HRS 180: The Film: An Introduction

California State University, Sacramento
Department of Humanities and Religious Studies
College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2003




Catalog Description: The Film. Introduction to the esthetics of cinema with special attention to the evolution of critical theories of cinema within the framework of twentieth century arts and ideas.  3 units.

The course has no formal prerequisites. It presupposes a fondness for movies and a certain experience with casting judgments on them.

HRS 180 is intended for General Education students interested in film and for HRS majors interested in pursuing film history and esthetics.

The course is based on the premiss that students like movies and would like to learn more about them. It focuses on broadening and deepening students' understanding of film. Students will be introduced to film history and to an understanding of film as a work of art. They will read a first-rate text on film appreciation, and view approximately a dozen films, most of them complete, in class. There will be three in-class examinations and two critical reviews of films seen outside of class.

The course has as its goals to provide students with the following:

  • A fundamental understanding of concepts and terms relevant to film criticism.
  • A rudimentary familiarity with film history, especially in the United States.
  • A beginning familiarity with some of the great film artists and some of the film masterworks from the 1920s to the present.
  • The ability to critique a film, i.e. by means of analysis to be able to distinguish good from bad movies and to give reasons for your opinions.
  • A better understanding of the phenomenon of Hollywood and of the diversity of movies in regard to style, national origin, gender of filmmakers, etc.

The course is designed to be entertaining; but it requires genuine academic work.

Film Reviews

Laura -- Magill's
Laura -- Ebert
Laura -- Dirks

400 Blows -- Magill's
400 Blows -- Ebert
400 Blows -- Berardinelli

House of Games -- Magill's
House of Games -- Ebert
House of Games -- Canby
HG -- VanWert blurb

Hannah and Sisters -- Magill's
Hannah and Sisters -- Ebert
Hannah and Sisters -- Canby

Blood Simple -- Ebert
Blood Simple -- J. Garner
Blood Simple -- Bergan

Singin' in the Rain -- Magill's
Singin' in the Rain -- Dirks
Singin' in the Rain -- Ebert

Vertigo -- Magill's
Vertigo -- Maslin
Vertigo -- Ebert
Vertigo -- Dirks
Hitchcock on Vertigo

Driving Miss Daisy -- Magill's
Daisy -- Canby
Daisy -- Ebert
M. Freeman -- filmography
Jessica Tandy -- filmography


Double Indemnity -- Magills
Double Indemnity -- Ebert
Double Indemnity -- Dirks
Barbara Stanwyck & D. Indemnity

Room With a View -- Magills
Room With a View -- Ebert
Room With a View -- NY Times
Atkinson on Bonham Carter

Citizen Kane -- Dirks
Citizen Kane -- Ebert
Citizen Kane --Slant & Pauline Kael


Giannetti -- Chapter Outlines

Chapter 1
Chapter 11

Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 5
Chapter 4
Chapter 6


Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 12

Short Essay Lists

Exam #1
Exam #2
Exam #3

Sample Chapter Questions

Chapter 1
Chapter 11
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 5
Chapter 4


Chapter 6

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 12

Misc. Resources

Film Resources -- CSUS Library
Film Critique Assignment

'Hollywood Style' outline
'The Star' outline

'Room With a View' -- adaptation

Answer Key

Test #1
Test #2
Test #3

Student Critiques

LA Confidential
Quiz Show

Dry Run -- Mamet
Dry Run -- Truffaut
Waking Ned Devine
Far From Heaven

Student Samples

Essays Test #1
Essays Test #2

Acceptable Movies for Critiques

Critique #1
Critique #2


Instructor: George S. Craft

 More information is available on Dr. Craft's homepage. You may contact the instructor via e-mail at


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