An introduction to Hollywood Cinema

Course Dates: 12/01/22 - 09/02/22
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
Location: Online
Hollywood cinema has dominated screens and enthralled cinemagoers since the 1920s, adapting its creative and commercial strategies to meet the demands of changing markets and evolving audiences. This course explores its films, studios, producers, stars and directors, past and present, while also considering the key areas of its development and a range of critical accounts of Hollywood cinema.
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 £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00

Course Code: HF230

Wed, eve, 12 Jan - 09 Feb '22

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 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?

This online film studies course explores the history and development of Hollywood cinema. It will consider the 'birth' of Hollywood in the early Twentieth Century, its consolidation in the 1920s, its 'golden age' (the classical Hollywood cinema) in the 1930s and 1940s, and its transition in the 1950s and 1960s to a so-called 'new' Hollywood (post-classical cinema) since the 1970s. In doing so, the course will examine the industrial organisation of Hollywood (e.g., the studio system) and its approach to storytelling, or narrative, at different stages of its development (e.g., classical film style and post-classical film style) and in response to changing audiences.

The course will also look at the major studios (and the independents), their approaches to production type, their modes of production, along with distribution and exhibition strategies. It will also consider the ways in which the studios have used genre as a means of differentiating film products, the function of stars and performance, and the role of authorship in both understanding the work of key directors and the marketing of films. A range of critical accounts of Hollywood will also be referenced to aid our understanding of its operations. We will be looking at a range of films, from classics of Hollywood's golden age to groundbreaking films of the 'new' Hollywood and more recent productions. The tutor will provide notes for each session and no prior reading is required but you may wish to consider the following:
Hollywood Cinema (Second Edition) by Richard Maltby, (Blackwell, 2003).

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?

• American film history
• Classical Hollywood and mode of production
• Post-classical Hollywood and mode of production
• Narrative
• Classical and post-classical film style
• Genre and Hollywood
• Authorship
• Production, distribution and exhibition
• Audiences
• Critical accounts of Hollywood cinema.

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

• Assess the history and development of Hollywood cinema and evaluate key periods in its development
• Understand and describe the industrial operations of Hollywood filmmaking
• Describe and assess classical film style and narrative
• Describe and assess post-classical film style and narrative
• Describe and assess the function of genre in Hollywood cinema (and identify a range of key films)
• Evaluate key theories of authorship and Hollywood cinema (and identify a range of key directors)
• Evaluate various audiences for Hollywood cinema
• Assess the significance of various technological developments in Hollywood filmmaking
• Assess a range of critical accounts of Hollywood cinema.

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. It might also be a good idea to see what you can find out about the subject in advance of the class (see the reading and films mentioned 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 (or laptop/device) but the tutor will provide all other materials such as handouts. The tutor will show extracts from films and you do not have to obtain them.

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

Look for other Film Studies courses on our website at, 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.