Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 2. March 16, 1938
[Letter to Salient Vol. 1, No. 2. March 16, 1938 from D.M.S.]
—I take up my pen in defence of Romanticism, as opposed to Realism as depicted by "J.D.F." The film. "Dead End." which he has so graphically described, in my opinion at least, gains no atom of attraction by the description. In fact it appears revolting. It appears as a holocaust on the altar of man's worst motives, an outrage against decency, and the writer deplores what decency existed.
Sir, the twentieth century is sufficiently degraded without such degradation as this discolouring the minds of the people. To take the vell off turpitude of this description is like polluting the clean air of heaven by opening a sewer. Sir, can man realise his ideals when such corruptions as these are brought before his eyes?
Far be it from me in regard to films, to praise, the "ape man" Gable, or the "coquette" Crawford. This is not Romance. This is the product of the realism which "J.D.F." so ardently ad mires. It is the "blowsey old char" who delights in the posturings of Crawford. It is the one outlet of emotional stress. The excess of reality in her life drives her to an excess of sentimentality.
Sir. I damn all Realism, in this world and the next, in the lecture-rooms, in the theatres and in daily life; just as Realism damns for ever the souls which it has in its clutches. Sir, cleanliness in art is the outcome of clean minds. [unclear: Rabid filth] is the product of the gutter, and if Realism, is synonymous with filth . . . let us have it out of the world.
[This letter has been slightly shortened.—Ed.]