Advertisement

Ministry of Fear: Fritz Lang’s De-suturing Operation

  • Nathaniel DeyoEmail author
Chapter
  • 15 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television book series (CRFT)

Abstract

This chapter considers one of Fritz Lang’s less-heralded American films, showing how it employs idiosyncratic editing and staging strategies to imprint a seemingly conventional espionage/mystery thriller with Lang’s particular brand of self-reflexive paranoia. After reviewing much of the extant academic criticism of the film and providing a brief summary of the film’s production history, this chapter presents analyses of staging, framing and editing strategies in individual scenes, identifying stylistic and formal motifs that work to convey an ongoing sense that the action is constantly being observed by some unknown and unseen off-screen presence. It then relates Lang’s filmmaking choices in these instances to theories of cinematic “suturing” and proposes that the film’s dominant strategy may be seen as deliberately disrupting the system of the suture.

References

  1. Bogdanovich, Peter. 1997. Who the Devil Made It. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  2. Burch, Noël. 1973. Theory of Film Practice. Trans. Helen R. Lane. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1980. Carl Th. Dreyer: The Major Phase. In Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Filmmakers, ed. Richard Roud, vol. 1. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  4. Dayan, Daniel. 1976. The Tutor-Code of Classical Cinema. In Movies and Methods, ed. Bill Nichols, vol. 1, 438–451. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Eisner, Lotte. 1986. Fritz Lang. New York: Da Capo Press.Google Scholar
  6. Gunning, Tom. 2000. The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity. London: British Film Institute.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Humphries, Reynold. 1989. Fritz Lang: Genre and Representation in His American Films. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  8. McGilligan, Patrick. 1997. Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  9. Nielsen, Jakob Isak. 2015. Classic(al) Lang: Conflicting Impulses in Ministry of Fear. In A Companion to Fritz Lang, ed. Joe McElhaney, 430–458. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Perez, Gilberto. 1998. The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Rothman, William. 1975. Against the ‘System of the Suture’. Film Quarterly 29 (1, Autumn): 45–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Personalised recommendations