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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia Steele
C LIT 303
Seattle Campus

Theory of Film: Genre

Introduction to the history and significance of film genres from the early days of film to the present. Examines a selection of several genres, drawn from a list including western, melodrama, musical, thriller, road odyssey, film noir, and documentary. Topics include form, ideology, authority, history, innovation, and parody.

Class description

Overview of the classic period of film noir in the United States, between 1940 and 1959. Viewing and close analysis of eight representative films:The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, Gilda, Out of the Past, The Blue Gardenia, Gun Crazy, and Kiss Me Deadly; along with clips of other films. Relation to the post-WW II cultural context and to evolving constructions of the individual, the family and the state, and of masculinity and femininity, in this context. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions, to prepare a group oral presentation, and to write two 5-6-page analytical essays.

Required Texts: E. Ann Kaplan, ed. Women in Film Noir. London: BFI Publishing, New Edition, 2001; and James Naremore, More than Night. Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkeley: UC Press, 1998.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture/discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Biweekly viewing of films Readings and discussion of film history and criticism Group oral presentation Two 5-6-page analytical essays

Class participation 20%

Oral presentation 20%

Essay one 30%

Essay two 30%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Cynthia Steele
Date: 04/16/2005