Vision The Primal Function in Motion Pictures

Of one hundred impressions received by the mind, eighty-seven are conveyed through the eyes. The love of movement is instinctive in us. We like to see the world go by. And the world, and his wife, and his children give universal pleasure when they act out their lives on the "vertical stage" of the screen.

A learned man tells us that when we look on a motion picture we are doing the easiest thing man can do," so far, at least, as concerns the intellectual reactions aroused by the presence of an outer world. The movie eye is primeval. The movies were born almost in the mud of the world's first seas. To attend the movie is to be primitive.

Because the movie demands for its understanding and enjoyment the use of little more than the most primitive of all man's faculties, it wins a frightful popularity." Mr. Dana does not assume, of course, that all moving pictures are "easy to look at." I am sure he agrees with me that many of them are very hard on the eyes, and on the intelligence.

Pictures were man's first means of transcribing thought. On the walls of cave dwellings, on lofty cliffs, we find these primitive thoughts cut into the rock. The image of a horse is as easily understood by a Finn as by a Turk. A picture is the universal symbol, and a picture that moves is a universal language. Moving pictures, someone suggests, "might have saved the situation when the Tower of Babel was built."

The cinema camera is the agent of Democracy. It levels barriers between races and classes.

Visual demonstration is the most impressive means of teaching.

The Grandfather of Movie Projectors

The Jenkins invention now in the National Museum, Washington.

Propagandists know this. Educators say that lessons learned with the aid of the moving picture are the least easily forgot.

Motography unfolds the petals of the flower, discovers the secrets of the butterfly. It brings us face to face with great events. It carries us to the peaks of mountains, to the bottom of the sea, and -to the poles—literally to the ends of the earth.

The camera often tells the story of a popular novel better than the pen does. I think this is true of many pictures that have been made from famous books. On the screen Ibsen, Hugo, Barrie, Mark Twain, have risen to new triumphs. Naturally, a director must know what is appropriate to the pantomime play and what is not.

Filming The Sleigh-Ride Scene in "Way Down East"


In translating the theme Of a play to the silversheet, the moving picture director has several obvious advantages over the stage director. Scenes and backgrounds that can only be referred to in dialogue can be shown in the photographed play.

The " close-up " supplies the photodrama with a tool more effective for revealing character than any device of the theater stage. The "flash-back" is useful in knitting together the episodes of a story and in explaining motivation.

Source: THE MENTOR, Volume 9, Number 6, July 1, 1921, Pages 4-5

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