Hollywood Studios - FILM6380

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 5 30 (15) Frances Guerin checkmark-circle


The module studies the emergence and consolidation of the studio system in Hollywood, between the coming of sound in 1929 until the collapse of the studios in 1960. Indicative topics include the rise of the star system; the emergence of genres; self-regulation and censorship; developments in technology; and changes in audience. Examination will be made of the development of the 'classic Hollywood cinema' style of film against the backdrop of varying contexts of production, distribution, exhibition and regulation. A focus on genres (such as the gangster film, western and musical) in their various phases of development and permutation will be a lens for student understanding of the importance of standardization. Studio development and collapse are also seen in broader historical and political contexts, enabling students to appreciate the forces that motivated film production, distribution and exhibition during the period.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 55
Private study hours: 245
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay (2,500 words) (50%)
Examination, 3-hour unseen (50%)

Reassessment methods:
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Bordwell, D. & Thompson. K. (2009) Film History. Berkshire: Mcgraw Hill.
Clark, D. (1995) Negotiating Hollywood: The Cultural Politics Of Actor's Labor. Minnesota: University of Minneapolis Press.
Gomery, D. (2005) The Hollywood Studio System: A History. London: Bfi Publishing.
Maltby, R. (2003) Hollywood Cinema. Malden, Ma: Wiley-Blackwell. (2nd Edition)
Mcdonald, P. (2000) The Star System. London: Wallflower Press
Schatz, T. (1998) The Genius Of The System: Hollywood Film-Making In The Studio Era. London: Faber.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the history of the Hollywood Studio System in terms of economic, political, structural and artistic achievements.
2 Apply a critical awareness of the technological advances made during the period under investigation (1929-1960) and how these informed changes in film aesthetic, production, distribution and exhibition.
3 Critically evaluate the significance of the development of the star system in Hollywood.
4. Display knowledge and critical understanding about the emergence of standardized genre films, and be able to apply this understanding to a number of specific examples.
5 Describe and analyse specific developments of in the regulation and censorship of the Hollywood industry, including critical familiarity with the Hays Code.
6 Demonstrate awareness of the significance of changes and growth in audience and the mechanisms of publicity.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Employ developed skills in historical and critical enquiry, analysis and interpretation.
2 Examine and debate a variety of conceptual approaches.
3 Organise and use specific analytical arguments.
4 Scrutinise texts and selectively apply critical and theoretical ideas to them.
5 Express their own ideas clearly via verbal and/or written communication.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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