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Hollywood Films of the Great Depression
Chris Robe

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This lecture series focuses on Hollywood portrayals of the  Great Depression traumas. Contrary to the belief that Hollywood solely functioned as a “dream factory” to shield audiences from the realities of the times, the ravages of the Great Depression often illuminated themselves in surprising ways on the silver screen. We will discuss the contexts that produced the films being screened as well as some of the central imagery and themes that run throughout them. Each week will be devoted to a predominant theme—gangsters, fascism, female sexuality, and political corruption—that coursed throughout Hollywood Depression-era films. Through our analysis of the films, we will see how Hollywood mediated some of the predominant anxieties and uncertainties of the Great Depression era.
1. Gangsters and Censorship: Scarface (Howard Hawks, 1932)
2. Anarchy, Fascism, and Youth: Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933) and Wild Boys of the Road (William Wellman, 1933)
3. Female Sexuality and Not-So-Fallen Women: Baby Face (Alfred Green, 1933) and Female (Michael Curtiz, 1933)
4. Washington Corruption: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939)
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION:  Dr. Chris Robe is an Associate Professor in Film and Media Studies in the School of Communication at Florida Atlantic University. His book Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture was published  in 2010. He is also a frequent film reviewer for PopMatters .

Time: 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Date: Mondays, April 28; May 5, 12, 19
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: $34 member / $54 non-member

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