THE MICHIGAN DAILY
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
NMI , 0 , li -, , -- --
Movie Analysis Shows
Are DistortingSocial Realities
By Edward C. Jurist
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of three articles by Mr. Jurist, a member of the
Michigan Repertory Players, on "The Movies And The People." In the two following articles
to appear later this week, Mr. Jurist will discuss what educators can do to remedy the un-
wholesome situation caused by present day films, and what the University of Michigan can
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NIGHT EDITOR: BEN M. MARINO
* .The editorials published in The Michigan
Daily are written by members of the Daily
staff and represent the views of the writers
It is. important for society to avoid the
neglect of adults, but positively dangerous
for it to thwart the ambition of youth to
ieform' the world. Only the schools which
act on this belief are educational institu-
tions in the best meaning of the term.
--Alexander G. Ruthven.
N A RECENT column for The New
York Herald Tribune, Walter Lipp-
mann-once white-headed boy of the liberal
movement but now despair of the progressives
discussed "How Liberty is Lost." Possibly he did
not realize that he tarred that eminently re-
;pectable paper with ideas suspiciously like ra-
dical doctrines. Or possibly he considered this
fact irrelevant, remembering what one keen
thinker has pointed out: that the social axroms
of en In any given historical epoch are remark-
ably alike, however much their corollaries and
conclusions may differ. And in truth, his com-
ments, wcnt neir incisive analysis anct measure,
lucidity, are etssentially what a diplomatic rad-
ical might write for the Rotaqr magazine, or an
honest conservative for the Labor Monthly.
Lippmann's main contention is that the lack
o economic security breeds a contempt for po-
litical liberty; that those peoples who have lost
their political rights are precisely those who had
never obtained economic independlence, who
"had no property, no savings, and either no job
at all or a job which they could not feel sure of
holding. They were in the exact sense of the
term proletarians even if they happened to be
earning fairly high salaries at the moment for
they had no reserves to fall back upon. They
could not afford to lose their jobs. They could
not afford therefore, to speak their minds or to
take any risks, to be in any real sense of the word
individual citizens." In our country too, the same
tendencies have become evident. The exercise of
the duties of free judgment, political integrity,
even of common honesty, has become a luxury
that is to be indulged in only temperately-ex-
cept by those whose persons and families are in
secure economic circumstances. Their personal
liberties must await the attainment of economic
security to be freely exercised. "The industrial
worker, who has a choice between working in
one factory and not working at all, the wYlite
collar intellectuals who compete for the relative-
ly few private positions and for positions in the
bureaucracy-these are people who live too pre-
cariously to exercise their liberties or defend
them . . . they have only the choice of truckling
to the powerful or perishing heroically but miser-
ably. Men like these having none of the substance
of liberty themselves have scant respect for any
law or any orm of civil rights." If they cannot
exercise their own civil rights, those possessed
by' others become irrelevant, and secondary to
their achieving economic security. Those who
have no significant economic stake in the social
order have no binding interest in its liberties. If
the workings of the economic system creates a
mass of dispossessed, Lippmann says, it only pre-
pares the destruction of the social order in which
The checking of this decaying process, Lipp-
ann asserts, depends on "maintaining and re-
storing for the great majority of individuals the
economic means to remain independent individ-
uals." The further details of Lippmann's method
for winning back liberty may not be as realistic
contribute to an amelioration of this condition.
Today, over all the land, a hundred million
people pay weekly tribute to the great Moloch of
the Machine Age, the moving pictures. The de-
sire for the relaxation and refuge which the
movies offer has made all people, many who
cannot really afford it, regular patrons of the
theatres. Because of this widespread attendance,
the movies have become the greatest culturaliand
social force in American life. Sociologists de-
clare that over one-third of the cinema audience
is composed of children. But this is actually
understatement, for of the remaining two-thirds,
a goodly proportion, if not most adults, must
have basically the same unsophisticated reac-
tions to movie propaganda as do children.
