TCF 440/540 Seminar in American Cinema
Spring 2000

Assignment One

Due in class, 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, 9 February. Undergraduates' papers should be at least four pages (1200 words) and are worth 16 points. Grad students' papers should be at least five pages (1500 words) and are worth 15 points. All papers must be word-processed.

You are not expected to do outside research for these papers, but if you do then any references to sources other than yourself must be properly footnoted (this includes references to class readings). If you are unsure about correct footnote style, come see me.

These papers will be graded on the basis of conceptual rigor and fluency of writing style (i.e., grammar, spelling, etc.). Late papers will be penalized one point per day.

Write on one of the following questions on Unforgiven and the readings. A videotape copy of Unforgiven is available in the Reading Room. Tumbleweeds may be found in the Gorgas Library video collection.

  1. Apply Will Wright's structural study to Rio Bravo, Tumbleweeds or Unforgiven (use only one film). Focus on the paradigmatic structures in the film you choose, but also refer to the film's syntagmatic structure
  2. Using Jim Kitses, Ed Buscombe and Richard Collins (discuss all three) explain why Unforgiven is or is not a "proper" Western. Discuss the differences in the three men's approaches to the genre.
  3. Choose a recent film that most people do not think of as a Western, that you wouldn't find in the Western section of your local video store. Using Wright's argument, prove that it is a Western--or, at least, that it structurally resembles the genre paradigmatically or syntagmatically. You may write on any film that I have seen. Check with me before you choose a film. If you do not check with me first, your paper may be unacceptable.