From Berlin to Hollywood:
ENG 4135-1362 and GET 3520-07FE
Associate Professor Barbara Mennel
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:30-3:30 pm and by appointment
Office: 4219 Turlington Hall
Phone: 294-2820; Email: email@example.com
Room: TUR 2322; Meeting times: Class meeting: T 5-6 and R 6, Screening M E1-E3
This course introduces students to the relationship between filmmaking in the Weimar Republic of Germany and the Hollywood studio system. We will study the films and lives of filmmakers who left Germany to make films in Hollywood, analyzing continuities and breaks from German filmmaking to classic Hollywood. A significant section of the course will focus on film emigration during the “Third Reich” and films noirs, as well as B-movies, anti-Nazi films, and films exploring questions of race, gender, and ethnicity. Filmmakers include Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Otto Preminger, Douglas Sirk, Josef von Sternberg, and Billy Wilder.
Course Goals and Objectives:
The course objectives include acquiring knowledge of the period of film history from the late 1920s to the early 1960s, characterized by an aesthetic exchange between Berlin and Hollywood. Students will gain an understanding of the particular influence of Jewish and political refugees from Hitler Germany, who had been part of establishing the modernism of the Weimar Republic. Students will be able to expand from the particular historical moment to other instances of cultural production under the conditions of exile, diaspora, and political persecution. Students will grasp key moments of mid-twentieth-century German and American history and their significance for the development of film. Correspondingly, the course objectives include enhancing research and writing skills at an advanced level.
Course pack: Available at Xerographic Copy Center, 927 NW 13th Street
Book titles available at University Bookstore, Reitz Union:
Karen Gocsik, Richard Barsam, Dave Monahan. Writing about Movies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
David Robinson. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. London: British Film Institute, 2008.
Anton Kaes. M. London: British Film Institute, 2000.
S.S. Prawer. The Blue Angel. London: British Film Institute, 2008.
Lucy Fisher. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. London: British Film Institute, 1998.
Peter Barnes. To Be Or Not To Be. London: British Film Institute, 2002.
Gerd Gemünden. A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder’s American Films. New York: Berghahn Books, 2008.
All readings are also on reserve. The readings in the reader are also available through sakai. It is your responsibility to print out readings and bring them to class and to photocopy the appropriate pages from the books for the days that readings are assigned or to be able to negotiate an electronic device so that you can cite and refer to a page number. Being in class without the respective text in front of you is only acceptable, if you have taken extensive notes.
The last two years saw an unusual high output of scholarship on Nazi films, exile cinema, and the relationship between Hollywood and the Nazis. I could not fit all the new titles into the syllabus. Here are three additional recommendations of very recent titles:
Thomas Doherty. Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939. New York City: Columbia University Press, 2013. [I ordered it for Library West to be put on reserve.]
Ben Urwald. The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2013. [This title was discussed quite critically in academic reviews, especially in comparison to the first title. I have also ordered it for Library West to be put on reserve.]
Gerd Gemünden. Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema, 1933-1951. New York City: Columbia University Press, forthcoming January/February 2014. [This book was not out when I put together the syllabus. I have ordered it for myself and for the library to put on reserve. Depending on its content, your interest, and our stamina for reading, I might add excerpts to the course later.]
Reading and Viewing Quizzes 10%
Midterm Paper 20%
Proposal for Final Paper 10%
Annotated Bibliography 10%
Final Paper 40%
A 95-100 950-1000
A- 90-94 900-949
B+ 87-89 870-899
B 83-86 830-869
B- 80-82 800-829
C+ 77-79 770-799
C 73-76 730-769
C- 70-72 700-729
D+ 67-69 670-699
D 63-66 630-669
D- 60-62 600-629
F 0-59 000-599
Paper 1 Week 7, Thursday, February 20, 2014
Topic Proposal and Bibliography Week 11, Thursday, March 20, 2014
Annotated Bibliography Week 13, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Paper 2 Week 15, Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Attendance in class and at the screenings is mandatory. I take attendance only at the class meetings. After drop/add, every class meeting counts for 2 points and any unexcused absence from class receives 0 points. Any late attendance or early departure without excuse receives 1 point. It is your responsibility to let me know, if you have arrived late to class and it is also your responsibility to contact me if you have to miss class with an acceptable excuse. If possible, you should let me know in advance. It is your responsibility to show me documentation for excused absences as soon as possible after your return to class. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to make up the material covered in class, which includes viewing the films you have missed and getting notes from class discussion. Absences will be excused in accordance with UF policy. Acceptable reasons for absence from class include illness, serious family emergencies, special curricular requirements (e.g., judging trips, field trips, professional conferences), military obligation, severe weather conditions, religious holidays and participation in official university activities such as music performances, athletic competition or debate, court-imposed legal obligations (e.g., jury duty or subpoena), and the twelve-day rule: https://catalog.ufl.edu/ugrad/current/regulations/info/attendance.aspx
Absence for religious reason do not require written documentation, but you have to let me know that you will miss or have missed class so that you will receive 2 points.
