Syllabus query

Academic Year/course: 2017/18

416 - Degree in English

27847 - Films in Context I

Syllabus Information

Academic Year:
27847 - Films in Context I
Faculty / School:
103 - Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
416 - Degree in English
4 and 3
First semester
Subject Type:

5.1. Methodological overview

This optional course is the continuation of the compulsory courses Film Analysis I and II, taught in the second year of the degree. The course will consist in the analysis of a list of audiovisual texts within a series of cultural and historical contexts. The main goal is to sharpen the critical acumen of the students and their ability to analyse audiovisual texts in context.

5.2. Learning tasks

Theoretical Sessions: 1,2 credits (30 hours). Introductory lecture, film analysis. Introduction to the formal, historical and cultural contexts of the text.

Practical sessions: 1,2 credits (30 hours). Individual and group work. Film analysis and debate. Guided analysis of clips from a selection of films.

Supervised activities:

Individual and group tutorials: 0,1 credits (2,5 hours). Guidelines for the writing of essays . Essay marking.

Individual work:

Essay writing: 2,2 credits (55 hours). Viewing and analysis of the compulsory audiovisual texts. Writing of essays.

Personal study: 1,2 credits (30 hours). Personal work and reading of compulsory bibliography.


Theory and practice exam: 0,1 credits (2,5 hours)

5.3. Syllabus

(27847) Films in Context I

1. The transition to sound and formal experimentation in the early 1930s. Early sound films. The construction of the paradigm. Censorship and excesses.

Freaks (Todd Browning, 1932)

Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch, 1932)

Scarface (Howard Hawks, 1932)

Queen Christina (Rouben Mamoulian, 1933)

Applause (Rouben Mamoulian, 1929)

The Love Parade (Ernst Lubitsh , 1929)

Morocco (Josef von Sternberg, 1930)

Public Enemy (William A. Wellman, 1931)

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (Frank Capra, 1932)

42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon, Busby Berkeley, 1933)

The Merry Widow (Ernst Lubitsch, 1934)

2. The Production Code and Classical Hollywood Cinema. The star system and the studio system. The consolidation of the Production Code. The classical paradigm. Continued innovation.

 It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, 1938)

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

Swing Time (George Stevens, 1936)

The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)

Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939)

Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen, 1940)

The Mark of Zorro (Rouben Mamoulian, 1940)

High Sierra (Raoul Walsh, 1941)

 3. The genius of the system. Repetition and variation. Major directors.

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1940)

To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942)

My Darling Clementine (John Ford, 1946)

Letter from an Unknow Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)

The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford, 1940)

Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942)

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

All about Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)

Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly, 1952)

Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

4. The Paramount Decision and the 1950s. The end of vertical integration. The Post-War and cultural change. The independents, realism, and the impact of television. The Cold War and the HUAC.

On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)

Bus Stop (Joshua Logan, 1956)

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel, 1956)

Party Girl (Nicholas Ray, 1958)

Bend of the River (Anthony Mann, 1952)

The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

All that Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)

The King and I (Walter Lang, 1956)

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958) 

5. Flickering embers of the classical age. The end of classicism. Crisis and transition. The ratings system. Billy Wilder and Stanley Kubrick.

Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

Kiss Me, Stupid (Billy Wilder, 1964)

The Fortune Cookie (Billy Wilder, 1966)

Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957)

Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli, 1958)

The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)

The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) 

6. The New American Cinema. The social movements of the 1960s. The influence of Art Cinema and "auteur" theory. New genres and new directors. 

Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

The Last Detail (Hal Ashby, 1974)

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (Milos Forman, 1975)

Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)

M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970)

The Godfather (Francis Coppola, 1972)

Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

The Exorcist (William Friedkin, 1973)

The Godfather II (Francis Coppola, 1974)

Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1975)

5.4. Course planning and calendar

Planning and Course Schedule

This course is taught in two weekly sessions. The course schedule will be handed to the students on the first day of class and will include the specific content of the theoretical and practical sessions. The introductory lectures will include the basic aspects of each one of the topics and the analysis of a selection of clips from the films in each topic. The practical sessions will consist in the analysis of the films in context, which the students will carry out with the assistance of the professor. At the end of each topic, the students will be offered the opportunity to write a short essay which the professor will mark as part of the continuous assessment.


See the academic calendar of the University of Zaragoza ( and the website of the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts (Schedule of classes:; Examination schedule:

More information will be provided on the first day of class.



5.5. Bibliography and recommended resources

BB  39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock / Edited by James Bell . London : BFI, 2012
BB A Hitchcock reader / edited by Marshall Deutelbaum and Leland Poague . - 1st ed., 3rd. pr Ames, Iowa : Iowa State University Press, cop. 1989
BB American cinema of the 1960s : themes and variations / edited by Barry Keith Grant . New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, cop. 2008
BB Barsam, Richard. Looking at movies : an introduction to film / Richard Barsam . - 2nd ed. New York : W.W. Norton, 2007
BB Bordwell, David. “Jump cuts and blind spots” in Wide Angle, nº 6.1, !984, p. 4-11 []
BB Bordwell, David. The classical Hollywood cinema : film style and mode of production to 1960 / David Bordwell ; Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson . - [ ppbk.] London : Routledge, 1985
BB Bordwell, David. The way Hollywood tells it : story and style in modern movies / David Bordwell Berkeley : University of California Press, 2006
BB Casper, Drew. Hollywood film 1963-1976 : years of revolution and reaction / Drew Casper Chichester, West Sussex ; Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2011
BB Cook, David A.. A history of narrative film / David A. Cook . - 2nd ed. New York ; London : Norton & Company, cop. 1990
BB DiBattista, Maria, 1947-. Fast-talking dames / Maria DiBattista New Haven : Yale University Press, 2001
BB Doherty, T.. Pre-Code Hollywood : sex, immorality and insurrection in American cinema, 1930-1934 / Thomas Doherty Columbia : University Press, 1999
BB Gallagher, Tag. John Ford : the man and his films / Tag Gallagher. Berkeley : University of California Press, cop. 1986
BB Hess, John . “Film and ideology” in JumpCut, nº 17, 1978,p.14-16 []
BB Maltby, Richard. Hollywood cinema / Richard Maltby Malden : Blackwell, 2003
BB Milne, Tom. Rouben Mamoulian / Tom Milne ; with a foreword by Geoff Andrew London : British Film Institute ; Basingstoke, Hampshire [England] ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
BB Naremore, James. More than night : film noir in its contexts / James Naremore Berkeley [etc.] : University of California Press, 1998
BB Naremore, James. On Kubrick / James Naremore London : British Film Institute, 2007
BB Paul, William. Ernst Lubitsch's american comedy / William Paul New York : Columbia University Press, cop. 1983
BB Smith, Greg. “’It’s Just a Movie’: a teaching essay for inroductory media classes”, in Cinema Journal, nº 41.1, 2001, p. 127-134 []
BB The cinema book / edited by Pam Cook & Mieke Bernink . - 2nd ed. London : British Film Institute, 1999
BB Thompson, Kristin. Film history : an introduction / Kristin Thompson ; David Bordwell New York ; Madrid [etc.] : McGraw-Hill, cop. 1994
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