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2020 Spring Semester
Classic Films for Senior College
Instructor: Chet Day, Art Ray, Peter Ezzy
Fridays • 3/13-5/8 • 8:30 AM-12:00 NOON • 9 weeks
Class size 6 to 50 students
16 seats remaining
Location: Klahr Center
This 9 week course consists of an analytical and fun discussion group exploring the relative merits of selected top-rated Classic Films as determined by the American Film Institute (AFI), British Film Institute (BFI), and prior classes. Films are critiqued by participants. Class members are encouraged to suggest movies and lead discussions.
The 9 movies for this semester are Schindler’s List, 1993 **; Show Boat, 1953; Modern Times, 1936; The Big Sleep, 1946; The Black Narissus, 1947; Tootsie, 1982; E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, 1982; AMISTAD, 1997; and Life is Beautiful, 1997. Classroom
Text and study materials are provided. We accommodate the hearing impaired.
** A fire in the UMA library curtailed Schindler’s List, our last class of Fall semester! We will recover on the Friday before the regular start of the Spring semester … including pizza !!! Students of both semesters welcome.
Schindler’s List , 1993, is an American epic historical period drama film directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler’s Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a Sudeten German businessman, who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during World War II. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.
Often listed among the greatest films ever made, it was also a box office success, earning $322 million worldwide on a $22 million budget. It was the recipient of seven Academy Awards (out of twelve nominations), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score, as well as numerous other awards (including seven BAFTAs and three Golden Globes). In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time.
In Kraków during World War II, the Germans have forced local Polish Jews into the overcrowded Kraków Ghetto. Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German from Czechoslovakia, arrives in the city hoping to make his fortune. A member of the Nazi Party, Schindler lavishes bribes on Wehrmacht (German armed forces) and SS officials and acquires a factory to produce enamelware. To help him run the business, Schindler enlists the aid of Itzhak Stern, a local Jewish official who has contacts with black marketeers and the Jewish business community. Stern helps Schindler arrange financing for the factory. Schindler maintains friendly relations with the Nazis and enjoys wealth and status as “Herr Direktor”, and Stern handles administration. Schindler hires Jewish workers because they cost less, while Stern ensures that as many people as possible are deemed essential to the German war effort, which saves them from being transported to concentration camps or killed.
SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) Amon Göth arrives in Kraków to oversee construction of Płaszów concentration camp. When the camp is completed, he orders the ghetto liquidated. Many people are shot and killed in the process of emptying the ghetto. Schindler witnesses the massacre and is profoundly affected. He particularly notices a young girl in a red coat as she hides from the Nazis, and later sees her body among a wagonload of corpses. Schindler is careful to maintain his friendship with Göth and, through bribery and lavish gifts, continues to enjoy SS support. Göth brutally mistreats his Jewish maid Helen Hirsch and randomly shoots people from the balcony of his villa, and the prisoners are in constant fear for their lives. As time passes, Schindler’s focus shifts from making money to trying to save as many lives as possible.
While the film is shot primarily in black and white, a red coat is used to distinguish a little girl in the scene depicting the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto. Later in the film, Schindler sees her dead body, recognizable only by the red coat she is still wearing. Spielberg said the scene was intended to symbolize how members of the highest levels of government in the United States knew the Holocaust was occurring, yet did nothing to stop it. “It was as obvious as a little girl wearing a red coat, walking down the street, and yet nothing was done to bomb the German rail lines. Nothing was being done to slow down … the annihilation of European Jewry,” he said. “So that was my message in letting that scene be in color.”
Stephen Schiff of The New Yorker called Schindler’s List the best historical drama about the Holocaust, a movie that “will take its place in cultural history and remain there.” Terrence Rafferty, with The New Yorker, admired the film’s “narrative boldness, visual audacity, and emotional directness.” He noted the performances of Neeson, Fiennes, Kingsley, and Davidtz as warranting special praise, and calls the scene in the shower at Auschwitz “the most terrifying sequence ever filmed.” In the 2013 edition of his Movie and Video Guide, Leonard Maltin awarded the picture a four-out-of-four-star rating; he described the movie as a “staggering adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s best-seller … with such frenzied pacing that it looks and feels like nothing Hollywood has ever made before … Spielberg’s most intense and personal film to date”. James Verniere of the Boston Herald noted the film’s restraint and lack of sensationalism, and called it a “major addition to the body of work about the Holocaust.” In his review for The New York Review of Books, British critic John Gross said his misgivings that the story would be overly sentimentalized “were altogether misplaced. Spielberg shows a firm moral and emotional grasp of his material. The film is an outstanding achievement.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chet Day has degrees in math, physics, EE/computer science, and business admin. He retired in 1995 from computer communications research for Bell System. Chet is on the UMASC Arts and Presentations Committee and volunteers for UMASC/UMA College of Arts & Sciences Concert Series. He and Deena have 4 grandchildren.
Art Ray is a graduate of the University of Maine in electrical engineering and retired after 35 years at CMP. A student of UMASC since Fall 2003. Art does PowerPoint lectures on art and Maine local history for the Granite Hill/Brown Bag programs.
Peter Ezzy is an early supporter of Maine Senior Colleges and has served on numerous UMASC committees. He recently retired from State service after working in the human services program area for over thirty-three years. He also served as a reserve officer with the Maine Emergency Management Agency. After completing undergraduate and graduate studies at UM at Orono, he served proudly in the USAF. He is also active with the Maine Association of Retirees. He is an avid gardener and outdoorsman.