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June 1996, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
"Brian P. Taves" <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 11 Jun 1996 17:47:11 -0400
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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In relation to several ideas in some of the discussion threads of the last
few days, I wonder if anyone else has had occasion to try out an idea I've
long had.  This would be to teach a classical Hollywood survey course,
whether on a specific period or genre, but *not* choosing films on the
typical basis of prototypes, art, or other significance as discerned from
our current perspective.  Instead, screening selections would be limited
to only those films which box-office figures reveal to have been the most
popular of their time with their original audience.  While obviously very
constraining, with results that would certainly be top-heavy with stars, I
suspect the results might be most interesting.  For instance, it would
give a more accurate perspective on what audiences actually saw, as
opposed to the canon or what is interesting to us today, and might force
students to move beyond their own reactions to (hopefully) a fuller
understanding of context.
Has anyone tried this?  With what results?
Brian Taves
Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.  20540
202-707-2371 (fax)
Internet:  [log in to unmask]
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