This course is a survey of film history from the beginnings of public film exhibition to the aftermath of World War II. We will look at industrial practices and stylistic developments, such as the development of motion picture technology, the development of narrative techniques, the establishment of national cinemas, the transition from silent to sound cinema, the dominance of Hollywood, the effects of World War II, and the ascendance of television, and the fall of studio system . While this course is primarily focused on Hollywood and American cinema, the contributions of major national cinemas are also explored.
Starting in 2009, required course materials qualify for a tax credit.
In addition to the textbook, required readings will be posted as PDFs on this website.
You will use the Learning Management System (LMS) to take your weekly quizzes and submit written assignments, including the Final Exam.
In addition to in-class screenings, there a number of films you are required to watch outside of class.
An easy way to procure these films is to subscribe to Hulu Plus. There is a monthly $7.99 fee, and you can watch on a number of devices, such as video game players, connected televisions, smartphones, and tablets. All but one of the required outside screenings are available on Hulu Plus’s Criterion Collection channel.
You are not required to subscribe to Hulu Plus if you can otherwise watch these films.
If you don’t use it already, I highly recommend using Dropbox to exchange files with me. You can sign up for free and receive two (2) gigabytes of cloud-based storage. This is an invaluable tool for accessing all of your files anywhere without having to carry a USB flash drive. I hate those things.
Please sign up for the course mailing list to receive occasional announcements about the course.
This class consists of five components. You cannot satisfactorily complete this course without all five of these.
Each lecture will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams. I will present on the historical and cultural context relevant to the film movement covered that particular week. I will post outlines and slides from each lecture, but believe me, those serve as poor substitutes for attending each week’s lecture.
Most weeks, there will be an in-class screening. I will lead a brief discussion after these screenings, depending on time constraints. You will also be responsible for any outside screenings. I highly recommend subscribing to Hulu Plus since most of these films are available through the service.
Please read the assigned course material before each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule for the required reading assignments.
All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After seven calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted and you could fail this class.
Exams comprise half of your course grade and are written to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. Exams will be administered in class and must be taken at the specified date and time.
Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid distractions, such as web surfing or using your mobile phone. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices. On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.
Students must adhere to all Institute-wide policies listed in the Bulletin under “Community Standards” and which include policies on attendance, academic integrity, plagiarism, computer, and network use.
Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.
There will be no incomplete grades for this class except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work before the beginning of the following semester.
But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.
Absolute integrity is expected of every member of the Pratt Community in all academic matters, particularly with regard to academic honesty.
The latter includes plagiarism and cheating. In addition, the continued registration of any student is contingent upon regular attendance, the quality of work, and proper conduct. Irregular class at- tendance, neglect of work, failure to comply with Institute rules, and official notices or conduct not consistent with general good order is regarded as sufficient reasons for dismissal.
Please silence or turn off the radio in your mobile phone (power down the phone or set to “Airplane” mode). Not only do ringing phones disrupt class, most phones will also interfere with the media equipment in the room.
Please check your official email account on a daily basis, if not more often. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.
Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.
The mission of the Disability Resource Center, a part of the Office for the Vice President for Student Affairs, is to ensure that all students with disabilities can freely and actively participate in all facets of Pratt life. To this end the office provides and coordinates services and programs that support student development, enable students to maximize their educational and creative potential, and assist students to develop their independence to the fullest extent possible. Furthermore, the office’s goal is to increase the level of awareness among all members of the Pratt community so that students with disabilities are able to perform at a level limited only by their abilities, not their disabilities.
Students who require special accommodations for disabilities must obtain clearance from the Office of Disability Services at the beginning of the semester. They should contact Mai McDonald, Disability Services Coordinator, in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Main Building, Lower Level: 718–636- 3711.
Each week, I will post a quiz consisting of review questions. The questions cover the material covered in lecture and in the assigned readings. Each quizzes is due on Monday after our class, at noon. No late quizzes will be accepted.
I will provide you with thirty (30) events relevant to the history of film and global culture. Give the four digit year event took place.
In the first thirty years of the cinema, between 1895 and 1925, there were inventors and innovators working on motion pictures throughout the world, often developing very unique approaches to the technical and creative aspects of the motion picture. As we have seen thus far this semester, cinema produced in one nation might be made for a different context than films produced in a different nation. And the purpose of filmmaking reflects or determines the stylistic conventions used in the making of a body of films.
Citizen Kane remains one of the most revered films because of its novel use of narration to obscure and reveal narrative information from the viewer. This paper will ask you to examine an extended scene from the film, analyze its narrational techniques, and to explain its relevance in the context of the entire film. In addition to your written report, you will, as part of a group, and present the scene in class and explain its significance to the film.
The Midterm Exam consists of short-answer identifications and essay questions. The exam will include material from the first six weeks of class.
The Final Exam consists of short-answer identification and essay questions. The exam will include the material covered after the midterm exam.
Answer the questions for Week 6 in the Learning Management System, due Monday, October 8, at noon.
Class cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy.
U.S. Citizens: remember to vote today. New York City residents: should know your polling places.