Online course: A Chronicle of the Frontier: The Western as Myth and History (returning Dec 3)

Chronicle of the Frontier

A CHRONICLE OF THE FRONTIER:

THE WESTERN AS MYTH AND HISTORY

­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (December 2022 – March 2023)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 19 Western features (and one short film) made between 1903 and 2010. Arranged as a chronicle of American history, these films collectively depict – and mythologize – a century and a half of frontier life, from the Creek War of 1813 to the lingering West of the 1960s.

The course will examine the history behind the myths, how these movies were made, and the aesthetics of the Western film. It will not only cover the American Western but also Westerns produced by Italy, Germany, and Mexico. We’ll also study the careers of legendary directors such as John Ford, Clint Eastwood, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, Anthony Mann, and Budd Boetticher. It is designed as both an overview for curious newcomers and a fresh look for long-time fans of this great and often controversial American genre.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two) and occasionally read a short article. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

Weekly session: Saturdays at 12pm PT/3pm ET (North America)
(8pm UK time/9pm CET)

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com for further information.

LECTURE PLAN

December 3
Lecture 1. Introduction: The Western as Myth and History
COMANCHE STATION (1960) – Budd Boetticher [73min]
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) – Sergio Leone [99min]
Short: The Great Train Robbery (1903) – Edwin S. Porter [13min]

December 10
Lecture 2. The Wild Frontier (1813-1845)
DAVY CROCKETT: KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER (1955) – Norman Foster [92min]
MEEK’S CUTOFF (2010) – Kelly Reichardt [104min]

December 17
Lecture 3. The Chisholm Trail (1851-1865)
RED RIVER (1948) – Howard Hawks [133min]
Reading: Excerpt from Roughing It by Mark Twain

* HOLIDAY BREAK *

January 14
Lecture 4. The American Civil War and its Aftermath (1860s)
THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976) – Clint Eastwood [135min]
 

January 21
Lecture 5. The Franco-Mexican War (1860s)
VERA CRUZ (1954) – Robert Aldrich [94min]

January 28
Lecture 6. The Apache Wars (1870s-1886)
FORT APACHE (1948) – John Ford [125min]
WINNETOU – 2. TEIL [LAST OF THE RENEGADES] (1964) – Harald Rienl [94min]
Reading: Excerpt from Story of his Life by Geronimo

February 4
Lecture 7. Dodge City and Tombstone (1876-1882)
WINCHESTER ’73 (1950) – Anthony Mann [97min]
MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) – John Ford [97min]

February 11
Lecture 8. Outlaws (1880-85)
ONE-EYED JACKS (1961) – Marlon Brando [141min]
Reading: Excerpt from The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid by Pat Garrett

* ONE WEEK BREAK *

February 25
Lecture 9. The Johnson County War (1889-1893)
SHANE (1953) – George Stevens [118min]
Reading: Excerpt from The Virginian by Owen Wister 

March 4
Lecture 10. The Ice Frontier (1898-1900)
THE GREAT SILENCE (1968) – Sergio Corbucci [105min]
THE SPOILERS (1942) – Ray Enright [87min]

March 11
Lecture 11. The Mexican Revolution and After (1910s-1920s)
LA CUCARACHA [THE SOLDIERS OF PANCHO VILLA] (1959) – Ismael Rodríguez [97min]
THE THREE AMIGOS (1986) – John Landis [103min]
Reading: Excerpt from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven

March 18
Lecture 12. The Lingering Frontier (1920s-1962)
COMES A HORSEMAN (1978) – Alan J. Pakula [116min]
LONELY ARE THE BRAVE (1962) – David Miller [107min]
Reading: Excerpt from Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

Online course: Dark City Confidential: A New Look at Classic Noir (1941-59)

DARK CITY CONFIDENTIAL:

A NEW LOOK AT CLASSIC NOIR (1941-59)

­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (November 2022 – February 2023)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 17 key films of the classic Film Noir era (1941-1959) as well as 7 classic pieces of noir fiction. The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation on a set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two), and occasionally read a short story. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

There are two identical weekly sessions to choose from:

Saturdays at 5pm UK time/6pm CET [which is 9am PT / 12pm ET in North America]

or

Tuesdays at 7:30pm UK time/8:30pm CET [which is 11.30am PT / 2.30pm ET in North America]

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Enrollments are open. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com .

