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WSP 318 — The Conscience of Hollywood: Great Social Protest Films from the 1930s

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Friday - Sunday
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 3 days
Date(s): Oct 6—Oct 8
Time: See below
Drop Deadline: Sep 29
Unit: 1
Tuition: $325
Instructor(s): Elliot Lavine
Status: Closed
Please Note: Full schedule: Friday, October 6, 6:00 – 9:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and October 8, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
On-campus course
Friday - Sunday
See below
Oct 6—Oct 8
3 days
Drop By
Sep 29
1 Unit
Elliot Lavine
Please Note: Full schedule: Friday, October 6, 6:00 – 9:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and October 8, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
America in the 21st century bears a remarkable resemblance to the America of the 1930s. Then, as now, the nation found itself politically, ethnically, and economically divided and seething with anger, embittered that the political and economic systems were benefiting the few, not the many. Hollywood in the 1930s was quick to respond to the social injustices it perceived with hard-hitting entertainments designed to ignite the passions and fuel the hopes of American moviegoers. Leading the way in this exciting new direction was Warner Bros., a studio that would become identified with a sensational new kind of cinematic movement: the social protest film.

Whether dealing with outright societal problems or merely human dramas reflecting the conditions facing everyday people, Warner Bros., more than any other Hollywood studio, understood what made America tick. With deft precision, its films took careful aim at the dilemmas that faced our embattled nation. This workshop will be an immersion into the world of socially conscious cinema through the viewing and discussion of six amazing films, produced by Warner Bros. between 1932 and 1937. The films to be watched include Heroes for Sale (1933), Wild Boys of the Road (1933), They Won’t Forget (1937), Black Legion (1937), I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932), and Marked Woman (1937). These thought-provoking films helped heal a fractured country, providing audiences with renewed hope for a better way of life.

Elliot Lavine, Film Programmer

Elliot Lavine has been programming films since 1990, including his annual film noir festival, “I Wake Up Dreaming.” In 2010, he received the Marlon Riggs Award from the San Francisco Film Critics Circle for his revival of rare archival titles and his role in the renewed popularity of film noir.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.