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The Scope of Mormon Cinema

An overview of 100 years of films by and about Mormons.
by

Gideon Burton

on 19 January 2011

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Transcript of The Scope of Mormon Cinema

toward a
sixth wave
the Scope of
Mormon Cinema

A Trip to Salt Lake City (USA; 1905)
A Victim of the Mormons (Denmark; 1911)
One Hundred Years of Mormonism (USA; 1913)
A Study in Scarlet (UK; 1914)
Clawson brothers films (USA; 1916-1929)
A Mormon Maid (USA; 1917)
Riders of the Purple Sage (USA; 1918)
Trapped by the Mormons (UK; 1922)
All Faces West (USA; 1929)
Missionary Film
Scripture-based
Film
Historical Film
book of mormon films
The Life of Nephi (1915)
The Book of Mormon Movie (2003)
Corianton (1931)
Dr. Gideon Burton / Brigham Young University
with Randy Astle

the Clawson Bros
& the New Frontier
5
1974-2000
Judge Whitaker &
the studio era
2
1905-1929
1953-1974
4
A Trip to Salt Lake City (USA; 1905)
A Victim of the Mormons (Denmark; 1911)
One Hundred Years of Mormonism (USA; 1913)
A Study in Scarlet (UK; 1914)
Clawson brothers films (USA; 1916-1929)
A Mormon Maid (USA; 1917)
Riders of the Purple Sage (USA; 1918)
Trapped by the Mormons (UK; 1922)
All Faces West (USA; 1929)
Theatrical feature
1
Home Cinema
2000-
1929-1953
3
five
waves
of Mormon Film
the mass media
era
mainstream
independent
institutional
mainstream
institutional
A Trip to Salt Lake City (USA; 1905)
A Victim of the Mormons (Denmark; 1911)
One Hundred Years of Mormonism (USA; 1913)
A Study in Scarlet (UK; 1914)
Clawson brothers films (USA; 1916-1929)
A Mormon Maid (USA; 1917)
Riders of the Purple Sage (USA; 1918)
Trapped by the Mormons (UK; 1922)
All Faces West (USA; 1929)
independent
The Life of Nephi (1914)
One Hundred Years of
Mormonism (1913)
A Victim of the
Mormons
(Denmark, 1911)
A Study in Scarlet
(1914)
Clawson Bros. actualities
1916-1929
A Trip to Salt Lake City (USA; 1905)
A Victim of the Mormons (Denmark; 1911)
One Hundred Years of Mormonism (USA; 1913)
A Study in Scarlet (UK; 1914)
Clawson brothers films (USA; 1916-1929)
A Mormon Maid (USA; 1917)
Riders of the Purple Sage (USA; 1918)
Trapped by the Mormons (UK; 1922)
All Faces West (USA; 1929)
institutional
independent
mainstream
Brigham Young: Frontiersman
(1940; Henry Hathaway)
Corianton:
A Story of Unholy Love
(1931; Wilfred North)
Where the Saints Have Trod
(1947; Deseret Films)
Church Welfare in Action
(1948; Eric Larson / Walt Disney)
Temple Ceremonial Film
(1955; Gordon B. Hinckley)
church distribution
church exhibition
filmstrips
radio
Wagon Master
(1950; John Ford)
Trapped by the Mormons
(UK, 1922)
A Trip to Salt Lake City (USA; 1905)
A Victim of the Mormons (Denmark; 1911)
One Hundred Years of Mormonism (USA; 1913)
A Study in Scarlet (UK; 1914)
Clawson brothers films (USA; 1916-1929)
A Mormon Maid (USA; 1917)
Riders of the Purple Sage (USA; 1918)
Trapped by the Mormons (UK; 1922)
All Faces West (USA; 1929)
mainstream
institutional
independent
Advise and Consent
(1962; Otto Preminger)
Mahlzeiten
(1967; Edgar Reitz)
Ice Cream and Elevators
(1971, Dean Stubbs, Robert Starling)
Windows of Heaven
(1963; Judge Whitaker)
Johnny Lingo
(1969; Judge Whitaker)
Man's Search for Happiness
(1964; Judge Whitaker)
independent
mainstream
institutional
The Executioner's Song
(1982; Norman Mailer)
Orgazmo
(1997; Trey Parker)
The First Vision
(1976; David Jacobs)
Brigham:
A Savage Journey
(1977; Thomas McGown)
The Godmakers
(1983; Ed Decker)
Paint Your Wagon
(1969; Paramount)
Perilous Journey
(1984; John Linton)
The Faith of an Observer:
Conversations with Hugh Nibley
(1985; Bruce R. Capener)
Nephi and the Brass Plates
(1987; Richard Rich,
Orson Scott Card)
Legacy
(1993; Kieth Merrill)
Together Forever
(1987; Michael McLean)
Testaments
(2000; Kieth Merrill)
Saturday's Warrior
(1989; Doug Stewart)
cultural and commercial
viability
God's Army
(2000; Richard Dutcher)
The Other Side of Heaven
(2001; Mitch Davis)
Napoleon Dynamite
(2004; Jared Hess)
New York Doll
(2005; Greg Whiteley)
Angels in America
(2003; Mike Nichols,
Tony Kushner)
Big Love
(2005-10; HBO)
Joseph Smith, Prophet
of the Restoration
(2005; Gary Cook, T.C. Christensen)
The Singles Ward
(2002; Kurt Hale)
The Mormons
(2007; PBS, Helen Whitney)
Fit for the Kingdom
(2000-09; Dean Duncan,
Ben Unguren)
Institutional New Media
Member Sourcing
Film Festivals
Webisodes
The Book of Jer3miah
(2009; Jeff Parkin, Jared Cardon)
Joseph Smith
Lehi's Dream
The Tree of Life
Prophets
Seers
Revelators
An Epic Scope
"For this is my work and my glory:
to bring to pass the immortality
and eternal life of man." --Moses 1:39
An Eternal Perspective
"Thy mind, O man if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity" --Joseph Smith
For years I have been waiting for someone to do justice in recording in song and story and painting and sculpture the story of the Restoration, the reestablishment of the kingdom of God on earth, the struggles and frustrations; the apostasies and inner revolutions and counter-revolutions of those first decades; of the exodus; of the counter-reactions; of the transitions; of the persecution days; of the miracle man, Joseph Smith, of whom we sing ‘Oh, what rapture filled his bosom, For he saw the living God'; and of the giant colonizer and builder, Brigham Young.

We are proud of the artistic heritage that the Church has brought to us from its earliest beginnings, but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves. They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members to give life and feeling and true perspective to a subject so worthy. Such masterpieces should run for months in every movie center, cover every part of the globe in the tongues of the people, written by great artists, purified by the best critics.

Our writers, our motion picture specialists, with the inspiration of heaven, should tomorrow be able to produce a masterpiece which would live forever.

--Pres. Spencer W. Kimball, "The Gospel Vision of the Arts"
mainstream
institutional
independent
This presentation: http://bit.ly/MormonFilm
Film issue of BYU Studies: http://bit.ly/MormonFilmIssue
missionary films
historical films
The First Vision (1976)
Legacy (1993)
God's Army (2000)
Trapped by the Mormons (1922)
The Mormons (2007)
Gideon_Burton@byu.edu
Full transcript