The cinema is today one of the most popular form of entertainment. There is not a town or city which does not have several cinema theatres. In fact, almost every village has at least one. The production of films is a huge and, often, very Lucrative business. A great film like ‘Ben-Hur’, or ‘The Ten Commandments’, costs million of dollars.
Films are made in studios. The studios of film companies contain several stages, each of which is reserved for the production of a particular picture. But often several scenes have tobe “shot” on “locations” far away from the studio. Weeks of practice and rehearsals are required to make a picture perfect. Acting in cinemas is now distinct profession, and top “stars” are paid fabulous salaries.
Apart from being a form of popular entertainment, the cinema has great educational value. Films can help educationists to impart knowledge quickly, easily, and clearly. A historical picture, for instance, will help a teacher of history very greatly. For a couple of hours spent in the company of historical personages, dressed in the proper costumes of the period, can teach the student far more than he can learn from a whole week’s reading of a text- book of history. So also, when students watch on the screen a play of Shakespeare’s, they get much better idea of that play than when they merely read it.
In the teaching of science and history, the cinema even more useful. There are educational film companies which film the life and habits of animals, insects, and plants. Watching these pictures, the students are helped to study Nature, if not at first hand, at least in a comparable way.
Unfortunately the vast majority of films have no educative value at all. A great many pander to passions of the lowest kind. Sex, violence, and crime are the ingredients of which they are concocted. The so- called “blue- films”, made and distributed surreptitiously, are truly diabolical, for they encourage depravity of every kind. These horrendous masterpieces of immorality are unfortunately becoming more and more popular, not only with susceptible young people; but even with the older generation. It is high time that governments throughout the world took effective measures to combat this satanic menace.