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November 19, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-11-19

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19,1967

THE MICHIGAN DAILY SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1987

F T-

Stess

Cine a

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Art

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TONIGHT!
RICH~iIE

Hat" with Ginger Rogers and
Fred Astaire.
Davis also intends to have in-
class showings of such films as
"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,"
Murnau's "The Last Laugh" and
"The Great Train Robbery."
Both courses are divided into
three units. The American Stud-
ies course deals first with the
artistic and aesthetic background
which gave rise to film.
A second unit concerns itself
with genre film, i.e., the "star"
film, musicals, gangster films and
the western.
The final unit deals with spe-
cific problems of film-films of
other art forms ("A Place in the
Sun" is taken from theodore
Dreiser's "American Tragedy");
documentary and its relations to
n e w s p a p e r editorializing; the
avant garde movement and the
problem of "personality" of the
star, director and producer.
In addition to the weekly film,
the course will have one lecture
and one discussion session per
week. Hopefully, the discussion
session will split into small groups
led by students.-
Theoretically, an A m e r i c a n
Studies course studies America.
With film, however, the problem
arises that some of the most im-
portant innovations and some of
the best films are foreign. Recog-
nizing this problem, Sklar and
Felheim hope to find time for a
unit on foreign films.
The speech course taught by
Davis will stress the history
rather than the criticism of film.

The first unit deals with film as
entertainment. Here Davis will
explore the various social and fi-
nancial influences which make
themselves felt in the film world.
"Film-makers use a peculiar
kind of poetic justice," says Davis.
"They attempt to structure a
film so that it will not subvert the
young, that is, the bad guy gets
his just reward."
Financial concerns also have a
tremendous impact on a film. As
Davis says, "Film you know, is
a business even if we call it an
art form."
In this first unit. Davis will
also explore the impact of tech-
nical innovation. He points out
that the introduction of sound'
caused a disruption in a way of
making films which was highly
sophisticated in silent films.
Thus, Al Jolson's "The Jazz Sing-
er," which Davis plans to show in
class, can be seen as a momentary
step backward in film history.
A second unit in the speech
course sees film as a recorder.
Davis feels that the documentary
offers a line of development
which seeks to reveal and record
the world as it exists. The Film
Board of Canada which has done
"Lonely Boy," a film about Paul
Anka, has had, according to
Davis, tremendous impact in the
documentary realm."
A final unit examines the non-
entertainment / non-documentary
film. Films by Man Ray and by
Dali will ,be used as examples of
the highly experimental in both
technique and content.
Even a commercial film like
"Bonnie and Clyde" has much to
offer, according to Davis. "New
young film-makers," he says, "are
highly inventive. They don't hold'
to the old conventions."
Yet, one of the biggest inno-
vations, and certainly a break
with convention, is the introduc-
tion of these courses into the cur-
riculum.
Sklar mentions that film course
proposals have often been made
to the literary college, but have
never met with favor in the cur-
riculum committee. Davis notes
that only three or four disserta-
tions in this field have ever been
written at the University.
But some film devotees see a
danger in such courses. Richard
Ayers, '69, chairman of Cinema
Guild, says, "I'm real skeptical
about starting a film course, be-
cause it's institutoinalizing a pop-

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111

'Iii

BUSTER KEATON and Margaret Leahy in Keaton's "The Three
Ages;" which will be shown in two film courses next semester.

ular art form-one of the last arts
free from the academic doctrine
which generally tends to sterilize
an art form.
"Take a fiery young novelist on
the lower East Side who's eating
his heart out. .... You're going to
have two modern lit corses with
undergrads writing their final
exams on his works; no one reads
the novel, they just appreciate it."
While Ayers feels that the
teachers involved will avoid the
dangers, the courses "are indica-
tive of a dangerous direction in
which movie-lovers are heading."
In answer, Davis says that stu-
dents must look at what's been
done and seek methods for mak-
ing films better. He feels that
Americans are technically very
good but that little has been done
in experimenting with content.
"The field is wide open for in-
vention," Davis says. "A teacher
can never say, 'this is the best
way to do it.'"
Sklar also attaches great im-
portance to the discussion of the
values and expectations connected
with films. "There are some who

are liberal about Fanny Hill," he
notes, "yet they are ready to con-
demn 'Flaming Creatures' with-
out even seeing it."
Davis intends to teach a va-
riety of film courses next year.
Speech 522, the theory of film,
concerns itself with the writings
about film and will be offered
this summer and the following
winter, Speech 521, the history of
film, will use fewer films than
Speech 220 and will be offered
next fall.
"tA SUPERB
FILM -life Magazine
"BRILLIANT,
FORCEFUL
CINEMA ART."
-Bosley Crowther, New York Times

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-Wanda HaleNew York Daily News

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