hold which the ‘cinema habit’ has over the
nation is well illustrated by recent figures in connection with the film
industry. In 1935 British audiences
totalled 957,000,000, and the average weekly attendance throughout the year was
18,500,000. These huge audiences paid the equally huge sum Of
£40,950,000 at the box-office. While the
estimated capital invested in the industry through out the world is the
stupendous sum of £500,000,000, of which £400,000,000 is invested in the
-R. G. BURNETT.
analysis of the contents of the 133 feature motion pictures released between
the middle of January and the middle of May, 1934 was made by Father D. A.
annual report of the Public Morality Council states that in 1934 their film
critics reported on 680 films seen at trade shows. In one month out of 104
films 25 contained elements that prevented general commendation, 20 were deemed
fair, and 10 were criticized adversely (Times, Dec. 9, 1935). On January 15th
last an important deputation, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury,
interviewed the Prime Minister, with "a request
for the appointment of a government committee to inquire into the conditions of
administration in respect of the censorship of entertainment films."
The Archbishop called attention to the
potent influence of the cinema on the public, nearly 20,000,000 of whom went to the cinema each week. Sir
Charles Grant Robertson said that "His
fundamental submission was the
unsatisfactory and disquieting character of the situation with regard to
recreation and entertainment films as represented by the results of the
censorship. At least
25 per cent. of those that had passed the
censor were, for one reason or another, unsatisfactory and in many cases really
demoralizing. These figures were
supported by the independent statement recently of the Bishop of Croydon, whose cinema censorship for Sunday films revealed
that in twelve months something like 200 unsatisfactory films making a special
feature of crime, cruelty, and loose morality had been eliminated for Sunday
showing by that Committee, on which the trade had representation. What was
happening in Croydon was what was happening in every
area and particularly the densely populated industrial areas throughout
Mr. Adams, who claims "a greater, more all-round, and, perhaps, a more successful association with, and knowledge of, the Cinema business in all its many ramifications, than any other man," bears this testimony against the modern Cinema:- "Backed by that knowledge and experience, I maintain, without fear of serious contradiction, that the present-day type of film, with sex and crime appeal predominating, is definitely undermining the moral tone of the youth of our nation and doing irreparable harm which will take generations of effort to eliminate. The uplifting, educative, harmlessly amusing and entertaining film of a few years ago is all but a thing of the past. Film producers (having learnt that the nearer the knuckle the subject the greater ‘the draw’ and so the profits) expend almost their entire talent and resources on the production of film that panders to modern craving."
As Mr. G. A. Atkinson, one of the most reliable British film critics, declares:- "Talking pictures have stripped woman, not only of clothing, but of morals, decency, truth, fidelity, and every civilized quality or virtue. Women, according to the film producer, represent nothing but the most primitive and elemental aspects of sex. Behind the whole of current film production there is the terrific assumption that what appeals to women is the spectacle of the lowest type of woman snaring the lowest type of man. The truth about the ‘talkies’ is that they are produced in a non-moral atmosphere which is, in the strictest and most literal sense, diabolical. The devil is in full, spiritual control of modern film production. Nearly all the energies of this terrific engine of propaganda are devoted to anti-Christian ends."
What strikes me about such films as I have seen is their hideous and profound vulgarity: human nature is made loathsome and degraded. The silly part of the audience titters; they have come to be amused; they do not discriminate; and they go out with their sense of the value of human nature lowered each time. Such humanity as these films depict would not be worth saving, could have no future, might as well be destroyed as the failure of Creation, the only quite ignoble thing alive on the earth. - PROFESSOR PERCY DEARMER, D.D.
of the greatest handicaps to mission activities to-day is the factor of motion
pictures, the seriousness of which is seldom realized by Christians of the
West. The missionaries go to the Far
East to preach the Gospel of Christ which brings purity, goodwill and peace; whereas the influence of most motion pictures
- SAMUEL KINGGAM in The Missionary Review of the World.
In face of the greatest peril that has ever attacked the moral and spiritual well-being of the nations the Churches seem to be indifferent. Untrustworthy sentries, they are sleeping at their posts. Parsons prate self-satisfiedly about the social benefits of the cinema, urging that pictures which sedulously preach drinking habits prevent drunkenness by keeping people out of the public-houses. - R. G. BURNETT.