Walter J. Cerf Distinguished ProfessorProfessor of Film and Media Culture
Leger Grindon is the author of Knockout: the Boxer and Boxing in American Cinema (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011) http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1390, Hollywood Romantic Comedy: Conventions, History, Controversies (Malden, MA.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405182652.html and Shadows on the Past: Studies in the Historical Fiction Film (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994). Professor Grindon received his Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from New York University in 1986. His research and teaching interests include film history, documentary film, Hollywood genres, and film criticism. For more details about his publications and professional activities, connect to his CV.
Professor Grindon's essays and reviews have appeared in numerous critical anthologies as well as journals such as Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal, The Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Film History and The Velvet Light Trap. He served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Society of Cinema Studies from 1990-1992 and on the editorial board of Cinema Journal from 1999-2002.
In addition, he serves as a faculty associate with the men's tennis team. Leger is an avid tennis player, enjoys cycling and still loves going to the movies. He is a husband and father and has been on the faculty at Middlebury College since 1987.
Interested in exploring film studies? Two books Professor Grindon recommends are:
Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies by Rober Sklar
Making Movies by Sidney Lumet
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FMMC 0102 - Film History ▲
This course will survey the development of the cinema from 1895 to present. Our study will emphasize film as an evolving art, while bearing in mind the influence of technology, economic institutions, and the political and social contexts in which the films were produced and received. Screenings will include celebrated works from Hollywood and international cinema. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. screen
Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014
FMMC 0134 - Hollywood Genres
This course will study the form and development of Hollywood film genres such as the science fiction film, the gangster film, the musical, and the romantic comedy, in order to determine what we can learn from these texts about ourselves and our culture. The conventions, archetypes, common plots, and key dramatic conflicts of various genres will be outlined and their meaning analyzed. The historical transformation of genres will be highlighted. Screening, readings, and written reports. (Formerly FMMC/AMCV 0134) 2 hrs. lect./ 3 hrs. screen/1 hr. disc.
FMMC 0232 - The Documentary Film ▲
Documentary: Art of the Nonfiction Film
Documentary film combines nonfiction with an aesthetic aspiration. This course will explore the achievement in the documentary, raising issues about the influence of documentary upon political persuasion, historical memory, the status of film as evidence, and its utility as a means of investigation. Questions will be posed, such as: Can documentary achieve a distinctive understanding of a phenomenon? How does nonfiction address/guide the relationship between sound, image, and subject? The course will offer a historical perspective, as well as study contemporary works, with the aim of preparing students to both understand and produce documentary films. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. screen.
Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2014
FMMC 0238 / AMST 0238 - Film Noir
A series of urban crime films and melodramas made in Hollywood between 1940-1960, but concentrated in the decade immediately after World War II, have been understood by critics to constitute the movement of film noir. This course will study prominent films from this group as well as contemporary films influenced by them, and the critical literature they have elicited in order to understand the cultural sources, the stylistic attributes, the social significance, and the long-term influence attributed to film noir. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. screen.
FMMC 0242 / AMST 0242 - Film Comedy
A survey of American film comedy from the silent era to contemporary productions. The course will focus on various approaches such as clown comedy, romantic comedy, and satirical comedy. In addition, the course will explore screen comedy in the context of various theories of comedy, including the narrative design, the social dynamics, and the psychological understanding of humor. The filmmakers will include: Chaplin, Keaton, Lubitsch, Wilder, Woody Allen, among others. Screenings, readings and written assignments. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. screen.
Spring 2012, Spring 2014
FMMC 0252 - Authorship and Cinema
Authorship and Cinema
Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.
FMMC 0330 - Hollywood Renaissance, 1967-76
Hollywood Renaissance, 1967-76
In this course we will study the transition in American film history from the classical studio based production system to contemporary practice, sometimes known as "the Hollywood Renaissance". We will explore numerous changes marking this transition, including the influence of the European "art" cinema, the shift from the Production Code to the current ratings system, the impact of a young generation of filmmakers trained in the academy, developments in film technology, and the social and political changes influencing American culture during this era. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0102 or by approval) 3 hrs. seminar/3 hr. screen
FMMC 0360 - Methods of Film Criticism
Methods of Film Criticism
In this seminar we will study film criticism. Questions include: How does criticism combine description, analysis, interpretation and evaluation? What are the values and techniques of various methods of film analysis, such as genre, authorship and neo-formalism? What can techniques, such as plot segmentation, teach us about film narrative? How can criticism take into account the response of the spectator? Films considered will be those which raise particular challenges for the film critic. Assignments will include readings, screenings, class presentations, short papers, and a 10-12 page research essay. (FMMC 0101 or FMMC 0102 or instructor's approval) 3 hrs. lecture/3 hrs. screen.
