni’s film is mostly remembered as a silent film – Ian Conrich. they appear to have a jolting effect.82 Like Murnau. of course. Leni had been imported to Hollywood from Germany. calls it “a horror-spectacular in the twilight of Universal’s production of silent movies” – even though it’s the sound effects that make it especially terrifying. which. Carl Laemmle invited him to . the silent film. who almost leaps out of her skin at the honking of an automobile that threatens to run her over in the city. Indeed. and.

” it was absorbed by the movies. where it found a flourishing alternative cultural space. Gwynplaine is kid- napped and disfigured. was a hit. Although the film was completed in 1927. made in the “old dark house” genre. the theatrical precedent for rattling audiences with sound. The Last Warning (1929). An intertitle suggests that the fair is “a rattle for the masses to make them laugh and forget. as inappropriate and even pornographic. and he was to follow that up with an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s macabre novel. excruciating grin. like Sunrise.” Along with another abandoned child. Son ic Boom s 65 direct at Universal. who. although not too well. As Robert Spadoni suggests. its sound effects are mostly limited to scenes of large crowds. he is taken in by Ursus (Cesare Gravina).” Gaylyn Studlar has noted that the “freak show” had been a very popular form of entertainment for over half a century and enjoyed its heyday in the 1920s. something the Motion Picture News specu- lated that The Cat and the Canary might have benefited from. the blind Dea (Mary Philbin). as at the Southwark Fair. Leni’s first American film. shrieking women. howling cats. banging doors.” and the film seems determined to recreate those rattling effects for its audience as well. where the sideshow clown Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt) regales patrons with his permanently carved. it was held up by Laemmle. Rather. carrying a full load of passengers. But Leni’s film does not use sound in a conventionally terror-induc- ing manner. seems to have utilized some of these conventional techniques. merely to prove the effects of the audible screen. was “creak- ing hinges. [which] neatly . to cause any spine chilling.”83 His later sound film. a mountebank. so he may “laugh forever at his fool of a father.”84 But The Man Who Laughs uses virtually none of these devices. The Man Who Laughs was released with sound effects and music a year later. The scene begins with “an early replica of a Ferris wheel. had signed a contract with Movietone. Like so many other partial sound films from the transition era. The Cat and the Canary (1927). The son of an aristocrat who has been sentenced to death by King James II. like William Fox. if we are to go by the New York Times review by Mordaunt Hall. The three of them form a theater troupe and become a traveling “freak show.85 The Man Who Laughs is a particularly compelling example in this tradition. L’Homme qui Rit (1869). who was unimpressed with its “too many outbursts of shrieking. Although it came under fire during that decade for being “disgusting and grotesque.

Add to that the unsynchronized laughter. the sound effects momentarily recede but then erupt just as he leans in to kiss her.” Ironically.” and other “strange and weird oddities of nature on earth” are accompanied by raucous and unsynchronized sound effects of catcalls. thus complicating the term “audience. even when he laughs along with his patrons. A little later. and echoing the experiential challenges of sound cinema during the conversion era. His voice.”87 This trend continued into the early sound era. remains inaudible. who is the laughing man.” the “five-legged cow. on stage. like the monster in James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). and tooting horns of the audience. like the fren- zied carnival atmosphere in Sunrise. Gwynplaine stands mostly behind the curtain. But Leni projects sound on to the audience in this transition film. Assorted views of the “fire-proof man. hisses. Their tender moment is inter- rupted by the boorish and rowdy catcalls from outside his wagon.”86 Then. emphasis is placed on how Gwynplaine is horrified by their vocal reactions to him. When the scene cuts away to Gwynplaine and Dea contemplating marriage. interlaced with boos. who is spun into the bustle of the fair.” he suggests. He does not even grunt or groan. clank- ing bells.” which etymologically signifies the act of hearing. that becomes ghastly. once synchronized sound films became the norm. That is to say. Since Dea cannot see the audience. . all we hear is the wild laugh- ter of his spectators. in a sound film. only his horrific grin is in full view. Thomas Doherty reminds us that audiences of early cinema were used to responding audibly to the screen. likely because hearing the characters’ voices became important for comprehending the narrative. silence became the prerogative of the audience. sound in this transition film is associated with the audience (rather than specific characters). leaving audiences uncertain whether to laugh or scream. and The Man Who Laughs becomes disconcerting. and applause.66 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s captures the rotation of the ride and simulates the experience for the viewer. early audiences believed that films “deserved audible expressions of approval and reproach. And it is this silence. asking her to “hear how they laugh at [him] – nothing but a clown. Moreover. jeers. but then gradually began to fade. the Southwark Fair is shown via a montage of fairground shots. Having been influenced by “the raucous atmosphere nur- tured in the vaudeville hall. although they come to hear Gwynplaine.

Lights of New York was a low-budget yarn about two naive barbers whose shop inadvertently ends up as a front for bootleggers. because they assaulted their audiences with bodily sensations that they were unaccustomed to. Variety roasted this cinematic milestone. That pressure might also explain Foy’s Lights of New York and Hol- lywood’s eventual move toward complete and realistic synchronization. a part-talkie came to be seen as “a horrible example of the things which might happen if this new toy is not kept within complete control. Ironically. It was widely panned by critics. like the ones we’ve seen. Produced on a shoestring $23. it made over a million dollars. claiming that “this 100 percent talkie is 100 percent crude. Griffith’s The Battle of the Sexes (1928). Son ic Boom s 67 Leni’s The Man Who Laughs might be the perfect example of what Richard Barrios calls “Hollywood at its most vulnerable and sometimes most ludicrous. In his case.” became the first full talkie and paved the way for in- tegrating sound smoothly into the classical narrative. we might argue. this staid mystery’s tagline claimed that it will “thrill you! Grip you! Set you into tremors of . often as not. appropriately titled “The Roaring Twenties. W. Warner Bros.”91 But such reproaches could not keep audiences away. was far more welcome than the million-dollar gamble that was Leni’s film.”88 Such groping was especially the case at Universal. Critics were shocked that a product this “crude” would be al- lowed by Warner Bros. What started off as a Vitaphone two-reel short. not only because their novelty quickly wore off but also. a part-talkie where musical cues are perfectly synchronized with the action.”89 Since the rewiring of studios and movie theaters around the country was so expensive. where Carl Laemmle had not fully committed to sound cinema because he considered it a temporary fad. followed Lights with Roy Del Ruth’s The Terror (1928). In this atmosphere. to become the first all-talking film. this time without intertitles. “production philosophies began veering away from anything that smelled too strongly of taking chances. The public’s affection was indeed waning for part-talkies.”90 Partial talkies. As a reviewer in the Evening World reasoned. or of art. came to be regarded as too much of a gamble.000 budget. another all-talkie. groping to produce offspring that were. There was nothing sensational about it – and that was its primary appeal. both trials and errors. a film like D. hedging of bets makes some sense.

under Thalberg’s leadership. it was impossible to avoid “the rupture created by the new technology. the plan “was to let the other studios perfect the technol- ogy. although it was also meant to counter Warner’s early lead in producing talkies. did not last long. who were eager to cash in on the synchronized sound phenomenon. and Producers Distributing Company.”92 And yet. In many ways. throughout 1928 and early 1929. At MGM. It is generally regarded as a silent film. which MGM advertised as an “all talking. as terrified studio heads went ahead and sublicensed Vi- taphone during the transition phase anyway. a Variety review even sug- gested that “though this is silent it may be stronger that way than with . Upon initial release. Famous Players–Lasky. As Belton suggests in relation to Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929). whether their respective companies or theater chains were ready or not. of course. The agreement stressed the benefits of cooperating to find a suitable sound recording process. from today’s perspective. there was some wishful thinking that sound films may not entirely replace silent productions. and Louis B. Adolph Zukor. then enter later to avoid the trial and expense of initial experimen- tation. Publicly at least. Universal. Garbo startles.” But before she talks. which was to be Greta Garbo’s and MGM’s last non-talkie. studio heavyweights like Carl Laemmle. The agreement. whose draw would be that “Garbo talks. It was released at the tail end of 1929. so much so that the traits of experimentation were visible and audible throughout the conversion era. Mayer claimed that they expected to make silent and sound films. Still. you can see and hear that break in the films themselves. and plans were already underway for Clarence Brown’s Anna Christie (1930). all dancing” sen- sation as a concession that even they could no longer hedge their bets. Conversion to completely synchronized sound finally seemed like an inevitability. The Kiss is among the last of the transitional films.68 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s awe!” Like Lights. the least prepared among the major studios was MGM. the public cheered while critics rebuked it for offering no such sensory delights. They had signed the “Five-Cornered Agreement” in 1927 with First Na- tional. experimentation became unavoidable. after Beaumont’s hit The Broadway Melody.”93 That break reverberates in Feyder’s The Kiss. The only tremors it could possibly have sent was among other Hollywood studios. all singing.

Deco infuses the sets and costumes of these films. Unhappily married. Irene’s pleas on behalf of Pierre’s innocence go unheard. Son ic Boom s 69 dialog. Irene Guarry is having a hum- drum affair with André Dubail. a practice begun only a year earlier at the premiere of W. the film trundles along predictably.” Irene encourages his advances and promises to give him a photograph of her as a memento when he leaves for college. and thinks he is “just a boy. carrying “great symbolic force. and the . establishing con- gruity between heroine and decor.” a parting goodbye kiss. Soon after. with the senior Guarry clearly able to overpower the junior Lassalle. coupled with her quiet inapproachability. Comparing her with her roles in other films of the late silent era. her affiliation with the Deco style.”94 But while Garbo doesn’t speak and the dialogue is conveyed via intertitles. who returns home unex- pectedly. Of course. Before he goes. Fischer notes. This unrestrained moment is interpreted as a marital transgression by Irene’s husband. Van Dyke’s White Shadows in the South Seas (1928). marking her as both avant-garde and perilous. as the scuffle moves to Guarry’s study. Irene’s flirtation with Pierre begins harmlessly enough.97 What ensues is an altercation between the two men. In fact. Pierre asks a “big favor. But. Irene yields. Robertson’s The Single Standard (1929) in terms of theme and style. it begins with the sound of Leo the Lion roaring audibly. but Pierre grabs her and begins embracing her. Similar to Clarence Brown’s A Woman of Affairs (1928) or Sidney Franklin’s Wild Orchids (1928) or John S. everything returns to silence for a while. she breaks off their rela- tionship. languor and contemplative stillness. she begins a mostly innocent dalliance with Pierre.”95 It is within this milieu that Garbo as Guarry appears as a hieratic goddess. S.” Although she is not truly interested in him. He brings fresh energy to her tedious life “of social routine – of striving to forget. following the “strong convention” of being “a good wife” to a man she doesn’t love. add to her “air of exhaustion. except for William Axt’s musical score. her husband’s business partner’s young son. Lucy Fischer argues that Garbo be- comes an Art Deco icon. when Irene’s husband walks in on her kissing Pierre. As Irene enters the room. After the mas- cot roars.”96 But this typical tranquility is shattered midway through the film. the door closes. the film does have disc-synchronized music and two dis- ruptive sound effects.

camera tracks out. Like the gunshot that kills the patriarch in Old San Francisco. as Scott Eyman points out. this one is invisible.70 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 1. Then. by underscoring that off-screen sound is not really “off.”99 In the early sound era. as Christian Metz has suggested. with the closed door in the center of the frame. it appears disconcerting.” Its absent presence makes it feel like it is everywhere. But unlike that initial gunshot.”98 This moment crystallizes how the sensational transition to sound affected Hollywood. “spatial anchoring of aural events is much more vague and uncertain than that of visual events. and therefore not subor- dinated to. it draws attention to the fact that. the camera freezes as a shot is heard. Jacques Feyder.8. the image. “‘in’ the . Because its source cannot be immediately located and pinned down. when sound is unhinged from. The Kiss (dir. “the sound of the gun placing an emphatic period on the gliding sentence of camera movement. refusing visual access to the scene of the crime. It does not reinforce the narrative but overpowers it. highlighting. 1929). this blast is explosive and has a rattling effect.

But this jarring effect does not last long. around. is initially sensational. the sound is united with its image.9. in front. sound switches from being aggravating to being subordinate to the visual tale and therefore becomes unthreatening. If The Kiss is.” then it also bids farewell to the ambivalent transition era. this scene encapsulates the conversion to sound. as Scott Eyman suggests.8). The novelty of sound. but its thrilling effects rapidly dissipate as it is absorbed by classical narrative principles. as Irene leans over to answer the phone (Figure 1. and throughout the entire movie the- ater.101 For in Feyder’s . In a sense. ringing in the study (Figure 1. The Kiss (dir. 1929). that of a tele- phone.9). Jacques Feyder. Another swift cut reveals the source of the ringing – the senior Lassalle calling to check up on Charles Guarry. another sound pierces the narrative. behind. Son ic Boom s 71 1. A moment later. Thus.”100 The camera literally pauses to absorb its alarming impressions. Quickly. “a fitting farewell to the silent film from the studio that made the most glamorous use of it. not yet perfectly synchronized with the image. screen.

Jolting sounds surfaced infrequently. synch sound/ speech. does not speak when the phone rings.72 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s film.”105 Otherwise. Filmmakers worked hard to suppress the audience’s medium sensitivity and “played down formal expression and novel effects to construct an illusion of unified audiovisual space. as she fears. Rather. becomes liberating. speaking. sound fur- ther streamlined and standardized the classical Hollywood narrative. if at all. sound would no longer remain an auditory spectacle.104 Indeed. Irene. as in Hitchcock’s Blackmail. films tried to eliminate the “feeling of discord within. . The film ends as a comedy. After an initial burst of chaotic energy. who ultimately reveals to her lover that it is she who shot her husband and got away with it.”103 Emphasis shifted from hybrid sequences to linear narrativity. Hollywood studios were beginning to hope for such an ending to their own rocky transition to sound by marrying it syn- chronically to the well-established classical narrative tradition. By late 1929. silence is unequivocally linked with guilt. for instance. At other times. Sometimes they were used intentionally to mock naive audi- ences. A stray cow in Victor Fleming’s The Virginian (1929). By privileging the heightened realism afforded by synchronized sound. She also tries to elude the police by claiming not to have heard the gunshot. it does not kill his love for her. startling sounds were absorbed by specific genres like hor- ror. even when it is inaudible to the audience. the heterogeneous vigor and resulting bodily sensations of the part-talkie gave way to the conventional approach of synchronized sound. is startled by a steam engine’s blast and. for the gunshot ultimately allows Irene to reunite with her lover and presumably live happily ever after. even though her visceral response to the second shot indicates other- wise. ‘dead’ silences. or a sensation like a tug-of-war” that audiences found disconcerting about early Vitaphone efforts. sound films became homogeneous and homogeneously harmonious. like Uncle Josh. whose spine-tingling terrors were enhanced by sounds that sent the films “rattling into uncanny territory.”102 They also eliminated what Laura Marcus calls “the multiple auralities of ‘the [early] talkies’ – music. after the transition. When she finally confesses her crime to André. After that year. appears fun- nily old-fashioned for being unsettled by the sounds of modernity.

Eisenstein listened to Joyce’s gramophone recording of a section of “Work in Progress. be allied with sound cinema. In a statement published in Zhizn Iskusstva with Vsevolod Pudovkin and Grigori Alexandrov. Rather than synchronized speech. a novel deeply interested in the sound of language.”107 This inner vision was once again linked with sound. For after they spoke.”106 This is how montage could. There would not be a real audio revolution. he argued. employed synchronized. Eisenstein was still hope- ful about the radical treatment of sound. they discussed his (silent) films. which he would have liked Joyce to see.” only a year earlier. naturalistic sound. such expectations never came to fruition. After all.108 However. It was then that he came to realize the extent of Joyce’s blindness and how that “external blindness undoubtedly determined that particular penetration of in- ner vision.” cinema could realign sound with interiority and with “a feverish inner debate behind the stony mask of the face. Eisenstein was thinking about redefining the dichot- omy between silence and sound. “along the line of its dis- tinct non-synchronization with the visual image. . not only in the United States but around the world. whom he had praised for bringing a cinematic mode of writing to modernist literature. Eisenstein recalled. Joyce’s disembodied. particularly for their use of discordant clashes that he admired in and borrowed from Joyce’s prose. one afternoon in late November 1929. When they met in Paris. Whereas films like Luis Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or (1930) and Pudovkin’s Deserter (1933) appeared as clear aural experiments. must have thrilled Eisenstein for producing the kind of discord between seeing and hearing that other film theorists were then criti- cizing about the coming of sound. he had argued for the contrapuntal use of sound. Taking his cue from Joyce. mechanized voice. the majority of films. Son ic Boom s 73 “Th e A rt Th at Di e d” Mere days after the release of The Kiss. heard while he was sitting in the same room.” which would later become Finnegan’s Wake (1939). through Joycean stream of consciousness. by audibly displaying “inner monologue. in the wake of the audio revolution sweeping the globe. and whose Ulysses (1922) he had extolled as the most significant event in the history of cinema. Sergei Eisenstein met with James Joyce.

Films of that transitory period foregrounded sound rather than submerging it and. but a speed of transformation which set a record within the mass media of the day.”112 For a while. even shocking the spectator with it. “played with the possibilities of surprising. it took the town by surprise. due to a risky financial move in the 1930s. as Crafton suggests. Although he had been at the forefront of ushering in sound in Hollywood. In her memoir. are accurate. Tracing the recent trend of Hollywood’s globaliza- tion back to the conversion. sound films did indeed bring an end to the silent era. Its rapid standardization was equally astonishing. As Gomery suggests. and it initially behaved erratically. and most major studios had initially signed deals with the company. as we have seen. when cinema temporarily rediscovered its corporeality as well as its modernity. sound was a gamble even in Hollywood. None of the early predictions came true. later film historians have thought of conversion in terms of continuity. While sound was rapidly in- tegrated into the classical narrative style. he himself was not triumphant for too long. While its arrival was in many ways antici- pated. Fox Film had been taken over by Twentieth-Century Pictures. Although sound had arrived in Hollywood via Vitaphone. even Warner Bros. Bryher (pen name of Close Up founder Annie Winifred Ellerman) mourned “‘the art that died’ because sound ruined its development. Fox “took a big risk – the largest in the history of the coming of sound – and uniquely failed. Many early film theorists deemed the introduction of the acoustic element a fracture. Sam Warner did not live to see its glorious success.”111 Both versions of the conversion. By March 1930.”109 By May 1935. it was Movietone that ultimately became the standard. But the move from silence to sound was neither as smooth as it now appears nor as chaotic as it was then feared. Although William Fox had pioneered the Movietone recording system. of course. had opted for sound on film. But both of them miss the sensational effects of the transition. one that would destroy cinema as they knew it. it was effort- lessly incorporated into the classical style. Although sound initially appeared to be an add-on to the silent narrative. the turmoil of modern technology overpowered the classi- .74 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Still.”110 Instead of seeing it as such a radical break. dying only one day before the premiere of The Jazz Singer. Douglas Gomery has insisted that the late 1920s evinced “no chaos or confusion.

Son ic Boom s 75 cal aesthetic. classical Hollywood always seemed in a state of virtual transition. the acoustic novelty remained a gamble for a time. and felt as raised seams in the history of classical Hollywood. it was also a time of (modernist) excess. These cinephiliac instants from early sound experiments might be seen. Excess may have been successfully repressed by the return to standardization in late 1929. there were other ruptures that created some unsettling effects. After all. They suggest that. and it did deliver some unforeseen jolts. but disruptive moments never stay buried for too long. while we tend to think of the studio era in terms of classical conformity. Guided by the many moments of aural cinephilia in this chapter. even when ostensibly settled. As we will see in the next chapter. we might think of the transition to sound as a moment of rup- ture. . During the 1930s. even though sound had been fully subdued. heard.

” A P .” Wa lter Benja min.What in the end does it matter to human happiness whether [Fred Astaire’s] trousers do or do not have cuffs? Bruce Ba bington a nd Peter W illia m Eva ns. Blue Skies and Silver Linings In my formulation: “The eternal is in any case far more the ruffle on a dress than some idea. “B [Fashion].

unmotivated overhead shot is incongruous with the fast-paced screwball action that precedes and follows it.1). the screwball plot gets going again. lasts only for a moment. Its ghostly glide down seems to envelop a bus that drives in on the street below. however. That un- canny feeling. When their marital spat climaxes on their Fifth Avenue pent- house landing. Ball (Edward Arnold) decides to teach her a lesson. Worn down by his profligate wife’s spending habits. this moment is central to the film. 77 . a chance encounter between a Wall Street tycoon and an unsuspecting working girl takes on the spectral eeriness of a Sur- realist nightmare. it is both excessive and jarring. millionaire banker J. Mitchell Leisen’s Easy Living was hardly the most ingenious. To the extent that it triggers the coincidental meeting on which the tale depends. Indeed. An overhead shot captures the coat as it slowly descends and assumes the shape of an ominous. But its appearance as a slow. bat-like creature (Figure 2. making it appear virtually extra-diegetic. When the coat lands on Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) as she rides the double-decker bus to work.000 fur coat. wrecking her hat and scaring her silly. B. What do we make of this strange moment appearing unexpectedly in a screwball comedy? Of the madcap comedies released during the mid-1930s. unfolding through a series of madcap adventures that almost causes the stock market to collapse. and the comic plot quickly resumes. Cut to a medium shot of Jean Arthur as the coat falls on her head. almost dream-like. t wo Show Stoppers 1937 and the Chance Encounter with Chiffons A Fu n n y Thing H a ppens For a brief moment. off the roof. he flings her most recent purchase. a $58.

3. It was a standard comedy spun out of a chance encounter. because Sturges himself did not believe the shot could even be filmed. 1937). Ball and his wife on the penthouse roof and followed by a medium shot of Mary on top of the double-decker bus. neither as fresh as Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934) nor as lively as Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936).2 Sturges appears to have thought that “the falling will probably not pick up. 1935).78 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 2.” preceded by J. Easy Living (dir. as James Harvey reminds us. the film was not a commercial or critical success. everyone remembers the moment when “the fur coat falls on the heroine’s head. Preston Sturges wrote the screenplay. 1933) and Diamond Jim (A. Ed- ward Sutherland. Although Paramount marketed it as a Sturges comedy. trying to capital- ize on the sensation he had created in Hollywood with scripts like The Power and the Glory (William K. Still. Mitchell Leisen.” and the film would advance directly from Figure 2. turning Vera Caspary’s short story into a subtle critique of modern capitalism – all very standard fare during the Great Depression.1.”1 That is ironic. Howard. 3 .2 to Figure 2. B. The script does contain a “very long shot” devoted to the falling fur coat “shooting down.

Easy Living (dir. 1937). 1937). Easy Living (dir.2. 2. Show Stoppe r s 79 2.3. . Mitchell Leisen. Mitchell Leisen.

art. it exceeds its narrative function. That is why the Surrealists were . the film could have easily advanced from the shot of the roof where the coat is hurled to the shot of the coat falling on Jean Arthur’s head. In addition. and a screwball comedy seems to surreptitiously encounter the surreal. that is erratic – something that “exceeds the copy of the refer- ential motif. What gets me every time I watch this scene is that.” There is something striking about the incongruity between the courtiers’ make- up. In that sense. this mo- ment becomes intriguing because it hints at the possibility of a “third” or “obtuse” meaning.”4 Likewise.80 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s But the moment did make it to the screen. The falling fur coat has a similar cinephiliac appeal. a familiar object like a fur coat suddenly appears foreboding. There is something in the visual details. and what I find most cap- tivating is that it appears inadvertently in excess.” their facial features. And its dreamlike manifestation appears as if by chance. Barthes suggests. Kristin Thompson has argued that cinematic excess surfaces when the “narrative function may justify the presence of a device. which lies beyond significa- tion. “thick and insistent for the one. it functions like Roland Barthes’s description of the moment when the two court- iers are pouring gold over the young czar’s head in Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible (1944). they developed ways of interacting with things that could potentially un- leash the magic contained within them. and filmmaking. It is likewise incongruous due to its uncanny excess. it is also visu- ally excessive. By their own admission. for an instant. smooth and distinguished for the other. While the falling fur coat is a crucial plot device. enabling the eventual meeting between Ball and Mary. Barthes is interested in its affective allure. the fur coat’s surreal appearance exceeds the screw- ball style. the Surrealists were interested in everyday objects that could suddenly reveal something mysterious about the world. Using a familiar object to evoke the uncanny has been quintessential to Surrealist discourse. Writing about the “material of the film” that surpasses its motivation. unlike the rest of Easy Living. 5 For Barthes. As Sturges had assumed. In their writing. but it doesn’t always motivate the specific form that individual element will take. [such that] it compels an interrogative reading. one that moves beyond symbolic interpretation. and the missing “falling” shot would not have affected our understanding of the scene. even their hairstyles.

When he wanted to get to know a character better. curious but inconsequential? Visual interruptions have generally appeared to be quite unwelcome in the standardized world of studio filmmaking. were apparently desirable only so long as they advanced the narrative. such that “objects that were a few moments ago sticks of furniture or books of cloakroom tickets are transformed to the point where they take on menacing or enigmatic meanings. This does not imply that details did not matter to Hollywood filmmakers. but the hope was that the industry would soon return to its comfortably classical narrative tradition. By the early 1930s. had to cut out the excesses. which simply meant they did not have the cash to pay their mortgage commitments. clean or dirty?” 7 However. As Louis Aragon acknowledged early on. with the onset of the De- pression and the easing up of varied experiments with sound. as Rex Ingram did with Greed (1923). Thalberg would ask: “What kind of underwear does he have on? Long or short. however. the process of filmmaking was further streamlined. In a screwball comedy. the transition to sound may have caused real and imagined panic. underpants never became the center of attention. Tino Balio notes that “the major com- panies could not meet their fixed cost obligations. who. the coming of sound shook up the studio model temporarily. As we saw in the last chapter. is such a surreal moment just an odd interruption. and all kinds of striking interruptions made their way onscreen. While 1930 was a good year at the box office. for three years afterward. even the so-called Depression- proof industry was in decline. then. 1923). Irving Thalberg would often wonder about seemingly irrelevant details. light or heavy. particularly after the full integration of sound. Dazzling details. to be dismissed as interesting but in- significant. cinema had the ability to alter everyday objects.”6 But such furtive transformations are more likely in the phan- tasmic worlds of Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas (1913) or the dream-like images of Buñuel’s L’Age d’Or. reportedly for having spent too much time and money getting the guardsmen extras’ silk underpants embroidered with the Imperial Guard monogram. Show Stoppe r s 81 particularly drawn to cinema. In 1923. short- . Erich von Stroheim was fired by Thalberg himself during the shooting of Merry Go Round (Ru- pert Julian. which emphasized a seamless flow of action instead of focus- ing on distinctive details. Of course. The film was turned over to Rupert Julian.

which has been repeatedly analyzed as a Cinderella story that subverts social hierarchies and redefines femininity in relation to the newly es- tablished Production Code.10 Ironically.” Thomas Schatz notes. Fred Astaire’s pant cuffs. In Tay Garnett’s China Seas (1935). such details have also been left out of film histories of the period. and anything that did not fit the script was usually left out. while the studio system remained a collaborative effort. in the mold of Clarence Brown’s Possessed (1931) or Dorothy Arzner’s The Bride Wore Red (1937). which Babington and Evans ponder in the epigraph. they fail to account for the cinephiliac allure of the fur coat moment. A new era of not only economic but also thematic and stylistic austerity set in. assembly-line system. often matter little if they do not contribute to interpreting. Bernard F. for instance.”8 What they also could not afford was any form of experimentation or excess. the relationship between dance and masculinity dur- ing the Great Depression. Dick reads the film as yet another Depression-era fairy tale. Gaines suggests that “the practice of cutting films for narrative coherence and visual continuity” made filmmakers cut some stunning moments out of their films.”9 The screenwriter gained a lot more authority. the shooting script “mapped out all aspects of production – from camera work and di- alogue to the shot-by-shot construction of the picture – before the actual filmmaking machinery was set into motion. Its visual effect has been critically missed. which lasted long after the box office stabilized after 1933. Sarah Berry offers a more comprehensive account of consumer fashion. the script became the essential element of that collaboration. likely because its Surrealist look does not fit into the film’s symbolic discus- sion. too. say. Such is the case with Leisen’s Easy Living. Jane M.82 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s term obligations. Since “the costs and logistical complexity of sound increased the need for a closely supervised. and the heavy charges on their funded debts. Elizabeth Kendall argues that Easy Living is a grand vision of social chaos following the De- pression. the details of Jean Harlow’s gown – its open back and cut-out sleeves – are hardly seen onscreen. What can that moment tell us about disruptive cinematic details that appear by chance and distract attention from the linear narrative? . In this atmosphere. After all. showing how it “makes fun of class distinctions and presents status as a matter of appearances.”11 While these semiotic readings are valuable in themselves.

But their project together never material- ized. “If this scene took place as it was reported to me.”13 They appear to embody “conventional no- tions about the distinction between art and commerce and the related distinctions between ‘high’ European culture and ‘popular’ American . he is rightfully skeptical.” he adds. Dali co-wrote the initial script and did several sketches for the prospective film. DeMille’s The Plainsman (1936). Dali met an old friend from Paris. Dali was working on Giraffes on Horseback Salad. Salvador Dali traveled to Hollywood to collaborate with the Marx Brothers. the greatest Surrealist on earth.” whose face is never seen throughout the film. “I am sorry that I was not an eyewitness. In his Hollywood memoirs. “Ah. There were other shenanigans too. Dali made some sketches of the brothers. including of Harpo playing the harp and of Groucho being the Shiva of show business. “I have met you at last.” Dali reportedly declared. you. Our skepticism might be fueled by the popular notion that there could be nothing more disparate than the modernist avant-garde and the commercial narrative enterprise. the Spanish Surrealist prostrated himself in front of the master of mass spectacle. who moves to America and falls in love with a mysterious character named the “Surre- alist woman. As he was wandering through the studios. Mr. when René Clair takes note of this meeting. Show Stoppe r s 83 What connections can that instance of Surrealism in a screwball comedy uncover about classical Hollywood that remain cut out of traditional film histories? What would such connections reveal about studio film- making in the 1930s? “T wo U n lik e ly Wor l ds A r e Su dden ly Join ed” In early 1937. starring Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane. With Harpo Marx. who was then working on Cecil B.”12 To my knowledge. When Antheil introduced Dali to DeMille. Writing about this encounter. composer George Antheil. DeMille. James Morrison suggests that Dali and DeMille seem completely incompatible “because of the vastly different cultural territories each inhabited. with multiple arms answer- ing phones simultaneously. who was quite thrilled by the laudatory gesture. a screenplay about a Spanish aristocrat named Jimmy.” Such an encounter is hard to picture. no photographic evidence of the unlikely encounter exists either.

the term “modern” has appeared in Europe whenever there has been a sense of the dawning of a new epoch. and a free stay at the Hotel Louis. runs into J.” She is lavished with gifts. a potential connection between two unlikely registers is revealed. Even though the two coincided historically. of course. As Jürgen Habermas has pointed out. not popular culture. in the infinite progress of knowledge and in the infinite advance towards social and moral betterment” led to a fundamental rethinking of the power of the past. attention. the economic and social worlds of a working girl and a billionaire suddenly collide in a classic “meet cute” moment.84 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s culture. Like most romantic comedies. inspired by modern science. “the belief. Habermas ar- gues.17 Still. Ball. The coat that accidentally falls becomes Mary’s. they appear to be incarnations of two entirely mismatched registers. When Mary Smith. And this broad opposition has been imported to cinema in general and classical Hollywood in particular. in a brief moment. the baron of Wall Street.”14 In other words. who is then assumed to be Ball’s mistress. Sturges’s script is full of witty dialogue and cleverly contrived situations that un- fold through comic misunderstandings resulting from the original ren- .” For Habermas. But what changed after the French Enlightenment is the relationship the modern had with the past or “the ancients. B.”16 Since then. wants to please the mistress of the “bull of Broad Street. There is a long history of such opposition between high and popular culture. modernism has been aligned with that which is new. whose reliance on formulaic models that can be easily repeated for commercial gain makes it far closely aligned with crass traditionalism. Modernism is generally defined as a break from tradition. Easy Living is driven by an accidental meeting of two dissimilar worlds. The value of such newness has traditionally been conferred on works of the avant- garde. And everyone.15 A new modernism emerged in the nineteenth century “out of this romantic spirit that radicalized consciousness of modernity which freed itself from all specific historical ties. as Miriam Hansen has adroitly shown. Hollywood cinema has habitually been regarded as being “fundamen- tally incompatible” with modernism. which is traditionally expressed in the arts and philosophy as the distinction between modernism and classicism. a young woman working for a little magazine called The Boy’s Constant Companion.

as Mary tries to keep up with the fast-paced. while Mary. the collision produces a series of comic scenarios. customers rush to get their hands on the free food flying in the back- ground. Unlike Chaplin’s film. In the car. the sacred and the profane. in typical fairy-tale tradition. he suggests that comedy lies in juxtapositions. screwball world. of a sable-clad woman eating pot pie while the masses slip and slide over slippery floors. as the two unlikely worlds are suddenly and delightfully joined when Ball becomes Mary’s father-in-law. As all the glass lids pop open. As Andrew Horton reminds us in his practical guide to writing comedic screenplays. Order is restored by the end. But nothing will come of this possibility. the tycoon’s son.”20 Ball wants to teach Mary a lesson in computing interest. But what do we make of that other encounter revealed in the mo- ment of their unplanned meeting? The parties in that encounter too. is hilarious. It is the initial. who turns out to be. The best example of their collision’s effect occurs in the automat scene.”18 Thus. The ultimate outcome of their accidental encounter appears to be quite conventional. are “connected in a way we recognize even if we . Using Woody Allen’s line that his parents believed in God and carpeting. not the least for “highlight- ing the extremes of affluence and poverty” and underlining “the Great Depression as a time of fur coats for the fortunate and cloth coats (or no coats) for everyone else. but they appear “in the same frame but in different worlds. incompatible juxtaposition that is the source of the film’s comic circumstances. calmly enjoys her pot pie. while she is more interested in finding out if the fur coat is an authentic Kolinsky. to use Harvey’s terms. still wearing her fur coat. the two sit next to each other. Show Stoppe r s 85 dezvous. where a mishap at the coin-operated cafeteria creates a display of zany anarchy. all ends well in Easy Living.19 In the scene that follows their accidental encounter.”21 The scene’s chaotic energy echoes the frenzy of mechanization gone awry in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936). incongruities often bring on laughter. That juxtaposition. It ends when she falls in love with a poor but charming young fellow named John (Ray Milland). a derivation of René Clair’s A Nous La Liberté (1931). released only a year earlier. Ball offers Mary a ride. the combination works between “the cosmic and the daily. in the case of Woody Allen. when “two unlikely worlds are suddenly joined” in Easy Living by a fur coat.

As Miriam Hansen points out. Similarly. for in- stance. B.”23 Man Ray also famously claimed that “there was more Surrealism rampant in Hollywood than all the Surrealists could invent in a lifetime. This connection is usually overlooked. if not contradictory. Martin Rubin claims that Berkeley’s non-narrative cinema. the studio system is seen to occupy a vastly different cultural terrain. it appears to create an illusion of narrative coherence.”24 More recently.27 He argues that while Expressionist motifs could easily be appropriated by Hollywood because they “proved a fruit- .”25 It may appear anomalous or implausible. where disruptive excesses are disallowed. was extraordinarily popular and therefore less likely to have been influenced by Surrealism and avant- gardism than by the nineteenth-century tradition of spectacle.”22 For the image of the coat descending ominously hints at a connection between Surrealism and classical Hollywood. detects Surrealist motifs in the fantasy worlds of Busby Berke- ley’s musicals. turns discourse into diegesis. He even compared the Marx Broth- ers’ Animal Crackers (1930) to the “distinct poetic state of mind that can be called surrealism. like the unlikely meeting between Mary Smith and J. However. where they found an involuntary Surrealist tendency. Jerome Delamater.86 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s can’t name it. they are regarded as mere accidents. Even when Surrealist elements are noticed in Hollywood films. Robin Wood goes so far as to assert that the studio system and Surrealism are inherently incompatible. Michael Richardson argues that the Surrealists were especially fascinated by Hollywood genre films of the early 1930s. classical Hollywood is typically regarded “as a mode of repre- sentation that masks the process and fact of production. although different in style from mainstream Hollywood cinema. but suggests that Berkeley was an “unwitting Surrealist” because he was probably unaware of Surrealism. positioned in op- position to the progressive politics of the avant-garde. but glimpses of the rela- tionship between Surrealism and the studio system are visible in fleeting moments. history into story and myth. Ball or the even more improbable encounter between Dali and DeMille.”26 In so doing. probably because. It is worth remembering that Antonin Artaud often praised the zany and excessive intensity of the comic disruptions in silent and early sound comedies. the relationship between them “has always seemed anoma- lous. even if we do not have a name for it.

”29 This resistance may in part be prompted by Hol- lywood’s self-proclaimed independence. by breaking the stranglehold of narrative continuity.” he noted. then. even then. the mask appeared to Giacometti as the perfect solution to complete the head of his sculpture. the mask is torn away. Breton suggested that the lucky find. as Margaret Cohen argues. “are endowed with a persuasive strength rigor- ously proportional to the violence of the initial shock they produced”31 Perhaps due to this persuasive shock. a lucky find “could . William Gaines declares that the “movie capital is self-reliant as a style center. A moment in 1937.28 When Surrealism is mentioned in relation to Hollywood cinema. Breton maintained that the solution is an example of the chance object’s capac- ity to embody the subject’s desire – to appear as if it were the perfect solu- tion. As early as 1934. especially in genres like film noir or the horror film of the 1940s. Show Stoppe r s 87 ful source of subjective effects” that could be linearized. For many of his Surrealist colleagues.”32 Ironically. at the moment when Giacometti encounters his lucky find. Dali’s work in Hollywood was seen as selling out to mass culture and earned him the nickname “Avida Dollars. the question of lucky finds also begins to haunt André Breton. for the order that surges forth is not one of causality – as Breton puts it.” The critical consensus. writing in Pho- toplay. or. a mask. hints at the potential for an associative link between the explicitly controlled environment of the studio system and the spontaneity-driven avant-garde art. la trouvaille. it is generally in reference to Salvador Dali’s collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock on Spellbound (1945). however. the de- signs were “modified by the studio and the [Surrealist dream] sequence drastically abridged. By chance. it is capable of producing a moment “when the habitual veil of repression is rent.”30 The contempt was mutual. just when Mary is suddenly and fortuitously hit over the head by a falling coat. Writing in Mad Love about an eerie mask that Giacom- etti had found at a flea market. allowing a true hidden order of things to surge forth. Designers no longer look to ‘shabby’ Paris for ideas. Surrealism was ideo- logically irreconcilable with the bourgeois narrative tradition. seems to be that Surrealism and the studio system are wholly discordant entities. A lucky find enables the subject to inadvertently uncover repressed desire. although Wood hastens to add that. “Such images. is capable of providing the shock of convulsive beauty that Sur- realists dreamed of.

no more writers. “when will one give the arbitrary the place that falls to it in the formation of works and ideas?”34 Only by giving oneself over to chance can a new order be created. as a force capable of destroying habitual con- ceptual order. Even as early as 1920. Ten years after closing the door on Dadaism. From Tristan Tzara and Marcel Duchamp to Breton. new forms. and to chance. and Aragon.” Cohen notes. Breton asked.88 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s not come to us along ordinary logical paths” – but of irrationality. they were a group of young artists and writers who worked spon- taneously and collaboratively on pamphlets and publications. or. which enables fortuitous juxtapositions. no more sculptors.”36 In 1920.”37 Within a couple of years though.”35 Deeply disturbed by the mass destruction of the Great War. not only to proclaim the rupture between art and logic but also to advertise a kind of destructive anarchism. . But the Dadaists themselves were much less interested in discovering these juxtapositions. some of them became frustrated with Dada’s inflexible negativity. chance was not just a singular moment that disrupted the “natural” order of things. returning to a singular point of departure yet ever open- ing new vistas of thought. Moreover. “If the Dadas called spectacular attention to the value of chance. they became what Fiona Bradley calls “the randomly christened expression of revolt which exploded into simultaneous life in Zürich. . paintings and collages. “No more painters. nothing. it enabled Surrealists like himself to imagine another order. wherein one gave oneself over to the seeming- ly arbitrary. Instead. This frustration was voiced by Breton in Entretiens: “The 1918 Dada Manifesto seemed to open wide the doors. like a door pushed by the wind or a swinging door. Phillipe Soupault. . no more musicians. Katharine Conley points out that the Surrealists were more drawn to the “door that opens and reopens continuously. of chance. Cologne. Breton himself . and New York. nothing.”39 Early Surrealists were much more intrigued by the logic of circularity and the thrill of the return than the oppression of linearity. but we discovered that they opened onto a corridor which was leading nowhere. 33 For Breton. Aragon announced. “they did so in negative fashion. we might say.”38 Breton and the group of artists who converged around him were more interested in walking down the corridor that would open the door to new ideas. nothing.

like a door. it becomes. only a year after Breton wrote Nadja. woven together through turns and returns that continually disrupt the linear order. Instead. The decade began with the Nazis winning 107 seats in the Reichstag. which was invented in the middle of the decade. as well as his unexpected meetings with Nadja. Breton’s constant. Neither tycoon nor laborer was safe from the vicissitudes of a shaky economy. Nadja. the rise of Nazism and fascism.40 For Nadja is not so much a narrative as a series of unexpected encoun- ters on Parisian streets. visits to sites where the ghosts of past insurrectional activi- ties lie. if sometimes in- advertent. Remarkably. Show Stoppe r s 89 produced a work based on that logic. uprooting hundreds of thousands of families and scattering them to the mercy of an uncertain destiny. became Surrealism’s calling card and its operating methodology. the Abyssinian crisis that weakened the League of Na- tions. in Breton’s words. The Dust Bowl further shook confidence. and militaristic advances around the globe led to even more insecurity. where everything seemed guided by wild shifts of fortune. Indeed. The stock market crash of October 1929. followed by the Great Depression. Each crisis sent shockwaves that could virtually be measured on the Richter scale. then. chance became the guiding principle for many at home and abroad. By the end of the decade. create an eerie atmosphere that Breton concedes gives the appearance of being left “at the mercy of chance. Hitler had invaded Poland. the fall of democratic governments to dictators.”42 Chance. the 1930s may be seen as a decade in flux. Japan invaded Manchuria a year later. Simultaneously. petrify- ing coincidences. seemed to leave everyone at the mercy of chance. and the Spanish Civil War followed.” opens onto a world of endless departures and returns. After the speculative boom of the 1920s. officially triggering another world war. “an almost forbidden world of sudden parallels. a single calamity wiped out bank balances and caused cataclysmic shifts that would last for almost a decade. and everyone’s lives seemed marked by disrupted . a text he wanted to leave “ajar. The great purges orchestrated by Joseph Stalin.”41 And his repeated fortuitous encounters – as when Paul Eluard turns out to be the same person whom he unknowingly en- countered at the first performance of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Couleur du Temps and coincidentally started corresponding with – produce a world that no longer depends on logical connections.

if their name was called. as an incentive to draw audiences. and many of them went into bankruptcy or receivership. usually during the intermission.”45 In Lloyd Bacon’s 42nd Street (1933). After many years at the top. And in Easy Living. Hollywood embraced chance as a tactic and appropriated the theme of reversal of fortune. In America. several founding partners or producers. Bank Night and other games of chance like Screeno and Prosperity Night were able to skirt bans in many states against gambling. troubled by wary patrons unwilling to spend money on frivolous entertainment.”44 More impor- tantly. But that did not imply immediate stability. a pauper the next”. Irving Thalberg. Reversing the real life reversals of fortune. then. however slight.90 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s plans and ill-fated reversals. many theaters. an inexperienced chorus girl (Ruby Keeler) becomes the star of a hit Broadway show. The premise was simple enough: on Bank Night. Mary . went through a reversal of fortunes. they rushed to the stage to claim their winnings. during the 1930s. instituted a form of lottery called Bank Night. a “head of household could be a plutocrat one day. Hollywood was not immune to chance events either. a theater manager in Colorado. this notion of chance was reinforced by many of the films of the decade. “hard work and perseverance were no lon- ger critical for success within the economic and social system. Interestingly. “a comfortably bourgeois German Jewish family could suddenly have to flee for its very survival.” because they “gained access to affluence largely through dumb luck. Hollywood hoped patrons would gamble. Some of them also experienced a major reshuffling of the deck. It was invented by Charles Yaeger. and Carl Laemmle. most major studios had a lot of debt. The arrival of the Depression put an end to any residual desire to gamble with film- making. Since no purchases were necessary. in Europe. dancer John “Lucky” Garnett (Fred Astaire) succeeds in stopping his sweetheart’s wedding at the last minute. and luck did not favor too many. including Jesse Lasky. people could put their names in for a lottery of prizes. With ticket sales declining in the early part of the decade. Early in the decade. For them. In George Stevens’s Swing Time (1936). Ina Rae Hark argues.”43 Life seemed to depend on chance. buying a ticket that might give them “access to a chance. onscreen characters often got lucky. at actually winning themselves.

