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Hollywood: The Unsung Heroes

Course Times & Enrolment

(Code FM105-301) • (0 classes) Course location to be confirmed •
Sorry, this course is cancelled

Course Summary

This is a chance to rediscover and discuss the wonderful films of the unsung heroes of Hollywood, from pioneers such as Rex Ingram and Clarence Brown to independent spirits like Don Siegel. They created some classics of American cinema, but often we are not familiar with the work of the directors not included in the ‘official canon’.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

This course aims to re-examine the work of some Hollywood directors often excluded from the cannon, but whose work contributed to both aesthetic advances and thematic diversity. An introductory first session, illustrated with clips and short films, will outline the main themes of the course. In the following sessions a full screening of one of the titles in the filmography will be followed by an in-depth discussion and analysis of the themes and techniques of each author.

Teaching method(s)

Classes are 3 hour long with complete screenings of the films, an introductory lecture and a post-screening discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the studio system and the way it works;

  • Critically examine the continuity and disjunctions in the evolution of cinema as an art form;

  • Describe visual and narrative techniques and identify various directorial styles;

  • Discuss the degree to which cinema, and popular culture in general, is influenced by politics and ideology.


Core Readings

There are no books treating all the authors involved in a systematic manner. Listed below are books in which some individual authors and their films and general themes are discussed.


  • Brownlow, K. (1969) The Parade's Gone By. New York: Knopf..

  • Dmytryk, E. (1986) On Filmmaking. London: Focal.

  • Estrin, A. (1980) Capra, Cukor, Brown. South Brunswick: A. S. Barnes.

  • Fleischer, R. (1993) Just Tell Me When to Cry: A Memoir. New York: Carroll and Graff.

  • Neale, S. (ed.) (2012) The Classical Hollywood Reader. London: Routledge.


The Prisoner of Zenda (Rex Ingram,1922)

Her Man (Tay Garnett, 1930)

Peter Ibbetson (Henry Hathawayy, 1935)

The Rains Came (Clarence Brown, 1939)

Little Foxes (William Wyler, 1941)

Westward the Women (William Wellman, 1951)

Walk on the Wild Side (Edward Dmytryk, 1962)

The Boston Strangler (Richard Fleischer, 1968)

Daisy Miller (Peter Bogdanovich, 1974)


Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.