Entertainments

Movies used to have disclaimers to say that no animals were actually injured in the making of the film–they don’t bother saying that now because it’s simply assumed. Cigarettes are on their way out in films, with complaints lodged even when NOT having the character puffing away would be odd.
But what about crying children?
I was going to watch the much-hyped new HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” last night, even though I tend to get bored with complex crime stories. I was willing to overlook the odd casting of Steve Buscemi as ruthless gangster, and the difficult-to-swallow openness of this elected official’s criminal life. But then the working class character hit his pregnant wife in front of their kids, and I switched the television off.
Not because of the hit: I have no problem with on-screen violence.
It was the kid. Maybe eighteen months old, and the camera is focussed on her (his? too young to tell) reaction to the father hitting the mother.
A child that young cannot act. When a child that young looks frightened, that child IS frightened. When a child that young cries out in terror and starts to weep, that child needs to be taken in someone’s arms and comforted, not made to sit at a table and cry for a sound stage full of actors and a camera.
I understand that some countries have banned the filming of screaming children in commercial movies. Here in the States, we’re more concerned with animals and cigarettes.
I as an adult have no right to make a child suffer for the sake of my entertainment.

Comments

  1. Wow, Laurie, I also wondered about Steve Buscemi in that role–he has worked with friends of mine and they say he’s the nicest guy–but I don’t have cable, so was spared the incident you describe. How would anyone thing that involving infants and small children in traumatic scenes doesn’t affect those little ones? Crazy.

  2. Wow, Laurie, I also wondered about Steve Buscemi in that role–he has worked with friends of mine and they say he’s the nicest guy–but I don’t have cable, so was spared the incident you describe. How would anyone think that involving infants and small children in traumatic scenes doesn’t affect those little ones? Crazy.

  3. So, so well said! I would never in 10 million years let my kids watch a scene like that on TV, how can anyone allow an 18 month old to be actually in the same room with it? Horrible.

  4. Thank you Laurie, for posting about something that has bothered me since I took a college Psych 101 class where they showed a film about separating very young babies from their mothers to verify the babies’ reactions “scientifically”. They cried. Watching scenes where babies and small children are crying bothers me to the point where I won’t watch anymore. But I have also seen the odd tv episode where an otherwise calm baby is crying – thanks to the soundtrack. That doesn’t bother me at all.

  5. RussellHolmes says:

    I agree Laurie!

  6. I completely agree that children should not be made to cry for the sake of entertainment or making a buck. There’s a disturbing TV commercial on now with a baby left crying on a barstool – probably a beer commercial. It’s heart-breaking.

  7. I absolutely agree about not terrifying 18 months old babies. I can’t watch that show anyway because I am not cablized, but that would discourage me from getting recablized. I am enjoying Public TV and Radio and video. Of course, I am enjoying reading.

  8. That makes my stomach turn. 🙁 I want to hold that kid now.

  9. Jan Collins says:

    It would be interesting if someone did a study on child/infant actors…follow them for several years and see if having been in violent scenes like that has affected them in the long term. Is there even the remotest possiblity that the baby wasn’t actually there and they filmed it separately crying for more general little baby reasons? I didn’t watch it. But it’s a very good point.

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