There has been a good deal of scientific re-
search in this field, but until recently the results
were largely confined to publication in scien-
tific journals. In 1928, however, the Payne
Fund in New York appropriated $200,000 to
finance a four-year study of the effect of mo-
content. His conclusions he generalizes as fol-
"In a large measure, the characters, the prob-
lems and the settings of most movies are re-
mote from the lives of the children who view
them. This remoteness is seen in the emphasis
on romantic love, a problem which nearly all in-
dividuals must meet and face in some way. but
not in the manner, nor to the degree indicated
in the motion pictures. It is also seen in the
emphasis on wealth and luxury, which serves
neither to point a desirable ideal nor to offer
methods by means of which the mass of people
can attain that ideal."
in the list below, Professor Dale's list of movie
subjects which have been overemphasized, bal-
anced against a list of subjects which have been
largely ignored by the movie-maker, is described
with all the eloquence of the simple fact, the
most important aspect of the cinema's deficien-
Balance Sheet For Motion Picture Content
The Following Aspects Or Problems Have
Received Attention, Sometime Excessive, In
The Motion Pictures.
Life of the upper economic strata.
Problems of the unmarried and young.
Motif of escape and entertainment.
Interest appeal to young adults.
Professional and commercial world.
Personal problems in a limited field.
Comedy foreigner such as the dumb Swede.
Diverse and passive recreations.
Individual and personal goals.
Variety of crime and crime techniques.
Emphasis on the romance and unusual in
The "lived happily ever after" idea following
an unusual and romantic courtship.
Emphasis on physical action.
Sports and trivial matters shown frequent-
ly in newsreels.
The Following Aspects Or Problems Have
Received Scant Attention In The Motion
Life of the middle and lower economic
Small town and rural areas.
Problems of the married, middle aged, and
Other problems of everyday life.
Motif of education and social enlightment.
Interest appeal to children and other adults.
Industrial and agricultural world.
Representative foreigner, such as the
worker, business man, farmer.
Occupational and governmental problems.
Active and inexpensive recreations.
Causes and cures of crime.
Emphasis on 'the undramatic and enduring
Happy marriages shown as a result of com-
panionship and careful planning.
Beauty of character.
Increased skill in analysis of motives and
portrayal of character.
World news of an intellectual and perhaps
undramatic type, results of scientific findings,
pictures of real conditions in the different
parts of the world."
It Seems To Me'
By HEYWOOD BROUN
Faneuil Hall, in Boston. has been
called "The Cradle of Liberty," but
just now the cradle rocks, and it will
fail unless the breed of Bunker Hill
stand fast in the
defense of free-
At the moment
of writing the
question is up to
Mayor Tobin. He
mustd e ide
censorship is to
be set up in a
city. Nor can it be denied that the
implications of the film "Blockade"
might well be annoying to both Hitler
and Mussolni. The picture presum-
ably is laid in Spain, although the
scene of action is nowhere identified.
It deals with a civil war and espouses
no side., except to point out eloquently,
the cruelty of wanton bombardments,
of civilian populations which taki
their toll chiefly among children and
There is no point in pussyfooting
the fact that this preachment is a
criticism of the Fascist dictators.
Both Hitler and Mussolini on many
occasions have found thek work of
their bombers eminently satisfac-
tory. Indeed, they exult in blood
which runs down the crooked streets
and is scattered in the market place.
In Spain death takes no holiday, not
even in the children's hour. To some
this slaughter of the innocent seems
so monstrous that the President of
the United States and the Pope and
many others have made articulate
protest, Even Francisco Franco, Gen-
eralissmo and branch manager for the
Nazis, has been moved on repeated oc-
casions to say, "So sorry."
Backed By Tradition
But the Boston City Council has
unanimously passed a motion asking
Mayor Tobin to ban the film "Block-
ade." He stands more lonely than the
little group of Concord freemen who
took their post at the rude bridge
which arched the flood. And yet he
s not quite alone, for he is backed
by a great tradition. If he yields to
the pressure a large New England city
will put itself on record as believing
that no finger should be lifted to abate
that rain of death which falls upon
the just and the unjust. Boston will
consent to have its eyes put out lest
anyone within its walls look well
upon the picture of the slain babies
of Spain. It is as if King Herod him-
self were elevated to high heaven.
