Teaching the History of Film Craft (pt. 2)

Teaching the History of Film Craft:

The Scholarship

Second in a series of posts

Part 1 introductory post
Part 2 scholarly books 
Part 3 video resources
Part 4 student research projects
Part 5 the theory of craft
Part 6 limitations
Part 7 Syllabi

As I mentioned in my first post, my main inspiration for teaching film craft has been the terrific scholarship in areas that I've been interested in. Not to take away from foundational studies, but over the last decade there has been a wave of good monographs on film craft.

I don't have the time or space to compile full bibliographies here, and I've left off essays, unfortunately. Rather, I wish to suggest books that may serve as building blocks for a course syllabus or that could inspire a course. The list can also serve as a kernel for a bibliography for students in film history courses.

The list below focuses on scholarly histories on film craft. I've bracketed theory (or related topics like star studies) for the moment, even though something like Michel Chion's work on sound could be an important addition to a sound course. Also, I'm omitting interviews, popular histories, trade press sources, and production-oriented books, though these are important for research projects.

The ones with an asterisk are ones I've used in a class, either in part or whole.

Behind the Silver Screen Series (Rutgers UP)
I'd particularly recommend this series as a starting point. They're all organized chronologically with each essay tackling a different part of Hollywood history. The bibliography of each also points to useful resources. (And I'm in one of them, as disclosure.)

Acting - Claudia Springer, Julie Levinson, eds.
Animation - Scott Curtis, ed.
Art Direction and Production Design - Lucy Fischer, ed.
Cinematography - Patrick Keating, ed. *
Costume, Makeup, and Hair - Adrienne L. McLean, ed.
Directing - Virginia Wright Wexman, ed.
Editing and Special/Visual Effects - Charlie Keil, Kristen Whissel, eds.
Producing - Jon Lewis, ed.
Sound: Dialogue, Music, and Effects - Kathryn Kalinak, ed. *
Screenwriting - Andrew Horton, Julian Hoxter, ed. *

General books
Barry Salt, Film Style and Technology *
David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kristin Thompson, Classical Hollywood Cinema *
Steve Neale, ed., The Classical Hollywood Reader *
Erin Hill, Never Done: A History of Women's Work in Media Production  
John Gibbs and Douglas Pye, eds. Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film

Patrick Keating, Hollywood Lighting from the Silent Era to Film Noir *
Patrick Keating, The Dynamic Frame: Camera Movement in Classical Hollywood Cinema
Lindsay Coleman; Daisuke Miyao; Roberto Schaefer, eds. Transnational Cinematography Studies *
Joshua Yumibe, Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism
Scott Higgins, Harnessing the Technicolor Rainbow *
Richard Misek, Chromatic Cinema *
Christopher Beach, A Hidden History of Film Style
Frances Guerin, A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany
Daisuke Miyao, The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema *
John Belton , Sheldon Hall, et al. Widescreen Worldwide *
Nick Hall, The Zoom: Drama at the Touch of a Lever
Todd Rainsberger, James Wong Howe *
Harper Cossar, Letterboxed: The Evolution of Widescreen Cinema 

Sound Design
Donald Crafton, The Talkies 
Helen Hanson, Hollywood Soundscapes: Film Sound Style, Craft and Production in the Classical Era 
Jay Beck, Designing Sound: Audiovisual Aesthetics in 1970s American Cinema
Jay Beck and Tony Grajeda, eds., Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound
Mark Kerins, Beyond Dolby (Stereo): Cinema in the Digital Sound Age *
Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Salazkina, eds., Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema
Vlad Dima, Sonic Space in Djibril Diop Mambety's Films

Steven Price, A History of the Screenplay *
Miranda Banks, The Writers: A History of American Screenwriters and Their Guild
Douglas Hell, Prime-Time Authorship: Works about and by Three TV Dramatists *
Rosanne Welch, When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

Film Music
Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music
Jeff Smith, The Sounds of Commerce
Kathryn Kalinak, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction
David Neumeyer, The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies
Kevin Donnelly, The Spectre of Sound: Music in Film and Television
David Schroeder, Hitchcock's Ear: Music and the Director's Art

James Naremore, Acting in the Cinema
Scott Balcerzack, Beyond Method: Stella Adler and the Male Actor

Special Effects
Lisa Bode, Making Believe: Screen Performance and Special Effects in Popular Cinema
Julie Turnock, Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics

Production Design/Location
Joshua Gleich, Lawrence Webb, eds. Hollywood on Location: An Industry History
R. Barton Palmer, Shot on Location: Postwar American Cinema and the Exploration of Real Place
Daniel Steinhart, Runaway Hollywood: Internationalizing Postwar Production and Location Shooting

Unfortunately some areas like editing and art direction are still underrepresented. And the scholarship is much stronger on Hollywood cinema than on other cinemas. But it's exciting to see so much great scholarship emerging in these areas of film history.


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