He also wrote about Goethe and was not above composing catalogue entries. He was insisting on the necessity of a universal survey of relevant material much as Wickhoffhad called for editions of written sources along the lines of the corpus editions of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. He himself also did not write actual monographic studies. His emphasis on Iran as a neglected influence in the history of European art has been vindicated by Guido Kaschnitz, who might be considered to be the one scholar to have continued the work of Alois Riegl most uncompromisingly.
Schlosser had been at home with small groups of students seated around a table with a work of sculpture at the center. He disliked lecturing and his convoluted sentences were difficult to understand. While Schlosser primarily studied subjects from Italy, Strzygowski introduced areas that were unknown and presumably appealed to a bourgeoisie discovering popular tourism and travel. Aside from his students who went to research and teach in Turkey, India and the United States, his wide audience included not only later scholars such as Otto Kurz and Ernst Gombrich, but also among many others the author of the monumental Franz Schubert catalogue.
Strzygowski's thesis that lost wooden architecture of northern Europe anticipated and influenced the Gothic was also sustained by Meyer Schapiro. In addition, only the 'local' or 'cultural' knowledge of the spectator that this concerns a protestant church, and within the church, the physical location of the altar, gives the film its full melo- dramatic pathos, since it stages the conflict as the drama of spaces and gazes.
What is significant is the pastor's physical position, seeing his daughter appear in the organ loft at the other end of the altar while the bride and bridegroom, kneeling in front of the altar, are oblivious to the drama unfolding between father and daughter, over their heads and behind their backs. In this film, then, it is the pastor who motivates the church setting, which motivates the space, which in turn allows these complex interchange of gazes and uneven distribution of knowledge to be 35 Early German Cinema Fig. Across the pastor as bearer of multiple significations, a space of suspense and drama is created which no other profession could have conveyed as economically.
Just as likely, and here I come to the fourth meaning of the title 'A Second Life,' the mirroring, the self-referentiality, the mises-en-abyme, and the different types of expressivity and stylization - but also the shadow of hindsight falling on a pre-history - only help to confirm that in the history of the cinema, as in all history, the phenomena analyzed neither 'know themselves' in the terms we know them, nor are they ultimately sufficient on to themselves, as the idea of 'normalization' misleadingly and ideologically suggests.
We therefore, inevitably, have to 'normalize' our own demand for normalization, which is to say, relativize any presumption we might have to 'know' how Wilhelmine society has 'lived' its cinema and represented it to itself: on the contrary, the films will forever demand from those who rediscover them 'a second life. The cinema of the Wilhelmine period is such a culture. Very little is known about the beginnings of film in Gennany before World War I, but this is certain: it has become an exotic phenome- non, which cannot be understood in light of the modem concept of cinema.
Just insignificant relics survive from the Wilhelmine period: a sman fraction of the films shown then as well as a few of the buildings. Besides the remains of films and theatres, there are only indirect sources of infonnation: contemporary accounts, police reports, photographs and architects' drawings, programme advertisements in yellowed magazines.
Few systematic investigations of these sources have so far been undertaken. Even specialists have decidedly hazy notions of film perfonnances, of the audiences, and of the meaning that films had for them in those days. Two general assumptions about early German cinema in particular require more thorough re-examination: first, that it was a 'working class cinema' and second, that the cinema went through its 'rascal years' 'Flegeljahre ' during the Wilhelmine period before becoming mature in the Weimar years.
Both notions are retrospective constructs, having been developed later, and from a high culture view of film art - with a stake in seeing early cinema as a primitive transition phase towards a higher destiny. I am concerned to show that such assumptions can be criticized or re-investigated by simply looking once more at the evidence and source material that has survived from the period itself. It took the new medium at least twenty years to develop the classic standard programme, and the evening-length feature film with supporting programme shown in a purpose-built cinema only began to dominate the industry towards the end of World War I.
Before the War, the usual fonnat was the number programme, consisting of short films made up of different genres, and lasting between one and two hours. Given these facts, a serious look at early cinematography of necessity demands a broader definition of cinema, seeing it in the context of a wide-ranging and expansive technical, social and cultural history.!
