FILM 210: History of Film I: 1890-1945
Description: This course will explore the origins of the seventh art by looking at a variety of aesthetic movements and techological advancements that occured during the first fifty-odd years of film history. We will examine silent serials like The Perils of Pauline, which depicts the outrageous adventures of the titular heroine, and Les Vampires, a French serial about a band of robbers led by the infamous Irma Vep. Students will also watch silent slapstick productions by the likes of Harold LLoyd, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin. We will explore the tensions surrounding the introduction of the production code (Scarface and Female) and sound technology (The Jazz Singer and Modern Times) and consider how issues of race are represented in silent films such as D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation and Oscar Micheaux's Within our Gates. The course will include German Expressionist masterpieces like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Pandora's Box and students will be asked to consider the relationship between film and the other arts by examining challenging Avant-Garde films such as Un Chien Andalou and Borderline. We will discuss Lois Weber's The Blot, a brilliant representation of class tensions, and Dorothy Arzner's disruptions to the classical Hollywood system in Dance, Girl, Dance. We will also analyze the introduction of the star system by examining figures like Theda Bara, the first screen vamp, and Clara bow, the ultimate "It" girl. And, as the class approaches its conclusion, we will consider how films like Casablanca engage with the politics of war.
NOTE: FILM 210 does not have a prerequisite. All interested students are encouraged to enroll. For more information about this course, please contact April Miller.
NOTE 2: All Film Studies Minors must take either FILM 210 or FILM 211. FILM 211: Film History II will not be offered until Fall 2011. As a result, all students who have not yet taken a course in film history and intend to graduate in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011 must enroll in this course for Fall 2010.