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16 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What makes film popular?


Explosive action

Clear distinctions between good and evil

Enthusiastic audiences

Casting choices

Special effects



Cult following


Based on a true story/established story (e.g. book)


Explosive action

Enthusiastic audiences

How do we measure film popularity?

Film critics

Box office Analysis


Large media presence

Legacy, sequel/remake- universe creation MCU/DCU

Awards and nominations

What is transitional cinema?

A developing concept within film studies that encompasses a range of theories relating to the effects of globalization upon the cultural and economic aspects of film.

What factors effect the definition of the word popular?

Rise of industrial capitalism

The division between high and low culture

The Hypodermic syringe model of reception

The Hypodermic Syringe Model is...

A theory that implies that mass media has a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences. Mass media in the 30s-50s was perceived as a powerful influencer. Factors contributing to the strong effect theory: fast rise and popularity of radio and TV, emergence of persuasion industry (advertising etc.), scientific studies (e.g. Payne Fund) and Hitler's monopolisation of the mass media to unite the Germans and the Nazi party.

Post-150s sociology insists that we cannot predict what an audience might do with a text. Also there is no such thing as reading too deeply into a film.


High versus low culture in cinema.

The mass audience goes to see the less cultured option.

High= art cinema

Low= blockbuster action films

There are alternative uses of films.

E.g. My Little Pony, adult engagement with children's films

The Wizard of Oz became a cult classic for the LBGTQ community

The Room, 'so bad it's good'

Kevin Glynn quote, popularity can be indicated by how the media is both enjoyed and not.

“A … useful indicator of the degree to which a cultural object or practice is ‘popular’ is the extent to which it is both enjoyed and reviled or trivialized by social elites and official situations.”

Kevin Glynn (2000) Tabloid Culture: Trash Taste, Popular Power and the Transformation of American Television. Durham: DUP. pp.8-9

Can popular film open up a space to 'fight the power'?

“Although popular culture rarely traffics in radical cultural politics, it nevertheless opens spaces where some progressive forces can develop and even gain social momentum.” (Glynn 2000, 10)

Key terms of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002):


Taste as a marker of class

Popular aesthetic


Illegitimate/legitimate culture

He believe taste is culturally informed. You are trained and educated to like certain things. “Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier.”

Film critics as 'cultural gate keepers'.

The job of the ‘cultural gatekeeper’ changes because now anyway can write a review.Peeping Tom was incredibly reviled when Michael Powell first released it (1960). Even though Psycho was released the same year. It was rated X. However, now, in the present day it has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also rated as one of the best films of all time. It has been moved to a higher culture art -form. The role of the cultural gatekeeper has changed massively.

Habitus definition...

Socialised norms or tendencies that guide behaviour and thinking. "Habitus is ‘the way society becomes deposited in persons in the form of lasting dispositions, or trained capacities and structured propensities to think, feel and act in determinant ways, which then guide them."

Illegitimate vs legitimate culture...

"Cultural reproduction – the major role of the education system, according to Bourdieu, is cultural reproduction. This is the reproduction of the culture of the dominant classes. These groups have the power to impose meanings and to impose them as legitimate. They are able to define their own culture as worthy of being sought and possessed and to establish it as the basis for knowledge in the education system."

"Formal refinement, found in “legitimate culture,” tends to obscure the art, and notes that the obscurity is often interpreted as, “a desire to keep the uninitiated at arms length”

Popular aesthetic...

Different amounts of cultural capital produce different structures of taste. Consider two main ones: popular and high aesthetics. The 'popular aesthetic' favours functions over form, it dislikes experimentation, it likes logical and ordered plots, as in life. It features a deep-rooted demand for participation, a strong desire to be able to enter the fictional world and identify with the characters.

Peeping Tom

Loner Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) works at a film studio during the day and, at night, takes racy photographs of women. Also he's making a documentary on fear, which involves recording the reactions of victims as he murders them. He befriends Helen (Anna Massey), the daughter of the family living in the apartment below his, and he tells her vaguely about the movie he is making. She sneaks into Mark's apartment to watch it and is horrified by what she sees -- especially when Mark catches her.