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the studio, but the studio people do the actual script writing. The writers employed by the studio develop the ideas or take the novel or the play and turn it into a screen play. In the final analysis, approximately 15 or 20 percent of the ideas that finally end up in a motion picture come from within the studio.
The selection of these stories is based on the balance wanted in the studio's program. Obviously, a series of pictures cannot be made all pertaining to the same subject. Neither can they be made at the same cost. Costs and subject material must be balanced mostly in the interest of the public. Another consideration today is the foreign business that the industry is doing, and the audiences of other countries must be borne in mind in addition to the American public. This program is balanced in so-called action pictures, dramatic pictures, music pictures, color pictures, costume pictures, tropical pictures, and so forth.
Mr. Schary gave as an example the production schedule of M-G-M for 1954. Out of the 32 pictures prepared, 28 were actually made. These 28 were composed of 8 musical films, 4 costume pictures, 8 socalled modern stories, several westerns, and the rest in other categories in one way or another.
After the idea for the picture is accepted, the writer is assigned to develop it with the producer, sometimes with the director. They do a treatment of the story. During the arrangement of that treatment, they may see the head of the studio and discuss the tone of the story and the kind of picture that it will be in terms of size. After they have prepared the treatment, Mr. Schary will read it and then they will discuss the picture in terms of its dramatic integrity, its possibilities, and its commercial aspects. Then a screenplay will be written which is a regular continuity with all the dialog. Following completion of the screenplay another discussion will be held on the actual writing of the screenplay. Once that is approved and put into final form, it is sent to one-hundred-and-some-odd departments of the studio where it is analyzed for cost by these departments, scenery, costuming, and so forth. Then the picture moves into its final stage of production, that is, it is organized for production.
Probably much before that time, however, a director has been assigned to the picture. His ideas have been listened to and discussed with him, and then he takes over the actual making of the picture that is, the “shooting” of the picture. Mr. Schary will look at the film as it comes through along with the producer and the director, and then they will begin to put their daily pieces of work together.
Following the shooting” of the picture, all the short film strips are strung together. They have what is called a rough cut, or the rush showing. The film is looked at and the final decisions are made in terms of more cutting, perhaps some retaking of scenes that are not desirable, and then the picture is handed over to the sound and music department where it is finally completed.
The picture is then previewed. If it is a good picture, very few changes are made, but if it is a bad one more changes are made depending upon the success of the first preview. After it is finally finished and given its final “dubbing” and sound job, it is handed over to the various departments for sales and distribution.
Mr. Schary stated that the script that is submitted to the Production Code Authority in its first form ofttimes may be a challenging story, a story that is felt may run into certain problems affecting the code. In that case the story will be submitted to them before the screenplay is written to obtain their advice and let the code staff warn the studio as to where the sensitive points are, and what will guide the studio in the writing of the screenplay. The first act of the screenplay is then submitted to the code authority, which, in turn, sends the studio a letter stating what is wrong or what is right with the picture and where the areas of danger lie. If there seem to be points that need discussion, the studio head will meet with Mr. Shurlock, or his repl'esentatives, and arrive at a satisfactory settlement of the difficult scenes.
The code authority usually views the picture after the studio has previewed it. At that time it is still in very loose form and the code authority can make any corrections that it feels should be made. Mr. Schary stated that all suggestions for changes are made if they are suggested by the code authority.
In discussing the possible impact of Blackboard Jungle, Mr. Schary gave as an example an experiment which illustrates the fact that people interpret or perceive a situation in terms of their own particular set of attitudes or frame of reference. Briefly, the experiment involves a film in which a man on a street corner is shown holding a knife. A policeman approaches the man and grabs him very hurriedly. The man takes the knife, swings it at the policeman who then pushes him to one side. The man lunges at the officer again with the knife, and runs as another policeman approaches. This film is shown to a number of people within whom the possibility existed that they were susceptible to another point of view. In approximately 50 percent of the cases, the people reported that the policeman came around the corner holding the knife and then tried to kill the man on the corner. Mr. Schary then concluded that it is likely that there will be people who will go to see Blackboard Jungle and any other picture, then come away with the point of view which they had brought to the picture themselves. This, of course, is the exact point of view that the subcommittee has been taking since the beginning of its investigation; i. e., that movies will not change attitudes of a particular subject, but that they can form new attitudes or can reinforce and give support or direction to already existing attitudes. In the case of the Blackboard Jungle attitudes of brutality and violence may be given a push further in that direction.
