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The Times (17/Jun/1931) - The Film World: A British Picture Festival

(c) The Times (17/Jun/1931)



Encouraged, no doubt, by the success of Sir Barry Jackson's Malvern Theatre Festival, Mr. John Maxwell, of the British International Pictures, Limited, has arranged to hold at Malvern this year a festival of British talking films, beginning on Monday, August 3, and ending on Saturday, August 22. It will be held at the Malvern Picture House under the direction of Mr. Roy W. Limbert, and will run concurrently with Sir Barry Jackson's 1931 festival of old English drama. Since the introduction of the talking film great advance has been made in the methods of British film production, and the Malvern programme arranged by Mr. Maxwell will, it is felt, provide students and enthusiasts of the cinema with an excellent opportunity of seeing some of the best examples of British work.

The first film to be shown during the festival will be The Skin Game, a screen version of Mr. John Galsworthy's play, directed by Mr. Alfred Hitchcock, with Miss Phyllis Konstam, Mr. Edmund Gwenn, and Mr. Edward Chapman in the chief parts. This will be followed by Dreyfus, a film dealing with the famous French espionage case, and directed by Mr. F. W. Kraemer and Mr. Milton Rosnier ; Glamour, an original story by Mr. Seymour Hicks, who appears in the film with Miss Ellaline Terriss and Mr. Beverley Nichols; Uneasy Virtue, made by Mr. Norman Walker, with Miss Fay Compton and Mr. Hubert Harben in the cast ; Keepers of Youth, based on the play of the same name by Mr. Arnold Ridley, and produced by Mr. Thomas Bentley ; and Tell England, adapted from the novel of Mr. Ernest Raymond. Mr. Cecil Lewis's production of How He Lied to Her Husband, the first of Mr. Bernard Shaw's plays to be transferred to the screen, will also be shown in each programme during the festival.


With the exception of Tell England, which was directed by Mr. Anthony Asquith for the British Instructional Films, and made in cooperation with the Admiralty, all the films in the Malvern programme have been produced by British International Pictures, Limited. Since the advent of the sound film the British International studios at Elstree have been greatly enlarged and improved, and it is now possible to produce there nine talking pictures simultaneously. In addition to being the first Britsh company to produce a talking picture, the B.I.P. also claim to have led the world in multilingual productions. During the last four years over 100 films have been produced at Elstree, of which more than half have been talking pictures, and in many cases bilingual or trilingual productions. Included in this number are such pictures as Blackmail, the first British sound film to be made ; Atlantic, The Informer, Loose Ends, The "W" Plan, The Middle Watch, The Yellow Mask, Young Woodley, Murder, and Under the Greenwood Tree. Mr. John Galsworthy, Mr. George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Hardy, Ian Hay, Miss Clemence Dane, Mr. John Van Druten, and Mr. Edgar Wallace have all at various times contributed to the screen through the B.I.P. organization.

The extent to which many of the leading British dramatists are helping the British film industry is further indicated by Mr. Leon M. Lion, who announces that Mr. Galsworthy has arranged for his plays Justice and Loyalties to be transferred to the screen by a British producing company. In giving his consent Mr. Galsworthy states that no dialogue must be added without his approval, and any extra or altered dialogue must be written by him. The final word in the selection, of the oasts is also to be left to Mr. Galsworthy.

Miss Gloria Swanson's latest talking picture Indiscreet, a United Artists production, will be shown at the Dominion Theatre on Friday evening, in succession to City Lights.