The gritty studio: The rise of Warner Bros.

Course Dates: 17/06/23 - 24/06/23
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
In the Golden Age of Hollywood there was one studio that promised grit over glamour. That studio was Warner Bros. In this course, we will examine how the studio felt the need to educate their audience and opt for stories that were both edgy and rooted in headlines of the time. The course will explore Warner Bros. style, narrative and stars.
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 £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00

Course Code: HF209

Sat, day, 17 Jun - 24 Jun '23

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

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 Warner Bros. history. We will be examining the studio’s narrative choices, visual style and business acumen in detail. The course will focus on the studio’s rise during the Hollywood studio system and how they became synonymous with gritty films.

We will follow a chronological order to assess the changes in the industry and to the Warner Bros. studio. We will look at a variety of film clips and break them down to their component parts and discuss the ways in which the studio style is apparent. Warner Bros., as a studio that wanted to educate the audience, also have recurring themes and genres. This course will examine these in regard to historical and production contexts. Key areas to be examined are: mise en scène, narrative, animation, and stardom.

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?

Throughout the course, you will be introduced to the history of Warner Bros., including an introduction to their main genres (gangster, backstage musicals, drama, and animation). Secondly, you will evaluate Warner Bros. style (mise-en-scene and narrative) and how it compared to the other studios of the time. Lastly, you will assess how Warner Bros. managed to be successful in the Hollywood studio system.

The course is chronological and will follow the history of the Warner Bros. studio. Notable Warner Bros. personnel will include: Jack Warner, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Michael Curtiz.

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

- evaluate the style of classic Warner Bros. films
- conduct a basic formal analysis of an individual film
- understand and accurately articulate specialist terms used in the language of film
- demonstrate skills in close textual analysis
- gain insights into Hollywood film history
- appreciate the impact of historical contexts in the formulation and production of a film.

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

This course is for anyone interested in the Hollywood film industry. It is open to anyone with an interest in and enthusiasm for the subject. No prior knowledge is necessary.

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

There will be a short lecture with an accompanying PowerPoint. Secondly, film clips will be provided in the session and you will discuss these in both large and small groups. Lastly, there will be reading each week for further discussion and small group work.

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

There are no additional costs. Film scenes will be shown in the session.

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

For other Film Studies courses please see our website at, culture & writing/film studies.

Ann-Marie Fleming

Ann-Marie Fleming received her PhD in Film Studies from The University of Kent in 2019. She has taught multiple film courses on film history, style, and theory. She has published two articles in the Celebrity Studies Journal and a book chapter in Star Attractions, Twentieth-Century Movie Magazines and Global Fandom.

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.