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Unit information: Hollywood Cinema History in 2021/22

Unit name Hollywood Cinema History
Unit code FATV20007
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Pete Falconer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides an introduction to the history of Hollywood cinema in the 20th Century. Students will study a range of Hollywood movies, which may include established “classics”, genre cinema and work on the borders between mainstream and independent production. Key genres will be covered, from a selection including film noir, the musical, screwball comedy, horror, the western and others. Students will discuss the films’ historical contexts, relating to both Hollywood itself and to aspects of American social and political history. The films will also be considered in terms of the aesthetic, industrial and ideological debates that surround them.


  • To introduce students to the complexity and diversity of Hollywood filmmaking in different periods.
  • To enable students to make relevant distinctions between different types and eras of Hollywood filmmaking.
  • To situate commercial filmmaking in a range of historical contexts.
  • To equip students to engage with critical and theoretical debates about Hollywood cinema.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. identify and analyse key practices and conventions from the history of Hollywood filmmaking in the 20th Century.
  2. make relevant distinctions between different modes and periods of Hollywood cinema.
  3. make comparisons between Hollywood films from different eras, informed by an awareness of changing contexts.
  4. situate films in relation to a range of relevant historical contexts, both within Hollywood and connecting to wider trends in American culture and society.
  5. respond to, and participate in, debates concerning the aesthetic, industrial and ideological significance of Hollywood movies.
  6. produce work within a group, showing abilities to listen, contribute and lead effectively.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2-hour seminar, weekly 3-hour screening with 15-minute introduction.

Assessment Information

20-minute group presentation (40%) ILO 1-4, 6

3000 word essay (60%) ILO 1-5

Presentations will take place in seminar sessions. Group presentations will be awarded a single grade.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. FATV20007).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.