Film 4170

American Film History I

Fall 2006

Lecture, Mondays & Wednesdays

5:30pm to 6:45pm

204 Aderhold Learning Center

Screening Lab, Wednesdays

7pm to 8:50pm

406 Arts and Humanities

 

Mr. Bryan Cardinale-Powell

Room 729, One Park Place

(404) 651-0468

joubcp@langate.gsu.edu

 

Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30 to 10:45 am, or by appointment

 

Course Description:

Throughout the 20th century, movies played an important role in the culture of the United States.  This course will focus on the development of the Hollywood dream factory from turn of the century experiments in narrative and industrial organization through periods of refinement and transformation, culminating in the closure of the classical Hollywood era, sometime in the 1960s.  Along the way, analytical tools like authorship, genre, ideology and social history will help shape not only our understanding of the relationship between the movie industry and American culture, but also our understanding of the movies themselves. 

 

Required Text:

Coursepack, available for purchase at The Printshop.

 

Readings assigned for this course were carefully selected to complement class activities and screenings.  Therefore, reading assignments should be completed before attending class.

 

Additional readings may be assigned and distributed over the term, depending on developments in the class.

 

Course Requirements:

Student requirements include the following:

 

         • Attendance and Participation in classroom discussions

         • Completion of two (2) exams

         • Screening responses

         • Research Paper

 

Attendance and Participation:  Your attendance in class is expected and will be monitored by the use of sign-in sheets. 

 

Exams: Both exams for the class will require students to use examples from class readings and screenings in response to essay prompts. 

 

Screening responses: Monday classes will open with a discussion of the week’s screening.  To supplement this discussion, students should submit to the instructor, via email, a one to two page response to each film no later than 6 p.m. Friday following the screening.

 

Research Paper:  Each student will complete a 7-10 page essay written on an approved topic related to the study of American film from 1900 to the 1960s.  We will discuss ideas for topics in class, a first draft will be required, and students will present research findings to the class in 7-10 minute presentations at the end of the semester. 

 

No cheating and/or academic dishonesty in any form will be tolerated in this course.  Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty explained in the online student handbook available at http://www2.gsu.edu/%7Ewwwdos/codeofconduct_conpol.html for further details.

 

Grading:

Students will earn final grades based on the following formula:

 

         30% Research Paper

         30%  Exam 1 (Midterm)

         20%  Exam 2 (Final)

         10%  Screening responses

         10%  Attendance/Participation

 

Assignment scores and calculated totals will correspond to letter grades according to the following scale:

 

 

93-100

A

 

 

90-92

A-

 

 

88-89

B+

 

 

83-87

B

 

 

80-82

B-

 

 

78-79

C+

 

 

70-77

C

 

 

68-69

C-

 

 

60-67

D

 

 

0-59

F

 

        

 

Withdrawal Policy:

There is a new withdrawal policy for all undergraduates starting Fall 2006: All undergraduates are allowed to withdraw with a grade of "W" a maximum of six times in their entire careers at Georgia State.  Students who exceed the limit will automatically receive a grade of "WF" which will count as an "F" for GPA calculations.  Withdrawals taken before Fall 2006 will not count against the limit and neither will hardship withdrawals, withdrawals at other institutions or withdrawals after the midpoint. Withdrawals after the semester midpoint are automatically given a grade of "WF."

 

To avoid withdrawals, a student is encouraged to attend class regularly and complete every assignment on time.  Students should seek the instructor via e-mail or during office hours to discuss any problems with the course.  A student who does not perform well in class and/or on assignments and exams will be sent an e-mail by the instructor seeking a meeting to discuss any problem(s) the student is having with the course.  The purpose of the meeting will be to remedy the problem(s) and allow the student to find ways to succeed in this course. 

 

The department of communication's Undergraduate Studies Office will also be notified of apparent student underperformance, and an advisor will be available to provide confidential mentorship or to put you in contact with other university resources that can help you navigate this class.  At any time in the semester a student can seek an appointment for an advisement session with the Undergraduate Studies Office by sending an e-mail to advise-comm@gsu.edu or by going to 835 One Park Place.

 

October 16th is the last day students can withdraw from this class and receive a grade of W.  If you choose to withdraw from this course, please be sure to follow the Registrar’s procedure to make sure your withdrawal is official before the deadline, otherwise you will receive an F for the course. 

 

Make-up exams and grades of Incomplete (I) are reserved solely for verifiable hardships.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time during the semester to discuss your classroom performance.  They’re your grades.  You earn them.


