What is the course about?
City Lit continues to lead in the variety of its film courses as you will see today in the array of clips from the stars, studios and style of those years, 100 years ago. View clips of the stars and studios of 1919 in America, France, Italy and Germany.
Broken Blossoms was undoubtedly the film of the year in 1919. There are stretches of pure D.W. Griffith poetry, marvellous use of light and shadow in cinematographer Billy Bitzer’s evocation of foggy Limehouse, and a truly unforgettable performance from from Lillian Gish.
America gained the ascendancy in sheer volume as a result of The Great War but audiences were still treated to J’Accuse by France’s Abel Gance and Germany’s Madame Du Barry by Ernst Lubitsch. In Britain, the documentary South, about the Shackleton expedition, astonished audiences.
John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.
What will we cover?
Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith launch United Artists on 5 Feb.
• Oscar Micheaux becomes the first African American to produce and direct a motion picture: The Homesteader, the first feature-length race film.
• D. W. Griffith's first film released by United Artists, Broken Blossoms, has its premiere in New York on 13 May.
• The Miracle Man displayed Lon Chaney's talent for make-up and made him famous as a character actor.
• United Artists release their first film, His Majesty, the American starring Douglas Fairbank.
• Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin opens rebuilt as a permanent cinema with the première of Ernst Lubitsch's Madame Dubarry. German and French cinema were diminished by WW1
• Harold Lloyd begins holding test screenings of his films and modifying them based on audience feedback, a technique which continues in use.
• Tri-Ergon sound-on-film technology is developed by three German inventors, Josef Engl, Hans Vogt (engineer), and Joseph Massole; however, the era of sound films is over 6 years away.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand what cinema was like one hundred years ago
Distinguish the style of DW Griffith
Enjoy and distinguish between the different types of comedy from Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd
Have an overview of key stars and directors from America and Europe.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
An interest in viewing and discussing film is all that is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor’s lecture/presentation illustrated with film clips and re-mixes to stimulate discussion; Handouts for further study.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There no other costs.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please check the Film section in our prospectus or on the website: www.citylit.ac.uk under History, Culture and Writing.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details