Document 195600

Directions: On the DVD you will view two political cartoons. Work with one or two partners. Discuss each
cartoon, then complete the questions below.
Still 4-2: Listening for his Master’s Voice
1. The dog is a symbol. What does the dog symbolize, or represent? Provide a reason for your answer.
2. The phonograph is really not a phonograph. What is it?
3. Who or what is being depicted in this cartoon?
4. Is the depiction favorable or unfavorable? Provide a reason to support your answer.
5. How might this depiction differ in meaning if the cartoonist drew a bear with long claws or a roaring lion, rather
than a dog?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Visual Thinking 4-1
Visual Thinking Activity 4-1: How to Read Depictions in Political Cartoons
(Visual-Thinking Activity 4-1, continued)
Thinking 4-1
Still 4-3: “Doing Right Well!”
1. What visual symbols does the cartoonist use to depict President Roosevelt?
2. What visual symbol does the cartoonist use to depict the American people?
3. This cartoon suggests a cause-and-effect relationship. What is that relationship?
4. Is this depiction of the president favorable or unfavorable? Provide a reason to support your answer
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Directions: Read each passage about characters in the film, then answer the questions that follow. Write your
answers on a separate sheet of paper.
Diz Moore
1. The first time the audience sees newspaper reporter Diz Moore he is sitting, then lying on the couch just outside Senator
Smith’s office. Other images of Diz are in the restaurant with Saunders soon after the senator arrives. The audience also
sees Diz in the National Press Club having a drink. Next, he is in an apartment fixing a drink, and later, in a restaurant
with Saunders . . . again drinking. Diz sits in the press gallery in the Senate Chamber, but the audience doesn’t actually
see him enthusiastically throwing himself into his work until the filibuster begins. These multiple images work together
to create a depiction of Diz Moore, the newspaper reporter.
a. What might an audience infer about Diz from these images?
b. Is the depiction of Diz favorable or unfavorable? Provide a reason for your answer.
National Press Club Reporters
2. Nosey runs away from Jefferson Smith, who is punching all the reporters he sees. Nosey runs into the National Press
Club, where news reporters are standing at the bar. "Hello, Nosey. Who let you in here?" says Diz Moore, Saunders’s best
friend. Another reporter asks Nosey, "Why aren’t you out chasing ambulances?"
a. What does the reporter mean by “chasing ambulances”?
b. What attitude do the reporters have about Nosey? How do you know?
3. Inside the National Press Club, Jefferson Smith angrily asks the reporters around him, “Why don’t you tell the people the
truth for a change? If you thought as much about being honest as you do about being smart—" Diz Moore interrupts him
by saying, "Honest? Why, we’re the only ones who can afford to be honest in what we tell the voters. We don’t have to be
reelected, like politicians." The reporters laugh and pat Moore on the back, saying, "Hear, hear."
a. What attitude do the reporters have about themselves? How do you know?
b. Does this sequence portray a positive or negative depiction of the news media? Provide a reason for your answer.
Jim Taylor
4. Jim Taylor is a newspaper tycoon. He is not a news reporter or a news editor. He owns the newspapers—and a lot of
them. Once the filibuster starts, he tells his editors, “I want you to keep everything that Smith says or any other proSmith stuff coming from Washington out of all of our newspapers, do you understand? And out of all the others you can
line up in the state. Yeah. And those broken-down opposition papers—that cockeyed crusading bunch that don’t want to
play ball with us—I want you to tie up for twenty-four hours. . . . Stall their deliveries, push them off the street; I don’t
care what you do. Just bury them for twenty-four hours.” He later adds with angry urgency, “I don’t care what it costs.
Pay out. Come on, get moving. Get the whole state moving."
a. Taylor doesn’t own all of the newspapers in the state. How does he suggest controlling those he does not own?
b. Is this depiction of the news media positive or negative? Provide a reason for your answer.
