Once upon a time in New Hollywood: '70s cinema
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HF039
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
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What is the course about?
Film scholars cite 1967 to 1976 as the era of new Hollywood but focus on 1967-1969 as the most significant few years in American film history when two 1967 films straddled prehistory and modern times, paving the way for Easy Rider (1969 Dennis Hopper): The Graduate (Mike Nichols) and Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn). Both pictures were daringly explicit. Bold style and subject matter announced a sudden end to old Hollywood’s self-imposed Production Code restrictions and opened the floodgates to creativity in seventies’ Hollywood and brought young people flooding into cinemas. Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate were its avatars, as seen in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2020).
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?
The films and infamous incidents that led to the birth of the new American cinema. Hollywood filmmaking was reborn with a new-found freedom. Midnight Cowboy (1969 John Schlesinger) was the first X-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar. Five Easy Pieces (1970 Bob Rafelson) delved deep into explicit subject matter and polyamory, and made Jack Nicholson into the New Hollywood star. The Last Picture Show (1971 Peter Bogdanovich) received eight AA nominations despite controversy about a brief nudity scene. Bogdanovich, former pupil of Orson Welles, became one of the most in-demand filmmakers in Hollywood. American Graffiti (1973 George Lucas—backed by Francis Coppola) was a juggernaut hit at the box office, as audiences related to the nostalgia trip of youth culture in 1960s California. Ironically, the success of American Graffiti allowed Lucas to pursue the development of Star Wars, which became largely responsible for killing the New Hollywood movement. The Godfather 1 & 2 (1972, 1974) re-popularised the gangster genre after four-decades of the Hays code. The older Francis Ford Coppola became the face of New Hollywood and Robert Altman its beating heart as enfant terrible Scorsese brought New York to Hollywood.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Describe and evaluate critically the definitive directors of the new Hollywood
• Distinguish and critically analyse the key films of the new Hollywood
• Debate their lasting legacy.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a course for those interested in cinema. No previous experience or film study is necessary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Opening lecture illustrated by film clips followed by group discussions. No outside work.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Bring a notepad or tablet.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
See separate but related courses on Robert Altman, Francis Coppola, David Lynch and the Coen brothers and look for other Film Studies courses under History Culture and Writing/Film Studies at www.citylit.ac.uk.
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.