Tag Archives: film and visual media

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A notorious horror movie (1974), written by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper, in which a family of chainsaw-wielding unemployed slaughterhouse workers terrorize a Texas community, desecrating the local cemetery and decorating their house with human and animal remains. The title proclaimed the film’s horror credentials, although it contains few scenes with much gore. It was loosely based on upon the atrocities committed in real life by deranged Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein, whose bloodthirsty activities also influenced Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate: A memorable film (1962) directed by John Frankenheimer, based on Richard Condon’s novel of the same name (1959). It tells the story of a Korean War ‘hero’ (played by Laurence Harvey) who returns to the USA as a brainwashed zombie triggered to kill a liberal politician, his ‘control’ being his ambitious mother (played by Angela Lansbury). She goes on to order him to kill the presidential nominee, so that her husband, the vice-presidential candidate, can take over. Manchuria is a region of communist China to the north of North Korea. The expression ‘Manchurian candidate’ has subsequently been used to denote a person who has been brainwashed by some organization or foreign power and programmed to carry out its orders automatically.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Last of the Mohicans

“The Last of the Mohicans: A romantic historical novel (1826) by the US writer James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), one of The Leatherstocking Tales. This tale is set in the hills and forests of northeastern North America at the time of the French and Indian Wars of the mid-18th century, and follows the adventures of Alice and Cora Munro, the frontiersman Natty Bumppo (also called Hawkeye), the unpleasant Huron leader Magua, and Chingachgook and his son Uncas, the last of the Mohicans—the rest of their tribe have been killed off by the Hurons. At the end Uncas and Cora are forced to jump off a cliff to their deaths to escape their enemies.

Historically, Uncas was a 17th-century chief of the Mohegans, an Algonquian tribe of Connecticut. Cooper apparently confused the Mohegans with the Mahicans, an Algonquian confederacy along the Hudson River.

There have been a number of film versions, the finest being those from 1936, Randolph Scott as Hawkeye, and 1992, with Daniel Day-Lewis in the role.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 7

Here is the seventh lesson plan (of eight) of “The Great Debaters” unit plan here on Mark’s Text Terminal. This lesson describes and rationalizes the second day of watching the film. Here is another note-taking blank with which students can record their thoughts and recollections while watching the film.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Great Debaters: Lesson 6

Moving right along this morning, here is the sixth lesson plan in “The Great Debaters” unit plan here at Mark’s Text Terminal. This lesson initiates the viewing of the film.

So, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun montage, a cinematic term that describes the compression of exposition into a series of fleeting images that supplies deep context for the narrative without the sacrifice of a compelling pace of narration. The main document for this lesson is this simple note-taking blank that asks students to jot down responses to a single who, where and what questions.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Star Wars

OK, let’s get started this morning with this relatively high-interest reading on Star Wars and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Nota bene, please, that this reading is about the original 1977 film. That said, there is a lot of room here to expand this material: conceptually, for example, there is an opening for students to explore the business of Hollywood productions by looking at franchise films, as well as the merchandise they create and market.

Furthermore, the Star Wars series can be used as a way of exploring Manichean allegories in books, art, and film. If the Star Wars films aren’t fundamentally about the conflict between good and evil, then I apparently missed the point of the exhausting number of them I watched.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Independent Practice: Samurai

OK: here is an independent practice worksheet on samurai. This material is fundamental to understanding feudal Japan, as well as one of the greatest films of all time, Akira Kurosawa’s masterful (I was going to say masterpiece, but Kurosawa produced many masterpieces) Seven Samurai.

If you’ve seen The Magnificent Seven, than you’ve seen Seven Samurai–though arguably a lesser version of it.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal: A highly regarded film (1957) directed by the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007). A vision of a medieval land ravaged by the Black Death, the film impressed and mystified audiences around the world. The title refers to a verse in the Bible:

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in

heaven about the space of half an hour.’

Revelation 8:1

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

The Temple and the Holy Ark

If you have by any chance showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to you homebound students, or plan to, then you might find that this reading on the Temple and the Holy Ark and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet complements that exciting film.

I’ve tagged this as high-interest material because when I have offered it to students while making its connection to the Indiana Jones movie referred to above, their interest was piqued.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire: An intense drama (1947) by the US playwright Tennessee Williams (1911-83) about the relationship between a faded Southern belle, Blanche Dubois, and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski. It was subsequently turned into a successful film (1951), directed by Elia Kazan, starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. The play had several titles before the final one, including The Moth, Blanche’s Chair in the Moon and The Poker Night. The eventual title was inspired by a streetcar labeled ‘Desire’ (for its destination, Desire Street), which, together with another called ‘Cemeteries,’ plied the main street in the district of New Orleans where Williams lived. In the play the names are taken symbolically, Blanche contending that her sister Stella’s marriage is a product of lust, as aimless as the ‘streetcar named Desire’ that shuttles through the narrow streets. The name of the street does not denote a place of pleasure but derives from the French girl’s name Desiree. A monument, the ‘Streetcar Named Desire,’ now stands on the site near the French Market. The play is a leitmotif in Pedro Almodovar’s film Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother1999).

‘They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, then transfer to one called Cemeteries.’

Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire (Blanche’s first line).”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.