5. When Saunders learns that Jim Taylor’s media machine has muzzled the whole state, she says sarcastically, "Freedom of
the press!" What opinion about the press is Saunders expressing?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Reading Activity 4-2
Reading Activity 4-2: Interpreting Depictions
Reading Activity 4-3
Reading Activity 4-3: The Press Backlash
Directions: Read both passages below. Each is an
excerpt from a newspaper article published in 1939.
After each passage, think about the questions that
follow and be prepared to discuss them in class.
Word Builder
backlash—a reaction that backfires
Passage A
Taken from the Christian Science Monitor, October 27, 1939.
The reporter is Richard L. Strout.
Senator Alben W. Barkley (D) of Kentucky stopped long
enough in a corridor of the Senate to express his views
forcibly and at length about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. . . .
He declared he spoke not only for himself but for the entire
Senate in his condemnation. The picture, he declared, was a
“grotesque distortion” of the way the Senate is run.
“. . . It showed the Senate as the biggest aggregation of
nincompoops on record! At one place the picture shows the
Senators walking out on Mr. Smith as a body when he is
attacked by a corrupt member. The very idea of the Senate
walking out at the behest of that old crook! It was so
grotesque it was funny. It showed the Senate made up of
crooks, led by crooks, listening to a crook. . . . It was so
vicious an idea it was a source of disgust and hilarity to every
member of Congress who saw it.”
“Didn’t some of the members praise it?” asked the
“I did not hear a single Senator praise it,” said Senator
Barkley. . . .
He declared that Senator Burton K. Wheeler (D) of Montana,
condemnation— harsh criticism
grotesque—hideous, distorted
distortion—lie, falsehood
nincompoops—dimwits, idiots
hilarity—loud laughter, wild amusement
who shared Mr. Capra’s box at the premiere, felt as he did.
Senator James F. Byrnes (D) of South Carolina called
the picture “outrageous . . . exactly the kind of picture that
dictators of totalitarian governments would like to have their
subjects believe exists in a democracy. . . .”
1. How many senators are quoted in this passage, and who are they?
2. Who—Senator Barkley or the journalist Richard Strout—believes that the film was a source of “disgust”? Give a reason
for your answer.
3. What specifically did Senator Barkley think was a “grotesque distortion” of how the Senate is run?
4. The United States is a democracy, not a government where one person rules or dictates the lives of all. What “totalitarian
governments” is Senator Byrnes referring to in the final paragraph?
5. Why might the senator’s arguments about “totalitarian governments” raise concerns among the American people in 1939?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
(Reading Activity 4-3, continued)
Passage B
Taken from the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal, November 12, 1939.
The reporter is James L. Wright.
fluke —luck, chance
virtue —righteousness, sense of justice
bibulous—inclined to drink
venal —corrupt
irked —angered
libel —slander, lies that are published
dispel —scatter, eliminate
the people that 95 out of 96 senators are corrupt, that the
federal, state, and municipal governments are corrupt; that
one corrupt boss can control the press of a state, and that
the newspapers and wire services are corrupt.’
“The whole thing was outrageous, exactly the kind of
picture that dictators of totalitarian governments would like
to have their subjects believe exists in a democracy.”
1. The first paragraph is one long sentence that summarizes the plot of the film. The rest of the article is commentary about
the film. Who or what does the reporter quote in this article?
2. What does Editor and Publisher mean when it says “technically and dramatically, the picture is excellent”?
3. Editor and Publisher states that the depiction of journalists and the news media is false. What specific words or phrases
does the spokesperson for Editor and Publisher use to describe how the film depicts journalists?
4. Compare Senator Barkley’s comment in this article with his quote in passage A.
5. Compare Senator Byrnes’s comments in this article with his quote in passage A.
6. What opinion, if any, does the reporter give of the film?
Think More About It
1. What assumptions have been made about the American people by Editor and Publisher and the two senators quoted in
both articles?
