A little "Who's Who in the Motion Picture Industry" would make a valuable department in the movie theaters' printed programs, but it is not pleasant to think of what would happen to the manager who should print one. There is a strange confusion in the Jewish mind, a struggle between a desire to remain unidentified and a desire to be known. Sometimes they measure friendship by the depth of the silence about their being Jews; sometimes by the amount of open laudation. To say a man is a Jew is sometimes to be vilified as an "anti-Semite," and sometimes to be honored as "a friend of our nation."
In what is said now, the only purpose is to inform "movie fans" of the source of the entertainment which they crave and the destination of the millions of dollars which they spend. When you see millions of people crowding through the doors of the movie houses at all hours of the day and night, literally an unending line of human beings in every habitable corner of the land, it is worth knowing who draws them there, who acts upon their minds while they quiescently wait in the darkened theater, and who really controls this massive bulk of human force and ideas generated and directed by the suggestions of the screen.
Who stands at the apex of this mountain of control? It is stated in the sentence: The motion picture influence of the United States -- and Canada -- is exclusively under the control, moral and financial, of the Jewish manipulators of the public mind.
Jews did not invent the art of motion photography; they have contributed next to nothing to its mechanical or technical improvement; they have not produced any of the great artists, either writers or actors, which have furnished the screen with its material. Motion photography, like most other useful things in the world, is of non-Jewish origin. But by the singular destiny which has made the Jews the great cream-skimmers of the world, the benefit of it has gone not to the originators, but to the usurpers, the exploiters.
Who is who in the motion picture world? The names of the leading producing companies are widely known: The Famous Players; Selznick; Selwyn; Goldwyn; Fox Film Company; The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company; United Artists' Corporation; The Universal Film Company; The Metro; Vitagraph; Seligs; Thomas H. Ince Studios; Artcraft; Paramount, and so on.
The Famous Players is headed by Adolph Zukor. Mr. Zukor is a Hungarian Jew. He was a fur dealer in Hester street, and is said to have gone from house to house selling his goods. With his first savings he went into the "nickel" theater business with Marcus Loew. He is still in his forties and immensely wealthy. He is conceded to be the leader of the fifth largest industry in the world -- an industry which is really the greatest educational and propagandist device every discovered.
The reader will not be deceived by the use of the word "educational" in this connection. Movies are educational, but so are schools of crime. It is just because the movies are educational in a menacing way that they come in for scrutiny.
Zukor's control extends over such well-known names as Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, The Oliver Morosco Photoplay Company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Artcraft Pictures, all of which have been absorbed within the past five years.
It is commonly supposed that the United Artists' Corporation is a non-Jewish concern, but according to an article in the American Hebrew, the head of this photoplay aggregation is Hiram Abrams. The United Artists' Corporation was formed several years ago by the Big Four among the actors -- Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and David Wark Griffith, and notwithstanding the fact that Charlie Chaplin is a Jew, the company was regarded by the public as being non-Jewish. Hiram Abrams is a former Portland, Oregon newsboy and graduated from that wholesome occupation into the position of manager of a "penny arcade." He was one of the founders of the Paramount Pictures Corporation and became its president.
The Fox Film Corporation and the Fox circuit of theaters are under control of another Hungarian Jew who is known to the American public as William Fox. His original name is said to be Fuchs. He also began his artistic and managerial career by running a "penny arcade." The penny arcade of 15 and 20 years ago, as most city-bred men will remember, was a "peep show" whose lure was lithographed lewdness but which never yielded quite as much pornography as it promised.
Fifteen years ago William Fox was in the clothes sponging business. He also is still in his early forties, is immensely wealthy, and one of the men who can pretty nearly determine what millions of movie fans shall think about certain fundamental things, what ideas and visions they shall entertain.
Marcus Loew also reached fame via the penny arcade and cheap variety vaudeville routes. He went into pictures and is now said to be the active head of 68 companies in various parts of the world. He is in the neighborhood of 50 years old. Loew controls the Metro Pictures Corporation.