The Council was unanimous. The
order was "passed without discussion
Perhaps these legislators did not
care to remind themselves of the fun-
damental human right which they
were turning back to limbo. The mem-
bers of the Council have not seen the
film, nor has the Mayor. But they
have had a request from Mrs. David
J. Johnston, of 118 Gommonwealth
Ave. Apparently that was sufficient.
Mrs. Johnson has not been elected to
any public office by the voters of Bos-
ton, but she is "a member of the exe-
cutive board of the League of Catho-
lic Women." Her request was granted,
and unless the Mayor dissents a lone
lady will from henceforth be in com-
plete charge of the cultural activities
of Boston as represented in books and
plays and motion pictures.
I wonder what Hawthorne and
Holmes, Emerson and Thoreau, Long-
fellow and Whittier would have
thought about this arrangement.
However, Mis. Johnson does not seem
to hold our native writers in much
respect, for she is quoted as saying
that Spain has been spoiled by "Amer-
ican literary riffraff." Seemingly, in
the estimation of Mrs. Johnson, the
German and Italian planes had
nothing to do with the destruction.
And it is interesting to note that
there are hundreds of American
authors beyond the pale of Boston
who have publicly gone on record as
being against Franco's terror.
Are The Names Riffraff?
Among the "riffraff" of Boston's
literary czar would be Pearl Buck,
Kathleen Norris, Stephen Vincent
Benet, Charles Norris, Dorothy Par-
ker, Van Wyck Brooks, H. V. Kalten-
born, Donald Ogden Stewart, Brooks
Atkinson, Ernest Hemingway, Sher-
wood Anderson, William Allen White,
Edna Ferber, Dorothy Thompson,
William Lyon Phelps, Louis Brom-
field, Fannie Hurst. RacheluCrothers,
William Rose Benet, Vincent Sheean
and Shamus O'Sheel.
If Mayor Tobin wilts and indorses
the ban he should at the same time
sign another paper. If he agrees to
se up a censorship in Boston to save
the feelings of Hitler and Mussolini
he should also request federal funds
to demolish Bunker Hill monument
and sink each stone into the harbor
to lie beside the tea which has long
since turned to water. And it might
TH EA TRE DAILY OFFICIAL
By PROF. KARL LITZENBERG BULLETIN
Department, of Emngltsh
Idot's Deght '.THURSDAY, JULY 21. 1938
Mr. Alexander Wyckoff has con-
structed upon the Mendelssohn stage Students. College of Literature, Sci-
one of the most brilliantly conceived
ence and the Arts: Except under ex-
sets which the patrons of the Mich- I
igan Repertory Players have gazedt
upon. This set is far and away the
most notable feature of the present1
production of Robert Emmet Sher-
wood's Pulitzer Prize Play of 1936,
Idiot's Delight. The scene which Mr.
Wyckoff has delineated with such
consummate stage artistry and in-
genious stage practicality,--note the
use made of the glass wall in the
last act,-is the cocktail lounge of thec
Hotel Monte Gabriele on the Italian t
frontier. The time is the present, and
the whole business will scare you to
In this lounge, aided and abetted
by the material, which includes the
intrigues of a prototype of Sir Basil
Zaharoff, the watchful eye of a fas-
cist captain, the European tour of an!
Americar hoofer and company; andj
impeded slightly by an assortment ofI
accents never before gathered to-,
gether in one place, the Repertory
Players successfully enact Mr. Sher-
wood's by no means trivial comedy.
