Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Cinema 122 - History of Cinema - Gary Peterson

Course:History of Cinema
Professor:Gary Peterson
  • Online
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Gary Peterson

Survey and analysis of motion picture masterpieces from their inception to the present. A study of these representative films will reveal ideas and values that are reflected and emphasized through artstic techniques.

Course Description

This course is a critical survey of the  international motion pictures both as a medium of mass communication and as a developing art form. Analyzes representative feature films as to genre, technique, aesthetics, and sociological impact. Designed as an introductory course. Film examples are screened at home or in the movie theater. There may be some costs to you if you chose to view the films at home or in the theater. Most of the films that are discussed in the readings and required for the class are available in the COC Library. Success In order to succeed, you must have regular access to the Internet.

What to Expect in this Course

Week 1  Class Introduction:

Week 2   Outline Due next week

PART ONE: EARLY CINEMA 1 THE INVENTION AND EARLY YEARS OF THE CINEMA, 1880s-1904 The Invention of the Cinema Preconditions for Motion Pictures Major Precursors of Motion Pictures An International Process of Invention Early Filmmaking and Exhibition Scenics, Topicals, and Fiction Films Creating an Appealing Program The Growth of the French Film Industry England and the "Brighton School" The United States: Competition and the Resurgence of Edison Notes and Queries Identification and Preservation of Early Films Reviving Interest in Early Cinema: The Brighton Conference References Further Reading

Week 3  Chapters 1 and 2 Outline Due

2 THE INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION OF THE CINEMA, 1905-1912 Film Production in Europe France: Path versus Gaumont Italy: Growth through Spectacle Denmark: Nordisk and Ole Olsen Other Countries The Struggle for the Expanding American Film Industry The Nickeodeon Boom The Motion Picture Patents Company versus the Independents Social Pressures and Self-Censorship The Rise of the Feature Film The Star System The Movies Move to Hollywood The Problem of Narrative Clarity Early Moves toward Classical Storytelling Intertitles Camera Position and Acting Color Set Design and Lighting The Beginnings of the Continuity System An International Style Notes and Queries Griffith's Importance in the Development of Film Style References Further Reading

Week 4  Outline Due

3 NATIONAL CINEMA, HOLLYWOOD CLASSICISM, AND WORLD WAR I, 1905-1919 The American Takeover of World Markets The Rise of National Cinemas Germany Italy Russia France Denmark Sweden The Classical Hollywood Cinema The Major Studios Begin to Form Controlling Filmmaking Filmmaking in Hollywood during the 1910s Films and Filmmakers Streamlining American Animation Small Producing Countries Notes and Queries The Ongoing Rediscovery of the 1910s Further Reading PART TWO: THE LATE SILENT ERA, 1919-1929

Week 5  Outline Due

4 FRANCE IN THE 1920S The French Film Industry after World War I Competition from Imports Disunity within the Film Industry Outdated Production Facilities Major Postwar Genres The French Impressionist Movement The Impressionists' Relation to the Industry Impressionist Theory Formal Traits of Impressionism The End of French Impressionism The Filmmakers Go Their Own Ways Problems within the Film Industry Notes and Queries French Impressionist Theory and Criticism Restoration Work on Napolon References Further Reading

Week 5  Outline Due

5 GERMANY IN THE 1920s The German Situation after World War I Genres and Styles of German Postwar Cinema Spectacles The German Expressionist Movement Kammerspiel German Films Abroad Major Changes in the Mid- to Late 1920s The Technological Updating of the German Studios The End of Inflation The End of the Expressionist Movement New Objectivity Export and Classical Style Notes and Queries German Cinema and German Society Expressionism, New Objectivity, and the Other Arts References Further Reading

Week 6 Outline Due

6 SOVIET CINEMA IN THE 1920s The Hardships of War Communism, 1918-1920 Recovery under the New Economic Policy, 1921-1924 Increased State Control and the Montage Movement, 1925-1930 Growth and Export in the Film Industry The Influence of Constructivism A New Generation: The Montage Filmmakers The Theoretical Writings of Montage Filmmakers Soviet Montage Form and Style Other Soviet Films The Five-Year Plan and the End of the Montage Movement Notes and Queries Film Industry and Governmental Policy: A Tangled History The Kuleshov Effect The Russian Formalists and the Cinema References Further Reading

Week 6  Outline Due

7 THE LATE SILENT ERA IN HOLLYWOOD, 1920-1928 Theater Chains and the Structure of the Industry Vertical Integration Picture Palaces The Big Three and the Little Five The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America Studio Filmmaking Style and Technological Changes Big-Budget Films of the 1920s New Investments and Blockbusters Genres and Directors Foreign Filmmakers in Hollywood Films for African-American Audiences The Animated Part of the Program Notes and Queries The Rediscovery of Buster Keaton References Further Reading

