Communication and Culture | Hollywood I
C290 | 8096 | Waller, G.

TuTh, 2:30 PM-3:45 PM, BH 003
Required film screenings: Tu, 7:00 PM-10:30 PM, SE 105

Fulfills COLL S&H Requirement

Instructor: Gregory Waller
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 261
Phone: 855-7282

This course will survey the first fifty years of American cinema,
beginning with the premiere of moving pictures as a form of
commercial amusement in the late 1890s and ending with the
extraordinary presence of film in the United States during World War
II. Along the way, we will consider the introduction of feature
films, the star system, and the movie theater, and the rise of
Hollywood as business enterprise, mythic site, and purveyor of often
contradictory images and stories about glamour and gender, race and
social class, romance and escape, fear and pleasure.

Required weekly screenings will include a wide array of silent and
sound films: comic shorts, cartoons, newsreels, non-fiction films,
and serial episodes as well as feature films across a range of
genres and styles. We’ll explore the various ways these films were
produced, distributed, promoted, and programmed.  You will have the
opportunity to see early gangster films and social problem
melodramas, historical epics and irreverent comedies, war pictures
and travelogues. We will examine these films and the development of
the Hollywood studio system in relation to several intertwined
aspects of the history of cinema in the United States: the role of
movie theaters, the representation of fans and other audiences, the
social history of moviegoing as an important aspect of everyday
life, and the broader public discourse about censorship and
the “menace” of the movies.

Readings will focus on documents from the period—accounts from
journalists and commentators, editorial cartoons, handbooks for
theater owners, excerpts from fan magazine and the motion picture
industry trade press. Written work will include three exams, a
research paper, and various short writing assignments.