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The Times (10/Jul/1929) - The Film World

(c) The Times (10/Jul/1929)



Though up to now nearly all the talking films exhibited in this country have been American, there is every indication that before the end of the year a fair number of British talking films will be available for exhibition. The most ambitious programme of talking pictures yet announced by a British company is that of the British International Pictures, Limited, who state that they hope to complete more than 12 films within the next six months.

This organization recently completed its first full-length talking film, Blackmail, based on the play by Mr. Charles Bennett, and directed by Mr. Alfred Hitchcock, with Miss Anny Ondra and Mr. John Longden in the cast, and it has already three other talking films in course of production at its studios at Elstree. These are Under the Greenwood Tree, based on Thomas Hardy's novel, and directed by Mr. Harry Lachman; Atlantic, an adaptation of Mr. Ernest Raymond's play, The Berg, directed by Mr. E. A. Duriont; and The American Prisoner, a screen version of Mr. Eden Phill-potts's story, directed by Mr. Thomas Bentley, with Mr. Carl Brisson and Miss Madeleine Carroll in the principal parts. At present the British International have only three sound studios, but a fourth will be ready for use within the next few weeks, and on its completion work will be begun on another film.

In addition to its programme of full-length talking films, the same company is making a "short" every week, and is also synchronizing and including dialogue in a number of silent films. These include Kitty, a screen version of Mr. Warwick Deeping's novel; Tesha, directed by Mr. Victor Saville; The Informer, directed by Dr. Arthur Robison, with Miss Lya de Putti and Mr. Lars Hansen in the principal parts; and Piccadilly. Another British company, the Gaumont, announces that when High Treason, its first talking film, is completed, work will be begun on four more talking films, including Alf's Button, based on the play by Mr. W. A. Darlington; Water, based on the novel and play dealing with a conflict between city and countryside; Crepe de Chine; and a musical production. The British Instructional Studios at Welwyn will be equipped with the Klang-Tobis apparatus this month and soon afterwards Mr. Anthony Asquith's film, A Cottage on Dartmoor, will be synchronized with sound. Later stories will include A Cat Crosses the Road; God's Guest; and The Machine.

In view of the success that has attended the exhibition in London of talking films based on well-known plays and novels, extensive arrangements are being made by several film companies to acquire the film rights of well-known publications and musical productions. The Universal Picture Company have acquired the film rights of the German novel All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, which deals with a German soldier's experiences in the trenches during the War. Ouida's "Moths" is also being modern-ized and adapted for talking-film production by the Alpha Film Corporation. Sir. Tom Burke will appear as Correze, the hero of Moths, who rose from a boyhood of poverty to become a great operatic tenor. For the operatic scenes, which will include the "Miserere" from Il Trovatore, the prison scene from Faust, and the end of the first act from I Pagliacci, Mr. Burke will be supported by the Carl Rosa Opera Company in its entirety, together with its orchestra of 60 musicians, and the assistance of its directors, Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Phillips.