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Small-Gauge StorytellingDiscovering the Amateur Fiction Film$
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Ryan Shand and Ian Craven

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748656349

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748656349.001.0001

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. The Aesthetic of the Possible: The Green Cockatoo As Bricolage of Heterogeneous Traditions

. The Aesthetic of the Possible: The Green Cockatoo As Bricolage of Heterogeneous Traditions

(p.242) (p.243) 11. The Aesthetic of the Possible: The Green Cockatoo As Bricolage of Heterogeneous Traditions
Small-Gauge Storytelling

Siegfried Mattl

Vrääth Öhner

Edinburgh University Press

In the late 1920s, a group of Viennese craftsmen under the direction of the chimney sweep (and passionate piano player, wrestler and drama student) Franz Hohenberger, shot a feature-length crime movie modelled on then current French and American examples of this popular genre. The resulting film, The Green Cockatoo (1929) tells the melodramatic story of two vagabonds, who rescue a virtuous girl from the clutches of Chinese hoodlums, whilst offering a series of other ‘attractions’ that demonstrate affiliation with a range of other amateur genres; from the slapstick comedy to the ‘chaser’ film and the travelogue. Recognising a range of such suggestive commercial inter-texts, the study explores the conditions that shaped the ‘bricolage’ characterising The Green Cockatoo, and asks whether these are attributable to local cultural traditions, sourced in perverse amateur impulses, or whether they are simply modellings of influential international examples? Do they address a particular context of amateur exhibition, or are they the result of an obstinate cultural practice to be associated with amateurism, equally determined by technological developments, socio-historical factors and intermediate references?

Keywords:   Crime films, Vienna, Popular culture

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