What we need is an alternative way of looking for them. she turns around. she shrugs off the fatalistic impli- cations of his response. “Say. It was incorporated into the classical narrative and fit especially well into genres like musicals and screwball comedies. it could not carry the political vigor that the Surrealists deployed to break with tradition and imagine a new way of thinking that lay beyond nar- rative causality. and asks. what’s the big idea anyway?” He happens to be a turbaned Hindu gentleman. Tual. Show Stoppe r s 91 finds love and marriage when a coat falls on her. and Jean Renoir to “work on new ideas. of that chance encounter. who claimed never to have heard of him. was invited by MGM to discuss the possibility of remaking Robert Bresson’s Angels of the Streets (1943). In Hollywood. During lunch one afternoon. chance was mostly used for comic effect. there is no hard evidence of this relationship.” Looking both amused and annoyed. however. Baxter notes. new ways of making films” in Hollywood. seeing her mysterious sartorial windfall – recall Jacques Derrida’s assertion in “My Chances/Mes Chances” that the no- tion of chance is etymologically linked to the idea of falling – as a lucky find.”47 Ostensibly at least. who would soon try to convince Luis Buñuel to direct Lorca’s 1936 play. . Mayer would have none of it. Tual filled him in. “MGM’s interest in Les Anges du Péché cooled rapidly. We don’t need a laboratory for that!” After that meeting. Visibly flustered. and quickly.” he reportedly retorted. René Clair. she mentioned Buñuel to Louis B. “If Hollywood needs to change its way of making films. who. Just as there is no photographic record of the chance meeting between Dali and DeMille. a series of cinephiliac glimpses. concluding by calling Buñuel a great director. She thought it would be nice if Mayer could arrange for directors like Buñuel.46 In Hollywood. What does exist is a displaced picture. Denise Tual’s brief sojourn in Hollywood. it envelops her. pointing to the book he is reading. The House of Bernarda Alba. When the coat first de- scends on her. eyes the commuter sitting behind her incredulously. any real connection between the studio system and Surrealism appears to be nonexistent. for instance. Consider. Mayer. calls the unexpected article “kismet. John Baxter notes. But the element of chance was not to be integrated into filmmaking itself. “it’ll happen.

the screwball plot pauses. So he sets out dressed in rags. Where Art Thou?” At first. “Ruins. he asks them about the labor situation. For a short bit. As Carlo Salzani puts it. displeased with the studio system of filmmaking. everything it has lost. As Irving Wohlfarth argues. for him. it appears not as a grand narrative about social disorder but in minor details. Even his crew fol- lows him in a caravan. to write his substantial thesis on poverty. but they walk away. he inadvertently finds his way back. With his traveling companion (Veronica Lake). it is difficult to leave the studio sys- tem behind and realize his riches to rags tale. Sully ends up eating in soup kitchens and sleeping in homeless shelters. The chiffonier pursues the rags or chiffons that are unat- tended by traditional history. John “Sully” Sullivan (Joel McCrea) believes that cinema ought to focus more on the grand themes of misery and hardship during the Great Depres- sion. They are not so keen on discussing his “big idea. Instead of offering cheap laughs.92 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s R efus[e]ing History In Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels (1941). until he becomes a scavenger impaling scraps with a stick in a dumpster. like a pair of tattered shoes with the front split open and toes exposed. “It is precisely when they no longer circulate. endeavors to make an epic about the essential meaning of poverty. that things begin . borrowed from the studio’s costume department. a Hollywood director. and discarded. a figure who rummaged through refuse and detritus while wandering around the nineteenth- century city.” When he finally discovers the realities of the Depression. Benjamin suggests that he “collects and catalogues everything that the great city has cast off. fragments and trash are the material for historical reconstruction.”49 And it is in these rags that he finds revolutionary possibilities. Sully’s attention to rags while he goes on a brief scavenging detour is reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s ragpicker. For he does not simply hoard his stockpile of leftovers. to be titled “O Brother. and broken. drawing insights even from the most in- significant objects.” 48 The ragpicker rejects nothing. Every time he hitches a ride out of Hollywood. When Sully accidentally encounters two hobos on a freight train who might know a thing or two about living in poverty. and the jumbled array of refuse. filming his adventures. He goes through the archives of debauchery. as well-behaved commodities should.

But how does a ragpicker-historian utilize these scraps? Here is how Benjamin explains the process for ragpicking: “The method of this work: literary montage – I have nothing to say. the earliest photos. Benjamin argues that Surrealism was “the first to perceive the revolutionary energies that appear in the ‘outmoded. history lies in trash.”52 The Surrealists discovered how to release the radical potential in these antiquated objects and create a world based on uncanny associa- tions between them. only to . Rather.”50 The chiffonier rescues that potential in forgotten objects – a series of chiffons. became an alternative mode of writing. Like the Surrealists. for him.”53 Moreover. as Benjamin suggests. That is why he is a fascinating figure. For in these moments. “rung by rung. scaling history.”54 The ragpicker’s attention to outmoded details. and his ability to connect ideas and images through odd associations rather than logical connections yield a method well suited to writing an associative history.’ in the first iron constructions. considered by others a wish-image of freedom and independence. he echoes the Surrealist interest in chance. Surrealism. according as chance would offer a narrow foothold. for Benjamin. to reveal an alternative order of things. They have fallen in popularity and are therefore discarded as needless trash. grand pianos. drawing on cinematic moments that end up on the cutting room floor of the traditional film historian. But the ragpicker’s is not a utilitarian view of objects. the first factory buildings. uncorrupted by the vices of commodity civilization. the dresses of five years ago. his reliance on chance encounters. Using Breton’s Nadja as his prime ex- ample. if you will – from the jaws of linear history. the objects that have begun to become extinct. The ragpicker’s interest in outdated objects echoes Surrealism’s af- finity for old-fashioned things.”51 As he freely roams the city. because he is able to “assemble large-scale constructions out of the smallest and most precisely cut components. he gathers objects whose time has passed. and the Surrealists became materialist historians fash- ioning history out of the outmoded. we are likely to find the revolutionary potential that the Surrealists discovered in the grand pianos and the old-fashioned dresses of a generation earlier. “depicted by some as the bon sauvage of the urban wilderness. Benjamin’s ragpicker picks out unattended things. Show Stoppe r s 93 to give signs of a more subversive potential.

Kracauer refuses to accept history’s desire to make order out of chaos. Interestingly. Indeed. scraps of language. I won’t purloin anything precious. Wohlfarth suggests. with his stick. he observes. the ragpicker comes to embody “the in- trinsic connection between refuse and refusal. nor will I appropriate witty turns. one of its founding members began his career as a ragpicker of sorts.” Wohlfarth concludes. but let them come into their own in the only possible way: by using them. For an era when so many had become virtual ragpickers. “Whereas academics. depending on scraps for sustenance and perhaps hoping for their own rags to riches story. The refuse speaks for itself. “vainly arrange the chaos of their ‘lumber-room’ into neat piles of facts that nonetheless accumu- late like so much debris. the rags to riches tale was not only popular onscreen but had been lived by many of its own denizens off-screen. thereby reflecting the chaos of history without reflecting upon it. the young Mayer started his own junk business in Boston. colloquially known as a ragpicker. even the most seemingly insignificant detail. Mayer.”59 It is in the refuse that the ragpicker-historian uncovers the past anew by refusing traditional history. Like many other early Hollywood moguls. the ragpicker throws all the litter out almost without comment. the most undesirable piece of refuse. Wohlfarth observes that the only place where Ben- jamin explicitly portrays the ragpicker as an intellectual is in reference to film historian Siegfried Kracauer. impaling verbal rags. But the rags. which helped transform him into a used-clothes dealer.’ ‘only to show. From there. Peter Wollen notes. “what we see when we visualize [Kracauer] going about his solitary business is a ragpicker at daybreak. got his start in his father’s scrap metal business.”57 Following Benjamin.”55 That is to say. In Hollywood. the remnants: I do not want to inventory them.’”58 Thus.94 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s show. the executive who made MGM the Tiffany of Hollywood. Mayer emerged from “the lower reaches of the garment industry” and changed the incho- ate American film industry into an enormously popular form of mass . Louis B. “He has ‘nothing to say. the historical rags are displayed but not appropriated into a singular narrative. makes its way into history. the ragpicker is a particularly apt figure for historicizing the 1930s.”56 While impaling these rags. Wohlfarth argues that from Ben- jamin’s point of view. In that process.

it functions as a virtual show stopper. Marcus Loew is said to have remarked. for a fleeting instant. “When they eventually built studios.60 Among Mayer’s contemporaries who also came from the clothing industry were Paramount chief Adolph Zukor. especially in the Depres- sion era. in this rags to riches tale.62 It is not surprising that the fashion makeover came to represent the way to the top. Kennedy entered it in the 1920s by acquiring Pathé. achieved power and amassed wealth as Hollywood tycoons. It relies on chance encounters between the structured world of the studio system and the unplanned world of the avant-garde. a fur coat dealer. told not as a causal narrative but as a series of moments or episodes. producer Sam Goldwyn.” Wollen argues.”63 That is certainly the narrative intention of Easy Living. Insofar as a mundane fashion acces- sory becomes surreal. These encounters are especially . the film industry became so distinctly associated with the garment business that when Joseph P. the idea of the makeover. where the fortuitous acquisition of a fur coat enables a penniless working girl to cross class lines and end up marrying a billionaire. “it was only natural that they should want to associate the cinema with extravagant and spectacular clothes. which many of them. these young tycoons literally made themselves over completely. a cloth-sponger. I will return to that plot in a moment. a literal rags to riches story. being European émigrés. but what interests me is the way in which. What follows is that tale. let us focus on the rags for now.” And this long- standing history with garments was not abandoned when they joined the pictures either. “What’s Kennedy doing in pictures? He’s not a furrier. Because even though these two worlds appear to be incom- patible. that narrative is ruptured. and Mayer even expressed his gratitude by adopting the fourth of July as his birthday. “fashion was a medium of new beginnings”: a working girl.”61 Indeed. As Sarah Berry points out. we might accidentally uncover a different kind of Hollywood tale. So. were eager to embrace. arresting the screwball plot dead in its tracks. By unfurling the details of the fur coat that descends uncannily after its wealthy owner discards it like a piece of trash. In fact. they run into each other often. could make herself over “thanks to hard work and a few Adrian outfits. Show Stoppe r s 95 entertainment. a glove salesman. In Hollywood. fit nicely within the narrative of American self-invention. and William Fox.

“The transitory moment versus eternity is the crucial opposition structuring the poem: ‘un éclair. about the ruffles on a dress being more significant than some big idea. Sturges believed that the script was the essential component of studio filmmak- ing. claiming that “directing is best done through the writing of . As Bar- bara Vinken notes. Arriving during the talkie boom. he negotiated a deal with Fox that was unprecedented for a writer. puis la nuit’” – a flash of lightning. may be transient. Benjamin’s fashion formulation. The Power and the Glory. as Walter Benjamin observes. whose ephemeral existence makes it possible to uncover unlikely associations between the mismatched fabrics of classical Hollywood and Surrealism. Episodes in Chiffon The element of chance was introduced to Easy Living by Preston Sturges. It is for Benjamin “the art of the destructive but triumphant moment. For his first script. asking for a percentage of the profits rather than a flat fee. but it offers an alternative view of the past. fashion bears traces of un temps perdu and therefore enables new discoveries about history. Sturges had moved to Hollywood in the early 1930s from Broadway to fill the demand for talent created by the relatively new phenomenon of the talkies. it asks what la mode reveals about le mode. This is not a history of film couture. what fashion designing unexpectedly reveals about the method of studio filmmaking itself. Fashion. Following the ragpicker-historian. alludes to Baudelaire’s Tableaux Parisiens.96 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s guided by the world of couture. Rather.64 Fashion provides this flash of lightning for understanding modernity. the next section digs through articles of fash- ion. The ragpicker is most interested in these discoveries. As a historian. the ragpicker dem- onstrates that picking at old articles that were once in vogue but have now become outmoded can yield new ways of seeing the past. Along the way. then the night.”65 In its details. He saw himself above all as a storyteller and the movies primarily as a medium for telling stories. fur coats and chiffon dresses become unanticipated mediators between the studio system and the avant-garde art. and Hollywood looks a lot less like a rational system with a uniform style than a strange network of echoes and coincidences. by mining outmoded or cut-out sartorial objects. Sturges often championed a kind of reverse auteurism.

. Indeed.” 66 In other words. he created an accidental situation where the coat fortuitously falls on her head. speaking as they would speak. The story begins with the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson in 1913 and a young glove sales- man’s dissatisfaction with the new president and Democratic Congress’s lowering of tariffs on imported gloves. Arthur Friend. his daughter recalls. he did not believe chance could be filmed. Easy Living was his first assignment for Paramount.” Ilsa Laszlo would not have walked into Rick’s café had it not been for chance. for Sturges. held the idea of chance. Lasky. It is true that chance was primarily used as an expedient way to pivot the narrative – af- ter all. it was solely a plot device – meant to advance the linear narrative. As we saw earlier. “the situation carries the action from there. he emphasized the cast of characters and the flow of the narrative. Goldfish entered into a partnership with Jesse L. moving as they would move. As James Curtis suggests.” As he dictated his scripts to his secretary Bianca. the entire plot turns on the accidental encounter initiated by Sturges’s alteration. he “became the characters he was creating as he paced around the office. Show Stoppe r s 97 the script.”67 The script. as the Surrealists might have preferred. Sturges retained the title. not to disrupt it. But studio filmmaking seemed to discredit the value of coincidences. then. but he remodeled the entire tale. A year after a young fur coat dealer named Adolph Zukor formed the Famous Players Film Company and successfully distributed the French silent film The Loves of Queen Elizabeth (1912). the Hollywood film industry itself began with a classic accidental encounter. But in Hollywood chance was not just a concept. about the po- tentially lucrative world of motion pictures. Despite its reputation as a rational system. Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn). He even moved to Paramount because the studio allowed writers to sit in on conferences with directors. Still. chance encounters were not uncommon. “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world. learned from his lawyer. However.68 That salesman. In place of Caspary’s dramatic story about the desperate measures a young woman would take during hard times. The screenplay was supposed to be based on Vera Caspary’s short story about a poor girl who steals a mink coat. The studio system was ostensibly predicated not on sudden parallels but on predictable standards. All Sturges had to do then was develop his characters and see how they responded.

he talked all night with a woman whom he ran into again the next day at the Old Ship Café at Venice pier. and Cecil B.98 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s a vaudeville producer. Last stop. they rode to the end of the line. Together they created the Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company. completely spontaneously. who happened to know Phillips Smalley and his wife. By the end of the decade. the woman turned out to be Jeanie Macpherson. Although he did not real- ize it then. Leisen. he entered an industry attracted to spectacle. he went to Hol- lywood to become a movie star. A day later he was hired as a costume designer for Famous Players–Lasky. . an architectural designer by training. the Jesse Lasky company acquired rights to the Western play The Squaw Man and decided to shoot on location. As biographer David Chierichetti notes. Seemingly on a whim. But they found Flagstaff all wrong and. he was not much of an actor and spent most of his time with family friends. others followed. hopped back on the train before it chugged away. which accounted for almost 80 percent of movies produced worldwide. and cameraman Alfred Gandolfi went to Flagstaff. Hollywood. and the postwar craving for “spectacular glamour .”71 Luckily for Leisen. Not having enough money to set up a studio. after all. expectations. co-director Oscar C. a Broadway producer and director who hocked the family silver to join them. Hollywood was producing over eight hundred films a year. even though the tale was set in Wyoming. DeMille’s screenwriter. which merged with Zukor’s com- pany in 1916 and later became Paramount Pictures. DeMille. Hollywood films were governed by the happy co- incidence between two currents: the emphasis on visual image due to the absence of sound. assuming that the West was. His entry into Holly- wood was as coincidental as the meeting between Paul Eluard and André Breton at the birth of Surrealism. As luck would have it.69 Soon after DeMille stumbled upon this setting.” 70 As a designer. was quite surprised by the offer. In the early twenties. but Macpherson reassured him: “You had such interesting hands. Lois Weber.” she said. DeMille. “I knew you could do something. During a party at the Smalley’s. just a year earlier. the West. Among those who made the journey west was an inspired young designer named James Mitchell Leisen. and later as a director. “in Leisen’s hands [even scripts with little po- tential] blossomed beyond . Apfel. Leisen did not disappoint. In 1919. .

“As consumption became a pleasurable aspect of modernity. which we discussed in the last chapter in relation to sound’s jarring effects. In the silent era. And that desire to show sometimes over- whelmed the narrative.” 75 In Monta Bell’s The Torrent (1926). the story could wait. is generally remem- bered for its use of Deco design. which were non-narrative. . she is dressed in a “volcano” gown. There are many such moments that are “heightened. transforms herself into La Brunna. whose “only embellishment. Elsie Van Zile (Nita Naldi) tries to seduce Italian count Rodrigo Torriani (Rudolph Valentino). Leonora (Greta Garbo). As Sumiko Higashi notes in relation to DeMille’s films. Often the camera paused temporarily to absorb couture’s visual delights. when Angela Brooks (Kay Johnson) tries to win back her husband by posing as a seductress at a masquerade ball on a moored zeppelin in New York City. an orange farmer’s daughter. . DeMille was often heard advising his designers to accentuate the visual element. In Joseph Henabery’s Cobra (1925). with “haute Deco couture.”77 Even in DeMille’s Madam Satan (1930). is “a lightning bolt of silver sequins cascad- ing from the right hip to the hem like a shock of desire.” as Lucy Fischer puts it.” Howard Gutner points out. Describing the gown as a visual exclamation point onscreen.” since “the camera has no ears. who comes to America pretending to be a sheik. the narrative is delayed in fa- vor of the “glamour shot.” 76 Indeed. to “get it on the screen. Show Stoppe r s 99 and display.” 74 His suggestion interestingly echoes Walter Benjamin’s method of having nothing to say. Each time. . the plot literally comes to a halt as Naldi slowly reveals her black gown. the sensation of Paris. only to show. Jane Gaines argues that it “could only be worn to be photographed and is never properly worn but is rather hung and stuck on the actress who becomes something like a moving man- . compo- sitions were less distinguished by dramatic low-key lighting to articulate ethical dilemmas and more renowned for spectacular sets. the signifier of burning passion and intoxicating excess.” 72 The spectacle films of the period used couture not only to develop a character or advance the plot but also to create an unapologetic visual extravaganza.” 73 Indeed. When we are introduced to La Brunna. When the seduction succeeds. one of the earliest films designed by the legendary Gilbert Adrian (with Natacha Ram- bova). the narrative pauses on a dazzling medium shot of Garbo in a black and white striped fur collar. Feyder’s The Kiss.

The first generation of Surrealists. the effect of “getting it on the screen” could sometimes inadvertently replicate the rupturing tendencies of modernism.”81 For the Surrealists.” 78 To put it another way. fashion was used not in service of the narrative but for disruptive visual pleasure. in fact. from comedies like Frank Capra’s Lady for a Day (1933) to melodramas like King Vidor’s Stella Dallas (1937). touching on the imagery of woman and the correlation between the world of real objects and the life of ob- jects in the mind. Madam Satan was a flop. just when Hollywood was turning toward sobriety. especially in couture. allowing them to illustrate the relationship between the real and the simulacrum. as Richard Martin suggests. the dress appears more mobile than the actress. was invested in language. In this environment.100 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s nequin. were encouraged to turn away from the labor market and toward their con- ventional roles as wives and mothers. the mannequin became a famil- iar phantom object. This return to middle class values had a direct impact on film cou- ture. the next decade saw increasing restraint. as Lois Ban- ner asserts. In fact. did not survive long after the onset of the Great Depression. Coincidentally. Instead of a seductress. In Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet (1930). still under the sway of Dadaism. But these spectacular displays. the Surrealists began borrowing from haute couture in order to rupture the logical order. While the 1920s had tolerated modernist excesses.”80 This “lady-like look” fit nicely into thirties films. and Richard Barrios explains its failure by describing the film as the “last baroque gasp of twenties frivolity. a . Moreover. as unemployment rose. Filmmaking in the 1930s reemphasized efficiency. particularly after the wholehearted enforcement of the Production Code.” 79 What these examples illustrate is that throughout the 1920s. exploring its social and psycholog- ical functions. American culture at large. But within a few years they turned to the fine arts. as costumes were redesigned to symbolically fit the classical narrative. and immoderation of all kinds had to be cut out. Angela becomes virtually a Surrealist phantom object. the “‘lady-like look’ once again became the cynosure of the American woman. “fashion and its instruments were at the heart of the Surrealist metaphor. At that point. Couture had to be trimmed. focused on af- firming traditional values for women. it seems to be crawling on her. who. and women’s magazines and films in particular.

82 Also that year. Rummag- ing like a chiffonier through older texts at the National Library in Paris. Lautrémont’s Les Chants de Maldoror provided what would become the paradigmatic Surrealist metaphor. the body becomes strikingly exces- sive. but the human body no longer inhabits it. the chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing machine on a dissecting table. Breton had discovered the nineteenth-century poet Comte de Lautré- mont. when the ties transform themselves into phantoms. brought to life when the poet wipes off his disembodied mouth from a self-portrait on to the Hellenistic model. in “Self-Portrait. that “lingers till late on the avenue de l’Opéra at Barclay’s. What is left is an undeniable trace or memory of that body in the arresting visual detail of female breasts exposed underneath the surface of the dress. By the mid-1930s. They were fascinated by couture because it seemed to possess inherently an air of surrealism. like Walter Ben- jamin. The hanging nightgown enables another unlikely juxtaposition of .” he argued. the marvelous in the everyday.”85 The most audacious example of this evocation is René Magritte’s “Homage to Mack Sennett. hanging in a wardrobe. which shows that couture offered the ideal imagery for expressing Surrealist interest in displacement and illogic. In couture. which were capable of evoking “the erotic and mysterious. Show Stoppe r s 101 calcified Lee Miller is at first a surrogate for a living figure. In Une Vague de Rêves. Louis Aragon drew attention to sartorial details that could be transformed in an instant: “There is a surrealist light. pseudonym of Isidore Lucien Ducasse.”84 And.” The painting shows a dress in human form. In its absence. The Surrealists were not only interested in accentuating the artificial but also in creating mo- ments where the unreal would lead to a new order of things.”83 But the appropriation of mannequins was part of a much wider ex- change between Surrealism and haute couture. the Surrealists found an ideal dissecting table where the bizarre in the banal. in that spectacle. mannequins were displayed as dream-like sculp- tures at city thoroughfares.” Herbert Bayer established the relationship between the living and the phantom object with an image of the photographer himself as a mannequin whose arm is being disassembled. the Surrealists sought to investigate history through these frag- mentary sartorial glimpses. As Richard Martin puts it. “Pygmalion was meeting Freud in a dramatic encounter. at the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme in Paris. could be revealed.

They were succeeded by dialogue-based comedies.”87 Therefore. almost obsolete. which could result in breaking the illusion and the spell of realism. When the automobile takes off. They are only discovered when Detective Emory Littleworth (Lynne Overman) no- tices the tops of their hats fluttering in the wind. Still. becomes part of the narrative. in the sound era. whose films had markedly negligible script outlines. the anarchic ruffles of fashion have a way of knocking your eye out. costumes had “the potential to distract the viewer from the narrative. such as the diner scene from Easy Living. summed up perfectly in Herbert Blau’s phrase: “the ominous slapstick. and strik- ing visual elements that could not be contained were usually jettisoned. In Gus Meins’s Nobody’s Baby (1937). For a split second.’ he goes on. two nurses stranded outside New York City take a breather on a convertible’s running board. Couture too.”86 Ironically. to suggest that she is picking up gossip signals from the Casino roof. Although moments of anarchic energy did not entirely disappear. inserted as an extended color sequence in Cukor’s black-and-white film. As Jane Gaines suggests. appears in one scene wearing a sequined butterfly with a matching hat with antennae. as the . Gaines quotes Cukor himself as saying that the ideal costume was one that enabled narrative coherence: “If the costume ‘knocked your eye out.”88 The most striking example of this occurs in George Cukor’s The Women (1939). and inadvertently juxtaposing the standard and the strange. Along with the Great Depression. stopping the show. Gaines adds. both Mack Sennett and fashion’s spectacular ability of instantaneously disrupting the linear narrative were fading in popularity in Hollywood. it was not good for the scene or for the entire film. especially of the screwball variety.102 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s incompatible things. while Magritte was painting his homage to comedy’s cha- otic impulses via couture. it was the standardization of the talkies that made slapstick comedies like Mack Sennett’s.”89 In fact. even the fashion show itself. Hedda Hopper. was tailored to fit the requirements of the narrative. which tends to emphasize the thrill of the moment. they hang on for dear life. playing the prying columnist Dolly DePeyster. and the continuity script became sovereign. the linear narrative demanded “subordinating an especially evocative aesthetic to narrative designs. they were accommodated into the linear narrative.

Hansen has suggested that. given “its contemporaneity . falls in love with a showgirl. feathers flutter in the oncoming breeze. In Mark Sandrich’s Shall We Dance (1937). Pete P. Sandrich combines modern dance moves with the nineteenth-century ballet convention where “the hero walks onstage. Shall We Dance (dir. who are all dressed exactly alike and are all wearing Ginger Rogers masks. while faking a marriage with her for publicity. Just as Pete is obsessed with combining classical ballet with modern jazz dancing throughout the film. and seeks among them for the one woman who is his.4). Peters (Fred Astaire). 1937).4. Show Stoppe r s 103 2. blond wigs. disembodied and surreal. Pete looks for Linda among a bevy of chorines. Mark Sandrich. In the film’s finale.”90 Their multiplicity is meant to satirize the assembly line. and Ginger Rogers masks held in place with match- ing gloved hands represent a collective sartorial excess that is uncanny (Figure 2. an American ballet dancer. their hats appear to be floating. finds a large number of women who look alike and are dressed alike (the corps de ballet). Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers). in this number. But their identical black dresses and veils.

I find the inadvertent scavenging within Hollywood’s vertically integrated system much more compel- ling.” it would be impossible for classical Hollywood to not have encountered Surreal- ism. on “a kind of spontaneous adaptability found in individuals who because of necessity have to do something with very limited resources. Kiesling observed that the design departments at major studios were quite impressive. The designer who most adroitly executed such juxtapositions was Gilbert Adrian. [where] some thirty thousand different costumes of every known historical period are stored. Adrian had learned to assemble designs out of the scraps left on the cutting room floor. Caroline Evans compares the roles of the ragpicker and the fashion designer. every style you could imagine. arguing that “the historian/design- er’s method is akin to that of the ragpicker who moves through the city gathering scraps for recycling. these sartorial moments possess an air of cinephilia because they appear suddenly and incredibly surreal.”94 That kind of eclectic raw material enabled designers to stroll up and down the vertical promenade of fashions. reviving for- gotten styles and creating startling juxtapositions of sartorial articles. That is partly because fashion designing. often set up “in an enormous twelve-story building. In Talking Pictures.”93 Similarly. vali- dating Elizabeth Nielsen’s contention that costume designing depended more on the designer’s resourcefulness than creativity.”95 As a struggling designer. Before Mitchell Leisen ran into him in New York and brought him out to Hollywood.104 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s with twentieth-century modernisms and modern culture. he decided to participate in the Bal . Jane Powell thought of the MGM costume department as a museum. as if by chance.”92 She makes this analogy. While he was studying at the Parsons School of Fine and Applied Arts in Paris. however. even in the rigidly con- trolled studio system. Adrian had gained experience working with chiffon (and plenty of other fabrics) mainly through chiffons. an insider’s account of classical Hollywood writ- ten in 1937.91 Even though the studio system claimed to have eschewed excess in the 1930s. with “a glorious collection of real and unreal [clothes]. of every period. Barrett C. was far closer to the ragpicker’s method than to the assembly line worker’s. only in relation to postmodern designers who deliberately rummage through fashion history in order to quote it.

Despite Mayer’s apparent refusal to allow the studio to be turned into a laboratory. This was to be his “sacred rite of initiation into the Parisian world of art and design.98 Joan Crawford had been a fashion icon since her flapper days. Adrian put together a costume by rummaging through “the workrooms at Parsons looking for whatever [he] might take that wouldn’t be missed. which were ruffled at the shoulder and tight from the elbow down.000 copies of it. where designers like Paul Poiret met each year to create extravagant costumes. caught the attention of Irving Berlin. cost-cutting thirties. this may also be the most outmoded of sartorial objects from the era. Adrian borrowed a detail from the gay 1890s by reviving the puffed sleeves.”97 The result of his scouring was a brightly colored design that.”99 It became popular immediately upon the film’s release. When he finally moved to Hollywood and took over as designer at MGM. But the Letty Lynton dress has outlived those narratives. All of these threads.”100 What kind of dress would create such a fashion furor across the country? Instead of following the realistic trend in costume designing of the early 1930s. Adrian brought his scouring talents with him. the puffed sleeves were simply meant to cover Joan Crawford’s unusually broad shoulders. that image was toned down. By chance. In- deed. helped out by a few Adrian outfits. come together in what is considered the most cited dress in Holly- wood fashion history: from Clarence Brown’s Letty Lynton (1932). fash- ion historian Jane Mulvagh notes. Incidentally. the white chiffon organdy dress with built-up shoulders and puffed sleeves has persisted like a still from Gilbert Adair’s album of “flickers. rather than a fashion statement. who happened to be in Paris looking for a designer for his Broadway revue. so she could play a rags to riches working girl or an unlucky in love socialite. since the film itself has not survived. and an article in Vogue reported that “the country was flooded with little Joan Crawfords. Indeed. In the 1930s. combining couture.”96 But without much time or money for an original design. so much so that Macy’s claimed they had sold 500. showing “Japanese and Balinese costumes and Bangkok temple dancers with winged shoulders and tiny . this talent for experimenting with old scraps proved especially useful during the aus- tere. Show Stoppe r s 105 du Grand Prix. and the avant- garde. economics. the 1931 Exposition Coloniale in Paris had reintroduced the wide shoulders. luckily.

” confess- ing to the Ladies’ Home Journal that the Letty Lynton dress “may have seemed to have several ideas. incompatible juxtapositions were inevitable in classical Hollywood. out of bits and pieces from different eras.”101 The Letty Lynton puffed sleeves – also called mutton sleeves. David Wallace notes that the dress was not produced by a lone artist. like the accidental meeting between Dali and DeMille. for it is not the repetition of a standardized product.105 In a striking cinephiliac moment. To the outmoded but now revived sleeves. which became synonymous with 1930s Hollywood fashion and defined Adrian’s reputation as the quintessential Hollywood designer. in the designs of Parisian fashion houses.” if we look at the ruffles closely. then. but by “a small army of up to 250 cutters. In the early 1930s. both ruffled and tucked.104 The result of all this collaboration was that Letty Lynton’s starched chiffon dress signified in excess of its look of innocence and vulnerability demanded by the narrative. Indeed.” he argued. such as “the Buster Brown collar. as Elizabeth Wilson points out. was in fact put together almost in- advertently as a collage. had introduced the exaggerated puffed sleeves a year earlier.”106 The visual details of Adrian’s collage. fashion designing encouraged such juxtapositions. feather workers. jewel craftsmen. the dress does not appear to follow those script requirements. Although Joan Crawford is supposed to look “demure and submissive in the frothy fantasy dress. and seamstresses. “when Joan Crawford stood framed in a doorway the sleeves stood out like twin powder puffs or embryo wings. Adrian. Therefore. Coincidentally. embroiders. the hip treatment and the flared bottom of the skirt. conservatism . or of overcoats. made the dress unmistakably surreal.”103 Kiesling had correctly identified this collaborative environment as the key to understanding studio filmmaking: “Picture making is not like the manufacture of gloves. thereby allowing the irratio- nal to coexist with the otherwise rational method of studio filmmaking. the doyenne of Parisian high fash- ion. haute couture responded to the somber mood following the collapse of the stock market by eschewing both opulence and trivial- ity. bead- ers. More- over. appropriately echoing Surrealism’s penchant for the bizarre – arose out of the juxtaposition of neo-Victorian femininity and Oriental chic.106 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s waists. tailors. or of shoes.”102 The dress. Adrian added other heteroge- neous elements. The design suggests that. Elsa Schiaparelli.

a pixie-like hat that could be manipulated into a series of bizarre shapes. Surrealism happened to gain currency in fashion’s graphic designs. Elsa Schiaparelli adapted Dali’s “The Study of Drawers” for her famous desk suit. we can say that fashion and Surrealism were meeting in a dramatic. and contributed his flair and capricious whimsy to the more staid designs. This hat was part of a series of sartorial articles that Dali and Schiaparelli co-produced through a surrealist juxtaposition of dissimilar objects. First. To break this cycle. because he “could offer a sur- realist touch to the Chanel line. Around the time of the release of Easy Living. Paraphrasing Richard Martin. Show Stoppe r s 107 prevailed. In that singular moment. Martin points out. which oddly echoes the Letty Lynton sleeves. When West arrived in Paris. Dali and Schiaparelli joined forces to create the Mad Cap. Surreal- ist artist Leonor Fini created an hourglass-shaped flacon. Schiaparelli’s “operating table” became the charmed dissecting table where Surrealism met Hollywood through fashion. Surrealism was briefly in- vited to the studio system. Both Chanel and Schiaparelli were asked to design costumes. as if by chance. Schiaparelli did . Long before Hitchcock worked with Dali on Spellbound.”107 In 1936. in 1937 Schiaparelli invited Mae West to adapt her bosomy curves for a perfume bottle. Although Hollywood stars like Norma Shearer and Joan Craw- ford had been interested in Parisian haute couture since earlier in the de- cade. often comic (might we say madcap?) encounter. William Wiser notes that Dali became one of her friends. and mea- sured and probed with curiosity. he collabo- rated with Schiaparelli on the Mutton Chop Hat. at MGM and Paramount respectively. The Surrealist returned the favor.”108 Two years later. Dali arrived wearing a diving suit to show “that he was plumbing the depths of the human mind. At a lec- ture in London. that encounter included one other member: classical Hol- lywood. “she was stretched out on the operating table of [her] workroom. In 1937. By Ch a nce That encounter made an impression on Hollywood too. with pockets simulating a chest of drawers. with Mae West as a kind of moving mannequin.”109 Based on West’s silhouette. Coco Chanel decided to revise Paul Poiret’s restrictive outfits by freeing women of the corset.

That association did not last long. the owner. Yet again. because these Parisian couturiers seemed too eccentric for the fast-paced studio system. saying “Johnny. John and Mary recognize her puzzlement. emerges wearing a centipede brooch and asks for a decidedly surreal hat. were occasional glimpses where the worlds of Surrealism and the studio system accidentally collided. Simone (Elaine Barrie). it moves swiftly along to the next joke. the film becomes a little less predictable. What remained. we might say that it takes on the qualities of what René Crevel called “a . the unmotivated overhead shot momentarily suspends the narrative order. B. Like the overhead shot of the fur coat that falls on Jean Arthur’s head. another unsuspecting girl gets hit by a fur coat. In Leisen’s Midnight (1939). “with the stuff on it that looks like spinach. Ed Sikov argues that Easy Living issues from “Sturges’s and Leisen’s glorifying appreciation of kismet. however. mostly for laughs.” leaving open the possibility that chance will offer another op- portunity for all sorts of comic misunderstandings. moments of sartorial excess had a way of inadvertently breaching the classical style. Mary grabs his arm and walks away. and it falls on a young girl who happens to be standing nearby. She lets out a slight scream. Like the other sartorial excesses discussed in the previous section. an American gold-digger goes from being Eve Peabody of the Bronx (Claudette Colbert) to the Duchess Czerny of Hungary with the help of some Parisian couture. he throws it off the roof. In fact. in Leisen’s hands. The Brackett and Wilder script does not linger on Surrealist details. At the end of Easy Living. and Chanel was invited to collaborate with Leisen and Adrian. so that the script is momentarily disregarded in favor of unplanned moments that reflect an appreciation not of kismet but of chance. After the confusion is finally cleared up.”111 Although Sturges’s script contains this sense of predetermina- tion. for instance. this is where we came in.108 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Mae West’s costumes for Edward Sutherland’s Every Day’s a Holiday (1937). Ball finds his wife in possession of a disruptive fur coat once more. And we might conclude that the enthusi- asm for Surrealism in Hollywood faded just as quickly.” That movie has none of the visual intensity of Surrealism. For even in the rigidly controlled 1930s.110 What Holly- wood wanted was to incorporate Surrealist-inspired designs symboli- cally into their scripts. J. In a scene at Simone Chapeaux.

because Leisen cuts back to Jean Arthur. it becomes the script’s “screwball. then. sometimes thematically and at other times in momen- tary juxtapositions that appeared surreal. at the All-Star Game of 1934. the thirties saw numerous cultural. on the other hand.”113 The excessive sartorial moment that turns suddenly surreal similarly strikes out the traditional narrative in and about classical Hollywood. Jimmie Foxx. the world seemed more and more to be ruled by chance – which inadvertently made its way into some of the studio’s most standard stories. Ina Rae Hark argues that at no other time “did the Hollywood film industry and its product look so different at its conclusion as compared to its beginning. counterintuitive pitch meant to confuse the batter. It became especially popular when. and moral transformations. Lou Gehrig. Even if only for an instant. become perfectly fitting instances of the fortuitous juxtaposition of classical Hol- lywood and Surrealism.” which is “capable of making us forget all sorts of wretched [or funny] stories.” the decade’s films strive to balance competing ideas. With “an equal mea- sure of transgressive desire and normative pressure. the film tries to move from one plot point to the next. mature into an oligopoly. The mysterious fur coat or the starched chiffon dress. Writing about the decade’s dislocations. one way to think about thirties cinema. Hark notes. New York Giant Carl Hubbell surprisingly “struck out five future Hall- of-Famers in a row – Babe Ruth. and the plot resumes. experienced not in the planned collaborations between the European émigrés and the Hollywood natives but in the unplanned moments that happened by chance during the 1930s. is in terms of hybridity.”114 This is because while the previous decade’s turmoil had been primarily caused by a singular event.” Ed Sikov notes that the term screwball came from baseball: it was coined in the 1930s to suggest an erratic. such that “sepia-toned Kansas [ex- . This moment shows the negotiation that is at the heart of 1930s studio film- making: on the one hand. Indeed. economic. Even as the studios tried to consolidate power. Show Stoppe r s 109 single minute’s lyricism.”112 The enigmatic fur coat is certainly capable of making us forget the screwball script – but just for a moment. it reveals the contradictions and combinations that lie just beneath the surface and between the folds. and standardize filmmaking. Al Simmons and Joe Cronin – all with screwballs. the transition to sound outlined in the last chapter.

110 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s ists] in a parallel universe with Technicolor Oz. As is clear in the cinephiliac moments traced above.”115 In a similar fashion. to another. thirties filmmaking appears to balance the tension between systematic- ity and disorder. it was also a time of accidental encounters. World War II. the Great Depression. While we tend to think of the studio era in terms of predictability. . chance does appear onscreen. when Hollywood responds to the terrifying unpre- dictability of a different kind: the rise of proto-McCarthyism. In the next chapter. These encounters were particularly likely during a time when the world was making the transition from one chaotic disaster. we will see what happens after the war ends.

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Robert Ga r is. The Films of Orson Welles . Arkadin]. All great talents. like Goethe.Goethe? Shakespeare? Everything they put their name to is supposed to be good. Beethoven. Michelangelo. Shakespeare. Diary 1895–99 Yet something. The failure was not in talent. but things that were less than mediocre. quite simply awful. created not only beautiful works. but in control over the circumstances in which the talent had to work. certainly. many things. blocked satisfying development [of Mr. and people rack their brains to find beauty in the silliest little thing they bungled. Leo Tolstoy.

It is not visually stunning. Quite simply. For me. 113 . While intriguing in itself. thr ee Signature Crimes 1946 and the Strange Case of the Lost Scene (as Well as the Stranger Case of the Missing Auteur) W hodu n it? Strike One The scene that exposes the former Nazi’s identity is rather unremarkable. it carries a peculiar cinephiliac appeal. innovative flair of the hall of mirrors sequence in The Lady from Shanghai (1948).1). Nor does it have the flamboyant. just before his wife Mary (Loretta Young) appears at the other end of the line via a cutaway. almost inadvertently. while he faintly whistles “Deutschland über Alles” (Figure 3. this is precisely its appeal. It has none of the poignancy of the close-up of quivering lips slowly whispering “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane (1941) or the solemnity of the long shot of a fading artist walking off into an apocalyptic evening in F for Fake (1973). this revelatory moment from Orson Welles’s The Stranger is unexceptional. the “signature” shot in The Stranger is highly unlike a classic Wellesian moment. There is no mistaking this symbol. Then. ending with an X across the page (Figure 3. Charles Rankin (Orson Welles) draws his signature. on a notepad hanging on the wall.2). A standard over-the- shoulder shot captures Rankin sketching a swastika on the notepad. What he signs is not his personal name but the moniker of Nazism itself. And yet. It appears almost banal and does not support neatly our understanding of the Wellesian aesthetic. Standing in a phone booth at a local drug store. he begins to cancel the signature with brief diagonal strokes that distort the swastika’s symmetrical design.

” a suggestion Rankin clearly complies with. evidently also in Welles’s handwrit- ing. it is obvious that Charles Rankin. doodling his signature as he urges his wife Mary to meet him at the church tower. But nothing will come of this scene. The entire scene comprises standard medium shots of Charles Ran- kin waiting in a phone booth. Rankin tears the signature sheet off the notepad.1. Nowhere will this Nazi symbol reappear. therefore. where the film’s denouement will unfold. Connecti- cut.114 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 3. The erased signature is a rather heavy-handed illustration of Ran- kin’s identity. It competes with another. As the phone conversation ends. it never appears to be the focus of the shot. By this point in The Stranger. Orson Welles. The Stranger (dir. and the camera tracks him in profile out of the phone booth. a history professor at a boys’ prep school in Harper. Franz Kindler. 1946). Although . Nobody will discover the swastika as evidence of Rankin’s guilt. The notepad is in the lower right corner of the frame. is in fact the escaped Nazi mastermind. That sign matter-of-factly advises callers not to “deface walls” and instructs them to “use pad. slightly larger sign in the background.

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 115

3.2. The Stranger (dir. Orson Welles, 1946).

the townspeople consider him “above suspicion,” his actions leading up
to this scene – especially his strangling of fellow Nazi fugitive Konrad
Meinike (Constantin Shane) as well as his fierce insistence that Marx
was not a German because he was a Jew – have left no doubt about his
character. So, the delayed revelatory signature shot does not seem to
reveal much at all.
But the signature moment was to occur right at the beginning of
this film.

Strike Two

A few quick strokes would have revealed that the former high-ranking
SS officer and architect of the Final Solution, Franz Kindler (also Or-
son Welles), had indeed transformed himself into Charles Rankin. The
moment was to occur during the opening Latin American sequence,
which begins right after the Allied War Crimes Commission releases

116 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

Konrad Meinike, a Nazi bureaucrat, with the hope that he might lead
them to the fugitive Nazi mastermind. While elements of this expres-
sionist sequence remain in the released version of the film, some details
have been lost. In search of Franz Kindler, a schizophrenic Meinike was
to travel to Argentina.1 In a moment that would have eerily anticipated
the acclaimed entrance of Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in Carol Reed’s
The Third Man (1949), Meinike was to appear shuffling anxiously down
a cobblestone path, wanting to deliver a message “from the All Highest.”
He was to come in contact with the “Nazis of 1932 . . . plotting for 1952,”
who would assume that he had been sent by the Führer and therefore
guide him to a morgue attendant specializing in fake passports.2 Besides
issuing counterfeit travel documents, the attendant was to “take a paper
from [Meinike] with Franz Kindler’s name on it and draw a series of
diagonal lines through the letters F, Z, D, L, E, R until it spells Rankin.”3
The strikes across Kindler’s name would have immediately established
his Möbius strip-like connection to Charles Rankin.
But in the released version of The Stranger, only snippets of this ex-
pository episode have survived. After being allowed to escape, and un-
aware of being followed by a female agent who is presumably working
for the Allied War Crimes Commission, we see Meinike sneaking into a
morgue in a vaguely Latin American country. Although the expression-
ist mood still prevails – heightened by low-angle photography during
the chiaroscuro exchange between Meinike and the photographer – the
sequence is abridged to report only the most essential dramatic details
that will lead to the escaped convict’s journey to the United States in
search of the transformed Nazi war criminal. Besides, this sequence ap-
pears superficially shadowy, lacking the Gothic depth of a noir thriller
or a Wellesian film. While being photographed for his fake passport,
Meinike demands to know the whereabouts of Franz Kindler. After some
hesitation, the morgue attendant hands him a postcard of Harper, Con-
necticut. There is no mention of Rankin’s name, since Meinike claims
he already knows Kindler’s current identity. The scene cuts to a picture
postcard of a bucolic old town with a Gothic clock tower at its center, but
this two-dimensional image once again betrays the absence of depth at
the heart of this mystery. Then, a fade-out suggests the change in loca-

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 117

tion, and the town of Harper, an all-American setting with ostensibly no
troubles at all, springs to life.
The long Latin American segment, which the director saw as an op-
portunity to explore “a whole series of very wild, dreamlike events,” was
apparently edited by producer Sam Spiegel in collaboration with editor
Ernest Nims.4 Up to thirty minutes of footage was reportedly deleted
from the introduction, never to be restored, thus cutting out almost en-
tirely what Welles considered the signature sequence of the film. For the
studio, “a dreamlike sequence around South America did not necessar-
ily smell like box office – especially in the mid-1940s.”5 Welles may have
been inspired by a State Department White Paper, written by Cordell
Hull, who served as secretary of state from 1933 to 1944 and was a strong
supporter of the Good Neighbor policy in Latin America.6 The docu-
ment suggested that Juan Péron harbored Nazi sympathies and intended
to establish a fascist state in Argentina. That would have made Latin
America an ideal location for the wild opening segment of The Stranger.
A year earlier, it had served as the location in Edward Dmytryk’s Cor-
nered (1945), where ex-POW Laurence Gerard (Dick Powell), in search
of his bride’s murderer, tracks a Vichy collaborator to Buenos Aires. That
film was enormously controversial, and it couldn’t have given any confi-
dence to the studios about locating renascent fascism in Latin America.
Moreover, as Jennifer E. Langdon points out, even after World War II
came to an end, “the Hollywood studios, still fearful of jeopardizing
their foreign markets, tried mightily to avoid antagonizing those South
American nations that were neutral or even sympathetic to the Nazis.” 7
Welles himself often spoke of the clashes with the studio over the open-
ing sequence in The Stranger. While admitting that the majority of the
deleted segment was not central to the plot, he told Barbara Leaming
that Nims was “the great supercutter, who believed that nothing should
be in a movie that did not advance the story.”8 Since the identity of the
Nazi mastermind is revealed more overtly later on, these striking wild
and dreamlike images could not have done anything to develop the plot.
Hence, they were cut out.
But the opening sequence may have been lost before it was even
filmed.