Under questioning, Mr. Schary admitted that it is likely, and certainly very possible, that there are pictures in which there is too much violence and in which violence is portrayed for violence's sake. Mr. Schary said:
*** I certainly would like to see less of that, but I don't know how possibly you could legislate that kind of bad judgment out of the making of motion pictures : The point to be made, however, is that no legislation is contemplated to reduce this type of film content. The desire is to remove this violence and brutality under the already existing provisions of the Motion Picture Production Code.
Mr. Jack L. Warner, producer and executive vice president of Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., felt that the prohibition era when law and order were completely disregarded tended to create not only juvenile delinquents, but much adult delinquency. He felt that during that period of time the disrespect and disregard for law and order had much to do with the increase in both adult and juvenile delinquency.
While of the opinion that motion-picture films do not constitute a major factor in the development of delinquents, Mr. Warner did feel that motion pictures were a great force for good. As an example, he gave a Warner Bros. production, G-Men which resulted in a law being passed which permitted Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to carry arms.
Mr. Jerry Wald, executive producer at Columbia Studios, directed his remarks to motion pictures that were produced in the last 2 years by his studio which were successful box-office films.56 He mentioned From Here to Eternity, On the Waterfront, Caine Mutiny, and The Long Gray Line. Mr. Wald stated that in looking over the biggest box-office pictures made, none of them had had violence in them for violence's sake. He felt that the really big box-office films that did not have a limited audience were pictures that were made with good taste and did not violate any rules of the Motion Picture Production Code.
Mr. Wald stated that his responsibility in making motion pictures is first, not to make any story that will offend the innocent, and second, not to offend the intelligent moviegoer. He felt convinced that part of his job is to appreciate and continue all that is good in our national life. He felt that there are many things that are wrong that are put on a motion-picture screen, but that it still should be done in good taste.
Mr. Wald admitted, having two boys of his own, that children are easily influenced. But at the same time, he felt that the basic upbringing given to them in the home is what constitutes their initial strength so that they will understand any of the temptations they pick up from the daily papers or motion pictures or from television shows.
Of course, the parents that would go to the theater with the children and explain to them the various questions that may arise is one thing. But also to be considered is the large number of children, as pointed out by Dr. Hacker, who are probably the most avid moviegoers. The children who come from broken homes, or homes that have inadequate parents, the child that is likely to pick up the brutality and violence, the techniques of crime as shown in the movies, it is this type of child that scenes of crime or violence will have the greatest impact upon. There are some 4 million of these youngsters in this country.
Mr. Wald felt that in order to protect these children, every child going to a movie would have to be screened to determine whether he came from a poor background and whether or not he was emotionally disturbed.
Mr. Harry Joe Brown, producer and director at Columbia Studios, also referred to the content of motion-picture films, specifically,
** Warner, Jack L., statement in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency. Motion Pictures, U. S. Senate, held on June 16. 1955. pp. 124–132.
69 Wald. Jerry, statement in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, Motion Pictures, U. S. Senate, held on June 16, 1955, pp. 132–136.
westerns. Mr. Brown directed his comments to the identification that a child makes upon viewing the ordinary western picture. He stated :
Now, it comes to my mind, what does a child carry away after viewing a western picture, say, one with taste; you know, the ordinary western picture?
I am sure when he gets home he doesn't put on a black mustache and gloves and become the heavy. Rather, he puts on the coon cap and he becomes Davy Crockett. He becomes Bill Hickok. He becomes all that is good, the lawenforcing man. That is what he sees in the western picture; he sees a good Americano, like he would like to be; not the death.
I think the scenes, if they are violent or not, I think they are very soon forgotten in the mind of that child or the mind of the adult. But they carry away the good Americano. They carry away beautiful scenery in many instances, where they can't afford to go. They carry away the good and bad ; they carry away all those thoughts. And, therefore, I am a firm believer-believe me, I say this honestly—in a decent, good western picture; that it is great for the kids. Mr. Brown, while admittedly having no basis for his contention that western pictures are a force for good could see no possible way in which brutality and violence as portrayed in western films could be a force for bad.
