This page-by-page annotation is organized by sections, as delineated by the seven squares (sprockets) which separate each section. The page numbers for this page-by-page annotation are for the original Viking edition (760 pages). Editions by other publishers vary in pagination the newer Penguin editions are 776 pages; the Bantam edition is 886 pages.
Contributors: Please use a 760-page edition (either the original Viking edition with the orange cover or the Penguin USA edition with the blue cover and rocket diagram there are plenty on Ebay for around $10) or search the Google edition for the correct page number. Readers: To calculate the Bantam edition use this formula: Bantam page # x 1.165. Before p.50 it's about a page earlier; as you get later in the book, add a page.
Finally, profound thanks to Prof. Don Larsson for providing the foundation for this page-by-page annotation.
The tenement courtyards can be seen in many German films of the 1920s, especially the "street" films such as Pabst’s The Joyless Street as well as in Fritz Lang’s M (1931). Highlights painted on the sets are a feature of some early German Expressionist films, notably The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Wikipedia entry
''Metropolis'' (1927). After Metropolis In 1935, angered by Nazi control of the German film industry, she moved to Switzerland where she later had 4 children with her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist. After her retirement from films in 1936 (she made over 30, including talkies), she refused to grant any interviews concerning her film career.
vamp a la Brigitte Helm
Greta’s reference is somewhat anachronistic. If she achieved stardom in the 1920s, Greta would not have been compared to Dietrich until late in her career. Although featured in several German silent films, Dietrich only became famous when she starred in the first German talking film, The Blue Angel, in 1930. The director, Josef von Sternberg, brought her to Hollywood where he made her one of the great stars, playing a "destroyer of men" in such American films as Morocco (1930), Blonde Venus (1932), and The Devil Is a Woman (1935). Note that Pynchon also referred anachronistically to Dietrich’s eyebrows in the chapter "Mondaugen’s Story" in V. Greta's appearance as a faded but deadly silent film star is also (anachronistically) similar to Gloria Swanson's role as Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950).
The last and largest of the castles built by the mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, modeled after Versailles. Also see note at p.750.
394.23 Ludwig II
A reference to the popular series of German films about Frederick the Great that began with Fridericus Rex (1922) and lasted into the Hitler era, all starring Otto Gebuhr. Kracauer notes how these films tended to routinize rebellion by placing it as part of a process leading to submission (From Caligari to Hitler 118).
394.31 even on orthochromatic stock
Orthochromatic film stock was standard in the movie industry through most of the silent era. It produced the warm tones alluded to here, but was sensitive only to certain portions of the light spectrum and would not register reds or yellows (one reason for the heavy makeup worn in some silent films). It was replaced in the late 1920s by Panchromatic stock, which is sensitive to all colors in the spectrum.
394.34 Endless negotiating, natty little men with Nazi lapel pins
One nearly legendary story, retold by Kracauer and others, is how Fritz Lang was called to a bureaucrat’s office after making his film M, the story of a child murderer played by Peter Lorre. The official, sporting a pin like the ones mentioned here, wanted to know what the film was about, assuming that the working title, Murderer among Us, referred to Hitler. He was reassured to find out the real subject, and the film’s name was changed. Von Göll may have met the same bureaucrat.
Igor Zabel notes that the word simply means "Kingdom."
But probably only in private. The perverse personal tastes of the Nazi leadership are legendary (in more than one sense), but German films under Hitler’s regime and Goebbels’ supervision always endorsed bourgeois morality and would never have displayed anything close to the decadence of von Göll’s Good Society. (Hitler is supposed to have claimed that Gone with the Wind was his favorite movie!) The film does echo scenes of decadent parties in earlier German films, such as Dr. Mabuse, Lubitsch’s Madame DuBarry and The Merry Widow, and Pabst’s Diary of a Lost Girl (starring Louise Brooks, right) and The Love of Jeanne Ney.
Beyond the Zero
Un Perm' au Casino Herman Goering
In the Zone
279-295, 295-314, 314-329, 329-336, 336-359, 359-371, 371-383, 383-390, 390-392, 392-397, 397-433, 433-447, 448-456, 457-468, 468-472, 473-482, 482-488, 488-491, 492-505, 505-518, 518-525, 525-532, 532-536, 537-548, 549-557, 557-563, 563-566, 567-577, 577-580, 580-591, 591-610, 610-616