LECTURE PLAN

November 5 (Sat) or 8 (Tues)
Lecture 1. The Shamus
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) – John Huston [1hr41]
Reading: ‘Fly Paper’ by Dashiell Hammett

November 12 (Sat) or 15 (Tues)
Lecture 2. Knight Moves
MURDER MY SWEET (1944) – Edward Dmytryk [1hr35]
Reading: ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ by Raymond Chandler

November 19 (Sat) or 22 (Tues)
Lecture 3. The Sewn-Up City
THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS (1946) – Lewis Milestone [1hr56]
Reading: ‘The Homecoming’ by Dorothy B. Hughes

November 26 (Sat) or 29 (Tues)
Lecture 4. A Way To Lose
OUT OF THE PAST (1947) – Jacques Tourneur [1hr37]
DETOUR (1945) – Edgar G. Ulmer [1hr08]
Reading: from The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

December 3 (Sat) or 6 (Tues)
Lecture 5. Eyes on the City
THE NAKED CITY (1948) – Jules Dassin [1hr36]
HE WALKED BY NIGHT (1948) – Alfred L. Werker/Anthony Mann [1hr19]

December 10 (Sat) or 13 (Tues)
Lecture 6. The Big Carnival
ACE IN THE HOLE (1951) – Billy Wilder [1hr51]
Reading: ‘Forever After’ by Jim Thompson

December 17 (Sat) or 20 (Tues)
Lecture 7. Murder Most Foul
IN A LONELY PLACE (1950) – Nicholas Ray [1hr34]
THE BIG HEAT (1953) – Fritz Lang [1hr30]

** HOLIDAY BREAK **

January 14 (Sat) or 17 (Tues)
Lecture 8. Ida Lupino’s B-Noir
THE HITCH-HIKER (1953) – Ida Lupino [1hr11]
PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954) – Don Siegel [1hr20]

January 21 (Sat) or 24 (Tues)
Lecture 9. Fighting a Swamp with a Teaspoon
THE BIG COMBO (1955) – Joseph E. Lewis [1hr46]
Reading: ‘Some Lucky License’ by Charles Willeford

January 28 (Sat) or 31 (Tues)
Lecture 10. This Dirty Town
SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (1957) – Alexander MacKendrick [1hr36]

February 4 (Sat) or 7 (Tues)
Lecture 11. On the Border
TOUCH OF EVIL (1958) – Orson Welles [1998: 1hr51]
Reading: from A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes

February 11 (Sat) or 14 (Tues)
Lecture 12. Samuel Fuller
HOUSE OF BAMBOO (1955) – Samuel Fuller [1hr42]

THE CRIMSON KIMONO (1959) – Samuel Fuller [1hr22]

Online course: American Cinema in the 70s: A New Look at New Hollywood

AMERICAN CINEMA IN THE 70s:
A NEW LOOK AT NEW HOLLYWOOD

A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE
(October 2022 – January 2023)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

The 1970s is one of the richest periods in American film history. In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 16 key films of the New Hollywood era from such essential directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Elaine May, Peter Bogdanovich, Arthur Penn, Sidney Poitier, John Huston, Orson Welles, George Lucas, and William Friedkin.

The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll examine the transformation of traditional genres such as the western and the detective film, and the tremendous changes in the film industry before the rise of the blockbuster era. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation on a set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two) in preparation for the session. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

Weekly session: Sundays at 9am PT/12pm ET [North America] (which is 5pm UK time/6pm CET).

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Email matthewaspreygear@gmail.com to enroll.

LECTURE PLAN

October 16
Lecture 1: The Dawn of New Hollywood
Movie: FIVE EASY PIECES (Bob Rafelson, 1970)

October 23
Lecture 2: The Revisionist Western
Movie: BUCK AND THE PREACHER (Sidney Poitier, 1972) & LAWMAN (Michael Winner, 1971)

** ONE WEEK BREAK **

November 6
Lecture 3: Nixon at the Movies
Movie: THE CONVERSATION (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

November 13
Lecture 4: Nostalgia and Forgetting
Movies: WHAT’S UP, DOC? (Peter Bogdanovich, 1972) & FAT CITY (John Huston, 1972) 

