Student Blogs--Summer 2004--American Film History I

Possible midterm exam questions:

1.  Discuss the transition of film from a scientific curiosity to an entertainment medium.

2.  Some consider Griffith the "father" of silent film; other insist it was Porter.  Evaluate the arguments for each case, and provide examples to support your contentions.

3.  Film developed in different ways in America and in France.  How do you account for the differences?

4.  Neal Gabler argues in An Empire of Their Own that Jews created the entertainment medium we know as the motion picture.  How does he explain this fact?  Give several concrete examples to support his contentions.

5.  Discuss and evaluate Edison's role in the creation of motion pictures in America.

6.  Evaluate the changes in D. W. Griffith's work from his early days at Biograph to The Birth of a Nation.

Note:  In order to respond to these questions, remember that this is a history course.  Events should be discussed in chronological order, and dates are of extreme importance in your arguments.  Also, always use examples to support any arguments you provide.

The identifications:

You will have six identifications (people, terms, studios, etc) at the beginning of the exam.  In order to receive full credit, be sure to explain the who, what, where, why and when for each item.  Finally, you must explain the significance of each item--why is the item important in the history of film.

Possible Final Exam Questions:

1.  According to Basinger, what is a silent star?  Give examples from the text to support your argument.  How do silent stars compare with modern "stars?"

2.  In the 1920s, the studios became the real powers in Hollywood, supplanting the stars and directors.  Use Neal Gabler's book to explain how this happened.  Be sure to give examples from the text.

3.  Compare and contrast the life, career, and talents of the three "geniuses" of silent film comedy.  How would you evaluate their place in history.  Use examples from film and text to support your arguments.

4.  How did the coming of sound change the world of silent cinema?

5.  Is there a legacy of the silent film world in modern film?  If so, what is it, and why did it occur?