118 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

Strike Three

According to the shooting schedule, there were days assigned for all the
scenes in the shooting script of The Stranger. But then, some scenes were
cancelled. As Clinton Heylin points out, the schedule “has a series of
lines drawn through the scenes deleted from the film, perhaps suggesting
their elimination at the outset.”9 In other words, The Stranger may have
been pre-edited. Welles would insist that the opening scenes were shot
and deleted later, even claiming “a deep wound” in his leg that occurred
when he “stepped on a baby’s coffin” while shooting in Latin America,
a wound that “always reminds [him] of what was lost from the movie.”10
But whether the sequence was altered during pre- or post-production is
not the most magnificent piece of this puzzle. Unlike the recently recov-
ered film It’s All True (1942; unfinished), another Latin American project
that Welles worked on just before The Stranger, this original sequence, if
it ever existed, has been lost. What we have in its place is a generic Holly-
wood opening with a few superficial embellishments. Indeed, the entire
film looks that way, because, as James Naremore puts it, The Stranger
“barely deviates from industry habits.”11 The final authority seems to
have ended up in the hands of Nims, the great supercutter.
Welles had in fact signed an extremely restrictive contract for this
film. It gave Ernest Nims the license to edit any part of the film “in the
interest of telling its tale as simply and swiftly as possible.”12 The memo-
ries of Welles’s much-publicized struggle with R KO over The Magnifi-
cent Ambersons (1942) were still fresh. As is widely known, that film was
shortened considerably by editor Robert Wise, and its elegiac ending was
replaced by a resolution that was happier in tone, after Welles submit-
ted his final cut to the studios. Those edits were undertaken following
unfavorable reviews from preview audiences, while Welles was in Brazil
shooting It’s All True. During that scuffle with R KO, he not only lost con-
trol over his film but also developed the reputation for being unbankable.
Following that disaster, Welles found it difficult to get rehired as a studio
director. He worked some in radio, guest-starred on variety shows, and
appeared as an actor in other directors’ films. On September 20, 1945, he
signed what would have seemed to be quite an unpleasant deal with In-
ternational Pictures to direct a film that was then titled “Date with Des-

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 119

tiny,” based on Victor Trivas’s story called “The Trap.” Heylin regards the
contract as “Hollywood’s ultimate revenge on the Boy Wonder of 1939.”13
The terms of the agreement required Welles to surrender control over
the finished product. “Just four days after inscribing his moniker on the
dotted line,” Heylin tells us, “he delivered a 164-page final shooting script
which bore telltale thumbprints on every page.”14 But it appears that, as
the shooting proceeded, a number of these thumbprints began getting
erased. The final product reflects all the elements of a classical Holly-
wood film: a linear plot, continuity editing, and a neat and predictable
resolution of conflict at the end. In fact, cuts to the opening sequences
were apparently only the first in a series of edits that transformed the film
into what is unanimously regarded as a standard studio product.15 The
studio system seems to have won over Orson Welles, “depriving him of
many little strokes he’d planned to apply to his thematic canvas.”16
So, in the case of The Stranger, the auteur appears to have struck out.

I n th e Na m e of th e Au thor

On November 21, 1864, believing that she had lost all five of her sons
in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby
of Boston. The brief missive was meant to offer condolences, but it also
acknowledged “how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which
should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.”
Along with the Gettysburg address and the second inaugural speech, the
Bixby letter is regarded by many Lincoln biographers as a masterpiece
and is often cited as evidence of his literary genius.17 Intriguingly, the
letter is treated by just as many historians with skepticism, not for the
quality of its prose but for doubts about its authenticity. As it turns out,
the letter is historically inaccurate, since Mrs. Bixby only lost two sons
in the war. Of the remaining three boys, one deserted the army, the
other was honorably discharged, and the third may have either deserted
or died as a prisoner of war. Besides, Mrs. Bixby was said to have been
a supporter of the Confederacy and therefore may have destroyed the
letter after receiving it. There remains in circulation what might be a
lithographic facsimile of it. Other copies have materialized too from
time to time. These facts have led some historians to suggest that the

Of course. But let me first trace a brief history of the birth. The anxiety over the Bixby letter. or . death. uncertainty over its authorship persists. noted biographer Roy Basler has argued that the letter is comparable “to the best of Lincoln’s lyrical passages” from the Gettysburg address and the farewell address. and continued survival of the author. no other director has been more troublingly synonymous with auteurism than Orson Welles. that concern is compounded with the invention of mechanical means of reproduction.”20 Therefore. imitating the president’s voice and perhaps even forging his signature.” which evidently appears repeatedly in Hay’s correspondence but never in Lincoln’s. At least until the early modern era. Basler is convinced that “the internal evidence of style seems to mark the letter as Lincoln’s. photography – and later cinema – caused a “disturbance (to civilization). It also reminds us. that “authorship has never been an unassailable concept. recasting. authenticity. may have composed the letter.”18 But since the “original” letter has been lost. The dispute over this letter highlights the issues surrounding the vexed idea of author- ship. literary authority rested in the classical past. As Roland Barthes argues in Camera Lucida. in effect parallels the problems of authorship highlighted by the rise of photography. The notions of authorship as a site of creative autonomy and of the author as a romantic genius are relatively recent ideas. On the other hand. and multiple copies appear in circulation. recast in new form an uneasiness that has always haunted literary creation. Lincoln’s sec- retary of state. as Michael North rightly suggests. and the auctor was a craftsman whose work consisted of “sifting. has been similar in form to that engaged by connoisseurs when trying to validate the originality of works of art. Noteworthy in this debate is the use of the word “beguile. and authority.”19 While authorship has always been fraught with anxiety. especially since the death of its pur- ported author. however. including its relation to uniqueness. also in the latter half of the nineteenth century. and modern doubts about it. debates over authorship have been particularly contentious in film studies. whom I will return to in a moment. The debate over the Bixby letter. intensified by the existence of multiple copies with seemingly no clear original. radical though they may seem.120 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s extant letter may be a fake or speculate that John Hay.

or commentator. Still. thereby bringing into sharp focus the role of the individual writer and his proprietary right over his literary work. its derivation rather than its deviation from prior texts. even Dr. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 121 engagingly imitating ideas that had been common property as long as ideas had been written down.” implied the addition of a “mysterious something” to the original. Johnson himself may have become the modern author due to the efforts of biographer James Boswell. was itself a collective and collaborative composition “between Johnson. whose Life of Johnson posthu- mously conferred a romantic aura on him.”23 But this attitude began to change in the early modern period.26 Also contributing to the transformation of authorship were the rise of print culture and the subsequent development of copyright laws. “From the Middle Ages right down through the Renaissance. compiler. And it is precisely this reconceptualization .”21 Writing in the thirteenth century.22 Until the Renaissance – the word author first appears as a variant of auctor around 1550 – authorship was typically understood as a transcription of ideas handed down by tradition. which helped create the notion of individual authorship. Bonaventure suggested that a book may be produced by a scribe.24 However. Print regu- lated the relation between author and text. The work was no longer merely rhetorical: it was an object that had to have a creator. As Jacqueline Miller suggests. like Petrarch’s definition of imitation as “the resemblance of a son to his father. it continued being seen as a collaborative activity. Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets. he did not fully come to life until later. “new writing derived its value and authority from its affiliation with the texts that preceded it. St. for instance. Indeed. as we will see mo- mentarily. his own work was far more of the auctor variety. authorship became an act of imitation that. the London booksellers – and countless others.” Martha Woodmansee argues.”25 While Johnson is associated with the birth of authorship. while the “author” was thus born. Johnson’s Lives went a long way in “establishing a pantheon of great authors whose ‘works’ differ qualitatively from the sea of mere writing” – a gesture. all of whom would have worked col- laboratively. the poets he immortalized. As Woodmansee notes. Even after authorship wrested itself from the pull of antiquity. that was very similar to early auteurism practiced at Cahiers du Cinéma – and helped foster the myth of the solitary genius.

it is the application of powers to objects on . knowledge came to be regarded in terms of individual property. No longer was a writer a mere scribbler of handed-down. when the modern author came alive. especially in Germany. Abrams has argued. or reproduction. could no longer be found in adaptation. and labor. In England. .” M. Genuine authorship. out of pre-existing materials not their own. redefined as individual expression. communal truths. it is not made: Imitations are often a sort of manufacture wrought up by those mechanics.122 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s of writing as intellectual property that led to the Romantic revolution. if that be not allowed. Instead. Since an individual’s “person” was now seen as his own property. This notion of authorship. rises spontaneously from the vital root of Genius. . German theorists from Herder to Goethe to Kant formulated a new literary tradition in which the author was reborn as a romantic genius. William Wordsworth declared that genuine authorship was not the imitation of life but “the introduction of a new element into the intellectual universe: or. it grows. Edward Young argued in Conjectures on Original Composition for a new way of thinking about writing. especially since it now merited legal protec- tion. became ubiquitous by the turn of the nineteenth century. “Young’s suggestions that a great work of literature grows out of the impenetrable depths of the mind of genius” found a receptive audi- ence.29 Nearly two centuries before another generation of young writers would denounce the “tradition of quality” in favor of the individual art- ist. suggesting that “an Original . By the mid-eighteenth century. his writing could be construed as his prop- erty as well. Mark Rose suggests that this discourse of authorship as a proprietary right grew out of a Lockean as- sertion of possessive individualism.”28 Young’s thesis about literary independence was enormously influential on an emerging profession of writers. “In a country where youthful writers were chafing at the long subjection of the na- tive literary tradition to foreign models and rules. If the emergence of a mass market for printed texts and the conse- quent formulations of copyright lent materiality to those texts.27 In that context. In 1759. where it contributed to the development of Romanticism. they also recast the idea of authorship. imitation. H. authorship became radically reconceptual- ized. the notion of originality became the basis for establishing au- thorship and authority. art. after print had transformed writing into a commercial act.

expressed as a world-view or vision. who came to domi- nate aesthetic and literary criticism throughout the nineteenth century. but in cinema. auteurists closely resembled the Romantics.” The true author was thus transformed into a genius. “Creation must be the work of one person. which would thereby constitute a trace or ‘personal stamp’ of the director’s presence in the film and therefore within their oeuvre. Interestingly. etymologically an auteur had been around long before an author was born. he (almost always a “he” at this stage) gained particular authority after World War II. when they contended that even a Hollywood di- rector might be considered an auteur. proclaiming “imitation is suicide. by the mid-nineteenth century. Abrams has characterized their discourse in terms of detection. Using such studio directors as Howard Hawks and Nicholas Ray as their test cases. the author was severed from tradition and steadfastly aligned with originality. True authorship in cinema was no longer collaborative production but individual self-expression.” This provocative contention assigned the attributes of romantic authorship to directors who expressed their personal vision through thematic and stylistic consistencies. As the title of Irving Pichel’s article in the November 1946 issue of Revue du Cinéma declared. then the literary critic would dig deep to unearth evidence of it. innovative thread that tied those films together. in spite of the constraints of the studio system. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 123 which they had not before been exercised. As Helen Stoddart suggests. across a diverse body of films. But the auteur theory was more than just a question of style.”32 In this sense. above and beyond generic variations. of a dis- tinctive personality. to find the traces of the submerged personality.”31 The emphasis on trac- ing that personal stamp implied that an auteurist critic could discover. who could do “what was never done before. M. auteurist critics worked “to discover the director within the given framework. or the employment of them in such a manner as to produce effects hitherto unknown.”30 In America. if artistic genius was an expression of individual personality. an auteur became the name for a director who “was distinguished by the presence in each film. It was this author that the critics at Cahiers du Cinéma invoked al- most a century later. a single. Ralph Waldo Emerson appropriated this recon- ceptualization to declare literary independence. “Furnished with . H.” Thus.

attracted by bouts of ordered madness which give birth to an in- finite chain of consequences.” he argued. the ultimate glory of the cinema as an art. all other things being equal. even. lacking this key. Andrew Sarris made a similar observation.”33 At Cahiers du Cinéma.” From Sarris’s perspective. the auteur theory. not quite his attitude toward life. The interior meaning was produced by that creative ten- sion between the auteur and the apparatus.” for instance. auteurism appeared to be a quasi-mystical unearthing of that which was “imbedded in the stuff of cinema and [could] not be rendered in non- cinematic terms. his essay demonstrates what William Routt likely means when he argues that auteurism is more “a point of view or a critical regard. and so come to know an author more intimately than his own friends and family. at least . . it was that “intangible difference between one personality and another. where the politique des auteurs was formulated. It was not quite the vision of the world a director projects. In his essay “The Genius of Howard Hawks. than the author. contend- ing that the most significant identifying feature of auteurism was at the crucial third level.”34 What Rivette accomplishes here goes beyond an analysis of Monkey Business (1952). . dark mystery of cinematic auteurs. penetrate to the reality behind the ap- pearance. Therefore. Instead. . “the romantic extremist was confident he could decipher the hieroglyph. In fact. as practiced by the Cahiers critics and translated by Sarris.” While it was connected to these. en- abled the reevaluation of popular cinema in aesthetic terms and.”36 Ultimately. the auteurist critic was similarly a detective uncovering the deep. the interior meaning was not expressed in terms of technical competence (first level) or even consistency of visual style (second level). his is a Teutonic spirit. could possibly have known himself. which was concerned with “interior meaning. Jacques Rivette argued that “Hawks is a director of intelligence and precision.124 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s the proper key. In his seminal piece translating the politique des auteurs for Ameri- can film criticism. but he is also a bundle of dark forces and strange fascinations. more intimately.”35 Rivette’s critique shows that auteurism was not so much a theory as a polemical way of looking in order to find evidence of an auteur’s genius. interior meaning was indefinable. it was this notion of interior meaning that transformed a metteur-en-scène into an auteur. which is ostensibly the subject of his piece.

As Liz Wells points out. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 125 for a time. could be produced without human intervention. anxiety over authorship did not dissipate. if not entirely erase. a disturbance to civilization. for Holmes. as they hunt the cattle in South America. say. Louis Daguerre argued that the camera could not be protected by the laws of copyright. “what is called into question is the originality of authorship. was so important to the Romantics. appeared to limit.” photography. Writing as early as 1859. First. In an intriguing passage. between intention and authority – causing. the uniqueness of the art object and the nature of self-expression. one in which authority and authorship are set at odds. who became the first to attack the politique des auteurs. by undermining the very foundation upon which modern authorship was erected. although the characterization of the author in terms of originality and genius became widely accepted in the nineteenth cen- tury. beauti- ful grand objects. Imitative images weak- ened the notion of uniqueness. as we have seen.”37 Second. represented a move away from depth. Due to what the Sur- realists later called its “automatism. in other words. it collapsed the difference between the original and the copy. Michael North argues that “arriving just as Wordsworth phrases in its most uncompromising form the Romantic claim of in- dividual authorship. in Barthes’s words. For Bazin. which. and leave the carcasses as of little worth. for their skins. photography establishes a counterregime. rather than revealing the depth of individual genius. A similar argument was initially also made by André Bazin. photography destabilized the relationship between authorship and ownership. the role of the human intermediary. with the advent of photog- raphy. he argued that even though there is only one Coliseum or Parthenon. we would “hunt all curious. we would no longer be interested in what is within them. conferred considerable authority on even commercial film- makers by reexamining them in terms of romantic authorship. When he invented the daguerrotype. Finally. Invented during the (late) romantic era.”38 Because photography. Interestingly. Oliver Wendell Holmes feared the shallowness of pho- tography. photogra- phy also caused a disturbance in civilization in a more direct fashion. the process . A photograph was not as dependent on its artist as. a painting. it deconstructed the notion of depth and its relation to genius. Instead.”39 A photograph.

For Bazin. an enthusiasm that led directly to the articulation of the politique des auteurs. American cinema seemed to have gone through a renaissance during the war years. In “The Ontology of the Photographic Image.”42 But these directors.” Bazin argued that since a photo- graph is produced “automatically. of being present at a rebirth and a revolution in the art of Hollywood.”40 This position overturns the assumptions of the auteur theory. energized Bazin to return to an ap- preciation of the studio system.” Bazin remarked. “For all film-lovers who had reached the age of cinematic reason by 1946. “the name of Orson Welles is identified with the enthusiasm of rediscovering the American cinema.”43 For Bazin. Welles especially. shared by every young critic at the time. “If Bazin presented them with Welles and Rossellini. Wyler and Hawks. All the arts are based on the presence of man.”41 Even though the photographer chooses the object to be photographed.”44 For Bazin. it is the mechanical process of photography that triumphs. only photography derives an advantage from his absence. was far more significant than the genius of Orson Welles himself. the automatism of the cinematic appa- ratus and the collaborative pieces of the studio system were far more important than the genius of this or that auteur. Rather than focus on the creativity of an individual director. This is not to say that Bazin did not value individual directors. Although the final result may reflect something of his personality. then. Bazin emphasized “the impassive lens” of the camera. this does not play the same role as is played by that of the painter [or the writer]. he inaugurated the Cahiers critics’ enthusiasm for popular cinema through the work of Hollywood directors. capable of representing reality “in all its virginal purity to [his] attention and consequently to [his] love. espe- cially those working within the constraints of the studios. . and Welles “epitomized the convic- tion.” the personality of the photographer enters into the proceedings only insofar as he selects the actual “object to be photographed and by way of the purpose he has in mind. After all. which ultimately led to the development of his theory about the genius of the system.126 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s of producing a photographic image was so completely different from the other arts that it complicated the notion of personal expression. the rebirth of that cinema. then the young critics would present their master with Hitchcock. As Colin MacCabe has argued.

. Since Roland Barthes pronounced the author dead by declaring that “it is language which speaks. and .50 By the late 1960s.”45 Unlike the later poststructuralist attack on the very notion of author- ship. cited in the first epigraph.” an aphorism the latter had appropriated from novelist Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux. Bazin wanted to value cinema using less personal criteria. His chief objection to the politique des auteurs was that according to this theory. But although the author may . The exclusive practice of auteurism. Following Tolstoy. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 127 What Bazin decried was the Cahiers critics’ blind faith in individual expression.” a proposition that has serious implications for our understanding of The Stranger. like John Huston.”46 His essay began with Tolstoy’s concern. he insisted that even “mediocre auteurs can. led to the danger of “the negation of the film to the benefit of praise of its auteur. make admirable films. . What he disapproved of was the obsession with the author at the expense of the cinematic text. 49 Of course. not the author. the auteur is no longer as provocative a figure in film criti- cism. because it reserved authorship for a select few directors. arising out of the dismantling of (romantic) subjectivity. Bazin was not opposed to celebrating auteurs. there are only auteurs. a genius can fall victim to an equally accidental sterility.” arguments about creative authority have been associated with a naive intentionality and have been appropriately dismissed. Successive critical positions have discredited or at least weakened the Cahiers approach to auteur theory. In his most vigorous critique of the auteur theory in “On the politique des auteurs. by accident. he believed. with seeing every work of an author as having artistic merit just because that author signed it.”47 The trouble with auteurism was that a film was judged a success or failure based solely on how closely it resembled the critic’s conception of that particular auteur – or how nearly it represented what the auteurist considered what Andrew Sar- ris later termed the “élan of the soul. “There are no works. His argument was against François Truffaut’s famous re- mark.” Bazin challenged the younger Cahiers critics for exclusively focusing on “the personal factor in artistic creation as a standard of reference.”48 Bazin feared that the politique des auteurs was more likely to ignore “good” films from non-auteurs or metteurs-en-scène. “any old splash of paint can be valued according to its measurements and the celebrity of the signature. the author appears to have died.

his oeuvre does not cohere as neatly as Alfred Hitchcock’s or Howard Hawks’s. While there is no longer the baggage of Romantic expressionism. Leitch puts it in his analysis of contemporary Hitchcock criticism. The new auteur. has become an extratextual authorial agency. as Richard Macksey suggests. But what about individual films that do not conform to that author’s signature? How can we evaluate films that exceed the auteur’s appella- tion? It was exactly these questions that bothered Bazin.”54 However. while we are no longer talking about the élan of an auteur’s soul. the auteur has survived.” as Timothy Corrigan puts it. the “commerce of auteurism. we might say. Orson Welles is a good test case for Bazin’s rebuttal of the politique des auteurs. The . this new auteurism raises valuable questions about the auteur’s role in an industrial and economic context. He is widely regarded as an auteur. questions that had been largely ignored by the earlier generation of auteurists. who ended his rebuttal of the politique des auteurs by arguing for a reevaluation of the notion of auteurism itself. “poststructuralists. He has now been transformed into an industrial auteur.”52 In other words. “but simply give him back the preposition without which the noun auteur remains but a halting concept. but what of?”53 This question becomes especially difficult to answer in the case of The Stranger. Welles is usually considered. we continue to empha- size a coherent authorial figure whose films can be pulled together under the name of the author. the myth of the explosive. That is. even the auteur. promises “a relationship between audience and movie in which an intentional and authorial agency governs. equally useful. com- prehensive talent challenging corporate power and ultimately becoming the victim of his own genius. Auteur. as a kind of brand-name vi- sion that precedes and succeeds the film. yes. In other words. the “presiding model of Romantic genius. not all of his films can be praised in the name of the author.128 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s be dead. whose body of work still gains meaning by the virtue of his signature. have found not only his films but ‘Hitchcock’ the director as a paradigmatic figure.”51 Grounded in cultural and reception histories. “This does not mean one has to deny the role of the auteur. As Thomas M.” Bazin posited. he wanted to reassess auteurism as a critical discourse. In fact. who ought to have no truck with Hitchcock the auteur. Rather than focusing on this or that director.

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 129 Stranger poses exactly this problem. almost unanimously dismissing it as the worst work in the director’s oeuvre. His authority is undermined. The film came in under budget and on time. one that his later films would be measured against and found deficient in relation to. for instance. its released version is a standard genre film. notes that “the film is as uncomfortable an experience to watch as it must have been for Welles to make. who declared the film a “parody” of a Welles film. It is easily explained in terms of this familiar tale: a lone artist. But The Stranger is also generic in another way: no matter how it was conceived.”55 In fact. Ironically. critics have found little that is even worthy of discussion.” Even James Naremore. who investigates the Welles canon more deeply than any other historian. The Stranger seems to be a straightforward case of the triumph of the vertically inte- grated studio system. Peter Cowie.” because “missing was the disjunctive cinematic style that Orson had made his signature in Kane. while auteurism was just being formulated.” And while Joseph McBride allows that it may not be as bad a film as it seems upon first viewing. In a sense. critics have paid scant attention to it. Barbara Leaming argues that this was Welles’s “least personal film. the kind of film Tolstoy might call “quite simply awful. how do we think about this un-auteurist film? What might it tell us about being an auteur and working within the studio system? On the surface. concludes that the artist has been so completely suppressed here that it “could have been directed by anybody. The Stranger is a mediocre film. Aside from lamenting the censorship of ar- tistic vision.” Following Bazin. he still finds The Stranger “a disappointing piece of work. his signature style overturned. The Welles film that led to a renewed enthusiasm for Hollywood after the war was not the one released that year (in 1946). The Stranger.” Writing about its conventional linear structure. consistently working against the system. there is no mystery here. This attitude toward the film is best summed . Citizen Kane. a generic thriller with some noirish accents. Welles himself was making the most generic film of his career. is finally trapped by it. and it was the only Welles venture that was successful at the box office upon first release. The auteur does not prevail. the film has been of lit- tle interest to Welles scholars. especially in the “lost” scenes. but the original Welles film. So. But it is widely considered a Wellesian failure.

especially when talking about someone as mercurial and self-contradictory as Or- son Welles. But we might ask. and Jean Domarchi. he proclaimed: “There is nothing of me in that film.130 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s up by Robert Garis’s recent pronouncement that “The Stranger has been generally condescended to. Considering the production struggles over his first Hollywood venture since the public showdown with R KO over the mid-shooting cancellation of It’s All True. The Stranger is considered the least Wellesian . he argues. and wrote a good deal of the script – leave himself out”?59 Here’s another way to think about Welles’s supposed absence. “how could Welles – who as usual directed it. Welles is himself responsible for this sort of reception. The Stranger is not an important film. as Peter Conrad does in a recent reassessment of the stories the self-proclaimed genius told about his life. almost to debunk the myth of the romantic genius and show that he “didn’t glow in the dark. “isn’t very interesting and doesn’t matter very much.”56 The film.”58 Welles’s desire to disassociate himself from the film seems to anticipate the Allen Smithee phenomenon. To a certain extent. Charles Bitsch. is the pseudonym used by directors who wish to disown films when they feel that creative con- trol has been wrested from them by the Hollywood machine. mostly because it deserves to be.”61 While I hesitate to privilege one strand of directorial commentary over another.”57 Thus.” 60 Welles sometimes asserted as well that with The Stranger he had intended to make a picture worthy of the institu- tional mode of filmmaking. ostensibly because it is the farthest from Welles’s authorial signature and presumably his intent. acted in it. if that convention were avail- able. I highlight this point because it is often left unaddressed in any assessment of the film. In an interview with André Bazin. This prac- tice didn’t begin until two decades after Welles had signed his name to an enormously restrictive contract for The Stranger. Allen Smithee. he argued: “It’s the one of my films of which I am least the author. that he could “say ‘action’ and ‘cut’ just like all the other fellas. one can imagine that Welles might have disowned the film and asked that his name be struck from the credits. as is well known. particu- larly to people who value Welles’s work highly.” Stressing that he had little control over the script or the editing. Welles would often claim that he stayed on this picture to show that he could work within the studio system.

This is a convenient explanation. Even though Welles-playing-Kindler-playing-Rankin strikes off the swastika. The detective I am referring to is. the letter unfound – perhaps because of the simplic- ity of the thing itself. the criminal and the letter are in fact hiding in plain sight. This is a simple mystery. This should be a fairly straightfor- ward case to solve: if the police retrieve the letter. for the criminal is known to all. an ostensibly un-Wellesian film has significant implications for the role of the auteur in the studio system during the immediate post- war era. He claims that the police could not find it because it was hidden in the most obvious place. the police are unable to unearth that letter. but to no avail. the extortion ends. Poe is credited with authorizing the modern detective. and the blackmail. So. The letter is then returned to its original author. that is what is most strik- ing about the otherwise conventional moment that opens this chapter. He uses a stolen letter to blackmail its author. promptly ends. Yet. who is a person of prominence. they approach a private detective. What we need in this case is a different way of thinking about auteurism and the name of the author. an intuitive intellectual who examines evidence . and it is why the film has not mattered much in the debate over Welles’s authorship. While the police frantically dig away for clues that might lead them to the original dispatch. who solves the mystery of that infamous purloined letter. So they launch a series of systematic investigations. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” (1844) is usually seen as inaugurating the detective genre. Along with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842). his/their authority is not obliterated. The Stranger is deeply concerned with questions of authorship and authority. Auguste Dupin. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 131 of his films. Despite their best efforts. characteristic of the oppressive studio system’s triumph over art. Detecting History Here is a story about another missing letter. The crime remains unsolved. we assume. C. while the most Wellesian scenes may be lost and the genius may be missing. that private detective recovers the letter by stealing it back from the original thief. A month later. of course. Having seemingly exhausted all possibilities. Indeed.

inside out. how Dupin recovers the purloined letter.’”65 Dupin recovers it by stealthily replacing it with a facsimile of the purloined letter. such a thing as a “secret” drawer is impossible. that every criminal would try to hide a stolen object by burying it in the deepest recess. He succeeds where the Parisian police have failed precisely by not . He is intrigued not only by the letter’s internal content but especially by its external appearance. the prefect claims to have searched “‘every nook and corner of the premises in which it is possible that the paper can be concealed. Instead. not exactly in a gimlet-hole bored in a chair- leg. the prefect assumes. who is not so interested in the search. Consider. but. by Minister D – . for instance. crum- pled. During the course of his investigation. in her presence.”64 In other words. rummaging through every potential hiding space. At first glance. re-directed and re-sealed. Minister D – is hiding the letter in plain sight. The tale begins with Monsieur G – .’”63 Still. the prefect now approaches Dupin. According to Dupin. he asks for a detailed description of the stolen object itself. Minister D – has concealed it so far by hiding the letter in plain view of every visitor and by having “‘turned [it]. almost mathematical. as Dupin discovers. not something that would involve a royal per- sonage. Rather than scouring Minister D – ’s apartment for hidden clues. Dupin inverts the prefect’s expectations by looking for the letter in the most obviously unlikely place. And he finds it there: inserted carelessly into a card-rack made of pasteboard. in some out-of-the-way hole or corner. it looks soiled. believing that “‘to a properly trained police-agent. and rather common. the prefect has conducted a less than thorough search by assuming that “all men proceed to conceal a letter. the prefect of the Parisian police.’” He then proceeds to describe the systematic. the letter remains missing. Poe’s detec- tive story is a reflection on method. as a glove.132 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s and resolves mysteries using a process that is quite different from the standard practice employed by the police. However. who has now acquired undue political power and is using it to blackmail the queen. Thus stumped.”62 The prefect’s problem is that a letter of utmost importance has been stolen from the queen’s quarters. at least. incorrectly. appropriately turned inside out. fashion in which his agents have explored the interior of Minister D – ’s apartment. visiting Dupin with a problem that has him “a good deal puzzled because the affair is so simple. In that sense.

” 66 Thus. Dupin’s method of investigation entails inverting the clues – or turning them inside out. Moreover. the individual tries to feel secure by believing that the interior is absolutely segregated from the exterior space. func- tions on the threshold.’ but is frequently discov- ered on the ‘surface’ of a situation. in this new interior. starting in the late eighteenth century.”67 This individual is defined primarily in terms of separation between his private home and his public place of work.” as suggested by the subtitle of an earlier Poe story – that attracted Walter Benjamin to the detective. such orderly distinctions are only a fantasy. Benjamin observes that. “If. the dialectical relationship between the interior and exterior becomes vital for analyzing the shifts precipitated by modernity. depth and surface. “where doors and walls are made of mirrors. It is precisely this liminality – the ability to be “neither in nor out. truth is not always found ‘in a well. inside and out. no matter how adept the viewer is at this type of scrutiny. whose detective stories transform the bourgeois interior from a place of rest and relaxation to a claustrophobic space. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 133 making their fatal error of equating truth with depth and eschewing all that seems superficial. That is what Poe’s detective fiction demonstrates: terror lies as much within as it does without. For Benjamin. Werner correctly notes. filled with dull and lifeless commodities. in other words.”68 It is this alluring interweaving of interior-exterior that the Benjaminian detective investigates. and coinciding with the birth of the (romantic) au- thor. Even the arcade presents itself as an external space configured as interiority. And that is what Benjamin admires most about Poe. as horrifying as any crime scene. the “private individual makes his entrance on the stage of history. as Dupin points out. there is no telling outside from in. For crime cannot be kept outside the bourgeois home or confined to the city. The three Dupin stories demonstrate Poe’s most complete realization not only of how the detective functions in moder- nity but also of his ability to remain outside of modernity in order to investigate it. Since the city begins to be seen as a place of terror out there. Detection amounts to a method of reading clues that de- stabilizes the bourgeois boundaries between interiority and exteriority. In an interesting . However. As James V. The detective. then the ability only to plumb the ‘profound’ and ‘deep’ detail of an event’s intricate ‘recesses’ amounts to blindness.

upon which bour- geois society is founded. fascinated” by the stranger.” 71 Because if the outside can seep in. In the opening scenes of “The Man of the Crowd. “the opposition between street and intérieur does not form a simple dichotomy. “The Man of the Crowd” is that story. until he notices a man in that crowd who cannot be analyzed or figured out. Benjamin ties the story to the rising impact of photography.”69 Like the domestic dwelling. As Tom Gunning points out in an essay on the arcades. Benjamin suggests: “It opens up to him as a landscape. and just as he was beginning to fade away.” The flâneur believes the city and its crowd to be legible. confident that he can read. calling it “an x-ray picture of a detective story. even as it closes around him as a room. we will see. which exists at the threshold between these two figures and clarifies the method of the detective. then the inside can be turned inside out.134 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s exploration of the arcade’s spatial dialectic. gets transformed into the detective.” 72 It begins with idle flânerie and shows how the flâ- neur’s sketches develop into an investigation. whose idling around the arcades often led to unforeseen discoveries. “singularly aroused. Interestingly. who appears. there is one particular short story that traces the transformation of the metropolitan stroller into the modern detective. In fact. especially as observed by the flâneur. who. “even in that brief interval of a glance.” Poe offers a remarkable portrait of the flâneur. The flâneur enjoyed his Parisian glory days in the 1830s.” 70 Gunning argues that Benjamin locates the significance of the detective story in precisely its ability to stage this interpenetration. Gunning suggests that the key to the detective’s method for Benjamin is “the optical exchange between interior and exterior. The detective is often considered the rightful heir of the flâneur. who observes London life from behind a coffeehouse window. the significance of the arcade lies partly in its simul- taneous embodiment of both aspects of this apparent contradiction. in his analysis of the transition from flânerie to detection. While he ac- cepts Carlo Ginsburg’s contention that the detective story originates with the scrutiny of the indelible trace as a clue. He waits there. startled. detachedly surveying the crowd. the arcade provides a space for interpenetration of exteriority and interiority. he says. which undermines the traditional division between public and private. the history of long years. for the first . Poe began authoring his detective tales. He is.

” 76 Instead of observing from a detached. But his method for scrutiny involves scanning the surface. detection involves picking up evidence that may be missed by conven- tional methods. which suddenly becomes. private and public space. like photography. the detective’s method involves investigating traces that may be lying on the surface. whom he now consid- ers “‘the type and the genius of deep crime. every one of them will lead him to a crime.” 75 Thus. In place of the traditional auteurist approach. the detective’s method will enable . instead of the visual mastery afforded by surveillance. Many scholars have noted that it is not coincidental that the detective story appears on the scene at the same time as photography. the detective activates “the complex dialectical optics of moder- nity.” 77 More importantly. In fact. for clues. rather than digging deep. the most effective way for a detective to figure out “inner” secrets is to look for clues that may be hiding in plain sight. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 135 time. As Gunning puts it. exterior perspective. signaling the fragility of our familiar ways of knowing. pursuing the odd individual as he traverses the city. As James Lastra points out. Benjamin believes. The flâneur concludes that his mode of interpretation is inadequate in relation to the man of the crowd. This is partly because the detective does not possess a panoptical view of the scene of the crime. The detective would be particularly suitable for investigating the strange case of Orson Welles in the Hollywood studio system. like a strange city in a film noir. like photography. Indeed. while trumpeting the arrival of new and disconcerting epistemologies. the stranger’s real crime is illegibility. For he does not fit into any preexisting categories or physiologies and therefore frustrates the narrator/detective’s attempts at identifying or interpreting him.” so that he “not only observes and investigates but also – at least potentially – investigates his or her point of view. the stranger in Poe’s story is “simultaneously compelling and threatening. the Benjaminian detective’s gaze is always caught up in the optical exchange between exteriority and inte- riority. The detective thus problematizes the traditional opposition between inner and outer. indecipherable.’” 74 After this stage. Therefore. we might say that the detective comes into being in order to investigate the strange genius of deep crime. to be a threatening mystery. “No matter what trail the flâneur may follow.73 He is so intrigued by the stranger that he decides to give up his invisibility.

But what if we un-fix these names? What if. instead of considering the directorial signature as a source of interior meaning. and variations. As a historian. as a thing or a common noun. In the case of Welles. can be. the investigation becomes similar to the way Jacques Derrida examines literary texts through the name of the author.” who is “bent on finding a single formula for explaining a man’s life. Derrida proposes a way out of the Romantic form of literary criticism by demonstrating how unstable the name. The signature experiment involves inverting the name into a common noun. Film historians regard the name “Orson Welles” either as a mark of genius or as a sign of failure. The wildly romantic discourse of the Cahiers critics. “formed canons and fixed the names of people we should study. As Dudley Andrew puts it. the name of the author becomes an integral .”81 The loss of identity also results in a loss of a set of values or characteristics taken for granted by the auteurist critic. we turn his name inside out? Like the purloined letter. associations. the title of ownership over the text. the signature of the author is a mark on the surface of the text signaling its source.” 79 Orson Welles’s name is certainly fixed at the top of that canon. which can be employed for an investigation of the text and the auteur. Benjamin’s detective could help us investigate the varied ways in which Welles. you “lose the identity. especially in a film such as The Stranger. By doing so. the name of the author is actually hid- den on the surface of the text. If the signature is used as a clue. what is lost is the assumed “Wellesian” signature. But what is gained from that loss is the multiplicity of meanings generated by the common noun. the proper noun.136 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s us to focus on the surface. “Always a problematic and very special sign. Both camps employ tactics similar to those used by “the investigative reporter Thompson’s staff editor in Citizen Kane. which is the auteurist assumption. thereby circumventing the urge to dig deep for interior meaning. navigates the tensions between the auteur and the studio apparatus as well as the relationship between autography and authority.” 78 But no such single formula exists. Derrida argues. you let it become a monu- ment or part of the text. James Naremore notes. That is where the detective comes in.”80 It is this problematic sign that the detective-historian can explore by inspecting the signifi- cance of the name as well as its meanings. Rather than an individual who stands outside the text and confers meaning on it. In Signsponge.

Some careers would be ruined. The names on the list would multiply throughout the immediate postwar period. Rather than a way to uncover the auteur’s submerged personality. a declaration issued by Eric Johnston. the signature can be used as a “superficial” entrance into the text – particularly a text like Welles’s The Stranger. I would like to investigate the signatures in and . names – not only of directors but of actors and characters too – were always strictly regulated. The statement was signed by forty- eight studio executives. There is yet another reason to investigate names and naming at this time. where naming names would soon result in dangerous consequences. an average genre film that does not appear to bear his Wellesian strokes. who would not be able to sign their own names to their projects for many years to come. which initially contained the names of ten screenwriters and directors who had refused to testify before the House Un-American Ac- tivities Committee (HUAC) and were therefore cited for contempt. president of the Motion Picture Association of America. In classical Hollywood.”82 For the Benjaminian detective-historian. outlined the industry’s policy of not know- ingly employing any Communist. Such a move enables the interpenetration of interiority and exteriority that the detective himself first introduced. Others would work sporadically and pseud- onymously. It is “the mark of an articulation at the border of life and letters. In this context. This kind of policing became even more crucial in the immediate postwar era. And these postwar shifts would result in enforced anonymity for several prominent writers and directors. moreover. the signature can work to rethink auteurism. That is why a plain- Jane name like Constance Ockleman was transformed into Veronica Lake or an ethnically accented name like Margarita Carmen Cansino was changed to Rita Hayworth. it pulls in both directions. which does not appear to be as deep as most films attributed to the name of that author. in December 1947. The Waldorf Statement. For the sig- nature is an articulation on the threshold. body and language”. “appropriating the text under the sign of the name. and their signatures effectively authorized the blacklist. It exists outside the text but its resonances can be found within it. expropriating the name into the play of the text. fol- lowing the detective. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 137 part of the text. Welles appears to have anticipated these cultural changes by making the most standard film of his career.

which has a highly conspicuous. Maynard.” Therefore. Young. Shepard. as well as faces. as Poe suggests. It chronicles the pursuit of a Nazi war criminal. If. an officer with the Allied War Crimes Commission. but the most obvious one is his fixation on clocks. as director and actor. Franz Kindler. what he discovers is that this stranger is the beloved new history professor at a boys’ prep school.”83 The next section will remember the name of Orson Welles in his most forgotten film. “‘Truth is not al- ways in a well. Mary even wonders about what would happen to Harper if the clock worked again. he has “destroyed every evidence. Wilson’s only clue is that the notorious Franz Kindler has a “hobby that amounts to a mania”: an avid interest in antique clocks. Gilbert Adair has argued that Orson Welles “was the sole American filmmaker to have created. a set of characters whose names. eighteenth-century Gothic clock tower at its center.” For the townsfolk. but we will also forget its auteurist implications in order to rediscover it as something else.” Before leaving Germany. by detective Wilson (Edward G. Black. the daughter of a state supreme court justice (Philip Merivale). Several clues begin to point to Rankin. unlike Goebbels or Himmler. tracing him will not be an easy task. During the war. When Wilson arrives there. Sudder – he is left with the one name that oddly echoes Kindler’s: Rankin. and he is about to marry Mary Longstreet. . the most respected man in town. By a literal process of elimina- tion – striking off the names of new arrivals in Harper in the past year.84 Na m i ng Na m e s The Stranger is a model detective tale. He is obsessed with fixing the church clock. he expects to investigate an ex-Nazi who has gone underground in this sleepy American town. Robin- son). To his surprise. by scrutinizing every stranger who has relocated there in the last few months.138 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s of The Stranger. because “the clock’s hands have never moved.’” then the detective-historian can look at the film’s surface for clues and uncover an alternative understanding of authorship within the studio system. down to the last fingerprint. His trail leads Wilson from Germany to a quiet New England town called Harper. Kindler apparently “had a passion for anonymity. we continue to remember. He decides to proceed systematically.

whose names allude to the singular. Ostensibly. “Direction Orson Welles. While the production credit is listed as “Produced by S. the title sequence displays the names of people involved in the making of the film on both sides of the camera. Having succeeded at failing expectations with his first two authorial efforts. where the film’s gripping conclusion will unfold. after the producer.” Curiously. we can use the name of the author to disperse its effects in the text. Wilson finally convinces Mary and the rest of the town of Rankin’s horrific past. Authorial voice is also asserted more directly in The Magnificent Ambersons. Unlike other auteurs. Only Wilson finds Rankin suspicious. proclaiming it “V-Day in Harper. During the thrilling finale. However. Interestingly. the mystery is resolved. Welles did not have much free rein on the next project. which appears at the very end. Through his tenacious detective work. such as Ray or Ford or Hitchcock. the stranger is discovered hiding in the clock tower. he is impaled by the sword-carrying figure in the tower and falls to his death. the title only reads. Eagle. where Welles announces the closing credits. where his signature is not very firmly moored. As outlined earlier. Welles indicates . which would confer directorial authority. the name Welles connotes multiplicity. all’s well that ends well(es). his hobby as quirky as the old clock itself. concluding with “My name is Orson Welles. the preposition by. anxiety over authority becomes clear in The Stranger right in its opening credits. is not available to him in the credits. Thus unfixed. As he tries to escape. There is nothing remark- ably auteurist about the film. he is hiding in plain sight. Wilson reasserts control over the town.” for the director. Our first clue may be the directorial credit. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 139 Rankin is merely an odd enthusiast. Except for a slight name change. P. which offers the title “A Mercury Production by Orson Welles” even be- fore the name of the film is announced.” Thus concludes this generic thriller. the former Nazi mastermind has not chosen to conceal himself at all. and is rather unusual. which is made in a very different context.” Not so with The Stranger. It clearly functions differently from the way it does in Citizen Kane. Fortunately. seeing something amiss when the clock rotates counter-clockwise as Rankin is trying to fix it. this film is a generic noir thriller. One might say that the signature is not very firmly attached to the film. Over the backdrop of a Gothic clock tower. and with a third film incomplete.

to H. Wells.86 It was the deal that made Welles an auteur avant la lettre. Welles later wondered how his listeners did not recognize the voice that always opened with “Ladies and Gentlemen.85 Of course. the brand name will not be so singu- larly dependable. To put it differently.140 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s plurality. deep space that extends vertically.”87 Orson didn’t. G. So. since Welles is just “his own fancier. affected ‘e’ in his surname. more quaintly olde English spelling” of Wells. Further. After suffering a humiliating opera debut. Susan tries to com- mit suicide. while there is a brand called “Welles. that same year Wells met Welles. Hollywood took notice. which was his family name in previous generations.” when we convert it into a common noun. whose War of the Worlds Welles adapted for the radio in 1938. the “well” may be taken as our clue to the classic auteurist signature. We can ignore the second e for now. for it was that fake broadcasting disaster that brought Welles’s name to the attention of R KO chief. and said he could see no reason for it. We need only recall the oft-cited scene from Citizen Kane where Su- san Alexander (Dorothy Comingore) attempts to commit suicide. So what is this thing called welles? To begin with. It was the Halloween episode of The Mercury Theater on the Air. except for a brief instant when signing his name on a painting in F for Fake. but Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) and another man . then we find that the name corresponds with the traditional understanding of Welles as a profound genius. some fleeing the area. Wells “challenged Orson to drop the supernumerary. this is Orson Welles. George Schae- fer.” Even if his listeners did not. such as a well or an abyss. presented as a series of news bulletins to suggest an actual Martian invasion. Welles’s name signifies depth. whom he called his “little namesake”. What if we take up Wells’s challenge? If we think of this signature in terms of an enclosed. we can assume that it will be difficult to demarcate Welles. Therefore. there is also another connection here. in or- der to think about how the use of depth of field exemplifies the Wellesian signature. his genius is primarily defined in terms of his use of deep focus cinematography. others claiming to see flashes of lightning in the distance. who signed in 1940 an unprecedented deal giving the inexperienced director complete creative control. Interestingly. and it reportedly sent many listeners into panic. That unauthorized adaptation was a notorious broadcasting disaster.

it was Welles who became most closely associated with it. the large bedroom is. Combined with the long take. depth becomes the fundamental distinc- tion between Welles and other filmmakers. Edward Young urged the poet to dive deep within himself in order to find “the stranger within” and to “let thy genius rise (if a genius thou hast) as the sun from chaos.”89 While To- land may have helped inaugurate this style. we are made aware of this plane due to the sound of her weak breathing. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 141 break into her bedroom to save her. It isn’t merely a way of placing the camera. then. overshadowed by the objects in the foreground. We hear knocking first. even though the unusually deep focus “came under consider- able criticism within the industry. this sequence demonstrates Welles’s distinctive use of deep cinematic space. The bed where Susan is assumed to be lying is located in the middle ground. “the decoupage in depth becomes a technique which constitutes the meaning of the story. Toland consolidated his previous efforts. In Citizen Kane. from a narrative point of view.”88 In a very real sense. However. combined with low-key lighting and continual frontality. The entire scene takes place in deep focus. of course. The notion of depth was used over and over again by the Romantics as a true test of genius.3). As Bazin has suggested. As Bordwell. which together occupy at least a quarter of the screen. be attributed to Gregg Toland. Toland had been working with deep focus.” it made “Toland the only Hollywood cameraman whose name was known to the general public. such that. but it is barely visible. who worked as Welles’s cinematographer on the film. where the viewer’s eye may democratically wander. Except for all kinds of distracting objects. There are several planes of depth (Figure 3. empty. But depth of focus here is not merely a stylistic device imposed on an otherwise regular mise en scène. and Thompson point out. In the foreground. sets and actors. Indeed. Some of this use of deep fo- cus cinematography must. we see an enormous glass with a spoon in it as well as a medicine bottle. But there is more to this signature than just depth of cinematic space. we might say that depth became the auteur’s signature. Welles’s signature conforms to . Staiger. influenced by an increased desire for realism during the war. revealing all three planes at the same time. and then Kane bursts into the room. on earlier films like Wil- liam Wyler’s Wuthering Heights (1939) and John Ford’s The Long Voyage Home (1940).”90 From a traditional auteurist perspective.

