FILM AS NARRATIVE ART
English 299B, Spring 2004, Mondays,
REVISED CLASS SCHEDULE: (Specific screenings may change based on availability)
Class 1:M/1/12: Introduction to the course, premises, methods, objectives; discussion of film as a medium and the differences between film and other arts, including literature.
Screening: His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940).
NOTE: Monday, January 19th, is the Martin Luther King Holiday. Why not take this extra time to watch a good film that examines intolerance? Examples include Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989), Gandhi (Attenborough, 1982), To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962), Intolerance (Griffith, 1916), or Schindler's List (Spielberg, 1993). Many more films could of course be added, but these are among the greatest.
Plus--as long as we have an off-day--if you haven't seen The Return of the King, you really owe it to yourself to see it on a large screen. Videotapes and DVDs are fine, but there's no substitute for seeing a well-made movie in a real theater.
Class 2:M/1/26: Discussion of cinematic history, film production, methods, terms, student papers and projects. Analysis of His Girl Friday. Discussion of slapstick and screwball comedies. READ Chapter 1 (you may skip the first 20 pages), pages 415-18, & Chapter 12 and the Film Viewer's insert. We may also view excerpts from The Birth of a Nation (Griffith, 1915), Sherlock, Jr. (Keaton, 1924), Go West (Keaton, 1925), The General (Keaton, 1927), The Gold Rush (Chaplin, 1925), City Lights (Chaplin, 1931), and selected films by Hawks: The Big Sleep (1946), Bring Up Baby (1938), Red River (1948), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), The Thing from Another World (1951; credited to Christian Nyby), and Rio Bravo (1959).
Screening: Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936).
Class 3:M/2/2: Form & Genre. Discussion of the horror film. READ Chapters 2 & 4. We may also view excerpts from Frankenstein (Whale, 1931), Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene, 1919), Dracula (Browning, 1931), and Gods and Monsters (Condon, 1998).
Screening: Bride of Frankenstein (Whale, 1935).
Class 4:M/2/9: Narrative and Mise-en-Scene. READ Chapters 3 & 6. Click here for a plot segmentation of The Bride of Frankenstein. Discussion of summary/report paper; click here for instructions.
Screening: Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941).
Class 5:M/2/16: Continuing discussion of Citizen Kane, with excerpts from the film. Mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and film noir. READ Chapter 7 & 8. We may also view excerpts from The Malteze Falcon (Huston, 1941), The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946), Out of the Past (Tourneur, 1947). Click here for a short discussion of film noir, with a selected filmography.
Class 6:M/2/23: Film form, theme, and film noir. Take-home exam given out. Click here for complete instructions. Editing and documentary, experimental, and animated films. READ Chapters 5 & 9. We may also view excerpts from Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925), Fantasia (Algar, et. al., 1940), Harlan County, U.S.A. (Kopple, 1976), Blood of the Poet (Cocteau, 1932), Un chien Andalou (Bu˝uel, 1929). NOTE: SUMMARY OF A CRITICAL ARTICLE DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS.
Screening: Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944).
Class 7:M/3/1: Papers returned. Additional discussions of film noir. Film criticism. READ Chapters 10 & 11.
Class 8:M/3/8: Hitchcock, mise-en-scene, editing. We may also view excerpts from such Hitchcock films as Strangers on a Train (1951), North by Northwest (1959), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), & Psycho (1960). Research paper instructions given out. Click here for an online version.
Screening: Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954).
Class 9:M/3/15: FIELD TRIP. Class will meet on the Shoals Campus, Building 100, where our television-film specialist Ken Denson will give us a short tour of the Northwest-Shoals television studio. Students may get the opportunity to make a short film for broadcast. Click here for directions to the Muscle Shoals Campus. NOTE: TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS.
Screening on the Muscle Shoals campus, Building 120, room 128: The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1956).
