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Course Catalog > Courses: Late Summer

IN-PERSON: Gender in Pre-code (and Silent) Films   

**This class will be taught In-Person**

**This class meets 5 weeks for 2.5 hours each**

The period of films from the Silent era (1920’s) and particularly from the so-called Pre-code era (1929-1934) saw women playing characters with power and screen presence that would subsequently be absent from female roles in cinema for decades, as The Hays Production Code  brought an abrupt end to this brief window of female liberation. But beyond that, there were films with obvious Lesbian themes, male homoerotic subplots, cross-dressing characters (Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and others.) There were also just plain weird sexual innuendos such as in Madame Satan which takes place at a costume party on a zeppelin! 

Week by Week Outline 

• We will examine why the roles for females in particular were so complex in this brief era  where women definitely had agency. 

• We will also look at the roles for men in this era as they try to keep up with these strong  women. 

• From reactions of film critics of the time to later essays looking at psychoanalytic  readings of gender, we will examine what it means to be a man or a woman in our  society and how that is reflected in these often risqué films. 

• We will look at films directed by the only female director working in Hollywood in this  era, Dorothy Arzner. And yes, she was a very “out” Lesbian.  

• This Golden Age for strong women will include films starring Mae West, Theda Bara,  Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Norma Shearer, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Bette  Davis, Greta Garbo, Joan Blondell, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young, Ann  Dvorak, Anna Mae Wong and others.

 
  • IN-PERSON: Gender in Pre-code (and Silent) Films
  • Fee: $125.00
    Dates: 8/8/2024 - 9/5/2024
    Times: 12:15 PM - 2:45 PM
    Days: Th
    Sessions: 5
    Building: Downtown Campus; 160 Spear St
    Room: 505
    Instructor: Mary Scott
    Seats Available: 24

    **This class will be taught In-Person**

    **This class meets 5 weeks for 2.5 hours each**

    The period of films from the Silent era (1920’s) and particularly from the so-called Pre-code era  (1929-1934) saw women playing characters with power and screen presence that would subsequently be absent from female roles in cinema for decades, as The Hays Production Code brought an abrupt end to this brief window of female liberation. But beyond that, there were  films with obvious Lesbian themes, male homoerotic subplots, cross-dressing characters (Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and others.) There were also just plain weird sexual innuendos such as in Madame Satan which takes place at a costume party on a zeppelin! 

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