Marriage and the Movies: A History
date_range Starts on May 18, 2015
event_note End date June 22, 2015
list 5 sequences
assignment Level : Introductive
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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timer 20 hours in total

About the content

The topic of marriage in the movies has always provided a fascinating reflection of changing social attitudes, shifting morals and gender roles. We will explore how films have defined marriage, identified seven core problems, and varied its three narrative components -- a couple, their problems, their situation -- from decade to decade from the silent to the modern era.

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Syllabus

5 weeks, 10 films, 22 lectures

WEEK I
Introduction
Lecture 1: An Overview on Marriage and the Movies
Lecture 2: Hollywood and Marriage
Lecture 3: The Silent Era
Lecture 4: The Silent Era part II
Film 1: WILD ORCHIDS (Franklin, 1929) (Warner Archive / Amazon)

Lecture 5: Defining the Marriage Movie
Film 2: MADE FOR EACH OTHER (Cromwell, 1939) (Amazon)

WEEK 2
Lecture 6: The "I Do" and "I Don't" versions
Film 3: THE MARRYING KIND (Cukor, 1952) (Amazon)
Lecture 7: Variations and Vignettes

Lecture 8: The Couple
Lecture 9: The Couple part II
Film 4: ADAM'S RIB (Cukor, 1949) (Amazon)

WEEK 3
Lecture 10: The Seven Recurring Problems
Lecture 11: Money and Infidelity
Film 5: BRIEF ENCOUNTER (Lean, 1945) (Amazon)
Lecture 12: The Infidelity Story Over Time

Lecture 13: In-laws/Kids and Class/Incompatibility
Lecture 14: Incompatibility continued
Film 6: VIVACIOUS LADY (Stevens, 1938) (Warner Archive / Amazon)

WEEK 4
Lecture 15: Addiction/Murder
Film 7: SUSPICION (Hitchcock, 1941) (Amazon)

Lecture 16: The Situation
Lecture 17: WWII Marriage Movies
Film 8: SINCE YOU WENT AWAY (Cromwell, 1944) (Amazon)


WEEK 5
Lecture 18: Post-WWII, TV
Lecture 19: Post-war continued
Lecture 20: "The Modern Era" 
Film 9: HEARTBURN (Nichols, 1986) (Amazon)

Lecture 21: State of the Marriage Movie - "Nuclear" Marriages, Social Change
Film 10: THE WAR OF THE ROSES (DeVito, 1989) (Amazon)
Lecture 22: Conclusions


Assignments:
Multiple-choice quizzes during/after each lecture (ungraded)
Longer cumulative multiple-choice quiz at the end (graded)
Online discussion opportunities

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Instructors

  • Jeanine Basinger - Film Studies
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Wesleyan University
At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.
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