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At sources of the American genre cinema. Influence of the conflict between Hollywood and an orthodox part of the viewers on formation of contents of movies of the first half of the 20th century

n. G. Timofeeva


Work is presented by department of art criticism of the St. Petersburg humanities university of labor unions.

The research supervisor - the doctor of art criticism, professor D.N. Katysheva

A subject of discussion in article is the church and a problem of relationship of orthodoxly adjusted citizens with moviemakers. And as result of this relationship - the set of rules regulating behavior of producers and directors in the American cinema in the first half of the 20th century.

The point of issue in the article is the church and the problem of mutual relations of orthodox-oriented citizens with film producers. The result of these mutual relations is creation of rules, regulating producers' and directors' behavior in the American cinema in the first half of the 20th century.

In the majority of the fundamental works considered by the author of article devoted to the American cinema it is possible to get enough data on a role of the controlling organizations which undertook function of control over film production (and in some cases appropriated it). Main of them at the moment - Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) - in such a way protects views of a conservative-minded part of the American audience to avoid emergence of antagonistic contradictions between aspirations of artists innovators and representations of the audience orthodoxes. The controlling organizations seek to impart to the American cinema tough standards, compoundings, schemes, etc. Therefore the value of these organizations long enough was considered unilaterally, it was generally told about negative impact on cinema. Eventually such approach began to prevent development of objective opinion concerning supervisory authorities in the system of the American production and also understanding of those aims which these bodies pursue. Therefore in this article the author the purpose sees attempt to return back, to sources of interaction of Church, Hollywood and other centers of the American cinematography in new, more modern foreshortening and to analyze that influence which an orthodox part of the viewers rendered on the Hollywood cinema in a positive key.

Screen shows initially competed with Church in several spheres at once. Therefore "the seventh art" was apprehended by clergy as the enemy No 1. As a result many religious figures tended to see in subject and prevalence of a new show not so much the investigation how many main, and even

nearly only source of withdrawal from Church. Especially as moviemakers in a pursuit of profit were ready to use any means including they frankly immoral, up to a pornography which screen forms (fancifully being combined with borders admissible in any given the period) arose and developed together with cinema. On this way the Church became the main obstacle.

In 1934 in the USA at the initiative of Episcopal committee on cinematography the piety Legion was created. In activity of the Legion totaling several million members, active part was taken besides Protestant by also Catholic and Judaic organizations. Fight which was conducted not against cinema any more in general and against "amoralism" at cinema, demanded strong means. In some arrivals children staged demonstrations with banners: "The ticket for the obscene movie - the ticket to hell". As a result moviemakers tried to attract believers there, creating religious pictures. Though early religious movies could not shake a negative position of Catholic "tops", on places often there were forms of close cooperation. If somewhere on instigation of churchmen set fire to movie theaters, then in the neighbourhood the religious movies were shown in churches. This form of a film screening accepted so broad scope at the beginning of the 20th century that direct intervention of Vatican was required to put it an end. As a result the first official document of Catholic church devoted to cinema had character of the ban. In 1912 the display of movies in the God's temple was officially forbidden as "dangerous and inappropriate" as the building of church is intended isklyuchitel-

but for a cult. Several decades that "seditious" film viewings in churches were succeeded by the "parish cinema halls" authorized by Vatican which network for the 1950th continuously extended were required. These halls gave essential economic and ideological effect (it should be noted that ticket prices were here, as a rule, more moderate, than in usual film network). Cooperation between cinematographers and churchmen thereby was put on a real basis.

Initial negative attitude of Church to cinema relied not only on conservatism of religion. Behind it there was also concrete assessment of the secular film repertoire. The main emphasis was placed on morality problems especially as the secular cinema was especially vulnerable here. At the same time in separate judgments to the forefront there were also openly social motives. Not accidentally churchmen very unanimously convicted cinema of blasting social foundations, of instigation to strikes, and even to revolution, of growth of discontent of workers to conditions of the life, etc. The watershed between moral and immoral was defined also by religious tendency to "the class world" on the basis of a bible precept of "love for the neighbour". Therefore church assessment of the film repertoire initially was based on reactionary parcels and conducted to wrong conclusions. Absolute significance was attached to negativism. As a result the Church could not come to recognition of potential opportunities of cinema for a long time. Therefore the Church banned cinema under the pretext of his "immorality". The cinema was accused that it extends a view of marriage as to a private affair, but not a sacred sacrament. Moviemakers were forced to react to the anti-Hollywood movement. The famous moviemaker Adolf Tsukor developed obligatory recommendations for the producers and directors in 1920: "In fil-

a move it is necessary to avoid: indecent situations; trafficking in women display; display of illegitimate relationship which is justified only in case the virtue is rewarded and the defect is punished; unjustified display of a naked body because it is dangerous; some forms of dance which are not suitable for the screen; in the obligatory conflict between the good and evil often it is necessary to show bastards of society, but it is necessary to be careful whenever possible of use of poison, crime and defect because it is the evidence of nasty taste; in alcoholism there is nothing attractive, but it has to take the noticeable place on the screen; disgusting aspects of life can be shown from time to time, but they cannot form the bases of a plot" 1. Tsukor's bans concerned only "decency" and did not raise social problems.

In 1930 the well-known Code of motion picture industry better known as Hace's Code which was almost remaining in force to the middle of the 1960th was issued. The code showed peculiar to all western religions most clearly, and first of all to Protestantism, forbidden attitude toward art which got high approval only in case it was sent "to God's glory". From here and alternation of the petty restrictions regulating, for example, duration of kisses, the use of expressions like "You went to hell!", etc., with the general bans - from the ban on display of the love relations between representatives of different races to accurate instructions in the field of screen shape of religion.

To what it led in practice? On the one hand, to the increasing isolation of cinema from wealth and variety of real life, from acute social and psychological issues. With another - to development of distinguished methods of a circumvention of the bans giving to movies the aggravated ambiguity.

The code of motion picture industry which was more than once revised by then faced in the mid-sixties new, even more acute crisis which apogee was caused by emergence of the screen version of the play of Edward Olbi "Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf?" the director Michael Nichols which, according to one American observer, was approved as an exception only on the ground that this quality work created for big money by very talented people. And at the beginning

the 1970th Catholic and Protestant movie centers of the USA made a joint statement in which they recognized failure and the code and the classification program.

Thus, it is obvious that for cinema as art, important and requires effective cooperation of Church and acceptable organization of moviemakers, only in that case directors have an opportunity to find forms of graphic expression, without being criticized expression of a subjective position of one party, in this context of Church.

1 Tarasov A. Otvetstvennost as moral of freedom. M, 2000. Page 29.
Stephanie Jackson
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