English 4910/4925/4955/5950, Spring 2022

TR 3:30-4:45 p.m., Arts & Sciences 348

Film and Television Availability

This chart provides links to our class's required films that are available through links from JustWatch, a clearinghouse of film and television streaming sites. Films are available for rental from the GCSU Library as noted. Check Drew's Script-O-Rama and The Internet Movie Script Database for screenplays and transcripts to use as a a helpful reference for dialogue; however, if you write about the film, you should verify dialogue from the film itself.


Required Films Availability

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

JustWatch | Archive | GCSU

The Maltese Falcon

JustWatch | GCSU

Double Indemnity

Just Watch | GCSU


JustWatch | Archive | GCSU

In a Lonely Place

JustWatch | GCSU

Leave Her to Heaven


Screening T, 2-8, 5:00-7:00 p.m. A&S 348

Screening R, 2-10, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

A&S 348


JustWatch | GCSU

The Long Goodbye


Blue Velvet

JustWatch | GCSU

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

JustWatch | GCSU

Veronica Mars, Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2


Le Samouraï


Ghost in the Shell

JustWatch | GCSU

The Killing, Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2


Screening T, 4-12, 5:00-7:00 p.m. A&S 348

Screening R, 4-14, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

A&S 348

Recommended Films Availability

The Big Sleep

JustWatch | GCSU




JustWatch | GCSU

Devil in a Blue Dress


Mildred Pierce

JustWatch | GCSU

Sunset Boulevard

JustWatch | GCSU

Touch of Evil

JustWatch | GCSU

Twelve Monkeys

JustWatch | GCSU

The Woman in the Window


In Class Activities

1. Existential Investigations

Thus far in the course, we have focused on a structuralist understanding of film noir as a genre, culminating in Philip Gaines's "Noir 101" syllabus of noir subgenres. After discussing the Gaines article, let's change our critical approach from structuralism to existentialism and apply our understanding of Robert Portfirio's article "No Way Out: Existential Motifs in the Film Noir" and William C. Pamerleau's article "Film as a Tool for Philosophical Investigation" to The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity.

Here is the group activity:

  1. First, divide into groups
  2. Then, briefly summarize what your group's assigned Pamerleau and Porfirio section states about existential philosophy.
  3. Finally, view The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity through the existentialist lens described in your group's assigned section. In other words, discuss how the existentialist concepts apply to the two films.

Here are the groups' assigned sections:

  1. Pamerleau 43 Experience as the World Represented / Porfirio 90 Chaos, Violence, Paranoia / Porfirio 92 Sanctity, Ritual Order
  2. Pamerleau 45 Freedom and Film / Porfirio 87 Existential Choice
  3. Pamerleau 48 Film and the Meaning of Life / Porfirio 89 Meaninglessness, Purposelessness, the Absurd
  4. Pamerleau 49 The Social Situation / Porfirio 85 Alienation and Loneliness

2. Le Tornado Warning

Today, let's make up our discussion of Le Samoraï that we missed due to the tornado warning, as well as discuss Ghost in the Shell. Break into five groups and discuss one question about each of the two films.

Presentation Schedule

Undergraduate students sign up for one slot: one Article Summary (AS). Article summaries are due in GeorgiaVIEW two days before they are scheduled to be presented.


Graduate students sign up for one slot: one Presentation (PR). Annotated bibliographies for presentations are due in GeorgiaVIEW on the day of the presentation.


Sign up here.

Article Summary

GeorgiaVIEW Post

Undergraduates will write an article summary and post it to GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Dropbox > Article Summary two days before we are scheduled to discuss the article so I have time to read your response before class. Here is the presentation schedule.


The article summary should

Informal Presentation

You will also be responsible for a brief, informal presentation. The article summary presentation should introduce the essay by defining key points and terms (without simply reading your written summary) and broaching issues for class discussion.

Due Dates

  1. Your written assignment will be due in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Assignments > Article Summary two days before we are scheduled to discuss an article. Summaries will be penalized one letter grade for each day, not class period, that they are turned in late. It is your responsibility to check the sign up schedule and complete the assignment on time.
  2. Your brief, informal presentation will be due on the day we discuss the essay in class. This date is approximate for we will sometimes fall a day behind. Failing to present the article to the class without providing a valid absence excuse will result in a one letter grade penalty.
  3. I will return your graded assignment to you in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Assignments > Article Summary approximately one week after we discuss the article in class. Due to GeorgiaVIEW limitations, I am unable to return graded assignments to you unless and until you submit them to the Dropbox.
  4. For example, we are scheduled to discuss Paris on Thursday, 1-27. Therefore, someone's summary will be due in GeorgiaVIEW on Tuesday, 1-25. In class on Thursday, 1-25, that student will informally present the main ideas of Paris's essay. I will return the graded article summary to her the following week in GeorgiaVIEW > Course Work > Assignments > Article Summary. Due to GeorgiaVIEW limitations, I cannot return your graded paper unless and until you upload it to the Dropbox. Here's how to calculate your course grade.

Scene Analysis

While the article summary helps undergraduate students practice summarizing important ideas and issues from film noir readings, the scene analysis assignment affords undergraduate students the space to rigorously unpack a film scene. After selecting a required or recommended noir on the course syllabus (but not one written about in the comparison/contrast essay), write an essay that 1) analyzes a significant film scene in terms of both formal technique (how the scene is shot, lit, edited, and so forth, drawing on at least three film elements exempified in the Film Analysis handout and one recommended or required article on the syllabus) and thematic content (what does the scene say about the meaning of the characters and/or the world), and 2) interprets how the scene broaches the core conflict and overall theme of the film. Your essay should be driven by a thesis that argues the work's theme and organized by close reading of the scene: unpack the tension and conflict, idea and theme.


