A Second Life: German Cinema’s First Decades

Thomas Elsaesser (ed.)

Amsterdam University Press, 352pp

German cinema is best known for its art cinema and its long line of outstanding individual directors. The double spotlight on these two subject has only deepened the obscurity surrounding the popular cinema. German Cinema performs a kind of archaeology on a period largely overlooked: the first two decades of German cinema. This collection of essays by established authors refocuses the terms of a debate that will develop in the years to come concerning the historical and cultural significance of popular cinema in Wilhelmine Germany.


Preface and Acknowledgements

Thomas Elsaesser 

General Introduction

Section I – Audiences and the Cinema Industry

The Kaiser's Cinema: An Archeology of Attitudes and Audiences

Martin Loiperdinger 

Oskar Messer, Film Pioneer: Early Cinema between Science, Spectacle, and Commerce

Martin Koerber 

The French Connection: Franco-German Film Relations before World War I

Frank Kessler and Sabine Lenk 

The Danish Influence: David Oliver and Nordisk in Germany

Evelyn Hampicke 

Paul Davidson, the Frankfurt Film Scene and Afgrunden in Germany

Peter Lähn 

Munich’s First Fiction Feature: Die Wahrheit

Jan-Christopher Horak 

Moving Images of America in Early German Cinema

Denir Göktürk 

Section II – Popular Stars and Genres


Early German Film Comedy, 1895–1917

Thomas Brandlmeier 

The Spectator as Accomplice in Ernst Lubitsch’s Schuhpalast Pinkus

Karsten Witte 

Melodrama and Social Drama

Asta Nielsen and Female Narration: The Early Films

Heide Schlüpmann 

Melodrama and Narrative Space: Franz Hofer’s Heidenröslein

Michael Wedel 

Crime Drama and Detective Film

Cinema from the Writing Desk: Detective Films in Imperial Germany

Tilo Knops 

Ernst Reicher alias Stuart Webbs: King of the German Film Detectives

Sebastian Hesse 

The Early Fantasy Film

The Faces of Stellan Rye

Casper Tybjerg 

Homunculus: A Project for a Modern Cinema

Leonardo Quaresima 

Non-Fiction: War Films, Industrial Films, Propaganda and Advertising

Julius Pinschewer: A Trade-mark Cinema

Jeanpaul Goergen 

Newsreel Images of the Military and War, 1914–1918

Wolfgang Mühl-Benninghaus 

Learning from the Enemy: German Film Propaganda in World War I

Rainer Rother 

The Reason and Magic of Steel: Industrial and Urban Discourses in Die Poldihütte

Kimberly O'Quinn 

Section III – Film Style and Intertexts: Authors, Films, and Authors’ Films

Max Mack: The Invisible Author

Michael Wedel 

From Peripetia to Plot Point: Heinrich Lautensack and Zweimal Gelebt

Jürgen Kasten 

Giuseppe Becce and Richard Wagner: Paradoxes of the First German Film Score

Ennio Simeon 

Early German Film: The Stylistics in Comparative Context

Barry Salt 

Self-Referentiality in Early German Cinema

Sabine Hake 

Of Artists and Tourists: 'Locating' Holland in Two Early German Films

Ivo Blom 

Stylistic Expressivity in Die Landstrasse

Kristin Thompson 

Two 'Stylists" of the Teens: Franz Hofer and Yevgenii Bauer

Yuri Tsivian 

The Voyeur at Wilhelm's Court: Franz Hofer

Elena Dagrada