Fun Movies From Serious Literature
Instructor: Dr. David Crowe
Dr. David Crowe is a professor of English with a PhD from the University of Minnesota. He has written and published scholarship on modern writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Wendell Berry and recently finished a book on John Updike and existentialist theologian Søren Kierkegaard.
Program dates: June 23-28, 2013
Program cost: $750
Includes lodging, all meals and any field trips. Students arrive on campus Sunday, June 23, and depart Friday, June 28.
Summer is a great time to enjoy movies, and if we pick them carefully we can also discuss literary qualities and meanings. In this course we will spend our mornings watching and discussing entertaining films based on serious literature. In the afternoons we will split our time between outdoor activities and less serious films. And we will have a theme food each day.
Some of the very best films of all time have been adapted from important novels, plays and stories — and not just the Harry Potter films. The fine film versions of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice come to mind, or the many versions of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol or the Sherlock Holmes films. We could watch any of these, but instead I’ve selected movies you probably haven’t seen — but really should because these are fun, visually stunning, emotionally powerful movies. Movies good enough that you’d buy a ticket to see them, and pay for popcorn and Milk Duds, too.
There is no need to read the literary versions of the following films ahead of time. But you might want to read at least one of the books, so that you can compare it with the film treatment. If so, just buy or borrow any copy and bring it to class, along with your comments and questions.
Sunday, June 23
- Welcome reception
Monday, June 24
- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist: The chilling story of a homeless orphan boy adopted into a Victorian London crime syndicate — in a new non-musical version.
- The goofy but smart humor of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves the butler and Bertie Wooster, his less-than-brainy employer. Theme food: popcorn and movie candy (no porridge).
Tuesday, June 25
- Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. The story of a romantic girl whose love of horror stories might lose her the man of her dreams.
- Oscar Wilde’s farcical comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. Theme food: tea and cakes.
Wednesday, June 26
- E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View. An ordinary English girl vacations in turn-of-the-century Florence, where she meets a freethinking English man and has her life changed.
- Boat ride and picnic on the Mississippi, maybe with the creative writing group. Theme food: Picnic fare and Augie’s favorite ice cream, Whitey’s.
Thursday, June 27
- Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. 1950s Saigon. While the French are losing their Vietnam war, an American spy shows up and, in an attempt to win over a pretty Vietnamese girl, plays dirty. Theme food: Vietnamese restaurant lunch.
- Begin watching Hamlet.
Friday, June 28
- Shakespeare’s greatest play, Hamlet. The new David Tennant version is excellent. Set in a modern police state complete with electronic surveillance, this is a modern spin on the tale of spies and murderers in the Danish king’s household.
- Shakespeare in Love. Theme food: Hand-made candy masterpieces from Lagomarcino’s.