peyton place gilmanton iron works

Exploring the world through film

Movies on Chatham Film Group

The product of the movie industry is a story . . . told primarily in visual imagery and movement, and . . . dialogue. The movie shares the function of all storytelling, of all literature, of all theater: that of a comment on some phase of existence.
—Hortense Powdermaker (1950)*

A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.
—Marshall McLuhan (1962)*


Movies on Chatham publishes monthly research articles and essays on movies, typically according to a theme sequence, aspiring to earn reader support as an important source of insight and critical thought on what films communicate to their audiences.

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Changing Times

In the spring, we explored propaganda by watching movies either about the topic, or by watching movies that purposefully and strategically present only one side of a more complicated issue.

Of course, propaganda can be used to influence either positive or negative outcomes. Yet, we know that whether a film is considered positive or negative often depends on the perspective or bias of the viewer.

This fall, we consider the (possible unwitting) influence of movies on societal attitudes and behavior at a cultural moment.  Our focus is on “changing times,” considering that, apart from any direct pressure to do so, we adapt and modify our world view and/or behavior in light of changing technologies, new knowledge, and social norms.

Can the simple act of seeing a movie and learning from it change social attitudes and behavior? Or, do people always tend to respond to a movie based on earlier established sensibilities?

What can we say about our September movie, Peyton Place (Robson, 1957)? This movie is based on a novel, which in 1956 created much animosity toward its author for using language considered taboo and for exposing immorality in her community. Did the community’s hostility show defensiveness on their part or was it simply a response to her writing that defied social standards and judged an immoral act? If the author had been male, would the response have been the same?

Watch the following films and discuss “Changing Times” along with us. We’d love to hear from you.

2018 Fall Schedule

1957 Drama 157 mins
Mark Robson, Director

peyton place movie poster
  • Oct 11 | Charade

1963 Drama 113 mins
Stanley Donen, Director

charade movie poster
  • Nov 08 | Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

1990 Drama 126 mins
James Ivory, Director

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge movie poster
  • Dec 12 | Book Club

2018 Drama 144 mins
Bill Holderman, Director

book club movie poster

Powdermaker, H. (1950). Hollywood, the dream factory: An Anthropologist looks at the movie-makers (1st Ed.). Boston: Little, Brown.
McLuhan, M. (1962). The Gutenberg galaxy: The Making of typographic man. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Robson, M. [Director] (1957). Peyton Place [Motion Picture]. USA: 20th Century Fox.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the film capital of the South, MoviesonChatham was founded in 2010, and since then we have provided monthly film critiques in a private group setting—now to the public.
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