Professional Course

Hollywood: History, Industry, Art

edX, Online
4 weeks
4 weeks
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Course description

Hollywood: History, Industry, Art

In this course you will learn about Hollywood and how it came to be the global powerhouse of today.

We will discuss the complex Hollywood industry and how business and politics translate into the art of film, TV, and new media.

This course will chronicle Hollywood’s growth and global reach since the 1920s, looking at:

  • How Hollywood has responded to new technologies such as synchronized sound, color cinematography, TV, home video, computer graphics, and the internet
  • How the global spread of Hollywood since the 1920s changed the film industry
  • The relationship between Hollywood and independent film
  • Hollywood’s responses to crises in American politics (e.g., world wars, the cold war, the 1960s counterculture, 9/11)

We will look closely at representative studios (Paramount, Disney, Fox, and others) and representative filmmakers (Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Frank Capra, George Lucas, Spike Lee, among many others).

Who should attend?



Training content

Week 1

  • Intro
  • 1. Before Hollywood
  • 1.1 The Birth of the Film
  • 1.2 Edison the Inventor
  • 1.3 Who, What, Where, Why
  • 1.4 The Trust and the Independents
  • 1.5 Piracy, Copyright, and the Ben-Hur Case 2. The Studio System
  • 2.1 The Birth of the Studio System
  • 2.2 The Star System
  • 2.3 The Genre System
  • 2.4 Meet Me in St. Louis and the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • 2.5 House Style: It All Comes Together

Week 2

  • 3. Sound and the Production Code
  • 3.1 The Challenges of New Technology
  • 3.2 Sound, Style, and King Kong
  • 3.3 King Kong
  • 3.4 The New Deal
  • 3.5 The Road to the Production Code
  • 3.6 The Production Code in Action 4. Hollywood at War
  • 4.1 FDR and Media
  • 4.2 Hollywood Gets Political
  • 4.3 Warners Bros. at War
  • 4.4 Wartime Government Agencies

Week 3

  • 5.0 The Blacklist and Cold War
  • 5.1 HUAC in Hollywood
  • 5.2 The Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist
  • 5.3 Cold War Genres 6.0 The New Hollywood
  • 6.1 Television
  • 6.2 Hollywood Auteurs and the Counterculture
  • 6.3 Big Media

Week 4

  • 7.0 Home Video and Indiewood
  • 7.1 Development of Home Video
  • 7.2 Mini-Majors
  • 7.3 Indiewood 8.0 Digital Cinema and the Internet
  • 8.1 Special Effects and Computer Generated Images
  • 8.2 Hollywood’s Internet

Course delivery details

This course is offered through University of Pennsylvania, a partner institute of EdX.

3-4 hours per week


  • Verified Track -$169
  • Audit Track - Free

Certification / Credits

What you'll learn

  • The history of the studio system
  • How to analyze a film
  • How Hollywood&has responded to new technologies in the industry
  • The impact of global audiences on Hollywood
  • The relationship between Hollywood and independent media
  • How Hollywood has reacted to major political events
  • What the future holds for Hollywood

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