Title of Abstract: 1930s and 40s Cinematic Depictions of Juvenile Delinquency
Name of Mentor: Tricia Welsch
Mentor’s Organization or Department: Cinema Studies Program, Bowdoin College
Research Abstract: My interest in this project was to understand the depictions of juvenile delinquents, the juvenile justice system, and reform school system in American studio-era cinema in the late 1930s and the early 1940s. The juvenile delinquency films exist on the periphery of the gangster genre. To understand the depiction of juvenile delinquency in late 1930s films requires understanding the conventions of the early 1930s gangster and prison films. In addition, the films were heavily influenced by the development of the Hay’s Code, which was a self-censorship board run by the Hollywood Studios. Finally, I needed to understand the contemporary events of the 1930s: the end of prohibition, the rise of organized crime, increased urbanization, the great depression, the print media news cycle, and the history of the studio system in Hollywood.