Hollywood and America: A History of American Film

Catalog Description:


HIST/HRS 169. Hollywood and America.

Chronological survey of American films and their cultural significance from the 1890s to the present. Focus on films produced in Hollywood, the contexts in which they were created, and the impact of Hollywood as a mythical place in the development of American culture. 3 units.


Course Description:


This course has no formal prerequisites, although it is useful to have taken History 17B (U.S. History Since 1865) and HRS 180 (Introduction to the Film).


The course is intended for Film Studies and Digital Fim/Video Production majors, History majors interested in film and U.S. popular culture; for Humanities majors interested in film studies; and for students from any major in the university interested in film and seeking an upper-division General Education course in the Arts and Humanities area.


The course will give students a chronological survey of American film through about the 1970s. It will stress the technological, business and cultural contexts in which American films have been made. It will devote considerable attention to the patterns of censorship in American film history.


Hist/HRS 169 is not an online class. It is a regular lecture-discussion class with a lot of online materials. You are expected to attend class regularly.


Class time is devoted to discussion of assigned reading material, and to viewing film clips from American movies. Students will consult online materials (see below) and view several abbreviated feature films outside class.


The course requires three blue book exams, two short take-home essays, and a number of online quizzes.


Online Materials

Class Summaries


The class summaries provide an illustrated summary of the materials covered in class time.


Summary 1A

Summary 1B


Summary 2A

Summary 2B


Summary 3A

Summary 3B


Testing Materials


List of essay questions for the course exams.


Exam #1

Exam #2

Exam #3



List of IDs for the Exams.


Exam #1

Exam #2

Exam #3




-- The Kirshner paper on the Seventies Movies is due May 8.

-- No class: Thursday, May 10

-- May 10 Assignment for instructor's absence: view Spike Lee's 'Do the Right Thing'; read Craft review.

-- Review session: Monday, May 14, 2-3 PM in Tahoe 3109.

-- Final Exam: Tuesday, May 15, 3-4:15.

-- Sklar chapters for final exam: last part of 15, 16, 17, 19, 20.

Lecture Outlines

Outlines of the mini-lectures can be found here.


Access to SacCT

You will need to access SacCT to take quizzes. This will be the only time you will use SacCT.



Quiz Assignments

Quiz assignments will be announced in class; find them here.


Study Guides

Study Guide for Vieira, 'Thalberg'

Vieira book assignment


Kirshner book assignment




Iconic moments from films in the course


Research Tools

George Craft's Film Reviews, A-D

George Craft's Film Reviews, E-L

George Craft's Film Reviews, M-R

George Craft's Film Reviews, S-Z


Additional Reading Materials

(To be assigned in class)

Greta Garbo in her mysterious pose