This is a realistic play made up of,
affecting ironies and insoluble con-
flicts. The ironies are stronger thani
the minds and temperaments which
produce them; and the conflicts-
except for one that doesn't matter
much to the peace of Europe, since
it concerns the Hotel Governor Bry-
an in Omaha-are impossible to re-
solve, for they are made of such per-
durable stuff as nationalism and in-
ternationalism; avarice and charity;
hate and love. Mr. Sherwood did
not propose to resolve them; he pro-
posed to write an actable play (as he
invariably does), and in writing one,
he controlled and restricted his di-
dacticism by dramatizing it in terms
of exciting action instead of mouth-
ing it drearily from a soap-box. To
say all this in a less technical fash-
ion: Idiot's Delight appeals to the
intelligence of its audience; yet its
author has not forgotten that people
go to the theatre to be entertained.
As has frequently been the case in
Michigan Repertory productions, the
supporting players ran away with
most of the garlands; Ray Pedersen,
a tenderly sympathetic interpreta-
tion of the waiter; J S. Bernhard,
with an ingratiating impersonation
of the hotel's social director; Stephen
Filipiak, with a finely restrained per-
formance of the part of the captain;
Edward Jurist, with a splendid por-
trayal of the foredoomed idealist. In
the principal roles were Charles
Harrell, who played the hoofer with
great credit to himself (if not to the
hoofing profession), and Mrs. Har-
rell, who was an entirely convincing
Irene. Mr. Harrell appeared to be
a little too boisterous in the first act
--though perhaps this is quibbling;
Mr. Harrell may well maintain that
Harry Van could not possibly be
played in too boisterous a fashion.
High-light of the evening: Harry
Van and his Six Peroxide Babies en-
tertaining (gratis) the inmates of
the establishment with a honky-tonk
song-and-dance. Mr. Harrell's hoof-
ing while Rome burned was what is
called on the West Coast Colossal!
He received highly professional as-
sistance from the S.P.S.
traordinary circumstances, courses
dropped after Saturday, July 23, will
be recorded with a grade of E.
Students, School of Education (un-
dergraduate) : Courses dropped after
Saturday, July 23, will be recorded
with the grade of "E" except un-
der extraordinary circumstances. No
course is considered officially dropped
unless it has been reported in the
office of the Registrar, Room 4,
School of Education: Students (un-
dergraduate) who received marks of
Incomplete or X at the close of their
last term of attendance, must com-
plete work in such courses by July 27.
Petitions for extension of time, with
the approval of t'a instructor con-
cerned, should be dirc: ed to the Ad-
ministrative Committee oe the School
of Education and presente at 1437
U.E.S. before July 27. In case:. where
no supplementary grade or petition
for extension of time has been file-1,
these marks shall be considered as
having lapsed into E grades.
Students, College of Literature, Sci-
ence and the Arts: Students whose
records carry reports of I or X eith-
er from last semester or . (if they
have not been in residence since)
from any former session, will receive
grades of E unless the work is com-
pleted by July 27.
Petitions for extensions of time,
with the written approval of the in-
structors concerned, should be ad-
dressed to the Administrative Board
of the College, and presented in
Room 4, U'.iversity Hall, before July
tion pictures on youth. The study was carried
out by a group of eminent American psycholo-
gists, and educators, and resulted in 1933 in a
12-voltune publication, Motion Pictures and
Youth. The answers to pertinent questions are
discussed in detail in the 12-volume study. Even
though the study is not complete, it is undoubted-
ly the most important and productive attack yet
made on the problem. In general these are the
conclusions which the investigators derived from
A. "Children and youth the country over are
regular patrons of motion picture houses."
B. "Children retain approximately 70 per cent
of what they see in the movies. There is a ten-
dency to accept as true, general information
exhibited incorrectly on the screen."
C. "Motion pictures have a definite lasting
effect on the social attitudes of children."
D. "Motion pictures were a factor of impor-
tance in the delinquent and criminal careers of
approximately 20 per cent of the youth inter-
viewed in prisons and reformatories. Motion
pictures play an especially important part in the
lives of children reared in socially disorganized
E. "Movies tend to fix and establish be-
havior, patterns and types of attitudes of chil-
F. "Profound physiological and mental effects
of an emotional order are produced by motion
pictures, resulting in unnatural sophistication
and premature bodily stimulation."
