Spring 2014 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

McLean, Adrienne
Discipline and Number
FILM 3321 Section 001
W Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Film Noir

Description of Course:

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, Cornell Woolrich, 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 (and, now, neo-noir) are its representations of women and their sexuality and power; concomitant anxieties about masculinity and the limitations of, and on, heroic action in an urbanized white-collar culture; fears of the “other” (ethnic, racial, national, political); the relationship of industrial imperatives or limitations to film authorship; and the nature of broader terms or categories such as genre, subgenre, intertextuality, and adaptation.

PREREQUISITE: FILM 2332 or equivalent (with instructor's permission).

Required Texts:

Alain Silver and James Ursini, eds., Film Noir Reader (Limelight, 1999; ISBN 0879101970).
James Naremore, More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts (University of California Press, 1998; ISBN 9780520212947, also available as a UTD eBook).
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (1929; ISBN 0679722645, other editions available).
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep (1939; ISBN 0394758285, other editions available).
James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce (1941; ISBN 0679723218, other editions available).

Several articles on electronic reserve through McDermott Library and/or posted on eLearning.

In addition, there are both in- and out-of-class screenings assigned throughout the semester (all films are available for viewing in the UTD library): THESE FILMS ARE TO BE CONSIDERED REQUIRED TEXTS AS WELL.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Two in-class exams (midterm and final), consistent class attendance and participation in discussion, one film analysis (3-4 pages), a critical paper (6-8 pages).

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