(Please note: This exam will include all films, lectures, discussions, and readings through The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance [3/15]. How would you feel about taking this as a take-home exam, getting the questions at the end of class on 3/20, with the exam due at the beginning of class on 3/22?)
1. The western genre and Stagecoach --why is the genre film one of the staples of the studio system?
--How does Stagecoach illustrate how genre principles work?
2. 1945-1946: what characterizes the industry after the war?
--Why was there a turn to realism in studio style?
--Why a related turn to “social problem” films such Best Years of Our Lives?
3. Why is Hitchcock
considered the “master of suspense” both in
--What types of suspense films did H. make? What is the relationship between suspense and melodrama?
--here (Notorious 1946): how do suspense film conventions work through strategies of melodrama? what are the moral functions of suspense in Hitchcock’s films in general, and in its view of victimization here?
4. Why was there a shift away from 40s social problem films in the 1950s?
--What were important changes in industry structure? What was the Paramount Decision?
--What were the changes in viewership for films and why?
--What were the changes in regulatory pressures on the film industry?
5. How does The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance show the shift the western genre made into the tendencies evident in many films of the 50s?
--How is this film “horse opera” in the sense of dealing with major “50s” concerns such as fear of “outsider” influence, pressure to conform, repression, and the validity of political processes? How is this an essentially “50s” film? Where and how can the elements of melodrama in the film create the potential for social criticism?