T Film 386: Silent Cinema
1. Paper Assignment: Due Wednesday, December 7, 2016
In class this term we have examined many films from the Silent Cinema, from the works of Griffith and Eisenstein and soon, to those of Pabst and Murnau. For your final paper, using our course as a foundation, analyze a silent film of your choosing —outside of class films—or research some aspect of the course for further study.
•Analyze another film or two from a director we have covered in class, such as D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, F.W. Murnau, G.W. Pabst, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, or Buster Keaton. Use the course film (we analyzed in class on this director) as a foundation for your paper. Discuss recurring themes or hallmarks of significance.
•Do a star study of an actor or actress from the silent era in relation to the course films, and see one or more film(s) to develop a reading of his or her star persona (The Valentino essay will be useful for this topic, as well as our discussions on Griffith, the close-up, and the advent of the star system). Possible stars might be Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Rudolph Valentino, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Greta Garbo, Clara Bow or Louise Brooks.
•Analyze one of the westerns that Marantz Cohen discusses in chapter 3 of “Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth,” such as Tumbleweeds.
•Analyze a silent film from a perspective that foregrounds Orientalism, race, gender or class issues.
•Choose an area of interest sparked by our course to write about. For example, research a certain movement such as Expressionism or Soviet montage, or music and its relationship to silent films, or any number of other possible topics. Please confirm your topic in advance with instructor.
•Creatively engage with course material by: making a short silent film; research and then “interview” a famous silent film star about their heyday in silent film and how things have changed…make a movie poster about a silent film (a real one!), with images and text and reviews about the film….
With these papers I expect you to do some research beyond our class discussions and readings. I expect you to cite from class readings (to show that you have kept up with the readings) and outside sources (to show you have done some research). Proper referencing is required, MLA or Chicago style are acceptable (Not APA). Academic Search Premier, Proquest
Research, Infotrac One File, JStor, and Project Muse might all produce articles of interest.
A SIMPLE SUMMARY FOR AN ANALYTICAL FILM PAPER from Film Art: An Introduction by David
Background information or a vivid example, leading up to “Statement of Thesis.” Body
Reasons to believe the thesis, evidence and examples that support the thesis.
Restatement of thesis & discussion of its broader implications.
My evaluations are based on:
•Clarity and organization of ideas
•Ability to develop a coherent and convincing thesis
•Quality of the argument
•Style, spelling, grammar
•Proper referencing of sources
•Thoughtfulness, creativity, imagination and insight — effort to show what you’ve learned this term! Papers should be 6-7 pages, double-spaced and with standard margins. This paper is worth 25%.