The popularity of Dutch films at the time the first Dutch sound feature films were produced 1934- 1936, in particular three so called Jordaan films. These were melodramatic films with a comic touch and larded with many songs, set in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Amsterdam (the Jordaan) and based on popular theatre plays by Herman Bouber (1917-1921). Especially the first of these films De Jantjes (The Sailors, Jaap Speyer 1934) was an enormous success and heralded as ‘a true Dutch film with a Dutch heart’. The Netherlands is regarded by historians as a compartmentalized country in the 1930s, meaning that four so called pillars could be recognized: socialists (and communists); protestants, Catholics and Liberalen (comparable to Conservatives). These four pillars had their own political party, newspapers and schools. Apart from that there were the so called ‘neutrals’ not represented by a political party and with no schools. My question was how these three Dutch commercial feature films were received and if, and if so, how compartmentalization played a role in the reception and (lack of) success of these films.

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