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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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An Aesthetics of Aggression: German Fascist vs. Classical Hollywood Melodrama

An Aesthetics of Aggression: German Fascist vs. Classical Hollywood Melodrama

(p.13) 1. An Aesthetics of Aggression: German Fascist vs. Classical Hollywood Melodrama
Nazi Film Melodrama

Laura Heins

University of Illinois Press

This chapter attempts to delineate the generic and aesthetic differences between film melodrama in Third Reich and classical Hollywood cinema, and to a lesser extent, between German and Italian Fascist film. Hollywood cinema's greater emphasis on the communicative codes of mise-en-scène, dynamic editing, and camera movement was countered in Nazi cinema with a greater stress on bodily displays and a theatrical acting style that subordinated the intimacy of the face in close-up to the authority of the actor's voice and scripted dialogue. Subtle formal and narrative differences in the Nazi melodrama also encouraged a more aggressive form of voyeurism than was common in the Hollywood melodrama. Instead of the masochistic aesthetic of many Hollywood melodramas, therefore, the Nazi melodrama distinguished itself by its formally encoded appeals to spectatorial sadism and by the masculinity of its pathos.

Keywords:   classical Hollywood cinema, Italian Fascist film, Nazi cinema, film melodrama, Nazi melodrama, spectatorial sadism, masculine pathos, Third Reich

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