“walking all by himself across a deserted city square.3. which translates into a profound sense of him as a romantic artist. Orson Welles. Charles Rankin enters his wife Mary’s bedroom while she is lying in bed. thus connecting her nightmares to him. however. Unlike Citizen Kane. He casts a large shadow. In fact.142 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 3. all we see of Charles is his shadow on the wall. Citizen Kane (dir. 1941).” The shadow in her dream is a manifesta- tion of the shadow her husband casts on her and on the narrative. apparently dreaming. . where every move he threw a shadow. In this film. Charles’s most re- cent victim. Mary begins telling Charles about her dream. is missing in the case of The Stranger. where deep focus cinematography en- ables Welles to explore different spatial and temporal planes in a single shot. his association with depth. of focus and of vision. This particular signature.4). through most of the scene. here the focus remains on the linear narrative. in which she sees Meinike. which towers over her as she begins to stir. While there is some spatial depth. The camera follows Ran- kin as he slowly walks into the room and stands next to Mary’s bed (Fig- ure 3.

Bordwell. The Stranger (dir. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 143 3. After 1942. Writing about how the use of deep focus cinematography evolved in classical Hollywood from the innovative late 1930s to its full-blown use after the war. Indeed.”92 Two instances can illustrate this point: . dark anxieties were visible right there on the surface. Orson Welles. “Hollywood cinematography adopted a less picturesque deep-focus style better suited to the demands of classical narrative and decoupage. therefore allowing the linear narrative to retain momentum. Nothing in the foreground conflicts with anything in the background.4. and Thompson argue that while Welles’s cinematographic advances in Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Amber- sons were flamboyant and controversial. Staiger. the seemingly radical shifts in mise en scène are standardized by the studio system. such that a shot that is “so rare in 1937” becomes “quite ordinary a decade later. 1946) all the action takes place on a single plane.”91 In other words. the studios quickly found a way to appropriate those innovations in the service of storytelling. it is a fairly standard shot – quite common in films noirs by this time and used often to suggest that deep.

So if the Wellesian signature is missing. Spiegel reinvented himself in the American tradition. the metteur-en-scène. P. in place of Gregg Toland. As a techni- cal agency. A decade later. classical Hollywood was really adept at appropriating those innovations and pushing in the opposite direction.”94 Then. The Stranger belongs to that tradition in its “ordinary” use of deep focus. the ASC reflected the tension between standardization and innovation: “On the one hand. deep focus shooting itself became incorporated into the studio style. Once in Hollywood. ap- parently “struck by a burst of patriotism. Spiegel himself operated like an . he was ex- pected to originate techniques. who saw himself as an artist. let us turn to the other signatory on the credits. The Stranger’s cinematographer is Russell Metty. At the same time. Spiegel came to Hollywood as a stranger. Eagle. Bordwell. “he lived under an assumed name on the charity of other refugee filmmakers from central Europe. A fugitive from Germany in 1933. S. P. telling varied stories about his past to different people. Eagle was in fact the name briefly assumed by independent producer Sam Spiegel until 1954. Toland was clearly interested in the latter role. P. But over time. Like so many other Jewish European émigrés. the ASC asked the cinematographer to be a craftsman. Staiger.144 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s the moment where two hoodlums plan to kidnap a rich man’s son in the foreground while a woman pushes a baby carriage in the background in William Wyler’s proto-noir Dead End (1937) is certainly more excep- tional than the moment in George Cukor’s A Double Life (1947) when theatrical producer Max Lasker (Philip Loeb) offers the part of Othello to troubled Broadway star Anthony John (Ronald Colman) while a sec- retary brings in coffee from the background. cleanly obeying the rules. by the mid-1940s.”95 But the name change wasn’t as innocuous as that.” echoing the tension between the roles of auctor and author. biogra- pher Andrew Sinclair explains. Fittingly. whose name fortuitously alludes to that standard craftsman of the studio system that Welles himself appears to become. the back- ground is used only for the purpose of blocking.93 In Citizen Kane. and Thompson argue that the reason deep focus cinematography became standardized has a lot to do with the paradoxical role of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in the studio system. As a producer. He even renamed himself S. Spiegel stopped over in Mexico before coming to the United States. Eagle. S.

Spiegel’s name became synonymous in Hollywood with forceful persuasion. things had gone well with The Stranger. or reflecting surface. Perhaps things had gone too well – and this might be our next clue. What was praised was an author’s ability to mirror already established standards. such as Irving Thalberg. After struggling to make ambitious projects like War and Peace and Crime and Punishment. Darryl Zanuck. much like other authoritarian producers before him. literary critics valued imitation over innovation. in this model. so that “to be ‘spiegeled’ meant to be soothed. A director was to be like an auctor. the mirror and the lamp. or conned. It was an average thriller that cashed in over three million dollars. even if Welles could not stay true to his own.”97 In opposition to Welles’s deep desire for innovation. “with none of the ambiguities that usually made Welles’s films so rich and rare. Welles’s own vision had to be suppressed.”98 The task of a critic was to uncover how well those established standards had been followed. Spiegel’s authority. mirror. and David O. What Spiegel preferred was a lean and uncomplicated tale. assuredly regarded as the “universal standards of excellence. As Abrams suggests. Otto Friedrich tells us. under Spiegel’s super- vision. His films reflected what RKO had printed on their stationery after Welles’s spectacular financial failures there in the 1940s: “Showmanship instead of Genius. or mirroring of. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 145 eagle.” In that sense. Spiegel seems to stay true to his original signa- ture. H. Welles had signed up for The Stranger in order to make a conventional film. almost three times its cost. Spiegel insisted on following convention. cajoled. By some accounts. Spiegel similarly advocated close adherence to. Indeed. the established rules of genre filmmaking in classical Hollywood. It is noteworthy that in German. a craftsman who could successfully re- flect the conventions of that system. the poet was regarded primarily as “the maker of a work of art according to universal standards of excellence. we might say.” By those standards. Selznick. Abrams’s basic distinction between two types of authorship. enabling Spiegel to reflect his name. upon initial release. In other words. “spiegel” is a common noun mean- ing looking-glass. Welles had to surrender artistic control. According to the mirror conception of aesthetics. he wanted to convince “a suspicious Hollywood that he could make a .”96 Under Spiegel’s watchful eye. Recall M. derives from a pre-Romantic conception of authorship. having been forced to sign a very restrictive contract.

”99 This new project would be completed on time and under budget.. that “it is only shallow people who do not judge by ap- pearances. Welles estranges himself from his signature in order to make a film that is all too familiar.” To put it another way. The Stranger would be different. are thrilled to welcome him into their home and community. but implies (as Emma and young Charlie both testify) sexual immaturity and failure. If that is the case. Welles developed the reputation of being an unaffordable director. his sister Emma (Patricia Collinge) and her daughter. In the Hitchcock version. . Charles Oackley (Joseph Cotten). Oscar Wilde. Welles claimed.” what we end up with is a highly efficient narrative. thus disproving accusations that he was undepend- able. To a certain extent. disrupting the boundaries between the under- world of crime and the moral world of upstanding small-town America. prov- ing that Welles could indeed “say ‘action’ and ‘cut’ just like all the other fellas. Yet. during the 1940s. There. which. The mystery of the world is in the visible. was the only American film directed by Hitchcock that he admired.146 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s perfectly orthodox film. a strangler of wealthy East Coast widows. As Palmer notes. The film would still carry his name. since “he was never ‘inclined to joke with other people’s money. because they believe he can “save them from their suffocating ordinari- ness. hides in the idyllic Northern California town of Santa Rosa. his namesake Charlie (Teresa Wright). W. but the name would not mean the same thing it had before. In so doing.000.”103 That is.”101 To investigate the visible or to judge by appearances is to point out that The Stranger is an imitation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). the film explodes the illusion that crime exists out there. these were false accusations. the surface. Like a dutiful auctor. Therefore.’”100 Citizen Kane was actually made on a relatively low budget of $749. Rather than the “director’s cut. “the Capracorniness of the film’s Santa Rosa makes room not only for a full gallery of oddball grotesques. it is Welles the auteur who becomes the ultimate stranger in the picture. Shadow of a Doubt presents an ironic portrait of wartime America. through Lord Henry Wotton.”102 But what Uncle Charlie introduces to the small town is an out- side world of crime and deception. then we might do well to look not at depth but perhaps its inverse. not the invisible. who appears to be channeling the Benjaminian detective in The Picture of Dorian Gray when he argues. we would be following that other O.

In fact. Borde and Chaumeton have argued that one of the central features of postwar noir is its moral ambivalence: “In it. This scene with Meinike becomes the key. “the ‘otherness’ of the unheimlich Kindler is not identified with either relentless power or hypnotic sexuality. Although he plays the role of Rankin. albeit a very obvious one. inside out. Welles shows Rankin quickly burying the dead body in a shallow grave. François Truffaut once said that Wellesian characters were always exceptional. on the other hand. As Naremore suggests. Gregory Arkadin. Rankin drags Meinike into the woods and murders him with his bare hands. The Stranger has only “a superficially Hitchcock- ian sense of the absurd. and Hank Quinlan. Franz Kindler never remains buried.’ and the lawbreaker seems obsessed by a sense of anguish and a feeling of guilt. In a rare long take. Welles plays him fairly unam- biguously. turning the small world of Santa Rosa upside down – or. Unlike the Charles in Shadow of a Doubt. While the boys at his prep school are out trailing a pa- per chase. they were “geniuses or monsters. Charles Rankin is unmistakably guilty. it is nevertheless experienced as ‘vicious. One of his first acts in the film is the murder of old com- rade Meinike. as an imitation. whose fascination for Poe has been well documented. who claims he has been sent by the All Highest.”106 Although the names Kindler and Rankin echo other Wellesian monstrous geniuses. Hitchcock’s Charles becomes the kind of criminal Poe’s Dupin would find intriguing. Welles’s Charles.”105 Charles Rankin exhibits no such depth. That is why Rankin is not a conflicted figure. Nor is he a very complex character. That is all it takes. monstrous geniuses. Nor still is he the ambivalent noir hero. Un- like other “monstrous geniuses” in the Welles oeuvre. ‘vice’ is seductive. to figuring out Rankin’s identity. rup- tures the binary opposition between interiority and exteriority.”107 Charles Rankin. is simply vicious. Wilson’s task is not to . in this film nothing comes of those al- literative associations.”104 Otherwise. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 147 Hitchcock. In fact. it turns out that the film is not about our detection of Rankin’s guilt but of his wife Mary’s eventual discovery of his genocidal crimes. Rankin is fairly one-dimensional. like Charles Foster Kane. it is a shallow copy. There are no signs of an interior struggle. we might say. seems not to be such a character. however. That Rankin is in fact the Nazi fugitive Franz Kindler is never in much doubt.

Rankin immediately rebuffs the notion: “Marx wasn’t a Ger- man. “annihilation. then. David Thomson hints at these commonalities in passing when he observes. “Mankind is waiting for the messiah.” Yet.” he argues. the messiah is not the prince of peace – he’s another Barbarossa. can we investigate about such a superficial character? Links in the associative chain between Kindler and Rankin exist in the names themselves. another Hitler. claiming up front that he has “a way of making enemies when [he’s] on that subject.148 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s “lure the guessed-at presence out into the open where it will show it- self. “Murder can be a chain. Rankin’s words are dismissed as the odd notions or ramblings of a delightful pedagogue. with “one link leading to another until it circles your neck.”109 Although Thomson does . Rankin disappears to bury the body of Meinike a little more deeply. Rankin does not try too hard to keep Kindler hidden. “The unruly bundle of Kindler and Rankin (containing the name Kane as well as the dreamy threat of a Kain for kinder – the puzzle fiend cannot quite not notice these things).” He says he believes that equality or democracy could never take root in Germany. And the dinner scene is not the only one where Rankin’s obvious guilt goes undetected by the local community. What. He is also prepared to kill Mary. During a dinner at Judge Longstreet’s.” to which Rankin responds. Eventually. When the conversation turns to the German “problem. During his wedding reception. if heavy-handedly. Indeed. “but for the German. one clue that Wilson intuitively notices while striking off the names of other strangers in Harper is the kinship between Rankin and Kindler. and it is dug up by the dog. the judge wonders whether conceding Rankin’s argument implies that “there is no solution. he was a Jew. nobody finds him devious. Still.” he asserts. binds the two together.” The others remain skeptical. where he comes face to face with Wilson for the first time. whom Rankin kicks and later kills.” When Noah cites Marx as a possibility that perhaps Germans might embrace equality.”108 The monster is always right there on the surface. even these overt references to the Final Solution do not raise any suspicions around the table.” Rankin becomes an authority on Nazi philosophy. But they have more than a few letters in common. Red. The body refuses to stay buried.” These circles end up with Rankin/Kindler waiting in the phone booth doodling a swastika that unmistakably.

this congressman was known for his racist and anti-Semitic tirades. is sometimes used as the occupational name of a schoolteacher. In German. Kindler. since to kindle means to excite or arouse or set going. the name fits. There is another one who calls himself Melvyn Douglas. Similarly. whose real name is Melvyn Hesselberg. a congressman from Mis- sissippi had made a name for himself as a tough anti-Communist. In the immediate postwar era. the names are appropriately inverted. Perhaps the mystery appears to be too simple.”110 During World War II. which is an old English name meaning little shield. he negoti- ated the amount paid for the deadly munitions disaster at Port Chicago down to $2. Well before Welles and Edward G. let us try to unravel this unruly bundle of names. which suits the Nazi mastermind well. Kindler is the one whose name obviously signifies the most authority. “Six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. A ranking member of HUAC. or Joseph McCarthy gained renown by waving a piece of paper supposedly containing the names of 205 known Reds working in the Truman State Department during a speech in Wheeling. also lying on the surface. West Virginia.”111 When HUAC began investigating Hollywood. with its agent derivative in “kind” for children. the mystery is resolved simply. he rejoiced “every time a witness [for HUAC] refused to name names. that may become our next clue. Once again. he took to the House floor to “reveal” the Jewish origins of mainstream stars – “There is one who calls himself Edward Robinson.000 when he learned that the victims were mostly black. Rankin.” and so on – in order to . as at the narrative level.” because that was seen as “proof of disloyalty to the Stars and Stripes. whose German roots in “ränke” implies plotting or scheming. There is another nomi- nal connection. which he will later become in his incarnation as Rankin. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 149 not. which was renamed and made permanent from the Special Committee on Un-American Activities in 1938 on his suggestion. he “declared on the floor of the House of Representatives that ‘Wall Street and a little group of international Jewish brethren’ were trying to drag the country to war. or unfriendly witnesses were renamed the Hollywood Ten. Robinson were named among the 151 presumed Communists working in broadcasting in Red Channels. provides a fitting nominal shield for Kindler.” David Everitt notes. As the presumed architect of the Final Solution. His real name is Emanuel Goldenberg.

It fulfills the narrative conventions of the investigative thriller by uncovering the mystery straightforwardly and follows the standardized conventions of noir.”113 In reverse. political film- making was encouraged. after Wisconsin’s junior senator. such content would be condemned for being Communist. un-auteurist film? . antiracist politics. to use Frank Capra’s terminology from Why We Fight (1942–1945) – the ostensible liberalism of films like John Ford’s Tobacco Road (1941) and Michael Curtiz’s Mission to Moscow (1943) was permis- sible.”115 Since Americanism was then being defined explicitly against the white supremacist propaganda of Na- zism – with America being the “free world” in stark contrast to the “slave world” of fascism. Led by Congressman Rankin. both politically charged films where the “message was not incidental and would not be lost in either the narrative conventions of the investigative thriller or the visual conventions of noir.112 This anti-Communist crusader was Congressman Rankin. following the war. in The Stranger. But is it simply a conven- tional. an antifascist alliance of radicals and liberals. significantly shaping wartime constructions of Americanism. Rankin comes to embody an internal threat while ostensibly representing an external threat. which would soon be renamed McCarthyism.”116 Orson Welles’s The Stranger works in the exact opposite direction. was able to “integrate their artis- tic vision with their antifascist. He was thereby “able to wrest a full-blown domes- tic Red Scare out of international tensions. However. taking stock of a post-Roosevelt era in 1945.150 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s discredit them and link them to Communism. whom Welles himself considered running against in 1946? And how to accom- plish that representation politically without being labeled a Communist and being blacklisted from Hollywood? During the war. Langdon has astutely covered the uproar over Edward Dmytryk’s Cornered and Crossfire (1947). “The Popular Front. the campaign against the Red Menace in Hollywood implied that filmmakers had to either edit their work or be kicked out.” Langdon argues.”114 So how does an auteur represent the perils of impending fascism. In his daily edito- rial column for the New York Post. whose proto-McCarthyism suc- ceeded in linking any expressions of liberalism to Communism and then to anti-Americanism. Orson Welles began arguing that “the phony fear of Communism is smoke-screening the real menace of renascent Fascism.

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 151

In 1969, only a year after the author was officially declared dead,
Cahiers du Cinéma published an influential piece aiming to redefine the
object of film criticism. In this manifesto, titled “Cinema/Ideology/
Criticism,” Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni call for a reclassifica-
tion of narrative cinema. In place of a naive intentionality that charac-
terized so much early Cahiers criticism and defined the auteurist ap-
proach, Comolli and Narboni propose seven categories, from (a) to (g),
for rethinking individual films and their relationship to ideology. While
most of these categories are fairly predictable, from films that abide by
mainstream politics to those that deliberately break with it, the most
intriguing of these alphabetized listings is category (e), which describes
those films that disintegrate from within, in spite of the intentions of
its director. In these films, they argue, “an internal criticism is taking
place.” These are distinct from auteurist films, where the intention to
disturb the dominant ideology, be it of the studio system or of American
culture at large, is clearly or implicitly stated. Instead, films belonging to
category (e) are very conventional. “This is the case in many Hollywood
films,” Comolli and Narboni suggest, “which while being completely in-
tegrated in the system and the ideology end up by partially dismantling
the system from within.” What can we do with such films? In their initial
manifesto, their recommendation is “to show the process in action.”117
This form of criticism acknowledges those spaces where an otherwise
conventional film begins to crack at the seams. To put it differently, cat-
egory (e) enables a form of film analysis that lies beyond strict auteurist
interpretation. For category (e) helps us see how a generic film turns
itself inside out.
I would argue that The Stranger is that kind of film. It is indeed a
model genre film, a formulaic tale told in a familiar fashion. There is no
deep, multi-layered text to be unraveled. The viewer knows too much.
The mystery is simple, and it is simply revealed. That is why it has been
regarded as an auteurist failure. But perhaps it appears to be too simple.
After all, even though Rankin’s guilt is never in doubt, his criminality
is established to the point of absurdity. In narrative terms, he remains
a superficial villain, who plainly represents the banality of evil as well
as the (not too deeply) hidden dangers of fascism. In stylistic terms, the
film faithfully follows the standardized look of noir. Given that in the

152 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

postwar era, Welles’s “films became more radically stylized than ever,
as if the limitations in subject matter and budget had to be overcome by
an utter strangeness of mise-en-scène,” The Stranger appears ridiculous.118
Writing about another troubled film, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble
with Harry (1955), François Truffaut focuses on its absurdity, arguing
that “as the film goes forward, it destroys itself.”119 For Truffaut, the
Hitchcock film becomes a trick. Could The Stranger be seen that way
too? After all, as Michael Anderegg suggests, “Welles wants to play Kind-
ler, while Kindler wants to play Rankin. In this contest, Welles wins
throughout.”120 Welles ends up making a generic film, one whose cri-
tique is not buried thematically or stylistically in a deep well, but it is
right there on the surface.
There is another way to connect category (e) with The Stranger. A
hint of what Welles accomplishes here may be found in the German
meaning of his name, with the letter e carefully reinserted. In German,
a welle is a wave or a ripple. If we think about this undulating ripple as a
small agitation or disturbance to the surface, we can see how paradoxical
the Wellesian signature can be. Rather than the deep, brooding auteur,
Welles becomes someone who causes small waves, like a trickster or a
prankster. This would not be the first time that Welles has engaged in
trickery. There is a long history of this other side of Orson Welles. Writ-
ing about his childhood, Thomson notes Welles’s early interest in magic.
He had very large hands, which were “his first gesture of conjuring before
he had thought of tricks, black velvet rabbits in his deep pockets.”121 This
early pursuit of trickery was not abandoned even when Welles joined
show business. Indeed, his penchant for farce predates the War of the
Worlds fiasco. His first venture as a filmmaker was in fact not Citizen
Kane but a short silent film called The Hearts of Age (1934), which Welles
himself regarded as a spoof of an avant-garde film like Luis Buñuel’s Un
Chien Andalou (1929) or Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet. But even in its
ostensible simplicity, it is more than that. In this Surrealist fake, Welles
plays a dandy playing a grinning fool playing Death. Under deep layers
of makeup, he is still recognizable. Besides his preference for trickery,
what this first film also reveals is Welles’s complicated relationship with
the notion of authorship. As McBride points out, “The credit cards list
only the title and the actors, but they are all in Welles’s handwriting.”122

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 153

Thus, right from the beginning, it shows the simultaneous appearance
and disappearance of the auteur.
Later in his career, of course, there is also Welles’s most comprehen-
sive meditation on trickery, F for Fake. About the notorious art forger
Elmer de Hory, the film is filled with hoaxes: not only de Hory’s but also
Clifford Irving’s and Orson Welles’s. In fact, Welles admits deception
up front, calling it “a film about trickery.” It begins as a film about Elmyr
de Hory’s art forgeries, then turns to his biographer’s forged biography
of Howard Hughes, then to Welles’s own history of trickery, and to Pi-
casso’s dalliance with forgery. At each turn, rather than setting them up
as polar opposites, F for Fake becomes a consideration of the relationship
between fakery and authorship. Andreas Huyssen suggests that there is
“a certain family resemblance” between an artist and a faker, a notion
that Picasso confirms when, confronted with some of his own paint-
ings, he rejects them by saying “I can paint fake Picassos as well as any-
body!”123 Thus, the film investigates whether our traditional conception
of authorship itself must be redefined. Near the end, while contemplat-
ing the medieval cathedral of Chartres, Welles returns to another crucial
question: how to untangle the connection between the self-promoting
auteur and the self-effacing auctor. Welles admires the Chartres, whose
unknown creators from centuries past make it a work “without signa-
ture.” Joseph McBride ruefully notes that “the man who often boasted
‘My name is Orson Welles’ is the least anonymous of filmmakers. Not for
him the self-effacing craftsmanship of the builders of Chartres.”124 It is
true that Welles’s name preceded him even before he went to Hollywood,
in large measure due to his War of the Worlds prank, and his name/fame
would never allow him to be the anonymous craftsman of the Chartres.
However, the unavailability of anonymity of craftsmanship does not
imply that Welles is entirely attached to his name either. Just when we
think we have identified his signature, he turns it inside out. Time and
again, Welles tries to unmoor himself from his name by making fakery
another way of thinking about the auteur. François Truffaut was con-
vinced that Welles had made F for Fake as a critical response to Pauline
Kael’s claim that he had stolen much of the credit for Citizen Kane that
rightly belonged to Herman Mankiewicz. In the film, Welles declares
himself a charlatan, but even that ostensible admission is an act of fakery,

154 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

as he later claims that he was “faking even then. Everything was a lie.
There wasn’t anything that wasn’t.”125
This contradictory position has particular relevance for our under-
standing of the case of The Stranger. For the detours offered by its varied
signatures show how, by copying the conventions of the studio system
closely, the film turns those conventions into a joke, which is especially
ironic in 1946 – the best year for box-office receipts. Thomas Schatz de-
scribes it as the “heyday” of the studios in general and the genre film in
particular.126 In an atmosphere of blacklists and paranoia, the studio
system began its slow decline after that year. Welles appears to anticipate
trouble on the horizon and ends up making the most standard film of his
career, in order to estrange himself from his own signature. Let us return,
then, to the signature moment in the film, with Orson Welles playing
Franz Kindler playing Charles Rankin, standing in a phone booth and
doodling a swastika. If we observe the swastika carefully, we see yet
another inversion. The swastika that the presumed author of the Final
Solution sketches turns in the wrong direction. Just like the Wellesian
signature, the very moniker of Nazism itself is playfully reversed.
The swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi party and Aryan
supremacy in 1920. When it first appeared, Hitler took credit for its de-
sign. In Mein Kampf he speaks at length about the laborious but inspired
process of creating the swastika, even though it is believed that he only
copied it from Dr. Friedrich Krohn, a dentist from Starnberg. “Since
Hitler was a wannabe architect, painter, and dabbler in commercial art,”
Steven Heller argues, “as leader of his movement he chose to be its art
director and image manipulator.”127 Of course, like the Bixby letter, the
story of the swastika’s origins is less than reliable. Versions of the swas-
tika were in existence long before Hitler decided to claim authority for
it. It was originally meant as a symbol of good luck, especially in Hindu-
ism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Its name itself derives from a Sanskrit word
meaning the thing associated with auspiciousness. In appropriating this
image as the artist/author of Nazism, Hitler also manipulated the long
tradition of regarding the swastika as a signifier of well-being. Malcolm
Quinn, on the other hand, argues that the swastika should be included
within another tradition, drawing on its associations with the discourse
of awakening or coming to consciousness. “In the writings of Goethe

Signat u r e Cr i m e s 155

and Schelling, of Coleridge and Novalis,” he points out, “the symbol
is defined not so much as a representation as an event, a sudden revela-
tion which restores the alienated subject to a richer, fuller existence.”128
In other words, per Quinn, the swastika might also be seen as a sign of
Romantic vision.
But in the revelatory moment in The Stranger, this Romantic revela-
tion is undone. Here, the swastika rotates in the counter-clockwise direc-
tion, like the clock Rankin is trying to fix initially. Its arms lean leftward,
thus reversing the original symbol. Interestingly, it resembles a satirical
Saul Steinberg cartoon, showing a frustrated Hitler drawing swastikas
on the wall. Most of the swastikas have been sketched inaccurately, and
then there are strikes across them to cancel them out. The cartoon is
untitled; it is usually called “Hitler Drawing Faulty Swastikas.” It was
created in 1946, the same year The Stranger was released. In the cartoon
as well as in the film, the swastika ultimately turns out to be a fake.
Rather than thinking of the film as an artistic failure, then, can we not
see it as a productive parody and use it to complicate the boundaries be-
tween authorship and fakery? Because signatures can be less stable than
traditional auteurist critics would have us believe. As Welles puts it in F
for Fake, “maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter all that much.”

“T h is Is Or son W e l l e s”

In another cinephiliac moment that turns on the complexities of nam-
ing, we have a powerful financier (Orson Welles) hiring a small-time
American smuggler as a detective (Robert Arden) to investigate him-
self. Here is the narrative Arkadin knows: in the winter of 1927, he finds
himself walking down a deserted street in Zurich with nothing but the
suit he is wearing and two thousand Swiss francs in his pocket. He uses
the money to build an empire. He is now a ruthless billionaire, with no
memory of how he started off that winter night in Zurich in 1927. He
wants detective Guy van Stratten to explore the rest of the story, starting
with this clue: the subject’s name is Gregory Arkadin. This deal is of-
fered in Welles’s Mr. Arkadin (1955), another one of his “failed” ventures.
This film was left incomplete due to disagreements with Welles’s chief
financial backer, Louis Dolivet. We do not know exactly what the final

156 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

version, the “director’s cut,” would have looked like, because the notori-
ous pattern of Welles’s inability to finish the film under budget and on
time led Dolivet to remove it from the auteur’s hands. Garis reports that
although Welles had planned a nonlinear structure for the film, it was
edited under Dolivet’s supervision to follow “a straightforward linear
structure, supposedly to make it more easily understood.”129 There are in
fact multiple versions of the film, including the British version originally
released under the title Confidential Report. That title reflects the truth
behind the odd offer, which is fake because before asking the American
crook to serve as a private detective and investigate his life, Arkadin has
already compiled a “confidential report” on van Stratten. That report
has uncovered van Stratten’s secret: that his aristocratic name is in fact a
cover for his original, more ethnic name, Guy Straitheimer. Perhaps pre-
occupied by his own name change, Guy diagnoses Arkadin’s problem of
having no memory before 1927 as amnesia and then poses this intriguing
question: “So what makes you so sure your name is Arkadin?” He adds,
“Well, maybe it’s Arkadine, or Arkadini, or Arkapopoulos – or Smithee.”
He is quickly chided by Arkadin: “Don’t be a fool. I know my own name.”
Like Arkadin, auteurist critics usually put too much faith in the sta-
bility of names. But, as Guy van Stratten’s seemingly random question
suggests – random because the other associative versions of Arkadin
make sense in terms of different ethnic possibilities in Europe, but why
Smithee? – names themselves are slippery and can form associations that
go beyond the intentions of this or that director.130 More importantly, it
demonstrates that there are fewer than six degrees of separation between
Orson Welles, whose name invokes auteurism itself, and Allen Smithee,
whose name was invented to stand in place of those directorial names
that had to be willfully erased. It is fitting, then, that Bazin’s primary
example in his critique of the politique des auteurs was in fact Welles’s
highly un-Wellesian Mr. Arkadin. But if we want to be “foolish,” to use
Arkadin’s terms, and start from the premise that names are unreliable
as well as unstable, what do we learn? Following the Benjaminian detec-
tive’s emphasis on the interpenetration of exteriority and interiority, we
can discover that the signature does not need to lie safely outside the
text, governing its interpretation; its nominal effects can also be scat-
tered within it.

yes. “This is Orson Welles. Signat u r e Cr i m e s 157 Rather than exploring the auteur’s stylistic competence. Welles appears to echo Duchamp. Thus. while being the consummate auteur. Indeed. thematic unity. a trickster or a duplicate. which were also deeply engaged with undermining the signature. In relation to the readymade. Jonathan E.”133 With that connection. to become what the proper noun designates as art – even though the actual object is merely a prod- uct otherwise called by a common noun. original genius. but what of? In the case of The Stranger. fol- lowing what he called pictorial nominalism.’”131 Like an ordinary auctor’s product. It is nominated by Duchamp. in that a readymade is a nominal piece of art. Comparing Duchamp’s work to Allen Smithee’s. For Welles’s nominal connection to Smithee reminds us of another playful artist. like Smithee. That year. the signateurist detective can improvise. and Domarchi. “With the readymade. That is why Duchamp may be seen as the first in a long line of thinkers who used the snapshot effect to undercut authorship.” emphasizing a “total absence of good or bad taste. we might turn the Wellesian signature inside out. Marcel Du- champ. Welles’s name can also be placed within a long tradition of twentieth-century artists who pose a serious challenge to the regime of authorship. or personal vision. find- ing that.”132 Intriguingly. was the year that inaugurated “the world as . at the height of studio Hollywood’s powers. 1946. while disowning The Stranger in an interview with Bazin. as that is also the year that xerography is invented. even other works of art. claiming he didn’t know “if [the film] is good or bad. there is more than one way to interpret Welles’s ver- bal signature that opened up all his radio shows. Duchamp is generally remembered for his work on readymades. it is also not entirely coincidental to think of The Stranger as a copy made in 1946.” Welles is the name of deep. did not ‘invent’ or ‘create’ so much as devised ways of exhibiting or reproducing other objects. Bitsch. but it may also connote its opposite. In a 1961 lecture on readymades. Duchamp said that “the choice of these ‘readymades’ was never dictated by aesthetic delectation. Welles is the “auteur” of what can be seen as a virtual readymade. the readymades present a way out of assigning authority to the author. under aliases designed to complicate the all-too-automatic process of using art ‘as a proper name. Duchamp. we might return to the question Bazin posed at the end of his critique of auteurism – Auteur. Eburne suggests.

. Rather than an auteurist failure. when the threat of declining audiences and prestige loomed for Hollywood. or copy. a generic thriller that is perhaps too perfect an imitation. Such “superficial” moments of subversion make sense in the immediate postwar era.”134 The Stranger is that kind of copy. a standard film can unexpectedly offer a counterregime to authorship and therefore subvert the rules of genre filmmaking right there on the surface. As we will see in the next chapter.” because “costly Photostats were eliminated and it became a matter of relative ease to duplicate all manner of documents. anxieties about the studio system’s very existence manifested even more overtly in the next decade in disruptive moments that appeared to sado-masochistically relish the end of cinema as we know it.158 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s simulacrum. be they legal. it can be seen as a sort of joke. even in the rigidly standardized studio system. or creative. It shows that. economic.

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For this type of entertainment they will pay an admission price. except to see the very highest form of entertainment. Y. For anything less they will not. Select Committee on Small Business. “The Incredible Shrinking Man” . U.S. far superior to what they can see on television free. Bosley Crow ther. Fr a nk Fr eem a n. Senate There is something contagious and morbid about all this shrinking.The public will no longer buy tickets at the theater.

amid now-quieted news reporters. military trucks rumble through the city streets. looking straight into the camera and addressing the public directly. when the political and cultural climate of the Cold War 161 . diners. is quite typical of science fiction films of the 1950s. fou r Apocalyptic Antennae 1954 and the End of Storytelling A Te st of th e E m ergenc y Broa dca st S yste m By direction of the President of the United States. When the apocalyptic threat of gigantic mutant ants – originally discovered in the New Mexico desert but now nesting “somewhere in the storm drains beneath the streets of Los Angeles” – is televised. gazing feebly at the small screen in bars. viewers stand aghast.1). where an ex- istential threat from an unfamiliar and seemingly invincible enemy is finally and fully acknowledged. all broadcasting is interrupted for a few moments to declare the city of Los Angeles under martial law. civilian and military leaders gather to inform the public about “the most serious crisis this city has ever faced. follows. although their presence seems to provide no comfort to the assembling crowds. and the scene cuts to a series of shots of men and women gathering around televi- sion sets and radios. who only watch the televisual transmission in terror. His grim visage spells doom as he declares that curfew begins at 1800 hours. Inside the briefing room.” A tight medium shot of General Robert O’Brien (Onslow Stevens). Then he begins to explain the reasons for such drastic measures. and department store windows (Figure 4. at which time any person seen lingering outdoors might be arrested by the military police. This alarming moment from Gordon Douglas’s Them!. In the background.

Like the ferocious prehistoric monster that crushes everything in its way in Eugène Lourié’s The Beast from 20. Rather. What I find most intriguing is that General O’Brien’s outsized face appears ominous on the tiny television frame. 1954). And yet.162 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 4. at this catastrophic moment. television offers little hope or comfort. What is supposed to be a reassuring site for communal gathering during times of social crisis itself turns into a source of scopic dread. it is the fact that. the discovery of gigantic ants about to destroy Los Angeles in Douglas’s film plays up fears generated by the Cold War.1. made America appear to be in a perpetual state of emergency. there is something inexplicably terrifying about it. For me this terror has little to do with the threat of the gigantic ants themselves. which magnifies the sense of impending catastrophe. Them! (dir.000 Fathoms (1953) or the extraterrestrial parasites that colonize people’s bodies and intend to re- place the entire human race in Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Gordon Douglas. Film histori- ans have generally maintained that the wave of sci-fi films in the 1950s .

As David Seed suggests. secularism.” 7 The ants are shown to be unfeel- ing aliens seeking to destroy the city of Los Angeles and beyond. but also more subtly from the “feminiza- tion” of civilization. But they are not just cinematic apparitions of the Red Menace or nuclear . central to understanding larger social processes in postwar America. 1951 is the mo- ment Mark Jancovich identifies as “the year the aliens arrived. monsters. the notion of invasion encompassed numerous (and sometimes contradic- tory) threats. rising crime and juvenile de- linquency. we might say that Them! conflates multiple fears. conformity.” and over the course of the decade.”6 Therefore.5 Science fiction of this era focused primarily on the potential of humanity plunging into a Dark Age and remained “haunted by dystopian sentiments and apocalyptic scenarios. paranoias and cultural and political transformations that exist in society. “Above any comparable genre.”2 Indeed. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 163 was a direct result of Cold War paranoia. especially after the Soviet Union successfully tested an atomic bomb in 1949. science fiction seems to be able to represent and reproduce the individual and collective fears. science fiction developed and multiplied rapidly to ad- dress all sorts of existential anxieties. mutants. and Bruce Gentry (1949).1 It is not surprising that during the Cold War. the epidemic of fifties sci-fi films portrayed a pervasive fear of imminent invasion. the film “picks up the double metaphor of ants- as-monsters and ants-as-people to dramatise the unpredictability of the Bomb and fears of Communist attack. perceived and real – most immediately from Communism. “‘invasion’ became a key metaphor. And what other genre could better represent this cultural panic than science fiction? What other genre could portray what Peter Biskind calls “the hysteria behind the picture window” of the fif- ties?3 After all. rock ’n’ roll. as Sean Redmond argues. following the release of Howard Hawks’s The Thing from Another World (1951). nuclear warfare. Indeed. McCarthyist witch-hunts. The Crimson Ghost (1946).”4 That might be particularly true for this decade. While other subgenres of sci-fi were not uncommon. and repressed desire. it be- came the most effective vehicle for portraying invasions on the horizon. and Martians all became displaced figures for the national fear of the Other. and “mad” science. racial tensions. which became increasingly skeptical of science itself as a conduit for reason and progress. Until then confined mostly to serials like Buck Rogers (1939). Along those lines.

articulated by one of the journalists before the of- ficial press announcement: “Has the Cold War gotten hot?” That is to say.”10 Many factors – suburbanization. During that period. Similarly. even God’s sermons can only be tuned in on the radio. they serve as a reminder that human beings are capable of their own destruction. embodying what Cyndy Hendershot calls “fears of the hu- man race’s evolutionary eclipse. They started the decade fearing that their best years were behind them. before its rapid descent in the latter half of that decade. the ants’ arrival in Los Angeles is seen in terms of an imminent threat of extinction. The fifties was a tumultuous time for Hollywood studios. and Russians. Them! links “nature.”8 Moreover. in Warner Bros. the studios settled on television as their chief existential threat and primary scapegoat. in William A.000 Fathoms. released the year that TV Guide de- buted. because the ants’ mutation is initiated by bomb test- ing.”9 In that sense. “annual box office receipts de- clined from $1. legal setbacks that severed the studios from their theater chains. However. It is estimated that the national rate of movie-going fell approximately 10 percent each year for ten years after 1947.298 billion. panic over the blacklist. But there is another kind of fear.692 billion to $1. or about 23 percent.164 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s warfare. Wellman’s The Next Voice You Hear (1950). emergency alerts are communicated only through radio bulletins. loss of overseas markets. Jack Warner even went so far as to declare that a T V set would never appear in the studio’s films. Them! fits nicely within the narrative of sci-fi’s emergence during the Cold War. the mutant ants represent the worst fear of the era. [and] imagines Reds as monsters from the id.’ The Beast from 20. women. The war years had been good for box office receipts. ants. allegorizing the threat of a superior power seeking territorial domination. among others – were responsible for the sharp decline in movie atten- dance. Indeed. and the industry reached unprecedented heights in 1946. one that has gone curiously unno- ticed in discussions of Hollywood’s turn to science fiction at this time and that elucidates the cinephiliac moment outlined at the beginning of this chapter: fifties sci-fi films seem to conflate the nation’s fear of inva- sion by a superior power with “primitive” cinema’s anxieties about ex- tinction in the face of “advanced” television. Finally. which results in collective paranoia and a state of crisis. although the use of T V sets both in and outside of homes was becoming quite prevalent at this .

. even for the hard-nosed Jack Warner. also released by Warner Bros. as a monstrous technological force. is broadcast over television. epic spectacles like Cecil B. presumably with their eyes glued to their T V sets.13 In fact. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 165 time. although it had appeared as a scientific curiosity when it was introduced by RCA at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. the undersized. In Them!. likely in the suburbs. as the traditionally dispassionate and reassuring figure of the news reporter looms large and menacing. capable of invading and soon surpassing America’s principal culture industry. Moreover. starting in the late 1940s. even comedies like Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955) and dramas like Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957). the warning about gigantic mutant ants on the loose in Los Angeles. And television fits that bill perfectly. sometimes rather hysterically. Lynn Spigel notes that “between 1948 and 1955. It is promoted as a supe- rior entertainment technology that functions as a harbinger of futuristic lifestyles while guarding against the ills of the city as well as the troubles . A striking feature of 1950s Hollywood is the cinema’s profound un- derlying anxiety about its own demise. Instead of consoling scopic anxiet- ies. Under threat from its newest me- dia rival. The voice announcing the invasion urges its viewers to stay in their homes. an alien planet. television is often marketed in sci-fi terms. But the most evocative and deeply ambivalent expressions of the studio system’s looming downfall appear in the decade’s sci-fi films.”12 That kind of predominance proved hard to ignore. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956). which are saturated with tales of collective annihilation at the hands of a superior technology emanating from the Beyond: the future. television was installed in nearly two- thirds of the nation’s homes. the image of television itself appears threaten- ing. the industry’s fears of extinction reverberate across fifties films. with the postwar boom fully under- way. It is regarded. a different kind of peril is echoed in the emergency broadcast. at that moment. claustrophobic screen heightens the impression of doom. However. a city virtually synonymous with Hollywood.11 In fact. So his stipulation about not showing television on the big screen is disregarded in an unusual way by the middle of the decade. appearing in films noirs like Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950). And it is this retreat of viewers to their homes. that Holly- wood considered the most dangerous menace to itself during the fifties. or a foreign adversary.

a family watching TV in their living room is directly beamed into outer space. It is no wonder then that Hollywood construes the ad- vance of the cool medium in the age of the Cold War as an alien attack. and commer- cial advertising dominates the landscape. at a time when its gradual collapse is already underway? How does a seemingly rational industry represent its irrationally exces- sive antagonism toward its media rival? T h e I ncr e di bl e Shr i n k i ng Scr e e n Imagine a world that is ostensibly bursting with optimism and belief in technological progress but is in fact ambivalent about its highly me- chanized way of life. as television becomes an ultramodern device that provides a window on the world from the comfort and se- curity of one’s own home. at a time when “aerial antennae sprout like noxious weeds from apartment rooftops and suburban homes while video-born catchphrases spread like viruses through the vocabulary of children. Where unfettered capitalism rules. affirms television as “a force of unparalleled power. How does it engage in technophobia onscreen while at the same time working with television networks behind the scenes to create a new entertainment order? How does it tell and retell tales about itself.166 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s of the world. the first wireless remote control. marketed as “a flash of magic light from across the room. for General Electric. “The world. Another ad. And in 1955. as T V’s popularity grows. in this chapter I investigate how Hol- lywood responds to this invasion and represents its own eschatological anxieties during the 1950s. Zenith introduces Flash-Matic.” but this advanced era is also kept at a safe distance. the metaphor of invasion seems apt. for instance. so does its capacity to market itself as the medium of the future. Where cities and suburbs are connected by airplanes and helicopters that transport people from one place to another at lightning speed. proclaims “Tomorrow is Here!” to sell its redesigned Space Age T V units. An ad for DuMont.” In the ad.” the copy claims. “stands on the threshold of an astonishing age. thus attempting to redefine the spatial terrain of American popular culture. As Thomas Doherty points out. Where the mastery of electric en- ergy has led to the potential for building new continents and control- .” Thus.”14 Drawing on cinephiliac moments from standard sci-fi films.

It’s the pictures that got small. paints a panorama of daily life in Paris with remarkable accu- racy. Where one can learn about wars and massacres around the world.”16 Of particular note is his illustration of the ubiquity of a “distant vision” device in homes and its effect on families in the 1950s. “It’s hardly coincidental that Norma’s home screen circa 1950 is not a T V but a movie screen” – even as it nostalgizes a bygone era. which “consists of a simple crystal screen. Norma’s Gothic abode lionizes the silver screen and trivializes the television screen – as Paul Young argues. televisual fantasies were not uncommon. not simply the wonders of the hardware. and atomic bombs. This is the fantastical world of Albert Robida’s mid-twentieth cen- tury.15 Especially interesting is his projection of technology’s role in overhauling transportation and (tele)communication. even before the invention of cinema. would become widely available in the 1950s. although that large screen has the opposite objec- tive. and enable people to metaphorically reach out and touch each other. watch something playing at the theater. However. or indulge in home-shopping through a televisual device that connects the family to the outside world from the comfort of one’s living room. In the late nineteenth century. But while Norma herself tries to hold on to the old glory days and resist change.18 As several commentators have suggested. A contemporary of Jules Verne. His sketches consistently suggest a very large screen. facilitate shopping. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 167 ling the weather. and Robida accurately forecasts that a téléphonoscope. it resembles the screen we see in Norma Desmond’s home in Sunset Boulevard. her wide screen has more than a hint of paranoia about the invasion of television. his illustrated sci-fi fantasy trilogy. or television. educate. written in the 1880s. Robida calls this gadget a téléphonoscope. This is a world too that has discovered new diseases. his work’s primary focus is on “the social impact of coming technologies.”17 His sketches illustrate the device’s capacity not only to enter- tain but also to inform. Set in the 1950s. flush with the wall or set up as a mirror above a fire- place. biological warfare. But where Robida misses the projection is in the size of the T V screen and what that implies about its rivalry with cinema. claiming “I am big. functioning like a home the- ater and thereby virtually annulling the cinematic medium altogether. Ironically. Robida could not entirely escape nineteenth-century sci-fi’s technological fetishism.” .

