Film History – Week 6


I want to take a moment to tell parents to please preview any film listed here before letting your children watch them. Some of the films this week deal with mature themes and may have images that you do not want your children to be exposed to. Thank you.

1. Read The Young Oxford Book of the Movies p. 28 – p. 33. In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. Explain what the “superspectacle” movie was like and name the American director these films influenced.

b. What did WW1 do to the movie-making business in Europe? Which European country saw their film industry prosper during this time and why? Plan a family movie night to watch Hugo if you haven’t already seen it. It is wonderful!

c. Germany created a production company in 1917 to “raise the standard of German films.” What was this company called? What Expressionist film did it make, and how did this film use light?

d. What famous discovery did Murnau make? What about G.W. Pabst? Their discoveries went on to influence Hollywood? Can you think of any films where you have seen these techniques?

e. What influence did Surrealism have on the film industry?

f. Contrast Soviet Montage with Sergei Eisenstein’s editing. Explain the Kuleshov Effect. Teens may want to read more about it here.

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Add in important dates and figures and films from your reading. You can get some ideas here. Also if you are interested in the UFA read more about it here.

This week’s viewing:

1. Watch the full movie of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

2. Watch a short clip from The Last Laugh and notice the ending where the camera acts as a performer.

3. Older teens might want to watch this short explaining the influence Salvador Dali and surrealist art had on Un Chien Andalou.

4. Finally you should read more about Battleship Potemkin and it’s restoration at TCM. Battleship Potemkin is such an important film in film history, so please take the time to watch the whole film and think about the editing during the Odessa Steps sequence. The acting, editing, and propaganda are still very powerful today. To learn even more about the film please visit Wikipedia.


If you or your student is enjoying this time period and these wonderful films, you should check out European Film Gateway which has a wealth of information available for everyone.

Next time sound comes to the movies!