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MSD2500 Reading Film: Hollywood

Semester 1, 2021 Online
Short Description: Reading Film
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
ASCED code : 100799 - Communication and Media Studie
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Kelly McWilliam


Enrolment is not permitted in MSD2500 if CMS2019 has been previously completed.


Hollywood cinema is the best known and the most influential national cinema in the world and has been so for a century. But how and why? And with what effect? Certainly, Hollywood’s long-held significance around the world makes it the ideal case study in introducing students to screen media analysis: skills they can then apply to a range of other media, and in a range of employment, moving forward. This course surveys the development of Hollywood cinema from its emergence to the present day, and covers key historical, technological, and cultural developments through a focus on influential periods, filmmakers, and films.


In this course, students use Hollywood as a case study to begin to develop core skills in screen analysis, to help them develop an analytical skill set that can then be applied to a range of other media and foci. Students examine the emergence, development, and global expansion of the Hollywood film industry, arguably the most famous national cinema in the world. Students use textual and contextual approaches to examine the industry in light of changing cultural, economic, industrial, political, and technological contexts. Regular film screenings featuring a broad selection of influential Hollywood texts will provide context and enable students to complete the course with a film review for their job-ready Media Studies portfolios.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. use clear communication to discuss key periods and characteristics of Hollywood cinema;
  2. critically discuss a range of films;
  3. use key concepts in media theory in appropriate and ethical ways;
  4. conduct critical analyses of Hollywood films.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Early Hollywood 25.00
2. Classical Hollywood 25.00
3. Contemporary Hollywood 25.00
4. Screen Media Analysis 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Stadler, J with McWilliam, K 2009, Screen Media: Analysing Film and Television, Allen and Unwin.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Bordwell, D, Thompson, K & Smith, J 2016, Film Art: An Introduction, 11th edn, McGraw-Hill Education, New York.
Cook, DA 2016, A History of Narrative Film, 5th edn, WW Norton & Company, New York.
Cook, P (ed) 2007, The Cinema Book, 3rd edn, British Film Institute, London.
Dyer, R 2003, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York.
Hayward, S 2006, Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York.
Maltby, R 2003, Hollywood Cinema, 2nd edn, Wiley-Blackwell.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 39.00
Independent Study 126.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
FILM REVIEW 100 35 31 Mar 2021
ESSAY 100 40 19 May 2021
FORUM POSTS 100 25 02 Jun 2021

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item. Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Communication and Media and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.

Date printed 18 June 2021