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Ykml^^Mi^ eoujbovs or M|fr iBfi'B y^lM 1:;--'M' -if V' ?' ?????? ?? -?????? ????'?? -?: ? .W--.v.--#^-- ?..- ; .;-' Jlpffiiil^liii iffce^e films
Yet very few of the| pictures they see — the f e w may include ad venture seVials of doubtful merit as juvenile fare— were made for child ren. ; v. ????»,?. Now a move is being made foer AdeJatde to see pictures j^nwlucel for the British Children's ISiteVr Jtainmeat ; -;|Wlni: J^ismeiJt.; If it is a'isuccess the idea may spread to South ;4«s tralia, ? ' ;. .;,.:. .V:'.- Between 1M3 and 1950, OBP produced nearly 200 movies. 73ie film and Television Council of 5A has bete planning a pro ject for these Sims to be f»ed in Adelaide and it as expected they will be avail able soon. Issuing films good for children mas the objective of CEF. Its history is told in a new book, 'Good Com pany,' by Mary Field (published by Longmans, Green & Go.. English price, nm. - -- * Miss Field, director of Hie movement, has an in teresting story to tell and' sound comments to make on the successes, failures; and lessons learnt in the scheme begun by Mr. J. Anhur Rank. As -Chairman of the Odeon and Gaumont cir cuits in Britain, Rank in quired about the programs shown to the 400,000 child ren attending the 4^000 Odeon and Gaumont clubs on Saturday mornings. Did they do the children good? he asked. He was told they were ^^^ selected as far as ^EeSS possible to do the /4HhJ children no harm. VT^^ 'Then we will /-^H make their films,' ff/f . i|*3 said Rank. Vt ll\ n His original idea was to screen one 10-min. film a week containing a direct moral lesson in the guise of a children's story. The scheme was launch ed in the face of difficul ties. This was war time, material was short, and some of the staff— many of them busy* making films for Government * depart ments — were not very interested. Miss Field. herself, was drafted un wiUingly into the unit. But enthusiasm mounted and the original objective was enlarged. Four shorts — Jean Sim mons, aged 15, appeared in one — then slightly longer pictures, serials, cartoons, Mature and tra vel films were prepared. CEF didn't make the films itself, but contracted the productions out to a variety of companies. A big step was the first full-length story, 'Bush Christmas,' made in Aus tralia. First planned as a
serial, it was one of tiae most successful, ventuws, and was later generally released. , '???.' CEF -was learning *s it went along. It must have: been- 'a' . shock when 'Jean's Plan,' the first three-reeler, came back from the censors iwt$i' an 'Adults Only^ certificate Cuts had to bemarlt tp ilw' more eMti^:,^part»,--^li ?']£ chase -*6 get '-'tJmSfersal Exhibition' apprpv&L- -d :?' ^ That incident ted to a conference with the cen sors and 1 adoption of '& rule never to show 4 frightened child on 13be screen. - - . '? ; -?' ,!??; 'This, we proved ttme after time to be -wise,^ writes Miss Field. 'A young audience tends to associate itself with die children in the ^lm, and so long ate. they are not visibly frightened, the audience is not frightened either.' A phrase in a report on moral education provided CEP with its terms of re fejence^ — 'one of the most important means of moral education is contact with good example.' 'We set out,' says Miss Field, 'to provide children to the cinema with oppor tunities of coming into contact with children and adults who were, uncon sciously, good examples.** But it was also realised entertainment was essen tial. There was critiefcm thsf. some productions were educational enough but tended to be dull, and trie ^ advisory council Safes, recognised the F/^. need* for pleasure -LJ^» content in the llSS^* films. The moral fir was there, but it '* should be pre sented in an attractive story. There was no lack of suggestions. - Make movies of children's classics, CEF was told— and 'Robinson Crusoe' was requested. But members realised the adventures of a man who spent 20 years on a desert island would not make a very exciting talk ing film, and a Libraries Association representative pointed out the only part of the book which chil dren enjoyed reading was the scene dealing with a cannibal feast. There was plenty of opposition — from those who thought all films bad and caused delinquency those who accused Rank of organising a kind of Hitler Youth in the clubs. those who objected to 'heavy morals', those who disapproved any sugar-coating at all, and from the film trade ('which has never favored the children's film move ment because it involves extra work for small re turns and prevents fur
: ^Adelaide audiences will soon be intro dticed to movies- made by the British ^Children's Entertainment Film Move ment. This article shows what these /Urns have achieved in England.
ther revenue being earned from old pictures which they: consider good enough tor children's shows'). . But success came. CEF Sizns .were shown overseas, won awards at European festivals, and became '»c- eeptea as the* product of a worthwhile enterprise, a paqjaer movement v of i&TMt unit closed 4°wn fturijQ? the financial crisis
in *85U 'T» De r^vifed,' says. , Miss Field, 'on a /4 Tride national V basis which may j. in time prove the f/i ftamSation «iy*f international action,*'
She has no doubt of the meed for such pictures. 'Ctertainly films are only' one of the influences that mould our children together. with books. radio, television, the Sun day papers, the comics, the conversation at school and at home,' she says.. 'Yet it- is a potent in fluence and it cannot be useful for children to meet regularly at* the cinema the kind of characters you would seek to shield them from in real life at that bender age.' 'No longer m a western can a child be ' in good company with the hero and the sheriff, riding withi
the posse to the destruc tion of evil. Instead, they find themselves with 'grey' heroes and venal sheriffc in a world of uncertain values and doubtful com pany. .'It is difficult for us to judge how much harm -s done to a young audience »y bringing them into contact with the grey heroes of commercial films, specially post-war
westerns ... . sucn as Billy the Sid, who, according to the sheriff, would have been a good fellow if he hall not committed 21
murders before he ms 32. 'To achieve the sense of security, they crave, young children like to think of a world divided into the good, who in the long run win. and the bad who eventually lose. 'It is the fashion to say of almost all cartoons or cowboy, pictures that chil dren enjoy them, while all they really do is enjoy being in the cinema and seeing something move on the screen. 'This is one of the problems posed by the change in Western films, which have altered from the old horse operas into being merely gangster i films hi fancy dress.
'To get the .most enjoy ment and most profit from entertainment films chil dren between the ages of seven and 11 need films to be made specially for them, with particular regard to their tastes and their limi tations. 'All our films dealt with children, their adventures, their problems, their achievements. Adult cha racters played a secondary rote.' The reactions of young audiences were interesting. 'We found children were as conservative in their filmgoing as in any other activity, and would not have the pattern of screen stories changed; quickly. Brought up on cpwboy and gangiter pictures, they ex pected tbe film to' reach its ctimax in a chase. 'But so long as there is activity in any film vio lence is not necessary. 'Although violence satisfies most boys between seven and 11, It alienates nearly all girls and the more sensitive boys. Its p^ace can be supplied by plenty of movement, healthy suspense, and ex citement. 'We found our audiences preferred to see the main parts in a film played by ordinary types of children like themselves, and not by the sweet little girls and waif-like boys that enthral adult fllmgoers.' Miss Field sums up: 'The problem of raising the general taste of film raising their taste, at the smotional stage of their development between the ages of seven and 11 by means of first-class chil dren ' s entertainment films.'
'Late again, Firby! What's the excuse this time.'
'Late again, Firby! What's the excuse this time.'