November 20
Lecture 5: Men and Women on the Road
Movies: SCARECROW (Jerry Schatzberg, 1973) & ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (Martin Scorsese, 1974)

November 27
Lecture 6: New Hollywood and its Discontents
Movie: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (Orson Welles, 1970-6/2018)

December 4
Lecture 7: Winning Streaks
Movie: CALIFORNIA SPLIT (Robert Altman, 1974) & MIKEY AND NICKY (Elaine May, 1976)

December 11
Lecture 8: Crimes on the Edge of America
Movie: NIGHT MOVES (Arthur Penn, 1975)

December 18
Lecture 9: Crimes on the Edge of the Galaxy
Movie: STAR WARS (George Lucas, 1977)

** HOLIDAY BREAK **

January 15
Lecture 10: The Wages of Fear
Movie: SORCERER (William Friedkin, 1977)

January 22
Lecture 11: Napalm in the Morning
Movie: HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE (Fax Bahr/George Hickenlooper/Eleanor Coppola, 1991)

January 29
Lecture 12: Permanent Vietnam
Movie: CUTTER’S WAY (Ivan Passer, 1981)

PAST STUDENT COMMENTS

“I truly enjoyed Matthew Asprey Gear’s American Cinema in the 70’s course on New Hollywood.  Matthew’s thoughtful film selections and insightful lectures provided new perspectives on a set of American films that I knew and loved as well as introducing me to new films that are now favorites.  His guided discussions about the films also allowed students to express ideas and hone their understanding of the films in an open and supportive forum. I highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in learning more about film history and this era of Hollywood.”

– Doug

“Matthew’s 70s cinema course is a great way to enjoy some of the deeper cuts from the decade that gave us New Hollywood. It was fascinating to consider these films in the wider American context of the time. Above all, it was a lot of fun!”

– Ronan

“Matthew’s 70s Hollywood course revealed New Hollywood as an authentic film movement, not just a time when a lot of good movies happened to be made, and opened up my eyes to the idea that a body of films from this era contained a common approach or feeling, even if that approach wasn’t planned. Matthew includes a lot of interesting research and revealing facts in his lectures. He brings cross-disciplinary knowledge to these lectures, for instance exploring the films’ relationships to literature and discussing musical soundtracks in a way that reveals great musical knowledge.”

– Jesse

“The 70s course was informative and fun. The classes were a mix of well researched short lectures and lively discussions. The discussion ranged from the directors, writers and actors to the context of contemporary events. The movies all stand alone as compelling projects as well as weave together to illustrate a larger story of the period. I recommend the class for pure enjoyment but also as the framework to continue exploring on your own.”

– Derek

Online course: Paris Belongs To Them: The French New Wave (1956-65)

A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (Autumn, 2022)
PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original film studies course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 14 feature films and 7 shorts from the legendary French New Wave (1956-65).

The course will examine this revolutionary film movement as well as the careers of directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Jacques Rivette, Louis Malle, and Alain Resnais, along with lesser known filmmakers such as Jacques Rozier and Jean Rouch. The lectures will explore these films in the wider context of French culture, history, and politics.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two). There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery.

Weekly session: Sundays at 12pm PT/3pm ET (North America)
(8pm UK time/9pm CET)

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com for further information.

LECTURE PLAN

September 11
Lecture 1. Introduction/Jean-Luc Godard
BREATHLESS (1960) [87min]

September 18
Lecture 2. Rising of the Wave
LE COUP DU BERGER (1956) – Jacques Rivette [28mins]
L’OPÉRA-MOUFFE [DIARY OF A PREGNANT WOMAN] (1958) – Agnès Varda [16mins]
LES MISTONS (1957) – François Truffaut [18mins]
MOI, UN NOIR (1957) – Jean Rouch [70mins]
Readings: Alexandre Astruc, ‘La Camera-Stylo’ (1948); François Truffaut, ‘A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema’ (1954)

September 25
Lecture 3. Alain Resnais
HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959)
[92mins]
NIGHT AND FOG (1956)
[29mins]

October 2
Lecture 4. Louis Malle
THE LOVERS (1958)
[90mins]
ZAZIE DANS LE MÉTRO (1960) [89mins]

October 9
Lecture 5. Jacques Rivette
PARIS BELONGS TO US (1961) [144mins]

