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A Foreign Affair

Billy Wilder's American Films



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A Foreign Affair by Gerd Gemunden
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With six Academy Awards, four entries on the American Film Institute's list of 100 greatest American movies, and more titles on the National Historic Register of classic films deemed worthy of preservation than any other director, Billy Wilder counts as one of the most accomplished filmmakers ever to work in Hollywood. Film historians and critics, as well as his colleagues, have consistently celebrated Wilder as an American master from the classic studio era. Yet how American is Billy Wilder, the Jewish emigre from Central Europe? To study Wilder's work is to examine the reworking of several rich and varied cultural sensibilities, shaped by his experience of displacement. This book underscores these complexities, unpacking underlying contradictions where previous commentators routinely smoothed them out. Wilder emerges as an artist with roots in sensationalist journalism and the world of entertainment as well as with an awareness of literary culture and the avant-garde, features that lead to productive and often highly original confrontations between high and low.

Author Biography

Gerd Gemunden is Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German Studies, Film Studies, and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Framed Visions: Popular Culture, Americanization and the Contemporary German and Austrian Imagination (1998) and editor of volumes on Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Douglas Sirk, as well as a forthcoming anthology of critical writings on Marlene Dietrich.
Release date NZ
April 10th, 2008
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
36 ills
Berghahn Books
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