Academic conversation is one of the skills that you should acquire in college and thus need to practice. The quality of oral participation consists of the coherence of your arguments, the precision of your analysis, the level of attention to details, the complexity of questions that drive your academic inquiry, the application of the vocabulary that pertains to film studies, the consistency and level of preparedness, and engagement with the course materials, including viewings and readings. Your grade for participation reflects the quality and quantity of your contributions to the class, including the productive engagement with your classmates.
Reading carefully, consistently, and thoroughly is as important as viewing the films. Completing assigned readings is the basis for an informed and engaged discussion. Hence, there will be quizzes of 5 points each during the semester. These are simple, short, and unannounced quizzes at the beginning of class that pose a limited number of straightforward content questions about the readings and the films. These will begin on Thursday of week two. No make-up quizzes are given. If you have a valid excuse (see above), you will receive full points. If you miss a quiz because you are late or absent without an acceptable excuse, you receive zero points for the missing quiz.
However, it is also important to me to encourage you to read closely for style and organization of the texts we are covering in class. Since texts function on different levels of difficulty, I have marked the more difficult texts with an *; they only appear after spring break. Please take sufficient time, since it might take you longer to complete those readings.
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due dates. No late assignments will be accepted, except for an acceptable excuse according to UF guidelines (see above). Should you have to miss an assignment, communicate with me prior to the deadline. This applies to all assignments, but is particularly important for the second paper. Should you experience extenuating circumstances beyond your control that prevent you from handing in your final paper on time, you need to contact me before the deadline with official documentation and negotiate an appropriate and realistic date for submission. If you are unable to complete the course in time for me to grade your final paper and calculate your final grade before final grades are due, we need to sign a contract for an incomplete, which includes documentation of your extenuating circumstances (most likely a doctor's note). These are university regulations. I am unable to give an incomplete without completing this paperwork, which requires your signature and thus your presence.
Important: If you ever have to submit a copy of your assignment electronically, please submit it in a word document. Consider your assignment as submitted, once you have received an email from me that confirms that I have been able to open your attachment and to print out your document. If you do not receive this email, consider your assignment as not submitted.
Paper 1 focuses on an analysis of one or two films from class, while addressing a particular topic related to the materials covered before mid-semester. No outside research is necessary. However, the paper should include formal close readings and advance a coherent argument. Length: 5-6 pages (min. 1250 words) with 12pt font and 1 inch margins. The paper should include your name, a title, and page numbers.
Due: Week 7, Thursday, February 20.
Students need to submit a proposal for the final paper, which should be approximately one-two paragraphs in length. The proposal does not receive a letter grade, but I deduct points for errors (see below). However, late proposals are not accepted.
The proposal has to include the following:
Tentative title of your final paper
One-two paragraph description of your topic, including your research questions
A list of titles of the films that you will discuss
A bibliography, including five scholarly text not covered in class
Scholarly texts can only be taken from the web, if they were included in a web-based scholarly journal. You may not include materials from blogs or other personal websites.
The proposal has to be typed in 12pt font with 1 inch margins and include your name.
Points will be deducted for the following:
--incomplete proposal (missing items)
--errors in the bibliography (1 point per error)
Due: Week 11, Thursday, March 20
The annotated bibliography includes two bibliographic entries (most likely from your topic proposal), each with a short summary and your evaluation of the texts' productivity for your final paper, and one paragraph on how these two texts relate to one scholarly text that we have read in class.
Minimum: 500 words (1-2 pages)
The proposal has to be typed in 12pt font with 1 inch margins and include your name and page numbers. I deduct points for the following: incorrect or incomplete bibliographic entries (1 point per error); incorrect or incomplete assignment; missing, random, incorrect or inappropriate titles*; sloppy writing; the impression that you have not actually read the material.
*For example, sometimes articles include words in their title but the article itself does not discuss the topic at all. Students who list such an article reveal that they have done a title search but that they have not actually read the article.
Due: Week 13, Tuesday, April 1
The final paper is 8-9 pages long (min. 2000 words) on a research topic that is related to the course, that you have developed throughout the semester, and that goes beyond class discussion. Your paper can discuss films that we have seen in class or films that we have not seen in class. Paper 2 has to integrate at least two outside sources of scholarly texts that we did not read in class and at least one academic text from class. You may integrate the material from paper 1 into paper 2 for a paper of 10-13 pages (min 2500 words). I offer this as an opportunity to create writing samples for application to graduate schools in English or Film Studies. Please keep in mind that the complete paper needs to be coherent, which might imply that you have to rewrite sections from paper 1, for example, the introduction and conclusion. If you are interested in that option, you might want to discuss it with me prior to deciding on the topic of your midterm. The final paper has to be typed in 12pt font with 1 inch margins, include your name and page numbers. The paper is due in the week before last. I will return the papers in the last class meeting. Since I only give final grades on papers once I have all papers, I have to receive all papers on time for this to work. Hence there will be no late papers permitted except for those with acceptable excuses (see above).
