ELTS 167: European Identities in Classic Hollywood Cinema and Los Angeles, 1924-1950

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This course historicizes and analyzes the artistry and impact of European immigrants, émigrés, and exiles on American cinema. We will explore myriad European identities within the classic Hollywood studio system and the city of Los Angeles as a site of cultural production. Europeans in LA (especially artistic and intellectual refugees and exiles from Hitler’s Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s) helped create film noir as a genre and inextricably shaped the cinema of the 20th century. Identities here include Swedes Victor Sjöström (Seastrom), Greta Garbo, Warner Oland and Ingrid Bergman; Germans Ernst Lubitsch, Robert Siodmak, Max Ophuls, and Edgar G. Ulmer, Austrians Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder; French exile Jean Renoir; Italian-born Frank Capra; and American-European outsider Orson Welles. The course also contextualizes the films within the history of Los Angeles as a growing urban metropolis that is emerging as the key locus of globalized mass media culture. Taught in English.