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Title: Imperial Hollywood : American cinematic representations of Europe, 1948-1964
Author: Sloan, Anna C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 1866
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the tourist films, a cycle of Hollywood films made between 1948 and 1964 in which an American travels abroad to Europe. The films share an experience of Europe that is organised around spectacular visual experiences, encounters with European antiquity – architecture, rituals, foods, older forms of transport – and other classic aspects of tourist experience. While many scholarly approaches to postwar Hollywood and its relationship to Europe have focused on industrial and political issues, this thesis takes a different tack, looking closely at the film text and examining its representations of European space. I find that these films give a complicated picture of America’s perceptions of its own rising geopolitical power. The approach is primarily ideological, investigating how the tourist film texts both embody and repress various aspects of postwar ideology including imperialism, race and gender. It accomplishes these ideological readings through the use of strategies adapted from postcolonial scholarship, including those from literary studies and the visual arts as well as film studies. I investigate how the tourist films mobilise representational traditions in colonial art to position America as the new imperial metropole – and Europe, conversely, as a peripheral space. I thus argue that classical Hollywood cinema, like the 19th-century British and French novel, must be read as a primary popular art form generated by a society undergoing a period of expansion and imperial growth. The tourist films take cues from diverse Hollywood genres. Each chapter is accordingly structured around the question of how a particular genre is altered or expanded when the narrative is moved to European space in the postwar context. The travelogue, film noir, women’s melodrama and musical comedy, I find, each depict Europe in a very different light, yet in each case the genre’s logic is extended in ways that place Americans in a position of domination over Europe’s landscape and inhabitants. Integral to this work is the question of spatiovisual gendered subjectivity – the differences in how male and female characters (often associated with particular genres) inhabit, traverse and gaze upon cinematic space. I find that patriarchal and colonial hegemonies, rather than functioning monolithically together, often contradict and jostle in complex ways that point to the contradictory, incoherent nature of hegemonic ideologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Warwick Postgraduate Research Scholarship (WPRS) ; Humanities Research Centre ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures