The Slade Film History Register
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 2, Number 4, December 1972
- pp. 97-100
- Additional Information
What 80 Million Women Want (1913) 65 min. b&w What 80 million women want in 1913 is the right to vote, and this film was produced as a campaign movie for the women's suffrage movement. It combines documentary footage of the movement with a fictional account of an office romance. Unfortunately, despite an occasional glimpse ofEmeline Pankhurst, the dominant message is thoroughly garbled in a confusing, paternalistic script. The film focuses on Mabel West who temporarily is forced to forego the love of her ardent admirer, Will Travers, for the sake of "the cause". But love, justice and women's suffrage are ultimately vindicated when the urban political machine is overthrown, the corrupt party bosses (including a black manager) are heaved intojail, and Mabel accepts Will's offer of holy matrimony. Beyond the weak plot, the film remains an interesting and informative document ofthe change in the women's movement from an inclusive radical protest for equal rights to an exclusive preoccupation with the right to vote as a categorical panacea for world evil. The film is available from the Film Classic Exchange. Its immediate historical relevance is self-evident. (Course, America in the 20th Century) Richard D. Schubart, State University of New York at Binghamton SOURCE NOTES This regular department ofFilm & History seeks to pass along suggestionsfor sources offilm and ideasfor using it effectively. THE SLADE FILM HISTORY REGISTER By Frances Thorpe Project Director It would be interesting to know when and where film was first used as a serious part of a History course in a British university. Film curators and librarians seem to have realized the value and potential oftheir medium some time ago, vice articles by ARBAUGH and BARRY (Film & History Bibliography p. 1) and a quotation from Ernest Lindgren's letter to 'The Times' 14.4.1969 "The National Film Archive also has a large collection of historical film reaching back to 1895 which we should like to see more wide] y used, and where greater demand would help us to press for more viewing and study facilities". Historians, together with their fellow academics in the humanities, seem to have neglected this valuable research and teaching resource until very recently for a number of complex reasons. References to the cinema or to specific films are rarely to be found in twentieth century history books and one wonders, in 1972, what percentage of the 100+ History courses now being taught in Britain include screenings as an integral part of the educational process. David Adams, writing in University Vision (no. 1 Feb .1968 p. 15) admits that "when the American Studies programme at Keele began we did not use film". He also quotes from an essay in American Studies in Transition (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1964, ed. M.W. Fishwick) "the motion 97 picture is a diabolical last resort of the teacher too lazy to prepare for class". Once the idea of using film has been given credence, other (some would say even more diabolical ) problems arise, new areas ofresearch open and the historian faces two major problems: 1 . A need to be able to assess the films himselfbefore presenting them to his students 2.Access to the film collections The first will involve research in the area ofpropaganda methodology motivation, the film industry and basic film 'appreciation' . In University Vison (no. 8 Jan. 1972 p. 9-18) William Hughes outlines a course which goes some way to covering these areas. Liaison with those involved in film production and film historians is also extremely important. The second problem has been complicated because ofthe inherent nature offilm. Most film libraries were not organized by librarians or archivists as might be expected with a collection ofbooks or manuscripts. Even today only three of the seven major film collections in this country (Great Britain) employ professional librarians or information scientists. Thus much ofthe indexing and documentation has not been undertaken professionally, and in some cases, does not exist at all. The rivalry between the collections for profit and prestige has also precluded any liaison on such problems as preservation or acquisition, or the creation of a central register. During the search for films to use in history programmes at the...