Being able to interpret history goes beyond just reading books and articles. Many today look at cultural outlets like films, music, magazines, and other forms of entertainment to get a better understand of how societies presented and understood issues of the day. These could be salutary portrayals or subversive criticisms. For this assignment you will choose of the films listed below and write a paper analyzing the film based on the questions provided for each one. Essays should be no shorter than 500 words and preferably no longer than 1000. You may use all kinds of sources to bolster your arguments including but not limited to class readings, film reviews, academic articles (check JSTOR), or websites [for websites please consult with me in advance on their validity]. Your papers will be in MLA format with 1 inch margins, double-spaced, in 12 pt Times New Roman font and include citations for your sources. Please use Chicago Style citation with footnotes and a works cited page or MLA style in text citations with a works cited page. Citations must be used for quotes taken from the movie. Remember to consider the time period in which each film was made and how each comments upon their respective time period.
Each of the following films can be found on the Canvas Page in the “Pages Tab.” Click “View All Pages” and you will see a page for each of them at the bottom of the page.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is ranked as one of the best American films ever made according to the American Film Institute as well as the Internet Movie Database. Write an analysis of the filmâ€™s depiction of the anxieties of returning veterans and difficulties of post-war demobilization. In your analysis consider the following questions to guide you: What are the problems the three leads face in adjusting to peacetime American society? Consider how one is married with children and relatively wealthy, the other is married to a wartime bride he hardly knew and works a lower-class job, and one is physically disabled from the war. What are things that have changed since they have been away and what are some of their barriers to doing what they want after serving their country? Does this film give a hopeful impression of the future for returning veterans and the United States?
Bigger Than Life (1956) is a film about a man having a crisis and whose medicine for a rare illness becomes an addiction in the setting of 1950s suburbia. It seems that the pressures of maintaining an image of success and inability to obtain that image are what drives him to addiction. Write an analysis of how the film presents the 1950s. What are the differences between the image of the â€œfabulous fiftiesâ€ advertised with the realities as presented in the film. Consider the following questions when writing your analysis: How does the film present American suburban life? Why is the main character Ed not satisfied with his life when he seems to have everything that 1950s society advertised for happiness? What do the pills do that makes Ed feel better and how is this related to the â€œorganization manâ€ complacency of the time? Do you think the film is supporting or indicting the image of the happy American suburban family life of the 1950s?
Advise and Consent (1962) is a film about political intrigue that was advertised as being â€œripped straight from the headlines.â€ Analyze the films depiction of American politics in the early 1960s and describe how it depicts certain political movements and ideologies of the time. Consider these questions in your analysis. How does the depict the influence of the Red and Lavender Scares. How does the Red Scare and the fear of looking soft to the Soviet Union affect certain congressmenâ€™s views? For example, Leftingwell being asked if he is an â€œeggheadâ€ or how he would negotiate with the Soviet Union? How is the fear of homosexual inversion or being found out? What overall impression does the film give of the American government? Use scenes and characters from the film to bolster your answers.