Film Studies: Big Screen Idols

Ref: C2523666

We will examine films of the 1930s -1950s, in particular, the actors who were known as the Big Screen Idols. Alongside this, we will examine the Hollywood star system, the power wielded by the film moguls and American expectations of its men.

Course aim

This course provides a brief introduction to Hollywood's Big Screen Idols.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is for anyone who loves watching, researching and talking about films.

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

  • Confidently discuss the importance of the Big Screen Idols to the Hollywood film industry.
  • Name at least 3 actors who can be described as Big Screen Idols
  • Give 3 examples of how the 'Star System' in Hollywood created, promoted or exploited its stars.
  • Confidently discuss the American ideologies of masculinity.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • We will discuss the following films: Mr Smith Goes to Hollywood, Gone with the Wind, From Here to Eternity, Ball of Fire, Notorious, The Lady Eve, Twelve O Clock High, Ace in the Hole, A Street Car Named Desire, and The Night of the Hunter

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • It would help you in your analysis if you could buy, borrow or stream the weekly film. It will also be helpful (although not essential) for you to read about the weekly film, director, star, etc.

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
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Film Studies: Big Screen Idols


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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