We will explore the breadth of mid-twentieth-century film, following transformations within the cinematic experience, as well as examining the relationship between the cinema and other modes of performance, whether in the theatre, radio or television. We shall investigate the opportunities provided by these other performance media and assess their impact on the cinematic experience. We shall consider these works of art in their cultural context, and scrutinize the ways in which popular film expressed, critiqued or questioned developments within American society.
This course will extend and deepen the power of students’ critical analysis through in-depth consideration of texts. Students will explore critical debates surrounding American film. The course will aim to provide for literature students the critical skills necessary for the analysis of visual texts. This will involve an understanding of: basic film theory; the uses of the frame and editing; the place of the ‘star’; the nature of genre; and the ‘auteur theory’. Regarding both literary and cinematic art works, it will also aim to extend the students’ skills in the reading of narrative and the understanding of the relationship of a text to its cultural/social context. Students will be encouraged to share analytical and critical views on the texts ascribed in class discussion, including short presentations, and will focus research skills in the writing of a final research paper. This paper will be on a relevant subject of their own choice within the parameters of the course.
The timetable will be available from July 1st on the Internet.
Mode of Instruction
Two-hour tutorial per week and film screening.
Two essays of 2000-2500 words (50% each); or, one longer essay on a comparative subject (dealing with at least two texts featured on the syllabus) of 4000-5000 words (100%). Both essays must contain a significant element of research.
The first shorter essay (if the student decides to do this) is due on the Tuesday of the week following the last teaching week (week 14); the long essay and the second shorter essay are due in during the exam period.
STUDENTS MUST REGULARLY ATTEND CLASSES. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL MEAN THAT YOUR ESSAY(S) WILL GO UNGRADED.
This course is supported by Blackboard. Students should sign up before the beginning of the semester.
V. F. Perkins, Film as Film (Da Capo Press)
Philip Lopate (ed.), American Movie Critics (The Library of America).
Students can register through uSis.
Register for ‘Contractonderwijs’ via: www.hum.leidenuniv.nl/onderwijs/contractonderwijs
English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEEK 1: CHARLIE CHAPLIN, MODERN TIMES.
WEEK 2: HOWARD HAWKS, BRINGING UP BABY.
WEEK 3: VICTOR FLEMING, GONE WITH THE WIND.
WEEK 4: ALFRED HITCHCOCK, SHADOW OF A DOUBT.
WEEK 5: JOSEPH MANKIEWICZ, ALL ABOUT EVE.
WEEK 6: GENE KELLY / STANLEY DONEN, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN.
WEEK 7: FRED M. WILCOX, FORBIDDEN PLANET / DON SIEGEL, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
WEEK 8: BILLY WILDER, SOME LIKE IT HOT.
WEEK 9: JOHN FORD, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.
WEEK 10: ROBERT ALTMAN, M*A*S*H*.
WEEK 11: FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, THE GODFATHER.
WEEK 12: MARTIN SCORSESE, TAXI DRIVER.
WEEK 13: STANLEY KUBRICK, THE SHINING.