Sunset Boulevard Poster


English 286 The Movies

The Movies 19567 – English 28600 – 002

Fall 2010

Instructor: Alexandra Hidalgo
Office: HEAV 208  Email:
Office Hours: Wednesday 11:30-1:30

Course Website:

Class Meetings: Heavilon 102, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30-10:20 am

Math 175, Tuesday or Wednesday 6:30-9:20 pm

Course Texts

English 286 The Movies coursepack at Copymat.

You will purchase Blade Runner by Scott Bukatman later during the semester at Von’s Bookstore.

Course Assignments
First Paper                                    20%

Final Paper                                   20%

Mid-Term Exam                             15%

Final Exam                                    20%

In-Class Quizzes                            15%

Attendance                                   10%

TOTAL:                                        100%

Tentative Class Schedule


Thursday, September 21                     Mid-Term Exam

Thursday, October 8                           Mid-Term Paper due

Sunday, December 12                         Final Paper due

Finals week                                       Final Exam will take place


Screenings (Labs) of the films are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6:30-9:20 in MATH 175.  You should see the films on a big screen, not on your computer or TV.  Some of these films are available neither at the library nor the video store.  Some titles will be available on reserve in the library for you to look at when you write your papers for the class.


Students will be expected to show up for every class and pay attention, but I realize that illnesses and other emergencies do come up.  Therefore, you may miss three classes without penalty.  After that, two percentage points will be deducted for every class session you miss. If you miss more than nine classes, whether your absences are excused or not, you will receive a failing grade. For extended absences due to medical or family emergencies, you should consult me upon return, if not sooner.  A student who attends class but is not participating or paying attention will be counted as absent.  Tardiness is inexcusable.  Every tardy equals half an absence.  The same applies for anyone who leaves class early.  Bonus points will be awarded to students who miss fewer than their allotted three absences and who participate responsibly in class.

Late Work

A letter grade will be deducted for each day that your papers are late.  If you miss a quiz or an exam without a medical excuse, it cannot be made up.


I will use our course email list to notify you of important information between class meetings. Plan to check your Purdue email account at least once a day. Email is an effective and efficient way to reach me.  I will check my email daily.


In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may result in a revised semester calendar or other circumstances. Here are ways to get information about changes in this course. Our course website: or my email address:

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities must be registered with Adaptive Programs in the Office of the Dean of Students ( before classroom accommodations can be provided.  If you are eligible for academic accommodations because you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please schedule an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss your needs.

Student Code of Conduct

Purdue University has adopted a Student Code of Conduct (  All students must behave in a mature manner and respect others.  You should avoid all disruptions to instruction.  Cell phones and ipods should be turned off prior to class time.  Do not work on reading or assignments for other classes nor engage in other forms of reading and writing not related to the class.  Do not distract others by talking or whispering.  You should abstain from packing your things before class time is over.

Academic Dishonesty

Students who knowingly plagiarize will be reported to the Dean of Students.  Plagiarism can result in failing the course.  For a definition of plagiarism and an explanation of university policies see

Other Resources

Purdue Writing Lab (HEAV 226)

Purdue Libraries:

Computer Labs:

Course Grade

I will use the scale below in determining your course grade.

Letter Grade Total Points
A+ 97-100
A 94-96
A- 90-93
B+ 87-89
B 84-86
B- 80-83
C+ 77-79
C 74-76
C- 70-73
D+ 67-69
D 65-66
F 0-64


NOTE: All page numbers listed are for the coursepack’s main pages, not for individual articles.


Tuesday, Aug. 24 and Wednesday Aug. 25: Screening of Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982).

Tuesday, Aug. 24: Syllabus discussion and introductions.

Thursday, Aug. 26: Introduction to the elements of film.  Read “Film is Art,” p. 14-25.


Tuesday, Aug. 31: Koyaanisqatsi discussion.  Read “Godfrey Reggio,” p. 2-13.

Wednesday Sept. 1: Screening of short films by Georges Méliès (1896-1904) and The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2007)

Thursday, Sept. 2: Méliès discussion. Read “A Definition of ‘Special Effects,’” p. 27-29, “The Birth of an Industry:  Edison, Méliès, Urban, Paul and Porter,” p. 30-36, and “Georges Méliès: The birth of the auteur,” p. 37-45.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 and Wednesday Sept. 8: F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1975).

