ENG 2400 Films from Literature, Spring 2020

English Department ENG 2400 Films from Literature

(3 hours, 3 credits)

Professor Masiello                      Office N529                                   e-mail fmasiello@citytech.cuny.edu

Pre or Co-requisite: English Composition I (3 hours, 3 credits)

Course description: ENG 2400 is a course that allows students to examine the relationship
between films and their literary sources. Through classroom discussion and out-of-class assignments, students will analyze classic and contemporary literary texts and their cinematic versions. Students will examine the relationship between film and literature, with specific focus on the techniques used in fiction, drama, and film, and the influences of censorship and society. Students will focus on the similarities and differences of literary works adapted into films.

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize literary devices.
  • Understand forms and techniques of cinematic narratives.
  • Investigate technical, cultural, political, historical, and economic contexts that shape the construction of films based on published works.
  • Develop communication skills by discussing and writing about literature-based motion pictures employing analysis and comparison contrast.
  • Improve reading/viewing skills that enhance appreciation of the relationship between literature and films.
  • Enhance critical thinking skills.

Grading Assessments:                                                Item Percentage
Essays/Readings/Quizzes                                                        55%
Midterm Exam                                                                           20%
Final                                                                                             10%
Attendance (unique course content and book purchase)  15%

Please turn off your phones each class. DO NOT text message during class.
Texting shows disinterest and is insulting, inappropriate classroom behavior.
If you are expecting an important call, sit near the door so you can leave to use your phone.

Required text:

Masiello, Frank. Reading Movies. 2nd Ed. New York: Linus, 2015 NEW EDITION

Please note: The textbook is required, second edition.

No other purchases are necessary.

Recommended (these are provided free but you may wish to buy an actual book)
Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange.          Any edition that contains the “missing
last chapter.”
recommended version:  Nabokov, Vladimir. The Annotated Lolita. New York: Vintage, 1991.
(but any library edition will suffice)

Please note:
Of the required readings, all of the eight stories, including the novels named above,  will be provided free. For the free stories,
you must either get them from me on a flashdrive (all eight stories are 2.1 MB grand
total) or, less efficiently, via e-mailing me: fmasiello@citytech.cuny.edu

Go to https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu for assignments. This requires a user ID and password.
Since you need to start reading Lolita immediately, you may get the pdf of the whole book by emailing me asap.

Course Calendar

  • Week 1   30     Introductory discussion and course plan.
    · Introduction to class;
    · Test: pre-test on literary and cinematic terminology
    · Film clips on matters of movie controversy, language, cinematic terms, editing, and adaptation.

________________________________________________________________________

  • Week 2   7
    · Read Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, minimally chapters 1 through 10 to about the first half
    (the entire novel must be completed by week 4).
    Compare a modern novel to its films.
    Discuss literary devices from novel: including first-person narration, alliteration,
    parallelism, and metaphor.
    View corresponding film clips from both film versions by Stanley Kubrick (1962)
    and Adrian Lyne (1998).
    Discuss film techniques: View compilation on Cinematic Techniques

_______________________________________________________________

  • Week 3   14   Compare a modern novel to its films.
  • You must have finished reading Lolita before our next class.
    There will be a 2-page quiz due by Feb. 21

    Note: The quiz will take you about 20-25 minutes but the film is 152 minutes.
    Our class lasts only 150 minutes. Please do one of the following:
    (a) Arrange to take half OR ALL the quiz by appointment, tentatively Wed. Feb. 19 between 9:00 am and   11:30, room TBA.                                                                                                    or
    (b) Arrange to meet me 20 to 30 minutes before class on 21 for the second half or the whole quiz.    You may not be given the quiz AFTER Feb. 21.
  • PLEASE NOTE: ALL FUTURE QUIZZES WILL OCCUR DURING CLASS TIME. 

This is the only time taking the quiz before class begins will have to happen in the entire semester.

View compilation on Cinematic Techniques
(not available anywhere else but in class today; cannot be made up if missed)

A 2-page quiz on the novel Lolita must be completed prior to start of class at 11:30
Feb. 21.  (see week 3 for details)

You may complete the two-page quiz prior to class (see details from week 3).

  • Week 4 21  View Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962)

Homework: start comparing the novel to this first film version…essay 1,  due week 6 (weeks from now but start thinking and writing a rough draft since this is the longest essay of the course):
Essay 1 (minimum 750 words): Write comparison of Nabokov’s novel and the two films: what were the changes and why were they made?

Be specific, the more details from all three versions, the better.
This is your biggest essay for the entire course.

A separate detailed handout is available via https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu
called “essay 1.”

