in about 100 words or less
A common theme in many of the early trade publications is the notion that moving pictures could be both entertaining and instructional. Of note is Margaret MacDonald’s impassioned plea from the 1911 edition of Moving Picture News (1911:6-7), in which she advocates the use of film to eliminate the “injurious environment” of the city, noting that “An hour of pleasure among the forest trees, or on the beautiful green sward, can be given the children each day when their little hearts can be stirred by the voice of nature, and they can at least dream that they are among the beautiful dolls and distant hillsides without, while they are still among the high brick walls and stolid cement streets of one of the largest of the world’s cities”. Educational films, however, were not only for the children, but also targeted adults in 1911 with unforgettable films such as “Jim Minds the Baby”, and “Bill has Kleptomania”, and “A Cure for Laziness”. As odd as these titles seem, the focus on education in early film might be better understood in the context of the great many critics of early cinema, who saw film as both a cause and a symptom of the moral decay of society (Klaus Ming January 2016).