Cinema: The Painless Plug

A big cigarette firm once paid a Hollywood studio a fat fee to produce a short film. The short was about freedom—the freedom to buy whatever the heart desired "in this democracy of ours," especially the sponsor's cigarettes. The movie was so bad that audiences booed and jeered. Since then, industrial films, which are financed by corporations to make their special pitches, have become so slick and painless that at times audiences hardly realize they are getting some propaganda with the entertainment.

More than 200 production outfits in the U.S. now compete for the $80 million annual gross of the industrial movie...

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