Week 7  Outline Due

8 INTERNATIONAL TRENDS OF THE 1920s "Film Europe" Concrete Steps toward Cooperation Success Cut Short The "International Style" Carl Dreyer: European Director Film Experiments Outside the Mainstream Industry Documentary Features Gain Prominence Commercial Filmmaking Internationally Japan Great Britain Italy Some Small Producing Countries Notes and Queries Different Versions of Silent Classics References Further Reading PART THREE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOUND CINEMA, 1926-1945

Week  7  Outline Due

9 THE INTRODUCTION OF SOUND Sound in the United States Warner Bros. and Vitaphone Sound-on-Film Is Adopted Sound and Filmmaking Germany Challenges Hollywood Dividing the International Pie The Early Sound Era in Germany The USSR Pursues Its Own Path to Sound The International Adoption of Sound France Great Britain Japan Wiring the World's Theaters for Sound Crossing the Language Barrier Notes and Queries Filmmakers on the Coming of Sound Sound and the Revision of Film History References Further Reading

Week 8  Outline Due

10 THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYSTEM, 1930-1945 The New Structure of the Film Industry The Big Five The Little Three The Independents Exhibition Practice in the 1930s Continued Innovation in Hollywood Sound Recording Camera Movement Technicolor Special Effects Cinematography Styles Major Directors The Older Generation New Directors migr Directors Genre Innovations and Transformations The Musical The Screwball Comedy The Horror Film The Social Problem Film The Gangster Film Film Noir The War Film Animation and the Studio System Notes and Queries The Controversy over Orson Welles References Further Reading

Week 8  Outline Due

11 OTHER STUDIO SYSTEMS Quota Quickies and Wartime Pressures: The British Studios The British Film Industry Grows Export Successes Alfred Hitchcock's Thrillers Crisis and Recovery The Effects of the War Innovation within an Industry: The Studio System of Japan Popular Cinema of the 1930s The Pacific War India: An Industry Built on Music A Highly Fragmented Business Mythologicals, Socials, Devotionals Independents Weaken the System China: Filmmaking Caught between Left and Right Notes and Queries Japanese Cinema Rediscovered References Further Reading

Week 9  Outline Due

12 Cinema and the State: The USSR, Germany, and Italy, 1930-1945 The Soviet Union: Socialist Realism and World War II Films of the Early 1930s The Doctrine of Socialist Realism The Main Genres of Socialist Realism The Soviet Cinema in Wartime The German Cinema under the Nazis The Nazi Regime and the Film Industry Films of the Nazi Era The Aftermath of the Nazi Cinema Italy: Propaganda versus Entertainment Industry Tendencies A Cinema of Distraction A New Realism? Notes and Queries The Case of Leni Riefenstahl References Further Reading

Week 9  Outline Due

13 FRANCE: POETIC REALISM, THE POPULAR FRONT AND THE OCCUPATION, 1930-1945 The Industry and Filmmaking during the 1930s Production Problems and Artistic Freedom Quality Studio Filmmaking migrs in France Everyday Realism Poetic Realism Doomed Lovers, Atmospheric Settings The Creative Burst of Jean Renoir Brief Interlude: The Popular Front Filmmaking in Occupied and Vichy France The Situation of the Film Industry Films of the Occupation Period Notes and Queries Renewed Interest in the Popular Front Reference Further Reading

Week 10  Outline Due

14 LEFTIST, DOCUMENTARY, AND EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA, 1930-1945 The Spread of Political Cinema The United States Germany Belgium and the Netherlands Great Britain International Leftist Filmmaking in the Late 1930s Government- and Corporate-sponsored Documentaries The United States Great Britain Wartime Documentaries Hollywood Directors and the War Great Britain Germany and the USSR The International Experimental Cinema Experimental Narratives and Lyrical Films Surrealism Animation References Further Reading PART FOUR: THE POSTWAR ERA, 1946-1960s

