American Cinema

Film THE IMMIGRANT (Chaplin): 

1-What is your favorite film to date? Explain your position regarding the social and political influences that weighed on the filmmaker.
2. Discuss two films I REQUIRED in the syllabus, from a list of films shown on the schedule or added. You are free to choose your parameters for answering this question.
3. Now do the same for RECOMMENDED films that were/are online at, Swank, Kanopy, YouTube, or other sources you have access to.
4. We studied Screwball Comedy at greater length than some other genres, including IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934), BRINGING UP BABY (1938), and SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS (1941). What are the characteristics of these films that helped to define the genre?
5. The period between 1947 and 1960 represents the House Un-American Activities Committee’s (HUAC) and their attack on Hollywood, along with the November 1947 Waldorf-Astoria “Agreement” that initiated the industry’s own Backlist. Was HUAC justified in its origins and methods? Did Hollywood benefit from the Blacklist? You should also discuss CROSSFIRE (1947) and ON THE WATERFRONT (1954), two films associated with the Blacklist.
6. Why is CASABLANCA(1943) considered such an iconic film? Utilize what you’ve learned from CINEMA EXILES (2009) about the cast and crew.
7. APARTMENT FOR PEGGY (1948) is not a film I have ever seen in my cinema studies classes anywhere and is therefore a greatly undervalued film in the social history of American Cinema. What issues, both during the war and postwar, were illuminated by the film?
8. How can we best define FILM NOIR? Illustrate with examples we saw in class and online, including BB Content from YouTube.
9. What factors were most significant in the development of how Hollywood treated our Black population?
10. The geographical and cultural context of films are crucial in film criticism and the study of film in general. GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997), ON THE WATERFRONT, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, NO WAY OUT (1950), CASABLANCA, and GIANT (1956) are important examples to use in answering this question (and others you feel are valuable).
11. What was the distinctive role of the women in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)?
12. The auteur theory of filmmaking is one of the most popular theories in the study of cinema. How do you define this theory? Name at least several directors whose films you have seen this semester that illustrate the value of the theory.
13. SEPARATE BUT EQUAL (1991) tells the compelling story of the transition from the segregation of African Americans through the eyes of its children to the Brown v. Board of Education case that struck down segregation in America by the unanimous vote of 9-0. How do you feel about the struggle facing Thurgood Marshall (Sidney Poitier) and Earl Warren (Richard Kiley) in achieving what noted historian and author David Halberstam considered the most important U.S. Supreme Court case of the 20th Century?
14. What were the advantages and disadvantages of the Hollywood Classical Studio System?
15. Who are your favorite actors and actresses this semester?

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