The names of Marcus Loew and Adolph Zukor are closely linked in the history of the movies. Both were in the fur business, and both were partners in the first penny arcade venture. Zukor went the way of pictures exclusively, although he later made investments in Loew's enterprises, but Loew went into variety and vaudeville of the type which is now to be found in the less desirable burlesque houses. From this he developed great entertainment enterprises which have made him a name and a fortune. The theaters he personally controls now number 105.
At the head of the Goldwyn Film Corporation is Samuel Goldwyn who is described as having been engaged "along mercantile lines" until motion pictures won his attention. In company with Jesse Lasky and Cecil DeMille he organized a $20,000 corporation in 1912. In 1916 he had prospered so greatly that he organized a $20,000,000 corporation with the Shuberts, A. H. Woods, and the Selwyns, the purpose of this latter company being to screen the works of prominent non-Jewish writers -- a matter of which more will be said presently.
The Universal Film Company, known everywhere through the name of Universal City, its studio headquarters, is under the control of Carl Laemmle. It would seem, from a reading of Who's Who, that Laemmle was his mother's name. His father's name is given as Julius Baruch. He is a Jew of German birth. He was manager of the Continental Clothing Company of Oskosh until 1906, in which year he branched out into pictures, taking his first stand in a small Chicago motion picture theater. Laemmle conceived the idea of fighting the "trust." He bought an enormous tract of land near Los Angeles and built Universal City as the headquarters of his production work.
The Select Pictures Corporation is headed by Lewis J. Selznick, who is also head of Selznick Pictures, Incorporated. He was at one time vice-president of the World Film Corporation. With him are associated a number of members of his race.
This is but to name a few. These are the official heads. Penetrate down through the entire organizations, until you come to the last exhibition of the cracked and faded film in some cut-price theater in an obscure part of a great city, and you will find that the picture business, on its commercial side, is Jewish through and through.
In the above notes, reference has been made to the occupations out of which the present arbiters of photo-dramatic art have come to their present eminence. They are former newsboys, peddlers, clerks, variety hall managers and ghetto products. It is not urged against any successful business man that he formerly sold newspapers on the streets, or peddled goods from door to door, or stood in front of a clothing store hailing passers-by to inspect his stock. That is not the point at all. The point is here: men who come from such employments, with no gradations between, with nothing but a commercial vision of "the show business," can hardly be expected to understand, or, if they understand, to be sympathetic with a view of the picture drama which includes both art and morality.
Mr. Laemmle, it will be remembered from a former article, said of his company, "The Universal does not pose as a guardian of public morals or of public taste." This is probably the attitude of other producers, too. But though they avoid any responsibility for taste or morals, they consistently fight all attempts of the state to set up a public guardianship in those regions. A business that frankly brutalizes taste and demoralizes morals should not be permitted to be a law unto itself.
It is very difficult to see how the Jewish leaders of the United States can evade the point that Motion Pictures are Jewish. And with this being true, there is the question of responsibility upon which they cannot very well be either impersonal or silent.
The moral side of the movies' influence need not be discussed here because it is being discussed everywhere else. Everybody who has an active moral sense is convinced as to what is being done and as to what ought to be done.
But the propaganda side of the movies does not so directly declare itself to the public. That the movies are recognized as a tremendous propagandist institution is proved by the eagerness of all sorts of causes to enlist them. It is also proved by the recent threat of a New York "Gentile front," that the movies themselves could prevent any progress being made in the attempt to save Sunday to the American people.
But who is the propagandist? Not the individual motion picture exhibitor on your street. He doesn't make the films. He buys his stuff as your grocer buys his canned goods -- and has a far narrower margin of choice. He has hardly any choice in the kind of pictures he shall show. In order to get any good pictures that may be distributed, he must take all of the other kind that may be distributed. He is the "market" of the film producers and he must take the good with the bad, or be cut off from getting any.
As a matter of fact, with the "movie bug" so rampant in the country, it is next to impossible to supply enough good pictures for the stimulated and artificial demand. Some people's appetite calls for two or more pictures a day. If working people, they see a show at noon, and several at night. If shallow-pated wives, they see several in the afternoon and several at night. With all the brains and the skill of the country engaged on the task it would be impossible to supply a fresh drama of quality, hot out of the studios every hour, like bread.
