Stanley Milgram

F.: Ed English. Int.: John T. Williams (sperimentatore), James J. McDonough (vittima), Stanley Milgram (narratore). Prod.: Stanley Milgram, Christopher Johnson. DCP. D.: 37’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Psychologist Stanley Milgram’s legendary – and controversial – “Obedience to Authority” experiments, conducted at Yale University in the United States, have been analyzed, repeated multiple times by others and dramatized (most notably in Michael Almeryeda’s Experimenter, 2015, but nothing captivates and disturbs quite like the film of the actual experiments taking place, Milgram’s Obedience (1965, filmed 1962).
With the Nuremberg trials, and the 1961 trial of Nazi conspirator Adolf Eichmann, still smoldering in the public consciousness, and Hannah Arendt’s seminal writings on Eichmann introducing the concept of “the banality of evil”, Milgram conducted a series of experiments in which “teachers” (community members who answered a classified ad, believing they were taking part in a memory study) were paired with “learners”. The “teacher” subjects were instructed – by a lab-coated “experimenter” – to quiz learners on a pre-determined series of questions and answers. If the learner answered correctly, they would move on to the next question. If the learner answered incorrectly, he would receive a jolt of pain from a “shock generator” controlled by the teacher, with increasing voltage (and pain) with each incorrect answer. No matter the learner’s protestations and cries of pain, the teacher was always instructed to repeat variations of: “please continue the experiment”… but only the “learner” knew the whole setup was a fiction, intended to test a person’s ability to resist brutal orders. Generally only seen in educational settings, Obedience has been fully restored and screens here publicly for the first time

Peter Conheim

Restored in 4K by Cinema Preservation Alliance, from two 16mm prints provided by the Stanley Milgram Estate