Thursday, December 5, 2013

3rd and Final Paper

The third and final paper for Elements of Film deals with genre analysis.  If you have already written on this subject, you may choose either the analysis of a single film or the discussion of a director’s work (subjects of the two earlier papers).

For this last paper please select a genre and give a brief history, a discussion of its conventions, styles and themes.  Also important is which notable filmmakers might have made this a focus of their work and if this genre fits into the national identity of any particular country.  Viewings outside the required films are always good to add credibility.

You may turn this paper in on the final day of class or email it to me no later than Friday, Dec. 13.  There will be no penalty for doing so.  Please send it to:

If you have any past due papers, these are due on the last day of class.  I will accept them, but deduct one grade for anything late.

See you all Monday night for the final exam.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nykvist's The Sacrifice

            Ingmar Bergman and Sven Nyqvist’s movies are very beautiful and deep. I love the composition of light and shadow in each scene. There is also a lot of use of negative space. Each frame is an individual piece of art. Because each frame is so powerful and the monologues are often deep in meaning, I find it difficult to watch in one sitting. The slow plot does not keep me in my seat, but I do not want to miss anything because it is so beautiful, so I watch in several sittings.
A lot of Swedish films I have a problem hearing properly and it doesn’t help that the lip sink is often off! Another sound glitch was when they were in the woods and the distance of the sound was off. You couldn’t tell who was speaking because the people in the distance sounded just as close as those in the foreground.
            I thought that it was interesting that with a conversation with the maid, the hostess was behind the camera so the maid looked the camera straight in the eye and responded about her final chores in a list.
I thought it was funny that the translator decided to capitalize Little Man as if that was his name, but when the mother jumped to English she called him Little Man too, so perhaps that was his name. He must have been named before the Swedish name laws were changed.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lady Eve

I enjoyed "Lady Eve" and the humor used. I was surprised to find that I liked the slapstick humor. I thought that it was tastefully done with Mr. Pike tripping over things and getting things spilt on him. I was also happy to find that he was not indecisive over his response to Lady Eve and Jean; that he was not torn up over believing his protector or his guests who were enchanted by Lady Eve. I thought that it was interesting that it was Jean who was unsure of her feelings, but she stayed true to her plan of hurting him and as Lady Eve, drove him back to loving Jean. It was so captivating that I almost forgot it was in black and white.
The parts that took me out of the movie were when Lady Eve did the same things Jean would have done. I found it difficult to believe that Mr. Pike didn't recognize it was Jean when she put her cheek against his. I was also surprised that he believed the story that Jean was Lady Eve's forgotten half sister; "the stage coach story". 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


3-4 pages with citations

Discuss a film genre.  The textbook contains a chapter on genre and deals with several of them specifically.

You may pick a genre that interests you.

Please pick something more specific than “comedy” or “drama.”  Examples – romantic comedy or spy thriller.

You may examine the selected genre from a historical standpoint, standard conventions, motifs, themes and filmmakers who specialized in that particular type of story

Sometimes historical periods are heavy in a certain genre.   Example – film noir is a product of the 40s and 50s.  If you use this approach, discuss possible reasons for this.

You may use, as an example, a film we have viewed in class or as a home assignment.

Please use at least three other films to support the various points of your essay.  These might be movies you have already seen or ones that you view for the purpose of writing this paper.

Several possibilities: musicals, crime, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, westerns, war, teen drama, screwball comedy, slapstick, biblical epic, etc.  There are many more than these.

If you have questions about your subject, please talk to me after class or call me at 813-900-4759.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grapes of Wrath

I really liked watching Grapes of Wrath. At first I thought that I didn't much like the black and white but when I  got further into the film, I could see how it added so much to the story and it's setting. I am a little bias because I read the book first and thought the movie didn't do it much justice. But putting that aside, I thought the way that it was filmed was very smart and realistic. The costumes added a lot to the movie and the feel of the file and it's time period. I was captivated by the characters and their developments in the film. My favorite character is Mama. What a strong individual. All in all, I thought this film was really well done, considering when it was filmed. I like that it has an "old" feeling to it. It adds to the story it is telling.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Syllabus - Fall 2013 - Residential

Elements of Film
Fall 2013 - Residential
Tom Hammond

This course is an introduction to film analysis and criticism.  Being able to identify and interpret the various components of a film is vital to understanding the most important and influential art form of the last century and this one as well.  We will watch films and clips in class.  You will be assigned feature-length films to watch as homework as well as readings from the required text.  There will be three papers due during the semester.

Class Blog:  You will be invited to post on this website.

Instructors Contact Information – phone: 813-900-4759, email: or
Face to face meetings can be arranged before or after class.

Required Text:

“Film Art” -  by Bordwell & Thompson

Netflix – A monthly subscription is a good idea for the semester.  All assigned movies are “streamable” on Netflix.  It costs $8 per month and the first month is usually free.  You can obtain all the films at the library, but availability might be a problem with 20+ students and a limited number of copies on hand.  You can rent or buy, but Netflix is easily the most convenient and affordable method.  If you subscribe, for an extra $7, you can receive the films by mail as well as streaming.  Turnaround is 2-3 days. 

