Business Ethics and Films, Assignments for this Semester, BLAW 1
Each of these assignments is worth 8 points. You are to first write a brief intro explaining the plot and including the best line from the film that you can find after the first ten minutes. You will use for the second paragraph the five sentence paragraph format found in the syllabus.
I want you to watch the entire film. I’m trying to teach you something of importance that will last your entire life.
Each link is to an online video of the film which is totally free. If you have a service like Netlfix or Hulu and you can get the film there that will be fine.
The question I want you to answer is listed beneath the film.
My Man Godfrey
According to the film, what moral principles does Godfrey believe in? What does he say about what he wants to accomplish?
Charles Boyar has two choices in the film. Which does he choose and why? You may add a paragraph explaining what you would have done under the same circumstances.
His Girl Friday
The Editor (Cary Grant) often (continually) uses unethical actions to gain his ends. What is he trying to accomplish? Is he a good man?
According to the film, does the heroine cravenly seek money and position? In a nation heavily influenced by neoliberalism, aren’t we supposed to use the free market to maximize our gains?
What are the circumstances that make it possible for Jane to rise in social class? Do women have an advantage over men when it comes to social climbing? What does Jane want?
Rebecca is given a place in high society. How does she adapt? Would you have made the same decisions?
Watch the film and answer this question, would it have been better if Higgins had left her in the gutter?
Bodyguards and Assassins
This is the first of fifteen parts. It was difficult to find and I had no luck finding it in English in a full movie.
What is the difference in the motivations of the rickshaw driver as opposed to the rich merchant?
Watch the film – I’ve had partial analysis that demonstrated a lack of basic knowledge of what was in it. This is a major cinematic experience. Treat it with the reverence a great piece of film making deserves.
Watch the film and answer the following question: How much does money as a goal count in our hero’s life? Is there anything more important to him?
In the film, the Japanese react as a people (as a whole) to the upcoming disaster but are saved by an individual’s sacrifice. Is there a conflict between solidarity of the population and the importance of the individual? Also what if he had acted with the morals of a Wall Street Banker, shouldn’t he happily abandon his country and his friends while cashing in on the underwater salvage of Japanese treasures?
Who does best in the story, the Royalists, the Communists or the lovers?
After the Rain
Would you want to be this man or his wife? Why? What kind of person is he? Tell me, does his wife’s words explain what he is? Why or why not?
Father Brown, the Detective (1954)
Why isn’t Father Brown exclusively focused on stopping the theft? What are his motives in this movie? Please explain.
How does the pursuit of money balance out against imminent death? Listen to the lead character. What does he say? Does his view point change over time?
Young Mr. Lincoln
What is Lincoln after? Where does his ambition take him? Watch the film and from what Henry Fonda playing Lincoln says about himself and what he wants to do, describe his ethical motivations.
The Mark of Zorro
Why doesn’t our hero remain in Spain? After all, there there he has money, status, popularity and access to a high level of culture and entertainment.
Watch the film and discover from what he says, what his motives are.
From around the web.
From the web site, Media Ethics in the Morning.
Despite being released over 40 years ago, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying provides a humorous, musical commentary on ever-present ethical issues that arise in the workplace such as corporate greed and dishonesty. J. Pierpont “Ponty” Finch works as a window washer in New York City when he comes across a book that teaches “the science of getting ahead in business.” As he works to climb the corporate ladder following the rules of the book, Finch finds himself in situations that require acting unethically just for the sake of a promotion. At one point he even goes so far as to dishevel his desk and appearance to look as though he had been working all through the night.
We put to question the integrity of the book right from the get-go when it claims that “education, intelligence and ability” help some go far in life, but “thousands have reached the top without any of those qualities.” Finch walks into the offices of the World Wide Wicket Company in pursuit of any possible job. Through some simple name-dropping, he lands a spot in the mailroom. Right away, Finch deceives his boss by being over-the-top complimentary. As soon as the opportunity arises (through pure luck and random mishaps, as the majority of his opportunities do), Finch throws some coworkers under the bus and goes behind their backs (one of whom is Bud Frump, the nephew of the company’s president, J.B. Biggley). As Finch is granted the promotion to head of the mailroom, his boss states, “your generosity and thoughtfulness may have proven a good thing for you,” to which he replies, “well… ethical behavior always pays, Sir.” As exemplified here, there are in fact many cases where some of the dialogue greatly contrasts the actions taken by Finch. Later in the film, a different boss reassures him that “if you work hard and keep your nose to the grindstone, there’s no telling how far you can go in this company.”
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