Due: Week 15, Tuesday, April 15
Plagiarism and Cheating:
All students are required to abide by the Student Honor Code. For more information about academic honesty, including definitions of plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration, see: http://www.dsoufl.edu/sccr/honorcodes/honorcode.php.
Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional unacknowledged use of the intellectual works of others, including published and unpublished material from the web or friends. I prosecute plagiarism and cheating to the fullest extent possible at UF, the minimum of which is that you will fail this class and receive the letter grade F for this course. Per University policy, all allegations of academic misconduct are required to be reported to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (SCCR) in the Dean of Students Office.
Graded and Submitted Materials:
Students are responsible for maintaining duplicate copies of all work submitted in this course and retaining all returned work until they have received their final grades on ISIS. Should the need for a review of the grade arise, it is the student's responsibility to have and make available all returned assignments and quizzes, as well as documentation for acceptable absences.
If you have a learning disability, hardship, or other dispensation approved by the Office of Student Affairs, please meet with me to discuss your requirements as early in the term as possible. The Disability Resource Center in the Dean of Students Office provides students and faculty with information and support regarding accommodation for students with disabilities in the classroom. For more information, see: http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drc/
Technology Use in Class:
All cell phones and hand-held devices must be silenced and invisible during class time (off the desk and not in your pockets). Since some students read on their laptops and ipads, I allow the use of laptops and ipads in the classroom. Should I see that you use your electronic device at any point during class time for any activity not related to the course materials or note-taking on this course, your use of individual electronic media will be banned for the rest of the semester. Should you use your phone to text during class, you will count as absent that day.
Statement on Harassment:
UF provides an educational and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual, racial, ethnic, gender, and religious discrimination and sexual harassment. For more about UF policies regarding harassment, see:
A Note on Religious Holidays:
Student who belong to a religious community are not required to attend classes on their religious holidays. Please let me know in advance, so that I can give you credit for that missed day.
Section I: Weimar Cinema
Tuesday, January 7
Introduction to the course and the Weimar Republic
Thursday, January 9
Introduction to film analysis
Monday, January 13
Screening: Robert Wiene. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Tuesday, January 14
David Robinson. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. London: BFI, 1997: 7-41.
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 1 "The Challenges of Writing about Movies" and Chapter 2 "Looking at Movies." Writing about Movies: 3-32.
Thursday, January 16
David Robinson. Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. London: BFI, 1997: 41-79.
Monday, January 20
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY--no screening
Watch Fritz Lang's M (1931) by Tuesday, January 21
Tuesday, January 21
Anton Kaes. M. London: BFI, 2008: 7-38.
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 3 "Analyzing Film." Writing about Movies: 33-85.
Thursday, January 23
Anton Kaes. M. London: BFI, 2008: 39-84.
Monday, January 27
Curt Siodmak, Robert Siodmak, Edgar G. Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann. People on Sunday (1930)
Tuesday, January 28
Bruce Bennett. “Sunday Filmmakers.” Humanities (July/August 2008): 42-46. [R]
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 4 "Generating Ideas," Chapter 5 "Researching Movies." Writing about Movies: 89-121.
Thursday, January 30
Elsa Herrmann. “This is the New Woman.” (1929) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Ed. by Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, Edward Dimendberg. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994: 206-208. [R]
Harold Nicolson. “The Charm of Berlin.” (1932) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook: 425-426. [R]
Max Brod. “Women and the New Objectivity.” The Weimar Republic Sourcebook4: 205-206. [R]
Anonymous. “Enough is Enough! Against the Masculinization of Women.” (1925) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook: 659. [R]
Hanns Kropff. “Women as Shoppers.” (1926) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook: 660-662. [R]
Ernst Lorsy. “The Hour of Chewing Gum.” (1926) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook: 662. [R]
Monday, February 3
Screening: Josef von Sternberg. The Blue Angel (1930)
Tuesday, February 4
S.S. Prawer. The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel). London: BFI, 2002: 8-42.
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 6 "Developing Your Thesis" and Chapter 7 "Considering Structure and Organization." Writing about Movies: 123-165.
Thursday, February 6
S.S. Prawer. The Blue Angel (Der blaue Engel). London: BFI, 2002: 42-79.
Section II: Coming to America: Continuities and Discontinuities
Monday, February 10
Screening: Friedrich Murnau. Sunrise (1927)
Tuesday, February 11
Lucy Fischer. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. London: British Film Institute, 2002: 1-40.
