The art of sound pictures (1930)

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136 THE ART OF SOUND PICTURES Murder Case, Mrs. Drake fears the maid Lulu, who has some mysterious hold over her, Mrs. Drake expresses her emotion in a very aggressive course of action, de- signed to get Lulu out of the way. She calls the police and enters a complaint against her maid, saying that she has stolen a valuable necklace. This action expresses the dominant element in fear. Mrs. Drake’s purpose was to sail for Europe while Lulu was held for investigation by the police. Thus, her ultimate action purpose was escape or withdrawal, which is typically expressive of the compliance element in fear. Yet, the audience is fully aware of Mrs. Drake’s fear the moment they hear her telephone to the police demanding Lulu’s arrest. This is only one example of many which might be given to illustrate the point that nearly all emotions may be expressed accurately on the screen by many types of ac- tion on the part of the emotion-experiencing characters. Other illustrations follow. For the sake of convenience, we may divide these illus- trations of emotional action into two types of bodily be- havior: the gross, or more obvious, bodily action; and the subtle, or finer, behavior. Psychologically, it is true that emotion always ex- presses itself immediately in some form of bodily change or reaction. If the emotion to be expressed is tremen- dously strong, and if the expression is not checked or inhibited by some other emotion or by intellectual con- trol, this expression will be equally intense and obvious. In short, strong emotions naturally express themselves in powerful and immediate action, which we here term gross emotional behavior. In proportion, however, as other emotions tend to con-