« ZurückWeiter »
of these organizations screens and classifies motion pictures. Each has its own national previewing chairman who appoints a motionpicture previewing committee. This results in the establishment of 13 previewing groups with a large combined membership. Then the combined membership is divided into numerous subcommittees, each having a complete cross-section representation of 13 participating organizations. The subcommittees screen, judge, and rate pictures in the following categories: A for adults over 18 years; F for family, all ages; YP for young people over 12 years; MYP for mature young people; CPR for children's programs recommended 8 to 12 years; CPA for children's programs acceptable 8 to 12 years; and FR for family recommended.
Before pictures are released to theaters, prints of all films are made available by each of the producing companies for screening by these subcommittees. The motion-picture people cooperate to maintain convenient schedules for the viewing groups to assure that every film is seen and appraised.
Each member of the viewing committee makes an individual report and these are then assembled and referred to the joint editorial committee which prepares the final joint estimate. When there are appreciable variances among those who evaluate a picture, the variances are included in the published appraisal.
The final estimate, widely known throughout the United States as the Green Sheet, is now ready for publication and distribution. It is printed every 2 weeks and 20,000 copies are distributed. Throughout the Nation this advance information on forthcoming motion pictures becomes available to thousands of parents, teachers, clergymen, and community leaders of all kinds. Also the participating national organizations also print the Green Sheet Estimates in their national publications. Libraries and schools and churches regularly display them. The Parent-Teachers Magazine, for example, carries in every issue two pages of these motion-picture estimates.
The Green Sheet is a critical analysis intended primarily as a guide for parents and teachers who have a specific responsibility to juveniles. Mr. Albright stated, however, that the Green Sheet was also an aid to the motion-picture industry in that it is read and the appraisals are considered in determining future Motion Picture Production Code Administration policies.
Operating apart from the 13 national groups which print and edit the Green Sheet is another large national organization, the Catholic Legion of Decency. It, too, views the motion-picture films and publishes its ratings. Its appraisals, an important and persuasive guide to millions of theater patrons, are expressed in these categories:
Class A, section I-Morally unobjectionable for general patron
Class A, section II--Morally unobjectionable for adults;
SCHOOL AND EDUCATIONAL USE OF MOTION PICTURES
The motion-picture industry makes films available for schoolroom and general educational use. This is a program now in its 16th year
and during this period more than 900 motion pictures have been selected by committees of educators in almost every field of teaching for classroom use.
It is a program administered by teaching film custodians and one nonprofit affiliate of the Motion Picture Association. Many of America's distinguished educators are its board of directors, and nine leaders of the motion-picture industry work hand in hand. The major producing companies, without financial returns, set up preview facilities for committees of educators with 16-millimeter prints of the picture selected and then distribute the prints to the 16-millimeter film libraries maintained throughout the country. Some idea of the extent of this program is evident when it is realized that about 70,000 different prints have been prepared and distributed.
Mr. Albright stated that the full significance of this program of classroom use of so many of the industry's pictures lies in the fact that impartial, competent authorities have felt that such a large amount of the motion-picture product has affirmative, positive, cultural value. It is made up of committees of teachers in the fields of literature and music, history, science, sociology, and family-life problems that have initiated the program and selected the pictures.
They come from 7 national teacher organizations with a membership of more than 120,000. They work with teaching-film custodians to develop motion-picture programs in their special fields of study. They represent the American Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; the economics department of the National Education Association; American Home Economics Association; Music Educators National Congress; the National Council for the Social Studies; National Council of Teachers of English; National Science Teachers Association; and American Vocational Education Association.
It is to be said to the industry's credit that neither this program nor any of the classification-rating activities could be effective without the industry's cooperation. There are costs entailed in both programs which the industry bears as a worthwhile contribution to a better society of free people.
Mr. Albright stated that in his opinion one of the most valuable programs is the production by all of the member companies without regard to the general box-office bill, of films considered to be significantly constructive to the youth of the Nation. In the following series are included:
1. Crime prevention
Crime-does-not-pay series.-Beginning more than 15 years ago, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a series of dramatized incidents proving that crime doesn't pay. Some of these incidents relate to serious crime like arson, armed robbery, and murder; some have to do with racketeering which milks the public such as dishonest loan agencies, dishonest employment agencies, dishonest charity solicitations. and such civilian practices as smuggling. These pictures have very wide distribution in theaters throughout the United States. The crime prevention bureaus in several States have availed themselves of these pictures on 16-millimeter film for use in juvenile courts and elsewhere after the theatrical distribution has been completed.
2. Citizenship and patriotism
(a) The Washington Parade series. Of the millions of young people in the United States only a small fraction can visit the Nation's Capital and view their seat of government. With this in mind, Columbia Pictures made a series of pictures called The Washington Parade with separate subjects on the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury, the Library of Congress, the FBI, the social security program, and others.
These were made with the close collaboration and advice of the Government departments and the pictures were distributed in theaters throughout the country. Each subject reached many millions of people.
Following the theatrical distribution they were then made available to the schools in the United States with no profit to the company and are still being seen and enjoyed by the many who do not have the opportunity to visit Washington in person.
(b) Epics of American history.-For a number of years, Paramount Pictures has dramatized expansion movements which have made the United States the Nation that it is today. The list included such motion pictures as The Plainsman, Union Pacific, Maid of Salem, Wells Fargo, and High, Wide and Handsome, which is the story of the discovery and development of oil.
(c) This Is America series.-RKO Radio Pictures has produced and distributed a series which interprets various stages of American life and thinking. The series is called This Is America. In this way, the movements and moves of Americans have been interpreted not only to our own people but in showing the rest of the world the correct impression of the United States.
