The Godfather films continue to fascinate and entertain audiences. They have become some of the most enduring in the industry and have played a major role in influencing audiences' perceptions and misperceptions of criminal activities and family life. This lecture will examine themes of family; organized crime as a metaphor for American capitalism and values; the immigrant experience; and phrases from the film that live on in the contemporary popular lexicon. It will also explore the background stories of the making of the film -- Mario Puzo’s input, rallies by various Italian groups against the making of the film, difficulties with the studio, and the casting of experienced actors versus Coppola’s choices of relative unknowns. The program will analyze clips from the film and from the documentary The Godfather Legacy for insights into the development, production, and cultural and cinematic legacy of the films. Cannolis will be served in honor of the film's 50th anniversary. Come to the class, have a cannoli!
The impact of the Beatles has been immeasurable. In their seven years as a recording band they not only wrote one great song after the another, but also transformed every aspect of song-writing technique. It's not an exaggeration to say that theirs is the great musical story of the 20th century. This class will explore many aspects of that story: their beginnings in Liverpool as a skiffle band, their roots in early rock and roll, their apprenticeship in Hamburg, and their role as the leading band of the 1960s. We will listen to and analyze a selection of songs spanning their entire career, from their first album, Please Please Me, to their last, Abbey Road, with a focus on song structure, recording techniques, instrumentation, and lyrics.
Music has an important part to play in the making of a great film. Sometimes, the original score fits perfectly into the tenor of a film, and becomes as much a part of its success as the cinematography, acting, or editing (Psycho, Jaws, Lawrence of Arabia). Other times, just the right song meets just the right scene, and a skilled director can take advantage of existing music (Martin Scorsese’s use of Derek and the Dominos “Layla" in Goodfellas, Stanley Kubrick’s use of Richard Strauss’s "Thus Spoke Zarathustra'' in 2001: A Space Odyssey). Through clips and discussion of various films, we will see how music, used in a variety of ways, can create indelible cinematic moments.
Please be sure to register by the day before the class at the latest. You will receive an invitation email with a link to join the Zoom meeting. Click here for a tutorial on how to join a Zoom meeting.