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Rebecca Prime documents the untold story of the American directors, screenwriters, and actors who exiled themselves to Europe as a result of the Hollywood blacklist. During the 1950s and 1960s, these Hollywood émigrés directed, wrote, or starred in almost one hundred European productions, their contributions ranging from crime film masterpieces like Du rififi chez les hommes (1955, Jules Dassin, director) to international blockbusters like The Bridge on the RiverKwai (1957, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, screenwriters) and acclaimed art films like The Servant (1963, Joseph Losey, director).
At once a lively portrait of a lesser-known American “lost generation” and an examination of an important transitional moment in European cinema, the book offers a compelling argument for the significance of the blacklisted émigrés to our understanding of postwar American and European cinema and Cold War relations. Prime provides detailed accounts of the production and reception of their European films that clarify the ambivalence with which Hollywood was regarded within postwar European culture. Drawing upon extensive archival research, including previously classified material, Hollywood Exiles in Europe suggests the need to rethink our understanding of the Hollywood blacklist as a purely domestic phenomenon. By shedding new light on European cinema’s changing relationship with Hollywood, the book illuminates the postwar shift from national to transnational cinema.