(d) The Warner Patriotic series (another project of the series of 12 patriotic short subjects produced by Warner Bros. as a tribute by its president, Mr. Harry M. Warner, to what he called "the only country in the world where I could have realized my achievements").-These short subjects, widely known both because of their theatrical and nontheatrical use, dramatize the contributions of our Founding Fathers and clarify the basic principles of freedom on which our Republic was founded and through which it has developed. Some of the titles of these short subjects are The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, Give Me Liberty, The Romance of Louisiana, Without a Country, and The Monroe Doctrine. Currently these pictures form basic curriculum material in thousands of American history classes in the high schools of the United States.
3. Biographies of great men
(a) The Passing Parade series.-Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has produced a passing parade series which gives recognition, through biographical dramatizations of more than 30 outstanding heroes of peace. About half of these are Americans.
(b) Dramatized biographies.-Twentieth Century-Fox has produced dramatized biographies of some of America's great men-Alexander Graham Bell, Brigham Young, Woodrow Wilson, and Rev. Peter Marshall.
4. International understanding
The World and Its Peoples.-Universal Pictures is financing the filming of five camera crews in all parts of the world to film motion
picture studies of how people live. It is felt that these 36 films will contribute to better world understanding and the people in the United States will understand our world neighbors better because of them.
Mr. Albright felt that this brief summarization of some of the activities of the member companies of the Motion Picture Association in the public-service field reflects the basic policy that has guided the majority of the industry leaders for many years.
X. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The investigation of the effect of crime and violence in motion pictures has been a three-part study wherein crime and horror comic books, crime and violence in television and motion pictures were considered in terms of their relationships between delinquent behavior and the reading or viewing of these media. While once again, as with the comic books and television, no wealth of scientific data can be given as to a causal relationship between delinquent behavior and the mass media, it is quite clear that professional people generally view the presentation of brutality and violence in these media as definitely deleterious to the personality development of normal, predelinquent, and delinquent children. While the previous interim reports on the mass media indicated that the risk to be taken is of an unknown quantity, continued investigations have gathered overwhelming support for the conclusion that certain types of printed material and visual material are harmful.
CONCLUSIONS ON THE EFFECT OF THE MASS MEDIA
In view of the conclusions reached in section IV, the relationship between brutality and violence in motion pictures and adolescent behavior, the following generalizations can be made:
1. The mass media, including the movies, reflect many of the abnormal or deleterious attitudes, desires, wishes, etc., of adult society and, to that extent, they are reflecting the prevailing "atmosphere." 2. These media have a tremendous influence on the young child in his early development and, while reflecting the major attitudes of the society, they are in turn influencing to a great degree the attitudinal development of children. Given an emotionally stable child who has had what may be termed the proper emotional relationship with his parents, this type of presentation may have little or no effect in terms of influencing well established attitudes. However, given (a) a child with a more or less undeveloped attitudinal framework, the mass media may go a long way toward providing ideas both in the development of attitudes and predisposing the child for certain types of behavior; and (b) given a child who has had what may be interpreted as poor emotional relationships between the mother, the father, and the child, and who may be in the throes of a frustration-aggression complex, this child may gain support and ideas from viewing aggressively brutal and violent scenes as presented in motion pictures and as presented both in pictorial form and in the terminology present in motion-picture advertising. The motion picture, it was pointed out, could provide the many so-called "trigger mechanisms" that may initiate and provide the content for antisocial behavior on the part of emotionally disturbed children.
Much of the present concern over motion pictures is derived from ideas similar to the foregoing as to the effects of certain productions on children and adolescents. If this is the basic foundation on which regulation must rest, then it follows that the solution to the problem must be accommodated to the evil to be prevented.
Exactly what the influence of the motion picture, or any mass media, might be is a very complex problem about which specialists do not specifically agree. Other factors that must be taken into consideration are, firstly, that the impact of the movie depends greatly on what the personality makeup of the child already is; and secondly, that the impact must be seen in the perspective of the total environment, an environment which includes the school, the neighborhood, the gang, the church, the newspaper, the comic booklets, the radio programs, other movies, and, above all, the family.
COMPARISONS OF MOTION PICTURES WITH OTHER MASS MEDIA
When the motion picture is viewed in relation to the other media of mass communication, certain conclusions may be drawn. On the one hand, movies are less easily attainable than "comic" books or television. The presentations are less numerous and relatively more expensive. However, branching off from the original thesis of saturation which was considered to be of paramount importance in the television investigation, further discussions with professional people indicate that it may not be the saturation point that is the most important factor, but the degree of sadism, brutality, and violence that is portrayed in any one motion-picture presentation. However, again, the more presentations of this type available, the greater chance they have of being seen.
It has been definitely established at the hearings that, while there has not been a substantial increase in quantity of the type of film under consideration, that is, the western or modern crime variety, there has been a change in the ratio of crime and western movies to noncrime movies. That is, while the production of crime and western movies has remained constant or increased slightly, the production of noncrime movies has decreased greatly, making a greater proportion of the crime and western variety available on the market in the long run. The fact that producers and directors have increasingly emphasized sadism, brutality, and violence in their pictures was also established.
IMPACT OF A SINGLE FILM MAY BE RELATIVELY GREAT
Although, in terms of attainability, the viewing of a motion picture is more difficult in relation to comic books and television, in terms of the total impact it may be said to be much greater. With the advent of superior technical devices, such as the wide screens, stereophonic sound, and technicolor, the impact of a single motion picture is many times that of a single presentation in either a comic book or on a television screen. This, indeed, leads the subcommittee to one of the criticisms of the workings of the Production Code Administration. Through discussions with the staff, it was learned that many times the finished film is viewed without the entire sound track having been "dubbed" in. This, of course, could largely detract from any scene of