2. Comment on the similarity of the two articles. What conclusions can you make by reading two different articles, written
by two different reporters, and published in two different newspapers in two different parts of the country, which contain
such similar information?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Reading Activity 4-3
Word Builder
Audiences all over the nation are seeing the innocent
young man who is appointed senator by a fluke and comes to
the capital, where, through a one-man filibuster, his virtue
eventually triumphs after he has knocked down several bibulous newspapermen and shown up a venal Senate.
Washington correspondents are irked no less than the
senators themselves. . . . Editor and Publisher, a weekly publication of the newspaper industry, had this to say:
“Technically and dramatically, the picture is excellent.
Factually, it is a gross libel on the Senate and upon the corps
of Washington correspondents. Hollywood seems to have
returned to its pattern of presenting newspapermen as
clowns, rumpots, and scoundrels, and the one or two shafts
of white light allowed to play on the press in this picture will
not be sufficient to dispel its prevailing idea in the public
mind. The picture is in thoroughly bad taste.”
Senator Barkley of Kentucky said of the picture:
“It showed the Senate made up of crooks, led by crooks,
listening to a crook, and when the picture finally showed the
crook exposed, it came to an end without showing what happened to him.”
Senator James F. Byrnes of South Carolina called the picture “outrageous. . . . Halfway through the picture I said to
myself, ‘This is a masterpiece? A film that will go out to the
nation as an inspiration for democracy?’ When it was over I
said, ‘Here is a picture that is going to the country to tell
Reading Activity 4-4
Reading Activity 4-4: Letters of Protest
Directions: This reading activity has three parts. The first passage is a telegram sent by Ambassador Joseph
Kennedy to President Roosevelt. The remaining two are from correspondence written in response to that
telegram. All passages are historical documents. Read each passage, then answer the questions that follow
on a separate sheet of paper. Be prepared to discuss your responses in class.
Passage A
The telegram below is a copy of one Ambassador Kennedy sent to Will Hays. Hays was the director of the Motion Picture
Producers and Distributors Association.
London, Nov. 12, 1939 110AM
The Honorable
The President of the United States
Washington DC
I have sent the following telegram to Will Hays:
“Have just seen Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I consider this one of the most disgraceful things I
have ever seen done to our country. To permit this film to be shown in foreign countries and to give people
the impression that anything like this could happen in the United States Senate is to me nothing short of
criminal. I am sending a copy of this wire to the President of the United States.”
Joseph P. Kennedy
1. Where did the ambassador see the film?
2. What is the ambassador’s purpose in writing the telegram to Hays?
3. What is the ambassador’s purpose in sending a copy to the president?
Passage B
Hollywood, California, November 13, 1939
Word Builder
Joseph P. Kennedy
United States Ambassador
conveyed —expressed
acclaim —praise
Because we value your good opinion and judgment greatly
chicanery —tricks, deceit
we are deeply concerned with expressions conveyed in
your cable to Hays. Newspaper opinion throughout the
innate —natural, inborn
country editorially as well as in reviews have boldly and
enthusiastically stated “Mr. Smith” has great patriotic lift.
preachment —lesson, lecture
We do not believe this picture could have been given the
vast acclaim as it has received if the content or theme were
cynicism —distrust
either unpatriotic or constituted an attack on our form of
government. We believe and countless newspaper comments
agree that the picture develops a theme of true Americanism, showing under our democratic procedures that
the least experienced of peoples’ representatives could arise in the highest legislative halls, expose political
chicanery, and through existing Senate rules with sympathetic aid of presiding Senate officers make justice
triumph over one crooked senator. Following are actual quotations: The New York Times:
“Stirring and inspiring testimony of liberty and freedom, to simplicity and honesty, and to innate dignity of
the average man.” Herald Tribune: “Memorable.”
