Month: April 2021

MTV: The First Decade

  This video essay was created as a first episode of a series on how MTV and music videos changed the music industry, specifically focusing on the first decade of MTV. This episode talks specifically about Duran Duran and how the band were pioneers of the “filmic” music video. Sarah Almi is an OU student with a Cinema Studies major who will be graduating in 2021.

Sarah Almi is an OU student with a Cinema Studies major who will be graduating in 2021.

Understanding the PCA and its Effect on Bullets or Ballots

Bullets or Ballots (1936)[1] by William Keighley, starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Barton Maclane, and Humphrey Bogart was a film that essentially was not completely about entertainment. First and foremost, upon watching the film it is about detective Johnny Blake who goes undercover to uncover a racketeering crime ring. According to the treatment sent to Joseph Breen on November 25, 1935, the film was created in an effort to inform the public of the dangers of racketeering and racketeers.[2] This is significant because racketeering was an issue in the 1930s, as a result of the elimination of prohibition mobsters turned to racketeering among other things since they could no longer make money trafficking alcohol. As well as gangster films like this were on the rise during the 30s due to the overwhelming popularity of films like Little Caesar[3] and Scarface.[4]  Gangster films are characterized as a subgenre of crime films that typically deal with gangs, criminals, and organized crime. Bullets or Ballots was created in hopes to arouse public indignation and to stop the …

American Cinema and Political Expression

American cinema contains a massive collection of political and controversial films spanning decades. Three films will be expressively discussed from the political point of view that can be found within each film. The films Night of the Living Dead, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, and They Live will each be broken down from politics, influence, and a societal approach. Each of these films spans roughly two decades of American film and politics. The reason behind choosing these specific films has little to do with their popularity, and everything to do with the representation of and within the films. The political controversies, traits, social trends, and events during the release of each movie will also be discussed in relation to the film’s significance in its message and perception of tone. Objectively, this discourse will focus on the political message within each of these American films. Political films have increasingly grown throughout the past few decades due to a series of reasons such as: societal influence that should be addressed, cinematic plotting, and the need …

The Forgotten Impact of Film: An Introduction to the Film Preservation Cause

Picture your favorite film of all time. You may have your favorite moments, but don’t remember everything about the film. One day, you decide you want to refresh your memory, only to discover the film no longer exists. There is no way to possibly watch it ever again. In this digital age, it is hard to imagine content no longer being available, but this scenario has made thousands of films from the beginning of cinema through the end of the 20th century inaccessible and continues to threaten existing films today. Film is a great cultural artifact, and the loss of its history is an irrecoverable travesty. If there was no intervention, very few films from cinema’s history would be available today, but thankfully the issue of preservation became a pressing matter throughout the 20th century, and although not every film was able to be preserved, a great many of them were saved from oblivion. Film preservation, simply put, is the effort of storing and rescuing decaying film stock for the benefit of future generations. It …

Ryan Handley graduated OU with a minor in Cinema Studies in 2020. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in film preservation at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School in Rochester, NY.