(1) Film history - libcat.tamu.edu is a good starting point to find books on film history. Keywords like cinema africa war should work fine. Another good search term to use is - motion pictures. Combine it with your topics. For example, motion pictures and race. When viewing a libcat record, change the default "Brief View" to "Long View" to view Table of Content or other details. Worldcat.org is another good source for books using similar searches.
(2) Thesis for the paper (see your course notes). As for coming up with a thesis, one approach is to browse though what have been published on a given topic. International Index to the Performing Arts Full Text may be a good starting point (try - hollywood and race).
(3) Reviews, older reviews, critical analysis - Film reviews published in magazine or newspaper are usually shorter in length. Their purpose is to inform but not to provide in-depth analysis. Older reviews may be found from Readers Guide Retrospective, ProQuest Historical Newspapers , ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006), Variety Film Reviews (in print) or other archival sources. The contemporary reviews can be found by using Film Literature Index Online, MLA or other databases. The critical or scholarly reviews may describe, analyze or critique a film in a historical, political, social, psychological, philosophical or other aspects. The easiest way to filter out those non-scholarly materials from your search results is to use the "Scholarly/Peer-reviewed" filter. However, not all databases offer this feature.
(4) Full text - Click on the fulltext@tamu link to get full text online. If not available online, you may be able to get a photocopy from the printed journals in the library. If not available in print, you could use Get It for Me to obtain it from another institution.
(5) Ebooks - You could also use the Library's e-books search to find books on a desired topic. The same search tool will also allow you to perform multiple databases searching for journal articles. To do that, select one of the categories relevant to Film History - Performing Arts, History, or Language/Literature.