Hollywood studios had assumed that they would be involved in molding the fledgling “visual broadcasting” industry from its beginnings. primarily “by paying homage to the country’s preeminent form of popular culture. which may have been small in size but was becoming a monstrous crisis. Besides. 3-D. experimental broadcasts to a few thousand households in the New York area – the first among these was the opening ceremonies of the New York World’s Fair. In 1948. outrageous dilemma for the studios? After all. lack of color. “in late 1943 the studios began applying for station licenses and developing plans for production. vibrant entertainment sibling during the postwar boom. at least in the darkest imaginations of studio bosses.20 But that early optimism came crashing down with the 1948 Para- mount decree. the two entertainment media were not always destined to be foes.19 And although the T V business was mostly dormant during the war. which found the studios in violation of antitrust laws and required them to divest themselves of theater holdings.” in keen anticipation of commercial television becoming a viable.” the movies. The budding television in- dustry received a much-needed boost. limited programming. gigantic mutant ants. NBC broadcast the most important event in American popular culture. In December 1939. When it was merely a theoretical possibility. the Federal Communica- tions Commission (FCC) issued a six-month freeze on all applications for new T V stations to investigate whether the studios’ entry into television . the Mo- tion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) prepared studies of television for the studios in the 1920s and 1930s. the Atlanta premiere of Gone with the Wind. the more lasting consequence of this ruling was that the studios could not expand into television. and typically poor audio quality. In many ways. and colossal fifty-foot women (more on the gendered dynamics of this fear later). the miniature T V set. as well as early broadcasting’s sometimes erratic reception. and stereo sound. when NBC began offering limited. where RCA introduced the T V set – they turned to Hollywood to provide legitimacy. Indeed. could barely compete with cinema’s technological wizardry in the 1950s: anamorphic widescreen. In 1939. How did television grow into such an outsized. prehistoric monsters.168 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Hollywood was quite aware that they would have to deal with television. one can imagine how television in the 1950s came to resemble.

television began defining itself very differently from cinema. television was writing the narrative of its own identity in terms of immediacy and liveness as opposed to Hollywood’s classical past-ness. to the atomic bomb blast in Nevada – and do it now. it was during the early 1950s that the rivalry between cinema and television intensified.”23 Indeed. As Janet Wasko has suggested. Public views that televi- sion set in his home as a 20th Century electronic monster that can trans- port him to a ball game. which was the true cause of Hollywood’s anxieties about its rival medium. with the Holly- wood studios seeing television as an invading force fully responsible for displacing cinema as the principal pop culture industry in the postwar period. the FCC freeze lasted for four years. effectively crippling the studios’ abil- ity to control and shape the new medium.S. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 169 might further abuse the antitrust decree. More significantly. in the absence of studio pressures.”24 In the first half of the fifties. its “videophobic fantasy films .C. . As Douglas Gomery argues. The miracle of television is actually Man’s ability to see at a distance while the event is happening. the source of Hollywood’s real fears was that television was formulating new modes and pleasures of spectatorship that would only be available on the small screen. In other words. . As we shall see later in this chapter. In 1955. from the introduction of sound to the home video ‘revolution. Paralleling a general public unease about the studios in the wake of the Paramount decision. it would be naive to assume that Hollywood’s anxious response to the rise of a rival medium was purely hysterical technophobia. to Washington D. NBC news director Gary Simpson articulated what televi- sion was coming to mean for most viewers: “Mr.’”22 Or. television networks and stations” but the radio industry would. it would be too simplistic to accuse Hollywood of an old- fashioned reluctance “to anticipate and accept new technological inno- vations. the major studios had to retreat from the T V business in the late 1940s. this is a narrative that cinema would covertly but consistently counteract on the big screen. after all.. as Paul Young astutely points out. the FCC freeze “guaranteed that the majors would not take a significant place in the ownership of U. television had in fact come to resemble an “electronic . What follows is the story of television’s efforts at self-definition. . .21 Thus. In fact. . could not have been intended merely as anti-T V propaganda.

on the other hand. In 1951. but the star of 1951 was Estes Kefauver. we are experiencing technical difficulties” too often interrupted programming and remains a fine reminder of the daunting cultural climate during television’s early years. Mc- Carthy and Edward R. Television was growing up in a “witch-hunt atmosphere. many in Hollywood had to find ways to work around it. black-and-white images of early tele- vision began to create a narrative about the medium’s rising significance in American culture. The grainy. using a front of re- spectability to become virtually indistinguishable from average citizens . television came of age and experienced “adolescent growing pains” in the 1950s. The anti-Communist hearings that en- thralled televisual audiences would come into focus later. But this was not a smooth story. and as we saw in the previous chapter.170 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s monster. the atomic bomb explosions at Yucca Flat.” with its “adolescence traumatized by phobias. That circus-like atmosphere was covered only by newsreel companies and radio networks.25 While there are many moments in early television’s history that proved significant in solidifying viewers’ impressions of this new electronic medium. in stark opposition to Hollywood’s emphasis on storytelling.”26 That witch-hunt atmosphere wreaked havoc on cinema. they were not carried live on television. and the nation seemed to be gripped by Kefauver Fever. raw.” capable of beaming the world into one’s living room – usually live. for the fortunes of the new medium were in as much flux as the culture that gave birth to it.27 Although the HUAC hearings of 1947 investigating alleged Communist infiltration of Hollywood are remembered as having inaugurated sen- sational postwar inquiries by Congress. the coverage of the Kefauver Crime Committee hearings. Television. That is. and unedited. a Tennessee senator who called for an investiga- tion of organized crime around the nation. and the showdown between Joseph R. Kefauver contended that the Mafia had infiltrated mainstream American society. learned to telecast that witch-hunt atmosphere and its phobias for profit. The sign “Please stand by. stations around the country began carrying live the an- tics of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce. Murrow were particularly crucial in defining its role – and defining it differently from cinema. Although it had taken “infant steps” in the previous decade. television was link- ing itself to providing information.

In its authenticity. the saucily arrogant Adonis.”28 The characters may have been cinematic. Kefauver called a colorful cast of criminals to testify in cities around the country. for instance. Knowing that the hearings would be broadcast live. In the early 1950s. However. there was a mesmerizing quality that proved even more appealing than most dramatic or improvisational series on T V at that time. I saw part of those held in Los Angeles and found them fascinating. so millions watched in fascination as his fingers diddled with papers or poured water into a glass. there was a compelling magnetism in Costello’s performance. But his lawyers refused to let his face be broadcast on live T V.”30 The focus was no longer on the larger criminal narrative. Obviously nothing that a mystery writer could dream up could be more fantastic than what actually goes on in the hoodlum empire which infests this country. and televi- sion was happy to oblige. was Frank Costello. and their tales appeared to have been grabbed right out of the televisual headlines. “or whether having one you could have seen films of the Kefauver committee hearings. Even Raymond Chandler could not resist the charms of the Kefau- ver hearings. many films noirs focused on matters of law and order. he tried to capitalize on the growing public fear that the Mafia presented an alien conspirato- rial threat. films like Joseph M. Robert . In its immediacy. “I don’t know whether you have a television set.” he raved in a letter to his friend James Sandoe in 1952. his lament that no mystery writer could imagine better crime narratives might also be extended to Hollywood – although Hollywood did try.” who did not plead the Fifth. the shy Costello and the jocose Virginia Hill might have been hired from Hollywood Central Casting Bureau. In the hearings. to bring down America.”29 The telecast proved to be “strangely hypnotic. Newman’s 711 Ocean Drive (1950). raw. nicknamed the “Prime Minister of the Underworld. but the rig- ors of live transmission did not allow the hearings to unfold in the clas- sical linear fashion of Hollywood storytelling. because what he finds fascinating is watching the story of crime in the United States unfold live.”31 Chandler’s commentary underscores early television’s ap- peal. “The poker-faced Erickson. much like Communism. Moreover. and uncut. As the New York Times’s T V critic Jack Gould put it. although “nothing was said about keeping the lens off the rest of his person. Kefauver’s star witness in New York. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 171 while conducting illegal activities.

and this one sent shock waves from coast to coast. giving the new medium the authority to agitate power structures in the nation’s capital. Kingdon S.”33 In fact. Although we mostly associate television in the 1950s with images of domestic bliss at best and crass consumerism at worst. television itself emerged as a star. and Joseph Kane’s Hoodlum Empire (1952). a little-known senator on a seemingly obscure assignment around the country. But before television broadcast the McCarthy hearings that shook the nation. Cameras in an observa- tion plane transmitted images to military personnel onboard the USS Mount McKinley. After 1951. But with twenty million viewers reportedly spellbound by the Costello performance.”32 NBC vice president John F. even with the semi-documentary style of film noir.172 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Parrish’s The Mob (1951). something Hollywood. Television began to establish itself in terms of spontaneity and authenticity. at a time when the notion of “technology out of control” was being promoted by science fiction. before commercial television was widely available to bring the blasts into American homes. before the medium became a household commodity. By the 1950s. As Lynn Spigel has demonstrated. having arrived on the national scene during the atomic age. where they were able to monitor the fallout in real time. . television “was often likened to a monster that threatened to wreak havoc on the family. politicians on the make actively sought out television cov- erage. and shortly thereafter made McCarthy himself tremble. In the previous decade. T V made Kefauver. were minor films and could not even come close to competing with the popularity of the real thing. “Television is the atomic bomb of the culture. Writing that year. could not duplicate. TV was also allied with the dark legacy of technological developments. into a celebrity. America witnessed another explosion on T V. television had aided in the initial postwar nuclear weapons tests con- ducted in Operation Crossroads on the islands of Bikini Atoll in 1946. Royal even asserted.”34 But this was the trial phase of the re- lationship between TV and the bomb. Tyler described how television had as- sisted by allowing visual access to the test site. including the fact that “the palm trees of Bikini Atoll were still standing after the atomic bomb exploded. the fates of atomic energy and television seemed so intertwined that the terrors of the atomic bomb tests were carried live on television. all contemporaries of the Kefauver committee hearings.

Bernhard notes. At the same time. Com- merce was beginning to handily win the battle with public service broad- casting. even though the actual images themselves were less than spec- tacular. started establishing liveness as its crucial and incomparable essence. and safe access to the spectacle of the atomic blast.”35 And there was no doubt about the electronic medium’s capacity to put on a show. “emphasizing television’s unprecedented ability to provide live. Ne- vada. the T V business was being modeled on the radio industry and defined “simultaneously as itself a consumer product for the home and as an audio-visual showroom for advertis- . “Four cameras filmed from eleven miles away.”38 Still. “to discern a tiny white spot in a wall of pitch black. even though Variety panned the transmis- sion as “A-Bomb in T V Fluff Fizzles Fission Vision.”39 But those motion pictures looked like an afterthought or merely a back-up plan. and two filmed from a mountaintop forty miles away. 36 In April 1952. those imprecise images on small screens marked a new stage for the young medium. Bernhard notes that at the time of the blast “motion pictures were also shot in case the blast interfered with the direct relay.”37 The result was that thirty-five million people were transfixed by the detona- tion live. democratic. more significantly. Although beaming the world live into homes remained popular in the ratings. T V networks were redirecting their efforts. as William Boddy has shown. If the era’s sci-fi cinema was concerned with what Susan Sontag has called “the aesthetics of destruction.” In spite of its low- grade quality or perhaps because of it. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 173 such experiments were telecast as made-for-T V events. born at the same time as the bomb. television. In the absence of Hollywood’s involvement during its formative years. seemed to have the unique capacity to represent its awesome energy.” Doherty reports. television was being pulled in the opposite di- rection as well. television networks worked with the Atomic Energy Commission to broadcast live atomic bomb tests from Yucca Flat. This was the moment when television began to replace the theatri- cal newsreel and. unaware that the white pinhole centered in the blackness resulted from an optical malfunction: the orthicon tube in the pickup camera had blacked out under the blinding light of the blast. As Nancy E.” then television would try to outdo it with the spectacle of the real. “Viewers squinted.

he launched a T V-friendly in- vestigation into the U. first into a supposed spy network at the Fort Monmouth laboratory. politics. When in 1950 a freshman and hitherto undistinguished senator from Wisconsin accused President Harry Truman’s State Department of har- boring Communists. political- cum-televisual show. the term McCarthyism was coined. like CBS’s The Guiding Light and NBC’s The Big Payoff. Although this intergovernmental scuffle might have been completely banal. without any interruptions except for their own commercials. Murrow. led to their turning profits. In fact. Barely a month after his Wheeling speech. Army. soap operas.”42 The investigation began rou- tinely enough. especially after 1952. Still. McCarthy assumed leadership of the Senate Permanent Sub- committee on Investigations. in particular with Edward R. not because of high ratings or “the inherent significance of the event but because television coverage itself determined the meaning of the event. when Jo- seph R.”40 And advertisers were far more likely to support game shows. the military.”41 Indeed. then moved on to the promotion of an alleged left-leaning dentist named Irving Peress. who emerged as the moral voice of the era and inaugurated television’s role as the ethi- . like Kefauver’s. McCarthy also fought a parallel battle with the news media. His meteoric rise. he held a number of hearings into the Voice of America. character-driven. was fueled by television. the presence of live cameras made this into what Doherty calls “a long-running. featuring a massive clash of media-savvy personalities from poli- tics. we do not have a clear record of whether the speaker claimed the number of Communists to be 205 or 57.S. and finally television itself.174 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s ers’ consumer goods. and situation comedies on regular schedules. During this time. This was especially true when the networks’ lucrative daytime entertainment pro- grams. Welch. and finally climaxed with the showstopper moment with U.S. In 1953. with a seemingly open-ended mandate to probe Communist influence in the United States.S. even the profit-minded networks could not resist the magnetism of a Cold War drama that unfolded live in the nation’s capital. A year later. the Army-McCarthy hearings have be- come a seminal moment in T V history. there were no television cameras to capture the speech. and its signateur rose to prominence in U. although these were not widely broadcast on television. Army counsel Joseph N. to this day.

making television capable of shaping history. a newsmagazine on CBS. . the T V audience had been primed to be sym- pathetic to the calm and sagacious Welch when confronted by the com- bative McCarthy. harangues. This showdown occurred on the thirtieth day of the thirty-six-day Army-McCarthy hearings. make him look menacing as he badgers. Due to the growing reach of television. Finally. although it must be noted that they were broad- cast live only on A BC and DuMont. particularly from congressional hearings. which Murrow was single-handedly defend- ing. when McCarthy brought up an unrelated. submit the names of 130 alleged Communists in the Defense Department “before the sun goes down. It does not just bring down a man – that is fully accomplished within a few months – but it also injects a healthy dose of ethics into live T V drama. alleged Communist sympathizer. By June 9. appearing even more grotesque on the era’s tiny television screen. which were deemed so signif- icant by Chairman Mundt that he even allowed the networks to find sponsors to help put on the show. with nightly recaps by CBS and NBC. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 175 cal watchdog of American democracy. eternally at odds with each other.” After some back and forth between the two giants. not merely reporting it. McCarthy’s chief counsel. Before Welch was able to call out McCarthy for his lack of decency. and taunts witnesses. “Murrow’s talk is an act of showstopping oratory. in order to divert attention from Welch’s request that Roy Cohn. 1954. The hearings had almost become a television miniseries. then.” Doherty argues. Murrow confronted the McCar- thy persona and its role in the Cold War. a lawyer at Welch’s law firm of Hale and Dorr. sweaty face. as many as twenty million viewers were supposed to be watching the hearings at any given time. one saint. Murrow appears for his concluding argument. that the external threat of Communism had been exploited by McCarthy to create an internal monster to stifle the exercise of free speech. “Purely as a theatrical feat. consisted mostly of clips from McCarthy’s previous appearances.”44 It is more than that. forever linking the two men in “America’s collective memory of itself in 1954: one sinner. where close-up shots of the senator’s large. Fred Fisher. They reached their high point on June 9. live on national television. because Murrow’s assault on McCarthy functions also as an attack on McCarthyism. too.”43 The March 9 program of See it Now.

as he leaned over to Cohn to ask what happened. and senate hearings. after a moment’s silence. I think I never gauged your cruelty or recklessness. access to the construction of the amusement park. whose coverage of McCarthy’s news conferences. the year that Them! was released. or even McCarthy and Mur- row. Joseph Cotten. sir. and Walt Disney brought Disneyland. Welch launched his memorable. senator. David O. Then. which brought such big stars to the small screen as Lauren Bacall. asking the chairman to call the next witness. and even abridged-for-T V versions of recent . an executive for Paramount. attack: “Until this moment. the iconic exchange in 1954 wasn’t just between McCarthy and Welch. “was that television. but also between McCarthy and television. an anthol- ogy series that included animated cartoons. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin for A BC and Father Knows Best for CBS.” As if that weren’t enough. So. It was no longer possible to ignore television. Amid alarm on the backlots. Selznick made his television debut with a two-hour documentary celebration of elec- tricity known as Light’s Diamond Jubilee.” or assume its inferiority. Dorothy Dandridge. direct addresses. Welch went in for the kill: “Have you no sense of decency. the multiple television cameras captured McCarthy caught off guard. And that battle was handily won by television. like the “applause” sign going off during live tapings of sitcoms.” Doherty argues. Interestingly.”45 In some ways.176 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s and after several of Welch’s attempts at trying to salvage the young law- yer’s reputation. the crowd erupted in wild applause – one suspects this might have cued. It was also in the year 1954 that NBC and CBS first turned profits. in 1954. the major studios began collaborating with the networks: Co- lumbia Pictures began producing two T V series. or dismiss it by disparagingly calling it “free television. similar approval around television sets nationwide. and perhaps memo- rized. “Have you left no sense of decency?” Although Mc- Carthy tried to interject. at long last?” And then again. had lent him legitimacy and stature. had now become the stage for his downfall. and it was clear that the studio system would have to adapt to this new reality in order to survive. “What happened. Welch waved him off. Frank Freeman. as Y. Hollywood found itself on the verge of being supplanted by a rival entertainment medium as the principal postwar culture industry. and Debbie Reynolds. does in the opening epigraph. for dramatic emphasis.

” Selznick argued. who are all disap- pearing from the scene almost simultaneously – what a hardy race they were! – their successors are pygmies by comparison. “is very mixed up and unhappy. Most significantly. Benjamin wrote “The Storyteller” as a requiem for storytelling. These forays into television were not only popular but also profitable.”47 It wasn’t that Hollywood had stopped making big pictures. What had appeared as a challenge in the late 1940s had become a crisis in the early 1950s. the relationship between distance and proxim- ity. As he confessed to Lloyd Shearer. Selznick lamented the waning of a glorious institution. the reason George Cukor was fired while making Gone with the Wind was because he “lacked the big feel. the essay touches upon several familiar Benjaminian themes: the trans- mission of experience. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 177 Disney films like Alice in Wonderland (1951) to A BC. what is laughingly known as the motion pic- ture industry. Quoting . however. Selznick’s nostalgia for an older art form vanishing before his eyes resembles Walter Benjamin’s elegy for the art of storytelling. on the eve of another crisis. Ostensibly about the works of novelist Nikolai Leskov. the scope. he seemed to be wistfully marking the passing of an era and a tradition. the role of death. What- ever the weakness of the old and rugged pioneers. Hollywood mogul David O. Benjamin is interested here in the rise of what we now call the information age. But there remained a lingering sense of the end of an era. R etelling History Writing in the late 1950s to his friend John Hay Whitney. which for Selznick represented an epic mode of storytelling. Indeed. “Our old stomping ground. the breadth of the production. and so on. By the time Selznick was writing to his former partner. it wasn’t the size of the pictures that had shrunk but the size of Hollywood itself in American culture. and it was succeeded by the small screen. which is focused on the dissemination of verifiable data rather than the narration of wise counsel. In 1936. the communicability of wisdom.”46 He was mourn- ing not only the fall of particular giants of what was soon becoming old Hollywood but also the decline of the studio system itself. which the old giants like Selznick regarded as a “pygmy” by comparison.

Benjamin begins by distinguishing the story from other forms of communication.” that would other- wise be forgotten. As McCole argues. does not survive the moment in which it was new. in a way that in- formation never can. from one generation to the next. as it best reveals itself to natives of a place.”49 In the wake of storytelling. from themselves. the story becomes a part of the audience’s life.”53 In surrendering . the story depends on the storyteller’s capacity to listen. who bring their own chronicles of faraway places. mingle with traveling journeymen. but the demands of ‘freshness. . What is important in the story is not verifiability. Its disappearance signifies “an increasing atrophy of experience itself. brevity.”52 Because it is subject to verification. Even though it is about subjects close to the audi- ence’s life – the Latin Quarter. in fact. the story is not subject to corroboration. is born in an artisanal milieu. It receives its authority from the audience’s awareness of its distance. for instance. information provides merely a series of facts. audiences expect that stories will blend with the storyteller’s own life and be retold anew. Therefore. Benjamin finds a crisis of transmission. remember.178 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Hippolyte de Villemessant. armed with indigenous tales. The story is not about the audi- ence’s immediate. and recall the narrative. “modern forms of communication broadcast discrete items of information. . whose “value . although it does not lack immediacy.’ and prompt consumption work against their assimilation. the storyteller “in turn makes it the experience of those who are listening to his tale. and in the departed figure of the storyteller.”51 Thus. 50 In attempting to describe the contours of storytelling.48 Storytelling represents an older way of exchanging and passing on ex- perience from one generation to another. he discovers a historian capable of transmitting “the lore of the past. both in terms of time and space. The story. By weaving and spinning the story into his own life. Thus.’” Benjamin grieves for the passing of a craftsmanlike mode of transmitting the past that is be- ing supplanted by the modern world’s interest in trivial information. everyday life. he contends. rather than the revolution in Madrid – information cannot be merged with the audience’s lives. the influential founder of Le Figaro who fa- mously lamented that to his readers “‘an attic fire in the Latin Quarter is more important than a revolution in Madrid. where local craftsmen. especially information or reportage.

Therefore. His craft deals with chronicling how individual mo- . information comes in digestible form. not the stories in themselves. transparent layers which constitutes the most appropriate picture of the way in which the perfect narrative is revealed through the layers of a variety of retellings. in fact.”60 For the story.”56 The story. however.”58 In other words. is not just a product. explication. since it is open to multiple interpretations. It preserves and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time. on the other hand. what Benjamin resents about modern communication is that “no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. Since it is crafted by generations of sto- rytellers. 59 Benjamin’s fascination is not only with the story but also with the pursuit of storytelling. To use Benjamin’s analogy of the seeds of grain in the pyramids. and explanation. “storytelling is always the art of repeating stories” – information cannot transmit the past and dies shortly after it is communicated.”55 This is because the story is assembled differ- ently from information.”61 But the storyteller is not concerned with explanations. for Benjamin. In fact. it “achieves an amplitude that informa- tion lacks. The storyteller differs from the traditional historian in that he is a chronicler of the past. and it cannot be abbreviated.”57 A little later in the essay. which is told and retold over the centuries – after all. Because it is presented for immediate con- sumption. “What interests him is the pragmatics of narrative communication: the fact of telling stories. the story retains its “germinative power” and thus remains inexhaustible. Reportage is based on the facility of exposition. all adding their own nuances. Benjamin explores how a story attains that amplitude from the way it is compiled. cannot be explained away in a single telling. 54 The story. It is. “is bound to explain in one way or another the happenings with which he deals. Since it originates in the oral tradition. information can convey that which is only relevant for the moment. “The histo- rian. the story accumulates multiple layers that can be unfurled by each member of the audience endlessly. As Philip Simay notes. Thus.” Benjamin argues. which stems from the oral tradi- tion. lives on because it “does not expend it- self. the story consists of a “slow piling one on top of the other of thin. the story is not rushed. a social activity and. an alternative way of narrating history. unlike the story. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 179 itself to the present.

consist in a moral.”66 And it is in that sense that storytelling might be similar to genre-driven Hollywood cinema. and chronicles. in a proverb or maxim. then. but the end would be that we would inform them. television was often being championed as the harbinger of a new information era. which is also a private form of consumption that causes further decline in the collective “communicability of experi- ence. storytelling implies a “critical recovery of the past. when TV was mostly a theoretical proposition. not as a single individual or author but a palimpsest of compound layers.180 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s ments “are embedded in the great inscrutable course of the world.”68 In fact. appears as the voice of generations past.”64 So it does not offer particular solutions to specific prob- lems. Pat Weaver. “like cinema. with the ascendancy of the newspaper. television might be said to only accelerate the crisis of transmission that Benjamin noticed in the 1930s.”62 This enables his audience to contemplate the open-ended nature of the chronicles. What is even more interesting is that in the 1950s.” so that the story becomes a guide rather than an explanation or a resolution. claimed that the network’s “grand design” was “to get the people to watch the realism and to get caught by it. when Hollywood moguls like Selznick were feeling nostalgic about what then seemed like the dying medium of cinema. not as a medium for continuing cinema’s narrative tradition. But that counsel is not utilitarian. Rather. Ferris argues. Storytelling becomes “the means by which an individual relates to collective experience. enrich then. enlighten them. to liberate them from tribal primitive belief patterns. Because storytelling is not meant only to inform or even to entertain.”69 It is not hard to see that Weaver is aligning television with the transmission of current information – liveness. in some practical advice. As David S. it is “less an answer to a question than a proposal concerning the continuation of a story which is just unfolding. as we . in a third. later. NBC’s lead programmer and developer of such shows as Today and The Tonight Show. experiences. storytelling also offers a collective experience. Since it is handed down from one generation to the next. we could certainly add television. which also emphasized telling and retelling tales. So too did the epic before such experience declined with the rise of the novel and.”67 To this list.”63 The purpose of storytelling is to offer its audience some form of counsel.65 The storyteller. in another. That may “in one case. sto- rytelling conveys the wisdom of the ages.

became hugely popular. Thus. thus radically revising the divide between the two media. And storytelling in Hollywood was far from dead. became television’s calling card – and “tribal primitive belief patterns” or old stories with cinema. he argued. un- der financial pressure. “Who still meets people who really know how to tell a story?”71 Twenty years later. if not downright irrational.” he asked. Following the storyteller-historian. and R KO’s sale prompted other major studios to begin releasing feature films to television. The question was. Cultural critic Gil- bert Seldes was even more explicit in defending live TV and suggesting that the essence of television was in its communication of the present. represented inadvertently yet poignantly in the era’s sci-fi . which telecast films from the RKO library (and others). launched by the New York area station WOR. the new electronic medium was far from shunning the past. The move toward television began as an eccentric gesture. can “feel that what they see and hear is happening in the present and therefore more real than anything taken and cut and dried which has the feel of the past. was the cause of so much fear and paranoia during the mid-1950s? The next section represents an attempt to tell that story – of the deep-seated anxieties of an empire feeling itself on the verge of ruin. In fact. it narrates the battle between cinema and television. they began making inroads into network schedules. Howard Hughes sold R KO’s film library to a tire manufacturing company that owned an independent TV station for $25 million.”70 It is precisely this shunning of the past that Benjamin had anticipat- ed with the rise of new communication technologies when he agonized over the lost art of storytelling.”72 By 1959. collaborating with television had become so lucrative that the electronic medium’s old nemesis Jack Warner himself was argu- ing in favor of television. now available for viewing after many years of dormancy. of course. then. because the studios did not stop telling stories or making mov- ies. Moreover. Many of the films shown on television emerged out of old studio vaults. In “Experience and Poverty. What. Hollywood studio bosses were ruefully asking a similar ques- tion. highly self-indulgent. The television audience. when in 1955. But the T V show Million Dollar Movie. Douglas Gomery has called the availability of movies on the small screen the “most significant change in the way Americans viewed films during the latter half of the twentieth century. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 181 saw in the previous section.

that cinema is too closely associated with anti-American sentiments and rep- resentations. “science fiction films bear witness to this trauma. we can see them. Susan Sontag has argued that. made recently and often on T V. Hollywood becomes allied with all that is wholesome. It is noteworthy that the story of their enmity changes over time. This alignment seems to work for Hollywood in two ways: on one hand. If. In representing itself as the endangered species. television remains the antagonist in Hollywood’s cinematic representations of the media rivalry. Hollywood begins contemplating lessons learned about living in a post- invasion media universe. sagacious storyteller. in unexpected cinephiliac moments. which offers nothing more than cold. in many cases. Even after the studios and networks begin working in col- laboration. in contest with its imprudent media rival. It envisions the death of the studio system via stories of individual or col- lective annihilation. indifferent information and seems poised to supplant the dynamics of traditional storytelling. although most of the films analyzed below do not overtly address the fear of emerging media. even when they do not explicitly refer to the bomb. in the latter half of the decade. in a way. and. by privileging immediacy and informa- tion. For the battle was not merely over ratings or revenues or box-office receipts but over the very definition of cinema. profiting from those tales of trauma. In the story that follows. Near a remote research station at the north pole. Hollywood presents itself as the old. .182 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s films. it attempts to exorcise accusations. fictionalizing it. attempt to exorcise it. television has written its own narrative across the cultural land- scape of the fifties. What Hollywood wanted was not just economic superiority but also ontological supremacy. masculine. which recount time and again an epic struggle with a technologi- cally superior enemy. and American – and under threat from the alien Other. True to the role of the sagacious storyteller. on the other. it is able to redefine television as the “foreign” medium of entertainment.” 73 Similarly. Once U pon a Ti m e i n Holly wood The story begins with the discovery of an extraterrestrial monster that feeds on human blood. bearing witness to this terror. cinema tries to rewrite that story on the big screen. and.

Eventually. Although it looks humanoid. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 183 4. the Thing is an advanced form of plant life. “an intellectual carrot. As one might expect.2). The Thing from Another World (dir. At that time. although a naive squad member accidently allows it to thaw.” that can only be overpowered with bolts of high voltage electricity. the creature’s terrors become impossible to ignore or control. 1951). and their crew find and inadvertently destroy what appears to be an alien flying saucer. killing two dogs. It is cut out of the ice and flown to the research station for ob- servation. Howard Hawks. the Thing escapes and goes on a rampage. attacking its guard. their Geiger coun- ter signals the presence of a large creature in “the shape of a man” buried in the ice. .2. and draining a couple of the scientists. whose blood it uses to reproduce. Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite). USA F pilot Captain Patrick Hendry (Kenneth Tobey). the Thing is electrocuted (Figure 4. with the former electing to use force and the latter desiring to preserve and communicate with it. After certain disagree- ment between the airman and the scientist.

saves America this time by being able “to keep the threat of the Thing confined to a solitary Arctic base. almost in the same way that Hollywood would like its audiences to stay tuned for future versions of such tales of annihilation. recounting how “at the top of the world. paranoia. will become more severe and come close to annihilating civilization as we know it. Matthews argues that while Captain Hendry.74 Even Scotty seems to intuitively know this. Although most of them can hardly allow the depiction of an actual T V set. a reporter and former war correspondent. a handful of American soldiers and civilians met [and defeated] the first invasion from another planet. Melvin E. whose name echoes the radical revolutionary. there are other types of fifties films. which was a significant Hawksian addition to John W. is prema- turely optimistic.” But perhaps this tale. where the alien conveniently doubles for the new televisual monster. over the course of the fifties. The release of Hawks’s film. their filmic uni- verse is bursting with the irrational dread. His climactic broadcast begins on a note of decisive victory: “One of the world’s greatest battles was fought and won today by the human race. is the moment Mark Jancovich marks as “the year the aliens arrived. which. Noting the explosion of hostile alien sci-fi in the 1950s.” others will not be so lucky when future gigantic monsters begin attacking the mainland. as noted earlier. Even though the lumbering giant resembling Fran- kenstein’s monster does not look as intimidating. and outrage gener- ated by an alien force that threatens to destroy cinema as we know it. particularly in sci-fi films.184 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s This tale is narrated at the end of Howard Hawks’s The Thing from Another World by Scotty (Douglas Spencer). like Jack Arnold’s noir The Glass Web (1953) or Elia Kazan’s drama A Face in the Crowd (1957).” but it also denotes the beginning of Hollywood’s cinematic response to an expanding broadcast culture. Since there are no television cameras. What is intriguing about The Thing is that it serves as a virtual activa- tion of cinematic representations of the raging battle between mechani- cal and electronic media. its discovery is merely the beginning of invasions. who has followed the crew to the Arctic in search of a story. that . his disembodied voice relates the story of an epic battle into a microphone for the rest of the country to hear.” Scotty narrates. Of course. thus urging his audience at the end to “keep watching the skies” for potential threats. Campbell’s story.

Even before the rhedosaurus comes alive and threatens civilization (and cin- ema itself). when. the film switches from conventional shots of men in winter gear standing on a snow-capped set. it cannot be restricted to the Arctic. and a voiceover narrates the preparations being made at the secret test site. But as the small screen menace swells. Interestingly. the sci-fi films grow darker and more pessimistic. vigilance. who was played by James Arness. and appeasement or containment were not viable options. and the aliens become gigantic. The wide-angle shots of an actual mushroom cloud. “As invasions go. as . But sci-fi films of the era provide a more complex portrayal of Hollywood’s view of its media Other. more popularly known as Marshal Matt Dil- lon. which is what the storyteller Scotty advocates at the end of The Thing.”75 Perhaps at the start of the decade it is still possible at R KO – R KO is the studio that had earlier attempted to beat back larger menaces by subjugating the monstrous gorilla in King Kong (Merian C. As Michael Pinsky argues. is no longer enough. in Eugène Lourié’s The Beast from 20. the nuclear blast occurs as scheduled. This thing is a gigantic rhedosaurus. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 185 take on and present cinema’s contempt for television more directly. but this fiend is not as benign as the Thing. a film that would be profitably re-released a year later. After the countdown. That is why when another monster. provide precisely the thrill that television did not deliver a year earlier. likely on the backlot of Warner Bros. followed by those of tectonic shifts in the Arctic tundra. Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack. and he does not inflict much damage. where it has been brought to life by a nuclear detonation. brought to life by the heat of a nuclear blast after one hundred million years in hibernation. even as Howard Hughes is already running it into the ground – to fantasize about over- powering the looming threat of television. It opens with a team of military scientists preparing for Operation Experiment. to stock footage of the atomic blast. studio. Beast begins in the vein of Hawks’s film. the film seems to hint at media rivalry. to virtually kill the electronic medium with bolts of electricity.000 Fathoms. Just as television was spreading throughout the country. is detected. 1933). which is not as threatening yet in The Thing. the defender of law and order on the Western frontier in CBS’s Gun- smoke. the Thing’s assault on Earth is pretty feeble. Hawks’s extraterrestrial monster does not appear too frightening.

it also gave rise to fears of devolution through complete annihilation. for instance. In the postwar era. but it also creates a world which .” 76 The celluloid mushroom is indeed far superior to the miniature version. Laurence’s account of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Siepmann had called Hollywood’s intrinsic advantage. a crew member notices a bug on a small screen. Early wholesale enthusiasm about atomic energy waned. which rears its head right after the blast. “made science fiction respectable. Although not live. “The dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945. while another voices the anxiety: “There’s something strange on the radar screen.” 77 This is because. and the angst it causes is very similar to deep concerns about nuclear technology as well as. conflation of past and future anxieties was not uncommon. the rhedosaurus is very much a creature of the future.”78 But while science fiction may have gained in reputation.186 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s mentioned before. the standing of science itself came into question at this time. In a spectacular cinephiliac moment. “the inherent attractiveness of moving pictures on a full-sized screen. Although it is a prehistoric monster. while nuclear knowledge held out the po- tential for technological evolution. thus showcasing what critic Charles A. back at the research station. Still.” Isaac Azimov argued. about television.” then there are doubts about its existence. the planned live broadcast of atomic blasts at Yucca Flat fizzled into merely a blip on the small screen.” Soon enough they all realize that it is a prehistoric monster. making its way south by follow- ing the Arctic current to New York. more subtly. which “may save us at times. replaced in the 1950s with doubts about the promise of techno- logical progress. it is considered a “foreign object. William L.” At first. That is to say. Mark Jancovich pushes this notion further. there is no way to defer the fear of the small screen. arguing that fifties sci-fi texts reflect American culture’s “sense of ambivalence” about science. awakened from the past. Beast is able to transmit on the silver screen the atomic blast in its full splendor. something that sci-fi films portray time and again. which be- came the entertainment medium of the atomic age. the beast is likened to the atomic energy that gives birth to it. followed by false reassurance that “maybe the shock tossed something in front of the antenna. combines such anxi- eties by referring to the mushroom cloud as “a monstrous prehistoric creature.

and there is no one who stops to help. similar doubts were being voiced about another technological advance. the heart of New York.” 79 Thus. threat- ening to make humans virtually like dinosaurs. as residents run helter-skelter and find that there is no escaping this monster. The beast. It is . a world in which giant ants or man-eating plants threaten to overwhelm us. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 187 we can no longer recognise. destroying everything in its wake. Writing in the same year as Beast was released. and set on unsettling the social order. a material representation of technological expansion. the creature “causes them to devolve. This is a fear that Hol- lywood hysterically reconstructed in its own struggle for survival against the new medium. has brought about a dystopian future. television. civilians go underground to seek shelter. People flee randomly. and the civil defense authorities trying to bring down the beast using firepower appear mostly feckless. As the National Guard is called in. then all that New Yorkers can do is wait until their city is pum- meled to resemble a prehistoric site. or worse. as Cyndy Hendershot notes. television was tied by some critics directly to the bomb. As the crea- ture storms through the city. about inadvertently writing “the last chapter” of human history. Fredric Wertham criticized threats posed by the popular media environment. So Lourié’s Beast exploits these overlapping anxieties. with as far-reaching consequences as the atom bomb.”80 Thus. it seems to confirm the worst fears of physicist Tom Nesbitt (Paul Hubschmid as Paul Christian) about advanced technology. even “Times Square. Nesbitt had wondered aloud about atomic energy’s potentially apocalyptic consequences. The place is gripped by pandemonium. Following Wertham’s lead. science itself came to be seen as regressive. has stopped beating.”81 When the beast descends on the city. Interestingly. destructive. in an effort to redefine the rival medium as something alien. deeming it “as serious as an invasion of the enemy in war time. destructive. television as an embodiment of nuclear technology was beginning to be considered destructive.” If New York is the beast’s breeding ground. there is no sense of mutual cooperation. making its way from block to block. Moreover. When the beast arrives in New York. as panic reduces motivation to pure instinct. At the nuclear test site. his wor- ries materialize in a nightmarish trail of destruction. The invasion seems analo- gous to an actual atomic bomb attack. A blind man is trampled by a crowd.

More significantly. intimates that televisual waves could be used literally for murder. like poor hygiene or inappropriate social behavior. “Metaphors of disease were continually used to discuss television’s unwelcome pres- ence in domestic life. choosing instead to align television with the destructive effects of Communism and radiation. they begin collapsing as soon as they come in contact with the beast’s blood. was the disease of television.”82 Critics sounded the alarm about psychological as well as physical problems caused by television. one that could reach into people’s homes and make them sick. It is also un-American. for instance. which was com- monly conceived as a dangerous infection. and heart disease combined. That is why the film ends on the striking image of the smoldering remains of Coney Island. During the 1952 presidential campaign.188 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s not too delicate a reminder to fifties audiences about the flaws of futur- istic technologies that promise to alleviate stress but threaten to destroy life as we know it.” Like the supposedly insidious epidemic of Communism. that year’s The Glass Web suggests that television might lead to blackmail and homicide. Adlai Stevenson is said to have called it “a dis- ease which may have killed more people in this world than cancer. virulent disease” that contaminates everything in its path. But the contaminated beast also embodies another kind of disease. Hollywood films were more than willing to play up these maladies in their overt and covert representations of T V. The disease-ridden beast also embodies contemporary notions of Communism. Clifford Sanforth’s Murder by Television (1935). also the result of advanced technolo- gies. which was spilled when it was earlier shot by bazookas. As the soldiers march in forma- tion through deserted streets. This new sickness. As Lynn Spigel observes. The contaminated particles of blood in the air clearly resemble nuclear fallout or radiation sickness. But fifties sci-fi films were more outrageous. In Beast the new medium is both brutal and harmful. tu- berculosis. the beast has the potential to infect everyone who comes in contact with it. An earlier science fantasy film. as the military and scientific communities soon discover. it becomes impossible to destroy it using con- ventional weapons for fear of spreading the contagion while burning it . the beast is a “giant germ carrier of a horrible. Once it is discovered that the rhedosaurus is a disease-carrying monster.

Even in its death throes.3). A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 189 4. it represents “the fear of an avenging nature which has been disturbed by technol- ogy. the beast continues to destroy the Cyclone.3. The beast is finally cornered at Coney Island and annihilated when military sharpshooter Corporal Stone (Lee Van Cleef) climbs aboard the roller coaster and fires the isotope launcher into it. The Beast from 20. Eugène Lourié. The only way to obliterate it without leaving any trace is to inject a radioactive isotope in it.”83 But the location of its ultimate destruction might offer a more specific clue. which might stand in for Hollywood as an older but wholesome. or blowing it up. . the very symbol of early twentieth-century amusement that was waning in popularity – in large measure because of suburbaniza- tion and the rise of alternative modes of entertainment like television. in addition to atomic force. all-American space of entertainment.” Or. 1953). it “signifies primeval origins. the primal sink and slime from which life first emerged. alternatively. Vivian Sobchack has argued that. the rhedosaurus dies (Figure 4. After much groaning and destruction of the entire roller coaster.000 Fathoms (dir. The rhedosaurus is defeated at Coney Island.

the monster is finally revealed as a gigantic ant. The monster. the oversized alien Thing himself. since “there’s no money stolen. and when the ants’ nest is found.” But that is a false lead. Gordon Douglas’s Them! ap- pends another pejorative dimension. which has fully become the embodiment of destructive new technologies and media. If the beast is decidedly damaging. Sergeant Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) speculates that it might be a homicidal maniac. is a harmless domestic insect now made colossally destructive by the effects of radia- tion. heard as a high-pitched buzz but unseen. for even FBI agent Robert Graham. crawling out of the desert right behind the spot where his daughter Pat is kneeling over and ex- ploring the creature’s footprints. as evidenced by the presence of “enough formic acid in [the dead storekeeper’s] body to kill twenty men. generated by early atomic bomb tests conducted in the desert. The threat of ram- paging ants is initially discovered when two state police officers encoun- ter a catatonic girl walking around aimlessly in the desert while clutching a broken doll. The Air Force joins the battle. nameless. it is clear that this monster is more fierce than the ones we’ve seen before. then stumble upon a ransacked trailer. remains as flustered as the rest of the men. then the gigantic ants that germinate in the New Mexico desert and head toward Los Angeles are also monstrously feminine. just sugar taken. Harold (Edmund Gwenn) and Pat (Joan Weldon) Medford. “Them! Them!” Until now the monster has re- mained faceless. Help ar- rives in the form of two myrmecologists. it turns out. who are able to jolt the little girl out of her catatonic state by making her sniff some formic acid. we might say that Lourié’s final sequence resurrects the old roller coaster nostalgically to further denounce the beast. While waiting for other officers to arrive on the scene of the crime. At this point. Robert demands “to know exactly what this ‘it’ is. played by James Arness.” On an intertextual note. intuiting that the scientists are letting on less than they understand. at which point she screams hysterically. Drs. violent wreckage.84 To this notion of the destructive beast. and finally find the local general store wrecked and its owner Gramps Johnson dead. the massacring entity remains off- screen. and essentially undefined. But even setting the entire colony on fire is not a solution. and its tunnels are destroyed with cyanide.” While Harold is asking for patience.190 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Therefore. for . one of them is mysteriously killed. phosphorous is laid over the mound with bazookas.

the monstrous problem is revealed in gendered terms.” with its “voracious maw. That larger frame is able to accommodate many more contextual details that clarify the meaning and significance of the monster that mankind is up against. that women were intruding into male institutions and feminizing American life. As the film rolls. perhaps ex- acerbated by the difficulties of assimilating into postwar civilian life.” The notion of an imperiled masculinity was generated by a fear of “America’s growing culture of domesticity” as well as “the self-aggrandizing power of Momism. which was seen increasingly as a feminizing venue. criticism of television was based on its evolution as a marketing agent in the mid- . they have been following “a process of erosion which will eat away all traces of Man. in stunning contrast to that later moment. masculine civilization of America (Figure 4. when the New Mexico contingent arrives in Washington.4). After all. In a room full of male authority figures (and Pat). But. What is intriguing about this crisis in the 1950s is that a major- ity of the blame was placed on emerging media. which. and that televisual briefing will contain neither substantive details nor wise counsel. Harold narrates the story of the mating habits of ants. The ants’ threat is explicitly matriarchal. the top- secret briefing is made authoritatively on a big screen for maximum impact. will probably be extinct within a year. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 191 two queen ants have escaped and will presumably mate and create other nests. .” Douglas’s film has been leading up to this dire declaration. could mean the end of the world. man. Harold concludes that “unless these queens are located and destroyed before they’ve established thriving colonies and can produce heaven alone knows how many more queen ants.C. particularly television. as the dominant species of life on earth.”88 But this is not necessarily a novel fear. there was a “growing chorus of complaints . D. the queen ants’ threat signifies what Barbara Creed calls the “monstrous-feminine. . As James Gilbert suggests. There was a pervasive fear of the feminine in the 1950s. the mysterious black hole that threatens to give birth to equally horrific offspring as well as threatening to incorporate everything in its path. Initially. no decade is truly immune from a perceived crisis of mas- culinity.”87 And they are out to destroy the rational. Finally.”86 More spe- cifically.. The public at large will be notified later via the small screen to stay at home. as Harold muses.85 As Vivian Sobchack intimates.

as Mary Beth Haralovich points out. 1954). was being used by women to emasculate the man and turn him into “her de-sexed.192 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 4. Wylie argued. even as shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best were being praised in some circles.91 Television. But the voices of censure did not focus only on its being representative of consumerist mass culture. Them! (dir.4.”92 .90 For him. whose Generation of Vipers was revised in 1955 to include the destructive effects of television. the devil was “literally reincarnated over T V. 1950s economy. “for realigning family gender roles” and restoring the place of the father as the primary breadwinner and provider. de- cerebrated mate. Gordon Douglas. Television came to be seen as an emasculating force. Wylie’s text tied the fear of technological apocalypse to the image of the domineering woman or “the destroying mother.” who functions much like Goebbels by employing mass media to decimate the national culture. de-souled.89 Among the most vocal critics was Philip Wylie.” allied with science and ex- ploited by women.

A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 193

There is a similar alignment of the domineering woman with televi-
sion in a gorgeous cinephiliac moment in Nicholas Ray’s Rebel without
a Cause (1955), when Jim Stark (James Dean) returns home after the
chickie run to find his father passively passed out in front of a flickering
TV set. When his dictatorial mother descends the stairs to join them, the
camera follows Jim’s point of view and sees her upside down, the way he
does, and becomes “a visual marker of a world turned upside down.”93 It
soon rotates 180 degrees to right itself, but the skewed vision is directly
linked with the static on the small screen, which remains central in most
subsequent shots where the family argues over Jim’s next move. The
menacing blue static becomes symbolic of the damage TV has done and
links it to the mother, whose overbearing, destructive manner is also
emasculating and destroying the family and, by extension, civilization
itself. Writing about another family melodrama from that year, Douglas
Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows (1955), which also uses television as a reflec-
tion of familial ills, Laura Mulvey argues that “at the moment of defeat,
Hollywood could afford to point out the seeds of decay in its victorious
rival’s own chosen breeding ground.”94 Mulvey’s metaphor is pregnant
with implications of Hollywood’s emasculation by television, whose
feminine wiles are said to have given birth to a degenerate civilization.
In Douglas’s Them!, the monstrous-feminine ants are likewise linked
with the disastrous consequences of television. That is why the only way
to guarantee the ants’ annihilation is, as Harold advises the policeman
and FBI agent when they begin firing their weapons, to “get the anten-
nae!” At a time when the skyline of every town was dotted with skeletal
metallic fingers pointing in all directions, it would be impossible to miss
that televisual inference.95 So when a queen ant is finally tracked down
in the womb-like drains under the city of Los Angeles, it is not surpris-
ing that the televised broadcast does not calm fears but only exacerbates
them, with the small screen appearing almost as terrifying as the gigantic
ants themselves. Ultimately, the ants are destroyed along with the entire
nest when “the phallic bazookas of the army incinerate the queen and her
eggs.”96 Any possibility of future alien procreation is thereby prevented.
As the camera zooms in on a dark hollow of the tunnel, the ants, like
witches being burned at the stake, are burned alive (Figure 4.5).

194 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

4.5. Them! (dir. Gordon Douglas, 1954).

But at least as it relates to television, such finality or sense of victory
over the alien Other is nothing more than wishful thinking by 1954.
Even though the ants’ tentacles could be set ablaze, television’s cultural
sway could not be suppressed. As we have already seen, amid television’s
growing prosperity, stability, and influence, the studios began seriously
collaborating with the enemy. And the cinematic story of the relation-
ship between the rival media began to change too. Until now, if television
had written its own tale in terms of realism, liveness, and drama, assert-
ively distinguishing its product from that on the big screen, Hollywood
had responded – like Benjamin differentiating between storytelling and
reportage – by reimagining television as an alien, destructive, diseased,
emasculating Other. After the mid-1950s, it was no longer enough to
narrate the big screen’s paranoia about invasion or its (failed) attempts
to slow its course. With many sci-fi films now set in a post-apocalyptic
universe, the story begins to turn toward lessons learned about living in
this new multimedia environment.

A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 195

This new landscape may look familiar; it may even resemble old Hol-
lywood. But there is something distinctly different about it. From Holly-
wood’s point of view, it is as if a Norman Rockwell–style idyllic panorama
has been turned into a noirish, paranoiac nightmare. This nightmar-
ish new world is reflected in Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
where average citizens of the tranquil town of Santa Mira are replaced
by emotionless replicas of their former selves. The transformation takes
place as podded aliens take over human bodies, “cell for cell, atom for
atom,” while they sleep, only to wake up, as Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin Mc-
Carthy) and his old flame Becky Driscoll (Dana Wynter) fearfully real-
ize, “changed into something evil and inhuman.” This invasion, however,
is different from the ones we’ve seen before. There is no monstrous beast
visibly clashing with humans in an effort to take over the world. Rather,
the invasion is more like a conversion, which happens slowly and at first
even appears to be a delusion, as people begin reporting that their family
members or friends are not quite being themselves. Before they know it,
Miles and Becky recognize that they might be the only people in town
who have resisted conversion. They barricade themselves in his office
and avoid falling asleep. The next day, however, their former friends Jack
Belicec (King Donovan) and Dr. Kaufman (Larry Gates) arrive, both
transformed, and try to convince them of the benefits of conversion.
But a robotic transformation is unacceptable to Miles and Becky, who
get away and, pursued by a mob of transformed pods, run up a hill and
hide in an abandoned mine. When Miles leaves Becky to check on music
playing in the distance, she falls asleep and is converted. So, being the
only one who has not been transformed, Miles escapes and makes it to a
nearby highway to Los Angeles. There, he looks directly into the camera
and, in the film’s iconic moment, declares the frightening inevitability
of conversion: “You’re next!” A dissolve returns us to the film’s flashback
narrative frame, where Miles is in a hospital recalling his story to doctors,
who ultimately agree to call it an emergency and alert all authorities.
There is some disagreement about how this ending, which Don Sie-
gel reportedly despised because he wanted the film to end with Miles’s
warning, should be interpreted. Sidney Perkowitz, for instance, sees in
it “a glimmer of hope,” since Miles’s escape suggests that it might be pos-
sible to stall the transformation of humans into zombies.97 But as Barry

196 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s

Keith Grant suggests, the conclusion is in fact quite grim. There is no
comfort in cautioning the authorities. Unlike earlier invasion films, In-
vasion does not promise the annihilation of the alien in the end. In fact,
there isn’t merely one alien entity; conversion has spread like wildfire
throughout the town and, we may assume, the nation. How can it be
restrained, Grant argues, when “it has spread much wider than the town
of Santa Mira and may be nearer to the patrons in the theater than they
think”?98 If we see the film, as many critics do, as a symbolic critique of
the perceived loss of personal freedom in the Soviet Union and how that
reflects life under McCarthyist fascism, then perhaps there is still the
possibility of stalling such a fate by opposing small-town conformity in
America. There might even be hope of waking up from the nightmare,
if we regard the film as a paranoid allegory of “an America that is being
poisoned and transformed in its sleep in the safety of suburbia.”99
But if we take Grant’s argument more literally, we can read Invasion
as a conversion narrative of a different kind, of Hollywood’s reluctant
but inevitable transition to television. Although Norma Desmond may
have complained that “it’s the pictures that got small,” or Clark Gable
may have objected to screening his old films on the small screen for fear
of being in competition with himself, the shift to television was unavoid-
able. As Christine Becker demonstrates, by the mid-1950s, film stars like
Ida Lupino and Ronald Reagan made successful transitions to television.
Some appeared on variety shows, whereas others, from Donna Reed to
Jack Benny to Alfred Hitchcock, became T V regulars with their own sit-
coms or anthology series.100 Still, this did not mean that such crossovers
would receive friendly treatment in the movies. Siegel’s film presents
conversion as a horrifying inevitability.
In the film’s most startling scene, which has far more cinephiliac
potential than the one most commonly cited when Miles screams at
motorists like a wild prophet of doom, Miles and Becky hide out in his
office and watch their converted neighbors from a small window in alarm
and disgust (Figure 4.6). Santa Mira looks like any cozy suburban neigh-
borhood, with neighbors going about their business “just like [on] any
Saturday morning.” What is unnerving about Invasion is that the “trans-
formed self is virtually indistinguishable from its original.”101 Yet, there
is something markedly different about familiar folks like “Len Pearl-

A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 197

4.6. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (dir. Don Siegel, 1956).

man, Bill Bittner, Jim Clark and his wife Shirley and their kids.” What
the ghastly view from their window reveals is that Santa Mira has been
converted and has now become a distribution center for emotionless
pods destined for nearby towns. Everyone in town uncannily resembles
their old human selves, and yet there is something missing. Soon, Miles
and Becky are discovered by Jack and Kaufman, who portray conver-
sion as a solution to all of their problems. The pod transformation, Dr.
Kaufman proposes, is like being “reborn into an untroubled world.” This
new world, Miles understands, is a place “where everyone’s the same”
and real emotions like love are impossible to experience. Interestingly,
this new environment of Santa Mira is remarkably similar to the fictional
world of many fifties television shows, where life is often simple and pain-
less, and any problem can be resolved within thirty minutes (or less, if
we allow for advertising).102
The notion that television presented “an untroubled world” and
a false sense of contentment was already gaining ground. Borrowing

”103 Real life did not intrude much on such a happy place. Invasion portrays televisual happiness as a version of Herbert Marcuse’s notion of false happiness. the small screen intensified and even natural- ized this type of conformity. Whyte’s The Organization Man identifies a new world that is very similar to the one created by pods in Invasion. for instance. of normalcy and nondeviant everyday life.”105 And it is precisely this kind of happiness that is being offered by the pod people in Siegel’s film and resisted by Miles and Becky. which was already coming under fire. which of course did not become a prominent storyline on their show. By exposing the superficiality of their former friends’ contentment. like most television programs of the 1950s. Ray Pratt has argued that Invasion demonstrates “the pressure on individuals of the era to conform – or suf- fer the consequences. ended happily. Whyte criticizes the spread of conformism throughout American soci- . William H. with their company Desilu even purchasing R KO in 1958.”106 With its images of mostly homogeneous homes and families and suburbs. fictionalized the stars’ marriage by erasing any signs of trouble. Also published in 1956. The show. the Ball-Arnaz marriage in real life was strained and suffering. fifties T V presented “happy people with happy problems. as Lori Landay argues.198 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s a phrase from Herbert Gold. only a day after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.”104 In contrast to this televisual fantasy. At the end of the decade. I Love Lucy. The show.” that we think of the time with images of what Fredric Jameson calls “the happy family in the small town. “was a bizarre public fantasy that recreated the Ball-Arnaz marriage along more traditional lines. Although their professional relationship was successful. Todd Gitlin notes. one of the decade’s most popular shows. but each week the happy ending implied that the love between Ricky and Lucy was ideal and unchanging. possible only through repression of the unpleasant. it is because of the era’s television shows that we remember the 1950s as the “good old days. the couple filed for divorce. not only is Ricky the star and Lucy the ordinary housewife who wants to be a star (in contrast to ‘real life’ in which Ball’s career was more success- ful than Arnaz’s). In fact. their marriage did not survive the real-life complexities of being a dual-career couple. whose bleak assessment of life after con- version as existence in “a world without love or grief or beauty” is a not too oblique critique of television.

almost unbelievable” as a mist coming off the horizon engulfs Scott and covers him in a sparkling powder. Jack Arnold’s The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) takes the inevita- bility of transformation one step further. by envisioning Hollywood’s place in a new media environment. “on an equally ordinary day” in his suburban Los Angeles home. courage. good will. powerless conformists by a culture that encourages “be- longingness” and “togetherness” for their own sake. cinema of the 1950s could afford “venturing into previously taboo areas” and portraying “controversial stories.” thus rejecting television’s claims of realism. But this ordi- nary trip becomes “strange. Invasion was shown in widescreen SuperScope. Invasion claims that only cinema is capable of por- traying a gritty. followed by attempts at overcoming it.” when Robert Scott Carey (Grant Williams) and his wife Louise (Randy Stuart) are vacationing on a boat. although conversion to television may now be inescapable. Man begins “on a very ordinary summer day. whose anamorphic lens visually suggests that the widescreen technique is far better suited to narrating the full range of human emotions. and concluding in some kind of resolution. joy. hope. Six months later. he . joy. where individual white-collar workers are being transformed into zombie-like. Whyte observes the desire for forced consensus arising from all quarters. cinema continues to be institutionally superior to television. Thus.108 Moreover. the film implies that. realistic world. and apocalyptic essay. Becky and Miles echo Whyte’s condemnation of false consensus and exterior contentment. As Jackie Byars has argued. one that tackles tough issues rather than shying away from them. and hope. Shawn Ros- enheim describes the three sections as “social allegory. trust in God. Generally avoid condemna- tion.”107 By rejecting a fake world filled only with love. adventure film. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 199 ety. criticism. and he cites the following crucial example of how television is contributing to it. because TV took over as the family medium. A bul- letin from the Protestant Council of New York City encourages the mass media to promote conformity: “Subject matter should project love. Its three-part structure tells the famil- iar tale of the discovery of a monstrous anxiety. controversy. In a sense. faith.”109 As do most sci-fi films. Man may be seen as the summative sci-fi film of the 1950s. in contrast to the cheerful but claustrophobic environment of the small screen. and opting for a gritty world with real problems.

which in turn magnifies his fears. the only plausible explanation. he diminishes so far that he can walk out of the basement through a window grate. a household spider. and a visit to Dr. But although he finds some solace from his existential fears through storytelling. whether those forces involve something as spectacular as fear of being destroyed by a nuclear explosion or some- thing as mundane as fear of loss of individual power and identity.” But such optimism doesn’t last long. it picks up again. that [he’s] the normal one. he hopes that “it’s the world that’s changed. his appetite. Scott learns that the molecular structure of his cells has realigned due to exposure to both radiation and insecticide. His foes include a ravenous spider.” The issue of size lies at the heart of Man. where he fights. a mob of reporters and television trucks gather outside his . he wanders into a carnival and is temporarily revived by companionship offered by Clarice Bruce (April Kent). Numerous tests later. is that the mysterious mist that engulfed him on an ordinary summer day had been atomic. Eventu- ally. it is unique in that it is the only one of the decade wherein the primary threat is not of a gigantic Other but of a diminished self. as he works on his autobiography. for his life. Although the shrinking process is temporarily arrested by the doctors. Feeling like a freak.”110 Just as his diminutive self amplifies his existential fears. After be- ing attacked by his own cat. he winds up in the basement. his diminished size “suggests a very 1950s fear of being overwhelmed by forces larger than oneself. Keith Booker points out. The world that Scott inhabits has not literally changed in size. like Robinson Crusoe. Bramson (William Schallert) reveals that he is ten pounds lighter and two inches shorter. which becomes more and more gargantuan as his shrinking process continues. and soon Scott is so small that he must live in a dollhouse. one of his enemies is the news media. then. including his pet cat. and his fear of dwindling to the point of nothingness. It appears enormous because his own sense of self diminishes. Scott also finds comfort in storytelling. Although it parallels the structure of most sci-fi films. he contemplates the meaning of personhood and the relationship between “the infinitesimal and the infinite. As Scott shrinks to three feet. As M. Interestingly. Thus begins Scott’s exis- tential battle with the world. or the pangs of hunger. there is no way to overwhelm his real antago- nists. Thus freed.200 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s discovers that his clothes are too big. it also magnifies his immediate foes.

whose diminished size functions as a dreadful reminder of the studio system’s own weakened status in the realigned media universe. even more eager to narrate the story of his diminished status in it (Figure 4. and balance. every fear fused into one hideous night-black horror. Their coverage of him as a curiosity at best and monstrosity at worst reduces him further and alienates him from Louise. Just as he questions and ultimately relearns his place in the world. Switching dispassionately from a humdrum piece about a politician vowing to reduce taxes. Even though he has been reduced to the size of an atom. he still persists in fighting his battle and telling the story of his struggle with monstrous adversaries. he steps out of his basement and looks up at the sky. When Louise discovers Scott’s bloody shirt and fears the cat ate him. he smugly claims that “thus ends the life of a man whose courage and will to survive lasted until the very end. we can see how Hollywood aligns itself with Scott. the spider. the news reporter moves on to sports. Still. And then. Scott defeats his most formidable foe. and so does Hollywood. willing to do almost anything to report on the incredible shrink- ing man. just as detachedly.” Then. as it turns out.7). Due to its rushed desire to go live.” With his large talking head looking menacing on the small screen. Scott contemplates his place in this new atomic age. But. proportion. news of Scott’s death is premature. The revelation Scott has is that no matter how diminished he may become or feel. their growing cultural sway is unmis- takable. With the crawl space vent that resembles a series of small screens behind him. the studio system reor- ganizes in the face of competition from television. There is a remarkable mixture of hopeful- . which has transformed itself into “every un- known terror in the world. In fact. Television does not pause to ponder his fate. he still exists. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 201 home. it does not take long for television newscasters to inaccurately broadcast his death. the news reporter announces “the passing of Robert Scott Carey. television is not interested in thinking about “what it is about Carey that makes him a human being at the size of an insect. This is why the con- cluding monologue in Man is so significant for understanding the re- alignment taking place in the culture industry. And so is Hollywood. Scott perseveres. Further.” by stabbing it with a needle until its tentacles shrivel up and the creature dies. who fails at keeping them at bay.”111 But Scott is interested in such ontological questions of personhood.

Still. Hollywood readjusted. as his desire to “mean something” collides with the realization that he remains only a fraction of his former self. 1957). By supplying films and filmed programming to T V networks. there is little doubt that its position in the mass cultural marketplace had weakened. Jack Arnold. ties between the two media became so firm that Los Angeles became the center for film and television pro- . whose real consequence was that Hollywood could not participate in the nascent television industry. thus creating a gigantic rivalry between the two media throughout the 1950s. ness and despair in this final epiphanic moment. The Incredible Shrinking Man (dir. As was the case in sci-fi films of the decade.202 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s 4. Hollywood itself did. “Hollywood appears to have been able to have its cake and eat it too. Many historians trace the beginning of the end of the studio system to the 1948 Paramount decision. During this decade. where nuclear science was simultaneously the destroyer and the savior. television turned out to be the problem as well as the so- lution. did not survive. And such is the status of Hollywood too by the end of the 1950s. claims of Hollywood’s death were just as premature as Scott’s.”112 In fact. Although fears of annihilation by television may have been exaggerated.7. as Michele Hilmes argues. While the old studio system of filmmaking. based on vertical integration and star-genre prod- ucts.

. as liveness was quickly overtaken by previously filmed programming – a change that was mutually benefi- cial. Hollywood’s influence on television meant that the latter had to redefine itself. another technological monster rears its tentacles. and inhuman. while 80 percent of that year’s prime-time schedule was generated in Hollywood. not information. with the dread of futuristic tech- nologies in the decade’s films.114 More importantly. “Filmed material replaced live programming as the dominant televi- sion form. Once again. which function as thinly veiled critiques of advanced digital technologies gearing up to destroy traditional me- chanical technologies. “filmmaking was an ancillary business” – Hollywood itself would survive and thrive in the new environment. Coda: A s Se en on T V Several decades later. . would become the norm in popular media. . While the movies would not remain the nation’s prime culture industry – Douglas Gomery argues that by the end of the 1950s.” What it meant was no longer just the movies but a significant fraction of the new media universe. and Hollywood came to signify the entertainment industry in general. As Richard Maltby notes. this time exacerbated by apocalyptic anxieties of the coming end of the millennium. old and new media collide. emasculating. Hollywood could confidently say that it “meant something. By 1960. Just as television in the 1950s is portrayed as alien. Once again. since Hollywood could still assert its ontological superiority while television gained the economic advantage. instead of being the terrifying monster. story- telling. Sci- fi films like James Cameron’s Terminator 2 (1991). More significantly. Hollywood equates eschatological fears. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 203 duction. digital technology in the 1990s is coded as evil and becomes the source of scopic dread. Brett Leonard’s The Lawnmower Man (1992). the major Hollywood studios were producing 40 percent of network programs. television had unexpectedly enabled Hollywood to reimagine the pop culture landscape and strengthen the status of storytelling. and Irwin Winkler’s The Net (1995) especially create a terrifying discourse about emerging information technologies.”113 Although cinematic represen- tations of television continued to cast it as the reckless invader. Like Scott Carey. . destructive.

redeemably mortal. the story of their relationship might have changed.”117 Behind the scenes. cause social disintegration. these fin de siècle sci-fi films employ computer-generated imagery while decrying a soulless digital future. since the proliferation of television. On the big screen. during the studio era or after its collapse. and reject history. and because prone to the ravages of time. advanced technology emerges as “an information-age avatar of uncontrollable. This is not to suggest that Hollywood cinema.”115 Moreover. whose key effects are all created using computer graphics. promote ‘meaningless’ violence. the present enemy looks dreadfully similar to the former. although Hollywood locates a new adversary in the 1990s. there has never been a truce between the . ever ceased to critique the technological upstart that tried to and succeeded in supplanting it as the leading mass culture industry.” threatening an all-too-human mechanical entertainment order that is “benign. in these late twentieth-century films. just as the studios had simultaneously collaborated with and cinemati- cally resisted television in the 1950s. it does not forget about the old one. in the onscreen battle be- tween old and new technologies. in its representation as a malevolent Other. Indeed. they intensify the already pervasive millennial fears of cataclysmic destruction by aligning new media with the dreadfully overdetermined year 2000. the malevolent digital Other overpowers the older model. As Jon Nelson Wagner and Tracy Briga MacLean have recently demonstrated.”116 Once again. dangerous because it can “distort reality. in the clash between two kinds of technology in Termi- nator 2. however. traditional entertainment. the newer medium has remained the subject of many technophobic films. user-friendly. For instance. inscrutable dread. From Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd to Sidney Lumet’s Network (1976) to Warren Beatty’s Bulworth (1998). zombify. Interestingly. au- tonomous. The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has to sacrifice his life to protect the Connor clan in particular and humanity in general from a future technocratic nightmare. Interestingly. But he does win a moral victory. Hollywood bests its competition by po- sitioning itself as a champion of wholesome. their text presents a comprehensive survey of Holly- wood films that continue to represent television as a purveyor of social ills. enslave.204 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s As Paul Arthur suggests. which “validates endangered institutions by conflating the Hollywood factory with vestiges of patri- archy and the nuclear family.

as Lynn Spigel notes. Ironically. the show’s mastermind. whether literally or metaphorically. whose name evokes the first president who appeared on televi- sion regularly and yet remained bedeviled by controversies that played out on the small screen. “Finally able to escape from his tortuous T V-land. television. as the show’s audi- ence bursts into applause at Truman’s having left the small-minded and simplistic T V world behind. As Truman stands on the liminal edge of the artificially created T V world and the “real” world. it is also often hysterically redirected at its old adversary. with its promise of reversing the terrify- ingly boring existence of the small screen by uniting lovers on the big screen. a former extra on the show who is kicked off for truly falling in love with him. There is only one catch: there is no leaving this false utopia. While Hollywood’s con- demnation of electronic technology is primarily directed at digitiza- tion. films about television reaffirm cinema’s ontological superiority in the age of digital reproduction. His small town of Seahaven is an elaborate set for a reality T V show where everyone but him is an actor. where every problem is sentimentally re- solved because reality can be manipulated to create a misleading sense of contentment. Truman enters the ‘real’ world of Hollywood. individuals are trapped in the televisual suburbia of the 1950s. When Truman finally learns of his entrapment. which remains both ineffective and dangerous. Perhaps fittingly. to fifties suburbia. Many of these redirected attacks return to the moment and site of the original battle. and so on.”118 The door marked “exit” is really an entrance into the dream factory of Hollywood. The film’s retro look is reminiscent of Invasion’s post-apocalyptic suburbia. an old battle is reignited. In both cases. has spent his entire life as a character on a T V show without knowing it. Christof (Ed Harris). dutifully playing the role of wife. Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey). . But the star escapes. friend. urges him to stay. then. he decides to abandon the safety and comfort of his made-for-T V life to find his college girlfriend. Peter Weir’s The Truman Show (1998) and Gary Ross’s Pleasantville (1998) both represent television as a pernicious force that can destroy the fabric of humanity. when a new media challenger emerges. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 205 original visual media rivals. which was itself a critique of the fifties sitcom. mother. Reversing Albert Robida’s time travel fantasies by returning.

black-and-white suburb is also cold and stifling. in the re- newed rivalry between old adversaries. dizziness. unsafe. and . Pleasantville creates a romanticized. a marker of moving beyond an overtly repressive existence. Real and perceived toxins in the atmosphere take their toll on her. and ultimately undesirable space. because “the ideal- ized world of television [turns out] to be a false utopia that the hero must escape. with digital information technolo- gies) occurs in Todd Haynes’s films. Carol White (Julianne Moore) is a fifties-style suburban housewife who discovers that she suf- fers from an inexplicable chemical disorder. living in a suburban home as kids of the Parker family.” while the cinematic present is. gentler times. David. She experiences per- sistent coughing. television appears “as an autocratic anti-intellectual medium/technology that produces undemocratic and dumbed-down viewing subjects. as Greg Dickinson notes. As Alev Adil and Steve Kennedy argue. nose bleeds. In this sci- fi fantasy.”121 Thus. uninhabitable.”120 Even after the town sheds its grey tones and turns to color. “fractured. un- like Jennifer. cinema remains the place for “high art and individualism. On the big screen. 50s-style T V show that appears to be appealing but is in fact stultifying. offering opportunity and free will. and scary. and ultimately convulsions. T V-land is a “flashback to kinder. the newer mode of dissemination is once again disparaged and diminished. which offer more than negative appraisals of the new media. recalling the pervasive fear of contamination expressed in the fifties sci-fi films.206 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s Like The Truman Show. Their televisual lives in Pleasantville offer the perfect contrast to their cinematic lives in con- temporary America. the fake.” while television once again becomes an unimaginative. abandons his T V role and returns to his “real” cinematic character. David (Tobey Maguire) and his sister Jennifer (Reese Wither- spoon) are unwittingly teleported back to an old show similar to Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best.”119 But as David discovers over the course of his stay. by proxy. They are now Bud and Mary Sue. In Safe (1995). He spends most of his time fighting the small-minded conformity of life on the small screen.123 They also enable us to return to Benja- min’s notion of storytelling and consider cinema’s ability to transmit not information but experience.122 The most powerful examination of cinema’s contentious relation- ship with television (and. As the opening commercial for the show suggests.

“Are you allergic to the twentieth century?” Haynes does not provide an easy answer. Haynes appears to be sug- gesting that information technologies are ill-equipped to explicate the maladies of late twentieth-century America. Instead. Only cinema can delve into Carol’s condition. sterile igloo. transmit it. pass it on to her viewers. As Marcia Landy points out. They seem to confirm Gilles Deleuze’s argument about information: “What makes information all-powerful (the newspapers. Rather than focusing on statistics or factual informa- tion. In the film’s hauntingly cinephiliac shot at the end. Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore). “I love you. In fact. Following Deleuze. looks into a mirror. All she and Haynes can do is cinematically com- municate it. who is ostensibly happily married to Frank (Dennis Quaid). this film tells the story of another suburban housewife. Although the medical community appears fairly inept. and then the television) is its very nullity. Therefore. and Mrs. Magnatech is only a fa- çade that begins to crumble as Frank. its radical ineffectiveness. Carol retreats to a small. they only heighten her state of frenzy and cause further alarm. and says. the relentless reporting on multiple crises only makes Carol feel worse. Set in 1957.”124 But these pieces of information or the data that accompany them do not allay her anxieties or cure her disease. as Deleuze further argues. and then the radio. This notion of cinema as transmitter of experience is also discernible in Haynes’s Far from Heaven (2002). it is precisely information’s ineffectiveness that makes it so dangerous. pursues his . a television mar- keting executive. But their life as Mr. it closes open-endedly.” There is still no explaining her disease. without solving the mystery of Carol’s ailment. in the information age. A television broadcaster had earlier asked. “background sounds of radio programmes and images from television talk shows warn of environmental hazards and of socially dis- ruptive events revolving mostly around reports of rampant crime and failing familial relations. it is the notion of information itself that comes under attack in the film. because these reports neither fully explain nor enlighten.”125 And. Just as Benjamin’s storyteller resists a lineup of facts and favors instead the transmission of experience. a closeted gay man. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 207 she seeks desperately to understand her condition. the film explores the full range of her (and our) crises through nar- ration. Haynes’s film emphasizes the telling of the story over providing evidence of this or that diagnosis.

and Cathy has an interracial relationship with her late gardener’s son Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert). we might ask. and digital media is underway? Why continue defending clas- sical storytelling when.” Posing next to her T V set as in the advertisement.” the only thing the small screen reflects is Cary’s cheerless face. and new methods of marketing and distribution”?127 Why critique information and reportage when the real danger is from new modes of participatory spectatorship? Perhaps one way to respond to these questions may be found in the nature of . Cathy shyly protests that she is like every other wife and mother and that she doesn’t think she’s “ever wanted anything . especially at a time when the convergence of mechanical. as “a typical ‘media fix’ to the problems inherent in her gender. race. the emergence of conglomerate control. when Cary Scott (Jane Wyman) is presented a television set by her adult children for forgoing her relationship with her gardener Ron (Rock Hudson). . Magnatech. Television remains silent because it cannot mir- ror Cary’s condition. does Hollywood repeatedly revert to media- phobic films. where Cathy is being inter- viewed for a puff piece in the Weekly Gazette. This scene unironically echoes a moment in Sirk’s All That Heaven Al- lows.208 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s same-sex desire. she is to be featured as Mrs. Noticing Raymond in her backyard for the first time. Like Cary’s.” Before she can finish articulating her desire. “crucial practices of storytelling [have] persisted. she abandons her seat by the T V set and walks out to see who he is. electronic. Although the salesman informs her that “all you have to do is turn that dial. even informa- tive when it reports on President Eisenhower’s decision to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. The first crack in this façade appears in a crucial early scene. although white. much less provide any respite from it. as David Bordwell argues. her voice trails off. Haynes’s film argues that the information-driven medium cannot accomplish what cinematic storytelling can. . and class position – consumer compensation in exchange for an active pursuit of her desire. despite the demise of the studio system. “the proud wife of a successful sales executive. as Lynne Joyrich argues. Cathy’s T V set remains a piece of furniture – decorative. is too far from her in age and social class. but ultimately ineffective. who. Television functions. Why. planning the parties and posing at her husband’s side on the advertisements.”126 But the T V set is never turned on.

who is in a sense channeling All That Heaven Allows’s Cary Scott.” they continue to resonate.”128 That is. instructs on the continuing resonance of storytelling. even in the hypertextual. If Man’s Scott Carey metaphorically shows how Hollywood can endure even after being reduced in stature following the primal realignment triggered by television. They demonstrate that. Drawing on Walter Benjamin. and they offer wise counsel. they also offer lessons for Hollywood’s survival in a new media universe. then Far from Heaven’s Cathy Whitaker. interactive digital age. Philip Simay empha- sizes the connective role of storytelling when he argues that the story is “an answer found in the past to a question formulated in the present. And that is how cinephiliac moments occurring in these new mediaphobic tracts fit into the longer story that this chapter has been narrating about the epic struggle be- tween cinema and television. while we think of Hollywood as a rational industry. By returning to this battle at a time when a new war is being fought with the mightier adversary of digital technology. . it consistently verges on the irrational and the excessive. A poc a ly p t ic A n t e n na e 209 storytelling itself. because stories retain their “germinative power.

and place us once again. to our advantage. in the dark.If we toss away an older theory like an old dress or a used car. With luck. “The Future of Academic Film Study” Cinephilia can bring to light such “lost” movie fragments. Ja mes Na r emor e a nd A dr i a n M a rtin. and imagine about how movies work. “Rescuing Fragments” . In doing so. . some portion of the beauty and strangeness of these discoveries may unsettle the process of knowing. feel. we lose an important part of a long conversation. . film lovers may find renewed impetus to link the incandescent language of stray movie passages to everything that they already know. . George Toles.

” a tongue- in-cheek declaration of love for the movies. when classical cinephilia lost currency. is generally assumed to be the mo- 211 . cinephilia was discredited for being too invested in obsession. and fetishism. The film critic could no longer be a cinephile. / it’s you I love!”2 Like his Cahiers contemporaries. declaring “you.” experimental theater. or from Lov er to A ssa ssin At a time when the disintegration of the studio system is all but inevi- table. such candid and unguarded assertions of ciné-love were entirely appropriate for a generation passionate about the movies. Expressions of love.”3 In the 1950s. Indeed. tragic Technicolor. re- buffing “lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals. the critic had to become.” or “Jean Harlow reclining and wiggling.” or “Cornel Wilde coughing blood on the piano keys.”1 O’Hara’s speaker appears as a classical cinephile. Motion Picture Industry. Like “Mae West / in a furry sled. Conclusion The Cinephiliac Return From Cin ephi li a to Fi l m St u di e s. But only a decade later. had to be replaced with a seriousness of tone and style appropriate to proper criticism. O’Hara’s cinephile loves not only the industry in general but also its inexplica- bly pleasurable moments. “the assassin of / [the] orchards. Frank O’Hara writes “To the Film Industry in Crisis. nostalgia. to borrow a phrase from another O’Hara poem. amorous / Cinemascope. and opera in favor of popular cinema. as we recounted in the introduction.4 Interestingly. The poem extols the star system and hails the “glorious Silver Screen. the period around the late 1960s and early 1970s.” deconstructing rather than applauding cinema’s pleasures.

the nascent field was implicitly linked with governance and control of modern audiences. and 1930s. who had offered “ontology and language and then the influence of structuralism and semiotics opened up new directions and possibilities. we cannot begin the history of film studies in the late 1960s. Over the course of its first few decades. the study of cinema has a much longer history. 1920s. Until then. film studies became invigorated at this time. Following a more critical understanding of the cinematic apparatus. which intro- duced a politically and theoretically sophisticated discourse. As political positions changed. which were responding to changing educational and sociopolitical missions. Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams trace the beginnings of film as an “academic subject of study” and “the establishment of the discipline in the 1970s. But. after critics made the transition to a more rigorously defined and theoretically informed field of inquiry. film criticism was too concerned with the cinematic experience.”8 Film study began ini- tially with a sociological emphasis. Film courses. asking how film studies may be reinvented for the new century. This move was partly fuelled by the popularity of Great Books pedagogy in the 1920s . Evaluating the “parallel histories” of cinema and psychoanalysis. began inflecting film criticism. They argue that. as Dana Polan shows. with critics focusing on the influence of the new medium on the public. the story usually goes. this is the time when writing on film began gravitat- ing away from Bazin. given the radical break with the past that this moment desires to mark. from Marxism to psychoanalysis to structuralism.”6 This claim makes sense.212 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s ment when film studies was born. The study of cinema “was born in the early twentieth century as a political problem in conjunction with the social turbulence of the 1910s. while it makes for an interesting narrative. a new discipline was born.” 7 Encouraged by these new influences. were first introduced in the interwar period at American universities. At this early stage. for instance.”5 Similarly. as Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson have recently pointed out. continental theories. As Peter Wollen claims in an exchange with Laura Mulvey. Janet Bergstrom argues that film studies became “an academic discipline” when “psycho- analytic concepts [were introduced] into contemporary film theory. academic film study began moving away from this sociologi- cal approach and toward a humanities-based approach.

But cinema was studied for several decades before that turn – and it was studied quite differ- ently from our semiotics-influenced conception of film studies will al- low. Alongside new journals emerged new books on cinema. At the same time. which delayed the comprehensive academic incorporation of film studies for almost another three decades. by the late 1930s. Mark Betz calls them “little books.”9 However. and nationality – these journals unlocked new areas of inquiry. ethnicity.10 Even so. These little .” a decade that of- fers an opportune contrast to the politically vigorous and theoretically inflected film studies.”11 To use O’Hara’s terminology. “it was harder to combine a political allegiance to the Left and an allegiance to the culture of the United States. Conclusion 213 and 30s. and introduced a theoretical rigor that was ostensibly lacking until that point. after the intellectual and political shifts ushered in by May ’68. sustained critique of popular culture was already getting underway. this moment represents something of a major turning point. Taking on directly questions of ideology – of gender and sexuality as well as race. began to set the theoretical agenda for the study of cin- ema. the shorthand narrative tracing the birth of film studies to the late 1960s is inaccurate. it was harder to remain a lover when one was becoming an assassin. Therefore. cross- disciplinary teaching of the Western liberal arts tradition. The academization of film studies was partly launched in response to rapidly rising enrollments and a growing youth culture looking for sites to challenge traditional education. Laura Mulvey has suggested that her own move toward a more critical stance was prompted by the fact that. It keeps being repeated because “the narrative that has film studies emerging into the 1960s is the story also of its emergence out of the 1950s. It was not until the late 1960s that film studies became the formalized academic discipline that we recognize today. They took to cinema. or at least it is incomplete. where Mulvey’s groundbreaking “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cin- ema” was first published in 1975. a series of new journals.” which institutionalized the study of cinema further. high-culture liberal education. when educators in the United States argued for a broad. such as Screen in the United Kingdom. to Wide Angle and Camera Obscura in the United States. bolstered the field’s political bona fides. “which they appreciated as a humanistic venture comparable in its own fashion to the deeper promise of canonic.

214 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s books offered “specialized studies of . a reaction against the kind of aesthetics that dealt in concepts that were ‘indeterminate’ and could not be brought within a rational schema. The era before the late 1960s now began being regarded as a diffuse film culture. let us return for a moment to Christian Metz’s redefinition of what it means to be a film theorist. Malte Hagener and Marijke de Valck point out that. So.”16 Instead of the thrilled and immersive responses of an earlier genera- tion.”12 Thus. directors.”13 The semiotic tradition that began with Saussurean structural linguistics and the psychoanalytic tradition that was developed under the tutelage of Jacques Lacan were “quickly seized on by film theorists on the lookout for ways of completing the jigsaw society – ideology – indi- vidual. Writing about the theoretical revolution that took place at this time. animated by “a deep feeling of loss and betrayal because the object of their love did not actually deserve their affection . national film move- ments. what truly shifted in the late 1960s? Geoffrey Nowell-Smith argues that what this moment really marks is the turn from aesthetics to semiotics. priority was given to epistemological questions of meaning. whose heyday is marked at Cahiers in the 1950s. methodologies. Writing at a time when the “love” of cinema became increasingly problematic. Metz advocated a kind of scientific detachment between critic and . Indeed. cinema as a field of knowledge was reinvented. and [they] were pressed into service as course texts by the first generation of film scholars trained in other disciplines.”15 One of those concepts now chastised for its idealism was cin- ephilia. the psycho-semiotics of the 1970s became a kind of inverted cinephilia. So. There was no more room for questions of art or taste or plea- sure. while this became the new age of film as an academic discipline.”14 In this system.” They “cemented the paradigms. he exhorted film theorists to move past the naive and some- times self-indulgent phase of film criticism. . a redefinition that involves a dire declaration of farewell to cinephilia. Nowell-Smith suggests that this semiotic turn was. . Nowell-Smith contends that “phi- losophically it vaunted its materialism. . a disappointed love’s labor’s lost. That earlier discourse now led only to disillusion- ment. and critical terrain for the burgeoning academic discipline. . Metz invoked cinephilia in order to distinguish its ostensibly easy pleasures from the rigorous study of cinema. in opposition to idealisms of ev- ery kind. and genres. “at least in part.

destroys it. when cinephilia began reap- pearing in film discourse. and cognitive psychology. the shift in the late 1960s was really from cinephilia to film studies – and. the critic would “not have lost sight of [the cinephile]. In this incarnation. What.”21 In those polemical years. But Metz’s and Mulvey’s exhor- tation to destroy pleasure and to take up displeasure did not triumph. Laura Mulvey called on theorists to disavow visual pleasure and build film theory at the burial site of this love. the darkened womb-like au- ditorium. [became] ambivalence turning into disappointment. may be considered the era of anti-cinephilia. then. As George Toles points out. and it opened up new avenues and historical periods of study. love had to be shunned in favor of academic discipline. film studies turned from its celebration of grand theory toward cultural studies. drawing on O’Hara’s formulation again. at least for a time. Indeed. Conclusion 215 screen. disengaged maturity. new historicism.” whom he considered childlike for being afflicted by “the thousand paralysing bonds of a tender unconditionality. the new. Thomas Elsaesser considers this the era of disenchantment.”17 This new film theorist had to relinquish his gullible love for the movies. and disappointment.”18 The new task of the critic was to keep cinephilia in check. That is the intention of this article. cinephilia has emerged anew. does the .”20 During this time. Like Metz. To paraphrase Nowell-Smith. “It is said. more theoretical discourse “was eager to purge itself of the allegiances of childhood in order to don the lab coats of an earnest. as “love tainted by doubt and ambivalence. but be keeping an eye on him. Cinephilia thus disappeared.” disallowing himself to regress into a film enthusiast or buff. which demanded a public demon- stration or exhorted confession of ‘I love no more.” she declared in “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. The period from then until the 1990s. the two seemed wholly incompatible and tragically irreconcilable.19 Only someone not susceptible to the trappings of the cinematic illusion was now capable of investigating cinema properly. or beauty.’”22 In the meantime. cinephilia became a love that dared not speak its name. Or. when “cine- philia had been dragged out of its closet. one had to convert from being a lover to becoming a killer.” “that analysing pleasure. After several detours. which now appeared ideologically suspect. what is most striking about Metz’s denun- ciation is his desire to “no longer be invaded by [the cinephile]. and revealed itself as a source of disappointment.

Contested as it is by digitization and new media. and is now irretrievably gone. which I traced in the introduction. its relation to media studies. desirous and driven by appetites. Because if cinema is not what it used to be. and instant streaming. Writing about the return in a striking piece about the fate of cinephilia. we need to think about the return to cinephilia within the context of new forms of spectatorship and reevaluate the mid-twentieth century con- cept of cinephilia for the early twenty-first century in relation to new media. for the lost love object.”25 Contemporary cinephiles no longer pine. narcissism.216 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s recent resurgence of cinephilia indicate for the field? Beyond a nostalgic rumination like Susan Sontag’s. what can this return in the direction of cinephilia offer? To put it somewhat differently.24 So. he argues. YouTube. While this cinephilia is also invested in a project of recovering an alternative canon and the “advancement of cinema as cross-cultural communica- . even cinephilia is not what it used to be. They have also been intuitively perceived as challenges to film stud- ies – challenges that have prompted several soul-searching theses about the state of the field. Classical cinephilia is impossible “because it was delectably imperfect. It is a film.23 But new forms of filmmaking and film viewing aren’t merely threats to the film industry. In an era of DVDs. as an ode to classical cinephilia. why cinephilia? And why now? . and so on. that shows that the eroti- cism. it appears that we have arrived at (to borrow the title of Jon Lewis’s edited collection on 1990s American cinema) the end of cinema as we know it. James Morrison argues that new cinephiles “ap- pear to have repudiated a model of cinephilia as yearning intoxication. . in its place we seem to have a new kind of cinephilia.”26 But. . the love object is never fully lost. and voyeurism that so compelled the first generation of cinephiles are no longer possible. A n d H a lf way Back Aga i n It is commonplace to observe that cinephilia has returned to film stud- ies just when cinema appears in danger of mutating into something else. happily. about an American college student studying in Paris and frequenting the Cinémathèque Française during the student riots of 1968. like Scottie in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Morrison cites Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2003).

cinephilia is transformed.”28 In this globalizing.”32 If we think about cinephilia as an activity rather than a concept.”27 The new cinephilia is not “conditioned on the unavailability of its object. Depending on whom you believe. This new cinephilia is not an uncritical embrace of juvenile passions. where a new community of film lovers has turned to the task of recovering and rediscovering cin- ema. What we are seeing now is what Dale Hudson and Patricia Zimmerman advocate when asking historians to “remove the object from the monumental- . however partial. the love of cinema stood outside of critical practice. Rosenbaum argues that we should “start to think of cinephilia less as a specialized interest than as a certain kind of necessity – an activity making possible things that would otherwise be impossible. and he attributes that exciting resurgence to the ascent of cinephilia. If cinephilia has indeed been transformed. we might better understand what this cinephiliac (re)turn. he is thrilled by the new possibilities offered by cinephilia. which can be more than a form of cultism. then we need new ways of thinking about it.29 Jonathan Rosenbaum makes similar observations about cinephilia’s return in Goodbye Cinema. implies for film studies. Conclusion 217 tion.”31 More than that. is not dead. an elusiveness that was what gave movies some of their mystic allure. these writers turn away from the model of cinephilia as proprietary desire. digital environment. In fact. He begins by remarking on the “strange paradox” that makes this current moment appear to be the best of times and the worst of times for cinema. Cine- philia. Rosenbaum is excited that “there are still cinephiles much younger than [him]self who are full of excitement about films made even before the glory days of Louis Feuillade and Yevgeni Bauer. the lingua franca of the global age. Hello Cinephilia. The initial quarrel with cinephilia was ignited by the fact that the libidinal attachment to the movies was hard to pin down theoretically and then sustained by the fact that.” or “we’re enjoy- ing some form of exciting resurgence and renaissance in both areas. “we’re currently approaching the end of cinema as an art form and the end of film criticism as a serious activity. It thrives online. he argues. this cinephiliac return is at least “a love of movies that is meticulous and sober.” and it signifies more than mere obsession or fetishism or nostalgia.”30 Rosenbaum himself appears to identify mostly with the latter group. given its subjec- tive nature.

once you examine it in detail. What these chapters have demonstrated is that.” he concludes. he emphasizes the point by adding. It does not eschew audiovisual pleasure but employs it for doing film studies in the twenty-first century. theory. “they were an odd lot. Writing about something as ostensibly trivial as George Washing- ton’s false teeth. instead of trying to find an approach to cinephilia. informed by the various turns in film theory. is one such approach. but not stop at.” “In fact. personal obsession. George Toles argues that cinephiles have always been in- trigued by such seemingly minor elements.” Lest the reader think that Darnton is not serious. we ought to be thinking of cinephilia as an approach. It offers a new methodology for reengaging with film history. everything about the studio era is strange and unpredictable. “everything about the eighteenth century is strange. affective encounter with cinema. Cinephiliac historiography.”35 The same is true. Robert Darnton argues in his unconventional history of the Enlightenment that Washington’s contemporaries “probably worried more about the pain in their gums than about the new constitution in 1787. I believe. can investigate their appeal and use them to . 34 To put it another way. of classical Hollywood cinema. I have argued that this methodology is particularly suited for historicizing classical Holly- wood. and visual culture – without sup- pressing the initial. here is what today’s cine- philia enables: to take seriously one’s attachment to the movies. the ‘corner of the eye’ detail in film narratives.”36 Rather than merely fetishizing such moments. and cinephiliac historiography can transform the love of such moments into an investigative practice that can reinvigorate film history. Although it appears to be a standardized system. once you examine it in detail. as Cinematic Flashes has tried to demonstrate. even classical Hollywood can appear less cohesive and more vibrant – because cinephiliac moments are productive interruptions in their otherwise standard narratives. to generate productive encoun- ters with alluring interruptions. which is traditionally thought of in terms of a rational system with a standard way of filmmaking. if seen up close. today’s cinephilia. to begin with. Because they have “always delighted in the serendipitous finding and elaboration of the overlooked moment.”33 In other words. if we begin with disruptive fragments.218 Ci n e m at ic F l a sh e s izing position and open it to multiple vectors of recirculation for new connections and new meanings.