G. "The mores of the community and those
depicted in most films do not coincide.,"
H. "Because motion pictures present extremes
of conduct as though they were the norm, and
because, in contrast to other educational institu-
tions, they have no definite goal of conduct or set
of values, motion pictures confound discrimina-
tion and dissolve moral judgment."
The results of these statistical studies show
how effective and how widespread is the influ-
ence of the movies. But perhaps the most sig-
nificant data of all is that collected by Prof.
Edgar Dale. with reference to just what it is
that children .see when they attend the movies.
and what concepts are formed in their minds as
a result. Over a period of three selected years.
Professor Dale examined a great number of
pictures selected at random, and tabulated their
Recently, there has been appearing a brief
monthly bulletin, Propaganda Analysis, the pur-
pose of which is "to Help the Intelligent Citizen
Detect and Analyze .Propaganda." The March
issue of this organ is devoted to "The Movies
and Propaganda." Its analyses are directed at
the adult citizen, and lest it be thought that
Professor Dale's conclusions are applicable only
to "minor children," let me quote their reaf-
firmation of his work as it applies to the "adult
child." Their analysis of conscious or uncon-
scious propaganda techniques found in the nar-
rative film, is divided into five parts, each of
which is an example of a commonly used stereo-
1. "The successful culmination of a romance
will solve most of the dilemmas of the hero and
the heroine. What young lovers are going to
live on in a world of insecurity and unemploy-
ment reaches the screen only rarely .. .
2. "Catch the criminal and you solve the crime
problem. Only rarely does a movie. give us some
insight into unemployment, slums, insecurity,
as causes for crime . .
3. "War and the preparation for war are thrill-
ing, heroic and glamorous . . .
4. "The good life is the acquisitive life with
its emphasis on luxury, fine homes and auto-
mobiles, evening dress, swank and security . . .
When we note the heavy emphasis in selection
of leading male characters from the commercial
and professional groups, with almost no repre-
sentatives from the ranks of labor, we get some
explanation of the lop-sided notion of the world
of workaday living held by many young people.
5. "Certain races, nationalities, or minority
groups are comical, dull-witted, or possess traits
that mark them as greatly different from and
inferior to native white Americans . . . Studies
of the sterotypes held by college students show
that many influences have been at work in pro-
ducing grossly inaccurate portraits of races and
To tell but a select group of generally dis-.
criminate or specially trained adults, this dis-
tortion of values and social realities by the
cinema, and its artistic dishonesty are not at
all apparent. Witness- the widespread atten-
dance at ordinary moving picture theatres, as
against the limited audience which patronizes
the art cinema houses. These latter are the
small number of houses which present the best
(that one per cent of which I spoke) in native
and foreign films.
Rebel army of General Franco-the puppet of
Italian and German fascism-is a step nearer to
our own border by the fascist iron heel. Every
bomb dropped on the women and children of
Barcelona is advance notice of one to fall some
day on a child in New York.
Spain represents the major struggle today
against this fascist aggression; it is the first real
test of fascist power, the first case of real re-
sistance to the dictators' armed force. Victory
for Loyalist Spain means a vital blow struck
against all that we as Americans hate. Hitler
The President's Dilemma
To The Editor:
The recent widespread publicity
given to an article by Alva Johnson
in the Saturday Evening Post con-
cerning James noosevelt's insurance
activities demonstrate the fanatical
eagerness of certain newspapers to
use every shred of information,
whether documented or not, to under-
mine the present administratior.. To
an intelligent person, such unwar-
ranted garbage-throwing should im-
mediately brand Mr. Johnson, as a
political crank of the first order,
I wish there were at least some
consistency and reasonableness in
these attacks. When John Roosevelt
doesn't get a job the G.O.P.'s yell
that he is a lazy parasite who won't
work. When James Roosevelt has a
job, and has had it since 1930, they
yell that he is capitalizing on his
father's political fortunes. The best
thing for the President's sons to do,
it would seem, is to commit suicide on
The wife of the President, accord-
ing to critics, should be a dumb Dora
sitting home mending socks or en-
tertaining political hangers-on in
Washington instead of getting behind
and promoting worthwhile projects.
