RESEARCH OR ANALYTICAL PAPER GUIDELINES Assignment | Professional Writing Services



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This optional assignment gives you an opportunity to explore an area of film history—between 1895 and 1950—that interests you. Topic possibilities and approaches are numerous.

DOWNLOAD the Written Assignment Guidelines: Written Assignment Guidelines.pdfPreview the document

RESEARCH PAPER: This focuses on some aspect of film history with emphasis on research using published material. Proper citations and complete bibliography of source materials are REQUIRED. Read “What is plagiarism?”: (Links to an external site.).

Also read “What Is Citation?”: (Links to an external site.).

Follow the in-text citation style of MLA (Modern Language Association): (Links to an external site.)

Also adhere to the MLA guidelines for the Works Cited page: (Links to an external site.)

Documentation MUST be complete, and citations (including endnotes or footnotes and Works Cited or Bibliography) MUST be in an acceptable format to receive credit for this paper. FIVE (5) or more SCHOLARLY references are required. Beware of inaccurate information on Internet sites, including the open-source Wikipedia, a non-scholarly source.

If this is your first Film Studies class, I recommend that you write a research paper.

GENERAL TOPIC AREAS (Your paper will require a more specific focus within the topic area):

Technological Film History: technical developments of the period (motion picture cameras, printers, lenses, projectors, film stock, lights, sound, color) that changed the course of film history and their impact on the artistic process; technological and aesthetic influences upon the development of deep focus cinematography; the deterioration of nitrate and color film; film preservation; special effects in the cinema; colorization; 3D.

Industrial Film History: Silent filmmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area; film financing; marketing, distribution and exhibition; MPPC monopoly; economic structures of Hollywood; the star system; censorship in motion pictures; the affect of the 1918 Spanish flu on the entertainment industry; the Office of War Information in Hollywood.

Social Film History: McCarthyism in Hollywood; the representation of minority groups; social problems as depicted on film (racial or ethnic prejudice, birth control/abortion, alcoholism, drug use, crime); image studies (depiction of World War I on film, the Great Depression period on film, Nazi ideology in German genre films); the effects of film on viewer behavior and attitude; film as a reflection of psychological and cultural identity; the star image.

Aesthetic Film History: realism vs. formalism; classical Hollywood narrative system; genre history (Western, comedy, musical, science fiction, horror, melodrama); movements (German expressionism, Soviet socialist realism, French impressionism, surrealism).

Film History Research: compile an annotated list of scholarly film Web sites and/or databases on the Internet and an annotated list of published film reference material available in the De Anza Library. Discuss their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their credibility.


Please contact me if you need more specific topic ideas within the topic areas suggested.

ANALYTICAL PAPER: This paper demands thinking, defining and supporting your ideas about a specific film topic. Developing and communicating a critical judgment in writing is much more difficult than sharing an opinion in casual conversation. You may need to do some research and documentation in connection with your paper. This option is available only to those who have already completed at least one Film Studies course.

GENERAL TOPIC AREAS (Your paper will require a more specific focus within the topic area):

Themes: loss of individuality and fear of technology in science fiction films; good vs. evil in classic horror films; the political, mythological or psychological implications of a film such as The Adventures of Robin Hood or The Wizard of Oz; social criticism in the films of Lois Weber, Charlie Chaplin or Orson Welles.

Characterization: women in Pre-Code films or war films of the 1940s; heroes in the Western film; monsters in classic horror film; male and/or female film noir protagonists.

Form: anti-traditional stylistics in film noir; German expressionist style in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari; Soviet montage principles used in Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin or Strike; theatrical conventions in early Edison and Lumière shorts; experiments in narrative structure.

Comparison and contrast: remakes such as Murnau and Herzog’s Nosferatu and Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula; a film adaptation of a literary work; two directors such as D. W. Griffith and Spike Lee in respect to The Birth of a Nation and BlacKkKlansman; two films from the same period such as Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Keaton’s The General; influence of silent films on music videos.

Genre groupings: formula plots, conventions, iconography.

Auteur groupings: 2-3 films by the same producer, director, screenwriter or cinematographer.


WEEK 6: Clear your topic for a research or analytical paper with me.

Email your topic idea to me. I will provide help and feedback. This preliminary step is REQUIRED by the deadline date, if you are considering a paper submission, but does not oblige you to write one.

WEEK 10: Due date for the typewritten, double-spaced paper (approximately 5-7 pages).

Submit your PDF file to Assignments in Canvas. The file must be less than 100 MB.

No late papers or email attachments will be accepted.

POINT VALUE: 40 PTS. (Canvas will display 0 points, as this is extra credit, but you will earn up to 40 points)

This paper can earn enough points to boost you into a higher-grade level. The paper cannot hurt your grade, nor will it affect anyone else’s grade. Papers of unapproved topics and/or research papers with incomplete documentation will receive a grade of “No Credit.”


De Anza College defines plagiarism as “presenting the work of others without crediting them.” Always cite the source of phrases, sentences, etc. that you quote or paraphrase. Plagiarism offenses will result in an “F” on the assignment and possible disciplinary action.

MLA 5P Double spaced

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