Examination 1 Questions

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Examination 1 Questions
Examination 2 Questions

The examination will consist of two of the following questions, which I will select. You will have an hour and a half to answer the questions. These questions ask you to interpret the views of politics and society expressed in these films. In doing this, please pay attention to both the story told and the manner in which it is told, in particular, the efforts of the director to give a visual style to the film. You need not endorse the interpretations of the films I have offered, but you should know them. You should definitely feel free to offer your own interpretations and reactions to these films. All reasonable (and some not so reasonable) views will be welcomed. But be sure to defend your arguments with specific references to sequences and shots in the films. Above all, your answers should be as elaborate and detailed as you can make them.

1. John T. Chance in Rio Bravo and Rick Blaine in Casablanca both learn lessons about love and politics. Discuss the portrayal of the connections between love and politics in these two films. How are the two films similar? How are they different?

2. Discuss the reasons that and the manner in which John T. Chance in Rio Bravo and Rick Blaine in Casablanca accept political and social responsibility. How do their character and actions reflect changing conceptions of the relationship between the individual and society in America?

3. The world portrayed in Rio Bravo is one of moral certainty. The world portrayed in Touch of Evil is one of moral uncertainty. Discuss.

4. Discuss the themes of the border and racism in Touch of Evil. How does the manner of Orson Welles' direction call attention to the role of stereotype, preconception and the mass media (especially movies) in our understanding of people different from ourselves?

5. Who would you rather vote for, Frank Skeffington or Jefferson Smith? In answering this question, discuss the political ideals and practices of these politicians as portrayed in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The Last Hurrah. Pay special attention to their different views about democracy, corruption, political expertise, and the place of political organization.

6. In The Last Hurrah, John Ford portrays the changes in our political life that are likely to result from the death of political machines and the rise of television based campaigns. Discuss Ford's portrayal, paying attention to how Ford uses various frames—such as doorways and television monitors—to express his view of this change in the nature of political campaigns. How accurate were Ford's criticisms of the new style of politics? 

7. Touch of Evil and Love Crimes share two important themes. Both of them show how personal obsessions can corrupt political activity. And both suggest some connections between the vicissitudes of sexual desire (that is, the different paths sexual desire can take)  on the one hand and political and social concerns on the other. Discuss each of these themes in the two films. How, if at all, are the two themes related in each of the films?