Do the films capture the intent of the book?
Also, before completing essay 1, read the following:
· Textbook: Read the chapter of Reading Movies called “The Novel” also
· Introduction pages ix-xi,
· Chapter 1 pages 2-16
· Chapter 2 pages 18-53

  • Week 5 28
    View newer version of Lolita (1997) in class
    Keep working on your essay.
    Include details to compare from the second film version.
    __________________________________________________________________
  • Week 6 March 6           essay 1 is due
  • View film compilations on Point of View, Cinematic Techniques,
    and Alfred Hitchcock material
    Homework:
    read Cornell Woodrich’s “Rear Window”
    (copy provided to you in course reading on flash drive or via email)
    _________________________________________________________________
  • Week 7 13       Compare modern short story to its film.
  • Quiz: “Rear Window”
  • watch Rear Window in class
    no homework

    _________________________________________________________________

  • Week 8 20           watch Psycho (1960)
                Homework:
    (A) Read short novel Psycho for next week’s quiz and towards essay 2
    (B) Homework Essay 2         (minimum 750 words):
    Write a comparison/contrast using Hitchcock’s two films and their source stories: note at
    least three changes IN EACH STORY and defend why you think the changes were effective or ineffective. Detailed instructions are on OpenLab called in document “essay 2.”

__________________________________________________________________

  • Week 9 27
    quiz on Robert Bloch’s short novel, Psycho
    View comparative film clips of various Romeo and Juliet versions
    View compilation of film techniques: symbolism
    View film compilations on symbolism
    (not available anywhere else but in class today; cannot be made up if missed)

Homework:
(A) Begin your take-home, two part, open-book midterm test on Chapters 2
and 6 of textbook.  Both test parts are available on OpenLab.

So far you have been assigned two essays and the midterm test has two parts.  Altogether that is four documents,THREE of which are due next week.  All four are required assignments!

(B) Homework for Nov. 1, read play: A Streetcar Named Desire

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  • Week 10 3      comparing a modern play to its film version

    Quiz on A Streetcar Named Desire
    Screening of film version of A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Homework: Read Romeo and Juliet for week 11, next week.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                  Apr. 10                       NO CLASSES  SPRING BREAK
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Week 11 17 comparing a classic play to its film version
    View 1969 version of Romeo and Juliet
    Homework Essay:
    Essay 3 (750 words): Write a comparison/contrast using Shakespeare’s play and
    one of the film versions: note at least three changes and defend why you think the changes were effective or ineffective. Also, discuss the film version of Tennessee
    Williams’ play concentrating on changes due to censorship considerations, the
    Hollywood studio star system, and so forth. (See the separate OpenLab document
    “essay three” Plays into Films.) Both play to film stories are included.
  • Homework: Read short story, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
    __________________________________________________________________
  • Week 12 24
    Quiz on “It’s a Wonderful Life”
    Screening of It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Homework:
    Read short story: Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Sentinel.” It became the classic film,
    2001: A Space Odyssey

    (Please note: The novel version of 2001: A Space Odyssey was published after the screenplay. Our literary readings are the versions that preceded the films, so we are reading only the short story from which the film was derived. )

PLEASE START READING A CLOCKWORK ORANGE asap

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Week 13  May 1.   Screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey (no quiz–film takes up 2.5 hours)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Week 14 May 8   View film compilations on Cinematic Techniques I11 and IV, including use of  sound and music (not available anywhere else but in class today)

Homework: finish A Clockwork Orange by next  and last class, Dec. 20.

Note:  May 15 is designated as a “reading day.”   There is no class on a “reading    day, “so please use this time to catch up on any assignments that are overdue.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Week 15  May 22                      L A S T   C L A S S
Quiz on novel A Clockwork Orange
Further questions on this film will be included on the take home final essay.
Screening of A Clockwork Orange

Fifth and last essay due soon, email by May 24 or TBA.

Note: specific assignment sheets with more detailed instructions than what you see below are listed on the openlab site.

Essay 1 (750 words): Write comparison of Nabokov’s novel and Kubrick’s film and Lynn’s
film : why were changes made? Do the films capture the intent of the book?
See the separate document “essay one” Lolita comparisons.
Use the separate document “Comparison/Contrast” as a guide.
Remember, you are doing a three-way comparison: the novel and both films.

Essay 2 (750 words):
Write a comparison/contrast using Hitchcock’s two films and their source stories: note at least three changes IN EACH STORY and defend why you think the changes were effective or ineffective.  (See the separate essay document, “essay two” Hitchcock essay.)

Essay 3 (750 words): Write a comparison/contrast using Shakespeare’s play and one of the film
versions: note at least three changes and defend why you think the changes were effective or
ineffective. Also, discuss the film version of Tennessee Williams’ play concentrating on changes
due to censorship considerations, the Hollywood studio star system, and so forth. (See the separate essay document. “essay three” Plays into Films.

Essay 4 (750 words): Two short stories made into classic films. (See the separate essay document
“essay four.”)

Essay 5- Write comparison of Burgess’s novel and Kubrick’s film. (See the separate document
(essay five, “Final Essay”)

Please turn off your phones each class. DO NOT text message during class.
Texting shows disinterest and is insulting, inappropriate classroom behavior.
If you are expecting an important call, sit near the door so you can leave to useyour phone.

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