FTV 329/529 Hollywood 1939: A Feast of Light & Shadow
Tues/Thurs  1-6:45pm

Cloobeck Screening Room, DMAC
Instructor: Emily Carman

Hollywood 1939

1939 —  it has been deemed Hollywood’s “greatest year” by critics and film historians. 365 films were released in 1939, averaging one a day for American moviegoers whose movie patronage equaled the rate of $80 million ticket sales a week. However, what distinguishes these American films apart from others in the cinema’s first century are its overwhelming amount of high quality, critically-lauded, and/or strong box office performing films. Moreover, this impressive range of Hollywood cinema culminated into a landmark ten Best Picture Academy Award nominations (the first time in the Academy’s history).

1939 was marked by a number of significant films, several of which we will be seeing in class (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and more). We will study Hollywood through the case study of 1939 to understand issues related to authorship, film style & genre, censorship (the PCA), production practices (vertical integration, independent production), technological advances (Technicolor, deep focus cinematography), and publicity and fan culture. Doing so will enable us to see the extent at which the media industry practices of studio era Hollywood continue to influence/inform those of present-day Hollywood.

Each class will consist of a feature film screening followed by class discussion and lecture and incorporate primary source learning activities (analyzing censorship files, production materials, filmmaker interviews, fan magazines and film marketing campaigns, and modernist novels written about Hollywood and Southern CA).

Questions? Email Professor Emily Carman carman@chapman.edu.