This dissertation examines the relation between discourses on Americanisation and the instituting processes of the film industry in Sweden during the 1920s. As the title indicates, Americanism, the threat of the Russian Revolution, as well as gender politics, are crucial for an understanding of the post-World War I period. A number of Swedish films from the mid-20s are analysed, and can be considered as negotiating (or exploiting) contemporary tendencies, by using jazz music and dance, fashion and hairstyles, cars and aeroplanes etc. These films are seen in relation to the "instituting" of a film industry in Sweden (a professional industry with its own ideas, codes and regulations, its own professional ethos).
The first chapter studies phenomena regarded as "American", the "double identity" of America as the modern society par excellence on the one hand, and as a place of resistance against the decadence of post-World War I Europe on the other. The second chapter analyzes parliamentary debates concerning potential regulations of the film industry, a boycott action against American films, organized by leftist organisations in 1927 (a reaction to the Sacco-Vanzetti affair), and screenings of banned films (initiated as a protest against the banning of BATTLESHIP POTËMKIN). The third chapter deals with aspects of Americanisation concerning the spectator's way of life, especially discourses on the "feminisation" of men, with special emphasis on the "Swedish Valentino", Enrique Rivero. In the fourth chapter, a cinema café in Stockholm 1924-26 becomes a site of convergence for the instituting processes of the film industry. The restrictive actions of the film industry not only show the guiding ideas of the industry, but the incommensurable instituting processes of the industry and the audience. This chapter also discusses connections between cinema and radio, as two different forms of public spheres.
As a conclusion, analyses of two Swedish-German co-productions and a Swedish-British one show how the particular competence of the film industry and the film critics can be seen as an important tool for understanding the film industry and the film audience in Sweden in the 1920s.
Stockholm: Stockholms universitet , 1998. , 318 p.