Class 10:M/3/29: Discussion of John Ford and the Western film. We may also view excerpts from Stagecoach (Ford, 1939), Red River (Hawks, 1948), My Darling Clementine (Ford, 1946), Shane (Stevens, 1953), The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969), A Fistful of Dollars (Leone, 1964), The Outlaw Josey Wales (Eastwood, 1975), The Long Riders (Hill, 1980), and Unforgiven (Eastwood, 1992). Click here for an essay analyzing The Searchers and several other Westerns.
Screening: The Searchers (Ford, 1956).
Class 11:M/4/5: Discussion of satire, black comedy, surrealism, the cold war, and Stanley Kubrick. We may also view excerpts from Paths of Glory (Kubrick, 1957), The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer, 1962), Sunset Boulevard (Wilder, 1950), The Loved One (Richardson, 1965), The Exterminating Angel (Bu˝uel, 1962), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968), A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971), Full Metal Jacket (Kubrick, 1987).
Screening: The Graduate (Nichols, 1967).
Class 12:M/4/12: The 1960s: auteurs, young rebels, the new violence. We may also view excerpts from Breathless (Goddard, 1959), Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut, 1960), Easy Rider (Hopper, 1969), Little Big Man (Penn, 1970), The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969), Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976).
Screening: Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967).
NOTE: UNA's George Lindsey Film Festival will be held on April 15-17 at the University of North Alabama in Florence. This is your chance to meet and learn from film professionals and people who want to work in film. Ernest Borgnine, one of the featured artists this year, has acted in more than a hundred movies and television programs, including such greats as The Wild Bunch, Johnny Guitar, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Dirty Dozen, From Here to Eternity, Marty, Emperor of the North Pole, and Vera Cruz. If you bring proof that you attended this year's festival, I WILL ADD FIVE EXTRA POINTS to your lowest grade.
Class 13:M/4/19: The 1970s: personal visions, alienation, blockbusters, and the graduates of the "Roger Corman School of Film-Making." We may also view excerpts from Badlands (Malick, 1973), Days of Heaven (Malick, 1978), Thieves Like Us (Altman, 1974), The Getaway (Peckinpah, 1972), Mean Streets (Scorsese, 1973), The Godfather (Coppola, 1972), The Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978), Star Wars (Lucas, 1977), Jaws (Spielberg, 1975).
Screening: Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson, 1970).
Class 14:M/4/26: Modern Comedy and Woody Allen. We may also view excerpts from films by Allen such as Take the Money and Run (1969), Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Stardust Memories (1980), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1985), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Husbands and Wives (1992), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Deconstructing Harry (1997), and Sweet and Lowdown (1999). NOTE: RESEARCH PAPER DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS.
Screening: Crimes and Misdemeanors (Allen, 1989).
Class 15:M/5/3: Sensual life, regeneration, and magic realism. We may also view excerpts from Babbette's Feast (Axel, 1987),The Piano (Campion, 1993), Like Water for Chocolate (Arau, 1992), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Hallstr÷m, 1993), Antonia's Line (Gorris, 1995), Chocolat (Hallstr÷m, 2000). The final exam will be given out. NOTE: MEDIA-CRITIQUE JOURNAL DUE AT BEGINNING OF CLASS.
Screening: The Shipping News (Hallstr÷m, 2001).
FINAL EXAM: MONDAY, MAY 10TH, 5:30-7:30: Bring your exam paper with you.
Last class meeting: Postmodernism, independent films: visions and revisions. Excerpts examined from films by the Coen brothers include Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Barton Fink (1991), Big Lebowski (1998), Fargo (1996). Other films considered could include Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999), Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994), Crumb (Zwigoff, 1994), American Beauty (Mendes, 1999), Adaptation (Jonze, 2002), Ghost World (Zwigoff, 2000), and American Splendor (Berman and Pulcini, 2003).
Screening: O Brother, Where Art Thou (Coen, 2000).
NOTE: This class design was made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Education, Title III.