William Beard, PhD, MA, BA

Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept
4-17 Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5



I am a native Albertan, and got my BA in Honours English from the University of Alberta.  After attaining an MA in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD from King's College London, I returned to Edmonton, and, in 1978, designed and taught the first Film Studies course at the U of A.  I then spent 12 years as a full-time Sessional Lecturer teaching Film Studies courses.  In 1990 I was hired as a full-time academic staff member, and helped to design the first Film Studies BA Major and Minor at our university.  I have been with Film Studies ever since, through a couple of departmental homes and now fully wedded to the Department of English.  I have twice been awarded teaching awards, and these are very important to me, since so much of what drives me is the desire to convey to students the complex world of cinema and to help them to the rewards of aesthetic pleasure and critical analysis.  In 2002 I also received a Killam Annual Professorship, awarded for excellence in all fields of academic service: teaching, research, and administration.   


Much of my research has been in the field of English-Canadian cinema.  I have published books on David Cronenberg and Guy Maddin, and articles on some of the films of Atom Egoyan.  I take an interest, too, in questions of English-Canadian national identity and the problems surrounding our embattled cinema.  I have done a good deal of work, too, on the cinema of Clint Eastwood, with a book and a number of articles and book chapters.  I have occasionally worked, too, on larger issues, such as American cinema of the 1970s and an aspect of New German Cinema.  I contributed as an expert commentator to the Warner Brothers issue on DVD and Blu-ray of the complete Dirty Harry films, and recently I have been invited to provide full-length expert commentary tracks for Blu-ray reissues of films by David Cronenberg (Rabid, The Brood, Scanners, and Dead Ringers to date).


Over my nearly 40 years of teaching Film Studies, I have taught many different courses, from introductory film history courses, through courses on various film genres (the Western, the gangster film, melodrama, film noir) and national cinemas and movements (Canadian Cinema, German Cinema, Silent Cinema, New German Cinema) to numerous upper-division courses on individual filmmakers (Bergman, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Naruse, Dreyer, Bresson, Ophuls, Renoir, Eastwood, Cronenberg, Lang, Stroheim, Sternberg, and others).  My aim has always been to create in students first the ideal viewer (that is, the perfect spectator of the film as it was desired by the filmmakers) and then a sensibility of critical distance on that ideal viewer.  I have also "preached" the intelligence spectatorship of cinema in high schools, on radio and television, and at many individual public presentations or introductions to film showings in Edmonton. 


FS 319 - Film Noir

A study of the stylistic, thematic, and ideological features of the American film genre known as film noir. Prerequisite: FS 100.

Fall Term 2021
FS 367 - German Film

Survey of German cinema, with emphasis on the films of the Weimar era (1918-1933) and the New German Cinema of the 1970s. Prerequisite: FS 100.

Winter Term 2022

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