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Nazi Film Melodrama$
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Laura Heins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037740

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037740.001.0001

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Melodrama in the Nazi Cinema: The Domestic War

(p.1) Introduction
Nazi Film Melodrama

Laura Heins

University of Illinois Press

This introductory chapter briefly characterizes Nazi cinema and its preoccupation with the domestic sphere. It argues that, when considering the affinity of the melodramatic mode to propagandistic rhetoric, the Third Reich film industry's interest in melodrama becomes a logical choice. Melodrama, in its most classic form, is a binary mode in which narratives and characters alternate between action and pathos, between vengeance and the submission to fate. Like propaganda, melodrama describes conflict in a polemical manner, avoiding elaboration of the low-contrast shades of facts and details. Furthermore, the chapter also serves to narrow down the scope of this investigation into Third Reich cinema and to lay out the major themes underscoring discussion in the succeeding chapters.

Keywords:   melodrama, domesticity, propaganda, Third Reich cinema, Nazi cinema, femininity, romance, domestic melodrama, melodramatic excess

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