Open Notes: Great American Directors

I had a brainstorm this morning (slightly foggy with a 15% chance of bitter recriminations) and decided that (why not) I should start putting class notes up online. There aren’t a lot of classes here for which I take really detailed notes, but one for which I do is Tom Pope’s fantastic series of Great American Directors classes, which started last semester with the 1930s and Frank Capra, this semester will cover the 60s and 70s, and next semester will cover the 80s to the present.

I cannot speak highly enough of this class, and the few months that I’ve spent in it have immeasurably broadened my horizons and turned me on to such amazing movies as George Stevens’ A Place In The Sun. So if you can understand the notes (sometimes incoherent and peppered with bizarre comments like “DAMMIT STAN, THERE IS ANOTHER WAY”), I’d say they’re definitely worth a read, if only as a list of recommended viewing.

Go to for a list of all the notes, downloadable in rich text format. A new director will be added every week this semester. New this week: Stanley Kubrick! Dr. Strangelove! 2001! violence and depravity and self-destruction! Wheee!

Here are links to the directors that we have covered in class so far:

Frank Capra
Howard Hawks
Orson Welles
George Stevens
John Huston
John Ford
Michael Curtiz
Billy Wilder
Gene Kelley & Stanley Donen – The American Musical
Alfred Hitchcock
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
William Wyler
Elia Kazan
Martin Ritt
Stanley Kubrick

Go nuts!

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