Fall 2022

Melodrama and Film Noir

Listed in: English, as ENGL-489  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-470


Lise Shapiro Sanders (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 489 and FAMS 470) This course examines classical Hollywood cinema of the 1930s-1950s, focusing on the parallel genres of melodrama and film noir. These genres shared a production context (the Hollywood studio system at its height), an emphasis on gender (for melodrama in the form of the “weepie” or woman’s film, and for film noir in its depiction of hard-boiled masculinity and the femme fatale), and an engagement with the pressing social and political issues of the era. In this course we will ask why these genres flourished during this period, how they resonated with contemporary audiences, and whether they transformed over time. Films to be screened will include All About Eve, Imitation of Life, Letter from an Unknown Woman, Kiss Me Deadly, The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, and Sunset Boulevard, alongside contemporary examples of modern melodrama and neo-noir and accompanied by readings in film history, theory, and criticism. Several short essays and a longer research project will be required.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor L. Sanders.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to sophomore, junior and senior FAMS/English majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on written work, readings, independent research, oral presentations, discussion facilitation, group work, close textual analysis, visual analysis, revision, self-evaluation. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.

ENGL 489 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 117
Th 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM FAYE 117
Th 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM FAYE 117


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2022