Week 10  Outline Due

15 AMERICAN CINEMA IN THE POSTWAR ERA, 1946-1960 1946/1947/1948 The HUAC Hearings: The Cold War Reaches Hollywood The Paramount Decision The Decline of the Hollywood Studio System Changing Lifestyles and Competing Entertainment Wider and More Colorful Movies Hollywood Adjusts to Television Art Cinemas and Drive-ins Challenges to Censorship The New Power of the Individual Film Roadshow Distribution and Exhibition The Rise of the Independents Mainstream Independents: Agents, Star Power, and the Package Exploitation Independents on the Fringes Classical Hollywood Filmmaking: A Continuing Tradition Complexity and Realism in Storytelling Stylistic Changes New Twists on Old Genres Major Directors: Several Generations Veterans of the Studio Era migrs Stay On Welles's Struggle with Hollywood The Impact of the Theater New Directors Notes and Queries Widescreen Formats in Subsequent History References Further Reading

Week 11  Outline Due

16 POSTWAR EUROPEAN CINEMA: NEOREALISM AND ITS CONTEXT, 1945-1959 The Postwar Context Film Industries and Film Culture West Germany: "Papas Kino" Resistance to U.S. Encroachment Art Cinema: The Return of Modernism Italy: Neorealism and After Italian Spring Defining Neorealism Beyond Neorealism A Spanish Neorealism? Notes and Queries Controversies around Neorealism References Further Reading

Week 11  Outline Due

17 POSTWAR EUROPEAN CINEMA: FRANCE, SCANDINAVIA, AND BRITAIN, 1945-1959 French Cinema of the Postwar Decade The Industry Recovers The Tradition of Quality The Return of Older Directors New Independent Directors Scandinavian Revival England: Quality and Comedy Problems in the Industry Literary Heritage and Eccentricity Arthouse Success Abroad Notes and Queries Postwar French Film Theory The Powell-Pressburger Revival References Further Reading

Week 12  Outline Due

18 POSTWAR CINEMA BEYOND THE WEST, 1945-1959 General Tendencies Japan Industry Recovery under the Occupation The Veteran Directors The War Generation Postwar Cinema in the Soviet Sphere of Influence The USSR from High Stalinism to the Thaw Obstacles of the Postwar Years Stalin's Death and the New Humanism Postwar Cinema in Eastern Europe People's Republic of China Civil War and Revolution Mixing Maoism and Tradition India A Disorganized but Prolific Industry The Populist Tradition and Raj Kapoor Swimming Against the Stream: Guru Dutt and Ritwik Ghatak Latin America Argentina and Brazil The Mexican Popular Cinema Notes and Queries De-Stalinization and the Disappearing Act References Further Reading

Week 12  Outline Due

19 ART CINEMA AND THE IDEA OF AUTHORSHIP The Rise and Spread of the Auteur Theory Authorship and the Growth of the Art Cinema Luis Buuel (1900-1983) Ingmar Bergman (1918- ) Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) Federico Fellini (1920-1993) Michelangelo Antonioni (1912- ) Robert Bresson (1907-1999) Jacques Tati (1908-1982) Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) Notes and Queries The Impact of Auteurism Auteurism and the American Cinema 1950s and 1960s Modernist Cinema References Further Reading

Week 13  Outline Due

20 NEW WAVES AND YOUNG CINEMA, 1958-1967 The Industries' New Needs Formal and Stylistic Trends France: New Wave and New Cinema The New Wave French New Cinema: The Left Bank Italy: Young Cinema and Spaghetti Westerns Great Britain: "Kitchen Sink" Cinema Young German Film New Cinema in the USSR and Eastern Europe Young Cinema in the Soviet Union New Waves in Eastern Europe The Japanese New Wave Brazil: Cinema Nvo Notes and Queries Censorship and the French New Wave New Film Theory References Further Reading

Week 13  Outline Due

21 DOCUMENTARY AND EXPERIMENTAL CINEMA IN THE POSTWAR ERA,1945-MID-1960s Toward the Personal Documentary Innovative Trends The National Film Board and "Free Cinema" France: The Auteurs' Documentaries Jean Rouch and Ethnographic Documentary Direct Cinema The United States: Drew and Associates Direct Cinema in Bilingual Canada France: Cinma vrit Experimental and Avant-garde Cinema Abstraction, Collage, and Personal Expression Underground and Expanded Cinema Stretching the Limits of Taste and the Medium Notes and Queries Writing the History of the Postwar Avant-garde References Further Reading PART FIVE: NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL TRENDS SINCE THE 1960S

Week 13  Outline Due

22 HOLLYWOOD'S FALL AND RISE, 1960-1980 1960s: The Film Industry in Recession The 1960s Crisis Styles and Genres in the 1960s Modifying the Classical Studio Style Identifying the Audience The New Hollywood: Late 1960s-Late 1970s Toward and American Art Cinema The 1970s: Hollywood Strikes Gold The Return of the Blockbuster Hollywood Updated Scorsese as Synthesis Opportunities for Independents Notes and Queries The American Director as Superstar Film Consciousness and Film Preservation Exploitation Films and Connoisseurs of "Weird Movies" References Further Reading

