ENGL468D - Selected Topics in Film Studies: Film Noir and American Culture

Most of us think about film noir, if at all, as a set of clichés best exemplified by TV commercials shot in black-and white—guys in hats talking in cheesy dialogue to mysterious women. But as both a visual style and an equally dark set of attitudes, film noir during the 1940s and 1950s represents a profound exploration of great American themes: moral corruption, gender confusion, alienation and paranoia, all set in bleak urban landscapes. This course will look closely at a number of classic noir films, including Double Indemnity, Detour, Asphalt Jungle, Gun Crazy, Kiss Me Deadly, and Touch of Evil, concentrating on their formal aspects as well as what they suggest about postwar American culture. Assignments include short response papers, a longer film analysis paper, and an essay mid-term exam.

Also offered as: FILM451. Credit only granted for: FILM451, ENGL468D, ENGL428A ,ENGL379Q, HHUM106, or ARTH389A (Spring 2012). Formerly: ENGL428A and ENGL379Q.


ENGL245, FILM245, SLLC283, FILM283, or CMLT 214; or permission of ARHU-College of Arts & Humanities. Must not have completed ENGL428A (Summer 2006, Spring 2007, Summer 2009) or ENGL379Q (Fall 2009) or HHUM106 (Spring 2012) or ARTH389A (Spring 2012).