Atwell, Lee. G.W. Pabst. Boston, Twain, 1977.
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.
Brown, Nick and Bruce McPherson. “Dream and Photography in a Psychoanalytic Film: Secrets of a Soul.” Dreamworks: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dream and Film. 1.1 (Spring 1980): 35-45.
This article in the inaugural issue of Dreamworks, a short-lived interdisciplinary journal on the relationship of dreams to human creativity (with each spring issue devoted to dream and film), marks the affinity and convergence of film and psychoanalysis particularly in terms of Freud's dream theory. Browne and McPherson emphasize the analogy between how dreams and films are experienced and look at Pabst's Secrets of a Soul as the first "deliberate conjunction between psychoanalysis and film" (36). They discuss Freud's skepticism of and refusal to participate in the project, but note that although psychoanalysis was seen as sensational at the time, the film succeeds in avoiding any explicitly sexual content. The authors use Derrida's "Freud and the Scene of Writing" to show how Freud uses the mechanical analogy of photography to describe the dream process. They also note that Derrida takes Freud's "Mysitcal Writing Pad" as a model for memory because he needed a form of writing capable of combining continuous freshness of surface and depth of retention. Browne and McPherson note how the film emphasizes the difference between story and interpretation, and read the main character as a witness or spectator of his dream, which represents an unresolved oedipal configuration/primal scene.
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.
Donald, James, Anne Friedberg, and Laura Marcus, eds. Close Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism. Princeton, Princeton UP, 1998.
Offers a very generous selection of articles printed in Close Up from 1927 to 1933. The anthology is organized into eight parts:
Part 1, "Enthusiasms and Execrations" on the potentials of various national and independent cinemas (introduced by James Donald);
Part 2, "From Silence to Sound" on the controversy of the coming of sound, which the editors of Close Up generally opposed (also introduced by James Donald);
Part 3, "The Contribution of HD" which reprints many of HD's theoretical essays and reviews of films (introduced by Laura Marcus);
Part 4, "Continuous Performance: Dorothy Richardson" which reprints many pieces from Richardson's "Coninuous Performance" column (introduced by Laura Marcus);
Part 5, "Borderline and the POOL films" which includes HD's pamphlet on Borderline, the 1931 film in which she starred with Paul and Eslanda Robeson (introduced by Anne Friedberg);
Part 6. "Cinema and Psychoanalysis" which includes a variety of film critics and psychoanalysts on the relationship between film and psychology/psychoanalysis (introduced by Laura Marcus).
Part 7, "Cinema Culture" on the political and educational potential of film (introduced by James Donald and Anne Friedberg);
Part 8, "Fade" marks Close Ups ending and the coming of World War II.
Appendices include the full table of contents of all issues of Close Up; contributors notes; Publishng history including POOL books; and Anne Friedberg's Chronology of Close Up in Context (reprinted from her dissertation (NYU 1983)).
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).
Friedman, Susan Stanford. Analyzing Freud: Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle. New York: New Directions, 2002.
This is a collection of letters circulated by H.D., Bryher and their circle in the 1930s when H.D. was in analysis with Freud. The letters are from the period AFTER H.D. and Bryher worked on the film journal, Close Up but there are references to film in general and to G.W. Pabst in particular. Although there are no letters to or from Pabst, H.D. and Bryher both write to others about him with great enthusiasm.
Greenberg, Harvey Roy. “Reel Significations: An Anatomy of Psychoanalytic Film Criticism.” Screen Memories : Hollywood Cinema on the Psychoanalytic Couch. New York: Columbia UP 1993. 13-37.
Greenberg's first chapter of Screen Memories begins with a discussion of the inherent relationship between psychoanalysis and the visual arts before turning to Freud's distrust and disinterest in film. Greenberg suggests that Freud's lack of interest in cinema is part of a larger avoidance of the "entire jangling paraphernalia of twentieth-century life" which includes film as well as radios, telephones, and cars (19). He also makes an intriguing connection between Freud's jaw cancer and is silence on the subject of cinema. He mentions Freud's troubled relationships with his desciples including, Karl Abraham, with whom he corresponded regarding Pabst's Secrets of the Soul. Abraham died before Secrets was released, and he and Freud never quite reconciled over their disagreement about the film. The chapter then turns to the development of psychoanalytic film criticism in the twentieth-century with an outline of the academic field. He also sketches out the appearance of therapist characters in film throughout the twentieth-century, drawing on I. Schneider's "The Theory and Practice of Movie Psychiatry," which points to "the appearance of three distinct therapeutic 'types' at the beginning of the silent era--Dr. Dippy, Dr. Evil, and Dr. Wonderful. . . [which are]regularly enacted to this day" in film (35). Dr. Orth of Secrets, the first film therapist, fits the Dr. Wonderful type. Greenberg concludes with a look toward the future of psychoanalytic film criticism, calling for a deeper and more varied understanding and use of psychoanalytic theory in its application to film.
Holland, Norman N. Holland’s Guide to Psychoanalytic Psychology and Literature-and-Psychology. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.
Call #: Van Pelt AS30.M48
Konigsberg, Ira . “Cinema, Psychoanalysis, and Hermeneutics: G.W. Pabst's "Secrets of a Soul.” Michigan Quarterly Review. 34.4 (1995): 518-547.
Konigsberg frames his article on Secrets of a Soul with a note on Freud's legacy and influence on film, in particular the subgenre of the psychoanlytic salvational film, of which Secrets is the first. He opens with a discussion of problematic therapist characters in film which have evolved into Frankenstein-like figures who overstep their bounds in trying to control their patients' bodies and minds (e.g. Body Heat and The Silence of the Lambs), and he notes the irony that the first film psychoanalyst and the first film analysand was played by the same actor (Pavel Pavlov). Konigsberg offers a deep analysis of Secrets of a Soul, which considers the violent sexuality and homosexual strain hidden beneath the surface of the main narrative. His main purpose in the end is to show that psychoanalysis in and of film provides a 20th-century hermeneutic--that of searching for multiple and often non-contradictory meanings in texts that are never originary, and he concludes that Freud's shift from taking photography to taking the "mystic writing pad" as a model for the psyche is appropriate.
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.
Roazen, Paul. Historiography of Psychoanalysis. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 2001.
Sklarew, Bruce. “Freud and Film: Encounters in the Weltgeist” Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 47.4: 1238-47.
Sklarew traces Freud's encounters with film from his involvement with Jean-Martin Charcot's use of time-lapse photography at the Salpetriere in 1885-86 to his "acting in home movies" toward the end of his life. Sklarew notes that the Lumiere brothers' unveiling of their projector in 1895 coincides with Freud's work on conceptualizing dream-thought: "Frued conceived all the essentials of his seminal work, The Interpretation of Dreams, at the beginning of 1896, although the book was not written until the summer of 1899" (1240), and goes on to suggest that dream work and film work are analogous processes. The article also mentions Freud's visits to the cinema--one with Jung and Ferenczi in New York in 1905 while he was in the US for the Clark University Lectures, and one in Vienna in the late 1930s to watch an American double feature. Sklarew suggests that Freud was skeptical of film because of its potential to exploit, asserting that Freud's famous 1925 rejection of Samuel Goldwyn's offer to consult on films for MGM (he turned down $100,000) and his refusal to collaborate on G.W. Pabst's 1926 Secrets of the Soul were the result of Freud's wish to protect psychoanalysis from sensationalist exploitation. The article ends with a turn toward Freud's aesthetic, which Sklarew suggests was "intellectual rather than sensual" (1246).