We’ve all seen that phrase ” gratuitous violence ” – or the more titillating version involving sex as well – in the reviews of various motion pictures. I put it to you, members of the jury, that this is a blatant falsehood by the reviewers. There is nothing gratuitous about any aspect of the modern cinema.
From the initial ticket that one purchases at the counter – a matter of some $ 20 upon average, to the large carbonated beverage and tub of popcorn – another $ 20 – to the chocolate coated ice cream – a mere $10 – there is a constant and steady flow of currency from the pocket of the cinema-goer to the proprietors. Presumably some of this money is made to flow on to the actors and actresses who are being violent and sexy at the direction of their studios.
It is all paid for – nothing is free.
The only possible objection that can be made by the viewer – whether they are mere consumers or paid ( again with money ) reviewers is whether there is enough of the behaviour for the price demanded. Too little – a paucity – would surely, under any normal commercial circumstances, draw more ire than a superfluity. One never complains about too much petrol in the tank of the motor car or too much wine in the glass. How can it be a cause for complaint when it is merely shadows on a screen?
The moral aspect of this supply of sensation is not disputed – indeed it does not enter into discussion, as the person who attends a performance of ” Hot Blood Babes ” – a quadruple X rating and nurses with oxygen cylinders in attendance – has already made a moral decision that cancels all further demonstration. The best they can do is not erupt in public. They should also not erupt in print decrying the thing that they went into a darkened theatre to see.
Should any theatre chain provide free entry for the public as well as free snacks, the question of gratuitous sex and violence can be raised again. In the present state of the industry this appears as likely as a flight of pigs.