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Foreign Devils

Exile and Host Nation in Hollywood’s Golden Age

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Gábor Gergely

Foreign Devils investigates representations of exile in Hollywood cinema from 1930 to 1956 through the films of Peter Lorre, Béla Lugosi, and Conrad Veidt. This book dispels the assumption that by virtue of its hegemonic, reactionary, and exclusionary modes of representation, otherness is excluded from or only obliquely alluded to in classical Hollywood cinema. This book contends that Hollywood uses European émigré actors to speak of the experience of exile and the often-futile exilic attempts at integration into the host nation.
This original, cross-disciplinary study incorporates a number of research interests in film studies – specifically Hollywood cinema, exile and émigré filmmakers, the Golden Age of the studio system, the Universal Horror cycle, and Poverty Row filmmaking. Foreign Devils combines the close reading of key texts with a theoretical framework that encompasses body theory and theories of space and nation with historical accounts of immigration to the United States and American concepts of nationhood through the symbolism of blood and death studies.
Film studies students and academics, both undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as scholars in other disciplines, and anyone with an interest in Hollywood cinema, Central European culture in the 1930s-1950s, and European emigration to the United States will benefit from reading this book. Foreign Devils is also a valuable resource for courses in Hollywood filmmaking, émigré film, exile, Central European culture, nationalism studies, and Jewish studies.

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s in the post-displacement environment, that was seen to work to limit the exile’s potential for integration into the host nation. Chapter  was used to show how space itself formed part of normative dis- course to bind and fix the exile as beyond the human loop. I argued, using Lefebvre (), that the spaces Hollywood imagines the exile as inhabiting offered an in- triguing field of analysis for the way in which the normative conceives of the exile. I usedDracula (Tod Browning, ) to show how the spaces that Dracula was seen C  to occupy, or (and this was equally important) be absent from, contributed to the discourse that framed the exilic other as already dead (pp.: –). I went on to ex- plore Hollywood representations of exilic spaces created by the exiles themselves. First, using Baudrillard (), I considered the exilic interior design of the respec- tive living spaces of Nazi Agent’s identical twins and ideological opponents Hugo von Detner and Otto Becker (both Conrad Veidt). I argued that operating with a savoir of their homeland, they fail to create spaces that can seem to be ‘natural’ (Hayward, : ) in the host nation. Detner was seen to come closer to succeed- ing in producing a space that was convincingly of the host nation, but the various decorative elements of the interior design of both his home and his workspace pointed to the essential falseness of the image he sought to project. Becker, on the other hand, was seen to construct a space that aimed...

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