Download PDF by Gerd Gemünden: A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films

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By Gerd Gemünden

ISBN-10: 1845454189

ISBN-13: 9781845454180

With six Academy Awards, 4 entries at the American movie Institute s record of a hundred maximum American video clips, and extra titles at the nationwide old sign up of vintage movies deemed useful of renovation than the other director, Billy Wilder counts as essentially the most entire filmmakers ever to paintings in Hollywood. movie historians and critics, in addition to his colleagues, have continuously celebrated Wilder as an American grasp from the vintage studio period. but how American is Billy Wilder, the Jewish émigré from critical Europe? to check Wilder s paintings is to check the transforming of numerous wealthy and sundry cultural sensibilities, formed via his adventure of displacement. This e-book underscores those complexities, unpacking underlying contradictions the place past commentators oftentimes smoothed them out. Wilder emerges as an artist with roots in sensationalist journalism and the area of leisure in addition to with an wisdom of literary tradition and the avant-garde, positive aspects that result in efficient and infrequently hugely unique confrontations among low and high.

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One of them, Fereydoun Hoveyda, famously began a review by stating: “The subject of Party Girl is idiotic. 17 Ridiculing the subjectivism of the Nouvelle vague and their “Santa Claus aesthetic,”18 Wilder has derided not only the films of Godard but any kind of filmmaking that indulges in the use of what he calls gimmicks—a selfreferential style of filmmaking that sacrifices classic plot structure and psychological motivation of characters for a formalism that draws attention to its own virtuosity.

Precisely because the film has been considered a classic of noir style—it contains a story that focuses on crime and violence; an iconic femme fatale; a fatalistic narrative replete with sudden plot turns and bad endings; a cinematography that relies on strong use of shadows, low key lighting, day-for-night or night-for-night shooting; urban settings and real locations; a modernist, even minimalist score; and hard-boiled dialogue—it has too often been dehistoricized as a prototype. In order to recharge it with the social and symbolic energy it once possessed, its formal inventions need to be contextualized rather than admired as timeless achievements.

Stephan K. Schindler and Lutz Koepnick (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2007): 25–38. Philip K. Scheurer, “Wilder Seeks Films ‘With Bite’ to Satisfy ‘Nation of Hecklers’”; reprinted in Billy Wilder Interviews, ed. Robert Horton, 17. See Billy Wilder, “Man sah überall nur Taschentücher,” (Magazin) 18 February 1994. Cameron Crowe, Conversations with Wilder 19. Quoted in: Volker Kühn, “Nachwort,” in Menschliches Treibgut, Friedrich Hollaender, , trans. Stefan Weidle (Bonn: Weidle, 1995), 348.

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A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films by Gerd Gemünden


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