 

 

Tentative Class Schedule

Changes may be necessary due to unforeseen circumstances

 

WEEK 1

AUGUST 21

 

23

 

 

Course introduction

 

• Ross, Steven.  “Introduction: Why Movies Matter.”

 

SCREENING: Broken Blossoms (Griffith, 1919).

 

WEEK 2

28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

 

What is Hollywood Cinema?

• Bordwell, David.  “Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles and Procedures.”

• Maltby, Richard.  “Industry 1: To 1948.”

• Musser, Charles.  “Work, Ideology, and Chaplin’s Tramp.”

• Sloan, Kay.  “From The Loud Silents: Origins of the Social Problem Film.

 

SCREENING: The Gold Rush (Chaplin, 1925).

WEEK 3

SEPTEMBER 4

 

6

 

 

 

*** NO CLASS – LABOR DAY HOLDIAY ***

 

Movie stars and movie fans

• Dyer, Richard.  “Stars as social phenomenon.”

• Maltby, Richard.  “Entertainment 1.”

• Orgeron, Marsha.  “Making It in Hollywood: Clara Bow, Fandom and Consumer Culture.”

 

SCREENING: It (Badger, 1927).

 

WEEK 4

11

 

 

13

 

 

From silents to synchronized sound

• Gomery, Douglas.  “Technological Film History.”

 

SCREENING: Singin’ in the Rain, (Kelly & Donen, 1954).

 

 

 

WEEK 5

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

Censorship and the Production Code Administration

• Maltby, Richard.  “’Baby Face’ or How Joe Breen Made Barbara Stanwyck Atone for Causing the Wall Street Crash.”

• Jacobs, Lea.  “Censorship and the Fallen Woman Cycle.”

• Curry, Ramona.  “Goin’ to Town and Beyond: Mae West, Film Censorship and the Comedy of Unmarriage.”

• The Production Code

 

SCREENING: She Done Him Wrong (Sherman, 1933).

 

WEEK 6

25

 

27

 

 

 

 

***Research Paper Idea Roundtable***

 

Hollywood and the Depression

• Eckert, Charles.  “The Carole Lombard in Macy’s Window.”

• May, Lary.  “From The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way.”

 

*** Distribute Midterm exam essay prompts ***

 

SCREENING:  (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 1939).

 

WEEK 7

OCTOBER 2

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

Genre 1 – Screwball Comedy

• Schatz, Thomas.  “Film Genres and the Genre Film.”

• Schatz, Thomas.  “The Screwball Comedy.”

 

SCREENING: His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940).

 

*** Midterm Exam Due via email

by midnight, October 6th ***

 

WEEK 8

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

Hollywood and World War II

• Mintz, Steven & Randy Roberts.  “Part III: Wartime Hollywood.”

• Smith, Greg.  “Blocking Blockade: Partisan Protest, Popular Debate and Encapsulated Texts.”

• May, Lary.  “Making the American Consensus: The Narrative of Conversion and Subversion in World War II Films.”

 

SCREENING: Mildred Pierce (Curtiz, 1945).

 

 

 

 

WEEK 9

16

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

*** Semester Midpoint ***

Genre 2 – The Western

• Belton, John.  “The Making of the West.”

• Schatz, Thomas.  “The Western.”

 

SCREENING:  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962).

 

WEEK 10

23

 

 

 

25

 

Postwar and HUAC

• Belton, John.  “Hollywood and the Cold War.”

• Cogley, John.  “HUAC: The Mass Hearings.”

 

SCREENING: Salt of the Earth (Biberman, 1954).

 

WEEK 11

30

 

 

NOVEMBER 1

 

 

Authorship 1 – Hitchcock

Reading TBD

 

SCREENING: Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958).

 

WEEK 12

6

 

 

8

 

 

Authorship 2 – Welles

Reading TBD

 

*** Research Paper Draft Due ***

SCREENING: Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958).

 

WEEK 13

13

 

 

15

 

 

Cultural Change and Studio disintegration

Reading TBD

 

SCREENING: The Man with the Golden Arm (Preminger, 1955).

 

WEEK 14

20

 

22

 

 

*** Informal Research Paper discussions ***

 

*** NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY ***

WEEK 15

27

 

29

 

 

Research Presentations

 

Research Presentations

 

SCREENING: Shadows (Cassavetes, 1957).

 

 

 

WEEK 16

DECEMBER 4

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

Home-grown alternatives to Hollywood

• Carney, “Freedom from Styles and Styles of Freedom.”

 

***Distribute Final Exam Essay Prompts***

*** Research Paper Final Draft Due ***

 

Review and wrap-up

 

FINAL EXAM

11

 

 

*** Exam Due via email by midnight ***