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UT Dallas Syllabus for film3321.001.08s taught by Adrienne Mclean (amclean)

UT Dallas Syllabus for film3321.001.08s taught by Adrienne Mclean (amclean)

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UT Dallas syllabus for taught by
UT Dallas syllabus for taught by

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Published by: UT Dallas Provost's Technology Group on Jan 05, 2010
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FILM 3321-001: FILM NOIR (FILM IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT)
Spring 2008
2:30-5:15 PM Tuesday, JO 4.614
Instructor:
Dr. Adrienne L. McLean
Phone/Messages:
(972) 883-2755; e-mail amclean@utdallas.edu. Also check website message
page at www.utdallas.edu/~amclean/messages.htm.
Office Hours:
After class and by appointment; room JO5.606 (Jonsson Building).E-mail
queries are answered promptly, and are encouraged.
Required Texts:

Alain Silver and James Ursini, eds., Film Noir Reader (Limelight, 1999)
(FNR).
James Naremore, More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts (University of
California Press, 1998; available as an e-book through the UTD library
website).
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (1929).
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (1939).

There are some additional reserve readings (RR) posted for perusal on and/or
downloading through WebCT.
NOTE:If you have not satisfied the prerequisite for this class, you will also

need to acquire one or another of the recent editions of David Bordwell and
Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 2001, 2004,
2008). It will be assumed that you understand the components of narrative
film form and the history of their use in commercial cinema.
Full-length films are assigned each week for viewing outside of class.These

films are required texts as well.All are on reserve at McDermott Library, and
are likely also available in a number of other venues.
Other Information:

Please note that WebCT and other university online resources are going to be
usedonly for the posting of the syllabus and reserve readings. No other
information will be transmitted or read by the instructor through such
Web-based resources except in an emergency, when an e-mail may be
circulated to all students using the course roll.

* * * * *
Course Description and Format.This course considers the mode of Hollywood filmmaking now widely
referred to as film noir. We will examine its antecedents and related stylistic and generic modes of filmmaking

(German Expressionism, the detective film, the gangster film, the gothic melodrama, etc.); its hard-boiled
relatives in popular literature (magazine fiction, the novels of James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond
Chandler, etc.); and, perhaps most important, its historical and ideological meanings through the present day
and its significance as a vision of American life and culture as well as an international style of filmmaking.
Among the many issues usefully engaged by a study of film noir are its representations of women and their
sexuality; a concomitant anxiety about masculinity in America and the limitations of, and on, heroic action in
an increasingly urbanized and white-collar culture; the relationship of industrial imperatives or limitations to
film authorship; and the nature of broader terms or categories such as genre, intertextuality, and adaptation.
Because this is a seminar, class will consist primarily of discussion and some lecture augmented by brief
screenings of relevant material. We will see only a few complete films during class time; rather, each week
full-length films will be required viewing on your own, whether you choose to watch them in the library or to
acquire them in some other manner. You are responsible for all in- and out-of-class screening material, both
full-length films and clips used in lecture.

Grading and Requirements. You are expected to attend all classes and screenings, to be punctual and
attentive, and to participate vigorously in discussions of films and readings. The week\u2019s reading and screening
assignments are all to be completed by the beginning of each Tuesday session.If you must miss a class, you
remain responsible for all course material covered in that class; there are no make-up sessions, and each class
will only be taught once.Each class period represents one week\u2019s worth of work, so roll will be taken at the

beginning or end of every class session. The exams, including the final, are in-class exams, and will all include essay components as well as some combination of multiple choice, matching, and/or fill-in-the-blank questions. Particulars regarding the papers are attached and will be discussed further in class.

Please note that the Rules on Student Services and Activities, specifically the Policy on Scholastic Dishonesty,
of the University of Texas System will be strictly adhered to. For information on the administration\u2019s rules and

policies regarding student conduct and discipline, academic integrity, e-mail use, withdrawal from class,
student grievance procedures, incomplete grade policies, disability services, and religious holy days, consult
the material, generated by the administration, available on the WebCT course syllabus or in the university
catalogue.There will be no incompletes given in the course,all of the following course requirements

must be met (including attendance; if you miss more than four class periods, you will generate an
automatic failing grade for the course), late work will be heavily penalized, and assignments and exams
must be completed in full.

Grades will be figured as follows (one grade may be weighted):
Attendance and participation
20%
Midterm exam
20%
Final exam
20%
Paper 1
20%
Paper 2
20%
CLASS CALENDAR
DATE
TOPIC/READING/OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENINGS
Week 1
Introduction and Course Mechanics
January 8

SCREENING [in-class]:The Maltese Falcon [Dangerous Female] (Roy del Ruth,
1931; 79 mins.).
NOTE: All students are assumed to have seen and studied Citizen Kane (Orson
Welles, 1941; 119 mins.); if you have not, this is also assigned.

Week 2
Film Noir Is [About]. . .
January 15
READING:FNR Introduction; Borde and Chaumeton, \u201cTowards a Definition of
Film Noir\u201d; Higham and Greenberg, \u201cNoir Cinema\u201d; Durgnat, \u201cPaint it Black\u201d;
Schrader, \u201cNotes on Film Noir.\u201d Naremore ch. 1.
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944; 107 mins.)
Week 3
Pulp Plots, Pulp Novels
January 22
READING: Hammett, The Maltese Falcon.RR Timothy Corrigan, \u201cPens, Pulp, and
the Crisis of the Word, 1940-1960\u201d and \u201cCritical Borders and Boundaries,\u201d fromFil m
and Literature(1999).
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941; 101
mins.).
Week 4
Hard-Boiled Heroes
January 29

READING: Chandler, The Big Sleep.RR Raymond Chandler, \u201cThe Simple Art of
Murder\u201d (1944).
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946; 114 mins.).

Week 5
Femmes Fatales and Spider Women
February 5
READING:RR Janey Place, \u201cWomen in Film Noir,\u201d from E. Ann Kaplan, ed.,
Women in Film Noir (1998). Naremore ch. 3.
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett,
1946; 113 mins.).
\u00b7\u00b7\u00b7 Paper 1 due \u00b7\u00b7\u00b7
Week 6
Motifs, Modernism, Melodrama
February 12

READING:FNR Place and Peterson, \u201cSome Visual Motifs of Film Noir\u201d; Porfirio,
\u201cNo Way Out.\u201d Naremore ch. 2.
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947; 97 mins.).

Week 7
\u00b7\u00b7\u00b7 MIDTERM EXAM \u00b7\u00b7\u00b7
February 19
Week 8
Rotten Families
February 26
READING:RR Sylvia Harvey, \u201cWoman\u2019s Place: The Absent Family of Film Noir,\u201d
from Kaplan, Women in Film Noir.
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945; 110 mins.).
Week 9
Masculinity in Crisis
March 4
READING:RR Richard Dyer, \u201cResistance Through Charisma\u201d and \u201cQueers and
Women in Film Noir,\u201d from Kaplan, Women in Film Noir.FNR Hollinger, \u201cFilm
Noir, Voice-over, and the Femme Fatale.\u201d
OUT-OF-CLASS SCREENING:Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946; 110 mins.).

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