INTRODUCTION TO FILM HISTORY & ANALYSIS
ADVANCE PAPER ASSIGNMENT
For two of the films we view in this course during the semester, you will prepare a brief paper whose purpose will be to introduce the film to the other members of the class. During the class period following the viewing of the film, you will lead a discussion of the film, working from questions you prepare following the viewing.
Content & Organization
The paper should contain the following sections:
- Notable cast and crew list, to include the producer, director, screenwriter,
cinematographer/director of photography, and actors playing the major speaking roles.
- For five of these individuals (including at least one cast member and one crew member)
a single paragraph about the creative career of each.
- Information about the origins of the screenplay – was the story original with the
screenwriter, or was it adapted from another work (e.g., a novel or play)? If so,
provide a brief description of that source work, including its author, and indicate major
ways in which the film adaptation departed from the original.
- A brief synopsis of the film, to include major plot and subplots as appropriate. The scope
of this synopsis should be similar that of a published popular review to avoid “giving
away” endings or plot twists or otherwise ruining the enjoyment of the film for others.
(We’ll take care of that in the discussion.)
- Information about the history of the film’s production – its “backstory.” Include
difficulties in financing and casting, production and editing, censorship and exhibition.
- Place the film in the context of the time period in which it was released. Are there plot or
narrative devices the filmmaker(s) used that are significant to the handling of the subject
matter? How was it regarded by audiences and critics at the time?
- Place the film in a more recent context. How do film scholars and fans regard it in
- Notwithstanding anything said in #6 or #7, a simple, one-sentence statement that begins,
“This film is significant to the history of film because…”
This paper is intended as a research work. You should consult a minimum of five non-internet
sources, including books on film or media/culture, reviews or preview articles from such
sources as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, and Newsweek. Internet-only sources (those not connected to a conventionally-edited source such as newspaper or magazine) are not acceptable.
You should provide a bibliography of these and cite them as appropriate in your paper.
Separate from this paper, you should prepare a list of at least ten distinct questions or points you will use in leading the post-film discussion. These will be judged based upon their usefulness in generating productive and relevant discussion.