Tag Archives: film/images

The Weekly Text, November 20, 2020: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Walt Disney

This week’s Text is a simple one, to wit this reading on Walt Disney and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is relatively high-interest material for students, at least many I’ve served. There are relatively few children in our society (and arguably in any society) whose imagination Walt Disney and his characters haven’t colonized.

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 Blackboard Jungle by Evan Hunter

The Blackboard Jungle “The first novel (1954) of the US writer Evan Hunter (1926-2005), based on his personal experience. It is a somewhat sensationalized account of an American urban high school where the boys are rough, the headmaster a bully, and the teachers overworked and additionally plagued by personal problems. As a result of the book, the expression ‘blackboard jungle’ became a popular idiom for any undisciplined school of this type. The phrase itself is a variant on The Asphalt Jungle. A film version (1955), directed by Richard Brooks, is now chiefly remembered for its soundtrack, featuring ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley and the Comets.” 

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

Scarface

Scarface: A gangster film (1932) directed by Howard Hawks, with a screenplay by Ben Hecht and others. The 1983 remake was directed by Brian de Palma and had a screenplay by Oliver Stone. The name of the eponymous anti-hero is Tony Camonte (played by Paul Muni) in the 1932 version; in the 1983 version he is called Tony Montana (played by Al Pacino). The character is based on the real-life gangster Al Capone (1899-1947), who acquired the name Scarface from the scar on his left cheek caused by a razor slash in a Brooklyn gang fight in his younger days.”

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

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors: A cult horror movie (1960) directed by Roger Corman (b. 1926) about a carnivorous talking plant that quickly outgrows the flower shop of its dimwitted owner and becomes a voracious man-eating monster. The success of Corman’s original inspired stage musical with the same title in the 1980s and an inferior film remake in 1986.”

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

Cultural Literacy: The Birth of a Nation

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on The Birth of a Nation, the infamous 1915 film by D.W. Griffith. I think now is a good time for students to learn about this piece of racist propaganda.

There, I got that out on the page. I’ve been walking around this document, metaphorically speaking, for months. In fact, I have a good deal of material about this film–and know more about it than I care to admit. Suffice to say this: this film innovated production techniques and really represents the birth of the long-form, narrative cinema we take for granted today. Even the Marxist auteur Sergei Eisenstein admired D.W. Griffith’s advances in technique while deploring the racism of The Birth of a Nation.

Generally, this film in its “artistic” and commercial dimensions offers a lot of grist for the critical mill. I am still working up to posting more material about this hot-button issue. For now, this short exercise will have to suffice.

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.

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.