Comparative Literature 311

History of Film, 1930-1959

Winter 2004, Mary Gates 231
Film Screenings: Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-5:50pm
Lecture/Discussion: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-4:50pm

Steven Shaviro (, A303 Padleford, Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:00pm


Jan 5-6: The Coming of Sound
Screening: 42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon and Busby Berkeley, Warner Brothers, 1931)
Other Films: Busby Berkeley, Gold Diggers of 1935; Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times; King Vidor, Hallelujah!
Reading: Ch 7 (pp 205-230)

Jan 7-8: Josef von Sternberg; also, Hollywood Before the Code
Screening: The Devil is a Woman (Josef von Sternberg, Paramount, 1935)
Other Films: Josef von Sternberg, Morocco; John Francis Dillon, Millie; Wesley Ruggles/Mae West, I'm No Angel
Reading: Ch 8, pp 231-238, 255-259

Jan 12-13: Fritz Lang; also, Ethnic Cinema
Screening: Fury (Fritz Lang, MGM, 1936)
Other Films: Fritz Lang, You Only Live Once; Oscar Micheaux, Murder in Harlem; Spencer Williams, Blood of Jesus; Joseph Green, Yidl With a Fiddle
Reading: Ch 8, pp 251-255; also pp 97-100

Jan 14-15: Comedy in the 1930s
Screening: Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, Paramount, 1932)
Other Films: Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby; Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth; Leo McCarey/Marx Brothers, Duck Soup
Reading: Ch 8, pp 235-236

Jan 20: The Hollywood Studio System
(No Screening)
Other Films: George Cukor, Camille; Mitchell Leisen, Easy Living; Mervyn LeRoy, I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang; John Ford, How Green Was My Valley; Shirley Temple, Bright Eyes; George Stevens, Swing Time
Reading:Ch 8, pp 239-251

Jan 21-22: Howard Hawks and Other Auteurs; also, Studios continued
Screening: To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, Warner Brothers, 1944)
Other Films: Frank Capra, It Happened One Night and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Reading: Ch 8, pp265-268, 284-288

Jan 26-27: Orson Welles and Hollywood in the 1940s
Screening: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, RKO, 1941)
Other Films: Orson Welles, The Lady From Shanghai
Reading: Ch 10 (pp 327-353), Ch 11(pp 368-385)

Jan 28-29: Jean Renoir and French Film Before World War II
Screening: Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
Other Films: Rene Clair, Under the Roofs of Paris; Jean Cocteau, Blood of a Poet; Jean Vigo, L'Atalante
Reading: Ch 9 (pp 289-326)
First Paper Due: Hollywood in the 1930s

Feb 2-3: Italian Neo-Realism
Screening: Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1946)
Other Films: Luchino Visconti, Obsessione; Vittorio De Sica, Miracle in Milan
Reading: Ch 11(pp 355-368)

Feb 4-5: French Film After World War II
Screening: Pickpocket (Robert Bresson, 1959)
Other Films: Max Ophuls, Lola Montez; Jacques Tati, Mon Oncle; Jean-Pierre Melville, Bob the Gambler
Reading: Ch 13, pp 431-443

Feb 9-10: Japanese Film, 1930-1959
Screening: Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
Other Films: Yasujiro Ozu, Tokyo Story; Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon
Reading: Ch 18, pp 731-752

Feb 11-12: Other Postwar Auteurs
Screening:Luis Bunuel, El, This Strange Passion
Other Films: Satyajit Ray, Pather Panchali; Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ordet
Reading: Ch 15, pp 572-578; Ch 18, pp 768-773
Second Paper Due: Hollywood in the 1940s

Feb 17: 1950s Hollywood Genres
(No Screening)
Other Films: Cecil B. DeMille, The Ten Commandments; William Wyler, Ben Hur; Don Siegel, Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Elia Kazan, A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront; Frank Tashlin, Artists and Models; Michael Gordon, Pillow Talk
Reading: Ch 12 (pp 387-429)

Feb 18-19: Hollywood Reflects On Itself
Screening: Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, Paramount, 1950)
Other Films: Stanley Donen, Singin' in the Rain; Vincente Minnelli, The Bad and the Beautiful

Feb 23-24: The Musical
Screening: The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, MGM, 1953)
Other Films: Vincente Minnelli, An American in Paris; Otto Preminger, Carmen Jones

Feb 25-26: Film Noir
Screening: Pickup on South Street (Samuel Fuller, 20th Century Fox, 1953)
Other Films: Jacques Tourneur, Out of the Past, Joseph H. Lewis, The Big Combo, Fritz Lang, The Big Heat
Third Paper Due: Non-English-language films, 1930-1959

March 1-2: John Ford and the Western
Screening: The Searchers (John Ford, Warner Brothers, 1956)
Other Films:
Reading: Ch 8, pp 259-265

March 3-4: The Youth Film and Other Changes
Screening: Rebel Without A Cause (Nicholas Ray, Warner Brothers, 1955)
Other Films: Otto Preminger, The Man With the Golden Arm

March 8-9: Alfred Hitchcock
Screening: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, Paramount, 1958)
Other Films:
Reading: Ch 8, pp 268-284

March 10-11: Douglas Sirk and Melodrama
Screening: Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, Universal, 1959)
Other Films:
Fourth Paper Due: Hollywood in the 1950s

Readings are from the textbook ordered for this class: A History of Narrative Film (4th edition), by David A. Cook. The readings skip around a bit, but by the end of the quarter you should have read all of Chapters 7-12, and portions of Chapters 13 and 15.

Assignments and Due Dates:

There are four four-page papers, each counting for 25% of your final grade:

  1. Hollywood in the 1930s (due Jan 29)
  2. Hollywood in the 1940s (due Feb 12)
  3. Non-English-language films, 1930-1959 (due Feb 26)
  4. Hollywood in the 1950s (due March 11)

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