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From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film

by

From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A landmark, now classic, study of the rich cinematic history of the Weimar Republic, From Caligari to Hitler was first published by Princeton University Press in 1947. Siegfried Kracauer--a prominent German film critic and member of Walter Benjamin's and Theodor Adorno's intellectual circle--broke new ground in exploring the connections between film aesthetics, the prevailing psychological state of Germans in the Weimar era, and the evolving social and political reality of the time. Kracauer's pioneering book, which examines German history from 1921 to 1933 in light of such movies as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, M, Metropolis, and The Blue Angel, has never gone out of print. Now, over half a century after its first appearance, this beautifully designed and entirely new edition reintroduces Kracauer for the twenty-first century. Film scholar Leonardo Quaresima places Kracauer in context in a critical introduction, and updates the book further with a new bibliography, index, and list of inaccuracies that crept into the first edition. This volume is a must-have for the film historian, film theorist, or cinema enthusiast.In From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer--the German-born writer and film critic who shared many ideas and interests with his friend Walter Benjamin--made a startling (and still controversial) claim: films as a popular art provide insight into the unconscious motivations and fantasies of a nation. In films of the 1920s such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, M, Metropolis, and The Blue Angel, he traced recurring visual and narrative tropes that expressed, he argued, a fear of chaos and a desire for order, even at the price of authoritarian rule. The book has become an undisputed classic of film historiography, laying the foundations for the serious study of film.

In From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer made a startling (and still controversial) claim: films as a popular art provide insight into the unconscious motivations and fantasies of a nation. In films of the 1920s, he traced recurring visual and narrative tropes that expressed, he argued, a fear of chaos and a desire for order, even at the price of authoritarian rule. The book has become an undisputed classic of film historiography, laying the foundations for the serious study of film.

Kracauer was an important film critic in Weimar Germany. A Jew, he escaped the rise of Nazism, fleeing to Paris in 1933. Later, in anguish after Benjamin's suicide, he made his way to New York, where he remained until his death in 1966. He wrote From Caligari to Hitler while working as a "special assistant" to the curator of the Museum of Modern Art's film division. He was also on the editorial board of Bollingen Series. Despite many critiques of its attempt to link movies to historical outcomes, From Caligari to Hitler remains Kracauer's best-known and most influential book, and a seminal work in the study of film. Princeton published a revised edition of his Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality in 1997.

Synopsis:

"An undisputed classic of modern film historiography, Kracauer's From Caligari to Hitler had a major impact on the way we relate movies to history and society. Although Kracauer is not afraid of using such contested concepts as collective psychology and German 'soul,' his productive readings of Weimar films as harbingers of emerging fascism still resonate today. Leonardo Quaresima's engaging and erudite introduction is critical in situating Kracauer's project both in its historical moment and in our time."--Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Editor's Note xiii

Introduction to the 2004 Edition xv

Preface li

Introduction 3

I: THE ARCHAIC PERIOD (1895-1918)

1. Peace and War 15

2. Forebodings 28

3. Genesis of Ufa 35

II: THE POSTWAR PERIOD (1918-1924)

4. The Shock of Freedom 43

5. Caligari 61

6. Procession of Tyrants 77

7. Destiny 88

8. Mute Chaos 96

9. Crucial Dilemma 107

10. From Rebellion to Submission 115

III: THE STABILIZED PERIOD (1924-1929)

11. Decline 131

12. Frozen Ground 138

13. The Prostitute and the Adolescent 153

14. The New Realism 165

15. Montage 181

16. Brief Reveille 190

IV: THE PRE-HITLER PERIOD (1930-1933)

17. Songs and Illusions 203

18. Murderer Among Us 215

19. Timid Heresies 223

20. For a Better World 232

21. National Epic 251

SUPPLEMENT: PROPAGANDA AND THE NAZI WAR FILM

1. Nazi Views and Measures 275

2. Film Devices 277

3. The Swastika World 280

4. Screen Dramaturgy 288

5. Conflict with Reality 297

Note on the Inaccuracies 309

Bibliography 315

Updated Bibliography 327

Name Index 333

Film Index 339

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691025056
Subtitle:
A Psychological History of the German Film
Author:
Kracauer, Seigfreid
Author:
Kracauer, Seigfreid
Author:
Quaresima, Leonardo
Author:
Kracauer, Siegfried
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, NJ
Subject:
General
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Film - History & Criticism
Subject:
Motion pictures
Subject:
History and criticism
Subject:
Board - General
Subject:
Motion picture plays
Subject:
Board
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
European History
Subject:
Film Studies
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
no. 4
Publication Date:
19660521
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
64 halftones.
Pages:
440
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 14 oz

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Product details 440 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691025056 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "An undisputed classic of modern film historiography, Kracauer's From Caligari to Hitler had a major impact on the way we relate movies to history and society. Although Kracauer is not afraid of using such contested concepts as collective psychology and German 'soul,' his productive readings of Weimar films as harbingers of emerging fascism still resonate today. Leonardo Quaresima's engaging and erudite introduction is critical in situating Kracauer's project both in its historical moment and in our time."--Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley
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