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The October Garbo: Classical Hollywood and the Revolution


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Jukić, Tatjana. (2017). The October Garbo: Classical Hollywood and the Revolution. Studia Litterarum, 2(2). pp. 56-63. ISSN 2500-4247, 2541-8564

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I propose to discuss Ernst Lubitsch’s decision to tailor Ninotchka (1939), his film with Greta Garbo, to Garbo in the role of a Soviet revolutionary, which — given the overwhelming importance of Garbo to classical Hollywood — is how the October Revolution is situated at the heart of American cinema at the time while Garbo’s proverbial cinematic melancholia is shown to entail the structures of affect residual to revolutions. Moreover, by divorcing Garbo’s revolutionary melancholia from melodrama and attaching it to comedy, Lubitsch extricates this particular psychopolitics from the fact of genre, now as an insight into the construction of film. Finally, I show how Lubitsch engages Russian literature, especially Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, as a code-holder for Hollywood iconicity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ernst Lubitsch, film, revolution, socialism, classical Hollywood, Leo Tolstoy
Subjects: English language and literature
Comparative literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Additional Information: The research for this essay was supported by funding from the Croatian Science Foundation.
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2018 11:00
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2018 11:00

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