Aliens, anxiety and the bomb: 1950s science fiction cinema

Course Dates: 01/05/21 - 08/05/21
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
Tutors: 
SF cinema of the 1950s drew on the social, political and technological concerns of the period, producing a rich body of films that reflect these themes through narratives featuring aliens, social and political concerns and the threat posed by the nuclear age. This class explores the ways in which these films accommodate such issues, their production contexts, and a range of critical responses.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £36.00

Course Code: HF035

Sat, day, 01 May - 08 May '21

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Ways of thinking about science fiction cinema of the 1950s and its critical and popular reception.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• Science fiction as a major genre of 1950s cinema
• Sub-genres in science fiction cinema of the 1950s
• Themes in 1950s science fiction cinema
• The production contexts of science fiction cinema in the 1950s (Hollywood production and distribution, social, political and technological factors)
• Critical and popular responses to science fiction cinema of the 1950s

Films to be discussed will include (TBC):
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), When Worlds Collide (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), It Came Suggested from Outer Space (1953), Invaders from Mars (1953), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Them! (1954), The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Gogira/Godzilla(1954), Tarantula (1955), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), X The Unknown (1956), Quatermass 2 (1957), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958).

Suggested reading:
Peter Biskind, Seeing is Believing - How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Bloomsbury, 2001).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Understand and describe the rise of science fiction cinema as a major genre in the 1950s
• Identify and evaluate various sub-genres in science fiction cinema of the 1950s
• Identify and evaluate a range of themes in science fiction cinema of the 1950s
• Describe the circumstance in 1950s Hollywood and the wider social, political and technological factors that gave rise to science fiction film during this period
• Evaluate a range of critical and popular responses to science fiction cinema of the 1950s.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for all levels and you do not require any particular skills - just an enthusiasm for film and discussing film. The course will provide an introduction to the subject but will also be useful for those wishing to build on existing knowledge in the subject area.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Screenings of extracts from films, talks by the tutor, reading materials, small and large group discussions. To enhance your enjoyment of the course you might see what you can find out about the subject in advance of the class (see films to view and suggested reading, above) but this is not essential.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will require a pen and paper but the tutor will provide all other materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please look for other film studies courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/History, Culture and Writing/film studies.

Jon Wisbey

Jon Wisbey teaches film at City Lit and Morley College. He was for many years a committee member and vice-chair of Chelmsford Film Club, screening contemporary and classic world cinema releases. He has an MA in Film Studies from the University of East Anglia. His teaching focuses on classical and post-classical Hollywood, European cinema, British cinema, film noir and horror cinema.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.