Movies and Conduct

Source: ‘Female, 21, white, college senior’, quoted in Herbert Blumer, Movies and Conduct (New York: Macmillan, 1933), p. 66

Text: As a young high-school student, I attended the movies largely for the love scenes. Although I never admitted it to my best friend, the most enjoyable part of the entire picture was inevitably the final embrace and fade-out. I always put myself in the place of the heroine. If the hero was some man by whom I should enjoy being kissed (as he invariably was), my evening was a success, and I went home in an elated, dreamy frame of mind, my heart beating rather fast and my usually pale cheeks brilliantly flushed. I used to look in the mirror somewhat admiringly and try to imagine Wallace Reid or John Barrymore or Richard Barthelmess kissing that face. It seems ridiculous if not disgusting now, but until my Senior year this was the closest I came to Romance.

Comments: American sociologist Herbert Blumer’s Movies and Conduct presents twelve studies of the influence of motion pictures upon the young, made by the Committee on Educational Research of the Payne Fund, at the request of the National Committee for the Study of Social Values in Motion Pictures. The study solicited autobiographical essays, mostly from undergraduate students of the University of Chicago, and presented extracts from this evidence in the text. Most of the evidence relates to picturegoing in the 1920s. The interview above comes from the chapter ‘Day-Dreaming and Fantasy’.

Links: Copy on Internet Archive

This entry was posted in 1920s, Reports and studies, USA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *