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Classic Hollywood Cinema

This free online course will introduce you to the history and legends of classic Hollywood cinema.

Publisher: NPTEL
In this free online course, you will learn about Classical Hollywood cinema, which is a term used in film criticism to describe both a narrative and visual style of filmmaking. This filmmaking style became the characteristic American cinema between the 1910s and the 1960s. You will learn about the Golden Age, Hays Code and some notable film makers of this era in Hollywood, thus gaining an insight in the field of film studies.
Classic Hollywood Cinema
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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Classic Hollywood cinema in the period between 1910 and 1960 became the most powerful and pervasive style of filmmaking worldwide. It is also referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood, Old Hollywood or classical Hollywood narrative. Like Hollywood, films worldwide began to noticeably adopt visual and narrative elements during this period. The narrative and visual style of classical Hollywood advanced further after the evolution of sound-film production. Studio system in Hollywood was instrumental in initiating primary changes in film making in the USA. Several key studios, like MGM, Paramount and Columbia Pictures promoted the star system, where most of the prominent directors and actors of the time had to become a part of the new studio system to continue to work. In this course, you will learn about some of the well known and influential Hollywood studios. You will also gain an insight into the Academy Awards, which are popularly known as the Oscars. These are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry and are regarded as the most famous and prestigious awards in the entertainment industry. 


This course will discuss the Motion Picture Production Code of Hollywood, also known as Hays Code. This was a set of industry guidelines for the self-censorship of content that was applied to American films released by major studios from 1934 to 1968. This was named Hays Code after Wills Hays, who was the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) from 1922 to 1945. You will understand the impact that Hays Code had on the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema. You will also gain an understanding of the narrative, editing, and characterization in the same period. The most well-known movies in this period fell in the category of magnum opus and studios controlled stars. You will be introduced to the films made by some of the well known Hollywood studios like MGM, Paramount and Columbia Pictures. The course will analyse the work of famous filmmakers of that period, such as George Stevens, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, and George Cukor. In addition, there will be focus on the works and filmmaking styles of Cecile B. DeMille, Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock.


Some of the major genres of films in this period were musicals, adaptations of prestigious literary works and melodrama. In this course, you will learn about the importance and impact of melodrama in films. This is a subgenre of drama and it was a popular form during the classic era. The stories were exaggerated to tug at the heartstrings of the audience and manipulate their attention. Accomplished directors like George Cukor, Douglas Sirk, and William Wyler made a number of admirable melodramas and facilitated it to become one of the more popular genres in the 1940s and '50s. In this course you will have a glimpse of some of the works of Douglas Sirk, which will help you to appreciate the meaning of melodrama and discover the thrill of theoretical research in film studies. Films have been known to influence popular culture and film studies offers some rewarding career options like film direction, broadcast presenter, camera operation, media research or programme research, art direction and video editing. The theoretical skill acquired through this course can be transferred to other fields in the media and communications industry. So, why wait. Start learning!




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