McCabe, Susan. Cinematic Modernism: Modernist Poetry and Film. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.
McCabe touches on Pabst passim. Of particular interest is her discussion of "H.D.'s unremitting admiration of Pabst--from Joyless Street to having 'vanquished the border-sphere' in Secrets of a Soul" (162). McCabe suggests that H.D. was attracted to Pabst's "feminine" film style which influenced her own film aesthetic.
Friedberg, Anne. “An Unheimlich Maneuver between Psychoanalysis and Cinema: Secrets of the Soul (1926).” The Films of G.W. Pabst: An Extraterritorial Cinema. Ed. Eric Rentschler. New Brunswick and London: Rutgers UP, 1990.
Friedberg introduces her article with a look at the twin birth of psychoanalysis and cinema and argues that "Freud's theory of the unconscious. . .was, from the start, a theory in search of an apparatus. Yet the cinema, an apparatus which could reproduce and project specular images, from its beginnings, an apparatus in search of a theory" (41). Drawing on Chodorkoff and Baxter, Friedberg offers a reading of the history of the making of Secrets of the Soul, including Freud's rejection of the project. She calls the film the first 'that directly tried to represent psychoanalytic descriptions of the etiology of a phobia and the method of psychoanalytic treatment" (45). Friedberg points to the various ironic name puns having to do with Freud's lack of involvment in the film: that Pabst, the director of Joyless Street--Die FREUDlose Gasse (my emphasis) was asked to direct a film "mit Freud," when Freud refused to be involved; and that the actor who plays the pshychoanalyst in Secrets, Pavel Pavlov, shares his name with "Freud's mightiest theoretical opponent, the physiologist Ivan Pavlov" (46). Friedman goes on to describe and analyze the film, which she notes is separated into five parts: Pre-Dream; The Dream; Post-Dream; Analysis; and Cure. She notes that the happy ending of the film works as a kind of advertisement for psychoanalysis, arguing that Abraham and Sachs in consulting on the film, intented to "extol its curative virtues" (51).
Chodorkoff and Baxter provide a detailed historical account of the making of Pabst's Secrets of a Soul, taking it as an important example of post-World War I German film, which offers a "significant by forgotten aspect of the history of psychoanalysis" (319). They include a brief reception history as well as a look at the film's form and structure and the experimental nature of presenting dream on the screen in an historical context. They also quote extensively from the letters of Karl Abraham and Freud on the subject of the making of the film and film in general to show Freud's lack of interest in the project--Freud was concerned with protecting psychoanalysis from exploitation and delegitimation. Chodorkoff and Baxter's treatment of the dynamic between Abraham and Freud over film offers context to Freud's often-quoted assertion that "satisfactory plastic representation of our abstractions is at all possible" (323). But the authors find that despite Freud's notion that psychoanalysis could not be captured on film, the resulting film is better at representing psychoanalysis "plastically" than "verbally"--the film uses an excess of text in the form of titles (sub- and inter-), which take away from the film's successes. Finally, the authors read Secrets of the Soul as an historical document that sheds light on early psychoanalytic practice, and they end with a note on the repressed homosexuality in the film, which they suggest is exemplary of Weimer cinema.
Bergstrom, Janet. “Psychological Explanation in the Films of Lang and Pabst.” Psychoanalysis & Cinema. Ed. E. Ann Kaplan. New York : Routledge, 1990. 163-80.
Bergstrom examines the differences between Lang and Pabst's uses of "psychological explanation" in their films in order to show the wide spectrum of Weimar film's emphasis on psychology. She notes that while Pabst in such films as Pandora's Box and Secrets of the Soul emphasizes "'realistic' characters who are carefully individuated through psychological depth," Lang's characters are abstract types set up in contrast to institutions (163). Bergstom is not interested in psychoanalysis but in "how psychology is used at the narrative level" (164). Bergstrom reads Secrets of the Soul as didactic/educational film whose project is to legitimate psychoanalysis by showing how it works to diagnose and cure the film's central character. But she notes that the film is the least satisfying of those she examines because, while the main character is shown to have great psychological depth, the secondary characters are devoid of such depth.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1995.9.W6 S57 1988