October 16
Lecture 6. François Truffaut
SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER (1960) [92mins]
ANTOINE AND COLETTE (1962) [32mins]

October 23
Lecture 7. Cinéma Vérité
CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER (1961) – Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin [85mins]

— ONE-WEEK BREAK —

November 6
Lecture 8. Jacques Rozier
ADIEU PHILIPPINE (1962) [105mins]

November 13
Lecture 9. Agnès Varda
CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 (1962) [90mins]
SALUT LES CUBAINS (1963) [30mins]

November 20
Lecture 10. Strange Adventures
ALPHAVILLE (1965) – Jean-Luc Godard [99mins]
LA JETÉE (1962) – Chris Marker [28mins]

November 27
Lecture 11. Seeing The New Wave
LA BONHEUR [HAPPINESS] (1965)Agnès Varda [80mins]
PARIS VU PAR [SIX IN PARIS] (1965) -Rohmer/Godard/Chabrol/Pollet/Rouch/Douchet [92mins]

December 4
Lecture 12. A Film Is Like A Battleground
PIERROT LE FOU (1965) – Jean-Luc Godard [110mins]

Header image: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons [File:1965Paris006.jpg]

Online course: New Light on the Old City: American Neo-Noir (returning Aug 6, 2022)

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NEW LIGHT ON THE OLD CITY: AMERICAN NEO-NOIR (1966-85)

­­A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE (August-November, 2022)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

In this original 12-week online course, to be delivered via the Google Meet platform, we’ll study 16 key American films of the early Neo-Noir era (1966-1985) as well as 6 short pieces of noir writing.

The lectures will explore these films through the stories of their production and in the wider context of American society, history, and politics. We’ll also examine the careers of the major directors and writers.

Classes are limited to a maximum of 12 students. Each week I’ll give an original lecture presentation on the set film and theme and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All participants will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two) and occasionally read a short story. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

Weekly session: Saturdays at 12pm PT/3pm ET (North America)
(8pm UK time/9pm CET)

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be recorded and available for download if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140. Contact me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com for further information.

LECTURE PLAN

August 6
Lecture 1. Experiments in Noir Aesthetics
SECONDS (1966) – John Frankenheimer [107min]

August 13
Lecture 2. The Stark/Westlake Connection
POINT BLANK (1967)
– John Boorman [92min]
THE OUTFIT (1973)
– John Flynn [102min]
Reading: Excerpt from The Hunter (1962) by Richard Stark

August 20
Lecture 3. American Paranoia
KLUTE (1971) – Alan J. Pakula [114min]
Reading: Short stories by Patricia Highsmith and Nedra Tyre

* LATE SUMMER BREAK *

September 10
Lecture 4. Dirty Cops and Small Time Crooks
DIRTY HARRY (1971) – Don Siegel [102min]
THE LAST RUN (1971) – Richard Fleischer [95min]

September 17
Lecture 5. Guns in the Street
ACROSS 110th STREET (1972) – Barry Shear [102min]

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973) – Peter Yates [103min]
Reading: Excerpt from Mikey and Nicky screenplay by Elaine May

September 24
Lecture 6. The Private Eye Revisited I.
NIGHT MOVES (1975) – Arthur Penn [100min]

Reading: Excerpt from The Last Good Kiss (1978) by James Crumley  

October 1
Lecture 7. The Private Eye Revisited II.
THE LONG GOODBYE (1973) – Robert Altman [112min]

October 8
Lecture 8. The Private Eye Revisited III.
CHINATOWN (1974) – Roman Polanski [131min]

October 15
Lecture 9. Is it Safe?
MARATHON MAN (1976) – John Schlesinger [125min]

October 22
Lecture 10. The Late Show
THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (1978 version) – John Cassavetes [108min]
Reading: Excerpt from Cutter and Bone (1976) by Newton Thornburg

* BREAK *

November 5
Lecture 11. Tech Noir
BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (1982/2007) – Ridley Scott [117min]

November 12
Lecture 12. Indie Noir
BLOOD SIMPLE (1984) – Joel Coen [97min]
AFTER HOURS (1985) – Martin Scorsese [97min]

Online Orson Welles course: The Other Side of the Shadow (Returning July 16, 2022)

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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHADOW:
A NEW LOOK AT ORSON WELLES

A 12-WEEK ONLINE COURSE
(July-October, 2022)

PRESENTED BY MATTHEW ASPREY GEAR

This original 12-week online course, delivered via the Google Meet platform, is designed for serious Orson Welles fans as well as newcomers. We’re going to have a lot of fun as we dive deeply into the work of one of the 20th century’s greatest filmmakers.

