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Blue Angel, Brown Culture: The Politics of Film Reception in Göttingen

  • David Imhoof
Chapter
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series

Abstract

The Blue Angel opened in the town of Göttingen to a sold-out crowd on June 17, 1930. Like most viewers, Heinz Koch, the leading cultural critic at Göttingen’s largest newspaper, could hardly contain his excitement. His review made clear that advertisements, which promoted the film as “Germany’s greatest sound film” and “the greatest artistic achievement of the season,” were not hyperbole. Koch wrote that the film served as nothing less than “an eternal mirror” on the human condition, one that showed “ecce homo.”1 Overall in 1930, cinema’s role in German society reflected a great deal about a nation in turmoil. Reichstag battles over films on the Great War, the spread of sound technology, intensified scrutiny of film by censorship bodies, and greater anxiety about the role of American culture made movies front-page news in Germany. That year, too, violent political agitation and elections across the nation marked a major watershed in the politics of the Weimar Republic.

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  1. 2.
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    Josef von Sternberg, Fun in a Chinese Laundry (New York, 1965), 230.Google Scholar
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    David Imhoof, “Culture Wars and the Local Screen: The Meaning of World War I Films in One German City around 1930” in Why We Fought: America’s Wars in Film and History, ed. Peter Rollins and John O’Connor (Lexington, 2008), 175–95.Google Scholar
  35. 72.
    A number of scholars have critiqued Kracauer’s assumptions, especially his gendered readings. See the New German Critique issue devoted to Kracauer, volume 54 (1991); Mike Budd, ed., The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Texts, Contexts, Histories (New Brunswick, 1990); Petro, Joyless Streets.Google Scholar
  36. 73.
    Julia Sneeringer, Winning Women’s Votes: Propaganda and Politics in Weimar Germany (Chapel Hill, 2002), 119–218.Google Scholar

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© John Alexander Williams 2011

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  • David Imhoof

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