The evolution of the film public is well known, it steadily increased to a peak it reached in the 1950s and then declined. This secular curve poses many questions: who were the spectators, did they belong to the same social group or were they divided according to previous social divisions? And more importantly, how did they receive the films, did the cinema influence their behavior and their ideas? This article would like to propose a critical evaluation of the available sources of free movies and to lay the theoretical bases for a study of cinema audiences.
The Atlantic Monthly
One can smile at the willingly prophetic declaration of Katharine Fullerton Gerould, a film critic who, in 1921, confessed her lack of taste and experience for the cinematographic thing, and of course pointing out the moral dangers she presents, announces, however, in the Atlantic Monthly: It is certain that cinema is