The lectures cover the obvious Welles classics — Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, and Chimes at Midnight — but will also explore some of the lesser-known films and TV programs, including many works that have appeared posthumously (and many unproduced screenplays that have never been published). I’m also eager to share the discoveries I’ve made in the Orson Welles archives in Turin, Munich, Michigan, and Indiana.

Each week I’ll give an original fifty-minute lecture presentation on a set film and topic and then lead an in-depth group discussion. All students will have a chance to contribute. The only weekly homework will be to watch a film (or two) in preparation for the session. Many of the films are easily available on YouTube or other streaming platforms. There will be no final exam or essay. This course is designed purely for enjoyment and discovery. All are welcome.

Each group will be limited to a maximum of 12 students. There are two identical weekly sessions to choose from:

Saturdays at 5pm UK time/6pm CET [which is 9am PT / 12pm ET in North America]

or

Tuesdays at 7:30pm UK time/8:30pm CET [which is 11.30am PT / 2.30pm ET in North America]

(NB. The lecture portion of the session will be available to download as a video if you are unable to attend a live session and need to catch up.)

Price per student: US$140 (or £110). Please email me at matthewaspreygear@gmail.com to book your place in the course.

LECTURE PLAN

July 16 (Sat) or 19 (Tues)
Lecture 1: Introduction – The Myths and the Man
Movie: MAGICIAN: THE ASTONISHING LIFE AND WORK OF ORSON WELLES (documentary, 2014)

A: WELLES’S STYLE AND METHODS

July 23 (Sat) or 26 (Tues)
Lecture 2: Orson and Film Noir
Movie: THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

July 30 (Sat) or August 2 (Tues)
Lecture 3: Inventing Independent Film
Movies: FILMING OTHELLO (1978); ORSON WELLES: ONE-MAN BAND (documentary, 1995)]

August 6 (Sat) or 9 (Tues)
Lecture 4: The Essay Film
Movie: F FOR FAKE (1973); THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH (TV pilot, 1958)

August 13 (Sat) or 16 (Tues)
Lecture 5: Return to Hollywood
Movie: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (1970-76/2018)

B: WELLES’S WORLD

August 20 (Sat) or 23 (Tues)
Lecture 6: Orson’s 19th Century: Dinesen, Conrad, Melville, and Stevenson
Movie: THE IMMORTAL STORY (1968); Screenplay reading: THE DREAMERS (c. 1979)

* TWO WEEK BREAK *

September 10 (Sat) or 13 (Tues)
Lecture 7: Orson Across Europe
Movie: MR. ARKADIN (1955)

September 17 (Sat) or 20 (Tues)
Lecture 8: Orson’s Spain
Movies: AROUND THE WORLD WITH ORSON WELLES: PAYS BASQUE I (TV episode, 1955); IN THE LAND OF DON QUIXOTE: TEMPO DI FLAMENCO (TV episode, 1964)

C: WELLES AND LITERATURE

September 24 (Sat) or 27 (Tues)
Lecture 9: Adaptation
Movie: THE TRIAL (1962)

October 1 (Sat) or 4 (Tues)
Lecture 10: Shakespeare
Movie: CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT (1965)

D: WELLES AND AMERICA

October 8 (Sat) or 11 (Tues)
Lecture 11: Power in the Streets
Movie: TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)

October 15 (Sat) or 18 (Tues)
Lecture 12: The Post-Lincoln Republic
Movie: THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942) and CITIZEN KANE (1941)

*

PAST STUDENT COMMENTS
 
“The Orson Welles online course The Other Side of the Shadow by Matthew Asprey Gear offers an inspiring overview of the work, inspiration, and drives of a world-class filmmaker whose relevance is often reduced to a few early-career masterpieces. I can only recommend it!”
– Matthijs Wouter Knol, CEO and Director, European Film Academy
 
“Matthew is an excellent researcher and lecturer. He put Welles and his films into a fascinating historical context that has greatly enhanced my viewing experience.”
Charles
 