Where the Jewish controllers have overstepped themselves is here: they have over-stimulated a demand which they are not able to supply, except with such material as is bound to destroy the demand. Nothing is more dangerous to the motion picture business than the exaggerated appetite for them, and this appetite is whetted and encouraged until it becomes a mania.
Like the saloon business, the movie business is killing itself by killing that quality in its customers on which it was built.
Now, as to propaganda, there is evidence that the Jewish promoters have not overlooked that end of it. This propaganda as at present observed may be described under the following heads:
It consists in silence about the Jew as an ordinary human being. Jews are not shown upon the stage except in unusually favorable situations. Among the scenes offered the public you never see Hester Street or lower Fifth Avenue at noontime. Recall if you have ever seen a large Jewish group scene on general exhibition. After a terrible fire in a clothing factory, the mayor of New York asked a certain motion picture company to prepare a film to be entitled, "The Locked Door," to show how buildings are turned into firetraps by ignorance and greed. The scenario was written by a fire official who knew the circumstances of many holocausts. As most of the fire victims had been sweatshop girls, the scenario included a sweatshop. The picture was made as true to life as possible, so the head of the sweatshop was depicted as a Hebrew. The gentleman who told this incident to a committee of Congress said: "It was no discredit to the Hebrew race. We all know they have been the fathers of the clothing industry; in fact, they made the first clothes." But all the same, the picture was declared taboo by Jewish leaders. It broke the cardinal rule of silence about the Jew except when he can be depicted under exceptionally favorable circumstances.
This ill-concealed propaganda of the Jewish movie picture control is also directed against non-Jewish religions. You never saw a Jewish rabbi depicted on the screen in any but the most honorable attitude. He is clothed with all the dignity of his office and he is made as impressive as can be. Christian clergymen, as any movie fan will readily recall, were subjected to all sorts of misrepresentation, from the comic to the criminal. Now, this attitude is distinctly Jewish. Like many unlabeled influences in our life, whose sources lead back to Jewish groups, the object is to break down as far as possible all respectful or considerate thought about the clergy.
The Catholic clergy very soon made themselves felt in opposition to this abuse of their priestly dignity. You never see a priest made light of on the screen. But the Protestant clergyman is still the elongated, sniveling, bilious hypocrite of anti-Christian caricature. More and more the "free love" clergyman is appearing on the screen. He is made to justify his deeds by appeals to "broad" principles -- which really kills two birds with one stone: it degrades the representative of religion in the eyes of the audience, and at the same time it insidiously inoculates the audience with the same dangerous ideas.
In the February Pictorial Review, Benjamin B. Hampton, a successful picture producer, throws a sidelight on this. He quotes a poster outside a movie show. The text says:
"'I refuse to live with you any longer. I denounce you as my wife -- I will go the HER -- my free-lover.' Thus speaks the Rev. Frank Gordon in the greatest of all Free-Love dramas."
You may not depict a Hebrew as owner of a sweatshop -- though all sweatshop owners are Hebrews; but you may make a Christian clergyman everything from a seducer to a safe-cracker and get away with it.
There may be no connection whatever, but beholding what is done, and remembering what is written in the Protocols, a question arises. It is written:
"We have misled, stupefied and demoralized the youth of the Gentiles by means of education in principles and theories, patently false to us, but which we have inspired." -- Protocol 9.
"We have taken good care long ago to discredit the Gentile clergy." -- Protocol 17.
"It is for this reason that we must undermine faith, eradicate from the minds of the Gentiles the very principles of God and Soul, and replace these conceptions by mathematical calculations and material desires." -- Protocol 4.
Two possible views are open to choice: one, that this constant caricature of representatives of religion is simply the natural expression of a worldly state of mind; the other, that it is part of a traditional campaign of subversion. The former is the natural view among uninformed people. It would be the preferable view, if peace of mind were the object sought. But there are far too many indications that the second view is justified, to permit of its being cast aside.
The screen, whether consciously or just carelessly, is serving as a rehearsal stage for scenes of anti-social menace. There are no uprisings of revolutions except those that are planned and rehearsed. That is the most modern fruit of the study of history: that revolutions are not spontaneous uprisings, but carefully planned minority actions. Revolution is not natural to the people and is always a failure. There have been no popular revolutions. Civilizations and liberty have been set back by those revolutions which subversive elements have succeeded in starting.
