Mormons as silent cinema villains: propaganda and entertainment

  • Author(s): Richard Alan Nelsona
  • When: 1984-02
  • Where: Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
  • Not surprisingly, the controversy engulfing Mormonism proved a fertile theme for early filmmakers. By 1911 the motion picture had progressed from the first crude beginnings to become an effective story-telling medium. Seeking to fulfil commercial demand for entertainment and social uplift, European and American filmmakers looked to established literature and contemporary events for relevant subject matter. Wholesale lifting of plots and themes from popular novels, stage plays, magazines and news accounts proved common in a reformist era where the strict moralistic 'values and homilies' of the late nineteenth century continued to be 'preached and defended' via the cinema.

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