A generally-acknowledged asset of films of the Classic Era is their dependence on the strength of
the storyline and the development of that certain quality which keeps the audience involved and
entertained. This seminar will focus on several excellent examples of cinematic stories that seize
the interest of the audience in the opening moments and hold the filmgoer’s attention until the last
frame. These compelling storylines may occur in any given genre, and examples will be offered from
film types as diverse as mysteries, war dramas, suspense films, romantic comedies, westerns and
others. Some attention will be given to the craft of the screenwriters who have made these scripts a
pleasure for many subsequent generations to admire and enjoy. The class will also examine the other
aspects of filmmaking that support the strong storyline: character development, the skillful use
of dialogue, directorial style and the technical expertise which all combine to create a memorable
example of the Golden Age of Hollywood Film.
Jack Rhodes received his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Texas at Austin and
later became interested in communication and film studies. His principal academic assignments
were at Colorado College, the University of Utah and Miami University (Ohio), where he taught
the graduate course on rhetoric of film for several years. Rhodes also served as chair of the Department
of Communication at Miami and retired as executive director of Miami’s regional campus in
Hamilton, Ohio. He is the author of three books and several scholarly articles and has recently
concentrated his research and lecturing on the rhetoric of film genres. This will be his 12th year
teaching Björklunden seminars.
This seminar was made possible, in part, by the Robert L. Berner Memorial Endowment for Björklunden.