Teaching‎ > ‎2013 Herbstsemester‎ > ‎

MA Seminar: 1939 - Hollywood's Annus Mirabilis

Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen,  Thursday 14:00-15:45

(1.) 19 Sept – Introduction

(2.) 26 Sept – Preparatory meeting for group presentations

(3.) 3 Oct – The Year 1939 (group presentations)

Historical Re-imagination

(4.) 10 Oct – Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming and David O. Selznick)

(5.) 17 Oct – Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford)

(6.) 24 Oct – The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz)

Current Political Scene

(7.) 31 Oct – Mr. Smith goes to Washington (Frank Capra)

(8.) 7 Nov – Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch)

The Genres

(9.) 14 Nov – Midnight (Mitchell Leisen), screwball comedy

(10.) 21 Nov – Stagecoach (John Ford), western

(11.) 28 Nov – Wuthering Heights (William Wyler), melodrama

(12.) 5 Dec – The Roaring Twenties (Raoul Walsh), gangster film

(13.) 12 Dec – Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming), musical

(14.) 19 Dec – What I have learned

Please bear in mind: For all students taking this class the requirements are as follows: participation in the group presentation on the year 1939, writing one Sitzungsprotokoll and preparing a thesis statement for each class session. Furthermore: coming to class without having done the viewing makes little to no sense. You cannot fruitfully partake in class discussions if you have not prepared for them. All films must, therefore, be viewed before the respective class sessions. Copies of the films are in the library, but I recommend you buy your own copies as you would buy your own copy of books (the DVDs are actually even cheaper than the books).


Ames, Christopher. “The Day of the Locust: 1939 and 1975.” Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen. Ed. R. Barton Palmer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 45-64.

Balio, Tino. Grand design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939. New York: Scribner, 1993.

Belton, John. “Re-imagining American communities: Hollywood, Hawks, and Ford in 1939.” MLN 122:5 (2007), 1166-79.

Biskupski, Mieczysław B. Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-1945. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2010.

Bronfen, Elisabeth. Home in Hollywood. The Imaginary Geography of Cinema. New York: Columbia UP, 2004.
-- Specters of War. Hollywood’s Engagement with Military Conflict. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2012.
-- Stanley Cavell zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius, 2009.

Cavell, Stanley. City of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 2004.

Cormack, Mike. Ideology and Cinematography in Hollywood, 1930-39. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

Doherty, Thomas. Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939. New York: Columbia UP, 2013.

Glancy, H. Mark. When Hollywood Loved Britain: The Hollywood “British” Film, 1939-1945. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1999.

Grob, Norbert and Elisabeth Bronfen. Classical Hollywood. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2013.

Hark, Ina Rae (ed.). American Cinema of the 1930s. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2007.

McLaughlin, Robert and Sally E. Parry. We’ll Always Have the Movies: American Cinema During World War II. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006.

Poague, Leland. “That Past, This Present: Historicizing John Ford, 1939.” John Ford's Stagecoach. Ed. Barry Keith. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 82-112.

Robé, Cris. Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.

Shindler, Colin. Hollywood in Crisis: Cinema and American Society, 1929-1939. London: Routledge, 1996.

Siomopoulos, Anna. Hollywood Melodrama and the New Deal: Public Daydreams. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Robert Sklar. Movie-Made America. A Cultural History of American Movies. New York: Vintage, 1994.

Vasey, Ruth. The World According to Hollywood, 1918-1939. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1997.

Welky, David. The Moguls and The Dictators. Hollywood and the Coming of World War II. Johns Hopkins University Press 2008.

Wood, Michael. America in the Movies. New York: Columbia UP, 1975.


Dark Victory: Dir. Edmund Goulding (melodrama)

Destry Rides Again: Dir. George Marshall (western)

Dodge City: Dir. Michael Curtiz (western)

Jesse James: Dir. Henry King (western)

Of Mice and Men: Dir. Lewis Milestone (literary adaptation/depression)

Only Angels Have Wings: Dir. Howard Hawks (war)

The Women: Dir. George Cukor (sophisticated comedy)

Union Pacific: Dir. Cecil B. DeMille (western)