Manufacturing Melodrama: Peyton Place and the Bastardy in/of Hollywood Industry.

20. Juni 2014, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Mailand
Vortrag an der NECS (
European Network for Cinema and Media Studies)-Tagung „Creative Energies/Creative Industries“ (19.-21.6.2013) ///

First bestseller, then movie blockbuster and finally long-running TV soap opera, the melodama «Peyton Place» represents shallow American mass entertainment in the fifties and sixties like nothing else. Churned out by an industry only interested in extending the initial success, the many instalments of «Peyton Place» are characterized by constant repetition of the same situations and plots. However, the repetitive and seemingly soulless production history of this steamy melodrama is nothing else than a self-reflexive demonstration of the narrative’s main point, since the many stories of «Peyton Place» all focus on the inevitable return of repressed traumatic memories. Following Lacan’s claim that the drives of the human psyche are not inscribed in some mysterious inner space but are governed by those symbolic structures surrounding us, this paper will show how the very mechanics of Hollywood entertainment industry (as seen at work in «Peyton Place») allow for a most sophisticated analysis not only of trauma and repression, but also of the creative energy which ultimately drives Hollywood industry.

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