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
(Reading Activity 4-4, continued)
Harry Cohn, Frank Capra
1. What opinion do Cohn and Capra state about the film?
2. What argument and/or supporting details do Cohn and Capra provide to back up their opinion?
3. In your opinion, is their argument convincing?
Word Builder
Passage C
Written to Harry Cohn, Columbia Pictures, Hollywood, California
creditable —worthwhile
London, November 17, 1939
penitentiary —prison
Dear Mr. Cohn:
obituary —announcement of one
. . . I am afraid that we are looking at this picture
who has died
[Mr. Smith Goes to Washington] through different eyes. I haven’t
the slightest doubt that the picture will be successful in
inestimable —endless, unable to
be measured
America and I have no doubt that, financially, it will be
successful here and will give great pleasure to people who see
precarious —dangerous, unstable
it. It is my belief, however, that . . . it will give an idea
of our political life that will do us harm. . . .
. . . In foreign countries this film must inevitably strengthen
the mistaken impression that the United States is full of graft, corruption and lawlessness and contains
very little in politics that is creditable. For instance, today I am disgusted, in reading all the English
newspapers, to see that Al Capone’s release from the penitentiary receives front page notice, while only
one paper gives an obituary notice concerning a man who has given many years of his life to service in
the Supreme Court of our land—Mr. Justice Butler. . . . it is amazing, the impression they have about
our country being run by gangsters and crooked politicians.
. . . I feel that to show this film in foreign countries will do inestimable harm to American prestige
all over the world.
I regret exceedingly that I find it necessary to say these things. . . . The fact remains, however, that
pictures from the United States are the greatest influence on foreign public opinion of the American
mode of life. The times are precarious, the future is dark at best. We must be more careful.
Sincerely yours,
Joseph P. Kennedy
1. What does Mr. Kennedy mean when he says “we are looking at this picture through different eyes”?
2. In paragraph two, what example does Mr. Kennedy provide to support his statement that people in England
have the impression that the United States is run by gangsters and crooked politicians?
3. Mr. Kennedy says, “We must be more careful.” What does he mean?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Reading Activity 4-4
American testament as well as moving and absorbing screen drama.” Hearst papers that are constantly campaigning
on the theme of Americanism found: “Mr. Smith” great and grand and American and vigorous and advised readers
to see it. Washington Post found the theme to be an outward symbol of rugged patriotism, rugged ideals, and heroic
sacrifice. Boston Transcript: “Film honors democracy.” Atlanta Constitution: “Stirring preachment of patriotism.”
Cleveland News declares: “Film stifles cynicism as it goes about demonstrating that no matter how evil may creep
into high government places, the forces for good in our democratic way will win out.”
Reading Activity 4-5
Reading Activity 4-5: Cheers Overseas
Directions: When the Nazi army occupied France, the Nazis banned American and British films. Read the
news article below, then answer the questions. Be prepared to discuss your responses in class.
Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, chosen
by French theaters as the final English-language film to
be shown before the recent Nazi-ordered countrywide
ban on American and British films went into effect, was
roundly cheered. . . .
Full text of the report, dated Berne, October 22, reads:
“. . . When the ban became known . . . the French people
flocked to the cinemas to get seats for the last showing of
an American film. In many provincial theatres Frank
Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, in the original
English version, was chosen for the occasion. . . .”
Storms of spontaneous applause broke out at the
sequence when, under the Abraham Lincoln monument in
the capital, the word “Liberty” appeared on the screen and
the Stars and Stripes began fluttering over the head of the
Great Emancipator in the cause of liberty.
Similarly cheers and acclamation punctuated the
famous speech
Word Builder
of the young
senator on
provincial —rural, country
man’s rights
and dignity.
spontaneous —sudden, Impulsive
“It was,”
writes the . . .
Emancipator —a person who
frees others. This is a reference
to Abraham Lincoln.
“as though the
joys, suffering,
acclamation —praise
love and
hatred, the
hopes and wishes
of an entire people who value freedom above everything,
found expression for the last time. . . .”
—The Hollywood Reporter, November 4, 1942
1. What information about Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is given in paragraph one?
2. Where was the film shown?
3. At what points during the film did the French audience applaud and/or cheer?
4. Explain in your own words the meaning of the last sentence in this article.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Directions: Read the passage below, then answer the questions
that follow. Be prepared to discuss your responses in class.