Mr. George Murphy, official of the Screen Actors Guild, reiterated the statements of other movie-industry people when he said that, We will make mistakes. * * * But, by and large, our people try to employ their good moral sense. He also recognized the influence of the motion picture when he said:
* * * We realize the tremendous influence the motion picture has on the public morals and on the country at large, and particularly the international field.“
Mr. Murphy felt that the concentrated effort on the part of the motion-picture industry, and on the part of the television industry, to make a constructive series of pictures to show the development of delinquency and the steps that could be taken to arrest this development, would go a long way toward solving the problem of juvenile delinquency. He assured the subcommittee that if there were too much violence in any one motion picture it was a case of bad judgment on the part of the director or the cutter, and he felt certain that no one has ever injected violence into a motion picture to the degree where it would offend an audience.
Mr. Murphy quoted Judge Ben Lindsay, the originator of the juvenile courts, who made a survey in 1936'indicating that motion pictures are in no way responsible for the development of delinquent behavior. However, Mr. Murphy overlooks the fact that this statement was made in 1936 when there was no continual bombardment of this type of entertainment on television and when the techniques of visual and auditory presentation had not been developed in the motion pictures as they are today. This, plus the fact that the content of both the motion pictures and of juvenile behavior has changed greatly since that time. As was indicated at the beginning of the motion picture hearings in Los Angeles, the concern has been with the recent increase of violence and brutality in movies and the corresponding increase in the brutual and sadistic nature of juvenile crime.
57 Brown, Harry Joe. statement in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, Motion Pictures, U. S. Senate, held on June 16, 1955, pp. 137–138.
68 Murphy, George, statement in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, Motion Pictures, U. S. Senate held on June 16, 1955, p. 141.
VIII. ATTEMPTS OF THE MOVIE INDUSTRY TO DEVELOP GOOD CITIZEN-,
SHIP ON THE PART OF Young PEOPLE The leaders of the movie industry throughout the hearings pointed with justifiable pride to the many worthwhile productions that come out of Hollywood. Specifically mentioned were such films as Marty, A Man Called Peter, The Long Gray Line, and On the Waterfront. Although films of this type were not of concern to the subcommittee in the course of its investigation, it would like to indicate that in the main this is the type of product put out by the film industry. The Motion Picture Association of America was represented by Roger Albright, director of the department of educational services, who outlined to the subcommittee the activities of the motion-picture industry in providing good, wholesome entertainment for the children of the country.
Mr. Albright outlined five basic activities of the Motion Picture Association designed to insure the American public of good motion pictures. They were described briefly as follows:
1. The quarter-century-old self-imposed production and advertising codes through which the companies conform to acceptable moral and social standards in both content of pictures and type and kind of advertising.
2. The classification of pictures by outside wholly independent viewing groups into what they regard as suitable for different age groups. Mr. Albright was referring here to the Green Sheet publication which gives a brief synopsis of a film's content and gives it a classification according to the type of audience the film is deemed suitable for.
3. The selection by outstanding educational leaders of pictures of social, cultural, and patriotic values for use in the classroom as an educational medium.
4. The development of local community programs throughout the Nation under the auspices of many national organizations which regularly use pictures of special significance for children and adolescents.
5. The production by the individual member companies of hundreds of pictures specifically intended to stress high moral values with the purpose of making the screen a force for education and good living as well as entertainment.59
THE FILM ESTIMATE BOARD OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
There exists a national motion-picture previewing group made up and controlled and operated by the representatives of 13 universally respected nationwide organizations with a national membership of many millions. They are: American Association of University Women, American Jewish Committee, American Library Association, Children's Film Library Committee, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, National Federation of Music Clubs, National Federation of Women's Clubs, Girl Scouts of the U. S. A., National Council of Women of the United States, Protestant Motion Picture Council, National Council of Parents and Teachers, Schools Motion Picture Committee, and the United Church Women. Each
* Albright, Roger, statement in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, Motion Pictures, C. S. Senate, held on June 17, 1955, pp. 211-212.