In reply to the suggestion of Brian Taves regarding the study of the most
popular films of an era or genre I must strongly disagree.
Aside from the practical reasons (inflation, population growth, etc.) I
would posit that one of the reasons we teach is our aesthetic, as well as
enthusiasm and unbridled love of cinema, its history and its influence on
the mores of our society.
In my opinion it would be akin to teaching Literature based only best
sellers or Art History on any era's best selling reproductions. Popularity
and box-office grosses more often, than not, attest to notoriety and/or
marketing acumen rather than more solid intellectual criteria.
I strongly believe that creating an environment in which curiosity flourishes is
more conducive to eventual maturation of taste and intellect than any
exposition of colosal money-makers.
Curious to find out how others feel.
Rolf W. Brandis
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