Walter Benjamin has argued that “interruption is one of the fundamental methods of all form-giving. “pursues the apparently incidental. as Toles puts it. by trying to find a balance between critical inquiry and audiovisual pleasure. A cinephile-historian. But as Pop Liebel tells Scottie after narrating the tragic but unfamiliar tale of Carlotta’s suicide in Vertigo.”38 Cinephilia as historiography enables a new kind of form-giving.”37 Cinematic Flashes has presented four case studies that demonstrate this method in action. throwaway element in order to discover. how the inconsequential is essential – a possible key to the whole design. Therefore. If cinephiliac moments act primarily as pleasurable disruptions.” Mining other lost or forgotten movie fragments that interrupt their linear narratives might bring to light other such stories. on closer inspection born of intuition or feeling. then cinephiliac historiography transforms interruption it- self into a critical and historical practice. Conclusion 219 generate fresh theses about that genre or era or industry. by offer- ing a way to expand upon the cinephiliac moment’s audiovisual pleasure more productively. . today’s cine- philia can begin to bridge the divide that has existed for so long in film studies between lover and assassin. “there are many such stories. For cinephilia points to new ways of understanding marginal moments and their place in film history at large.

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Philosophy of History. Paul Hammond (San Fran. Paul Willemen.. 1988). trans. no. Ibid. “Battlegrounds and Project are cited as A P. Howard 4. versity Press. See Susan Sontag.” The Arcades Project. Where the Stress Falls. nations: Essays and Reflections.. it is most appropriate for a cinema that is 16. 117–122. René Crevel. Ibid. “On Some Motifs to not limit historicizing cinephilia to its in Baudelaire. In fact. It should be noted that Son- 7. 228. with excess in relation to systematicity. ress]. Adrian Martin rightly cautions us 8. cisco: City Lights Books. Jean Epstein. Looks and Frictions: 14.” in Where the Stress Falls: Essays (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Mark Betz. ed. 120. Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cam- ard Howard (New York: Grove Press. Ibid. 2000). 15. 1960). Doane which was later published in her collection argues that “because cinephilia has to do of essays. along with the title Commonplaces. Hereafter all references to the Arcades 5. Journal 49. in Abel. bridge: Harvard University Press.” 10. 11. 226. Mary Ann Doane. 13. 236. French Film Theory and Criticism. “Theses on the 1939. Rich. 118. Contingency. “Introduction. 228. 1907– 9. Theory of Knowledge. Theory of Prog- 3. Nadja. 6. my citations here appear from the original. Hannah Arendt.” in The Shadow and Its of the appropriate convolute. Walter Benjamin. 18. trans. trans. 1999). Straus and Giroux. Notes Introduction Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken. 19.” in Illuminations: Essays French incarnation. Jean Epstein. perceived as highly coded and commer.” in Arendt. 12. Richard Abel (Princeton: Prince. 231. arguing that “every and Reflections. Walter Benjamin. Doane. 17. for the New York Times Magazine in 1996. cialized. 117. 456. Ibid. and trans. Shadow: Surrealist Writings on the Cinema. “The Senses I (b). 262.” Cinema ed. Walter Benjamin. Illumi- ton University Press.” Emergence. 1968). Emergence. 2001). 1994). country that has had cinema may have 221 . “N [On the 243. 2002). 255... the Archive (Cambridge: Harvard Uni. The Emergence of tag wrote a revised version of that piece Cinematic Time: Modernity. French Film Theory and Criticism. 118. 2 (2010): 130. 1. Ibid. (New York: Farrar. “A Century of Essays in Cultural Studies and Film Theory Cinema. 2. André Breton. ed. “Magnification.” in 175. 57.

” Adrian Martin. James Morrison. because that is where it fully flowered as a Ideology. François Truffaut. 1. Fayard. Christian Metz. Movie Mutations: The Chang- tion: On the Fate of Cinephilia. 40. Histoire d’une Cul- Cahiers du Cinéma.. 1998. 133.” 120.. eds. Roberto Rossel. Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen. April 6. Christian Keathley. Looks. 1994). 70. Eisenstein. 5 (2001): 35. no. 134. Ibid. ed. “The Core and the Cinephilia? and Other Videosyncratic Flow of Film Studies. Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian 25. Jean Renoir. Cinephilia and University Press. 3 42. ripheral Detail. 1997. Jacques Rivette. David Denby. 1977). er. “Pausing over Pe. This is not to suggest that Cahiers “From Cinephilia to Film Studies. ington: Indiana University Press. “Down with Cinephilia? Long Live 27. The Imaginary Sig. 20. reflection. Memory.. Lee Grieveson and cinema. 2008). and Alfred Guzzetti (Blooming- “Cinephilia as War Machine. 24. Willemen. Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagen- Day. 43. their polemical attraction to Hollywood 34. Lincoln. September 8–15. . 122. son. Of course they also championed Haidee Wasson (Durham: Duke Univer- such “masters” as F. Martin. Ibid. David Kehr. trans.” films because their desire to uncover hid. “The Moviegoers: to a cinema that was then widely regarded Why Don’t People Like the Right Movies as unworthy of serious philosophical Anymore?” The New Yorker. Jim Hillier.. 94. 9. 227.222 Not e s to Page s 6 –1 4 a history of cinephilia. Brewster. Helen 2005). trans. this book associates clas.” trans. 37.” Film Comment 37.. Leonard Mayhew (New York: 36. ed. Ford’s Young Mr. 2003). Da Capo. Cahiers du Cinéma editors. Life. Cultural Struggle. The Films in My 35. “Century. Serge Daney. “The Essential. Doane. Quarterly Review 44. Ibid. 2 (2009): 223.. La Cinéphilie: 21. see Scott nifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema.” Framework ton: Indiana University Press. 1944–1968 (Paris: Librairie Arthème Hollywood. Cinephilia Celia Britton. Dudley Andrew. Sontag. or the Wind in the Trees (Bloom- 22. Balcerzak and Jason Sperb. For detailed analyses of film view- 29.” in Invention d’un Regard. no. and Carl Theodor Dreyer. lini. W. Lackner and Diana Matias. no. Emergence. eds. Ibid. 39. 1985). Love and (2009): 898. The New Republic. “John sterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Ibid. den. 2006). I emphasize 33. trans. ture. 235. 2003). Screen 13. ed. 23.” in Cinephilia: Movies. Murnau.. 50. Roger Cardinal. Without disput. Routledge. 26. History. Ibid. 32. “Cahiers Back in the 41. Annwyl Williams. trans. forgotten. “Theorize/Terror- ing his claim. 133. (1972): 8. Annwyl Williams (New York: 19. 8. ize: Godardian Pedagogy. ing in a fully digitized culture. 240. 3 (2005): 406. de Valck and Hagener (Am- 28. ed. David Wil- personal and intellectual discourse. Sergei sity Press. “A Lost Love. 15. Liz Heron (Cambridge: Harvard 38. 14.” Michigan ing Face of World Cinephilia (London: BFI. New Wave.” Critical Inquiry 35 Pleasures.” in Cahiers du sical cinephilia with the Cahiers version Cinéma: Volume Four. the 1950s: Neo-Realism. 114. 2000).” Framework 30–31 (1986): 31. Stanley Kauffmann. 228. 120.” in In- critics were interested only in Hollywood venting Film Studies. Ben in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film. 1973–1978: History. nos. Antoine de Baecque. 30. “After the Revolu. or ignored gems led them 28–29.

“Down the Wallflower. ed. “Walter Benjamin. Looks. I follow Schwartz’s lead. 1999). ings. 2 (2010): 161. of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades ema Journal 49. Howard Eiland and Kevin Image Planet: Movies. W. Richard Wolin. Keathley. 5.” in Walter Benjamin and the 46.” 1733. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley 50. Willemen. 255. Writings on Film (London: Verso. Peter Wollen. ed. 262. 82. 70. “One-Way 48. W.” Vanessa R. Walter Benjamin. Benjamin.” Cin. 2008). “The Work of Art as flânerie is a positionality of power. 53. Benjamin’s Historiography. 217. erry Weber Nicholsen and Samuel Weber 52. The flâneur is not so much a person 65. 2002). Benjamin.. Ibid. Andrew than Rosenbaum (New York: Harper & Benjamin (London: Continuum. 1989). Ibid. xii. Arcades Project. 76. the critique of the flâneur as someone who 60. Benjamin and History. Schwartz. Reaktion Books.. Ibid. A P. “The Subject An Aesthetic of Redemption (Berkeley: Uni. Gerhard Richter. 1999). Benjamin. Ibid. The Dialectics ments: A New Task for Cinephilia. misses the 64. 125. George Toles. Illuminations: Essays and Reflec. Paris Hollywood: (London: Continuum. 20. Public McLaughlin. 2006). Ibid.” 262. 61. trans. Jona. Not e s to Page s 15–23 223 Pleasure and Digital Culture (London: 68.” in Land-Surveying of History. “Walter Ben. in A P. offers only a bourgeois male perspective. Benjamin. Street. 10. Cinephilia and History. Schwartz. Row. “A Matter of Dis- played out in the special dossiers of Senses tance: Benjamin’s One-Way Street through of Cinema. 240.. Prisms.. Schwartz.” 263. 431. ties: Early Mass Culture in Fin-de-Siècle tions. for that matter.” in One-Way Street and Other Writ- 49. point.. 1979). The Arcades. Framework. 45.” in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Paris (Berkeley: University of California 66. Spectacular Reali- in Arendt.” 257. 233. Project (Cambridge: MIT Press.” in Spectacle (Washington. Castaways of the 74. Ibid. 1994). “M [The Flâneur]. Geoffrey O’Brien. Schwartz. K. Hole: Walter Benjamin’s Destructive 44.” in Walter Orson Welles: A Critical View. “Theses. (Cambridge: MIT Press. 54. 71. Death 24 x a Second: Shorter (London: New Left Books. bridge: Harvard University Press. 226. Stillness and the Moving Image (London: 91. 73. Ibid. “Rescuing Frag. jamin for Historians. 2006). trans. 160. Walter Benjamin. 1983). 72. “Translators’ Foreword. François Truffaut. 135. “Theses. “Walter Benjamin. 147. Ibid. “Theses. Beatrice Hanssen 47. 1978). 8. Press. Eiland and McLaughlin (Cam- point. 232. Laura Mulvey. 2005). 19. 57. and Cinema Journal.. Stephanie Polsky. DC: Counter. 132. class flâneur. existence of the flâneuse or the working- 63. 67. 227. 59.” 1740. 55. “Foreword. 6.. Show Business. using the masculine pronoun when refer- . 2002). trans. trans.. Some of these debates have recently 69. Walter Benjamin: 75. Theodor Adorno. W. 56. Ibid. of History: The Temporality of Praxis in versity of California Press. Shi- 51. W. Susan Buck-Morss. Dimitris Vardoulakis. Vanessa R.” American Historical That is why elsewhere Schwartz dismisses Review 106 (2001): 1739. 5. no. arguing instead that the “debate over the 62. 227.” in Walter 58.” 134. Benjamin and History.

A. “The Concept 93. synchronized dialogue sequences. 14. 2003). Staiger. The Classical Hol. Ibid. American trans. Doane. Hansen. Quoted in Mark A. Douglas Gomery. 69. Willemen. The Coming of Griffith. 8. was pro- dio Era (New York: Metropolitan. 492. Matthew J. Scott Fitzgerald. ed. Douglas Gomery. 68. University Press. André Bazin. Kristin Thompson.” 262. ed. 258. Emergence. Press. Studies (Bloomington: Indiana University 82. 1985). “Mass Production. Press. David Bordwell. 83. 3–4. 96. phy (New York: Riverhead. 2005).” in Reinventing Braudy and Marshall Cohen (New York: Film Studies. Looks. 228. 2000). 80. Crosland’s Don Juan Production to 1960 (New York: Columbia (1926) was released with synchronized University Press. 1974). Wars. the first with segments of synchronized lywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of sound. sical Hollywood Narrative: The Paradigm signing them any gendered implications. Ibid. 78. Ray. Doane.” in Clas. 1998). 1. “The Mass Pro- of Cinematic Excess. (Berkeley: University of California Press.. 1988). F. not Kristin Thompson. Ray. 1. 94. of course. Bruccoli 85. A Certain Tendency of There were others too. Miriam Hansen. Richard Maltby. and 2. Emergence. 2001). How a Film Theory 81. Goldwyn: A Biogra- Studio System: A History (London: BFI. 1992).” in A P. A year earlier. the 1950s. The Genius of the But The Jazz Singer. the commercial dominance of the talkies. 2006). 33. Cinephilia and History. auteurs. Sonic Booms 87.” 337. 227. 339. 89. ous flight to Paris and return to New York. Benjamin.224 Not e s to Page s 2 4–36 ring to Benjaminian figures without as. Hollywood Cinema Got Lost and Other Mysteries in Cultural (Oxford: Blackwell. 1978). Roland Barthes. 277. Hollyworld: Space. ed. 2001). Keathley. narrative?” disputes the Bordwell. The Way Hollywood 4. Thomas Schatz. W. 2005). The Love of 84. 8–9. 86. which also boasted System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Stu. 2. 3.” in Hillier. 79. Christine Gledhill and Oxford University Press. The Hollywood 3. Vieira. W. newsreels of Charles Lindbergh’s illustri- ton: Princeton University Press. Everson. Sound (New York: Routledge. 173. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Silent Film (New York: Oxford University Wang. 41. been mounted to this generalized position 5. Irving Tells It: Style and Story in Modern Movies Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince (Berkeley: University of California Press. Crosland’s film was. “Theses. Robert B. “On the politique des 1994). moted as a media event and soon heralded 91. and Fantasy in the American Econ- instance. 78. the Last Tycoon. sound effects and a musical soundtrack. Leo as Vernacular Modernism. Scott Berg. 14. for Power. 2. Robert B. some challenges have 2009). Aida Hozic. S/Z: An Essay. 156. 90. 1999). Linda Williams (London: Arnold. 3. . Jane Gaines (Durham: Duke 77. Thompson model. including sound the Hollywood Cinema. into “How classical was classical omy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Rick Altman’s inquiry. 6. in recent years.. 338. Benjamin. Cahiers du Cinéma. Janet Staiger. 1985). ed. 95.” in Film Theory and duction of the Senses: Classical Cinema Criticism: Introductory Readings. 92. David Bordwell. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 88. “Dickens. and Film Theory Today. 1930–1980 (Prince. “B [Fashion]. William K. Rick Altman. ed. Of course.

” The Moving Image 4. Quoted in Martin Loiperdinger. Brave New World 175. 1926–1930 (New York: Simon and Schuster. Michael Immerso. The Final Victim of and Mental Life. Film. 1999). 231. 3. and Thompson. 2009). 1 25. Quoted in Tim Armstrong. Ibid. Scott Eyman.. The Mate- (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1999). University of California Press. Ibid. The Education of 17. ed. 2006). Not e s to Page s 36 –45 225 7. Michel Chion. Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Przyblyski California Press. or the Fu. Founding Myth. 31. The Speed of Sound: (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ernest Betts. Oxford University Press. . 2000). The Talkies. Ibid. 11. 1926–1931 28. Classical Hollywood Cinema. 532. Stephen Crane. Claudia Gorbman (New York: Co. Coming of Sound. The People’s Playground (New Brunswick: 10. Technology.” Criticism. 199. Dean of Century Visual Culture Reader. Modernity (London: Penguin. “On Some Motifs. 225–226. 79. 130. Frost. 4. Ibid.” 18. 114. 39. 29. 16. Aldous Huxley. Henry Adams.. Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution. James Lastra. 37. The Talkies: Ameri. Gunning.. Volume II: 1926–1929. and the Economies of Play 9. Closely Watched 26. “Lumière’s Arrival of the Train: Cinema’s 23. Ben Singer. ed. “Huxley’s Feelies: The Credulous Spectator. Crafton. Charles Dickens. Representation. W. Aldous Huxley. Benjamin. “An Aesthetic of 22. The Rail- 2000). 36. American Silent Film. Schwartz and Jeannene B. Tom Gunning. Vanessa the Hollywood Ten (Berkeley: University of R. “Aesthetic of Astonish- 86. 2002). Moder- Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narra. Henry Adams.. Gomery. 46. 2004). Melodrama and Mo- Harper Perennial.. Modernity. Ibid. no. 2004). 8. and the Body: A Cultural tive Film Technique (Berkeley: University Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University of California Press. 736–750.” 737. 1996). Laura Frost.” in Film Theory and Cinema of Sensation in Brave New World. 532. 231. Rutgers University Press. ment. 2009). 2002). Coney Island: 1997). Baker 38. Cohen (New York: Oxford University 24. Robert S. Georg Simmel.. (2004): 91. 155. Leo Braudy and Marshall Twentieth-Century Literature 52 (2006): 457. Press. 532. “Huxley’s Feelies. lumbia University Press. 33. 2005). 30. ed. rial Unconscious: American Amusement. 35. Gerald Horne. 32. Ira Nadel (Oxford: trans. Sound Technology and the American Cin. 34. Quoted in Bill Brown. Heraclitus. 154. 51. and Space in the 19th Century (Berkeley: 14. Staiger. nity. 338. Armstrong. 1998). 93.” in The Nineteenth- the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson. Donald Crafton. ture of Films (London: Kegan Paul. Press. 26. 1977). Dombey and Son ema: Perception. (New York: Routledge. 1928). 27. 88. (New York: Columbia University Press. 199. dernity: Early Sensational Cinema and Its 19. Everson. 301. Complete Essays. 162. can Cinema’s Transition to Sound. 59. and Brave New World Revisited (New York: 36. 51. 15.” 445. A Sound Art. 412. 2. ed. Astonishment: Early Film and the (In) 23. Press. way Journey: The Industrialization of Time 13. 21. Marilyn Fabe. 3. Ibid. Contexts (New York: Columbia University 20. “The Metropolis 12. 2001). Bordwell. and James Sexton (Chicago: Dee.

62. Ibid. . 25. In 12. Vaudeville: Historical Context of the 58. Crafton.html?res=FA ment.” in Walter Benjamin and Art. Robert Spadoni. 47.” The Railroad and Silent Cinema (Durham: 177. Quoted in Hansen. Putnam’s.” 744.” 250. 1967).” 44. Gambling].” Musical 53. Coming of Sound. Of course. Lynne Kirby. via Muybridge. accessed June 23. “The Movies in A P. The Talkies.nytimes. these moments have 63. American Film Industry. for instance. A Song in the Dark: 46. 50. W. ford University Press. 417. Walter Benjamin. 1929). The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins ars would argue. “Aesthetic of Astonish. “Work of Art. 23.” A P. 544. W. John Belton. Gomery. Mordaunt Hall. “Aesthetic of Astonish. Babel and Baby. seven hundred Japanese 65. André Bazin. 2 (1999): 228. Lee Grieveson and Peter Krämer. “O [Prostitution. 11. ed. 2010. 251. 193. 2003). Benjamin. Hugh Gray (Berkeley: 66. 62. shall Cohen (New York: Oxford Univer. Fitzhugh Green. The Birth of the Musical Film (Oxford: Ox- ment. the Sandwichman and the Whore: The 71. “O [Prostitution. Routledge. 1997). “Theses. Benjamin (London: Con- (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Duke University Press.” in Walter Benjamin The Automobile in the American Film. 2005). Babel and Baby. 60. Sound Technology. eds. Quarterly 83. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press.” A P. 40. 29. 2007). of California Press.” in What Is Cinema? as+talking+movie&st=p. “Reception in Movies as Popular Entertainment. Ibid. 70. ed. Benjamin. 32. Uncanny Bodies: never disappeared and. W. lon. 69. 513. 55. 56. . Leo Braudy and Mar. From time to 64. 513. 1995). Gunning. Benjamin. “O [Prostitution. and the Arcades Project.226 Not e s to Page s 45–59 40. ed. 68. “The Evolution of the 868EF1D3&scp=1&sq=vitaphone+stirs+ Language of Cinema.com/gst/abstract.” in The Distraction.” 262. http://select 48. “Awkward Transi- 51. tralization and digitization. 2009). as many film schol. Gunning. “A Runaway Match: Politics of Loitering. 23.” New York Times. 0E16FC355B12738DDDAE0894D0405B 49. ed. no. Richard Barrios. 1997. Lastra. 120. University of California Press. Talking Movie. Robert C. sity Press.. 42. Miriam Hansen. 1. 41. W. Gambling]. Gambling]. “Style and Me. Howard Eiland. 1991). Erwin Panofsky. 54. Parallel Tracks: 59.” A P. Dynamics of Early Film Sound. W. W. Vol. 1985). Tino Balio ed. “M [The Flâneur]. 67. they have gained renewed of the Horror Genre (Berkeley: University impetus in our current age of hyperindus. 45. The image of a horse also connects dium in Motion Pictures. 57. tions: Hitchcock’s Blackmail and the 52. Julian Smith. “The Flâneur. 1926. Wolin. Andrew E. “Vitaphone Stirs as children are supposed to have suffered sei. Beatrice Hans- lon: Spectatorship in American Silent Film sen (New York: Continuum. 233. 498. The Silent Cinema Reader (New York: 61.” in Film Theory Hayes’s automobile history to film history and Criticism. Susan Buck-Morss. Benjamin. 73. Benjamin. 45. P. “On Some Motifs.” 744. zures from a Pokémon cartoon. 43. Ibid. August 7. 24. 2006). and trans. Allen. Benjamin. The Film Finds Its time one hears of how sensational images Tongue (New York: G. tinuum. W. result in a feeling of physical assault. Benjamin.

143. Lucy Fischer. Island Comedies: Bodies and Slapstick at 97. The Talkies. “State- . Quoted in Marcus. 92. Tenth Muse. a familiar theme from the earliest Keil and Shelley Stamp (Berkeley: Univer. Speed of Sound. “Awkward Transitions. 182–183. Practices. 2004). sound films. 89. Uncanny Bodies. “freak shows” in the movies. Sound Era. affections may be read as a generational ences. 405. sity Press. Conrich. 2 (1971): 19. 102. 74. “Runaway. no. 75. Spadoni. Quoted in Crafton. “Aural Objects. no. 313. 343. 1973). 78. Melvyn Stokes and Richard can Culture. “This Is Where 105. Variety Novem- University of California Press. 87. Maltby (London: BFI. The Talkies. Studlar cites Lon 104. Crafton.” in Guarry and Pierre Lassalle over Irene’s American Cinema’s Transitional Era: Audi. Not coinci. 181.” Film Com. The Talkies. Quoted in Barrios. The Talkies. 95. 73. Not e s to Page s 59 – 73 227 1900–1920.” in The Horror Film. 2007). no. The Talkies. Icon. “The Coney History 18. 79. Belton. Film Form: play Gwynplaine. Vsevolod Pu- From the Turn of the Century to the Early dovkin. 98. Melinda Szaloky. ed. This Mad Mas. 42. 84. 123. 30. 105. and Grigori Alexandrov. Review of The Kiss. Quoted in Smith. Eyman.” Camera Obscura 48. the Voluble Audience of Early Sound 426. Melinda Szaloky. 82. the old patriarch is killed. 242.” Film 81. The Talkies. “Before Sound. 56. Silence and the Sublime. Uncanny Bodies. 90. 103. Crafton. Gaylyn Studlar. “Awkward Transitions. 83. Lewis and Lau. Chaney was the first choice to 106. 96. Essays in Film Theory. sity of California Press. 1999). 76. 55. Belton. 1996). Molly Haskell. but he was unavailable. The struggle between Charles the Amusement Park and the Movies. 60. 2 (2006): 201.” 236. 60 (1980): 29. 72. Quoted in Spadoni. “Before Sound: Uni. no. 343. Barrios. and the Last of the 99. 169. Jay 86.” Cinema Journal 41.” 236. rence Goldstein (Ann Arbor: University of 88.” Horror-Spectaculars. 178. Quoted in Crafton. 100. We Came in: The Audible Screen and 107. Thomas Doherty. “Greta Garbo and ages in Silent Film: Visual Acoustics in Silent Cinema: The Actress as Art Deco Murnau’s Sunrise. Christian Metz.. as in Old San Francisco. Lauren Rabinovitz. Crafton. Charlie conflict. Ian Conrich. Speed of Sound. Murnau (Berkeley: 94. Eyman. “‘As You Desire 80. 93. gers University Press. Writing about Cinema in the Modernist querade: Stardom and Masculinity in the Period (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Institutions. The Tenth Muse: 85.” in American Movie Audiences: 108. Crafton. ed. Cinema. Spadoni. Stephen Prince (New Brunswick: Rut. “Sounding Im. 95.” in The Automobile and Ameri. 47. 175. 1949). ed. dentally. Me’: Reading the ‘Divine Garbo’ through ment 7. trans.” 52. ies. Quoted in Spadoni. Ibid. and trans. Lotte Eisner. 1929. “Sunrise. Leyda (San Diego: Harcourt Brace. Uncanny Bod. ber 20. Ibid. 200. Song in the Dark. 102. ed. 2004). 54. 172. 3 (2001): 2 (2002): 127. Silent Cinema. Sergei Eisenstein. David L. Georgia Gurrieri Yale French Studies ed. Speed of Sound. Here. 91. Uncanny Bod- Chaney’s films as the best examples of ies. Eyman. 1983). Song in the Dark. Sergei Eisenstein. Michigan Press. 77. Jazz Age (New York: Columbia Univer. Laura Marcus. 525. Movement. versal.” 183. 101.

Remember the gues that even modernists still preserve Night (Berkeley: University of California a relationship with the classical. ed. “Costume and Topics: Essays on Undocumented Areas of Narrative: How Dress Tells the Woman’s Silent Film (Lanham: Scarecrow.. 23.” in The 17. (New York: Grove. 87. 2000). The Heart to Artemis: A (New York: Alfred A. Mayer and Thalberg: 19.” 334. 52. Romantic Comedy 13. 12. Gaines and 25. trans. sity of Minnesota Press. 1958).” in Fabrications: Costume and the vi.” in Film Form: Essays in 11. 1998). 1977). Diego: Harcourt.” in The Anti-Aesthetic: library in Beverly Hills. (Albany: SUNY Press. Grand Design: Hol. 169. Quoted in Anthony Slide. Image-Music-Text. Ibid. Screen Style: Fashion and Femininity Brace & World. ing to give that up. Antonin Artaud. All references to the script are to 14. Martin’s. Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930s 110. ed. Dick. Jane M. dom House. 246. 6. Knopf. 1983). Stanley Ap- 2. and trans. 365. 7. Bernard F. Sarah Writer’s Memoirs (New York: Harcourt. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and authority of a past epoch but because they Wang. Laughing Out on the Cinema. 8. Bryher. René Clair. Easy Living. Harvey. modernists assign that 5. Story. 42. 1972). 13. 16. European Directors (New York: Alfred A. Mary Caroline Richards nia Press. Three More ter (New York: New Press. 22. 6. Andrew Horton. 1. Surrealism Charlotte Herzog (New York: Routledge. 1990). Anatomy of Film Film Theory. Show Stopper s plebaum (New York: Dover. Andrew Horton. 2. 178. Hal Fos- 3.” that which survives over time. Paul Ham. Cinema Yesterday and Today. 1937. Screenplays by Preston Sturges: The Power 16. Thompson. The Runaway Bride: 109. vii. 61. 1987). were once modern. Female Body. 21. 9. Louis Aragon. Dale. ed. 2002). Essays on Postmodern Culture. 112. honor to works not because they carry the trans. 1990). “Modernity – An 7. 1975). James Morrison. Interestingly.228 Not e s to Page s 74–86 ment on Sound. 20. Gomery. 365. Jay Leyda (San (Boston: Bedford/St. Elizabeth Kendall. 258. The Talkies. Dick. Romantic Comedy. 195. 142. Hansen. “Mass Production. dated July 15. 70. Samuel Marx. Crafton. 1998). “On Décor. 196. The Make-Believe Saints (New York: Ran. Passport to Holly- in Hollywood from Lubitsch to Sturges wood: Hollywood Films. 1977). Not want- 491. “Cinematic Excess. Genius of the System.. play (Berkeley: University of California 2000). 1993). and Cinema (New York: Berg. Shadow and Its Shadow: Surrealist Writings 18. the term “classic” has always been used for 4. Habermas ar- and the Glory. 2 the Release Dialogue Script. 2000). because Press. Press. 354. Ibid. Tino Balio. ed. Jürgen Habermas.. CA. in 1930s Hollywood (Minneapolis: Univer- 111. and trans. trans. Schatz. 1. 2006). ed. C. “Mass Production. Ibid. Jane M. Knopf. Gomery. 54. 2004). Its Double. 67. Loud: Writing the Comedy-Centered Screen- mond (San Francisco: City Lights Books. Harvey. housed at the Margaret Herrick Incomplete Project. Gaines. lywood as a Modern Business Enterprise. R. 26. Coming of Sound. 1963). 199. 53. Michael Richardson. Berry.” 335. Hansen. The Theater and 1930–1939 (Berkeley: University of Califor. James Harvey. Silent 10. ed. 24. Romantic Comedy. Anatomy of Film. Coming of Sound. Roland Barthes. .

37. “Strike a Pose. 33. Designing Press. “Introduction: Mov. “‘Something for made a similar gesture of gratitude when Nothing’: Bank Night and the Refashion. 88. ies and the 1930s. 156. Benjamin. W.. Theory of Progress]. Ina and Sound 5.” in Taking Chances: (New York: Columbia University Press. New York was July 22. Last Snapshot of the European Intelligen- 35. 32. trans. André Breton. trans. Not e s to Page s 86 – 95 229 27. Profane Illumination. ed. 349.” 154. Breton. Fiona Bradley. Wohlfarth. 51. 135. “Et Cetera?. “Busby Berke. Quoted in Cohen. “J [Baudelaire]. Constellations. 54. 2003). Carlo Salzani.” A P. 156. Art Deco. ed. 1997). 34. Press. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University 30. 1979). Walter Benjamin. Peter Wollen. 13.” in Hollywood Although his date of arrival in Paris from in the Neighborhood: Historical Case Stud. Nebraska Press. tique 39 (1986): 147. 188. 155. Constellations of 31. Ibid. Cohen. Knowledge. “Et Cetera?: The realist Revolution (Berkeley: University of Historian as Chiffonier.” A P. 61.. 12.” Wide Angle Seeley (Berkeley: University of California 1 (1976): 24–29. and Literature. Ibid. he would forever tell . 229. 2008). 461. trans. he adopted another symbolic date in 1921. 58. Ibid. 1994). Sexual Politics Chances: A Rendezvous with Some Epicu- and Narrative Film: Hollywood and Beyond rean Stereophonies. Surrealism (Cam. versity Press. ing of the American Dream.. Nadja.” in One-Way Street and Other Writings. Spectacle (New York: Columbia University 46. 19. 42. 2007). Breton. Ibid. Rae Hark (New Brunswick: Rutgers Uni. Joseph H. 135. and the Female 47. Quoted in Barbara Vinken. 50. 193. (1997): 67. tion: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Sur. 49. 2009). 52. 47. 28. 53.. Showstop. Wood. Quoted in Lucy Fischer. Profane Illumina. 1993). pers: Busby Berkeley and the Tradition of 45. Women: Cinema. 48. “Eter- realism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska nity – A Frill on a Dress. Salzani. 1995).” New German Cri- California Press. 1996). Mad Love. 1–32. 59. 62. Psychoanalysis. 3 (1995): 14. W. 102. Ibid. Profane Illumina. “Surrealism: The tion. Derrida. 39. 460.” Fashion Theory 1 Press. 1987). Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley bridge: Cambridge University Press. 55. John Baxter. an: The Representation of Women in Sur. Coincidentally. 1998). Margaret Cohen. Reading: Walter Benjamin in Figures of Ac- Mary Ann Caws (Lincoln: University of tuality (Bern: Peter Lang. 41. Paige Reynolds. Quoted in Bradley. Mad Love. Ibid. ies of Local Moviegoing. “My Chances/Mes Press. Surrealism. 19. Irving Wohlfarth. 214. Irene Harvey and Avital Ronell 29. Shorter (London: New Left Books. Tristan Tzara 44. Sexual Politics. Robin Wood. Ina Rae Hark. 43. 1–2. Benjamin. 56. Ibid. “N [On the Theory of 38. Kathryn Fuller- ley: An American Surrealist. 134–135. Martin Rubin. no. Ibid. Automatic Wom. tsia. 40. Press. Jacques Derrida. Jerome Delamater.” in American Cinema of 60. Ibid. 1984). 204. 113.” Sight the 1930s: Themes and Variations. 57. Smith and William Kerrigan. ed. Katharine Conley. Buñuel (London: Form (New York: Columbia University Fourth Estate. Ibid. 36.

James Curtis. Quoted in Ulrich Lehmann. Chierichetti. and notes posthumously by his associate 83. 64. Leisen. sis. 85. 1974). 2–3. Richard Martin. 1993). ist University Press. Lehmann. 2. Gaines... and it accelerated the devel. 325. Quoted in David Chierichetti. “Greta Garbo and Silent tures: How They Are Made. 110. Three More Screenplays. “Costume and Narrative. Kiesling. Explorations and Analy. Ibid. in Surrealist imagery dates back to 1919. ed. Barrios. Ann Cooper Albright (Middletown: Wes- 72. Ibid. court Brace Jovanovich. Coast to the Los Angeles area. Women in Modern 65. Nothing in Itself: Hollywood. 14. 1982). Jane Gaines. 22. Vinken. Mitchell ery Today. 90. Wollen. How to Appreci- Cinema. xviii.” 85. 142. Cecil B. America: A Brief History (New York: Har- 66. which re. The appropriation of mannequins Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 194. Complexions of Fashion (Bloomington: In- opment of a film community in the area diana University Press. 73. 2001). “On Wearing the Glamour Factory: Inside Hollywood’s Big Film: Madam Satan (1930). 261.” in Fashion Cultures: Theories. and Holly. W. It was put together from his drafts body. Donald Hayne. 195. Ibid. Quoted in Chierichetti.” in Fashion Studio System (Dallas: Southern Method- Cultures: Theories. 1987). 33. ate Them (Atlanta: Johnson. “Yesterday’s Em- (Berkeley: University of California Press. “Eternity. Return of the Repressed in Fashion Imag- 74. 69.230 Not e s to Page s 95–104 everyone that he arrived on Bastille Day. Harry N. Horton. wood was born. Gibson (London: Routledge. Biography of Preston Sturges (New York: 82. Herbert Blau. 2000). Ibid. 11.. ed. Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church July 14. 2000). 197. when Man Ray’s Aviary displayed a figure DeMille in his autobiography. 1995). Ann Dils and 71. 63. DeMille and his cohorts were not 84.” 337. . Howard Gutner. Caroline Evans. 94. Song in the Dark. Barrett C. “Mass Production. Griffith had shot In MIT Press. 20. 77. 50. Fashion and Surre- 67.. 70. Berry. Explorations and Analysis. “Strike a Pose.” 60. 68.” 14. D. ed. 63. Stella Bruzzi 75. and American Culture: The Silent Era 92. 79. Old California (1910) there. Tiger- the first filmmakers to end up northwest sprung: Fashion in Modernity (Cambridge: of Los Angeles. Tigersprung. Fischer. 89. Quoted in Ronald L. Abrams. the majority of 87. Fashion and Surrealism. Sumiko Higashi. Screen Style. Hansen. DeMille 91. Dance History Reader. “Imagining Dance. By 1915. The 78. 1999). that is part armless mannequin. 108. 88. Man was the first feature film made in 86. Talking Pic- 76. Between Flops: A alism (New York: Rizzoli. Davis. 2000). Gowns by Adrian: and Pamela Church Gibson (London: The MGM Years. This tale is recounted by Cecil B. suggesting the constraints of the in 1959. 1937). 171.” films had moved production from the East 193. blems and Tomorrow’s Commodities: The 1994). 2001). 324. leyan University Press. Martin. part bird mained incomplete at the time of his death cage.” Mitchell Leisen: Hollywood Director (Los in Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Angeles: Photoventures. Joan Acocella. 93. Lois Banner. Mitchell Leisen. 250. 20. 81. 80. 210. soon thereafter. But The Squaw 85. 1928–1941 (New York: Routledge.

Flickers: An Illus. 105. Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni. “‘Puffed Sleeves Before Tea-Time’: Joan 4. Fabrications. MGM failed to purchase 113. Herzog. MGM. Not e s to Page s 104–1 17 231 95. Letty Lynton has been out of circu. with Jean Renoir. 3. Martin’s. 141. Signatu r e Cr i m es it. no copy of 102. if it was shot. Hollywoodland Orson Welles versus the Hollywood Studios (New York: St. Dishonored Lady. 116.” 57. 2. Most commentators briefly men- through George Hurrell’s photographs of tion that. schedules. Gowns by Adrian. “Battlegrounds and Com- formed the basis of Edward Sheldon’s play. 1989). 94. “Handmaidens 108. 186. 12. Clinton Heylin. Even 1988). and (London: Faber and Faber.” in Stardom: Industry of Desire.. studio was accused of copyright infringe- ment. other documents housed in the Welles 100. (Chicago: Chicago Review Press. University suggest that an extended Latin 101. In Sheldon v. the 1857 trial Madcap Romantic Comedies (New York: of Madeleine Smith. designing costumes for lation since 1933. 1998). Quoted in Martin. like most of Welles’s films after the dress. Ed Sikov. Chanel actually fared much better 98. the University of California Press. Ibid. Kiesling. Vogue: History of the American sequence was planned. it isn’t clear if it was ever fully shot. Traces of the film have been kept alive 1. Crevel. This is Orson Welles. 89. and . ed. 170. Miracle Worker Who Went from Penniless 107. Quoted in Gutner. 178.” in Gaines and Cape. Sam 106. realism. “Introduction. and Made Pos- Paris in the 1930s (New York: Carroll and sible The African Queen. Adrian. 2000). 122. 2005). Citizen Kane. Elizabeth Nielsen. William Wiser. and the appellate court ruled against 3. Elizabeth Wilson. but they made the 114. Adrian and Women Audi. 5. Jonathan Rosenbaum (New York: Da Christine Gledhill (London: Routledge. 1995). Hark. 112. 2.. film anyway. Ibid. 171. The Twilight Years: Refugee to Show Biz Legend. 1985). 1991).” 1. Jane Mulvagh. Talking Pictures. The shooting script. Fashion and Sur- 96. Letty Lynton was 111. Sikov. of murdering her lover. David Wallace. 104. 205. The Bridge on the River Kwai. 12–13. 2002). Gutner. That incident also 112. The film was pulled from bourgeois life in France in The Rules of the distribution due to a plagiarism case that Game (1939). Bogdanovich. Capo. 356. Quoted in Orson Welles and Peter Crawford. 111. Adorned in Spiegel: The Incredible Life and Times of Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (Berkeley: Hollywood’s Most Iconoclastic Producer. 118. an heiress accused Crown Publishers. 19. Quoted in Gutner. as far as we know. Screwball. Piers Brendon. On the Water- Graf. was filed against MGM. Ibid. ences. Gowns by it exists. as it was originally conceived by its direc- trated Celebration of 100 Years of Cinema tor. Gilbert Adair. Despite the System: 103. 2000). 110. 97. ed. the 115. The Stranger was not released 99. 109. The Dark Valley: A of the Glamour Culture: Costumers in the Panorama of the 1930s (London: Jonathan Hollywood Studio System. Gowns by archive at the Lilly Library at Indiana Adrian. Charlotte Herzog and Jane Gaines. Screwball: Hollywood’s based on a historical incident. although 20th Century Fashion (London: Viking. monplaces. front. the rights to the play.

pitch around the time of World War II. and it was meant to act about the Bixby Letter (1945). Roland Barthes.” 64. 17. Schuster. Mary 22. address. 9. walk Author Effect: Recovering Collectivity.” PM L A 116 (2001): 1382. 1985). 1986). Stranger was to begin at the end. “New 10. The phy.” Journal of the Abraham Biography (New York: Viking.. Jennifer E. Orson Welles: A the Bixby Letter. 2009). 190. Jacqueline Miller. 1981).” through a graveyard. Martha Woodmansee. that year by Hull. Orson Welles. North. Despite the System. Michael North. Langdon. 170. ed. Heylin. 175. 17. Ryan. Leaming. “Authorship and Autogra- 15. because he does so.” the working title of the film. A Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi scream and a cutaway would reveal the (Durham: Duke University Press.S. military intervention. The Magic World Autography. which affirmed that the United the debate seems to have reached fever States would serve as “the good neigh. It must be tect U. and then the narrative 23. climactic struggle. See Michael Burlingame’s “New 6. linear thriller. including Jacob Blanck’s the rights of others. 121. University Press. versies surrounding this letter. 1994). that it makes a cameo appearance in Ste- 7. . Richard 12. Light. Camera Lucida: ist University Press. the Authority and Authorship in Medieval and film begins at the beginning and unfolds Renaissance Contexts (New York: Oxford as a straightforward. 312. Heylin. It is no wonder then hemisphere. 21. letter in order to justify saving Private 100. Orson Welles. 312. But that 24. 13. trans. Day Wakefield’s Abraham Lincoln and the lishing a fascist stronghold in the Western Bixby Letter (1948). 19. bor – the neighbor who resolutely respects when several monographs were published himself and.232 Not e s to Page s 1 17–1 21 Lawrence of Arabia (New York: Simon & 16. like Citizen Kane. Despite the System. Caught in the ven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was articulated by Incidentally. 311. 14. Reflections on Photography. Howard (New York: Hill and Wang. serving as Roosevelt’s David Rankin Barbee’s The Plain Truth secretary of state. Heylin. and arrive at a New in The Construction of Authorship: Textual England clock tower for her “date with Appropriation in Law and Literature.” It was reaffirmed later The Lincoln Letter to Mrs. would commence in flashback. Instead. 20. For instance. and Sherman as a deterrence to German efforts at estab. “Authorship and 11. The Good Neighbor policy was Light on the Bixby Letter” for a historical adopted by the Roosevelt administration account of the reception of and contro- toward Latin America in an effort to pro. destiny. Poetic License: introduction was abandoned. 18. Ibid. 1989). respects on the subject. 123. “On the Rankin was to wake up at midnight. Ibid. political and financial interests noted that the controversies have only in the region diplomatically and without added to the mythology of this letter. Crossfire: Adrian Scott and the Politics of when General George Marshall (Harve Americanism in 1940s Hollywood (New Presnell) is shown reading precisely this York: Columbia University Press. Quoted in Burlingame. Lincoln Association 16 (1995): 59–72. Quoted in Leaming. Despite the System. Bixby (1941).” 1380. James Naremore. 174. of Orson Welles (Dallas: Southern Method. Michael Burlingame. 12. 2003). while there has always been President Roosevelt in his 1933 inaugural critical interest in this letter’s authenticity. 96. “New Light on 8. Barbara Leaming.

” in Orson Welles: 40. M. tinuum 5. 55. University Press. 42. “Auteurism and 50. 2 (1990): 42. Howard Hawks. 1953). 128. Abrams. Orson Welles: A and the Enlightenment: Aesthetic Epistemol. Politics of Culture (London: BFI. A Cinema With- University Press. Welles (New York: A.” 258. John Caughie. Jacques Rivette. Press. Ibid. 1978). 1973). 74. Mark Jancovich (Manchester: Manchester 51. The Films of Orson 50–51. “On the politique des au- 34. 1973). 250. Not e s to Page s 1 21–130 233 25. tions 23 (1988): 56. Bazin. H. . Charles 39. Russell Campbell Miseries of Francis Coppola. Thomas M. Vol. Bazin. The Major 48. 53. Ibid. 2002). Ibid. 315. the 54. Colin MacCabe. 47. ed. 29. The Mirror and the 45. “Authorship and Autogra. Robert Garis. Andrew Sarris. “On the politique des au- ford University Press. Hollywood. 1981).” in The Primal Screen 1996). 26. trans. “Introduction.. teurs. Ibid. “The Ontology of the Interviews. 22. 1995). Photography: A Critical In.” nam (New Brunswick: Rutgers University in Theories of Authorship: A Reader. Orson Welles (New York: Da Capo. André Bazin. 152. William Routt. the Vulgar: Language.” in Cahiers du Cinéma. Leaming. 52. Bride. 97. Ibid. 2004). Photography. Magic World.” 1382. Caughie (London: Routledge.” 18. and Jean Domarchi.” 255. North. and trans. 41. 56.” 51. with Orson Welles (II). no. ed. Cinema and the ogy of Modern Authorship. Leitch. Jonathan Rosenbaum ogy from Descartes to Kant (Ithaca: Cornell (New York: Harper & Row. “L’Évidence” Con. Mirror and the Lamp. “Notes. Peter Cowie. The Cinema of Orson 35. Liz Wells. Image-Music-Text.” Bennington and Marvin Pister (Cambridge: Harvard Review 15 (1983): 2. 143.. ed. 57. 125. “On the politique des au- Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical teurs. “‘The Glitter of 1950s: Neo-Realism. out Walls: Movies and Culture After Viet- 32. the Infernal System’: The Splendors and ed.” in What is Cinema? University of Mississippi Press. 33. Works including The Prelude (Oxford: Ox. 1967). 258. “On the Author Ef. 2004). (New York: Simon and Schuster. 659.” in Approaches trans. 44. 38. Jim Hillier.. Mark W. Bitsch. Welles (Cambridge: Cambridge University 37. 28. University Press. S. Bazin. 229. Becket and the Geneal. 102. Orson Welles.” Representa. Abrams. 13. 1999). Sarris. 49. Estrin (Jackson: Photographic Image..” Hitchcock Annual (1997–98): 34. Timothy Corrigan. 1985). 31. Joseph Mc- 36. Critical View. The Eloquence of etor: Donaldson v. 1. Joanne Hollows and Wang. 12. Film Authorship Theory. 96. 95. 1984). “Interview phy. “The Genius of teurs. Mark Rose. 27. trans. troduction (New York: Routledge. Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University 46. ed. Richard Macksey. Press. Barnes. Hugh Gray (Berkeley: fect. 58. 1991). 1996). 28. 202. “The Author as Propri. 100. University of California Press. teur Theory in 1962. 228– Moment. 1977). “Notes on the Au.” 258. 30. Quoted in André Bazin. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and to Popular Film. Quoted in Catherine Labio. Origins 43. 84. Naremore. New Wave. Woodmansee. Roland Barthes. Ibid. 15. William Wordsworth. “The Hitchcock 33. Quoted in Wells. Press. 40. André Bazin. Helen Stoddart.

