LSO256 - Film Wars: The Warner Brothers vs. The MGM Lion

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:54:38.413
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:55:12.817

Subject Title
Film Wars: The Warner Brothers vs. The MGM Lion

Subject Description
Any art form is a product of the society and/or culture in which it is created, and as such, reflects and/or challenges the prevailing values and beliefs. "Film Wars" takes a cinematic look at the social and cultural history of North America from the silent film era to today. By examining the films of two major rival Hollywood studios, Warner Brothers and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, we will discover that the stories they chose to bring to the screen and the stylistic and cinematic techniques and devices that they used were dramatically different. By looking at several of the classic films from each of these studios, we will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of both film style and cultural history.

Credit Status
One lower level Liberal Studies Option (LSO) for Seneca degree students.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  • Describe the internal and external workings of the studio system during the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rationale for its subsequent collapse.
  • Understand the fundamental differences in business practices and film production between Warner Brothers and MGM from the 1930s to the modern day.
  • Compare and contrast the various genres and filmmaking styles which were prevalent during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  • Understand the complex relationship between film and society and its inherent ability to reflect and/or challenge the prevailing cultural values and beliefs at any historical moment in time.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

ENG106 or equivalent

Topic Outline

  • Course Introduction: Basic Film Grammar
  • Early Cinema (1893-1914)
  • The Silent Era (1915-1928)
  • The Coming of Sound, The Studio System and the Genre Film Part 1 (1927-1938)
  • The Studio System and the Genre Film Part 2 (1927-1938)
  • Hollywood in Transition Part 1 (1939-1945)
  • Hollywood in Transition Part 2 (1939-1945)
  • Postwar Hollywood (1945-1955)
  • Post-Classical Hollywood (1955-1967)
  • The New Hollywood/The Hollywood Renaissance Part 1 (1968-1980)
  • The new Hollywood/The Hollywood Renaissance Part 2 (1968-1980)
  • A New New Hollywood (1982-1999)
  • Contemporary Hollywood (1999-2006)

Mode of Instruction
Your professor will use a variety of appropriate teaching modes and techniques, such as the following: interactive seminars, workshops, discussions, online learning, and lectures. Students will be expected to watch all films and additional material discussed in class.

Prescribed Texts
Lewis, Jon. American Film: A HistoryLatest Edition. W.W. Norton & Company.

Reference Material
Seneca Libraries MLA Citation Guide:

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Quiz 1 15%
Quiz 2 20%
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 20%
Final Examination 25%

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified, and achieve an overall grade of 50% or more.  It is expected that students have a sufficient command of the English language to express themselves clearly in both written assignments and class discussions.
As students are being graded on form as well as content, marks may be lost for poor organization of ideas and errors in spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation.
For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see the Academic Policy at

Approved by: Klaus Grober