In the days following the attack of American troops and ships at Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii, Americans braced themselves for war. Like thousands of
patriotic Americans, Frank Capra volunteered for military service. The
army gave him the rank of major. In February 1942, Major Frank Capra
left Hollywood for Washington, D.C. He thought he would be making military training films, the kind that taught new recruits how to load a gun or
how to jump from an airplane. The Chief of Staff, General George
Marshall, had a different idea.
The General’s Greatest Worry
General Marshall met with the filmmaker and explained the problem
the country faced. America was raising an army of eight million citizens.
Most were men who had never served in the military before. Most had
never even seen a gun let alone shot another person with one. The military
could train these men and would. The general’s greatest worry, however,
was this: Most of these citizen-soldiers did not understand why they were
marching to war. The high commanders of Japan and Germany were
counting on our citizen army to be our greatest weakness, the general said.
“Americans have a long record of survival when their skins are at
stake,” General Marshall told Capra. Then he asked, “But will American
boys take the iron discipline of wartime training? Could they endure the
killing cold of the Arctic, the hallucinating heat of the desert, or the smelly
muck of the jungle? Can they shake off the psychological diseases indigenous to all armies—boredom and homesickness?”
Capra sat silently.
“In my judgment,” the general continued, “the answer is Yes! . . . if—
and this is a large if—they are given answers as to why they are in uniform,
and if the answers they get are worth fighting and dying for.”
Word Builder
recruits —trainees, new soldiers
citizen army —soldiers who volunteer or
are drafted into service, as opposed to
experienced career warriors
hallucinating —seeing or hearing things
that don’t exist
psychological —mental, emotional
indigenous —a natural part of
or native to
Siegfrieds —a negative slang
word for people of German heritage
pagan —heathen, not Christian
hypnotic —spellbinding
troth —promise, vow
propaganda —information or publicity
created and distributed by a group in
order to spread an idea, policy, or cause
Major Capra’s Mission
This became Major Capra’s mission: to make a series of documentary films that would clearly and powerfully
explain to America’s soldiers why they were in uniform, why they must fight.
Capra himself didn’t know the causes of this terrible world war. Worse, he had never made a documentary film.
Still, he saluted sharply. “I’ll make you the best documentary ever made, Sir!”
Afterward, alone, Capra wasn’t so confident. His movies were entertainment with famous celebrities and costumes
and set designs. Documentaries were informational pictures. They didn’t focus on characters and conflicts and stories. .
. . Or did they?
Capra gave himself some homework assignments. First, he had to learn the causes of the war. How did America
and the world find themselves at the mercy of dictator-rulers such as Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy,
and Emperor Hirohito of Japan? That meant digging into history and politics.
Second, he viewed a film made in the 1930s in Germany by a woman named Leni Riefenstahl. Titled Triumph of the
Will, the film portrayed Hitler as a god. The filmmaker glorified Hitler’s military ideas, including war and mass murder.
The documentary chilled Capra to the bone.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Reading Activity 4-6
Reading Activity 4-6: Major Capra Makes a Documentary
Reading Activity 4-6
(Reading Activity 4-6, continued)
He watched the documentary many times. He listened as thousands of Nazi storm troopers stiff-armed saluted the
Führer and cried “Sieg Heil! . . . Sieg Heil!”
Capra might not have understood the German language, but he understood the images.
“Hitler walked among his supermen who stood rigidly at attention,” Capra said. “Blond, booted, helmeted
Siegfrieds—swastika flags billowing—their faces shone with pagan madness. Hitler gripped each right arm in the warrior’s clasp, forearm to forearm. His eyes met their eyes in a wild hypnotic troth—vowing the blood oath of obedience.”
Triumph of the Will, said Capra, was the most powerful propaganda film he had ever seen. More than a film, it was a
weapon that caused the rest of the world to quake. After the film ended, Capra sat alone and thought a long, long time.
