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Runaway Romances

Runaway Romances: Hollywood's Postwar Tour of Europe

Robert R. Shandley
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 234
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  • Book Info
    Runaway Romances
    Book Description:

    In the 1950s and early 1960s, America imagined itself young and in love in Europe. And Hollywood films of the era reflected this romantic allure. From a young and naïve Audrey Hepburn falling in love with Gregory Peck inRoman Holidayto David Lean'sSummertime,featuring Katherine Hepburn's sexual adventure in Venice, these glossy travelogue romances were shot on location, and established an exciting new genre for Hollywood.

    As Robert Shandley shows inRunaway Romances,these films were not only indicative of the ideology of the American-dominated postwar world order, but they also represented a shift in Hollywood production values. Eager to capture new audiences during a period of economic crisis, Hollywood's European output utilized the widescreen process to enhance cinematic experience. The films-To Catch a Thief, Three Coins in the Fountain,andFunny Faceamong them-enticed viewers to visit faraway places for romantic escapades. In the process, these runaway romances captured American fantasies for a brief, but intense, period that ended as audiences grew tired of Old World splendors, and entered into a new era of sexual awakening.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-947-7
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)

    Part of the regular fare in American cinema in the 1950s and early 1960s were stories of Americans in Europe. The American, usually young, naïve, and female, arrives in Europe filled with vague but romantic ambitions. She soaks up the beauty and culture of the Old World, tours the grand monuments, and mixes with the colorful locals. Inevitably, she falls in love. She must make a choice between her old life and the romantic allures of the Old World.

    The associations between Europe and romance long predate this cycle of films, and stories of American sexual awakening and self-discovery in...

  5. 1 Hollywood’s Move Abroad
    (pp. 1-19)

    In 1951 Hollywood studios shot three films abroad.¹ The next year the number tripled² and included one production, William Wyler’s hitRoman Holiday, in which almost all production and postproduction work would be completed in Europe. By 1956 fifty-five productions were shot abroad, while ever fewer were being taken up in southern California.A New York Timesarticle from April 7, 1958, entitled “Movies’ Decline Held Permanent” suggests that industry observers did not see the demise of Hollywood studio productions as temporary.³ In 1961 a southern California newspaper noted that more films were currently being shot in Rome than in...

  6. 2 How Rome Saved Hollywood
    (pp. 20-45)

    As we surveyed in the last chapter, Hollywood was faced with a multitude of problems in the early fifties: the industrial scaling back resulting from the Paramount decision, plummeting ticket sales, millions in profits frozen in Europe, and blacklisting at home. In this chapter, in order to illustrate how the decision to film on location in Europe served as a response to the industrial crises of the early part of the decade we will recount the production history of Paramount Pictures’ 1953 blockbusterRoman Holiday. We will pay special attention to the technical and logistical problems that the decision to...

  7. 3 Foreign Affairs: Metaphors of Transatlantic Relations
    (pp. 46-75)

    The example ofRoman Holidayreveals how important Europe had become for the Hollywood studios as a location helpful in reducing production costs. Of course, Europe was not the only site for runaway productions. Crews fanned out globally, from Pakistan (Bhowani Junction, George Cukor, 1956), to Egypt (The Ten Commandments, Cecile B. DeMille, 1956), to Kenya and Tanzania (Mogambo, John Ford, 1953 andThe Snows of the Kilamanjaro, Henry King, 1952), to Barbados and Grenada (Island in the Sun, Robert Rossen, 1957). Nevertheless, Europe remained the primary location for Hollywood runaway filmmaking in the 1950s. By the middle of the...

  8. 4 Tourists with Big Cameras: Widescreen Runaways and Class Mobility
    (pp. 76-110)

    All of the major Hollywood studios participated in runaway productions. The cost savings this particular mode of production offered were soon well understood, as was the appeal of Europe as a film setting. Each studio seems to have developed a strategy for the kinds of stories and the production modes that would be employed. In this chapter, we will explore how first Twentieth Century-Fox and then Paramount attempt to expand, quite literally, the scope of the travelogue romance. Working by then within established story lines, the studios sought to further enlarge their audiences by combining romantic European settings with their...

  9. Photographs
    (pp. None)
  10. 5 Marrying the Enemy: The Occupation Romance
    (pp. 111-135)

    In the immediate aftermath of World War II, America found itself in a situation that far exceeded the ideological reach of the Weltanschauung around which it had previously organized itself. Although ventures into colonialism at the turn of the century had made the country somewhat familiar with global politics and its consequences, little prepared the country for the stage on which it would find itself after 1941. Any hopes of utilizing the distance from Europe in order to hide from Old World troubles vanished. The postwar occupations of Germany and Japan highlighted this new relationship to the world perhaps more...

  11. 6 The End of the European Romance
    (pp. 136-160)

    Travelogue romances did not end at the beginning of the 1960s, but it was clear by the beginning of the decade that they no longer held the same position with filmmakers and audiences that they did a few years earlier. In this concluding chapter, I would like to first survey what we have learned about the travelogue romance as a genre. Then we will look at a series of films that question some of the basic conceits of the travelogue romance. Finally, we will conclude by questioning both what became of the genre and of the larger industrial practice of...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 161-172)
  13. Filmography
    (pp. 173-184)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-192)
  15. Index
    (pp. 193-198)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 199-200)