Skip to content →

​​Film Style & Literature/Online Version

Warning: The content of the books and films in this class are designed for mature audiences only. If issues of race, sex, violence, class, drugs, profanity or politics cause you discomfort or upset, please consider enrolling in a different class.​

Welcome to Film Style & Literature, Section 1, Spring 2016

This is an awesome course. 

You will never see movies (tv, commercials, life) the same way again!

ENG 124 is rigorous but fun comprised of lots of reading, lots of watching.
Please be prepared to work nearly every weekday.

All Students Are Advised To  Watch This Video Before Proceeding With ENG 124


Caddyshack (Screwball) Week 1
Maltese Falcon (Noir) Week 2
Stagecoach (Western) Week 3


Notorious Week 4
Vertigo Week 5
Psycho Week 6 (First Exam)


Death of a Salesman Week 7
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Week 8
Dutchman Week 9


Taxi Driver Week 10
Blue Velvet Week 11
Into the Wild Week 16

Extra Credit

Miss Julie
Life Lesson

I reserve the right to amend this syllabus. Continue to consult “Announcements” in ReggieNet throughout the semester.

Log into click on ReggieNet’s ENG 124 Spring 2016 Session to find announcements, assignments and due dates, films, submit essays/postings, etc.

Course Title: Film Style & Literature

Course Number: ENG 124

Credit Hours: 3

Professor: Bill McBride

Telephone: 438-7998

email: Professor Bill McBride 

When emailing me within ReggieNet be sure to click the “Send cc” button to send it to my regular InBox since I do not check ReggieNet email as often. My account is instantly forwarded to my account, which I regularly check.


Think of this course as an intensive English Department literature course in which you write essays in a “foreign” language–the language of film. The theory of FilmStyle & Literature argues that style can be described, analyzed, and turned into meaning via metaphor. Your goal is to acquire adequate film vocabulary and skill to convert your observations of camera placement and movement, lighting, spatial relationships, soundtrack, etc. into an analysis of the meaning of a “stylized moment” and, from that, of the film as a whole. Do not be misled by the fact that this is a 100 level General Education course–it is nonetheless challenging.

It is essential to understand that all “stylized” and “literary” moments carry meaning, however that meaning is hidden–see Guide to Writing Essays in Resources & Materials and eTextbook.


Purchase Textbook @ Smashwords and read the Preface and Chapter One

Click here Stylized Moments: Turning Film Style Into Meaning

Free offprint of textbook available on Reserve at Milner Library).

Discussion Forums

Follow this schedule of films throughout the semester.

Each student needs to watch each scheduled film in ReggieNet’s “Resources and Materials.”

All films are digitized within ReggieNet in “Resources & Materials”.

Find and open “How to Screen Films” in Resources & Materials

The University streams these films and reproduction is not of the best quality, but they are watchable. Many of these films are available elsewhere online and of higher resolution, etc. Be sure to use the ReggieNet version for locating time stamps in your essays and posts.

Once you have watched the film read the corresponding chapter in Stylized Moments-Turning Film Style Into Meaning or vice versa. Before posting your response, read each post by classmates who have preceded you (if any), and then submit an original post that identifies (both plot wise and with a time stamp), and discusses 1 example of a cinematically stylized moment—those meaningful moments only achievable cinematically—and 1 example of a literary moment not dependent on the language of film such as a street or character’s name. 250-word minimum. You are encouraged to use moments discussed in the textbook as long as you acknowledge your source. You need to quote or paraphrase the textbook’s definition of the technical terms and apply to your example what such a cinematic choice usually means. You will be working in groups of five. Students who repeat moments already discussed by a classmate will not receive credit.

There is one exception to these directions:

1-The first assignment, Preface/Film Conventions & Metaphors: Stylized Moments, asks you to read the Intro and first chapter of the textbook, read each post by classmates who have preceded you (if any), and then submit a post that will identify (film, plot point, time stamp) and discuss 2 examples of cinematically stylized moments—those meaningful moments only achievable cinematically—and 2 examples of literary moments not dependent on the language of film. 350 word minimum.

Guide to Writing Essays All Students must read this document in “Resources & Materials” closely and completely before writing papers.

Students may not choose those assignments (regardless of the point
value) they wish to complete.

All Responses to Films/eTextbook sections and the 2 assigned essays must be completed on time.
 Be sure to post well before the due time/date.

Grading Equation


5 pts. Preface/Film Conventions & Metaphors-Stylized Moments Chapter 1
3 pts. Caddyshack
3 pts. Maltese Falcon
3 pts. Stagecoach
3 pts. Notorious
3 pts. Vertigo
3 pts. Death of a Salesman
3 pts. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
3 pts. Dutchman
3 pts. Taxi Driver
3 pts. Blue Velvet


30 pts. Psycho Essay Exam
35 pts. Into the Wild Essay Exam
100 Total

EXTRA CREDIT posts (in Assignments)

3 pts. Miss Julie
3 pts. Life Lessons


You must read carefully the Guide to Writing Essays before each essay is due.

  • All Discussion Forums are to be composed and typed by the student directly into the message box provided in ReggieNet–do not attach word files. You can easily paste work from a word file using the  tab.
  • A minimum of Ten Chapter/Film Responses throughout the semester under the “Discussion Forums” link in ReggieNet. Informal blog style acceptable.
  • Two Essays posted under the “Assignments” link in ReggieNet composed of clear, coherent, well written and logically argued, evidence-based theses. We must grade each student’s ability to accurately describe specific moments using technical language from the eTextbook and argue convincingly using consistent logic and precise prose.  You may attach word  files only.

Required Texts

Stylized Moments: Turning Film Style Into Meaning  [2013] eTextbookAvailable @ Bookstores, Smashwords & Milner

Available ebook reading formats:

  • Full book Online Reading (HTML, good for sampling in web browser)
  • Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others)
  • Kindle (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps)
  • PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing)
  • RTF (readable on most word processors)
  • LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
  • Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
  • Plain Text (viewable as web page)

Images for each Chapter are in “Resources & Materials” via ReggieNet

(Free offprint of textbook available on Reserve at Milner Library).

Into The Wild (1996) by Jon Krakauer (Free in “Resources & Materials)

Recommended Texts @ Bookstores

The Maltese Falcon [1930] 
Dashiell Hammett

Psycho [1959] Robert Bloch

Death of a Salesman [1949]

 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [1962]

Taxi Driver Script
The following texts are in digital reserve

“Stage to Lordsburg” by Ernest Haycox (Colliers Magazine, 1937) ( Stagecoach)

Recommended Texts

“Dragon” for “The Song of the Dragon” by John Taintor Foote Serialized in Saturday Evening Post (November 1921) ( Notorious)

“Notorious” for “The Woman Who Was Known Too Much” from
Tania Modleski’s The Women Who Knew Too Much

“Vertigo” for “Femininity By Design” from Tania Modleski’s The Women Who Knew Too Much

“Quantrill & Siouxie” for “Master of the Unesolved” by Jay Alan Quantrill & Siouxie lyrics

“The Living & the Dead parts 1 &2” (Vertigo)

Hamlet [1601] William Shakespeare  on-line HAMLET (Blue Velvet)

Skip to toolbar