American Film Authors
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
08 June 2020
Requisites for this module
If American movies can still be characterised as constructing a dominant image of the United States (not only for the American people themselves but also for much of the rest of the world), then filmmaking might be counted as one of the most influential and productive forces in the US culture industries.
This module aims to consider this idea through examination of the work of US directors, actors, writers, and other key figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Katharine Hepburn, and Robert de Niro, and of others who partly or largely have worked outside Hollywood such as Spike Lee, Kelly Reichardt, and Courtney Hunt. Arguably, many of these figures have had a significant role in mapping the space of America in the popular imagination. While critically studying and interrogating the notion of the auteur, this module covers a breadth of US film history, including the western, screwball comedy, film noir, thrillers, and horror.
Module Supervisor's Research into Subject Area
Professor Geiger is a well-known expert on US cinema with a range of publications in the field, including Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the US Imperial Imagination, and American Documentary Film: Projecting the Nation. He is co-editor of Film Analysis: A Norton Reader, which is used on film and media courses worldwide.
No information available.
No information available.
No additional information available.
Anticipated Teaching for 20/21:
Weekly 2 hour seminar (certain weeks divided into 1 hour lecture immediately followed by 1 hour class)
plus online screening (not timetabled)
- Lorde, Audre. (2019) 'Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference', in Race, class, and gender: intersections and inequalities, Boston, MA: Cengage.
- Wilder, Billy; Holden, William; Swanson, Gloria; Von Stroheim, Erich; Olson, Nancy. (2002) Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood: Paramount Pictures. vol. Paramount DVD Collection
- Dyer, Richard; McDonald, Paul. (1998) Stars: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
- Girgus, Sam B. (1998) Hollywood renaissance: the cinema of democracy in the era of Ford, Capra, and Kazan, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Rawle, Steven. (2018) Transnational cinema: an introduction, London: Palgrave.
- Todd, Janet. (1988) Women and film, New York: Holmes & Meier. vol. new series, v. 4
- Ford, John; Wayne, John. (c2000) The Searchers, [London?]: Warner Home Video.
- Fuchs, Cynthia. (2013) 'Taxi Driver: 'I got some bad ideas in my head'', in Film analysis: a Norton reader, New York: W. W. Norton & Company., pp.696-714
- Haynes, Todd. (2004) Safe, [S.l.]: Prism Leisure.
- Johnston, Claire. (1978) 'Double Indemnity', in Women in film noir, London: British Film Institute., pp.100-111
- DiBattista, Maria. (c2001) 'Missing Links: Bringing Up Baby', in Fast-talking dames, New Haven: Yale University Press., pp.174-201
- Carter, Matthew. (2014) Myth of the western: new perspectives on Hollywood's frontier narrative, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Lorde, Audre. (1990) 'Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference', in Out there: marginalization and contemporary cultures, London: MIT Press., pp.179-287
- Dyer, Richard. (1986) Heavenly bodies: film stars and society, New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Place, Janey. (1978) 'Women in Film Noir', in Women in film noir, London: British Film Institute., pp.35-65
- Schatz, Thomas. (2006) 'Annie Hall the Issue of Modernism', in The films of Woody Allen: critical essays, Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press., pp.123-132
- Shumway, David. (1995) '“Screwball Comedies: Constructing Romance, Mystifying Marriage”', in Film genre reader II, Austin: University of Texas Press., pp.381-401
- Wood, Robin. (c1989) 'Vertigo', in Hitchcock's films revisited, New York: Columbia University Press., pp.108-130
- Hillier, Jim; Wollen, Peter. (1996) Howard Hawks, American artist, London: BFI Publishing.
- Cowie, Elizabeth. (1993) 'Film Noir and Women', in Shades of noir: a reader, London: Verso., pp.121-165
- Lorde, Audre. (c2004) 'Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference', in Race, class, and gender: an anthology, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. vol. The Wadsworth sociology reader series
- Peter Wollen. (2016) 'From Signs and Meaning in the Cinema', in Film theory and criticism: introductory readings, New York: Oxford University Press.
- Leo, Melissa; McDermott, Charlie; Hunt, Courtney. (2013) Frozen River: Sony Pictures Home Ent.
- Marlaine Glicksman. (1986) 'Lee Way', in Film Comment: Film Society of Lincoln Center. vol. 22, pp.46-49
- Stoddart, Helen. (c1995) 'Auteurism and Film Authorship Theory', in Approaches to popular film, Manchester: Manchester University Press. vol. Inside popular film
- Place, J.; Peterson, L. S. (c1976-c1985) 'Some Visual Motifs of Film Noir', in Movies and methods: an anthology, Berkeley: University of California Press. vol. 1, pp.325-338
- Studlar, Gaylyn. (2013) 'Double Indemnity: Hard-Boiled Film Noir', in Film analysis: a Norton reader, New York: W. W. Norton & Company., pp.380-389
- Schrader, Paul. (1995) 'Notes on Film Noir', in Film genre reader II, Austin: University of Texas Press., pp.213-226
- Girgus, Sam B. (1993) 'Desire and Narrativity in Annie Hall', in The films of Woody Allen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., pp.44-61
- Reid, Mark. (c1993) 'Black Comedy on the Verge of a Genre Breakdown', in Redefining Black film, Berkeley: University of California Press., pp.100-109
- Cameron, Ian; Pye, Douglas. (1996) The movie book of the western, London: Studio Vista.
- Willis, Sharon. (2013) 'Do The Right Thing: A Theatre of Interruptions', in Film analysis: a Norton reader, New York: W. W. Norton & Company., pp.776-793
- Mast, Gerald. (1982) 'Comedies of Youth and Age: Bringing Up Baby and Monkey Business', in Howard Hawks, storyteller, New York: Oxford University Press.
- Kaplan, E. Ann. (2000) 'Is the Gaze Male?', in Feminism and film, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.119-138
- (2013) Film analysis: a Norton reader, New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
- Modleski, Tania. (2005) 'Vertigo: Femininity By Design', in The women who knew too much: Hitchcock and feminist theory, New York: Routledge., pp.87-100
- Salamensky, S. I. (2013) 'Bringing Up Baby: Screwball and the Con of Modern Culture', in Film analysis: a Norton reader, New York: W. W. Norton & Company., pp.262-279
- Thornham, Sue. (1999) Feminist Film Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Baraka, Amiri. (1993) 'Spike Lee at the Movies', in Black American cinema, New York: Routledge. vol. AFI film readers, pp.145-153
- Baker, Houston. (1993) 'Spike Lee and the Commerce of Culture', in Black American cinema, New York: Routledge. vol. AFI film readers, pp.154-176
- Gallagher, Tag. (c1986) John Ford: the man and his films, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
- Scorsese, Martin. (1980) 'Expressions of the Streets', in A Cinema of Loneliness, New York: Oxford University Press., pp.185-261
- Gottlieb, Sidney. (c1995) 'On Style', in Hitchcock on Hitchcock: selected writings and interviews, Berkeley: University of California Press., pp.285-302
- Andrew Sarris. (2016) 'Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962', in Film theory and criticism: introductory readings, New York: Oxford University Press.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Spring visual studies assignment + written analysis
||Summer Essay (1,500 words)
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Jeffrey Geiger, email: email@example.com.
Professor Jeffrey Geiger
LiFTS General Office - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Telephone 01206 872626
Dr Mikel Koven
University of Worcester
Senior Lecturer - Film Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 140 hours, 80 (57.1%) hours available to students:
60 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
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