Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Hard Boiled Dames of Film Noir

Instructor: Paula Haller

rita hayworth

Women of film noir are attractive, verbally adroit, manipulative, evasive, sexy, dangerous, perhaps even lethal, especially to the men who succumb to their wiles. This course will study these fascinating femmes fatales, the women in cinema "we love to hate." Film noir flourished in America in the period 1941 to 1958, featuring stars such as Barbara Stanwyck, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner. Students will explore how 1930's German expressionism had an impact on film noir, and how lighting and costume were important in forming the style and persona of film noir stars. The course will also consider how the changing roles of women in American society, during and after WWII, influenced film noir.

Course requirements:
Two short papers and one research paper.

Required texts:
"Women in Film Noir" edited by E. Ann Kaplan -- ISBN 0-85170-666-5
"Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen" by Foster Hirsch -- ISBN 0-306-80203-1
"Critical Approaches to Writing About Film" by John E. Moscowitz (Prentice Hall paperback, 2000) -- ISBN 0-13-083707-5

Other material will consist of class handouts of critical articles about film noir.

Last Update: April 30, 2005