He's really nice but you'll end up having most of your interaction with the TA. Assignments not too difficult, some interesting info and movies. You don't really have to buy assigned books as he never goes over them in class. He also goes on numerous tangents that can get annoying. But I would take this class if just for the fact that it is enjoyable. I learned most of the actual useful data for the film industry in the TA sessions.
I guess Falk must have studied since he first started teaching this class, because he definitely seems to know what he's talking about now. This class is really structured like an intro course. You go over a lot of the same things as you do in intro, about the advent of film and the basic history, but you also go into more detail. The films are pretty boring, with the exception of the Chaplin and Keaton (in my opinion), but Falk does his best to make it at least slightly interesting. As a film major, I did find it interesting to learn about the history of film. Unfortunately, watching silent films week after week can get pretty draining. I was wondering why more people haven't reviewed this class, and then I realized there's really not much to say about it. It's a requirement, so you'll have to take it no matter what, so these reviews don't matter much. And the class is pretty straightforward. The workload isn't too bad, and you watch a lot of silent films. That's about it.
Falk came in the first class and admitted that he really had no idea what he was doing teaching Silent Cinema, since his expertise is in producing (he used to run Orion Pictures back in the day). But Falk knew the films well, but simply struggled to describe a cohesive narrative for the class. He's a funny guy and a decent lecturer, but he didn't really know where the class was going. He did choose some great films (The Last Laugh, The Crowd, Passion of Joan of Arc), along with a couple sleepers (everyone in that class will remember the day we watchedâ€”or didn't watchâ€”Earth). Falk made the mistake though of often showing a series of clips from a film in order to capture the essence, which rarely worked. The last class though, he spent at least a 1/2 hour getting feedback, so I wouldn't be surprised if the class dramatically improves the next time he teaches it.
If you have ever seen a movie take this course. Leon Falk played an extremely important part in Orion Pictures before it went under and his lectures are chalk full of crazy personal anecdotes about Pierce Brosnan, Robert Evans, Tarantino, and the Weinstein brothers. He is a current producer and has amazing personal insight into the Hollywood scene. Even if you're not planning on taking over a studio one day this class is still great. Super relaxed lecturing style filled with hilarious, juicy, and often shocking personal stories about insider Hollywood. We once spent an entire lecture talking about the movie 300 since it had just come out. Even if you just show up for the film (which is totally fine since no one ever takes attendance) the class is rewarding. I used to hate old movies, however; he screens amazing old and new films that are both relevant and extremely entertaining. Class usually begins 10 minutes late with a brand new explanation of why Leon is late, which are invariably hilarious. He claims to have given me an A because i was one of the 5 people who showed up to class last semester on a particularly blizzardy day. This is the only class I would not skip. Having said all this, I would also like to say that if you are a prospective film major or would like to explore the possibility of becoming one, TAKE THIS CLASS and talk to Leon he is extremely receptive and helpful to those who wish to pursue a career in the film industry and full of helpful advice. Overall the best and most rewarding class I have ever taken.