But if you are to have your revolution, you must have a rehearsal. In England, the whole process of sovietizing the country has been set forth on the stage, as in vivid object lessons. In this country they have rehearsals and parades, by starting marches through factories and up to the offices, by importing lecturers who tell just how it was done in Russia, Hungary and elsewhere. But it can be done better in the motion pictures than anywhere else: this is "visual education" such as even the lowest brow can understand, and the lower the better.
Indeed, there is a distinct disadvantage in being "high-brow" in such matters. Normal people shake their heads and pucker their brows and wring their hands and say "we cannot understand it; we simply cannot understand it!" Of course they cannot. But if they understood the low-brow, they would understand it, and very clearly. There are two families in this world, and on one the darkness dwells.
Reformers, of course, heartily agree with this as far as criminal portrayals are concerned. Police protest against the technique of killing a policeman being shown with careful detail on the screen. Business men object to daily object lessons in safe-cracking being given in the pictures. Moralists object to the art of seduction being made the stock motif no matter what the subject. They object because they recognize it as evil schooling which bears bitter fruits in society.
Well this other kind of education is going on too. There is now nothing connected with violent outbreaks which has not been put into the minds of millions by the agency of the motion picture. It may, of course, be a mere coincidence. But coincidences also are realities.
There are several developments proceeding in screendom which are worthy of notice. One is the increasing use of non-Jewish authors to produce Jewish propaganda. Without using names, it will be easy for each reader to recall for himself the more popular non-Jewish authors whose books have been screened by Jewish producers, and who are soon after announced to have a new photoplay in preparation. In several cases these new photoplays have been sheer Jewish propaganda. They are the more effective because they are backed by non-Jewish names famous in the literary world. Just how this state of affairs comes about it is not possible now to say. How much of it is due to the authors' desire to enter the field of pro-Semitic propaganda, and how much of it is due to their reluctance to refuse amiable suggestions from movie magnates who have already paid them liberal sums and are likely to pay them more is a question. It is not difficult to bring oneself to believe that "anti-Semitism" is wrong. Everybody knows it is. It is not difficult to bring oneself to an admiration of Israel. Every writer is happy in idealizing an individual or a nation; it is a pleasure to write about an altogether admirable Jewish hero or heroine. And so the non-Jews are writing Jewish propaganda ere they are aware.
The flaw, of course, is here: in avoiding anti-Semitism, they fall into the snare of pro-Semitism. And one is as inconclusive as the other.
Another development is one which movie fans have doubtless noticed: it is the abolition of the "star" system. Readers of this series will recall that it was this same sort of thing which marked Jewish ascendancy in the control of the legitimate stage. Not long ago the full glare of movie publicity was thrown upon names and personalities -- the Marys and Charlies and Lulus and Fatties of screen fame. The name was headlined; the star was featured; it did not matter what the theme of the play was -- suffice it that it was "a Chaplin film," or a "Pickford film," or whatever it might be.
The motion picture "industry" has reached its present importance because of the exaltation of the "star." But it has its inconveniences, too. Educate the public to demand a star, and that demand will eventually rule the business. Jewish control will not permit that. The way to break the control which the public may exercise through such a demand, is to eliminate the stars. Then all pictures will be on the same plane.
This is occurring now in filmdom. Some of the stars have taken the hint and set up their own studios. But steadily the doctrine is preached throughout fandom that "the play's the thing," not the star. You don't see so many star names before the theaters; you see more and more lurid names of plays. The star is being sidetracked.
There is a triple advantage in this. The bloated salaries of the stars can be eliminated. The public can be deprived of a point on which to focus a demand. Exhibitors can no longer say, "I want this or that," even within the narrow margin they recently had; they will have no choice because there will be no choice; the business will be a standardized "industry."
These, then are some of the facts of the American motion picture world. They are not all the facts, but each of them is important. Not one can be overlooked by students of the influence of the theater. Many a perplexed observer of everyday affairs will find in these facts a key which explains many things.
[THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 19 February 1921]