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Hardboiled Hollywood

Prüfer:Hardboiled Hollywood
Autor: Jan-Christoph Prüfer
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Artikelnummer: 288343
ISBN / EAN: 9783836602716

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  • Verlag: GRIN Verlag
  • ISBN / EAN: 9783836602716
  • Bindung: Taschenbuch


Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, Bielefeld University (Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft, Anglistik), language: English, abstract: Inhaltsangabe:Abstract:§I have chosen the two films that will be subjected to examination in this work because they have a lot in common at first glance. Their scripts are based on crime novels of the so called hardboiled school, a stream in American popular literature that developed after the First World War. They were both filmed in the 1940s and produced by the Warner Brothers studio. No scholarly or critical discussion of the Hollywood genre of film noir is complete without them, and they both feature Humphrey Bogart as the main actor in the role of the private eye. §What I hope to show this thesis is not only that these films, despite the similarities outlined above, are far from being basically the same movies, but additionally to give convincing reasons why this is the case. One of these reasons will be the evaluation of the fact that the literary private eyes that the heroes of John Huston s The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Howard Hawks The Big Sleep (1946) are based on already differ in their character concept, and that these differences correspondingly found their way to the screen in the adaptations.§A further decisive point for measuring the differences between the films is that I will assume that these movies were financial successes because they reflected the times that they were made in and thus gave movie audiences what they wanted to see. That movies are products of their time is a fact as blatant as it is true, yet one that has repeatedly been called into question in the past. The Hollywood genre system, the directors, the financial interests of the movie-making industry have all been pointed out as shaping a movie and its content rather than some mysterious connection between a film and the popular mind, the convictions, dreams and anxieties of the masses commonly referred to as a people s culture. §But although I do not doubt the significance of the factors mentioned above, I agree with Albert Quart and Leonard Auster who pointed out that filmmakers are human beings and parts of their societies, and that, consequently, they are touched by the same tensions and fantasies and their profits are usually dependent on their ability to guess popular feelings . Will Wright similarly argued that the popular success of a movie can be considered as evidence that it struck a nerve with contemporary audiences, as stars and promotion campaigns promising action-filled escapist fantasies alone have frequently turned out to be insufficient to ensure financial gain.§Using this as my basic assumption, I hope to illustrate that the two pictures of detectives differ from each other not only because they are based on novels by different authors, but also more decisively because they were filmed against different cultural backgrounds, at times when history had changed audience expectations concerning heroes. The historical milestone lying between The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep is World War II. The former was filmed in 1941, the latter in 1944 and released in 1946. Thus, what separates the screen incarnations of Sam Spade in Huston s film and Philip Marlowe in Hawks film is the historical experience of ten years of economic depression that unmistakably revealed the flaws of capitalism on the one hand and the economic recovery and relative optimism of the war years on the other.§It will be argued that, while both of these heroes maintained certain traditional American virtues, primarily the myths of rugged individualism and tough masculinity as manifested in American frontier-mythology, they simultaneously modified these traditional convictions according to the contemporary cultural surroundings. To accomplish this the methodology outlined below will be applied. §...

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