Dramatic themes often include current issues, societal ills, and problems, concerns or injustices, such as racial prejudice, religious intolerance (such as anti-Semitism), drug addiction, poverty, political unrest, the corruption of power, alcoholism, class divisions, sexual inequality, mental illness, corrupt societal institutions, violence toward women or other explosive issues of the times. These films have successfully drawn attention to the issues by taking advantage of the topical interest of the subject. Although dramatic films have often dealt frankly and realistically with social problems, the tendency has been for Hollywood, especially during earlier times of censorship, to exonerate society and institutions and to blame problems on an individual, who more often than not, would be punished for his/her transgressions.
Social Problem Dramas:
Social dramas or "message films" expressed powerful lessons, such as the harsh conditions of Southern prison systems in Hell's Highway (1932) and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932), the plight of wandering groups of young boys on freight cars during the Depression in William Wellman's Wild Boys of the Road (1933), or the lawlessness of mob rule in Fritz Lang's Fury (1936), or the resourcefulness of lifer prisoner and bird expert Robert Stroud (Burt Lancaster) in John Frankenheimer's... [continues]
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