Comparison/Contrast Paper

While the scene analysis requires undergraduate students to closely read and rigorously unpack a significant scene in a film noir and the book review requires graduate students to appreciate and interrogate the argument of a scholarly book about film noir, the comparison/contrast paper allows both undergraduate and graduate students to compare a pertinent issue in two noir texts.


Your well-organized, thesis-driven essay should be proven with appropriate textual evidence from the films, and novel if applicable. Film evidence includes dialogue, cinematography, mise en scène, and other elements listed in the Film Analysis handout. Undergraduate students should draw from one or two film noir articles on the syllabus, required and/or recommended to help make the comparison and contrast; and graduate students should use two or three film noir articles on the syllabus.


Respond to one of the following options.


Film Adaptation and Original Text: Compare and contrast the film noir adaptation with its original text. How do the adaptation's changes preserve the meaning and tone of original text, and how do they change the meaning and tone of the original text? You could, for example, compare and contrast the characterization of the femme fatale in the serialized novel and film versions of Double Indemnity.


Two Adaptations of the Same Text: Compare and contrast two film noir adaptations of the same noir story. In what overall ways do the films meaningfully converge, and where do they diverge in terms of conflict and theme? You could, for example, compare and contrast the 1944 film version and the 1973 TV movie versions of Double Indemnityin terms of world view and theme.


Two Noirs: Compare and contrast two film noirs on the syllabus, either required films and/or recommended films, in terms of a significant issue. In what ways do the two films overlap in the representation and meaning of the issue, and in what ways do they distinguish themselves? You could, for example, compare and contrast the portrayal of the femme fatale in The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity.



Group Project

While the scene analysis obliges undergraduates to dissect closely and individually a significant scene and the comparison/contrast paper compels them to examine two corresponding noirs, the group project involves collective analysis, neo-noir research, and presentation skills. As part of a small group, you will either research and formally present on an international neo noir film or television show or you will research and record a podcast critically discussing an international neo noir film or television show. Be sure to reference your research in your presentation or podcast. Groups will answer questions from the class following their presentation or submitting their podcast. Sign up here.

Topic Selection

By Thursday, March 24, submit your neo-noir film or television show for approval. Note that the neo-noir must have at least six scholarly journal articles, books, or book chapters written about it in order for your group to conduct appropriate research on it.


Date Group Students
R, 4-7

Format: Presentation

Film: Victoria, Germany, 2015


Olivia McClure

Mattie Stewart

Isabelle Rader

Format: Presentation

Television: Kamen Rider W, Japan, 2009-2010

Ethan Humphrey

Connor Moore

Scarrlee Porter

R, 4-14

Format: Presentation

Film: Sexy Beast, UK, 2000


Rosalie Bodkin

Signe Madson

Joslyn Reyes

Format: Podcast

Film: Mother, South Korea, 2009

***Submit podcast on T, 4-12

Caroline Ard

Emily Corwin

Cale Strickland

R, 4-21

Format: Presentation

Film: Elevator to the Gallows, France, 1957

Emma Eisnaugle

Brandon Near

Bo Wheeler

Format: Presentation

Film: Breathless, France, 1960

Lani Daniel

Katie Roman


Research Project

Undergraduate Students

Research either 1) the meaning of one noir film or television show, 2) a film issue (thematic, theoretical, technical, or aesthetic) across two or three noir films or television shows (subject to professor approval if any of the films are outside of class), compose a 6 source annotated bibliography and write an 7-9 page paper that applies 2-3 theoretical articles covered in class and incorporates 3-4 scholarly criticisms from the annotated bibliography. On Tuesday, April 26, you will share a thesis, outline, and annotated bibliography with peers. Here's how to conduct research at GCSU.

Graduate Students

You will write a 12-15 page research paper that enters, engages, and advances the scholarly discourse of a noir film or television show or noir issue either discussed in class or selected by you and approved by the professor. First, you will compose a 250 word paper proposal following the suggestions by Owl. Then compose a 10 source annotated bibliography. Your final essay should be worthy of being presented at a conference, integrate at least 4 interpretive sources from the annotated bibliography and apply at least 4 theoretical articles covered in class. Here's how to conduct research at GCSU. The week before your final paper is due, you will be given 15 minutes to present your paper in progress in class; then you will participate in a question and answer session with the class and can incorporate feedback into your final paper.


Annotated Bibliography and Presentation

Graduates students will research a work of literature on the syllabus, compose an annotated bibliography of at least 10 scholarly sources interpreting the text, and teach the work to the class, i.e., lecture and moderate class discussion, with some help from one of the articles on the work. One week before the presentation/teaching demonstration, meet with the professor to go over the lesson plan. The citations in the annotated bibliography should be formatted to MLA style, and each annotation should be approximately 100 words long. Sign up here.


Book Review

While the annotated bibliography and presentation require graduate students to research, evaluate, and teach a text, the book review compels you to read and evaluate a book of criticism on contemporary American literature. After consulting with the professor on a suitable book (for instance a book from which our class is reading an excerpt, or another of your choosing), write a 8-10 page essay that summarizes the book's overall critical claim and then evaluates the thesis and methodology. Your essay should both appreciate and interrogate the book. The GeorgiaVIEW course packet contains book reviews by Darby, Fest, and Konstantinou; and you can find more examples using GALILEO.