Melodrama and Film Noir

Subject Name: 
Humanities Arts Cultural Stu
Course Number: 
Hampshire College
This course examines classical Hollywood cinema of the 1930s-1950s, focusing on the parallel genres of melodrama and film noir. These genres shared a production context (the Hollywood studio system at its height), an emphasis on gender (for melodrama in the form of the "weepie" or woman's film, and for film noir in its depiction of hard-boiled masculinity and the femme fatale), and an engagement with the pressing social and political issues of the era. In this course, we will ask why these genres flourished during this period, how they resonated with contemporary audiences, and whether they transformed over time. Films to be screened will include All About Eve, The Big Sleep, Kiss Me Deadly, Laura, The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, and Written on the Wind, accompanied by readings in film history, theory, and criticism. Several short essays and a longer research project will be required. Previous coursework in film or media studies is suggested but not required.
Independent Work Writing and Research In this course, students can generally expect to spend 8 to 10 hours weekly on work and preparation outside of class time.
Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Melodrama and Film Noir
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0 Lise Sanders 01:00PM-02:20PM TU;01:00PM-02:20PM TH;07:00PM-09:00PM M Emily Dickinson Hall 2;Emily Dickinson Hall 2;Franklin Patterson Hall ELH