Month: August 2011
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The Advertisement Era during 1920’s
The effect of the automobile on recreational habits was often decried in the 1930’s: the substitution of a passive amusement for something more active; standardization and regimentation; the moral problem of the parked sedan and roadside tourist camp. The Sunday-afternoon drive was devastatingly described — the crowded highways, traffic jams, and accidents; the car windows tightly closed against spring breezes; and whatever beauties the landscape might offer lying hidden behind forbidding lines of advertisements.
“One arrives after a motor journey,” one eminent sociologist wrote, “all liver and no legs; one’s mind is asleep, one’s body tired; one is bored, irritable, and listless. But what such critics forgot was that the great majority of Sunday and holiday motorists, or even vacation tourists, would have been cooped up in crowded towns and cities except for the automobile.
The country they saw may at times have been almost blotted out by billboards and the air they breathed tainted by gasoline fumes. But the alternative in many cases would have been the movie, the dance-hall, or the beer-parlor. The steamboat and the railroad began a century ago to open up the world of travel and provide some means of holiday escape from one’s immediate enviromnent, but until the coming of the automobile, recreation along these lines was a rare thing. The wealthy could make the fashionable tour in 1825, the well-to-do built up the summer resorts of the 1890’s, but every Tom, Dick, and Harry toured the country in the 1930’s — thanks to the automobile.
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The Acropolis in Athens
For the works of Pericles… were perfectly made in so short a time and have continued so long a season. For every one of those which were finished at that time seemed to them to be very ancient touching the beauty thereof, and yet for the grace and continuance of the same it looketh at this day as if it were but newly done and finished; there is such a certain kind of flourishing freshness in it, which telleth that the injury of time cannot impair the sight thereof. As if every one of those foresaid works had some living spirit in it to make it seem fresh and young and a soul that lived for ever which kept them in their good continuing state.”
The development of the acropolis of Athens from the time when it was a pre-Hellenic sanctuary onward is so well researched and so widely known that repetition seems superfluous. One glance at the map of the acropolis even in Periclean times proves the volume-consciousness and space-blindness of its builders, which resulted practically in visual isolation of the respective structures. It explains also the complete lack of any axial references.
The tremendous differences in level within the sacred area contributed further to its irregularity, and only in the last Hellenistic centuries were attempts made–mostly unsuccessfully–to overcome them to a certain degree.
The acropolis, the nucleus of early Greek towns, developed generally from a fortified place of refuge. The possibilities of an easy defense were decisive for its establishment. So it became gradually the seat of the dominant power and eventually a sacred area, where temples, monuments, and altars were located, as were in earlier times the palaces of the kings. The acropolis was walled, but never became part of the fortification of the settlement which stretched beneath it. Once the whole town had become walled, the acropolis gradually lost its importance for defense. During the earlier archaic centuries it also served as a gathering place, a function which it lost to the agora with the increasing growth of the town proper.
On the acropolis, temples and statues were located according to topographical conditions of the hill. Often the respect for the tradition of previous sanctuaries or temples, sometimes dating back to prehistoric times, determined the site of later structures. But notwithstanding the representative character of the acropolis and the importance of its sacred area, no kind of space-creating relationship between the individual buildings can be observed. From the beginning to the very end of Greek civilization we find at the acropolis the same lack of an organized overall plan that is evident at the great sanctuaries, such as Eleusis, Olympia, and Delphi.
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The Blue Angel – 1930
The Blue Angel is a film directed by Josef von Sternberg in 1930, based on Heinrich Mann’s novel Professor Unrat. The film is considered to be the first major German sound film and it brought world fame to actress Marlene Dietrich. In addition, it introduced her signature song, Friedrich Hollaender’s “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)”.
The Blue Angel follows Immanuel Rath (Emil Jannings) through a transformation from esteemed educator at the local Gymnasium (college preparatory high school) to a cabaret clown in Weimar Germany. Rath’s descent begins when he punishes several of his students for circulating photographs of the beautiful Lola Lola (Marlene Dietrich) the headliner for the local cabaret, The Blue Angel. Hoping to catch the boys at the club, Professor Rath goes to the club later that evening and meets Lola herself.
Consumed with desire and determined to remain at Lola’s side, Rath returns to the night club the following evening (to return a pair of panties that were smuggled into his coat by one of his students) and stays the night with her. The next morning, reeling from his night of passion, Rath arrives late to school to find his classroom in chaos and the principal furious with his behavior.
Rath subsequently resigns his position at the academy to marry Lola, but their happiness is short-lived, as they soon fritter away the teacher’s meager savings and Rath is forced to take a position as a clown in Lola’s cabaret troupe to pay the bills. His growing insecurities about Lola’s profession as a “shared woman” eventually reduce him to a mere shell of the man he used to be, consumed by his lust and jealousy. The troupe returns to his hometown, where he is ridiculed and berated by the Blue Angel patrons, the very people he himself used to deride. As Rath performs his last act, he witnesses his wife embrace and kiss the strongman Mazeppa, her new love interest, and Rath is enraged to the point of insanity. He attempts to strangle Lola, but is beaten down by the other members of the troupe and locked in a straitjacket.
Later that night, Rath is freed, and makes his way towards his old classroom. Rejected, humiliated, and destitute, he passes away in remorse, clenching the desk at which he once taught.
Directed by: Josef von Sternberg
Starring: Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron
Release Date: 1 April 1930 (Germany), 5 December 1930 (US)
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