Crime movies are the most enduringly popular of all Hollywood genres. They’ve been around since the silent era and attest to America’s fascination with crime. Yet another reason we are so attracted to crime films stems from a pair of contradictory narrative projects that underline the genre. Crime movies valorize the distinctions between the genre’s stock characters – criminal, victim and avenger – in order to affirm the social, moral or institutional order. At the same time, they explore the relations between the 3 roles in order to mount a critique that challenges that order. We will be analyzing the cinematic styles and ideology of a mix of classic and contemporary films representative of crime’s different subgenres: gangster, outlaw, film noir, neo-noir, detective, and police procedurals.
Note: Weekly films available from libraries or streaming services to watch on your own
PLEASE NOTE: This course was originally listed as a remote course in the catalog, however, it has now been changed to an in-person course.