Please read these instructions carefully. Missing or incomplete answers will result in reduced points.
INSTRUCTIONS: For this analysis assignment, students are asked to analyze in detail (using examples and descriptions of elements from each film):
ONE Silent Film
ONE Film from Hollywood’s Golden Age
As you watch these films, you are strongly encouraged to read the analysis questions beforehand and make notes that will help you complete the analysis.
Also, you are required to ADD IMAGES (such as .jpg or .png images) from each film to your analysis document. There are a few ways to do so:
- stop a film’s frame while streaming and use a screen capture/snipping tool to capture, save, copy, and paste to the document using Insert –> Pictures in the Word program
- take a photo from a TV/computer monitor showing a stopped film image
- use an image search of the film (you will be limited to images posted from other sources) to find an appropriate shot to analyze
If you are having difficulty Adding Images to the document, email me. I can accept images sent as separate attachments if necessary.
• Answer the questions fully and in depth. One- or two-sentence answers are not adequate. Use detailed examples. Be specific. I do not want a summary of information found on websites.
• All answers must be written using college-level English.
• Type your answers in the space below each question. The space will expand to fit your answers. Keep the format and text as is, please – don’t delete the questions or text.
• Submit your work as an attachment through the Film Analysis #1 assignment in Canvas – do not email it unless we have communicated in advance.
Finally: Avoid Plagiarism. Students passing off another source’s writing or ideas as their own will receive an automatic zero on this 50-point assignment. Avoid this and you will be fine.
PART ONE: SILENT FILM (1920-1929)
(Make sure you fill in all the required areas. Type directly onto the document.)
TITLE AND PRODUCTION YEAR OF FILM #1:
1. What is this film’s genre? What type of story is it telling, and what elements might attract a viewer to this genre? (The attractions are likely the same for a 1920s audience as they would be today.) Finally, what film moments or details support this genre label?
2. How did the filmmakers use the available technology of this era to tell their story? As this is a silent film, what tools and elements were used to help the viewer experience the story? (Please be specific and use examples. Yes, card titles and music are used, but what is happening with camera composition, acting, lighting, editing, etc.?) Finally, describe and discuss one detailed example (like a directing or action choice) where the filmmakers used their limited technology effectively, in your opinion. You can attach a screen image, which is optional for this question.
3. Just as films do today, movies from the silent era will look different depending on the director and story type. How would you describe this film’s visual style? (For example, is it bright or dark, intimate or distanced, cluttered or clean, etc.? Is its editing fast or slow?) How does the style help support the story and the genre? Finally, choose or create one still image that represents the film’s visual style and paste it below (required); then discuss how the specific elements you see in the image help tell the story and create the mood.
PART TWO: HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE (1927-1947)
TITLE AND PRODUCTION YEAR OF FILM #2:
1. The second movie was a sound film from Hollywood’s Golden Age. During this era, the Motion Picture Production Code (the Hays Office censorship code) was in effect. As we have learned, this meant content and storylines were subject to moral guidelines and films needed to be approved before release. How do you think the Production Code shaped the film you chose? Provide two examples of how enforced censorship affected how the story was told, acted, or visually presented. Finally, connect your examples to specific parts of the code by quoting the relevant code laws. [Note: The Production Code is covered in Module 04. A copy of the code can also be accessed through this analysis assignment page on the course site.]
2. By contrasting the acting of the silent film and the Golden Age films, you should see some differences in approach to storytelling and performing. Describe how the acting in the Golden Age film differs from the acting of the previous era. (For example, is it more realistic, and if so, why? Is it more glamorous? If so, how? Etc.) Next, describe how acting from this film era (1930s and early ‘40s) compares and/or contrasts with acting we expect to see in movies today.
3. What would you say the theme of this film would be? (Theme is the central idea and perspective on an issue or subject.) How do the filmmakers use elements to present this theme? Consider the plot/story, but also make sure to discuss other elements like locations, set design, dialogue, camera movement, lighting, sound, etc. in your exploration of theme. Finally, choose a frame from the film that you feel visually supports the theme you identified, paste it below (required), and explain how that image represents the theme.
PART THREE: STUDENT OPINION
1. What surprised you about one or both of the films you viewed for this analysis? Perhaps you had a preconceived idea or you weren’t aware of a filmmaking element until you watched the movie. Maybe your expectations of content or technology were challenged. What surprised you, and was this a realization that attracted you or distanced you from the film? Attach an optional film image if it helps to explain your discovery.
2. Of the two films, which was more engaging for you as a viewer? Why? Your answer can explore differences in technology, genre, theme, acting, or other factors. There is no “right” answer, but I ask you to critically consider both movies and answer in detail why one film approach felt more successful than the other.
Please carefully proofread and edit your answers, check for attached images for Part One: Question 3 and Part Two: Question 3 (resized as needed), save and upload the document under the Film Analysis #1 assignment in Canvas.
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