Mass-Observation at the Movies

Source: May Crawshaw, quoted in Jeffrey Richards and Dorothy Sheridan (eds.), Mass-Observation at the Movies (London/New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987), p. 128

Text: May Crawshaw (Mrs.), 14 Heaton Avenue (aged 40), regular cinema-goer (4 times a month), preference – both the same.

Comments: I like when going to the Cinema to see one long picture, with a little humour and a little pathos as long as it brings out the qualities of the actor, and a little love not overdrawn. Also a travel coloured picture, or a Mickey Mouse, and for a change, short musical revue. Then of course a good news reel with pictures of Royalty and not too much was news. I dont [sic] mind the ice cream advert, but hate to sit in semi-darkness watching adverts of housing estates, furniture, permanent waves etc.

Comments: Mass-Observation carried out a series of studies in 1930s and 1940s into how people in the UK lived, through a mixture of observation, diaries and invited comments. This comment comes from Mass-Observation’s research programme into cultural life in Bolton, Lancashire. The study began in 1938, and this comment is a response to a questionnaire issued in March 1938 asking Do you go to the cinema regularly? How many times a month do you go? Do you go regularly on the same day, if so which day? Do you think you see people on the screen who live like yourself? Which are the best films, British or American, or do you think both are the same? People were also asked to number the types of films they best, and to list what they would like to see more of in films. This respondee was a regular of the Odeon, Ashburner Street.