Watch a film made in the last 25 years from one of the following genres – Melodrama, Science Fiction/Fantasy, or Horror. It cannot be from the genre that your favorite movie is from (the film you told us was your favorite in week one).

What does it have in common with the films of that genre in the week three content? How is the film different?

How does sound play a part in the film you watched? Identify at least three places that sound stood out in the film.


 Censorship in film has played an important role in commercial movie making. Do you think the film you watched for this week’s first discussion question would have been allowed to release with the same exact content under the Hays Code? Why or why not? Be explicit and support your claim with verbiage from the Hays Code itself. 



For this week, we move beyond the foundations of cinema to the time of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the growing influence of foreign film, significant industry changes, popular genres, and techniques of this period. Arguably, one of the most important developments in cinema to occur at this time was the introduction of sound to motion pictures.  Here, we will discuss the development of sound technology and how it influenced and enhanced some of the most popular genres of the time.  We will also discuss the calls for censorship of American cinema and the adoption of a body charged with developing a moral code for the motion picture.


  • Week 3 Learning Resources
  • Hollywood's studio system
  • Important films and filmmakers of the era
  • Key moments in cinema history from 1920-1940
  • Established genres: melodrama, science-fiction, and horror film genres
  • identify the essential elements of German Expressionism 
  • list significant German Expressionism filmmakers and films
  • understand the importance of German Expressionism in film history
  • Sound in cinema including Foley, score, and soundtrack


By end of this week, you should able to

  • identify key films and filmmakers of the period
  • define genre and be able to differentiate between the categories of film
  • understand the motivations behind the calls for censorship
  • identify the key features of melodrama, science-fiction, and horror
  • understand the essential elements of German Expressionism
  • describe the elements of German Expressionism shown in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Weine, 1920)
  • understand the importance of the introduction of sound in cinema
  • discuss the use of sound in a modern example of cinema
  • discuss the influence of censorship 



Week 3: Film 1920 - 1940

History of Film in the 1920s

History of Film in the 1930s

Definition of Melodrama

Science Fiction (reading)


Learn Film History: Golden Age of Hollywood

The History of Hollywood Censorship and the Ratings System

Comedy Genre – Film Genres

The History of Horror

The History of Sound at the Movies

How Music Can Change a Film

The Foley Artist: Los Angeles Times

Best Scene The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Metropolis (Lang, 1927): Maria's Transformation

Steamboat Willie (Disney, 1928)

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Reisner, 1928)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 

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