modern movie history essay

individually research and write an essay on some film topic that comes out of this course’s historical time frame (1945-present). OPTION #2: Students could make a movie short in small groups that somehow documents, animates, pays homage to, and/or otherwise reflects some facet of cinema from this same time frame.

Regardless of which option you go with, you are free to focus on a development in American cinema or abroad. If you go with the essay, it should be grounded in research and must include at least one secondary, academic source and at least one primary source (that is, original, from the era in question).

Here are a few possible topics for the essay (and you may choose your own apart from these):

Cinerama, Smell-o-rama, drive-in theaters, wide-screen, IMAX, and other responses to the rise of TV and more recent personal, in-home media

1948 Paramount Decree (that banned block booking and signaled the end of the Studio System)

Ratings system replaces the Hays Production Code; the transition happened in 1968, but what leads up to it and/or how is the ratings system implemented initially? What kinds of changes does the system undergo initially and then over the next few decades, and why?

Rise of pornography exhibition; how did soft-core emerge compared to, say, X-rated (“hard-core”) porn playing in downtown, urban porno theater districts?

Rise of Technicolor in the 1950s; what technological, industrial, financial shifts help make Technicolor much more of a standard by the 1950s and 1960s?

New wave movements around the world: French New Wave, Czech New Wave, Cinema Novo (Brazil), post-neorealism Italian New Wave, New German Cinema, Cinma vrit / Direct Cinema (both are related and highly influential documentary movements), and more

Movie exhibition and reception change enormously during the post-war decades: drive-ins peak in late 1950s/early 1960s; why? home screening and rentals (VHS late 1970s); midnight screenings and rise of “cult” status for both old and contemporary movies

The return of vertical integration in today’s studio system. Recently the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing it again. Many studios are under the corporate umbrellas of enormous conglomerates that also own exhibition, distribution, etc.

The digital revolution in filmmaking and exhibition. Several filmmakers held out as film purists, but they are few and far between now.

Essay: (double-spaced), 1″ margins, 12-point font, and at least one academic source (scholarly journal article or book) and at least one primary source (e.g., trade journal, newspaper article, interview, etc.); APA or MLA (parenthetical or footnotes fine), with complete and proper works cited/bibliography page.

 

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