The art of sound pictures (1930)

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FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS 169 this type may be used, if the captivation element is suf- ficiently disguised by some established social custom, such as that of college hazing, or the training of recruits at military schools, the discipline of girls in colleges, and so on. Erotic captivation is one of the most intensely pleas- ant emotions in the whole of human experience, and any motion picture which arouses a sufficient amount of this emotion in the audience is bound to be a box-office success. The most successful and the least successful pictures of a large moving picture company have been studied for four years, with a view to discovering the reasons for their success or failure. This analysis shows, astonish- ingly enough, that captivation, disguised in many ways, was the predominant emotional appeal in more than ninety per cent of the successful pictures. And this ap- peal was totally absent from all of the failures. One of the most popular pictures ever released was The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which has been reissued twice, with extraordinary returns both times. Its chief emotional attraction is disguised captivation. The Hunch- back is subjected to public punishment before the crowds of Paris. He is chained to a revolving platform, stripped to the waist, and whipped before a gloating mob. Then the lovely young heroine of the story is similarly ex- hibited and subjected. Dressed only in a chemise, with her hands tied behind her, she rides to the cathedral in a cart. She is made to kneel on the church steps, still tied, while she is subjected and punished for witchcraft. She is rescued by the Hunchback, who carries her up the side of the cathedral. The theme of public exhibition and punishment arouses a strong, disguised captivation emotion in the minds of