MOVIES /Literature

MOVIES /Literature

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Unit Paper 3: Movies
You have a choice of prompts:
• Casablanca has a plot where two men are in love with the same woman. One man wins, and the other man loses. Analyze the theme of love and loss in Casablanca.
• The three main characters in Some Like It Hot, Joe/Josephine, Jerry/Daphne, and Sugar, all want something and pursue that goal throughout the film. However, at the film’s resolution, how many characters either change their minds about what they want or get what they originally wanted? Explore what each character initially wants and if they get that or something different by the end of the film.
• In Rear Window, the crux of the conflict is derived from the fact that Jeff is spying on his neighbors.  It may have been that a murder never occurred, and Jeff does not solve anything.  For the sake of Mrs. Thorwald, however, Jeff’s peeping turns out to be helpful.  However, does that make it right and/or justified?  What do you think of the characters of Jeff, Lisa and Stella taking so much interest in other people’s lives?

Essay Requirements:
• There are three primary goals of the essays:
• To analyze using formalist elements (plot, character, setting, symbol, theme) and addressing the prompt you choose.
• To use outside research to expand the analysis / discussion of the film.
• Do not use first person (I, my, me, we, us) or second person (you, your) when writing the essay.
• The audience for the paper is an academic audience. Academic audiences expect very few (if any) sentence level errors and a professional, formal tone.
• Essays must follow MLA format, both in appearance and citation (a works cited AND in-text citation). Refreshers on MLA format are on the course Blackboard web links section.
• The minimum length of each essay is 4 pages. Essays may exceed the minimum; however, please do not go over 8 pages. Essays not meeting minimum length requirements will be penalized one grade (ten points). Works cited pages do not count towards page count.
• The minimum amount of sources required for each essay is two. One must be the film used in the paper. Students are encouraged to use more than this, but two is the minimum. Suggestions for sources that will help expand on the analysis are (but are not limited to):
• Movie reviews (can be found online on
• DVD extras
• Actor / director interviews
• Historical / biographic information
• Scholarly articles written about the film
• Exploration of source materials (novels, plays, etc.)
• Psychological theories connected to character motivation
• Investigation of music used in the score
• How to cite a movie in the works cited page: begin with the title, italicized. For a film, cite the director and the lead actors or narrator (“Perf.” or “Narr.”), followed by the name of the distributor and the year of the film’s release. For a videotape or DVD, add “Videocassette” or “DVD” before the name of the distributor:

Finding Neverland. Dir. Marc Forster. Perf. Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha

Mitchell, and Dustin Hoffman. Miramax, 2004.

High Fidelity. Dir. Stephen Frears. Perf. John Cusack, Iben Hjejle, Jack Black, and Todd Louiso.

2000. Videocassette. Walt Disney Video, 2001.

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