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The Times (17/Apr/1919) - Film Audiences

(c) The Times (17/Apr/1919)



Mr. Harry Engholm, speaking at the London Opera House last night, on British and American picture theatre audiences, declared that there was a tremendous difference.

American audiences were quicker to perceive a point on 'the screen and possibly this was due to the vitalizing effect of the climate. British film plays written entirely for British audiences could not so entirely satisfy the American audience, to whom they seemed unrest and dull. The majority of the American plots were of a primitive character, and therefore could be appreciated in any part of the world. English producers adapted too many subtle stories and novels. In the United States not only the author and the producer but also the theatre proprietor went to extreme lengths to cater to the tastes and the comfort of the audience. In the near future, the picture palace, next to the Church, would be the most important centre in every community.

Mr. Kenelm Foss complained that in the American film there was very rarely a single natural character, and whatever was wrong with British films, they were certainly more natural and truer to life. Through its longer experience, an American audience was more used to taking up points in a film. One reason why British films had not made more progress in the United States was that in many cases the American picture theatres were owned by the film manufacturers, who would not let in British pictures.

Mr. Engholme admitted that while they got some splendid films from the United States, they also got some outrageous "duds," and now that the war was over they must exclude the "duds." By 1920 British, pictures ought to be right at the top of the tree, and everybody in the industry was doing his best to achieve that end. As far as accuracy in detail and perfection in technique were concerned, the British industry would beat the American by next year.


A new film company, the Famous Players-Lasky British Producers (Limited), has been formed with a capital of £600,000, to produce English pictures in English settings. Among its supporters are Major David Davies, M.P., and Major Norman Holden Holden.

The company will work in close cooperation with the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation of New York, one-of the leading film-producing concerns of the United States, and one of its first films will deal with the question of a League of Nations. Studios are to be opened in London shortly. Mr. J.C. Graham will be the managing director and Mr. Chester Clegg the business manager of the new company.