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 8 "Attending to Style." Writing about Movies: 153-165.
Thursday, February 13
Lucy Fischer. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. London: British Film Institute, 2002: 40-71.
Monday, February 17
Screening: Josef von Sternberg. Blonde Venus (United States, 1932)
Tuesday, February 18
Laura Mulvey. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” (Originally published: Screen 16,3: 6-18 [Fall 1975]) [R]
Gocsik, Barsam, Monahan. Chapter 9 "Revising Your Work." Writing about Movies: 167-177.
Thursday, February 20
Tania Modleski. “Cinema and the Dark Continent: Race and Gender in Popular Film.” In: Tania Modleski. Feminism without Women: Culture and Criticism in a ʽPostfeministʼ
Age. London: Routledge, 1991: 115-134. [R]
Due: Paper 1
Monday, February 24
Screening: Edgar Ulmer. The Black Cat (United States, 1934)
Tuesday, February 25
Noah Isenberg. “Perennial Detour: The Cinema of Edgar G. Ulmer and the Experience of Exile. ” Cinema Journal 43.2 (Winter 2004): 3-25. [R]
Thursday, February 27
Workshop with librarian John Van Hook about advanced research
Barbara Mennel will be at a conference
Week 9--Spring Break
Section III: Anti-Nazi Films
Monday, March 10
Screening: Ernst Lubitsch. To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Tuesday, March 11
Peter Barnes. To Be or Not to Be. London: British Film Institute, 2008: 7-45.
Thursday, March 13
Peter Barnes. To Be or Not to Be. London: British Film Institute, 2008: 46-79.
Monday, March 17
Screening: Fritz Lang and Bertolt Brecht. Hangmen Also Die (1943)
Tuesday, March 18
Sabine Hake. "Introduction." Screen Nazis: Cinema, History, and Democracy. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012: 3-30.[R]*
Thursday, March 20
Sabine Hake. "Democracy in Action: The Hollywood Anti-Nazi Films of the 1940s." Screen Nazis: Cinema, History, and Democracy: 32-65.[R]*
Due: Proposal for Paper 2
Section IV: Film Noir
Monday, March 24
Screening: Robert Siodmak. Phantom Lady (United States, 1944)
Tuesday, March 25
Barbara Hales. “Projecting Trauma: The Femme Fatale in Weimar and Hollywood Noir.” Women in German Yearbook 23 (2007): 224-343. [R]
Thursday, March 27
Thomas Elsaesser. “Caligari's Legacy?: Film Noir as Film History's German Imaginary.” Thomas Elsaesser. Weimar Cinema an After: Germany's Historical Imaginary. London: Routledge, 2000: 420-444. [R]*
Monday, March 31
Screening: Billy Wilder. Double Indemnity (United States, 1944)
Tuesday, April 1
Gerd Gemünden. “Introduction” and Chapter 1: “An Accented Cinema.” Gerd Gemünden. A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder’s American Films. New York: Berghahn Books, 2008: 1-29.
Due: Annotated bibliography
Thursday, April 3
Gerd Gemünden. “The Insurance Man Always Rings Twice: Double Indemnity (1944).” A Foreign Affair: 30-53.
Watch outside of class for next week: Billy Wilder. One, Two, Three (United States, 1961)
Section V: Returning “Home”: Germany in Ruins and the Cold War
Monday, April 7
Double Billing: Screening: Billy Wilder. A Foreign Affair (1948)
Tuesday, April 8
Gerd Gemünden. “In the Ruins of Berlin: A Foreign Affair.” A Foreign Affair: 54-75.
Thursday, April 10
David Bathrick. “Billy Wilder’s Cold War.” New German Critique 110, 37.2 (Summer 2010): 31-47. [R]
Section VI: Immigrant Visions of Race and Gender in America
Monday, April 14
Screening: Otto Preminger. Carmen Jones (United States, 1954)
Tuesday, April 15
Jeff Smith. “Black Faces, White Voices: The Politics of Dubbing in Carmen Jones.” The Velvet Light Trap 51 (Spring 2003): 29-42. [R]
Due: Paper 2
Thursday, April 17
Jerold Simmons. “A Damned Nuisance: The Production Code and the Profanity Amendment of 1954.” Journal of Popular Film & Television 52, 2 (Summer 1997): 76-82. [R]
“The Production Code.” Movies and Mass Culture. Ed. John Belton. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press: 135-149. [R]
Monday, April 21
Screening: Douglas Sirk. Imitation of Life (United States, 1959)
Tuesday, April 22
Marina Heung. “‘What’s the Matter with Sarah Jane?’ Daughters and Mothers in Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life.” Imitation of Life. Ed. Lucy Fisher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991: 302-324. [R]