Dream Girls and Handsome Heroes

Ref: C2224660

After WWII, when many went to the cinema once a week, film stars became imperceptably part of our lives. Their screen image was carefully created by the studios to capture the public imagination, and they became both icons of style and role models. Via clips from American and British films (plus the odd Continental surprise), we'll investigate why these 'dream girls and handsome heroes' still retain their fascination for us today.

Course aim

To investigate how the great film stars of the 1940s and 50s were created by the Hollywood studios, and why they still retain their fascination as role models and style icons today.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is for anyone interested in film culture of the 1940s and 1950s.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Be acquainted with the workings of the star system of the major Hollywood studios.
  • Recognise innovative film technologies of the 1950s.
  • Recognise how male and female stars were gender-specifically presented to the public in the USA and Europe.
  • Consider how stars were seen as a personal embodiment of the roles they played.

How will I be taught?

  • After viewing clips from original films, informal group discussion of content will be encouraged. There will be no work outside the class.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • The tutor will clarify points, answer questions, and encourage informal discussion of individual learners' ideas and opinions about course content.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • No prior knowledge of the subject is necessary, and you do not need to bring anything to class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • The tutor will provide and recommend further sources of information as we progress.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • Attend more WEA film courses!

Download full Course information sheet

Dream Girls and Handsome Heroes


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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