“The class was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the lesser known details of Welles’s career and to discourse over his films with like-minded enthusiasts!” 
Tyler, Chicago
 
“Matthew is very generous in sharing the fruits of the deep archival research he has done on Orson Welles. His expertise about his subject is plain to see and his thorough command of knowledge about Welles reaches well beyond the man’s work as a filmmaker to the many other media he worked in (theatre, television, radio, etc.). Matthew’s lectures are deeply informative and visually interesting. He is particularly good at drawing hidden thematic and historical connections between seemingly disparate projects in Welles’s work, helping to reveal the kernels of new ways to think about Welles as an artist. He is a great facilitator of the conversation portion of the class, helping to keep the conversation lively and guiding us toward stimulating subjects.”
Jesse
 
“Matthew Asprey Gear’s 12-week course was an opportunity to have an expert guide lead me through both familiar and obscure corners of Welles’s work. The format was an inviting way for both Welles neophytes and old Wellesians to join in a learning community and explore the unendingly fascinating films and life of a great artist.”
Josh, Texas
 
“It’s Terrific! Matthew Asprey Gear brings a wealth of Orson Welles research from firsthand sources and illuminates even the most ardent Welles fans. Come for the informative deep-dive lectures and stay for the lively discussions about Welles’ s many noses, wigs, cheap sets, and bad accents — and of course, the undeniable genius present in most of his films.”
Christian, Fort Lauderdale
 
“I highly recommend Matthew’s online Orson Welles course, for both beginners and seasoned Wellesians. The course brings new perspectives and insights to Welles’ extraordinary career.”
Ronan, Galway
 
“There was a sense of discovery even for someone who’s been interested in Orson Welles for more than a decade. A carefully planned structure made the course very intriguing.” 
Petri, Finland
 
“If you are an old Welles fan it is certainly a great opportunity to review and discuss his work and expand your knowledge on unrealized projects, screenplays, literary influences and the diverse facets of his life and work. If you are new to Orson Welles… lucky you! You will be in the right place to have a great overview of his extraordinary work that is certainly not limited to Citizen Kane. In both cases, fun and enjoyment are guaranteed!”

Elliot, Switzerland

“It was like knocking at the door where Orson is sleeping and wake him up with sweets and going down in the garden with the dog for a walk each Monday. Sometimes we talk sometimes we just walk, and it’s great the same.”
Emiliano, Rome
 
“Incomplete projects and hired-gun work in Welles’ filmography have usually worked against his reputation. But Welles scholars and aficionados, Matthew Asprey Gear among them, find in those inexhaustible plans, projects, and versions-of-projects, an artistic strength. If the truism is true that artworks are never completed, only abandoned, then Welles more than most artists gives us a rare chance to engage living projects as something more than a passive viewer. At least this is true of “The Magnificent Ambersons” or “Mr. Arkadin” or “Other Side of the Wind” – and of course Welles has just as many “traditionally completed” films as “Kane”, “Chimes at Midnight”, “The Trial”, etc. (Somewhere in between lay “F For Fake”, a finished film definitively about incompletion and fragmented points of view!) In any case, Matthew Asprey Gear’s class offers a robust survey of the completed and the uncompleted in Welles’ oeuvre, using the former to better understand the latter; and offering details from the archives at Michigan and Indiana and Munich one normally wouldn’t be able to come by (for instance, the weekly “unproduced screenplay of the week” feature). Highly recommended!”
Marc, San Francisco
 

Publication: The Black Prince

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My review of Adam Roberts’ 2018 novel The Black Prince, based on an original screenplay by Anthony Burgess, was published at the blog of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on March 22.

It begins:

“The 1960s was a fine decade for films on the Plantagenets and Tudors, from Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968) to A Man For All Seasons (1966) and Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). Anthony Burgess’s unproduced screenplay The Black Prince, written in 1970 for the producer Michael Holden, similarly attempts the English history genre, although Burgess’s work was not derived from a successful contemporary play. Less dialogue-dependent than those others and more panoramic, his screenplay is keener to drag us through the medieval muckheap of war, plague, and truly revolting meals. ‘Our aim is to diminish the pretentions of the fourteenth century,’ Burgess notes. He succeeds….”

Continue reading at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation blog.