Fall 2011, Fall 2013
FMMC 0507 - Independent Project ▲ ▹
Advanced Independent work in Film and Media Culture
Guidelines for submitting proposals are available on the Film & Media Culture web site along with a list of prerequisites.
Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
FMMC 0707 - Senior Independent Work
Senior Honors Project in Film and Media Culture
During the first term of their senior year, students with a GPA of A- in film and media culture courses may apply to undertake a senior project (FMMC 0707) for honors, with the project to be completed the last term of the senior year.
Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012
FYSE 1225 - Romantic Comedy in Film & Lit.
Romantic Comedy in Film and Literature
How has romantic comedy portrayed courtship and gender relations? We will explore the subject by looking at classic plays and contemporary films. In particular, we will consider the long standing conventions of the romantic comedy to better understand its evolution and contemporary expression. We will begin by reading a selection of Shakespeare's comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It, among others. In addition, we will watch screen adaptations, such as Much Ado About Nothing and related films such as Shakespeare in Love. We will then consider other dramatists of romantic comedy including Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw. Finally, we will shift our focus to contemporary romantic comedy on screen and how the genre has evolved in popular culture. 3 hrs. sem./screen.
(In order of release date)
Charlie Chaplin's 12 Mutual short films made between 1916-17
October [1927, USSR, directed by Sergei Eisenstein],
The Man With a Movie Camera [1929, USSR, directed by Dziga Vertov],
M [1931, Germany, directed by Fritz Lang, starring Peter Lorre]
Trouble in Paradise [1932, directed by Ernst Lubitsch starring Herbert Marshall and Miriam Hopkins].
The Rules of the Game [1939, France, directed by Jean Renoir, starring Renoir and Marcel Dalio]
Citizen Kane [1941, US, directed by Orson Welles, starring Welles and Joseph Cotton]
Three Hollywood Westerns directed by John Ford: Stagecoach [1939, starring John Wayne], My Darling Clementine [1946, starring Henry Fonda], The Searchers [1956, starring John Wayne]
Late Spring [1949, Japan, directed by Yasujiro Ozu starring Setsuko Hara and Chisu Ryu]
3 Italian films directed by Roberto Rossellini: Paisa , Voyage to Italy , The Rise to Power of Louis XIV ,
Sunset Blvd. [1950, US, directed by Billy Wilder starring William Holden],
The Seven Samurai [1954, Japan, directed by Akira Kurosawa],
Vertigo [1958, US, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak]
L'Avventura [1960, Italy directed by Michelangelo Antonioni starring Monica Vitti.
My Life to Live, aka Vivre Sa Vie [1962, France, directed by Jean Luc Godard starring Ana Karina]
8 1/2 [1963, Italy directed by Federico Fellini starring Marcello Mastroianni]
2001: A Space Odyssey [1968, US/UK, directed by Stanley Kubrick]
MORE RECENT FAVORITES [from the last decade or so]
The Piano [1993, New Zealand, directed by Jane Campion starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel]
Pulp Fiction [1994, US, directed by Quentin Tarantino starring John Travolta]
Fallen Angels [1995, Hong Kong, directed by Wong Kar-wai]
Sense and Sensibility [1995, UK, directed by Ang Lee starring Emma Thompson]
LA Confidential [1997, US, directed by Curtis Hanson starring Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey]
The Thin Red Line [1998, US, directed by Terrence Malick
Flowers of Shanghai [1998, Taiwan, directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien]
Topsy-Turvy [1999, UK, directed by Mike Leigh]
Yi-Yi [2000, Taiwan, directed by Edward Yang]
Mystic River [2003, US, directed by Clint Eastwood starring Sean Penn]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [2004, directed by Michel Gondry written by Charlie Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet]
Before Sunset [2004, directed by Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy]
I'm Not There [2007, directed by Todd Haynes starring Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger]