Although contemporary America is the setting for Billy Wilder’s Hollywood work, Berlin, the site of his first film and by his own accord the motivation for his cinematic art, became the setting for two postwar satires and overt representations. The expatriate Austrian devoted only a single imperial fantasy film to Vienna, The Emperor Waltz (1948), which is as much about the roots of Nazi eugenics as it is a parody of operetta, but overlooked cryptic Austrian references run through his oeuvre. Greater metaphorical statements can be found in comprehending the American corporate hierarchy as a re-vision of imperial Vienna in The Apartment (1960); in drawing parallels between British and Austro-Hungarian monarchism as a failing bulwark against social Darwinism; in a comparison of Wilder and Hitchcock through The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970); and in the examination of Fedora (1978) as an allegory of “nation building” in Second Republic Austria.


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