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Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination

Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema

Tim Bergfelder
Sue Harris
Sarah Street
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination
    Book Description:

    Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination presents for the first time a comparative study of European film set design in the late 1920s and 1930s; based on a wealth of designers' drawings, film stills and archival documents, the book offers a new insight into the development and significance of trans-national artistic collaboration during this period. European cinema from the late 1920s to the late 1930s is famous for its attention to detail in terms of set design and visual effect. Focusing on developments in Britain, France, and Germany, Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema provides a comprehensive analysis of the practices, styles, and function of cinematic production design during this period, and its influence on subsequent filmmaking patterns. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0175-5
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-10)
    Tim Bergfelder, Sue Harris and Sarah Street
  4. Introduction: Understanding and Interpreting Set Design in Cinema
    (pp. 11-30)

    When one thinks of crucial contributors to the filmmaking process, the first professions to come to mind are usually the director, who is seen in overall control of the production; the actors, who embody and animate the fictional characters with which audiences will identify; the scriptwriter, who creates the story and establishes narrative situations; and the cinematographer, who is in charge of visually capturing the narrative and the actors’ performance. Audiences are of course mostly aware that in any production, a myriad of other personnel contribute to a successful production, even if the scope and nature of their work is...

  5. European Set Design in the 1920s and 1930s: Cultural Contexts and Professional Practices
    (pp. 31-108)

    As we have indicated in the introduction, our contention in this book is to understand European cinema from the late 1920s to the late 1930s not simply in terms of separate national entities, but as a creative international network, dispersed across temporary centres of activity, which influence and cross-fertilise each other. In this chapter we chart the wider cultural parameters and the industrial contexts of production design during this period, both across European cinemas, and as regards the specificities of individual national environments, which are presented in the following subsections. What emerges from these interlocking national case studies is a...

  6. Imagining Space in Late Weimar Cinema
    (pp. 109-168)

    In this chapter we will refer to a range of key German films from the late Weimar period to the mid- to late 1930s, including acknowledged classics such as Joe May’s Asphalt (1928), which we have already touched upon in chapter 2 in our discussion of the differences in approach between the designers Herlth and Röhrig and Kettelhut. Other well-known films to feature include Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1929), Die 3-Groschenoper (The Threepenny Opera, 1932), as well as the lesser-known Angst (Fear, 1928), Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna (The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrovna, 1929), and Die...

  7. French Cinema in the 1930s: Space, Place,and National Identity
    (pp. 169-224)

    As with German cinema, it has been customary to view the output of French cinema of the 1930s in terms of national characteristics. The decade is frequently referenced in studies of French cinema as a ‘golden age’ of production,¹ an age in which theauteur-director, the star actor and the literary text emerged as touchstones of French cinematic culture. As a consequence of this, the canon of poetic realism, which is generally taken to be the most accomplished achievement of the decade in terms of production values and cultural prestige, has tended to be over-determined in studies of the era:...

  8. Set Design, Style, and Genre in 1930s British Cinema
    (pp. 225-270)

    As we have documented in chapter 2, the 1930s was a key decade in British cinema for transnational traffic, and also for art directors. The film industry attracted an unprecedented amount of capital investment and developed a studio system that provided its basic long-term economic infrastructure. While the period was characterised by the booms and slumps that have constituted a familiar pattern in British film history, on the whole it was energised, not least by advances in studio organisation and the employment of many talented émigrés from the rest of Europe. British cinema was very much a genre cinema and...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 271-296)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 297-304)
  11. Index of Film Titles
    (pp. 305-310)
  12. Index of Names and Subjects
    (pp. 311-316)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 317-319)