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Hollywood Cinema (FI 102)


There’s a good chance you’ll already be pretty familiar with Hollywood cinema. After all, it dominates film culture here in the UK and across the world. For many people, ‘Hollywood’ is synonymous with ‘film’.

But even this meaning is not fixed. In general discourse, Hollywood can be used as a ‘bad object’, a shorthand for films that are seen as commercial, and lacking in depth and substance. Or, alternatively, Hollywood’s golden age might be invoked as the benchmark for quality film production.

Indeed, when we talk about Hollywood, we are referring to both an industrial system – with specific practices and cultures of film production - and an aesthetic tradition, with codes and conventions that dictate how films look, sound, tell stories, and use stars.

In this module we engage with the full historical range of Hollywood sound production from the late 1920s to the present day. Examples will be varied, but all will be chosen because they illustrate important aspects of the industry, including style, genre, stars, directors, technology, censorship, and politics. Your viewing will be supplemented by lectures giving context and frameworks for analysis, and weekly readings will help you complicate and move deep beneath the surface of one of the world’s most popular national cinemas.

Class Location and Time

Wednesday 9.30/10.00 – 12.00 Film Screening (A0.28)
Thursday 10.00 – 11.00 Lecture (A0.28)

11.00 - 16.00 Seminars


Assessment: 2 x 3,000 word essays 60%

Examination: 2 questions in 2 hours(seen exam)40%

The module is examined by two 3,000 word essays, one covering the Autumn Term work and one the Spring Term work.

There is also a SEEN examination (i.e.: taken under usual exam conditions, but emailed to you earlier). The exam is a two hour, two-section paper, with one section drawn from each term’s work; this exam counts for 40% of the final module mark.