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Independent Exhibitors Film Bulletin (09/Sep/1939) - Editorials: War-Peace-And the Movies!




It was only to be expected that the first repercussions of Europe's new conflict should be felt by the motion picture industry. Most severe immediate blow is the closing of all English and French theatres. Fortunately, this will probably be only a temporary measure.

If anything, well-informed observers point out, a general European war may revive and reopen America's film exports. The World War offers an effective illustration of this outlook. After the first few weeks of combat, when the excitement and "novelty" wore off, there was recognized by the various governments the need for distracting and relaxing entertainment for their peoples. American movies contributed largely toward supplying this need and it is probable that this will be true during this conflict. Furthermore, Hollywood will hardly feel the loss of its European revenue as severely as it would have several years ago. In the past half decade our film industry has been forced to be content with only meager returns from all but English speaking countries. The once lucrative Italian and German markets have been closed virtually 100 percent. Countries allied with and dominated by these two powers have been permitted no alternative but to similarly discriminate against American product.

At the moment Hollywood is concerned with the possible loss of some of its foremost personalities. Should English mobilization include them—and this is quite likely—the following Britishers might be compelled to quit this country : David Niven, Charles Laughton, Errol Flynn, Donald Crisp, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Richard Greene, Jas. Stephenson and director Alfred Hitchcock. This would mean at least three important films already in work would have to be shelved. About one dozen films planned for production within the next few weeks would have to be abandoned or new players assigned. The removal of these men would represent substantial losses for the studios affected.