You must write a two to three page paper based on your viewing of a classic American film. You must choose your film from the list of the Best Classic American Films
released between 1930 and 1959. Most of these films are available over the internet in either DVD or video streaming form. Since many of these films have been subsequently remade in recent years, you should check the date of the film to be sure that you have the original. In order to write this paper, you must view the entire film once and one scene or sequence in the film several times.
The first paragraph should provide a very brief description of the film. You should provide the name of the director, the screenwriter, the cinematographer, and the leading actors. In addition, you should briefly summarize the story of the film. What was the setting of the film? Who were the principal characters? What was the film about? Do not attempt to explain the plot in any detail.
The second paragraph should provide a detailed analysis of one particular scene or sequence in the film that demonstrates the contributions of various cinematic techniques (i.e., production design, lighting, camera angle and movement, editing, theme music, etc.) to the narrative of the film. In short, you should attempt to explain how these techniques contribute to the telling of the story. You can discuss any of the cinematic techniques mentioned either in the lectures or in the readings. You will find an excellent discussion of how to analyze a film in the final chapter of Film as Social Practice.
Your paper will be judged, in large part, on your ability to identify a scene or sequence in the film that best demonstrates the relationship between style and narrative. Be sure to focus on a scene that is important to the development of the narrative and watch it several times. The more often you view a scene, the more obvious the cinematic techniques employed in that scene will become.
This paper should be no more than three double-spaced typewritten pages in length. You should proofread it carefully because it will be graded for grammar and spelling as well as content. This paper is worth a total of 20 points. See the Course Schedule for “Paper 1 Due” as the due date. You must submit your paper as an attachment to this page (Assignment 1) as a Word document, a PDF document, or a RTF document.
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