One might call it a new 'social space' where watching 41 The Kaiser's Cinema films implied a social event and a communal experience, shaped by multiple factors and conditions, bounded by location, size and decor of the exhibition site at one extreme, and the nature of the film programme presented at the other.
In particular, the focus is on the public, who come to the cinema of their own free will, paying for the pleasure of seeing the programme. But the definition also includes the various businesses involved in the production, distribution and performance and their specific economic interests. Finally, there are the governmental controls imposed on the cinematographic fact - from building permits and fire regulations to censorship of films and taxation of tickets - and the response to the medium in the sphere of the press, public opinion and politics.
The term 'rascal years' emphasises the separation between art and entertainment, a divide initially policed by the 'intelligentsia of the printed word' who in Gennany wielded much cultural power. At the same time, calling it 'the rascal years' lends a certain romanticism to obscure beginnings that escape categorization.
Siegfried Kracauer speaks of the 'freedom of the film from cultural ties and intellectual prejudices' and writes: 'During the whole era the film had the traits of a young street arab; it was an uneducated creature running wild among the lower strata of society'3 - but he, too, seems to breathe a sigh of relief that those days would not last. No matter where they place the emphasis, for most commentators the early cinema was rough and uncouth. Whether the metaphor inflected the audiences or the audiences detennined the metaphor, the cinematograph of the fairgrounds, touring cinemas and nickelodeons became associated with the working class.
Media sociologists and film historians alike can declare with conviction: 'Before World War I the cinema was mostly frequented by the working class. And did the public for the first permanent cinemas really consist of members of socially stigmatised classes? The cinema public of Mannheim, a large industrial centre 80 km south of Frankfurt, was professionally analysed in by means of an extensive questionnaire which Emilie Altenloh had prepared for her social science doctoral thesis. That much conventional film historiography can take over from Altenloh.
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But beyond this unsurprising fact, the class nature of early cinema becomes much more complex. Altenloh does not feel she can talk of 'working class': for instance, adult working-class men, who in Mannheim were generally members ofthe Social Democratic Party or organised in trade unions, were also seldom in the cinema.
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The Social Democratic workers' movement with its dense network of local leisure and education clubs had developed its own political culture which extended beyond merely securing its members' interests against the state and big business. Party and union members were bound into an oppositional subculture of the workers' movement 'from cradle to grave,' which means that the cultural aspirations of social democracy were often similar to the ideals of the educated classes: 'raising' the worker's self-esteem through his participation in middle-class cultural capital was one of the declared goals of the social democratic education policy.
Thus, as far as the cinematograph was concerned, the workers' movement broadly agreed with the conservative cinema reform movement, rejecting the cinema as an 'epidemic' and a 'scourge. Thus, it could not have been the 'urban working classes' that freqented the ever more numerous cinemas. According to Altenloh, children, adolescents of either sex, and women made up a large percentage of the cinema-going public, often the family members of these hardworking skilled male providers mentioned above.
Working-class women considered the cinematograph 'a very important form of entertainment. They called for and sometimes managed to implement restrictions, banning children from the cinemas. The highest level of attendance was noted by Altenloh for male adolescents who held menial jobs in the service industries - delivery boys, or low-rank office clerks, who mostly came from families of day labourers.
It does not necessarily follow, however, that the cinema-going public was primarily composed of members of the lower classes. Altenloh found that a very similar pattern emerged between 'women from the upper classes' and 'the young [female] shop assistants, except that the [latter] go to the cinema more often. The findings were the more telling, since they came from a decidedly industrial centre with a large working population. Contemporary accounts in the trade press tend to characterise the public as white collar, or casual and mixed, for whom the cinemas functioned as a welcome opportunity to break a routine schedule and take advantage of the continuous performances, with their mix of short films of different types and genres.
Altenloh noted that one major reason for the increase in cinema attendance even among the educated classes was the fact of 'not being tied to a schedule' as in the theatre.
