Unit 6

The Fifties on Film

One of the greatest legacies of the fifties is its many, many films made during that decade: some awful and campy, some sentimental and emotionally overwrought, some big-budget, some cheap, and some truly, timelessly great. In our last unit, we’ll explore how to approach a film from scholarly and historical perspectives and employ a bit of film theory as we look back on some of the decade’s hits and flops.

Mon 11/20 At the Movies in the 1950s. Read Dunar Ch 8: 250-256 for an overview.

Wed 11/22 and Fri 11/24Thanksgiving break, no class

Mon 11/27 The Monster Flick. Reading: “Big Bugs” (PDF on Blackboard)

Some film clips we will screen in class
It Came from Outer Space (1953) in 3D
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
The Fly (1958)
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) billed with “Not of This Earth”
THEM! (1954)
The Blob (1958)

Wed 11/29 The Western. Reading: McGee “Why Shane Never Comes Back” and Costello “High Noon” (PDFs on Blackboard). Choose your film by this date and make sure you can obtain a high-quality copy of the entire movie.

Fri 12/1 The Film Industry and the Blacklist. Reading: “Hollywood Ten” (PDF on Blackboard)

Mon 12/4 Rebels: The Teen Pic. Reading: Halberstam Chapter 31B (PDF on Blackboard)

Wed 12/6 Film Day – we’ll screen parts of a fifties film (your choice, class will vote ahead of time), with popcorn. History Lab #6 “How to Read a Film” is due.

Fri 12/8 Course Wrap-Up / Last Day of Class. Reading: Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (PDF on Blackboard)

Due by NOON Wed 12/13 – Portfolios and Course Reflection due (no final exam, and we’re not meeting in person) – see Blackboard for instructions.