The Hollywood studio system of the Classic Era produced a large selection of "Genre Films," a term critics use to describe movies that can most easily be characterized according to the norms and conventions of a particular plotline or set of stylistic elements. Many of these movies were cheaply made and are largely forgotten today, but a few in each genre achieved lasting critical acclaim and have continued to be admired by contemporary audiences. The seminar will consider one outstanding movie from each of five genres: The Detective/Mystery, The Romance Film, The Musical, The World War II Film, and the Western. Seminar participants will learn to identify the main characteristics of each genre and to develop an appreciation of quality pictures made within the constraints of each category. Some attention will also be given to excerpts of other movies within the same genre so that students may develop through comparison an awareness of the stylistic qualities that place each of these five films "at the top of their form."
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 13th year teaching Björklunden seminars.