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Meaning of Adolescence

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Rohama Lee, "Pictures Are Made By People. . .," Film News (September 1953): 16.

"The ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT SERIES, featured on our cover this month, wsa [sic] made by real people, in more aspects than one.
The 15 principal characters of the series are all of them Fayetteville (N. Y. State) High School students who gave up vacation trips and camps this past summer, to work at being their age for the screen. Some of the adult characters are New York actors and actresses, but the majority are played by Fayetteville folk, whose friendly cooperation made it possible to complete the exterior work on the entire series in just eight weeks. Then the featured young players were flown, with school-appointed chaperones, to Canada for the making of the interior scenes; and Canadian high school boys and girls, Canadian fathers and mothers worked with the Fayetteville group. This was done in the studios, at Ottawa, of Crawley Films Limited - appropriately in the same chronological category as its subject, the company having celebrated its 15th birthday only recently. . . . And here we must speak of people again; for the Crawley company, before hiring even the most gifted of film workers, first finds out how he will 'fit in with the crowd.' This is because Crawley Films Limited started as a family affair - with the husband-wife team of Judith and Budge Crawley, then with the addition of the related Sparks and the Crabtrees. Thriving on loyalty, team spirit and a sense of purpose, the company grew and expanded until now it is numbered among the 15 foremost producers on the North American continent. Its staff of 65 has become an international one that includes eight from England, three from the United States, three from Poland, two Chinese, an Irishman, a German and a Hollander. But wisely - and shrewdly too, for its principals know from whence cometh their strength - Crawley Films Limited is a family affair still, in atmosphere, if no longer in actuality. This family atmosphere gets into its pictures and makes them live - especially when they are about children or young people, in portrayal of whom the Crawleys excel. It is because of this unique quality in the area of child guidance that McGraw-Hill Text-Films of New York City chose the Canadian production company for translation of the Elizabeth Hurlock textbook, Adolescent Development, into screen terms. Judith Sparks Crawley, a four-time mother as well as an excellent writer, prepared the carefully written scripts. Producer-director George Gorman, a member of the company family long enough to represent its spirit truly, is responsible for the clear presentation and natural acting that distinguish this picture gallery of the problems, interests and activities of teen-age boys and girls in the Western culture communities of the U.S.A., and Canada."

"The Meaning of Adolescence," Film News (September 1953): 16.

"Commencing wisely, with a definition of the word 'adolescence' (from the Latin adolescere, 'to grow, to mature'), this first of the five films in the ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT series lays a further groundwork by contrasting a 14-year old Tuareg with Alec, product of 20th century culture - as represented, at least, by the Western world. Like many so-called primitive cultures, the Tuareg is designed to prepare the child for adulthood. At 14 the boy's father confers on him the veil and sword, symbols of maturity, and he pays tribute to 'the lady of his choice.' The only apparent recognition here of 'adolescence' is a carefree year for the young couple in her father's camp. Alex at 14, however, is still riding the school bus. Despite physical maturity, the responsibilities and privileges of manhood are withheld from him. No longer a child, he is not yet accepted as an adult. Neither is Joan, who must now accept her new body as her mirror shows it to her, and whether she likes it or not. The mechanized modern family is not a unit that needs them, and they cannot or do not wish to share the interests of their parents. There are also five major problems they must face: of adjustment to physical changes in themselves; achieving social acceptance; developing attitudes that will lead toward mature relations with a single person of the opposite sex; achieving confidence in their own decisions and abilities; and finding a satisfying personal orientation to moral and religious values.
By means of incidents that illustrate these points, and an expository script summarizing them at the end of the film, adolescence is established as a time of possible unhappiness and frustration, and the adolescent as being restless, moody and hilarious by turns, yet striving earnestly toward maturity. In finale the question is asked, are we - the adults - helping them to achieve it. (16 mins., Sale $85.)
Produced by Crawley Films Ltd., Ottawa, Canada, for McGraw-Hill Text-Film Department, 330 W. 42nd St., N.Y. 36. Available for sale singly, or in a package with accompanying filmstrips ($450) from McGraw-Hill, New York City, and Toronto (Canada). For rentals, inquire N.Y.U. Film Library, 26 Washington Place, N.Y. 3."

Dr. Marjorie B. Smiley, "Adolescent Development Series," Film News (September 1953): 16-17.

"McGraw-Hill Book Publishing Company, through its Text-Film Department, has made a valuable addition to its library of educational films with its new series, ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT. The five motion pictures in this series, intended to accompany Elizabeth Hurlock's textbook for college classes, is in fact equally useful for adult groups of parents and teachers. Two of the five (PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF PUBERTY, and SOCIAL-SEX ATTITUDES IN ADOLESCENCE) might also be profitably used with adolescents themselves.
In all of these films young people and adults are lifelike, attractive without being in any way glamorized, and the dialogue has an appealingly familiar ring. The structural variety in the series - a 'story' sequence, a family study, episodic variations on a common theme - is a decided asset if more than one of the films is to be used. The series as a whole is indeed an excellent one, even though - like an earlier and similar series on child development - the individual films are somewhat uneven.
The most obvious weakness is an occasional overloading of concepts in a single film (as in THE MEANING OF ADOLESCENCE) and some repetition from one film to another (again in MEANING OF ADOLESCENCE; and further, in MEETING THE NEEDS OF ADOLESCENTS). The first of these weaknesses is not serious if the films are used in a course and specifically correlated with the text. Under these circumstances the number of concepts presented need not lead to confusion, since viewers would have encountered these previously in their reading. For lay audiences, however, a film that presents a number of different concepts within the limits of a 16 or 22 minute period presents more ideas and raises more questions than can be adequately explored in a single meeting.
It might also be pointed out that it is difficult to remember and to work with such ponderous titles as SOCIAL-SEX ATTITUDES IN ADOLESCENCE. We are wondering too if the presence of the word 'sex' does not limit the use of even as fine a film as this one, with certain audiences.
The strength of the films lies in their emphasis on the individual variations found among 'normal' adolescents. Particularly notable in this respect are AGE OF TURMOIL which portrays the varied behavior, problems and needs of six early adolescents; and MEETING THE NEEDS OF ADOLESCENTS which deals with a brother and an older sister, each a distinctive personality. Teachers and adult discussion leaders will also appreciate the way in which these motion pictures guard against the tendency toward over-generalization that can so easily come out of films that show only a single 'case'."

Dr. Marjorie Smiley and Rohama Lee, "Adolescent Development Series," Film News (September 1953): 17.

[Still shot of a girl looking at herself in the mirror, from Meaning of Adolescence; caption reads:] ". . . 'This is her new body, whether she likes it or not' . . . from THE MEANING OF ADOLESCENCE."

"Guidance Films Enrich Long Island U. Institute," Film News 18, no.1 (October 1960): 10.

"For guidance toward understanding the psycho-social development of the Able Adolescent, the following films were used to present the conflicts and uncertainties involved in the social, emotional, mental and physical changes which occur in the transition from childhood to adulthood, especially in the life of the gifted child: AGE OF TURMOIL, MEANING OF ADOLESCENCE, FAREWELL TO CHILDHOOD, HUMAN GROWTH, PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF PUBERTY, SOCIAL-SEX ATTITUDES IN ADOLESCENCE, MEETING THE NEEDS OF ADOLESCENTS, and HIGH WALL."