You will be writing 7 short essay/academic journals, each essay will be one page. All 7 essays must contain subject matter that is required in the instruction below, demonstrating knowledge of the pertinent film material, topics considered in lecture and discussions, and subjects covered in the reading assignments. Since it is only one page for each essay, you do not need to cover all the ideas and material. Write about something in the reading or movies that interested you the most, and make sure to use the required reading materials as the main reference!
1. Blair Davis, The Battle for the Bs: 1950s Hollywood and the Rebirth of Low-Budget
Cinema (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2012)
2. David Sterritt and John Anderson, eds., The B List: The National Society of
Film Critics on the Low-Budget Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks, and Cult
Classics We Love (New York: Da Capo, 2008)
Lecture and discussion: The consolidation of the American film industry.
The classical studio system. Precursors of the classic postwar B picture.
Viewing: White Zombie – Victor Halperin, USA, 1932
Reading: Davis, The Battle for the Bs, pp. 1-19
Lecture and discussion: Programmers, block booking, and double features.
Hollywood goes to war and propaganda scores a hit.
Reading: Davis, The Battle for the Bs, pp. 19-42
Lecture and discussion: Declining ticket sales and the looming challenge of
television. Science fiction. The launch of the modern space movie.
Viewing: Destination Moon – Irving Pichel, USA, 1950, USA, 1958
Reading: Davis, The Battle for the Bs, pp. 43-66
Lecture and discussion: The golden age of drive-in theaters. Horror, humor,
and the absurd. Technological paranoia. Fear and loathing in the lab.
Viewing: The Fly – Kurt Neumann, USA, 1958
Reading: Chris Fujiwara, “The Fly,” in Sterritt and Anderson, The B List,
Davis, The Battle for the Bs, pp. 67-102
Lecture and discussion: The high-end B picture. Stock footage and special
effects. Ray Harryhausen’s contribution to fantasy filmmaking. Cold-
war ideology, atomic-age fears, rampaging xenophobia.
Viewing: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers – Fred F. Sears, USA, 1956
Reading: Davis, The Battle for the Bs, pp. 164-177
Lecture and discussion: The midrange B production. American
International Pictures. The rise of 1950s youth culture. Mad scientists!
Hypnotherapy! The commercial magic of a catchy title!
Viewing: I Was a Teenage Werewolf – Gene Fowler Jr., USA, 1957
Reading: The Battle for the Bs, pp. 103-130, 178-190
Lecture and discussion: The bottom-drawer B budget. Poverty Row. An
abominable movie about the abominable snowman?
Viewing: Man Beast – Jerry Warren, USA, 1956
Reading: The Battle for the Bs, pp. 190-200