Rhetoric & Reason Seven Films

I teach these seven films as part of the Liberal Studies  Foundations course. An over-arching theme is the junction of science and humanities, in particular the ability of the art of film to teach us about  science and scientists.

Reason and Rhetoric:Bickering for Humanity 

    As part of LBST120 Core Course On-Line,   students will watch seven feature films.  All are great films, award winners, great acting, faculty favorites. The primary focus of the films is how persuasive arguments are constructed, flow, and resolve. Rhetoric is classically the first Liberal Art. The secondary theme is modern scientific debate- evolution, genes, cosmology. (Liberal arts have outgrown rhetoric, grammar, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.)

 LBST120 in an on-line course. Students must borrow (from me), buy, or rent these films. I will screen the films on-campus for students and course visitors if requested on Wednesdays. 
Popcorn and dinner are welcome. 

  My notes on each film are posted below

  Rick Rayfield, Instructor


Inherit the Wind(1960)   128 mins.
                         The Scopes “Monkey’ Trial
                            Courtroom giants:  Darrow vs
 Bryan.  Darwin vs Bible
                               Hollywood Giants: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly
                              Great book, great play, great film
                                   Evolution on trial while the country watches.

   Twelve Angry Men (1957)    96 miins
                                  Ordinary citizens on a jury.
                                   Henry Fonda and all-star cast directed by Sidney Lumet.
                                   Everybody who sees this film gets pulled in,
                                   and everyone is moved. What is justice?

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)  108 mins
                             Family persuasion   AA Katharine Hepburn,
                             Spencer Tracy, Sidney Portier
                             Interracial love disrupts a well-educated liberal family.

Lion in WInter  (1968)     135 mins
                              Royal family bickering
AA Katharine Hepburn, and
Peter O’Toole are King and Queen
with razor tongue,
 arguing over which son should succeed.

Proof (2004)      99 mins
                              Campus furor on sanity & genius
Gyneth Paltro
aw  Jake Gyllenhaal  Anthony Hopkins
                             A mathematical proof needs checking and an author.

Copenhagen (2002)    117 mins
                          Nobel physicists argue the universe
Tony Award winner
 by Michael Frayn, Brilliant playwright (Noises Off)
                         imagines with clarity two geniuses and  rivals,
                         Bohr and Heisenberg, arguing atomic politics and  subatomic rules.

Gattaca (1997)       106 mins
                             Evidence of what is human in genetically twisted future
                             Ethan Hawke wants to be an astronaut,
                             but his hippie parents did not get their genes cleaned
Uma Thurman- brains and romance- has the right genes
Cast of old and new stars..

Here are my rough notes on what I find interesting about these films.

Inherit the Wind
Twelve Angry Men
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Lion in Winter