Masters of cinema: Steven Spielberg - the king of Hollywood

Course Dates: 14/11/20 - 21/11/20
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online

How’s this for a CV: Columbo, Close Encounters, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, ET, —and now West Side Story! Does any genre remain for this 70’s movie brat who invented action-packed modern blockbusters and chanced new forms but was, above all, a popular and master storyteller? This is the perfect moment for a one day overview of the Spielberg filmography.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.


What is the course about?

Steven Spielberg was the boy wonder of the new Hollywood of the 1970s. He made Duel aged only 25, followed by a string of successes that brought him the adulation of the studios. Entirely attuned to the shift towards younger film audiences, he took entertainment to new heights with action and blockbusters. Later incursions into sci-fi included A.I., Minority Report, and War of the Worlds. Historical films included Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and Munich, which brought him international critical recognition. He is undoubtedly still one of the most influential figures in Hollywood. Of all his contemporaries, Spielberg seems (against all expectations) to have established himself as the director with the most surprising and radical offerings in the early 21st century. Arguably, the world’s most popular director since Hitchcock is re-making West Side Story for a December release. A Spielberg musical! Whatever next?

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?

Where does Steven Spielberg sit alongside his ‘movie brat’ contemporaries: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Brian De Palma?
Curated clips from key films will build a collage of his working practice, style and themes.
Spielberg got his start on the TV series Columbo. A brief look at his early television work.
Spielberg inherited Frank Capra’s throne as a popular director and Howard Hawks’ ability for action pictures. Compare Capra/Spielberg films e.g. Mr Smith Goes To Washington/Lincoln, Lost Horizon/Empire of the Sun, It’s A Wonderful Life/ET.

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

List key Spielberg films
List key Spielberg films
Identify plot, character and style in Spielberg’s films
Begin to analyse Spielberg’s working methods, techniques and themes
Identify which directors influenced Spielberg’s directorial style.

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

All levels, no prior knowledge necessary. For those who enjoy viewing and discussing films and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.

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

Lecture, screenings, clips and mash-ups to stimulate discussion.

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

No other costs. Bring a pen and paper for notes. Readings for further reading and research.

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

Look for film studies courses on the web under History, Writing and Culture/film studies at

Tutor Biographies
John Wischmeyer

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.

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.

Book your place

Course Code: HF039

Sat, day, 14 Nov - 21 Nov '20

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £36.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

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.