Mere Entertainment

Leaving aside for the time being the question of the film industry's response to regulatory concerns about cinema, let me now turn to delineating what I take to be the principal effects of the process of interaction between elite groups and the film industry on the shaping of the definition and function of mainstream cinema. The sugar-coating of the educational with the dramatic was clearly important here. Yet this conflation would become increasingly problematic through the teens as a series...

Moral Advances

Let me turn now from these questions of regulatory discourses and practices to consider the response of the beleaguered film industry, asking three simple but important questions that will guide the rest of this chapter how did the film industry respond to elite concerns about cinema and to the regulatory strategies of elite groups Why did it respond in this way And, most important, what effects did this process of interaction between elite groups and the film industry have on the shaping of...

The Eternal Question

Evelyn Nesbit Thaw was also a critical figure in the proliferation of discourses around the scandal. A picture of Nesbit drawn by Charles Dana Gibson when she was an artists' model, entitled The Eternal Question and in which Nes-bit's hair is arranged as a question mark figure 3 , was widely reproduced during the scandal, offering an embodiment of the confusion that circulated around the figure of Nesbit. Gibson's pictures, historian Kevin White has noted, broke away ever more decisively from...

Drunkard S Reformation

Theatrical temperance dramas had proliferated in the mid-nineteenth century in conjunction with the reformation of the cultural status of theater that was aligned with ideals of education and with appeals to women and family audiences as signifiers of respectability. The creation of museum theaters in the 1840s, billed as lecture rooms, was an important development within this process of reformation. Such theaters featured lectures on a variety of educational and moral topics but began also to...

Uplift Dramatic Films

Late in February 1909, shortly after this renewed struggle over Sunday closing and the category of the educational, a committee delegated by the Association of Moving Picture Exhibitors of New York AMPENY approached civic reform organization the People's Institute to seek advice regarding the public hostility to which the motion picture art was subject and the practicality of creating a censorship board.124 Clearly responding to the regulatory concerns delineated thus far, the exhibitors...

Education Or Sacred Entertainment

Laws restricting Sunday activities so-called blue laws were common in the regulation of social behavior in the nineteenth century, linked to religious ideals and frequently to the maintenance of good order, moral tone, and public welfare.18 Sabbatarian policy was an established part of the regulatory matrix pivotal to governance in the nineteenth century but became increasingly contested around the turn of the century, as new forms of entertainment and recreation emerged alongside ever-larger...

Veritable Copying Machines

Why were social, political, and cultural elites anxious about cinema 13 Clearly there exists a longer history of elite concern about the effects of culture, stretching back at least to Plato's call for the banning of poets from the perfect state. A struggle over culture and cultural space is, indeed, virtually a defining feature of democratic societies, which almost inevitably involve a complex negotiation between public authority and the dissemination of facts, ideas, and representations in...