Julie Allen (BYU), “Screening Europe in Australasia: Recovering the Silent Era Through Trove”

Julie Allen (BYU), “Screening Europe in Australasia: Recovering the Silent Era Through Trove”

Please join us for the next CuSPP Seminar in-person on Tuesday, 27 Feb. in the Lady Wilson Room (2.10) in Sir Roland Wilson Building from 4pm-5:30pm.

In the era of silent films, when Australian domestic film production fell far below audience demand, French, Danish, and German films were among the most desirable and profitable film imports screened in Australian theaters, but the only surviving record of this European film phenomenon has remained buried in the small print of local newspapers. The digitization of early twentieth century Australian newspapers in the publicly accessible Trove database has made it possible to recover this lost history of German films from Deutsche Bioscop, Messter, Duskes, Greenbaum, and later Ufa that brought stars such as Asta Nielsen, Henny Porten, Madame Saharet, and Emil Jannings into Australian households while their films circulated across the country on urban and rural circuits. This talk, drawn from my recent book Screening Europe in Australasia, explores the extent and significance of the forgotten popularity of German-made films in Australia between 1910 and 1932, documenting the circulation and media coverage of German stars and German stories amid a time of political and personal precarity for Australians of German descent.

Julie Allen is Professor of Comparative Arts and Letters at Brigham Young University. She earned her PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. Her research focuses on the construction and dissemination of ideas about cultural identity in 19th and 20th century northern Europe through literature, silent film, migration, and religion. In her 2022 monograph Screening Europe in Australasia: Transnational Silent Film in Australasia (University of Exeter Press), she traces how European and settler colonial cultural identity, film, and migration converged in Australia in the early 20th century, reflecting and informing Australia’s relationship to Europe, Britain, and itself.  

Date & time

Tue 27 Feb 2024, 4–5.30pm


Sir Roland Wilson Building, Lady Wilson Room (2.10)


Julie Allen (Brigham Young University)


Wesley Lim


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