The Director’s Vision
“I needed one basic, powerful idea, an idea that would spread like a prairie fire,” he said, “an idea from which all
ideas flowed. I thought of the Bible. There was one sentence in it that always gave me goose pimples: “Ye shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The truth.
Suddenly, the vision for his documentary came to him. Triumph of the Will was a Nazi-made film. The enemy who
had made the film had shown Capra why Americans must fight. If he could only get his hands on that propaganda film
and others like it, he could use them to show America’s army what was happening in Europe and the Pacific. He could
show them what Hitler wanted—not just to rule Europe but to enslave the entire world.
It wasn’t easy, but Major Capra eventually found a government warehouse full of German and Japanese newsreels
from the 1920s and the 1930s. He rolled up his sleeves and went into pre-production for Why We Fight.
1. What was the problem General Marshall said the country faced? What was Marshall’s “greatest worry”?
2. What assignment, or mission, did General Marshall give Major Capra?
3. Why was Capra not confident he could do what the general asked?
4. What did Capra learn about Hitler and the Nazis from watching Triumph of the Will?
5. Why did Capra want to get his hands on enemy propaganda films?
Think More About It
In what way can a film become a weapon?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Directions: Read the passage below, taken from the voice-over script of Why We Fight. Be prepared to
discuss the passage in class.
Word Builder
“Stop thinking and follow me,” cried Hitler.
“I will make you masters of the world.” And
the people answered, “Heil Hitler! Heil
“Stop thinking and believe in me,” bellowed
Mussolini, “and I will restore the glory
that was Rome.” And the people answered,
“Duce! Duce!”
“Stop thinking and follow your god-emperor,”
cried the Japanese warlord, “and Japan will
rule the world.” And the people answered,
“Bonsai! Bonsai!”
Each system was alike in that the constitutional law-making body gave up its power —
the Reichstag in Berlin, the House of
Deputies in Rome, the Diet in Tokyo.
duce—an Italian word for leader
rubber stamp organizations—
groups that approve, support,
or follow orders of others
propaganda—persuasive information
or arguments
intellect—intelligent person or great
culture—civilized life, enlightenment
blackjack—club, stick
And these elected representatives became collections of stooges, rubber
stamp organizations . . . applauding on cue the words of the leaders.
Each system did away with free speech and free assembly.
Each system did away with free press and substituted a press
controlled by the party. Through their ministries of propaganda,
each took complete control of the theater, the movies, the radio.
Every cultural activity and every channel of information was
controlled by the most important members of the party.
Each did away with free courts and trial by jury and substituted
courts and judges run by the party. Each abolished labor unions and
the rights of bargaining for wages . . . and under the pretense
of patriotism established the system of forced labor.
Each enforced its decrees by an army of secret police who held the
power of life and death over every individual. And for the few who
still believed in freedom and said so, there was a ready answer:
“The greatest intellect in the world can be silenced with this”
[show of knives and bayonets]. That is an exact translation these
black-shirts cheered so loudly.
“Whenever I hear anyone mention the word culture, the first thing
I do is reach for my gun.”
Yes, they had the answers—the blackjack and the gun.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Reading Activity 4-7
Reading Activity 4-7: The Axis Powers in 1939
Graphic Organizer 4-1
The audience viewing
the film today
That Was Then; This Is Now
The audience at the time
the film was made
Released in 1939
What is graft? What is a political machine?
Why are all of the U.S. senators in the film portrayed by white male actors?
Why were women and people of color not included in the cast for the Senate?
Why are there no female pages in the movie?
Why do so many of the characters smoke?
Why does Saunders wear those funny little hats?
