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MOTION PICTURES AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

A PART OF THE INVESTIGATION OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN THE UNITED STATES

-Ordered to be printed

Mr. KEFAUVER, from the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in the United States of the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

INTERIM REPORT

[Pursuant to S. Res. 62, 84th Cong.]

I. INTRODUCTION

The Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency, pursuant to authorization in Senate Resolution 190, 83d Congress, 2d session, and Senate Resolution 62, 84th Congress, 1st session, has been making a "full and complete study of juvenile delinquency in the United States," including its "extent and character" and "its causes and contributing factors."

Hearings have been held by the subcommittee dealing with community problems in various cities and with a number of special considerations that are believed to be affecting juvenile delinquency. Over a period of several months, the subcommittee received a vast amount of mail from parents expressing concern regarding the possible deleterious effect upon their children of certain of the media of mass communication. This led to an inquiry into the relationship to juvenile delinquency of these mass media.

On June 16 and 17, 1955, the subcommittee held hearings in Los Angeles, Calif., continuing its extensive study of the mass media in order to determine their impact on the youth of our Nation. The subcommittee has already issued an interim report on its study of crime, brutality, horror, and sadism in comic books. A report has also been issued on the effects on juvenile delinquency of crime and violence as portrayed on television programs. Both of these subjects were part

Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency, a part of the Investigation of Juvenile Delinquency in the United States, Interim Report, 84th Cong., 1st sess. *Television and Juvenile Delinquency, a part of the Investigation of Juvenile Delinquency in the United States, Interim Report, 84th Cong., 1st sess.

of this larger study of the mass media. In studying the effects of crime, violence, sadism, brutality, and sex in the movies on juvenile delinquency, the subcommittee also examined the manner in which these movies are advertised.

It was made clear at the outset that the members of the subcommittee had no preconceived ideas or final conclusions concerning the effects of movies on children. Above all, we did not wish to create the impression that we had censorship of the movie industry in mind. The subcommittee has continually denounced censorship in all forms. We have adhered to the concept of regulation by the industry itself, and the industry generally does a fine job in regulating itself. As a result of the interim report on crime comics, the comic-book industry developed a code and appointed an administrator to insure that good comic books were produced. At the Los Angeles hearings, the subcommittee once again reiterated its denunciation of censorship.

It is honestly believed that the majority of the people in the filmmaking business, the great majority, are sincere in their efforts to make good products. The subcommittee appreciates the fact that they are presented with the problem of making products that attract audiences because they are in business-the free-enterprise businessto make money. They cannot develop programs that will be altogether educational. They must produce movies that will appeal to the public.

The motion-picture industry would readily agree that no harmful movies should be seen by American youngsters. The cooperation afforded the subcommittee by the industry in the development of these hearings attests to this fact. Mr. Eric Johnston and his office greatly assisted both the subcommittee staff and the chairman in this study. They cooperated wholeheartedly throughout the several months of the investigation and are to be congratulated for their frankness in discussing their faults as well as their many fine achievements.

When the subcommittee's investigation was first announced some industry representatives expressed concern about the aims and purposes of the investigation. As the study progressed, however, their attitude changed. By the time the hearings were prepared for presentation it was apparent that between us, i. e., the industry and the subcommittee, the trade could be examined and conclusions could be deduced that would be both beneficial to the industry and to the subcommittee's investigation of the mass media.

LETTERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER EXCESSIVE VIOLENCE IN MOTION PICTURES

In the last 22 months an increasing amount of correspondence has been received from intelligent people throughout the country. These people were concerned about an increase in what was felt to be unnecessary movie violence. They complained constantly of excessive brutality, sadism, and illicit sexual behavior in motion pictures. Many of these letters link the increase in brutal juvenile crimes with this increase in brutality and violence in movies.

The subcommittee realizes that to say bad movies create additional delinquency is not in keeping with present-day social-psychological thinking. You cannot say a child will see a movie and then commit an act of delinquency. But the subcommittee does believe that with the prevailing world conditions, with the uncertainty of the draft, with the lurking thought of atomic destruction; with all of these as background, an atmosphere of violence is being assumed and conveyed

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