World Film History to 1945
This course surveys the history of world film from cinema s precursors to
1945. We will develop methods for analyzing film while examining the growth
of film as an art, an industry, a technology, and a political instrument.
Topics include the emergence of film technology and early film audiences, the
rise of narrative film and birth of Hollywood, national film industries and
movements, African-American independent film, the emergence of the genre film
(the western, film noir, and romantic comedies), ethnographic and documentary
film, animated films, censorship, the MPPDA and Hays Code, and the
introduction of sound. We will conclude with the transformation of several
film industries into propaganda tools during World War II (including the Nazi,
Soviet, and US film industries). In addition to contemporary theories that
investigate the development of cinema and visual culture during the first half
of the 20th century, we will read key texts that contributed to the emergence
of film theory. There are no prerequisites. Students are required to attend
screenings or watch films on their own.