Spr 07

Midterm 1:  Review (Lecture and Discussion Issues)


1.  Problems and Perspectives in Understanding History

            --what is the problem of access to historical events and processes?

            --why is the representation of history itself problematic?

            --what major perspectives typically characterize our understanding of the past and what are the differences between them?  (include chronological, personal, causal, and social perspectives)


2.  Broken Blossoms and early American cinema

            --what are the defining characteristics of melodrama?

            --why is it cinematic?

            --what did D.W. Griffith do to exploit the cinematic appeal of melodrama?


3.  Sunrise and Fox Film Corporation as a case in vertical integration

            --How is Fox’s effort to consolidate production and gain control of the film industry in the 1920s similar to/different from what Edison did with the Motion Picture Patents Co.?

            --why was Sunrise a key component of Fox’s plans?

            --why is Sunrise sometimes called a “definitive” silent film?

            --what does Sunrise add to our sense of the overall functions and arguments of melodrama in narrative film?


4.  Is what Chaplin (and Fairbanks, Pickford, and Griffith) did with United Artists comparable to the efforts we see by Fox and Edison to control their fates as entrepreneurs?  Why does vertical integration feed the argument that films are social reflectors?

            --what are the characteristics of Chaplin’s comedy?  Why has it been so appealing to a universal audience?

            --in what sense is City Lights a melodrama in the same way(s) Broken Blossoms and Sunrise might be?  How is it different?

            --why/how does melodrama reinforce moral values in these films?

            --what is the difference between sentiment and melodrama in silent film?


5.  Warner Bros. and Hollywood through the 1930s

            --What does I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang tell us about Warner Bros. style in the early 30s? 

--what were the characteristics of its studio style?  Why?

            --How does I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang incorporate and develop the melodramatic mode?

            --What elements of Warner Bros. style from the early 30s are evident in Roaring Twenties?  Has the studio’s style evolved?

            --What major factors had an impact on the studios development in the 40s?

            --Why is Cagney a key element in WB’s style?   Melodrama here?