Questions the audience knew the answers to then but we may not understand now:
©2006, The Film Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Graphic Organizer 4-2
Filmmaking Techniques
Depicting Characters in Films
Literary Techniques
Framing and Composition
Methods of Characterization
• Acting
Costuming, Hairstyle,
• Character's Behavior
• Dialogue
Character's Physical
• Character's Speech
• Reaction Shots
Composition, Lighting,
Sound, Camera Angles,
Visual Symbols
• Character's Thoughts
Reactions of Other
©2006, The Film Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Graphic Organizer 4-3
The Nazi army now occupies
most of France. The Nazis
ban all American films.
The last film shown in Paris
is Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington. The French
people cheer when the
word liberty appears on
the screen.
1942-History and
Culture Meet
When History and Culture Meet
1939 Historical Event
Adolf Hitler and his Nazi storm
troopers invade and conquer
Poland. As a result, England
and France declare war
on Germany.
1939 Cultural Event
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
plays in movie theaters in
America to very good critical
reviews. Some members of
Congress, however, think
the film is mean-spirited and
unpatriotic because it
portrays American politicians
as corrupt.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Graphic Organizer 4-4
The Concepts
The Techniques
Propaganda Strategies
Fear Appeal
Emotional Words,
Images, or Sounds
The Message
Bandwagon Appeal
©2006, The Film Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Screening Sheet 4-1
Screening Sheet 4-1: The Silver Knight
What You Will See: In this scene from the film, Senator Paine tells Jim Taylor he won’t have any part of
framing Jefferson Smith. Taylor, however, persuades the senator to do as he says.
Directions: Take notes as you view the segment, then complete your answers to the questions below.
Costuming, Hairstyle, Makeup
1. How are both men dressed, and what does their clothing tell you about them?
2. Look closely at Jim Taylor’s hairstyle and coloring and compare that with Senator Paine’s. How are they different, and
what do these differences in hairstyle reveal about these two men?
3. Throughout this scene, Taylor looks directly at Paine, talks in a sickly smooth way, laughs, smirks, and points his
finger. What does that tell you about his attitude about himself and his attitude toward Paine?
4. Describe Paine’s physical behavior in this scene. What does his body language suggest about his thoughts?
5. Who says, “You can’t come here and pull that steamroller stuff”? What does he mean?
6. How does Taylor manipulate, or pressure, Paine to do what Taylor wants?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
(Screening Sheet 4-1, continued)
8. When Paine refuses to cooperate with Taylor’s efforts to destroy Jefferson Smith, Taylor walks toward the door at
the back of the room, leaving Paine in the foreground. If the scene had ended here, who would be the point of
emphasis in the frame?
9. As the scene ends, Paine walks into the background and Taylor is in the foreground. What does this suggest about
their relationship? Who has won the confrontation?
Think More About It
How does the filmmaker depict Senator Paine in this scene—favorably or unfavorably? Provide an explanation for
your answer.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Screening Sheet 4-1
7. As the scene begins, the two characters face one another. Which character, if any, is the point of emphasis?
Screening Sheet 4-2
Screening Sheet 4-2: Boy Stuff v. The Taylor Machine
What You Will See: The segment you are about to see is a montage of images—some showing the boys in
Jefferson Smith’s hometown printing their version of news about the filibuster and some showing Taylor’s
presses printing Taylor’s version of the filibuster.
Directions: Jot notes while viewing the segment, then complete the chart below.
Boy Stuff
The Taylor Machine
Think More About It
How does the use of machines in this montage symbolize Taylor’s control over the media?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
What You Will See: These three film segments are from a documentary Major Frank Capra made for the
United States government. You will see images of maps. Watch closely to see how the maps change as the
film segments progress.
Directions: This activity has three segments; the DVD will stop between them. The first two film segments
have no soundtrack. Take notes as you view each segment, then complete your answers. Use another sheet
of paper if you need more room.
Part 1—Geography and Political Symbols
1. The images in the animated map are the same as the maps you just viewed as Stills 4-8 and 4-9. How does movement
change your understanding of the symbols and the meaning the symbols suggest?
