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Nordic Exposures

Scandinavian Identities in Classical Hollywood Cinema (New Directions in Scandinavian Studies)

Arne Lunde is assistant professor of Scandinavian studies at UCLA.

Publication Year: 2010

Nordic Exposures explores how Scandinavian whiteness and ethnicity functioned in classical Hollywood cinema between and during the two world wars.

Published by: University of Washington Press

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pp. ix-x

First off, I wish to give heartfelt thanks to the colleagues who read chapters of this work in various stages and generously offered invaluable commentary and feedback. The rigorous critiques and encouraging advice of the following individuals were especially key: Mark Sandberg (a wise and inspiring mentor), Carol J. Clover, Linda ...

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pp. 3-15

This book is an exploration of how Scandinavian whiteness and ethnicity functioned in Hollywood cinema during the period roughly between the two World Wars. The field of ethnic studies has generally tended to overlook Scandinavians in America as a category worthy of study, assuming it to be comparatively unproblematic, if not invisible. Scandinavian immigrants were presumably so ...

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1. Racializing Vinland - The Nordic Conquest of Whiteness in Technicolor’s The Viking

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pp. 16-37

“And the first white man set foot on the shores of the New World.” This intertitle appears at the climactic moment of the 1928 feature film The Viking, independently produced by the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The “first white man” in America here ...

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2. Scandinavian/American Whiteface - Ethnic Whiteness and Assimilation in Victor Sjöström’s He Who Gets Slapped

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pp. 38-63

While the viking appropriated the vinland sagas to shore up biological and essentialist concepts of Nordic whiteness in the “discovery” of America, other silent-era films in 1920s Hollywood cinema engage more directly with Scandinavian whiteness. As this chapter argues, He Who Gets Slapped self-consciously allegorizes and “makes strange” Scandinavian racial and ...

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3. Hotel Imperial - The Border Crossings of Mauritz Stiller

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pp. 64-89

Victor Sj

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4. Garbo Talks! - Scandinavians, the Talkie Revolution, and the Crisis of Foreign Voice

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pp. 90-116

One crisis of the American film industry’s talkie revolution pitted the fantasmatic, mute bodies and faces of Scandinavian émigré actors against the foreign-accented aurality of their recorded voices. Hollywood’s steady conversion to sound between 1927 and 1931 ended the antediluvian period when Scandinavian performers could remain unmarked as foreign others on the American screen. ...

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5. Charlie Chan is Swedish - The Asian Racial Masquerades and Nordic Otherness of Warner Oland

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pp. 117-144

Charlie Chan is Swedish. A priori, the equivalence of those two terms might at first strike the reader as slightly oxymoronic. How might such an equation be tenable? Chapter two explored the possibility that even Scandinavians might have had to “become white” in America. The present chapter places further pressure on generally received notions of Nordic (racial, physiognomic) and ...

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6. Two-Faced Women - Hollywood’s and Third Reich Cinema’s War for the Nordic Female Star

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pp. 145-175

Between 1933 and 1945 Hollywood and Nazi cinema competed for the imported Nordic female star within their rival and ultimately enemy film cultures. Scandinavian ethnicity, which we have seen as being extraordinarily malleable and plastic, now returns carrying surprisingly essentialist aspects of Nordic naturalness and “givenness.” While the adaptability of Scandinavian ethnicity ...

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pp. 176-179

Through these case studies of Scandinavian


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pp. 181-197


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pp. 199-206


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pp. 207-221

E-ISBN-13: 9780295800844
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295990453

Publication Year: 2010