Clssc Amer Cinema&LglThought: In the Shadow of the Law (LAW-814B-001)
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The term “film noir” describes a genre of Hollywood movies made mainly from the late 1930’s through the end of the 1950’s, usually featuring black-and-white cinematography. In these movies, desperate outsiders and loners – some innocent and some less so -- are shown as they grapple with (or flee from) “the law.” With these films are found some of the most vigorous and suggestion courtroom sequences.This course assumes that such films both reveal and have helped to shape popular attitudes toward, and critiques of, the legal system. By paying close attention to the visual and narrative components of selected example of film noir, it is possible not only to “read” not only these individual films, but to see into Americans’ ambivalence about how the institutions of law serve the ends of justice. Students are responsible for viewing the assigned films and for submitting brief, informal written responses prior to the classes in which those films are discussed. During the semester, each student will be responsible for leading a segment of the class discussion on a particular film. Grades will be based in a small part on these presentations, but the main factor in grading will be a 10-15 page final paper. Films under consideration for the class include Ace in the Hole, Anatomy of a Murder, Angel Face, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Chinatown, The Big Heat, D.O.A., Double Indemnity, Force of Evil, Fury, In a Lonely Place, Knock on Any Door, The Lady from Shanghai, M, The Naked City, The Naked Kiss, Out of the Past, Party Girl, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Railroaded, Scarlet Street, Shock Corridor, Side Street, They Won’t Forget, Touch of Evil, You Only Live Once, Woman in the Window, and The Wrong Man.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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First Class Readings
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