NOTE: You’ll notice that I’m no longer responding to every single person. Studies and tons of experience show that an instructor can stifle convos if they contribute too much. If I don’t respond to you this week, rest assured that I will get to you eventually. 🙂
Speaking of the “logical extension of the Westerner”… The image on the left is from The Great Train Robbery (1904) and the one on the right is from Goodfellas (1990).
THE GANGSTER FILM (!!!) Discussion
- Thursday night by 11:59pm: Respond to my prompts; follow the instructions below.
- Sunday night by 11:59pm. Respond to another student in a substantive way. Go far beyond “I agree” or “great post.” Engage with someone else’s ideas by doing something like asking a question, comparing posts, applying her/his example to your own post, come up with an alternative perspective, or similar. The goal is to expand the conversation.
- Use The Readings:
- The entire purpose of these discussions is to synthesize the readings (and lectures) with the film. Use quotations, bring in terms or concepts… find ways to illuminate the film by way of applying the readings.
- Embedded images are really important for film discussions. See instructions below as to how you can easily capture and embed images from the film. If you choose not to include images there will be a small but not catastrophic point deduction.
If you watched Scarface ’32, answer prompt 1. For all other films, answer prompt 2.
PROMT 1: Classic Gangster Film Screening Questions
- Scarface, 1932: Write roughly 1-2 paragraphs in response to one or more of the questions below. Embed an image to anchor your critique in the film visually.:
- In what ways is this film typical of the early gangster film in terms of iconography, setting, character types, and themes?
- How is Tony’s story a “perversion of the American dream” as explained by the readings and lecture?
- In what ways is Tony a tragic character in the classical sense?
- How is Tony an extension of Butch and Sundance, the Westerner after the closing of the frontier and mass movement to city life?
- How is urban alienation expressed in the film?
- **How does the film undercut its own disclaimer at the beginning? The film purports to aid in solving the scourge that is the gangster; in what ways does the film actually glorify or celebrate or humanize Tony instead?
PROMPT 2: Non-Scarface ’32 Screening Questions:
- Write roughly 1-2 paragraphs in response to one or more of the questions below:
- How is the film like the classic gangster film? (character types, themes, story patterns, iconography)
- How is the main character “tragic” in the classical sense?
- In what ways is the main character a logical extension of the Westerner?
- How does the onset of RICO and the greater presence of law enforcement fundamentally change the gangster film, and how is such a modification evident in your film? How is the police/crime-syndicate dynamic different post-RICO?
- In what ways is your film a “perversion of the American dream,” and if so, how has it been updated for a later time period?
- What traditions are valued and which ones are derided?
- Is the main character pulled in opposing directions as a gangster, citizen, parent, husband, etc?
IMAGES REQUIRED! Yes we’ve arrived at the part of the class where a post without a picture is like Star Wars without R2D2 (unthinkable!). CLICK HERE to view my screenshot collecting guide. I also highly recommend making use of the EMBEDDING SANDBOX discussion. Canvas might make this process unnecessarily challenging but we can prevail!