What is the course about?
For many people watching a film adapted from a novel they have read, the experience will become an exercise in comparing the two, and using this as a method to of judging whether the film is a success or not. But is this the best way to judge a film adaptation? Should we not be focusing on what makes a film a film – what elements have been added/extracted in its transition from page to screen? What has the adapter focused on to make it relevant to the time and place in which it was produced? What aesthetic decisions has the director used to convey meaning or to establish their own identity onto the text? What do the actors and other key creatives contributed to the process?
These questions, and many more, will be discussed in this one-day Halloween themed study day looking at a selection of films adapted from the same source novels: Dracula (1897, Bram Stoker) and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886, Robert Louis Stevenson). Both of these 19th century novels have been adapted over 100 times for the big and small screen, over the past 100+ years.
Ellen Cheshire has a BA in Film and English and a MA in Gothic Studies. She has taught Film at A Level and Undergraduate level and is a regular speaker at cinemas and societies in London and the South East. She has written books on Ang Lee, Jane Campion, Bio-Pics, Audrey Hepburn and the Coen Brothers, and contributed chapters to books on War Movies, Fantasy Films, Silent Films, Charlie Chaplin and James Bond, and is a contributing author to the WJEC A Level Film Studies Textbook.
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.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
During the day we will look at extracts from a selection of Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde films, discussing the narrative/adaptation decisions, placing them in their social, cultural and historical contexts, and explore how the use of camera angles and movement, lighting, sound, editing, performance, costumes and setting are all used to build suspense, and create further layers of meaning.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- identify themes, motifs, structures, and narrative perspectives in Gothic/Horror literature and film
- appreciate basic concepts of the impact historical and production contexts have on a film
- have an enhanced ability to analyse texts through its Film Form
- gain an understanding of how these two novels have been adapted and have become part of a wider cultural debate.
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?
The format of the course will be two PowerPoint illustrated talks with examples of 6 – 8 films from the past 100 years, and from around the world. There will be opportunities for discussion and questions around each example.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There no other costs. You may benefit from having read the two novels under discussion, both are available free on-line, but the selection of examples will be clearly introduced, taking note of any differences between the original text and the film under discussion.
A full list of the films being discussed will be made available nearer the course date, but you may like to watch:
Nosferatu (1922, F W Murnau)
Dracula (1931, Tod Browning)
Dracula (1958, Terrence Fisher)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, Francis Ford Coppola)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931, Rouben Mamoulian)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941, Victor Fleming)
Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971, Roy Ward Baker)
Mary Reilly (1990, Stephen Frears).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please check the Film Studies section for further courses under History, Culture and Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.