Summer 2006

ARTS 615
Cinema of Passion and Laughter: Film from 1895 to 1928

Ross,Sara A.; Higgins,Scott

06/26/2006 - 07/13/2006
Monday-Thursday 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 422

The period before 1928 was an incredibly rich time of cinematic development. This course explores the exciting array of film made before the conversion to synchronous sound. We will consider international trends in film production with special emphasis on the formation of the American film industry. Our goals are to understand how cinema was conceived of during its first years, to examine the forces that led to the development of the Hollywood narrative feature, and to consider American cinema as an institution in the 1920s. We will view and discuss some of the greatest works in film history, from supernatural serials to slapstick comedies. The films of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Clara Bow will be among those considered.

Readings will include: Thomas Elsaesser, ed., Early Cinema, Space Frame Narrative; Tom Gunning, D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film; Richard Koszarski, An Evening's Entertainment, and a photocopied course reader. Please purchase the course reader at PIP Printing in Middletown and complete the reading assigned for week one before coming to class on the first day. Screenings will include: Adventures of Dolly, A Drunkard?s Reformation, Battle of Elderbush Gulch, Les Vampires, Traffic in Souls, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Wild and Woolly, Ben Hur, It, and The Thief of Bagdad.

Students will complete one short writing assignment and a longer term paper. There will be one in-class presentation, a midterm, and a final. Students will also be assessed on the basis of class participation.

Sara Ross(B.A., M.A., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin) teaches film studies at University of Hartford and Quinnipiac University. Her recent publications include "The Americanization of Tsuru Aoki: Orientalism, Melodrama, Star Image and the New Woman," Camera Obscura (2005)

Scott Higgins (B.A. Oakland University; M.A., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin) is assistant professor of film studies. His book, Harnessing the Rainbow: Technicolor Aesthetics in the 1930s, is forthcoming from the University of Texas Press and his scholarship has appeared in Convergence, Film History, and the Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Richard Kosarzski, AN EVENING'S ENTERTAINMENT: THE AGE OF THE SILENT FEATURE PICTURE, 1915-1928 (University of California Press), Paperback


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