Melton & More
Mondays, 7:00-8:30pm (EST), February 1 - March 8
This course will explore the shifting portrayal of Jews in mainstream American movies and how these changes
reflected the dramatically-changing attitudes in society.
Course Description :
While Jews have had a substantial role in the development of the American movie industry, the actual portrayal of Jewish people in movies has been far more complex. Many of the major studio moguls in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s were Jewish; however, they were intent on creating entertainment products that were designed for mass consumption. Therefore, the characters presented in the movies, as well as the performers, were people to whom audiences could both relate and aspire. Since the majority of the audiences were mostly white and Christian, studio heads believed that the characters their audiences preferred to see would be white and Christian as well. As a result, there didn't seem to be much of a place in the movies for Jewish stories, Jewish characters or even Jewish performers, despite some notable exceptions. Post-World War II, however, was a period of rapid societal change and the portrayal of Jews in movies mirrored the changes and transformation happening elsewhere in American society. This course will deal with the shifting portrayal of Jews in mainstream American movies and how these changes reflected the dramatically-changing attitudes in society. We will examine this history from the early years of the American film industry till today. Clips from movies will be shown to students, so the course will be both visual as well as auditory.
Dates: Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; Mar. 1, 8
Mondays, 7:00-8:30pm (EST)