Screening Vienna: The City of Dreams in English-Language Cinema and Television

by Timothy K. Conley

Description

Vienna has been the locale for nearly one hundred and fifty films and television productions in English, from 1920s through the first years of this century, with imaginative representations of Freud, Strauss, Franz Josef, Mozart, Beethoven, and Klimt; mad scientists, assassins, spies, refugees, romantics, and American professors; historical dramas, cartoons, documentaries, and Hitchcock’s only musical comedy. The “City of Dreams” has appeared as an imperial court, a center of scientific and medical research, a Jewish and Catholic homeland, a locus of international espionage and domestic crime, the destination for innocents abroad, the birthplace of the waltz, a stage for performances and performers, and the site for romantic rendezvous.

For many in English-language audiences, such productions have constituted the most significant representations of Vienna, a city that historically has been the capital of one of Europe’s largest empires, one of the most important centers for classical music and opera, both a victim and an accomplice of Nazi Germany, and the home of international diplomacy. Cultural historians and Austrian writers have provided significant commentary on the city, but their influence has seldom reached such an extensive audience as the films and television productions screening Vienna for English-language audiences.

Screening Vienna thus analyzes the representation of Vienna and the Viennese in English-language film and television, reviews the critical reception of these productions, and measures the representations against the cultural and historical contexts and the writings of contemporary Austrian writers.The book is unique in its scope (over one hundred and fifty productions from the 1920s to 2013) and in its inclusion of leading reviews of many films, references to cultural and historical studies of Vienna, and references to modern and contemporary Austrian fiction.Thus the analysis is more extensive in its coverage and more intensive in its analysis of each film than any previous study, with a focus on scene, language, plot, characterization, and reception of these films.

Scholars and students in American cultural studies, film studies, Austrian and Viennese history, and popular culture will find the book informative and essential for studies of Vienna in the American and British imagination. Given the extensive coverage and filmography, many libraries should also view the book as a reference work, in addition to its status in cultural and film studies. The book will also be useful for film studies and American popular culture studies courses at advanced or graduate level.



 

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