Our Movie Made Children

Our Movie Made Children was written by Henry James Forman and published in 1935. Commissioned by W.W. Charters, the Chairman of the Committee on Educational Research of the Payne Fund, Forman was "entrusted the task of preparing a popular summary" of the conclusions found by the various scholars who conducted the studies.

The investigations were conducted between 1929 and 1933 at the request of the Motion Picture Research Council and include:

Getting Ideas From The Movies by P.W. Holiday and George D. Stoddard
Motion Pictures and Standards of Morality by Charles C. Peters
Relationship of Motion Pictures to the Character and Attitudes of Children by Mark A. May and Frank Shuttleworth

The Payne Fund, an organization "interested in the radio, motion pictures and reading in relation to children and youth", supported these independent studies. Our Movie Made Children, aimed at middle class mothers and religious groups, echoed the pro-censorship attitude behind the Payne Fund, and dramatized the threats movies posted to children. Criticized today as "emotional and inflammatory" the book, in its time was widely read because, although each study and the popular summary was to be an independently written volume of a series, Forman’s book was the first published and therefore often viewed, at the time, as the "authoritative public source".

Although Charters stated he had examined the accuracy of the claims made in Our Movie Made Children in his introduction to the book, he goes on to say that "[his] interpretations of the studies, however, his selection of illustrative material, his literary style, his dramatic and emphatic presentation are of necessity entirely his own".

Despite these loose interpretations and individual style, Forman delivers exactly what the supporters of the studies desired: to show that movies can have a powerful and influential effect on the attitudes, emotions, and behavior of children, to appeal to parents to understand that there must be further study on how to use film to the best advantage of their children, and to put pressure on filmmakers to produce better quality, morally agreeable products.


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