AMERICAN CINEMA Exam : Solution Essays

AMERICAN CINEMA – COM 260-G & J, FALL 2019

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This exam is due back on Monday, September 30.  You may start it as soon as you receive a copy online and can use any resources, including the texts and material on BB Content. You can bring it to class or send the completed exam via email.

Choose 6 of the following 10 questions:

1.   What role did the Motion Picture Patents Trust and its competitors play in the development of the industry.

2.  How did the Star system help promote the growth of the Hollywood studios?

3.  Women filmmakers were an essential part of the film industry and not just during the first two decades of the 20thcentury.  Discuss a few of these women filmmakers and the kinds of films they made and represented.

4.  What characteristics of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd made them the key members of Comedy’s Greatest Era? Who was the most important of this trio and why?

5.  Frank Capra’s IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) was perhaps the first Screwball Comedy (at least often described as the first) and an emblematic film of The Great Depression.  Discuss the reasons for its success, both commercially and critically.

6.  The Pre-Code Era, which I call the era of Sex, Sin, and Smut, can be considered a movement but it only lasted between 1927 and mid-July 1934.  It still seems to have a stronghold on critics, film scholars, and some home distributors, 85 years after strong censorship ended this period.  How do you feel about Pre-Code films, and do you think it was inevitable that the era would end in the 1930s? 

7.   Discuss two films I required or recommended for outside viewing.  

8.  Andre Bazin’s article “The Evolution of the Language of Cinema” uses the term “convergence” to describe how the forces of film resulted in a new and more realistic era of filmmaking by 1938-1941. What is Bazin’s thesis? 

9.  Why was CITIZEN KANE considered one of the great films of all time?  Do you agree?

10. What made CASABLANCAone of the most iconic films in American Cinema?

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