Part 2—Land and Water
1. How does the map change in this sequence of shots?
2. What symbols does the filmmaker use to convey meaning?
3. What main idea does this animated map communicate?
4. Would the meaning be as clear if there were no words or numbers?
Part 3—Hitler’s Plan for World Domination
1. According to this explanation, the world could be divided into two areas. What are those two areas?
2. In which area would the United States fall?
3. Which region has more land and more people?
4. What is the “Heartland”?
5. Complete the following cause-and-effect sequence, based on the information in the video:
“Conquer Eastern Europe, and you dominate _____________________________________.
Conquer ________________________________, and you dominate the World Island.
Conquer the World Island, and you _____________________________________________.”
6. What symbols does the filmmaker use to illustrate the difference between conquering and dominating?
7. Describe the final frame. Include not only the symbols but also their color and size.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Screening Sheet 4-3
Screening Sheet 4-3: Visual Symbolism—Maps and Metaphors
Screening Sheet 4-4
Screening Sheet 4-4: The Axis Powers in 1939
What You Will See: The film sequence you are about to view coincides with the narrator’s script in Reading
Activity 4-7. Put your critical-viewing skills to work. Pay attention to how the words, images, and sounds all
work together to create a powerfully persuasive message. Remember! The target audience for this film was
American servicemen about to go to war against the Axis Powers. The images, however, are from the propaganda films and newsreels of Japan, Germany, and Italy.
Directions: The screening activity has two parts. First, your teacher will play the opening frame. Study the
image and listen to the music, then answer the questions. After viewing the whole film segment, complete
the chart in part 2 below.
Part 1—The Opening Frame
1. The opening frame is a still image. The three men you see never posed together for this photograph. In your opinion,
why did the filmmaker choose to put these three images together in one frame?
2. What type of music is playing as this image is being shown? The filmmaker selected this particular music to create
meaning. What do you think the filmmaker is suggesting?
Part 2—Control of the People
List six images from the film that in your opinion
illustrate in particularly powerful and persuasive ways
what the narrator is saying.
What sounds in particular do you notice?
What effect do these sounds have?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
What You Will See: This screening activity has three parts. All segments are shots taken from Nazi propaganda films made in the 1930s. The first and third parts contain images and sounds. The second part will
contain images only, without any soundtrack.
Directions: Work with a partner and take notes as you view the film clips. The DVD will stop between segments. After viewing each one, discuss your observations with your partner, then together complete the
charts below.
Part 1—The German Classroom
Film Language
Film Clip A
What do you see?
Describe specific details
of composition, including
the placement of objects
and people. Consider also
lighting and camera
angles and distances.
What do you hear?
Describe not only
the sounds but also
the tone or mood
of the sounds.
Rather than voice-over
narration, this segment
uses subtitles to translate
the words of the song.
What is the meaning of the
song? What is the link
between the subtitles and
the images shown?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Screening Sheet 4-5
Screening Sheet 4-5: Propaganda in Wartime
(Screening Sheet 4-5, continued)
Screening Sheet 4-5
Think More About It
1. What don’t you see or hear in this film clip?
2. Who was the intended audience for this film clip?
3. If seeing is believing, what would this film clip have you believe?
Part 2—The Nuremberg Congress
Film Language
Film Clip B
What do you see?
Describe specific details
of composition, including
the placement of objects
and people. Consider also
lighting and camera angles
and distances. Finally, pay
attention to visual symbols.
Think More About It
How do these shots depict Hitler—favorably or unfavorably? Give a reason to support your answer.
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
(Screening Sheet 4-5, continued)
Film Language
Film Clip C
What do you see?
Describe specific details of
composition, including the
placement of objects and
people. Consider also lighting and camera angles and
distances. Finally, pay
attention to visual symbols.
What do you hear?
Describe not only the
sounds but also the tone
or mood of the sounds.
Think More About It
1. This montage begins with images of children marching. How do the images change as the montage continues?
2. Why might Major Capra have arranged the images in this order?
©2006, The Film Foundation. All rights reserved.
Screening Sheet 4-5
Part 3—Marching to War