To comprehend the social and political importance of the cinema in the Wilhelmine period, one must follow up every clue as to the composition of the public and to the presentation of the event itself. In this context, the social topography of the film theatre can be very informative: the hypothesis of the proletarian public was founded on the fact that most cinemas were established in the working class areas of cities and that industrial cities had a greater density of cinemas relative to inhabitants. Prokop, for example, supports this view by comparing Essen and DUsseldorf: 'The "working-class town" Essen had 21 cinemas for inhabitants in ; the "civil servant town" DUsseldorf had only 10 cinemas for inhabitants in Recent studies of local cinema history indicate that theatres were first built in busy thoroughfares in the city centre - often near department stores and train stations or dance palaces and music halls.
Such a location would suggest that they catered to a casual public rather than to a proletarian one living locally. In the case of Cologne, Bruno Fischli concluded that 'it is time to do away with the popular but simplistic viewpoint that the early period of the cinema was a time of the "proletarian cinema" - the Cologne cinema history, for one, disproves this standard theory.
The cinemas were public 'grey areas' that brought together anonymous people from disparate sections of the population, united by their common choice of entertainment. It is precisely this social and cultural heterogeneity that turned the big-city casual audience into the modem masses and the cinematograph into a modern mass medium - despite the status limitations of the domineering Wilhelmine aristocracy and the siege mentality of class consciousness among working class movements. From another perspective and basing oneself on other source material, notably actualities and newsreels, one could argue the case that Wilhelmine cinema as a modem mass medium contributed to 'emancipating' Germans of both sexes outside the middle-class into becoming citizens: citizens who acknowledged a fatherland and who could demonstrate that they had the requisite patriotism, when the fatherland in the person of the Kaiser called upon them to take up arms at the beginning of August MAl The Navy League Propaganda Effort Recent discussions of the cinema reform movement and the public debates it generated in the teens and earlier over 'smutty films' and threat to public morals tend to overlook a significant aspect of early German cinema and the films on show: the cinematograph's targeted use, already since the tum of the century, as a vehicle for nationalist sentiment and militarist propaganda.
The Navy League, the Colonial League and other military or paramilitary organisations known as 'VaterHindische Verbande,' 'associations of patriots ' had seized on the new medium as a means of advertising their aims, but also as an important source of revenue. Ahead in the game of systematic film propaganda was the Deutscher Flottenverein 'German Navy League' , a tightly organized network at the national, regional and local level throughout the Reich, drumming up public support for arming the navy. The Navy League used traditional advertising such as chocolate box illustrations and cigarette collectors' cards featuring navy subjects.
Quick to exploit the new medium of moving 45 The Kaiser's Cinema images, it entered into film exhibition early, and on an impressively vast scale. Navy League film propaganda began in Kattowitz today's Katowice , the center of the Upper Silesian mining area, a region away from the coast.
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According to a detailed report in the League's organ Die Flotte,n only a few, mostly from the educated middleclass, attended the League's lecture meetings. Thus, in August , the Kattowitz branch organized a fairground exhibition. The main attraction was a real German battleship which could be entered and viewed by thousands who had never before seen such a big ship. A few months later the Kattowitz activists tried to repeat this enormous naval propaganda success. The public response to these Biograph screenings exceeded all expectations: from March 3rd to 12th, I, audiences of some 24, attended 19 Biograph performances and were enthusiastic about the manoeuvres of the German navy seen on the screen.
About 40 'living pictures' were shown, introduced by short lectures. The League's activists distributed copies of Navy songs among enthusiastic audiences who all joined in.
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This level of audience participation owed much, indeed, to the 'living pictures' of the Biograph, as ordinary people in the mining area of Kattowitz had never seen big ships moving or firing their guns on the open sea. The Biograph 'worked': not only in the technical sense of replicating views of the navy, but also in the political sense, making the screenings mass manifestations of popular support for the navy rearming program.
Illtldiebrr ullltrr. Until , the League'sjoumal Die Flotte published facts and figures on 'Kinematograph' screenings, detailing the numbers of spectators at the shows as well as the number of new members recruited. The impact of the cinematograph was seen as a simple stimulus-response relation. Obviously, local branches reported on viewers who shortly after having attended the film shows applied for membership.
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Reported attendance figures of around one million viewers each year from to might have been exaggerated, but it is a fact that the Navy League's Biograph and Cinematograph travelling exhibitions were very popular.
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