Classical Hollywood Cinema. Crowd. Orson Welles. Ibid. 189.” Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and an- A P. 63. Bazin. of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Vintage. Ibid. Walter Benjamin. “Authorship and Stories of His Life (London: Faber and Fa. Quoted in Leslie Megahey. before Welles even got started. Mark W. 94. Behind the Pictures (Boston: Little. 223. Richard Rand (New York: Columbia Uni- 62. 1975). the Flâneur. an adaptation of 69. (London: Verso. “The Flâneur. other based on Nicholas Blake’s The Smiler 70. 348. 209. 81. and Company. 83. 481.” in Essential Cinema: 93. no. Bordwell. Brown 2004). Edgar Allan Poe. Ibid. Staiger. Physiognomy of Crime. eur. 1988). Bordwell.” Welles quit The Campbell Playhouse (for- in Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the merly The Mercury Theater on the Air) due Era of High Capitalism.234 Not e s to Page s 130 –1 4 4 59.. “The Flâneur. The first 68. before he began filming in Hollywood. Orson Welles: The 79. 60. 8. tem. 90.. 211. and Thompson. Film Quarterly 44. over Orson Welles. 171. Spiegel: The Man more: Johns Hopkins University Press. ized Auteur Today. Gunning. Tom Gunning. 64. 1998). W. Letter. 72. 1975). Flickers.” in The Complete Tales and Poems 82. and the Vintage. 73. Benjamin. W. 83. (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press. 1997). . 78.. Quoted in Heylin.” AP. 86. 417. 81. Classical Hollywood Cinema. Benjamin. Signsponge. “The Murders in 65. 13. 216. 84.” in Or.” in Aesthetics: 75. Peter Conrad. scendental Quarterly 15 (2001): 15. “The Battle 92. ed. Andrew Sinclair. 74. Routledge. because even 71. A P. “The Exterior as with the Knife. 478. 110. Intérieur: Benjamin’s Optical Detective. Benjamin. 48.” Also. 221. 77.” American Tran. “The Exterior as Intéri. Edgar Allan Poe. Jim Collins. 2.” in The Complete Tales and Poems 89. “From Gender and Genius. were both rejected by RKO. Sound Technology. Peggy Kamuf. 80. Estrin the Movies. W. nell University Press. “The Unauthor- view from The Orson Welles Story. two projects he suggested. Orson Welles. Quoted in Christine Battersby. 153. 69. Jacques Derrida. “R [Mirrors]. Benjamin. Conrad. 61. the Cultural Politics of Film Criticism. James V. 1984). 17. trans. Conrad. Werner. the Institution of Authorship (Ithaca: Cor- 1975). trouble was brewing 67. 376. Adair.” 127. The Big Questions. 341. 351–352. trans. 2003). 1987).” 41. tion for being unmanageable. 1 (1990): 21. 39. Orson Welles. Edgar Allan Poe. Dudley Andrew. 94–95. James Naremore. ed. 91. 1993).. and Thompson. 56. Ibid.” in The Complete Tales 66. Poe. On the Necessity of Film Canons (Balti. “The Detective and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Gaze: Edgar A. Harry Zohn to artistic disputes with the show’s sponsor. and Ava Preacher Collins (New York: 2002). “The Man of the 88. Staiger. Ibid. Ibid. Carolyn Korsmeyer 76. W. “Inter.” ber. 17. Of course. Hilary Radner. Signature Pieces: On of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Vintage. the Rue Morgue. ed. 537. 344.. Lastra. 306. “M [The Flâneur]. 87. Ibid. Despite the Sys. (Malden: Blackwell.” in Film Theory Goes to son Welles: Interviews. he was already developing a reputa- boundary 2 30 (2003): 109–110. 85.. “The Purloined versity Press. Jonathan Rosenbaum..

tem (Boston: McGraw-Hill. 129. 105. 189. 3. Quoted in Joseph McBride. 9. Malcolm Quinn. 126. 119. 369. Garis. the name was first used as a stand-in The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the directorial credit for Robert Totten and Film Community.. since Allen 1980). when 113. Magic World. Jonathan E. Films. trans. 61. Bill 96. Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Glo- 106. “Politics of Genre. Genre in Welles’ The Stranger. Hollywood’s Dark of an Independent Career (Lexington: Uni- Cinema: The American Film Noir (New versity Press of Kentucky. 2002). Paul Hammond (San 125. Gray (New York: Tribeca. 2007). 280. 202. Palmer. Magic World. Quoted in Victor S. Press. R. 121. Ibid. meton.. Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Nar. Orson Welles. 101. ies (London: Robson. Magic World. ledge. Hollywood Genres: 109.. A Panorama of American Film Noir. Shakespeare. 122. Jeremy Braddock and Stephen 117. 1994). 148. Hollywood on Constructing the Symbol (London: Rout- Trial: McCarthyism’s War Against the Mov. Mr. York: Twayne. Nichols (Berkeley: University of Califor- 97. University of Illinois Press. munism and the Blacklist in Radio and Tele. Eburne. ed. Mirror and the Lamp. City of Nets: A Por. and the Studio Sys- Story of Orson Welles (New York: Alfred A. 98. 1976). McBride. “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism. Knopf. Quoted in Naremore. Barton Palmer. 247. Larry Ceplair and Stephen Englund. Michael Freedland. balizing Age (Durham: Duke University 107. Navasky. 2003). Ever Happened to Orson Welles? A Portrait 108. Andreas Huyssen. Other Cities. A Shadow of Red: Com. We can assume that the associa- ing Names (New York: Hill and Wang. Ibid. 169. 6. “The Cheerless 115. vision (Chicago: Ivan R. Ibid. 104. Orson Welles.. 28. 266. Orson Welles. cism 9. 1994). 27. The Swastika: Symbol 110. Quoted in Wheeler Winston Dixon. Hock (Minneapolis: University of Minne- boni. 126. 1996). 263. nia Press. Langdon. 44. Barton Palmer. 174. The Picture of Dorian 120. Thomas Schatz. Magic World. 127. faut (Bloomington: Indiana University 100. 1941–1953. Naremore. trait of Hollywood in the 1940’s (New York: The Early Film Criticism of François Truf- Harper & Row. 83. Caught in the Crossfire. Michael Anderegg. 2008). Movies and Methods: Volume I. 123. Naremore. Dee. “The Politics of York: Columbia University Press.” in Directed by Allen 116. 130. 131. 103. 98. 85. R. no. Rosebud: The Formulas. 43. Raymond Borde and Etienne Chau. Films of Orson Welles. Oscar Wilde. 2000). 1. Nam. What Francisco: City Lights Books. Arkadin. 232–233. Smithee was not “born” until 1969. 118. 26. 1986). 99. 1981). 17. ed. Ibid.” in sota Press. Beyond Redemption? (New York: Allworth. 112. 1993). 124. . 2007). 128. 2011). Smithee. 2001). Not e s to Page s 1 4 4–157 235 95. Otto Friedrich. 123. and Popular Culture (New 102. Filmmaking. 2006). Steven Heller. Naremore. 1999). Thomson. 124. 266. McBride. 226. 12. The Swastika: 111. 1930–60 (Champaign: Don Siegel’s Death of a Gunfighter (1969). Press. tion is purely coincidental. Rosebud. Art of Industry: Marcel Duchamp and the xviii. David Thomson.” 20.” Film Criti. 2 (1984–1985): 5. 147. Smithee Readymade. Ibid. Abrams. fourteen years after the initial release of 114.. Truffaut. David Everitt. 117.

and Film (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. ‘in those areas where power. stroyed by these weapons of mass destruc. 162. vo. Cyndy Hendershot. Smaller Pictures: Nobel prize-winning atomic scientist. As early as 1946. Seeing Is Believing: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying America (Chicago: University of Chicago and Love the Fifties (New York: Pantheon. However.. 1999). 1. but all civilizations as they exist in course of the decade.” in American Cin. (Bowling Green: Bowling Green Univer- ema of the 1940s: Themes and Variations. Thomas Doherty. the bomb became the source of per. Although initially considered the television reception was good. Harold C. Dexter Masters and Katherine University Press. The Writings of 7. Urey.” in One World American Culture (New York: Columbia or None. 58. Eric Avila. 134. of the theaters closed compared to only tence. ed. 8. Bitsch. Biskind. Wheeler Winston Dixon. ed. David Seed. 9 percent of the theaters closing in areas vasive dread and distrust in technological where television was not available. Flight and the Urban Science Fiction Film Horner’s film cannot resist the allure of a in Postwar America. ed. Cool for centuries to come. and “How Does it All Add Up?.” in Liquid Metal: (1952) similarly restricts most cosmic The Science Fiction Film Reader. ed. Lynn Spigel. Paranoia. sity Press. Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (Berkeley: Univer- 4. futuristic. 133. Radio and Television 28. The hysteria wasn’t entirely un- 4. Sean broadcasts to radio. Sean Redmond. likely that the man of Mars might be the 2. Dixon (New Brunswick: Rutgers Univer. 9.’” Blair advances. Press. 1973). Press. Mark Jancovich. ed. 89. Liquid Metal. McCarthyism. was Television Broadcasting and B-Movies in dreading the future of nuclear warfare: the Early 1950s. and Domar. “Science Fiction’s justified. 1992).” in Redmond. Cold War. Blair Davis cites 5. Marcel Duchamp. . A poca ly ptic A nten na e sity of California Press. Urey. 1. the world may be retarded and weakened 14. 12. “Movies the Bomb and 1950s Science Fiction Films and Postwar Recovery.” Harold C.” in Redmond. “Interview with Orson Welles (II). 2003). “Science Fiction’s Disas. 13. Redmond. 141. were shutting down. ed. 2004).. Popular Culture in the sity Press. Make Room for T V: 3.” Historical Journal of Film. were indeed declining.236 Not e s to Page s 157–16 7 132. The Twentieth Cen- 6. chi. “Small Screen. 1999). Harry Horner’s Red Planet Mars 1950s Invasion Narratives. and theaters Liquid Metal. 38. 1. 134. Such numbers would only worsen over the tion. profits Disaster Imagination. American Science Marcel Duchamp. In terms of numbers. even when it appears Redmond (London: Wallflower. Quoted in Bazin. 103. 2 (2008): 220. “Not only may our own culture be de. Albert Robida. This skepticism originates in part a Sindlinger & Co. Seeing Is Believing. 93. tury (Middletown: Wesleyan University ter Imagination. 2006). 10. flat-screen T V set.” 74. 327. 1946). 1983). “Re-examining the 11. Way (New York: McGraw-Hill. 83. study showing that from the devastation caused by atomic “from 1948 to 1952. 15. 2004). 4.” 38. “Dark City: White same as the man of Nazareth. Eric Avila. Peter Biskind. Michel Sanouillet Fiction and the Cold War: Literature and Elmer Peterson (New York: Da Capo. 2007). Davis. 23 percent means to achieving utopian postwar exis. Medium: Television.

Make Room for versity of Illinois Press. The Epic of New Reflections on the Works of Nikolai York City: A Narrative History (New York: Leskov. Edward Robb Ellis.” 41. ation of Gone with the Wind and Other partment official who was accused of being Motion-Picture Classics – as Revealed in a Soviet spy. 42. 228. 47. Brace. were both carried live. Anderson. Cold War. 33. Erik Barnouw. Nick Browne (Lon.C. Quoted in Frank MacShane. Quoted in Rudy Behlmer. The Cinema Dreams Its 266.S. Bernhard. 1993). Douglas Gomery.” in 1994). but they were available only 45. Television News. the HUAC hear. ed. Columbia University Press. George Marshall testi. Christopher Anderson. 140. 52. 140. Janet Wasko. sion and Hollywood in the 1940s. Disaster. Spigel. York: Columbia University Press. 176. 236. 1946). Robida. 189. Fifties Television: 139. Tube of Plenty: The 43. a former State De. 2002). 18. Liquid Metal. Age (Amherst: Prometheus. in American Television: New Directions in 37. 22. 172–173. Cold War. Ibid. 574.. War America (Amherst: University of 2000). Cold War. Hannah Arendt. 112.. 35. 23. ed. Quoted in Lee Bernstein. 8. Fifties (Austin: University of Texas Press. T V. 20. 20. Make Room for T V. fied before the Senate Foreign Relations 47. Memo from David O. trans. Cold War. Hollywood T V: The Studio System in the 19. 1–2. ed.” in Illuminations: Essays and Kondasha America. Committee. York: Routledge. Ibid. The Columbia Evolution of American Television (New History of American Television (New York: York: Oxford University Press. 112. 1981). 36. Gary R. 1997). to a limited audience in the Washington. The Twentieth Century. . Quoted in Anderson. 46. 1993). Walter Benjamin. Hollywood in the In. 25. 41. Reflections. 93. Young. 1994). 1999). 2008). ed. formation Age (Austin: University of Texas 38. 211. 27. 99. 200. Hollywood T V. 1947–1960 don: Routledge. and Autobiographical Greatest Menace: Organized Crime in Cold Remarks (New York: Modern Library. William Boddy. area. T V. 75. News and Cold War Propaganda. and in 1948. Telegrams. 3. Press. Doherty. Thomas Schatz (New Color (New York: Harcourt.. Maggie Jackson. Edgerton. U. Distracted: The 30. the Producer’s Private Letters. ed. “The Storyteller: 29. Selznick: The Cre- ings into Alger Hiss. Television History and Theory. Nancy E. 1990). 28. In 1947. Doherty. 40. Hollywood D. Doherty. Susan Sontag. Cold War. 43. 93. Cinema Dreams Its Rivals. 204. telecast live. The Memorandums.S.. Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler (New 17. 9. Quoted in Christopher Anderson. Quoted in Spigel. 153. 21. Kingdon S. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 48. Doherty. Tyler. Minnesota Press. “Failed Oppor. “The Imagination of tunities: The Integration of the US Mo. Paul Young. Telecasting and Cultural Studies. 39.. 2004).” in Redmond. Bernhard. tion Picture and Television Industries.. ed. Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark 31. 26. 2006). 2007). Doherty. Not e s to Page s 16 7–178 237 16. the Internet (Minneapolis: University of 33. Hollywood: Critical Concepts in Media and 34. U. There were other hearings that were 44. Ibid. “Televi. Massachusetts Press. The Industry and its Critics (Urbana: Uni- 24. Rivals: Media Fantasy Films from Radio to 32.

111. Gilbert Seldes. spaces. 53. Quoted in Boddy. Hostile Aliens. made in Poverty. Matthews. There is a comparable condemna- sion (New York: Doubleday. un- . Douglas Gomery. Ibid. 89. ed. 57.. Siepmann. United States (Madison: University of Wis- 50. Volume 2. Philip Simay. 93. Ibid. “The Virginity of Public Space (Durham: Duke University Astronauts: Sex and the Science Fiction Press. 105. Benjamin. Michael the alien invaders may be technologically W. tion of advanced technologies in Byron 71.. 78.” 85. 8. 1927–1934. Dawn over 62. “The Storyteller.” Fiction. tasies in The Beast from 20. Melvin E. and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Writing for Televi. 51. Howard Eiland. Shared Pleasures: the Antinomies of Tradition (Ithaca: Cor. and Society (New York: Oxford Uni- Benjamin and History. 49. Ferris. but they are seen as cool. A History of Movie Presentation in the nell University Press.” in A. Annette Kuhn (London: Verso. Ibid. Walter Benjamin. Charles A. Benjamin. Jennings. Ibid. Anna McCarthy. American Science 65. 1953). “Experience and Haskin’s War of the Worlds (1953). 66. Ibid. come a household fixture. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 73. Walter Benjamin. 37. 54. Walter sion. Sontag.” 96. “The Storyteller. Radio. Press.. 87. 81.” 52. 80. Ibid. the Atom: Evolution/Devolution Fan- 68. Fiction Films and 9/11 (New York: Algora. Ibid. 70. Ambient Television: Visual Culture and 83. Fifties Television. “The Storyteller.” in Walter Benjamin: Selected the same year as Beast. 112. Welcome to the Dream- in the 1940s as a public medium to comple. David S. Lynn Spigel. 75. 140. Michael Pinsky. 1999).” 325. 74. ed.000 Fathoms. Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema.. 2001). 90. Although Anna McCarthy has argued that Them!. 1950). Smith (Cambridge: Harvard University 88–89. 1993). Ibid. Vivian Sobchack. 61. 60. versity Press. “Tradition as In. 111. W. Hollywood and Today’s News: 1950s Science 55. 2001).. 247. 23. Future Present: 58. consin Press. Jancovich.238 Not e s to Page s 178–190 Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken. 139. “Imagination of Disaster. Ibid. Benjamin.” 86.. The Cambridge In. Ethics and/as Science Fiction (Madison: 59. Film. and Gary advanced. (Durham: Duke University Press.” in Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and 69. 275. 2007).. junction: Benjamin and the Critique of 76. 1968). John McCole. 2003). 44. Make Room for troduction to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge: T V. 347. 1992). Writings. 79. W. Televi- Historicisms. 77. W. McCole. Laurence. Cyndy Hendershot. York: Alfred A. 1952). Quoted in Seed. television has since be. Benjamin. Ibid. “Tradition as Injunction. 56. “Re-examining. 64. ed. 275–276.. 2008). Zero: The Story of the Atomic Bomb (New 63. 53. 99. “The Storyteller. and that it was initially conceived 82. 1990). Knopf. William L. 86. Cambridge University Press. 347. Simay. Benjamin. house: Popular Media and Postwar Suburbs ment its liveness. 90. 91. Walter Benjamin and 72. 30. In Haskin’s film.” 90. 84. W. “Darwin and 67. Ibid. Quoted in Spigel. 731..” television was very much present in public Science Fiction Studies 25 (1998): 321.

Grant (Austin: 1950s Television (Middletown: Wesleyan University of Texas Press. Vivian Sobchack. Miles Bennell. In fact. “Dark City. Madcaps. Mur- morally inferior. But those that did interrogate the inine: Film. Projecting Paranoia: University Press. Press. and therefore the 1950s: Themes and Variations. 2007). American Culture (Philadelphia: Univer- 91. Walter Wanger had reportedly considered ence: Movies. 33.” in American Cinema of the (Durham: Duke University Press. 67. 1998). It’s the Movies Keith Grant’s The Dread of Difference: Gen.” 94. Murrow interview World (New York: Columbia University the film’s protagonist. 2000). ray Pomerance (New Brunswick: Rutgers 85. 41. Screwballs. Kurt Neumann’s Kronos (1957). see Barry 100. Lori Landay. 11 (1989): 62. Feminism. 27. 1996). Ibid. 2005). 1996). 102. Pomerance (New Brunswick: Rutgers 106. non-human. William H. Paranoia. 2008). In Pennsylvania Press. aired in October 1959. sion. For a comprehensive analysis of University Press. 584. Avila. Ray Pratt. producer 97. Postmodernism. that Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on der and the Horror Film. Jackie Byars. All That Hollywood antennae look very similar to rabbit ears Allows: Re-reading Gender in 1950s Melo- on a television set. Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Them! is not the only time the tion Man (Philadelphia: University of monster is visually linked to television. 2005). ed. Not e s to Page s 191–199 239 sympathetic. 174. Conspiratorial Visions in American Film 94. The American Science Fiction Film (New 134. Men in the Middle: cade – like The Twilight Zone. 86. 215. Fredric Jameson. 104. Laura Mulvey. 88. Murray 280. . 190. 147. 1950s: Themes and Variations. American Science Fiction. 99. 90. 2005). 214. Screening Space: 101. 93.. . . 92. were only cheerful shows on televi- 87. 103. Psychoanalysis (New myth of small town contentment did not York: Routledge. Seed. Carolina Press. the robot’s 108. Barbara Creed. The Monstrous-Fem. 1993). 116–117. 1991). thereby aligning him with the one figure 98. 2009). 107. ed.” in Television: The Critical and Suburbs: Positioning the 1950s Home. Ibid. the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism up . Sidney Perkowitz. 2001). Whyte. 105. Science. how horror films explicitly project mascu. commence until the tail end of the de- 88. Mary Beth Haralovich. which first Searching for Masculinity in the 1950s (Chi. line fears on the female Other. Jon Lewis. The Organiza- 95. cago: University of Chicago Press. Generation of Vipers & Con Women: The Female Trickster in (Champaign: Dalkey Archive. 49. Todd Gitlin. “Movies and the on television who was truly regarded as Crack of Doom. “Sitcoms Entertainment. Pleasures (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ed. Barry Keith Grant. ogy: The Hegemonic Process in Television 89. James Gilbert. Philip Wylie. View. sity of Pennsylvania Press. Hendershot.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video ford University Press. drama (Chapel Hill: University of North 96. & the End of the having Edward R.” in American Cinema of nonconformist. 23. This is not to suggest that there 1999). ed. Absurd. Visual and Other (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. 1991). 378.. Christine Becker. “Movies and Growing or. University Press. “Prime Time Ideol- 217. Hollywood Sci. 2002). Horace Newcomb (Oxford: Ox- maker.

4 (1995): 18.” in Meditations in an Emer- 116. Bordwell. 2009). 17. Francisco J. “To the Film Indus- sity Press. Cinema 2: The Time 112. 1946–64 (Westport: Greenwood. 223. Simay. Gender. and the Cold War: American sion and the unhinged nature of their dieg- Science Fiction and the Roots of Postmod. trans. 2–3. Frank O’Hara. liams. “Toward a New tion: Television. marking “the advent Paranoia. 16. MacLean.. films need to be read as science fiction. no. Ricardo (New York: Rodopi. nia Press. 3 (2006): 221. David Bordwell Press. 48. 165.240 Not e s to Page s 199 –21 2 109. Shawn Rosenheim. 156.” Western Journal of Press. “The Critic. “Tradition as Injunction. 113. and Discursive Practice. 110.” in Gledhill and Wil- 394. gency (New York: Grove Press. 4. Marcia Landy. 343. 6. 269. James Morrison (Lon- ica. 1957). Keith Booker. and Postmodern Media Economics. 1995). Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable (Urbana: Galeta (Minneapolis: University of Min- University of Illinois Press. of academic film studies at the moment berculture and New Media. Don- 2008). 1989). eses make them relevant here. trial: Science Fictions in A Brief History of 122. Technology. Michigan Press. 1996). Way Hollywood Tells It. Wisconsin Press. Time and The Incredible Shrinking Man. 3. ed.” 123. 342. Spigel. 3. Paul Arthur.” 111. 1999). Douglas Gomery. Conclusion Jon Lewis (New York: New York Univer. ematic and Critical Responses to American 4. Ibid. no. Ibid. try in Crisis. ald Allen (Berkeley: University of Califor- 118. ley Andrew is even more specific about “Technology on Screen: Projections. 172. ed. Frank O’Hara. Monsters. 117. Parallel His- Effect: Nostalgia and the Visual Framing tories (Berkeley: University of California of (White) Suburbia. Welcome to the Dreamhouse. Culture (Bloomington: Indiana University structing Film Studies. 242. I am not arguing that Haynes’s Film Quarterly 48. Hollywood Cinema. ed. Spigel. 140. Maltby. 124..” in Cy. Greg Dickinson. 1–3. Gilles Deleuze. 5. and Noël Carroll (Madison: University of 127. Communication 70. “The Pleasantville Cinema and Psychoanalysis. Reinventing Film Studies. 346. Lynne Joyrich. Ibid. 393. when Metz leapfrogged over Mitry as he . Mush. “The Last Four 128. 1990). Michael Tavel Clarke. However. 126. Dud- 121. liams.” in The End of Cinema as We Know It: American Film in the Nineties. 1996). nesota Press. 125. Information in Todd Haynes’s Films. the moment of birth. ed. Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. Janet Bergstrom.” in The Broadcasting (New York: Continuum. 409. Alev Adil and Steve Kennedy. ed.” in Post-Theory: Recon. “Extraterres. Ibid. Apocalypse. ernism. their focus on the role of televi- room Clouds. 1. Television at the Movies: Cin.” Things: History. 45. Welcome to the Dreamhouse. Hollywood and Image. 115. Hollywood. 2007). 2001). 1865–1930 (Ann Arbor: University of don: Wallflower. M. 14. Re-Viewing Recep- 114. 2007). Heaven Allows. “Introduction. Jon Nelson Wagner and Tracy Briga 2. “Storytelling and 2001). Michele Hilmes. These Days of in The Cinema of Todd Haynes: All That Large Things: The Culture of Size in Amer. Christine Gledhill and Linda Wil- 120. Endless Night: 119.

13. Valck. At the same The Beginnings of the U. Transition (Chicago: University of Chi- 2008). 33. while anthologies like Gledhill son. 30. one at UC Berkeley reinvented themselves 12. Pa. “The Chuck Tryon’s Reinventing Cinema and Core and the Flow. 32. 412. “Cinephilia in Transition..” Because.” 160..” 14. Mulvey and Wollen. books like vocabulary and method. 8. 14. Ibid. Malte Hagener and Marijke de 27..” 227. Ibid. Ibid. in Grieveson and Wasson. Convergence miotics and Half-way Back Again. Ibid. in a much-noted move. 2001). Reinventing Film (New York: NYU Press. Goodbye tricia Pisters. Media Studies. Henry Jenkins.” in Mind 28. elder’s humanism with a new structuralist 24. or. Jaap Kooijman. culture. 25. 21.” 228.” Screen 50. tried to take stock of how the digital philia to Film Studies. 16. 15. “Cinephilia or the Uses of the three stages of film studies – where of Disenchantment. “How (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Films Mean. 5. 17. Mulvey and Wollen. the first stage is the era when (primarily . xvi. Dale Hudson and Patricia Zim- 20. Hello Cinephilia: Film Culture in sterdam: Amsterdam University Press.” and Williams’s Reinventing Film Studies.. Inventing Film mentioned earlier..” 32.” in Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide Gledhill and Williams.” 896. 4. 2009). From Aesthetics to Se. Technophilia and the Uses of Disenchantment. Morrison. Reinventing Cinema: Studies. sional organization in the field. The End of Cinema gie du cinéma. ed. no. Henry Jenkins’s Convergence Culture have 7. 22. Visual and Other Pleasures. Toles. Jon Lewis. “From Cine. Ibid. 412. as We Know It: American Film in the Nine- this is the time when Metz replaces “his ties (New York: NYU Press. “Cinephilia or merman. borrowing Dudley Andrew’s paradigm 22. Cinema. 18. Imaginary Signifier. the largest profes- 2007).” in de Valck Collaborative Remix Zones. Thomas Elsaesser. 2006). revolution has impacted film and film 8.” Andrew. cago Press. “From Cine. Cinephilia. 23. “Rescuing Fragments. Elsaesser. 31. Scenes of Instruction: itself for the new millennium. Press. 16. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. Andrew argues. “The Academy and Motion Pictures. In the last decade. Jonathan Rosenbaum. 324. Ibid. Dana Polan. 19. “After the Revolution. Ibid. ix. of Cinema Studies. and film programs like the philia to Film Studies. “Cinephilia. Lee Grieveson and Haidee Was. 32. 15. Mulvey. 1 (2009): 139. and Wanda Strauven (Am.S. ed. 7. Chuck Tryon. 26. changed 10. Not e s to Page s 21 2–218 241 reviewed the latter’s Esthétique et psycholo. its name to the Society of Cinema and 11. Ibid..” in as programs or departments in film and Grieveson and Wasson. have attempted to as- Studies.. and Hagener. Offering a similar proposal. and 16. Study of Film time. the Society (Berkeley: University of California Press. 404. Movies in the Age of Media Convergence 13. 34. the Screen: Media Concepts According to 29. Thomas Elsaesser. Mark Betz.. “Little Books. Metz. Ibid. Ibid. Inventing Film media. sess how film studies might reformulate 9. Studies. 2010).

ests: film history and reception studies. he merges the biographical. Anna Bostock (London: film studies. Walter Benjamin. 19. ix. the second stage is the ley. trans. 6.” 161. “Rescuing Fragments. Norton. Ibid. Toles. institutionalization of film studies. . Understanding By reinjecting the cinephiliac spirit into Brecht. George Washing- the third stage has been the move away ton’s False Teeth: An Unconventional Guide from grand theory – Christian Keathley to the Eighteenth Century (New York: W. service of the third stage’s primary inter. Keath- a modern medium. 37. 1977). Robert Darnton. 2003).” 38. and the theoretical. W. lize the first stage’s cinephilic spirit in the 36.242 Not e s to Page s 218–219 European) intellectuals hailed cinema as the historical. argues that his project works “to remobi. New Left Books. and 35. Cinephilia and History.

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28. and Peter William Evans. 13. 44–45. 27. 122. 152 gambling. Benjamin. 162. 125–128. 186 Blood of a Poet. 127 A BC.. 13. The. and auctor. Antonin. 120–123. 100–101 Boddy. 141 Blackmail. and Kristin Balio. 120. The. Aesthetic of astonishment. 28. Theodor. Woody. 133. Sarah. 46. William. 194. Keith. and gambler or Anderegg. 81–82 Thompson. 96. 208. 164. Richard. 136 materialism. as defined at Cahiers du Bernhard. Isaac. 144 22–23.. Tino. 219. Walter. 37. 24. 157. 101 and ragpicker or ragpicking. Adorno. 120–121. Louis. 81. Paul. M. 134–135. and detective or detec- All That Heaven Allows. 108 Beast from 20. 127. 59. Mark. Artaud. 128. 48 185–190. Peter. John. 12 Bordwell. 200 76 Bordwell. André. 86 96. 130. Betz.000 Fathoms. 26. 193. 5. Christine. 20–23. 10. 145 Battle of the Sexes. American Society of Cinematographers. 85 Belton. Angel Face. Antoine de. 143–144 257 . 129. 4. 209 tion. 26. 21. 7–8 20–21. 50. 123–124. 27. 105. 163 Authorship. 72 Azimov. 67 Adair. 28. and storyteller or storytelling. 212 death of. 104–106. 141. 92–94. Index Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. H. Bergstrom. 123–128 (see also La politique Berry. 29. 175. Bruce. Janet. 49–51. 196 Allen. Michael. 50–51. 213–214 137–138. 208 Baecque. 7. and signature experiment. 73. 22 156 Adrian. Roland. 100 Barthes. 121–123. and modernity. 19–23. Gilbert. 5. Janet Staiger. Arthur. 48–49. Barrios. 207. 141. xiv. 189 L’Age d’Or. 138 Bazin. 120 Abrams. David. 16. 232n17 and Romanticism. 68. Dudley. Booker. 61. 68 Allen Smithee phenomenon. 173–174 Babington. 204 177–181. and photography. 177 Basler. M. 78. 81 Becker. David. 82. Gilbert. 155–156 Biskind. 119–120. 9. Roy. Aragon. 235n130 76. and flâneur or flânerie. Nancy E. 133–135. 25. 173 Cinéma. 209 Auteurism: commercialization of. and historical Andrew. Bixby letter. 95 des auteurs). 176.

88 Chierichetti. 218 Cinephilia: classical. Double Life. Mary Ann. Crawford. 83 Dombey and Son. 53–72. 2. 74–75. 73 . 40. 38–39. 36. 162–166 Eburne. 56. Breton. 97–98. 98 Dali. Margaret. 84–85. 6–8. 129 Crafton. 8. 82. 6. moments in. 78. 25. 214. 3. 110. 185 Crowther. 191 Cardinal. 11–14. 61. 74 Cahiers du Cinéma. Fiona. 12. 4. 105. 2–3. 154. 139. 2. in media history. Deleuze. 41 Buck-Morss. 23–26. Coco. 68 wood’s version of. Dreamers. 146 Doherty. opposition to. 88 23 Comolli. 59. 43 Clash by Night. René. 5. 222n19 Creed. Howard. 107. 206 Cinephiliac moments. 176. critique of. and Jean Narboni. 199 Cowie.. 24. 216–217. 12 Conversion to sound. 51–52. 151. David. 176–177 33–34. George. 24. 86. Timothy. 36. 171 Chanel. 108–110. 6 Crevel. Cecil B. 216 157–158. in traditional film history. and Kevin McLaughlin. 66 208–209. 10. 93 Curtis. 60. 202–203. 144 tory of. 140–142. 207 17. 150 Bulworth. 49. Sergei. 38. 128 Byars. David. 26. 7. 17. 6–9. Greg. 83. 4. 117. Easy Living. 95. 52–53. Thomas. James. 87. Marcel. Jerome. The. and Nouvelle Vague. 97 Chandler. 17. 81–82. DeMille. 87. 218–219 Dickinson. 82 Daney. 218–219. 37–39. 106 211. Dead End. 194. Jean-Louis. 16–17. 96–97. critique Duchamp. 142. Derrida. 136 See also Cinephiliac historiography Deserter. 218–219 Doane. 57. 83. and relation to contemporary Hollywood. 176 Clair. 151 Eisenstein. 99 opposition to. A. 150 CBS. 161–162. 108. 5–6. Joan. 90–91. 86. 78–80. 77–80. 108–109 Cat and the Canary. 52. 6. Cohen. Salvador. Barbara. 25–26. Serge. Katharine. 25–26. 4. Detour. 217–219. 130 Breathless. and Delamater. 113. 8–10. 50 Cornered. 174. in Surrealism. 129. Bosley. Susan. René. 160 Chance: in classical Hollywood. 52. 15 29–30. 44–47. Donald. 79.258 I n de x Bradley. rebirth of. 173. 87–89 as gamble. 166. Disney. Raymond. 24 Citizen Kane. 224n2 Classical Hollywood: alternative his. 66. 175. 204 Corrigan. Michel. 99 Eiland. 177 96–98. 113. 80. Robert. 64. 90–91. The. definition of. 175. 13–14. 118–119. 26. Jackie. 107 China Seas. 73 Cinephiliac historiography. 74 37–39. Walt. Roger. 24. The.. 39–40 Conrad. 123–128. 28–29. 28. 12. 30. Peter. Gilles. 23–24. Denby. Holly- Broadway Melody. Bryher. Jonathan E. 157 Cobra. 157 of. 26. 58. 108–109 144. 84. Early cinema. 65 Crossfire. 86 excess. 107–108 Dada. 15 Don Juan. 4. 35–36. 9–10 Chion. 38 Darnton. 42. 4. 88 Brave New World. Peter. 88 Conley. 91. 137. 11 215–217. Cukor. 87–89. 144 3. 214–215. 22. 29–30. and new media. transformation of. Jacques. André.

198 217–218 Glass Web. Mordaunt. Ralph Waldo. 125 Friedrich. Thomas.” 155 Freeman. Cyndy. Judy. 128 FCC freeze. 48. 140. 156 Howard.. Will. 228n16 Eyman. 103–104 Far from Heaven. 198 Gomery. 106–108 Haskell. 2 203 Incredible Shrinking Man. Andrew. and Marijke de Valck. Christine. 134. 56 F for Fake. 32. 41 Honor of His House. 69 Hendershot. 102 Emerson. 154 Fischer. 153–154. Alfred. 130. James. Frank. Tom. Howard. 30 Heylin. Jean. 168–169 Hay. 188 Hughes. 184–185. 137. 84. 162. and Linda Williams. Ina Rae. Gitlin. Jane M. 155 Hearts of Age. 128. 107–108. John. 113. 195–199. 45. 46 Gilbert. Barry Keith. 85–86 ism. Sumiko. 99–100. 60–61 Great Depression. 204 Hansen. 202 42nd Street. 97–98 I Love Lucy. 41 212 Huyssen. William. 123 Grieveson. 180 Hays. 192. 117. The. Mary Beth. Robert. 119 Five-cornered agreement. 57. 90. Laura. Lucy. 46. 104 Gunning. 29–30. Impressionists. 177 202. 209 Haralovich. Andreas. D. and film. 90 Hitchcock. F. 58. W. 123. Steven. 196 House Un-American Activities Commit- Gaines. Scott. David S. 187 Fitzgerald. 4. 90. Huxley. Harvey. 29. Molly. 35. A. and Surreal. Michele. Lee. 195–196 It Happened One Night. 109–110 99–100. I n de x 259 Eisner. Douglas. 135 Everitt. Y. Frances. The. 96. 100–102. 176. 89. Samuel. Oliver Wendell. 149 Everson. 212 Epstein. 54. 78 . The. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 82. Scott. 124. David. 152–153 First Auto. 139. 192 Fashion. 70. 185 Gledhill. 205 Grant. 36. 95. 1–2 How It Feels to Be Run Over. Howard. Hark. and Haidee Wasson. 78. 46–47. 40. 99 Forty Guns. 68 Higashi. 64 Father Knows Best. 35 Evans. 13 Griffith. William K. 153 Godard. 112. Miriam. Clark. 181. 149. 232n6 197. Elsaesser. 38 Habermas. Gone with the Wind. Jürgen. 37. 170 Garis. 85 Gable. Malte. 169. 181. James. 209 Good Neighbor policy in Latin America. 65 Face in the Crowd. 184–185. 102 tee. Clinton. 120 Ferris. 35. 37. 84. 206 Hawks.” 101–102 Frost. Dale. The. Fantômas. 214 Hall. 74. 53. 2 Horton. 56–61. 176 Holmes. 196 Fox. 168. 74 “Hitler Drawing Faulty Swastikas. Caroline. 7 Hilmes. 118. and Patricia Zimmerman. 61. 199–202. 145 “Homage to Mack Sennett. 35 Garland. and classical Hollywood. The. Otto. 165... 6–7 Goldwyn. 160. Lotte. 15. 35. 107. 81–82. 81 86. 60 Heller. 2. 215 95. 71 Hagener. Aldous. 164. 102–106. 191 Hudson.. Todd. 44–45. Jean-Luc. 207–208.

64–67 Paramount decision. See Cine. 101. 186 Naremore. Elizabeth. Joseph R. 84 Keathley. 134–135. James. Pleasantville. 106 Morrison. Barbara. The. 17. 168. 95 McBride. Geoffrey... 10. The. 35. 215 Landay. 131–133. 168. Frank. Mitchell. Lynne. James. 34. xiv O’Brien. 91. 13. 153 Jack the Kisser. 38. See also Benjamin. 102–103 Lincoln. 195 Martin. Kennedy.. Siegfried. Stanley. John. 105 Joyce. Niklas. 203 Leave It to Beaver. Colin. Arkadin. 210 Lawnmower Man. 42–44. 186–187 Metz. 68. 47 McCarthy. 104. 86 Pinsky. 70. and Adrian Martin.260 I n de x It’s All True. Abraham. Richard. 9. The. 29. The. 117. 133. 126 O’Hara. 19 MacCabe. 12–13. 231n98 Nims. James. 15.. Jacqueline. 68. Michael. Laura. 91. 185 Materialist film historiography. 136. Mark. 80 Mayer. 152. 94. 105–106. 118 Lights of New York. 175. 98–99. 139 Maltby. Sidney. Edgar Allan.. Melvin E. Thomas M. 54. Joseph P. Joseph. 99–100 Old San Francisco.. 108 Next Voice You Hear. 215 Madam Satan. 164 Leitch. 83. 71. 16 Marx Brothers. 104. 169. 203 NBC. 67 Nobody’s Baby. 213. 46 Miller. 207 Murrow. 70 Magnificent Ambersons. 214–215 Jazz Singer. 117. Richard. 120. Lori. 216 King Kong. 198 McCole. 163. 5. James. the Terrible. 180 Leaming. 54. 68–72. Ernest. 100. 174. James. 52. 90 Mulvey. 119–120 North. 168 Kracauer. 206 philiac historiography Poe. 105–106 Laemmle. 90. 150 My Man Godfrey. 155–156 Lady from Shanghai. 193. 208 Mighty Tumble. 70–71. 78 Lasky. 184. Geoffrey. 95 Nowell-Smith. Jesse. 55 MGM. Christian. Christian. Marcia. 51. 25.. 125 Loew. 107 Photogénie. 67. 117. The. 129. The. 172. 37. Adrian. Marcus. 214 Luhmann. 9. 95 Walter Kiesling. 26.. 176. 185 Motion Picture Producers and Distribu- Kiss. 129. 2. 174–176 Jameson. Jane. 118. 203 Palmer. 99 tors of America. 55–56. 37. Barton. 113 Mulvagh. 146 Man Who Laughs. 188 Landy. Barrett C. 174–175 Langdon. 241n34 Modernity. 221n18 Perkowitz. Carl. 73 Midnight.. 128 Nielsen. Fredric. 178 Jancovich. 11 Modernism. William L. The. 68. 118. 204 Leisen. 121 Kauffman. 65. 59. 184 Ivan. 147 Laurence. 97–98 Lastra. 61. 55. 74 Mr. The. 17. 211. 202 Martin. 61. 138 . 192. 94 Movietone. Michael. 54–56. Edward R. Jennifer E. A. 198 Murder by Television. 118 Matthews. 212. R. 52. 65. 33–35. 108 Joyrich. 94. 104 Letty Lynton. 135 Naremore. 83–84. 206 Network. Louis B. 149. 129 Net.

212 Sikov. 36. 162. 86. Jacques. 149–150 Spiegel. 27. Elsa. 109 La politique des auteurs. 145. The. 23. 181. 196. 80–81. 7–8. 52 Singin’ in the Rain. 7. Surrealism. 192. 223n76 174–176 Sci-fi films. 182–203. 154–155 Sobchack. 184–185. 165. 107 Siepmann. 165 203–204 Terminator 2. 176. 203. 116 Shall We Dance. 86–89. Susan. Ten Commandments. 125. Jonathan. 6. 81.. 204 Seed. 100–102. 105. Ray. Philip. Thomas. 92 atomic bomb testing. Kristin. 118. 65. 149 Stranger. Seven Year Itch. 114. 4 Singing Fool. 128–131. 198 Sinclair. growth of. Paul. 165. 115. 106–108 203–209. 124–125 stars. Helen. 172. 206–207 Television: and advertising. The. 96–97 Robida. 93. 142–143. 163 138–139. 191 Sontag. A. 106– tin. 176. 198 Sturges. David. I n de x 261 Poiret. Sam. 113–119. 167. 93. Schiaparelli. 103–104. 196 Rosenbaum. Melinda. Gilbert. 48 Simmel. 52 Quinn. 47 Spadoni. 78. 189. 165 182–185. William. Michael. Robert B. and McCarthy. David O. 168– Scarface. 5 Pratt. 124 Swing Time. “Self-Portrait. 183 Shadow of a Doubt. Schwartz.. 150 Singer. 186 Polan. Lynn. The. 47 Surrealism Routt. 170–172. 35. Malcolm. 29 Star Is Born. 179. and Adrian Mar. 27. Gaylyn. 144 Proto-McCarthyism. 173. 164–166. 144–145 Ray. 173–174. 163. 63 Rosenbaum. Ben. Andrew. 185. See Classical Hollywood Rivette. 123 Red Channels. Irving. Jonathan. 227n85 R KO. The. 205 Sullivan’s Travels. Martin. 90 Seldes. Charles A. 193 Stoddart. 197–199. 27. 3 Rebel without a Cause. 32. and film Sarris. 108 Rosenheim. 68. 166–167. The. Redmond. 124–128 Simay. Man. 122 Sunrise. 182. 7 170. 162–163. Georg. 191–193. 1–2. Dana. 10–11. 199 Surrealists. 48. 86 Studio system. 2. 230n82 Spigel. Shawn. Carlo. 52. 26. Ed. 181 Them!. The. 108. 200–201. 165–166. 177 Thing from Another World. 143. 172–173. 165. 144–155. 146–147 Third Man. 2. 80 . 28. 86 Szaloky.. Vivian. Andrew. 140. 13–14 107. Sean. 161–164. Wolfgang. 65 Rankin. 216 Railroad Smashup. Vanessa. 44 Psycho. Robert. 103 Thompson. Albert. Schatz. 43 tee hearings. 36. 28–29. 205 Ray. 124 Studlar. 163 Thalberg. 20. 90 Rubin. 92 Rose. See also Rounding Up the Yeggmen. 173. The. Preston. 190–193. and Salzani. 24. 189. Mark. 157–158 Richardson. and Kefauver Crime Commit- Schivelbusch. 61–64. 62 Safe. 217 Sunset Boulevard. 117. 46. Hollywood’s critique of. 209 Poor Little Rich Girl. 82 187–189.” 101 194 Selznick. John.

97–98 . 14 Wolin. 185 War of the Worlds. 140 Trouble with Harry.. 218. Mae. 49. as signature. 152 Wasko. The. 15. 67. and Malte Hagener. George. Oscar. 7. 140. 16 Universal. 128. 122–123 Waldorf Statement. 169 Warner Bros. 35. 18. Jack. 49. 169 Through the Haverstraw Tunnel. 181 Young. 19. 16–17. 141 Warner. Sam.262 I n de x Thomson. 61. 102 Virginian. 153 Werner. Edward. Philip. Marijke de. 150. Liz. The. 17. The. 35. 117. 198–199 Why We Fight. 152. 99 Wells. 175–176 Toland. 164 Whyte. 165. 144 Welles. 216. 152–154. Tolstoy. 122. 54. 130. 106 Warner. 152 Wells. James V. 133 Truman Show. Martha. Leo. 212 Vertigo. 74 Young. 157–158 Torrent. The. 68. 92–94 Valck. Joseph N. 112. 56. Janet. Dimitris. 167. 121 Wordsworth. Gregg. 68. 15. 56. 49. Paul. 45. 152 Zukor. 141. 74. 65. 219 Women. 23 Wollen. 125 Truffaut. 106 Wohlfarth. Elizabeth. 205 Wertham. Toles. 164. Irving. 11–12. Paul. 137 Wylie. 4. The. Peter. David. 74 Woodmansee. 127. 139–143. 127. 192 Wallace. 136. 219 137–138. 187 Tual.. Fredric. 107 TV Guide. 86–87 Vitaphone. 67 Wilson. 95. G. David. 164. William. 148. Denise. 68. 46 Welch. H. 215. 118–119. 91 West. 150 Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show... Richard. 210. 20 Vardoulakis. Orson. William H. 72 Wood.. François. Adolph. 94–95. Wilde. 146 72 Willemen. 129 146. Robin.

and transnational cultural studies. critical theory.R ashna Wa di a R ich a r ds is Assistant Professor and Director of Film Studies at Rhodes College. Quarterly Review of Film and Video. and Arizona Quarterly. French. Film Criticism. Her areas of specialization include film history. and Bollywood cinemas in Framework. She has published on film theory as well as American. Criticism. .

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