Download Hollywood's American Tragedies: Dreiser, Eisenstein, by Mandy Merck PDF

By Mandy Merck

Theodore Dreiser's dissection of the yankee dream, An American Tragedy, was once hailed because the maximum novel of its iteration. Now a vintage of yankee literature, the tale is one to which Hollywood has again and again again. Hollywood's obsession with this story of yank greed, justice, faith and sexual hypocrisy stretches around the background of cinema. 3 makes an attempt via a few of cinema's maximum directors--Sergei Eisenstein, Josef von Sternberg and George Stevens--have been made to convey this vintage tale to the display. consequently, either Jean-Luc Godard and Woody Allen have back to the tale and to those past diversifications. this can be the 1st specific learn of this awesome series of diversifications. What it unearths is a heritage of Hollywood--from its politics to its cinematography--and, a lot deeper, of yank tradition and the trouble of telling an American tragedy within the land of the yank dream.

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Extra info for Hollywood's American Tragedies: Dreiser, Eisenstein, Sternberg, Stevens

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In Zurich he was asked to film a documentary advocating the legalization of abortion, a commission he delegated to Tisse. The finished work—Fraüennot-Fraüengluck (Women’s Joy is Women’s Woe, 1930) —centers on the pregnant mother of a poor family forced to seek an illegal abortion, a theme to which Tisse and Eisenstein would soon return. Meanwhile in Berlin, Eisenstein re-met Emil Jannings, whom he had briefly encountered three years before when he and Tisse had first visited to learn about new developments in film technique and German production methods.

Like the star, Clyde attracts the rapt visual attention of both immigrant factory girls and the wealthy daughters of their employers. As in Hansen’s description of Valentino, he too combines sexual ambiguity and social marginality, albeit without the star’s “ethnic and racial otherness” (Hansen, 1991: 253). Clyde himself prefers the native-born women in the stamping room for the reticence he shares with them, but like Valentino, he could be said to suffer the tragic consequences for American manhood of the wrong shade of limelight.

He conceded the achievements of Griffith, Fairbanks and Barrymore but dismissed Chaplin, De Mille and Helen’s recent director Allan Dwan (for whom, his diary indicates, she was a small-part player, 20 Hollywood's American Tragedies and an object of erotic pursuit, in the 1922 production of Fairbanks’ Robin Hood). He challenged the reporter to name any American film that compared with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919) or the German work of Ernst Lubitsch. Significantly, the director’s Sumurun (One Arabian Night, 1920), the story of a sheik who wants to add dancing girl Pola Negri to his harem, was among the titles he praised.

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