How Hollywood's European travelogues chronicled Americans' self-discovery
Hollywood's Postwar Tour of Europe
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Robert R. Shandley
Postwar America imagined itself young and in love in Europe. And Hollywood films of the era reflected this romantic allure. From a young and naïve Audrey Hepburn falling in love with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday to David Lean’s Summertime, featuring Katharine Hepburn’s sexual adventure in Venice, these glossy travelogue romances were shot on location, and established a new model for Hollywood filmmaking.
As Robert Shandley shows in Runaway Romances, these films were not only indicative of the ideology of the American-dominated postwar world order, but they also represented a shift in Hollywood production values. Eager to capture new audiences during a period of economic crisis, Hollywood’s European output utilized a variety of devices including location work and the widescreen process to enhance cinematic experience. The filmsTo Catch a Thief, Three Coins in the Fountain, Funny Face among thementiced viewers to visit faraway places for romantic escapades. Films such as A Foreign Affair and I Was a Male War Bride considered what it means to have American troops living abroad. In the process, these travelogue romances captured American fantasies for a brief, but intense, period that ended as audiences grew tired of Old World splendors, and entered into a new era of sexual awakening.
"Shandley persuasively shows that the ‘travelogue romance’ genre has something to tell us about history, culture, and ideology as well as film aesthetics and economics. He weaves original research into a compelling narrative argument. This is an excellent book of cultural history and film history."
"In this pleasant monograph, Shandley examines Hollywood's 'European Travelogue romances, 1947-1964,' which he imagines to constitute a genre.... This is a book for those interested in specialized film and genre study."
"Robert R. Shandley's intriguing new text Runaway Romances offers a fresh, in-depth analysis of a genre....[T]his seminal work [is] a must for film enthusiast[s] historians, and researchers."
"Shandley makes the case for what he calls runaway or travelog romances as a legitimate film genre.... In this well-researched book, he devotes chapters to the 'occupation romance' and the use of widescreen and also includes an extensive bibliography. A useful analysis."
"[D]elightful and perceptive.... Shandley's solid grasp of the basics of filmmaking is apparent throughout, and he is a careful, credible, trustworthy reader of film narrative, often getting at meaning by looking at how films create and solve problems.... [T]his [is a] thoughtful and engaging book."