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Movies: Then and now


Learning a moral code from the movies
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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When I was a child I and the other kids learned whatever... I mean, I once was forced to go to Sunday School for about six months, and then didn't anymore, but whatever I learned of what bravery was, what manliness was, what sexiness was, God knows, was taught to me by the movies. And not just me, but millions of other children and, I suspect, adults. There was a kind of consensus of what men were and women were and sexiness was, and bravery was, very much, you know. And... and what you could do and should do. A sort of moral code – unconscious and not spelled out in any rational way. And I'm not talking about the Hayes office or any kind of enforced patriotism, or anything like that, but simply a kind of collective unconscious morality was given to the world. And the world absorbed it. I certainly did and... and the other kids that I know did. And I'm sure adults did. And... because there was only one... essentially one place that this vision could come from, which was the studio system of Hollywood, it tended to be a unified vision. I mean, one studio did one kind of thing and another studio did another thing. But there was an overall unconscious familiarity and... and unity of vision. Now that doesn't exist anymore. Because now there are... is no one... there is no one source. There is no one church. Everybody is his own church now. I mean, as I say... if television is the rise of Protestantism, we are now way past, you know, anything. We're all just our own terrorists now, and there is no longer a unified voice or a unified morality.

Michael Chapman (1935-2020), an American cinematographer, had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: Hollywood

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010