Tuesday, Sept. 7: The Prestige discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Sept. 9: F for Fake discussion.  Read “The Magic World of Orson Welles,” p. 67-72, “First Impressions of F for Fake,” p. 73-74, and “The Butterfly and the Whale,” p. 75-77.


Tuesday, Sept. 14 and Wednesday Sept. 15: The Scary Movie (Peggy Ahwesh, 1993) The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980).

Tuesday, Sept. 14: F for Fake discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Sept. 16: The Scary Movie and The Shining discussion.  Read “One Film Critic’s Views on Peggy Ahwesh’s The Scary Movie,” p. 84, and “Kubrick The Definitive Edition,” p. 85-104.

Tuesday, Sept. 21 and Wednesday Sept. 22: Faces (John Cassavetes, 1968).

Tuesday, Sept. 21: The Shining discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Sept. 23: MID-TERM EXAM


Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Wednesday Sept. 29: Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1951).

Tuesday, Aug. 28: Faces discussion. No reading.

Thursday, Sept. 30: Singin’ in the Rain discussion.  Read “Sound and Image in Singin’ in the Rain,” p. 182-184, “Singin’ in the Rain,” p. 185-187, and “Winking at the Audience,” p. 188-194.

Tuesday, Oct 5 and Wednesday Oct. 6: Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950).

Tuesday, Oct. 5: Singin’ in the Rain discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Oct. 7: Sunset Boulevard discussion.  Read “Sunset Boulevard” Roger Ebert’s review, p. 202-204, “Close-up on Sunset Boulevard,” p. 205-208.

Tuesday, Oct 12: No screening or class because of October break.

Wednesday Oct. 13: screening of The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000).

Thursday, Oct. 14: The Gleaners and I discussion.  Read “Precious Leftovers,” p. 209-211, and “On Documentary,” p. 212-218.


Tuesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday Oct. 20: screening of The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963).

Tuesday, Oct. 19: The Gleaners and I discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Oct. 14: The Birds discussion.  Read “Hitchcock’s Films Revisited,” p. 232-243, and “Hitchcock Truffaut,” p. 244-259.

Tuesday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday Oct. 27: screening of The Host (Bong Joon-Ho, 2007).

Tuesday, Oct. 26: The Birds discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Oct. 28: The Host discussion.  Read “Threat-Level: Killer Tadpole,” p. 270-272, “Gogol in Seoul,” p. 273-279, “Down by the River,” p. 280-281, and “The Philosophy of Horror,” p. 282-288.

Tuesday, Nov. 2 and Wednesday Nov. 3: Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982).

Tuesday, Nov. 2: The Host discussion.  No Reading.

Thursday, Nov. 4: Blade Runner discussion.  You will read from the Blade Runner book.  I will let you know the pages later in the semester.


Tuesday, Nov. 9 and Wednesday Nov. 10: Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958).

Tuesday, Nov. 9: Blade Runner discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Nov. 11: Vertigo discussion.  Read “Hitchcock’s Films Revisited,” p. 289-301, and “A Free Replay,” p. 302-306.

Tuesday, Nov. 16 and Wednesday Nov. 17: The Tenant (Roman Polanski, 1976)

Tuesday, Nov. 16: Vertigo discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Nov. 17: The Tenant discussion.  Read “the cinema of Roman Polanski,’ p. 307-314.

Thanksgiving vacation Nov. 22-26



Tuesday, Nov. 30 and Wednesday Dec. 1: Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003)

Tuesday, Nov. 30: The Tenant discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Dec. 1: Elephant discussion.  Read “Film Art,” 315-321.

Tuesday, Dec. 7 and Wednesday Dec. 8: A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1972)

Tuesday, Dec. 7: Elephant discussion.  No reading.

Thursday, Dec. 9: A Clockwork Orange discussion.  Read “A Clockwork Orange:  Stanley Strangelove,” p. 322-324, and “A Clockwork Orange… Ticking,” p. 325-334

Sunday, December 12:  FINAL PAPER DUE.


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