Write a brief critical response (2-3pp, double-spaced. Thoughtful titles, font size no larger than #12, uniform 1” margins around all four sides of the page please) to one of the cinematic antecedents to the Film Noir Genre — either The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919), or Little Caesar (1931) — that you have viewed. A solid response to a movie provides the writer’s critical assessment of a film and its cinematic techniques supported by evidence the writer gathers from the film. It is not a plot synopsis or the enthusiastic blurbs of publicity hype. Use the present tense when writing your response and avoid words such as “great’’, “excellent,” “bad,” and the all-encompassing “really good”. Instead, consider elements like setting, theme (main idea), mise-en-scene (what is before the camera), cinematography (lighting and camera use), sound, special, effects, or symbols/symbolism. Remember, you are drafting a very short paper, so it is better to discuss one single feature in depth rather than attempt to cover all possibilities. Focus your thoughts instead. Ready? Set? Discuss!
Additional Notes:
1) Although it is true that good writing often takes risks, originality in style or thought will not necessarily excuse serious deficiencies.
2) Conversely, correctness – the mere absence of surface errors – does not automatically qualify an essay for any particular grade.
3) Essay grades reflect the performance on the page NOT the amount of time, or effort made in producing the paper.
4) Grades in the C-F range mean that you should make several appointments to work with a writing tutor on various drafts of upcoming assignments for help developing, clarifying, and refining your ideas and/or eradicating problems with grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
5) Consistent problems with grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation in your papers also suggest that you to begin consulting a handbook like Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual 6th Edition. Make it part of your writing and revising routine!
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