Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Hollywood Cinema: 1917-1960
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Viewing 10 x 3 Hour Viewings
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assignment 1 (2,500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Assignment 2 (2,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Assignment 1 (2,500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Assignment 2 (2,500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

1. Have developed an understanding of the historical and industrial contexts of American mainstream cinema through a study of the Hollywood “classical” era and the studio system.

2. Demonstrated an understanding of filmmaking practices - from technical terminology through to wider aesthetic choices available to filmmakers in order to create meaning for audiences - through a study of “Classical Hollywood style”.

3. Developed an awareness of important critical themes and appropriate critical perspectives within film studies discourses associated with Classical Hollywood.

4. Analyse a range of films screened on the module at an appropriate scholarly level.

Brief description

This module focuses on the classical period of Hollywood cinema (1917-1960). It explores the history and outputs of the studio system between 1917 and 1960 and the emergence of the classical Hollywood style of filmmaking. During this period that the codes of cinematic storytelling were established, and to which, some theorists/historians argue, all later filmmakers respond, either by duplicating these codes themselves, or by rejecting and disrupting them. It therefore offers a crucial introduction to a Film Studies degree.

We look at a network of factors that need to be understood as influencing these cinematic norms, including aesthetic histories, industrial organisation, economic considerations, technological developments, sociological factors, and political/ideological elements. At the end of the course, we will think about whether classical Hollywood actually still exists, as some have contended, or whether Hollywood fundamentally changed after 1960. This will lead students – if they choose – onto the second year module, Hollywood Cinema (1967- now).


Course delivery:

10 x 1 hour Lectures
10 x 1 hour Seminars

This is the indicative content of a number of topics that will be studied on this module:

Early silent cinema
Film authorship
Hollywood genres
Classical Hollywood Style
Film Noir
Challenges to Hollywood cinema
Gender and race
Social, political and cultural contexts
Stardom and performance

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Seminar discussion and feedback.
Improving own Learning and Performance Seminar discussion, portfolio assessment and feedback.
Information Technology Extensive use of blackboard.
Personal Development and Career planning Communication (written and oral), teamwork, IT.
Problem solving Seminar questions and written assignments.
Research skills Requirement for assignments.
Subject Specific Skills Knowledge of Hollywood cinema and film style.
Team work Seminar discussion – in small teams.


This module is at CQFW Level 4