Week 13  Outline Due

23 CRITICAL POLITICAL CINEMA OF THE 1960S AND 1970S Political Filmmaking in the Third World Revolutionary Aspirations Political Genres and Styles Latin America Black African Cinema China: Cinema and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Political Filmmaking in the First and Second Worlds Eastern Europe and the USSR Political Cinema in the West Political Modernism The Politicization of Mainstream Narrative and the Art Film New Cinema in West Germany: The Political Wing Notes and Queries Defining Third World Revolutionary Cinema Film Studies and the New Film Theory References Further Reading

Week 14  Outline Due

24 DOCUMENTARY AND EXPERIMENTAL FILM SINCE THE LATE 1960s Documentary Cinema Direct Cinema and Its Legacy The Questioning of Documentary From Structuralism to Pluralism in Avant-garde Cinema Structural Film Reactions and Alternatives to Structural Film New Mergers Notes and Queries Rethinking Documentary The Idea of Structure The Avant-garde and Postmodernism References Further Reading

Week 14  Outline Due

25 NEW CINEMAS AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS: EUROPE AND THE USSR SINCE THE 1970s Western Europe Crisis in the Industry The Art Cinema Revived: Toward Accessibility The Arresting Image Eastern Europe and the USSR Eastern Europe: From Reform to Revolution The USSR: The Final Thaw and Its Aftermath Notes and Queries The New German Cinema References Further Reading

Week 14  Outline Due

26 NEW CINEMA IN LATIN AMERICA, ASIA, THE PACIFIC RIM, AND AFRICA SINCE THE 1970s Latin America: Accessibility and Decline Brazil Argentina and Elsewhere Mexico Cuba and Other Left-Wing Cinemas Recent Trends India: A Parallel Cinema New Cinemas in East Asia and the Pacific Rim The Philippines Hong Kong Taiwan Mainland China: The Fifth Generation and Their Successors Japan Australia New Zealand Notes and Queries Pinning the Tail on Pinochet Storytelling in Third World Cinema PART SIX: CINEMA IN THE AGE OF ELECTRONIC MEDIA

Week 14  Outline Due

27 AMERICAN CINEMA AND THE ENTERTAINMENT ECONOMY: THE 1980s AND AFTER Hollywood, Movies, and Videotape Concentration and Consolidation in the Film Industry The Megapix Mentality The Bottom Line Prime Packagers New Revenue Streams Megaplexing: The New Face of Exhibition Artistic Trends Form and Style Directors: Coming to Terms with Megapix Genres A New Age of Independent Cinema Support Systems The Arty Indies Off-Hollywood Indies Retro-Hollywood Independents Digital Cinema Notes and Queries Video Versions George Lucas: Is Film Dead? References Further Reading

Week 14  Outline Due

28 TOWARD A GLOBAL FILM CULTURE Hollyworld? The Media Conglomerates Cooperation and Cooptation Battles over GATT Multiplexing the Planet Regional Trends and the New International Film Europe and Asia Try to Compete Media Empires Global Films from Europe East Asia: Regional Alliances and Global Efforts Global Diasporas The Festival Circuit Global Subcultures Video Piracy: An Efficient Distribution System? Fan Subcultures: Appropriating the Movies Digital Convergence The Internet as Movie Billboard Digital Moviemaking Notes and Queries Akira, Gundam, Sailor Moon, and Their Friends Auteurs on the Web

Types of Assessments

Attend Zoom Sessions, Weekly Outlines, Discussions, Exams, Term Paper.

Please make every effort to have your Zoom Camera on 

Types of Assessments: Outlines, Term Paper, Exams

Textbook Information

Textbook Title: Any edition or Film History: An introduction by Thompson and Boardwell. I encourage you to seek out used copies on line.

Please have your text book at the start of the semester.

Other Relevant Course Information

Film Content

Many of the films shown in the Cinema class area R rated films. I will introduce each film and discuss it’s content. If you have any concern regarding viewing R rated films please contact me to discuss this issue face to face.

In Class Extra Credit

There will be a number of opportunities to view films in class that can earn you extra credit. If you miss the class that the filmed is viewed you will not be allowed to make up the extra credit.

Outside Class Extra Credit

During the semester I may offer extra credit for outside class viewing.  Remember this is extra credit, you are not required to attend any outside  class films.  Some of the films are shown locally but many are outside the Santa Clarita Valley.  Again, you are not required to attend any outside films for extra credit.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/22/2021 Sub#: 910