chapter  7
ethnicity, authenticity, and exile: a counterfeit trade? german filmmakers and hollywood
Pages 28

Why was it that so many talented European filmmakers, actors, scriptwriters, composers, and set designers ended up in Hollywood? The question has attracted a fair amount of attention from biographers and cultural historians, but mainly to flesh out with anecdote an answer already known in advance.' Especially when concentrating on personnel from German-speaking countries, writers have their narrative emplotment more or less ready-made, for it makes sense to see the emigres as political refugees, first fleeing Europe because of Fascism, then frustrated by uncouth and uncultured movie moguls, and finally persecuted and witchhunted by paranoid anti-Communist U.S. senators. Prominently featured in this version are Fritz Lang and Bertolt Brecht, expressionism and film noir, Thomas Mann and Arnold Schoenberg,

Marlene Dietrich and William Dieterle. John Russell Taylor's Stran8ers inParadise can be considered the definitive account and classic formulation of the liberal-intellectual political-emigre thesis, where the story tells itself across aptly titled chapters, such as "The Gathering Storm," "Hollywood Left and Right," "The New Weimar," "Hollywood at War," "What We Are Fighting For," and "How to Be Uri-American" (Taylor 1983). This canonical version does not lack either plausibility or testimony, yet its self-evidence is nonetheless deceptive.? In what follows, I would like to complicate the picture slightly, at first by extending it backward in time, and then by doubling the political dimension with another one: that of trade and competition, of contracts and markets. Finally, the antiFascist war and the trade war have themselves a double in the cinema: the looking-glass war of competing representations of identity and origins, where what it means to have a home and to have left it receives a further turn.