As for the President, he should slave
from early dawn till sunset in a hot
stuffy Washington office-never dar-
ing to take a vacation or preserve his
Gradaate Students Specializing in
Education: The Advisory Inventory
Test will be given this afternoon
(Thursday), at . 2 o'clock, and on
Saturday morning, July 23, at 9
o'clock in the High School auditor-
ium. It is required of those who
have completed less than 8 hours of
graduate work in education; and may
be taken on either of the dates men-
Dr. Lowell S. Selling, Director of the
Psychopathic Clinic of the Detroit
Recorder's Court, will give an il-
lustrated lecture on work of the Clinic
in Room 1213 East Engineering Bldg.
at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 21. The
discussion will have particular ref-
erence to studies of traffic law vi-
olators. The public is invited.
Rabbi Sidney Tedesche of the
Temple, Brooklyn, will speak upon
"The Bible and The Talmud" at
7:30 p.m. today in the Rackham Au-
"Man and Nature in Ja'pan" is the
subject of Dr. Shio Sakanishi's lec-
ture today at 4:30 p.m. in the Lecture
Hall of the Rackham Building.
Approved Houses for Women: All
women students who were recog-
nizedas seniors when enrolling for
the Summer Session are granted 1:30
permission on Saturday nights. Those
who will not be seniors until the end
of the Summer Session are not en-
titled to this privilege.
Colleges of Literature, Science and
the Arts, and Architecture; Schools of
Education, Forestry/and Music: Sum-
mer Session students wishing a tran-
script of this summer's work only
should file a request in Room 4, U.H.
several days before leaving Ann Ar-
bor. Failure to file this request will
result in a needless delay of several
Dr. Ross L. Allen will lecture on
"Camping and the Public Schools" at
4:05 this afternoon in the University
High School Auditorium.
Candidates for the Master's De-
gree in History: The language exam-
ination will be given at 4 p.m., Aug
5, in Room B, Haven Hall. The ex-
amination will be written and will be
one hour in length. Students are
asked to bring their own dictionaries.
Copies of old examinations are on
file in the Basement Study' Hall of
the General Library.
A luncheon of the Graduate Con-
ference on Renaissance Studies will
be held at the Michigan Union Thurs-
day, July 21, 12:15 p.m. Professor Al-
bert Hyma will speak on "Calvin and
the Rise of Capitalism." Make reser-
vations at the English Office, 3221
Kappa Phi Picnic Supper for Alum-
ni and Actives: Members from other
chapters who are on campus are cor-
dially invited. Leave Stalker Hall 5
p.m. Thursday, July 21. Phone 6881
for reservation before Thursday noon.
Physiology 120. The lectures in
Physiology 120 will begin Friday,
As Danger To U.S.
To The Editor:
This afternoon Father Michael O'Flanagan,
who is on a speaking tour through the country,
will address a Michigan audience in the Natural
Science Auditorium on the war now raging in
Spain, and in particular on the heroic struggle of
the Loyalists. It is pertinent to say something
here on this little foreign incident which is so
many is but one of the topics of interest in the
day's news-and nothing more.
I "^IF I- - "- ;A -- 4- - - I-- 1- - I
not Ue a bad idea to make the surren- health, lest he be called neglectful
der complete by taking the codfish and indolent.
down from the State House and re- Talking back to scurrilous press
placing it with the swatiska. attacks is curtailment of freedom of
- - - the press. Supporting the newspapers
potent by a victory for the Spanish supporting him is un-American. Giv-
people.Iing labor a break is Communism, giv-
So do we just stand idly by, find- ing the farmer a break is populism,
ing the struggle interesting to read choosing a Catholic to office is po-
about? 'There is something quite 1pery; choosing a Jew is un-American,