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A New Perspective on Americanisation - Interactions between Sweden and America in Swedish Film Culture in the 20s

Gustafsson, Tommy LU (2005)
Abstract
It is an established notion that the silent movies were more international in their character than sound films. The arrival of talkies set up language barriers that often turned into national boundaries for smaller countries like Sweden. However, before this happened the international interaction between mainly European countries and America was vivid, exchanging directors, actors, and importing and exporting movies. For a short period (1917-1923) Sweden was among the leading countries that exported its movies to about 50 different countries – something that certainly sparked a national pride. However, during the same period the Hollywood film industry became world leading in the film market.

Sweden, like most other European... (More)
It is an established notion that the silent movies were more international in their character than sound films. The arrival of talkies set up language barriers that often turned into national boundaries for smaller countries like Sweden. However, before this happened the international interaction between mainly European countries and America was vivid, exchanging directors, actors, and importing and exporting movies. For a short period (1917-1923) Sweden was among the leading countries that exported its movies to about 50 different countries – something that certainly sparked a national pride. However, during the same period the Hollywood film industry became world leading in the film market.

Sweden, like most other European countries, had a condemning attitude towards the growing “Americanization” of the consumer and entertainment culture, mainly manifested in the thousands of imported films that the audience enjoyed in Swedish movie theatres. On reading overviews of Swedish film history it seems apparent that it was this Americanization that “destroyed” the national Swedish cinema, a belief that has lived on since some Swedish film critics saw it as a betrayal of the national glory when Swedish filmmakers sometimes turned to Hollywood films for inspiration.

This paper will discuss this Americanization in a new light by doing a closer examination of some of these movies, excluded from the canon and therefore forgotten, and the material surrounding them. This will reveal that the vital exchange continued, although on a different level. Furthermore, a closer look at the Swedish film and entertainment culture of the 20s shows that the condemnation of the Americanization is not as single-minded as one first might expect. It is true that some saw it as something all bad which undermined the traditional society, but many others, particularly among the young, saw it as something new and good. The Swedish filmmakers were of course aware of this contemporary turbulence surrounding the film and consumer culture and they also put it into use in their films, using intertextual reference to Hollywood films that the Swedish audience knew well. And in the process they did not make American copies but distinct Swedish films with American allusions. (Less)
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
Swedish Film Culture, Masculinities, 20s, Americanisation
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3d49f6eb-b3e3-48c0-9347-6b63185a4a19 (old id 531389)
date added to LUP
2007-09-19 13:03:55
date last changed
2016-04-16 12:15:01
@misc{3d49f6eb-b3e3-48c0-9347-6b63185a4a19,
  abstract     = {It is an established notion that the silent movies were more international in their character than sound films. The arrival of talkies set up language barriers that often turned into national boundaries for smaller countries like Sweden. However, before this happened the international interaction between mainly European countries and America was vivid, exchanging directors, actors, and importing and exporting movies. For a short period (1917-1923) Sweden was among the leading countries that exported its movies to about 50 different countries – something that certainly sparked a national pride. However, during the same period the Hollywood film industry became world leading in the film market. <br/><br>
	Sweden, like most other European countries, had a condemning attitude towards the growing “Americanization” of the consumer and entertainment culture, mainly manifested in the thousands of imported films that the audience enjoyed in Swedish movie theatres. On reading overviews of Swedish film history it seems apparent that it was this Americanization that “destroyed” the national Swedish cinema, a belief that has lived on since some Swedish film critics saw it as a betrayal of the national glory when Swedish filmmakers sometimes turned to Hollywood films for inspiration. <br/><br>
	This paper will discuss this Americanization in a new light by doing a closer examination of some of these movies, excluded from the canon and therefore forgotten, and the material surrounding them. This will reveal that the vital exchange continued, although on a different level. Furthermore, a closer look at the Swedish film and entertainment culture of the 20s shows that the condemnation of the Americanization is not as single-minded as one first might expect. It is true that some saw it as something all bad which undermined the traditional society, but many others, particularly among the young, saw it as something new and good. The Swedish filmmakers were of course aware of this contemporary turbulence surrounding the film and consumer culture and they also put it into use in their films, using intertextual reference to Hollywood films that the Swedish audience knew well. And in the process they did not make American copies but distinct Swedish films with American allusions.},
  author       = {Gustafsson, Tommy},
  keyword      = {Swedish Film Culture,Masculinities,20s,Americanisation},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {A New Perspective on Americanisation - Interactions between Sweden and America in Swedish Film Culture in the 20s},
  year         = {2005},
}