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THTRFLM 3FF3 Early Cinema History (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Joseph Sokalski


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 510

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27664

Office Hours: Mondays, 16:30-17:20

Course Objectives:

Course Objective:THTRFLM 3FF3 / ARTHIST 3FL3 is an introduction to the major phases of film history from 1895 to the Second World War. It focuses on narrative cinema’s development from aesthetic, social, technological and economic perspectives while also touching on a selected number of issues in film theory. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film. Fifth Edition, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016). The fourth edition is equally good and can be used. The page numbers for the course’s assigned readings for the fourth edition are included in the reading schedule.


THTRFLM 3FF3 Course Reader. If there is a delay in the preparation of the reading package, the first few weeks’ worth of material will be made available to the students through the instructor.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluations:

Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade by November 9, 2018.

Mid-Term Test On October 1, 2018 =25%

Term Essay DueNovember 19,2018 =35%

Final Examination Between December 7-20, 2018 =40%


Grading Scale: A+ 90-100 B+ 77-79 C+ 67-69 D+ 57-59

A 85-89 B 73-76 C 63-66 D 53-56

A- 80-84 B- 70-72 C- 60-62 D- 50-52 F 0-49

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Penalties for Late Submission: A penalty of ten marks will be imposed for every academic day assignments are late. Late assignments will receive a grade but no commentary.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1: Pre-Cinema and Early Cinema

Week 2: Early Cinema Style

Week 3: Growth of the American Film Industry

Week 4: Silent Film Comedy

Week 5: Break

Week 6: German Expressionism

Week 7: Mature Silent Film

Week 8: Soviet Montage

Week 9: Sound Film

Week 10: Classical Hollywood Film

Week 11: French Avant-Garde Film

Week 12: Realist Aesthetic