AMS-30037 - Film Noir: The Dark Side of America
Coordinator: Oliver Cg Harris Room: CBB1.053 Tel: +44 1782 7 33016
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2018/19

American Studies Dual Honours (Level 6)
American Studies Major (Level 6)
American Studies Minor (Level 6)
American Studies Single Honours (Level 6)
English Dual Honours (Level 6)
English Major (Level 6)
English Minor (Level 6)
English Single Honours (Level 6)
English and American Literatures Single Honours (Level 6)
English with Creative Writing Single Honours (Level 6)
Film Studies Dual Honours (Level 6)
Film Studies Minor (Level 6)
Film Studies Single Honours (Level 6)
Film Studies with Creative Writing Single Honours (Level 6)

Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2018/19

This module assumes and builds upon knowledge of Hollywood as an institution and on a grasp of skills in film analysis, and so is suitable for those who have already taken a film module in Y1 or Y2.
It seeks to develop a more advanced approach to the conditions of film production and to such features as genre conventions and the star system, and fosters skills in psychoanalytical screen theory and mise-en-scene analysis, in order to historically contextualise the study of key works of the classic film noir period.
The selection of films is intended to suggest networks of relations between directors, actors, cinematic techniques, and studios, as well as themes and settings. The main topics studied will include gender, masculinity, sexuality, censorship, World War II, and the relation between cinematic form and historical knowledge in order to map noir's dark representation of America during the war and immediate postwar years.

To engage with a series of topics, including gender and sexuality, related to wartime and postwar American society and culture through the study of a major Hollywood film genre
To develop students' film-analytical skills and and film-theory knowledge to an advanced level
To enable students to relate filmic formal features to issues of historical knowledge

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

apply advanced skills in close textual analysis of film (mise-en-scene analysis) will be achieved by assessments: 1, 2, 3
analyse formal features of films to an advanced level will be achieved by assessments: 1,2,3
relate formal features of films to issues in wartime and postwar American society will be achieved by assessments: 2, 3
demonstrate skills in referencing and bibliography will be achieved by assessments: 2

Study hours

11 x 2-hour seminars + 8 x .5-hour lecture/workshops (preceding each film screening); 16 hours film screenings; 40 hours seminar preparation; 20 hours Short Paper preparation; 48 hours exam preparation.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Class Participation weighted 10%
Assessment of participation in discussion
Standard assessment of participation in seminar discussion, including contribution to group work

2: Short Paper weighted 30%
Mise-en-scene analysis based on students' choice of a different scene to that used in the Group Presentation
1,200-word exercise in mise-en-scene analysis, using still frame images, written up in essay format to include references and a bibliography.

3: Exam weighted 60%
End of module 2-hour examination
Unseen 2-hour end of semester exam in which students are required to answer two questions from a choice of ca. 10