Course Requirements and Grading:

·         Attendance & Participation                         15% of grade
·         Papers (3)                                                           45% of grade
·         Midterm & Final Exam                                   40% of grade
·         Extra Credit – Class Blog                                                (+10% of grade)

Attendance & Participation – Every class covers a component of film history, theory and criticism vital to your overall understanding of the subject.  If you can’t avoid missing a class, let me know in advance.  Any pattern of absence or chronic lateness will be noted and will adversely impact your final grade.  Speak up in class.  If that is difficult for you, bring in something that will inspire discussion. 

 Papers You will write three (3) papers of 3-4 pages covering the following categories:

·         Scene analysis
·         “Auteur” study
·         Genre study

Rubrics for each paper will be handed out three weeks prior to each due date.

Mid-Term & Final Exams – You are responsible for knowing the content of the assigned readings, and being familiar with class and required outside viewings.  The exams will be a combination of objective and short answer questions.

Extra CreditThe Class Blog – You will be invited to author on the blog.  You can make comments on existing posts, post photos, videos or your own writing.  You can add links to suggested readings and viewings as well.  

Academic Integrity – If you use an idea from another source, you can quote it or paraphrase it, but please CITE IT.  Failure to do so will be a violation of the Honor Code.

The Eckerd College Honor Code: “On my honor, as an Eckerd College student, I pledge not to lie, cheat or steal, nor to tolerate these behaviors in others.”

To affirm this, you will write, “Pledged” followed by your signature on all assignments, papers and exams.

Assignment Schedule:

·         All readings are chapters in the required text, “Film Art” by Bordwell & Thompson.
·         Assigned Viewings are films you are required to see outside of class (all “streamable” on Netflix).
·         In class we will watch feature films, scenes and clips from various movies and documentary material on filmmaking.  Much of this will also be posted on the Blog for your further study.

Week 1: Introduction
Introduction of students and professor
Review of syllabus
Lecture: The Beginnings of Film
In-class viewing: Early Films & “Citizen Kane”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Style”

 Week 2: Photography
Lecture: Cinematography
In-class viewing: “Visions of Light”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Style” continued
Assigned viewing:  “The Grapes of Wrath”

Week 3:  Mise en Scene
Lecture: Mise en Scene
In-class viewing: “I Walked With a Zombie”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Production”
Assigned viewing:  “The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari” (1920)

Week 4:  Movement –   FIRST PAPER DUE
Lecture: Cinematic Movement
In-class viewing: “Kung Fu Hustle”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Production” continued
Assigned viewing:  “13 Assassins”

Week 5:  Editing
Lecture: Film Editing
In-class viewing: “The Cutting Edge”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Types of Films”
Assigned Viewing:  “Don’t Look Now”

Week 6:  Sound
Lecture: Film Sound
In-class viewing:  “Blow Out”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Types of Films” continued
Assigned viewing:  “The Conversation”

Week 7:  Acting –   MIDTERM EXAM
Lecture: Film Acting
In-class viewing: “On the Waterfront”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Critical Analysis”
Assigned viewing:  “Midnight Cowboy”

Week 8:  Drama –   SECOND PAPPER DUE
Lecture: Drama
In-class viewing: “Raging Bull”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Critical Analysis” continued
Assigned viewing: “Shakespeare In Love”

Week 9:  Story
Lecture: Storytelling
In-class viewing: “8 ½”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Form”
Assigned viewing:  “The Lady Eve”

Week 10:  Writing
Lecture: Screenwriting
In-class viewing: “Adaptation”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film Form” continued
Assigned viewing:  “Double Indemnity”

Week 11:  Ideology
Lecture: Theme and Dramatic Center
In-class viewing: “V for Vendetta”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film History”
 Assigned viewing: “The Sacrifice”

Week 12:  Theory –   THIRD PAPER DUE
Lecture: Film Theory & Criticism
In-class viewing: “La Strada”
Assigned reading:  Section on “Film History” continued
Assigned viewing: “The Bicycle Thief”

Week 13:  Synthesis
Lecture: Re-viewing “Citizen Kane”
In-class viewing:  “Citizen Kane
Review for Final Exam

Week 14:  FINAL EXAM


In the event of an emergency or campus shutdown, class work will continue online at:

You will be invited to contribute as a blog correspondent at the beginning of the semester.  This is part of the participation segment of your grade and the location for all information if class can’t be held as scheduled.  Assignments will be posted there as well as suggested readings.  Video lectures will be available if a shutdown continues for more than one week.  Under those circumstances, you may also post any written assignments on the blog or send them to my email at:    OR   OR  by phone at:  813-900-4759

Be sure to review the school handout on procedure in the event of a hurricane.

“The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari” – 1920
“The Grapes of Wrath” – 1940 
“The Lady Eve” – 1941
 “Citizen Kane” – 1941
 “I Walked With a Zombie” – 1943
“Double Indemnity” – 1944
 “The Bicycle Thief” – 1948
 “On the Waterfront” – 1954
“La Strada” – 1954
“8 ½” – 1963
“Midnight Cowboy” – 1969
“Don’t Look Now” – 1973
“The Conversation” - 1974
 “Raging Bull” – 1980
“Blow Out” – 1981
“The Sacrifice” – 1986
 “Visions of Light” – 1992
“Shakespeare In Love” – 1998
 “Adaptation” – 2002
“The Cutting Edge” – 2004
“Kung Fu Hustle” – 2004
“V For Vendetta” – 2006

 “13 Assassins” - 2010

Wednesday, September 4, 2013