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The Times (25/Jun/1919) - US Film Enterprise in Britain

(c) The Times (25/Jun/1919)



The competition between American and British interests in the film industry was discussed at the summer conference of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association, held in Glasgow yesterday.

Mr. R.C. Buchanan (Edinburgh) moved a resolution pledging all exhibitors to refuse to book any films or enter into any contract with the Famous Players Lasky Film Service (Limited) unless the council were satisfied that the company indicated was not tied to or allied with any company formed for the purpose of promoting companies for the building of cinematograph theatres in this country. The council of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association were also invited to arrange for a meeting of renters, manufacturers, and exhibitors to ensure that joint action should be taken. Mr. Buchanan declared that the American syndicate threatened to swamp British interests.

The resolution was carried unanimously.


Mr. W.G. FauIkner gave an address on "A film critic's views on films, desirable and undesirable."

Having emphasized the responsibility of these who entertained with picture stories every week 20 million persons, mostly young and very impressionable, he said that unfortunately in the thing that mattered most in the film, the story, there was a decided decline, which showed signs of becoming an avalanche in its descent. This could be arrested only by greater value being attached to the work of creating the story, and giving life to the characters. They were witnessing the steady introduction from a certain quarter of a type of picture which, if it became a feature on the screens of this country, would kill the moving picture drama. No sane man who believed in the drama desired to see evil and the consequences of evil excluded from the screen. It would not be drama if it were. The moving picture drama, however, differed from the stage drama in that it showed on the screen so much that was described or inferred in words uttered on the stage. The picture told the whole story. Fortunately, the film with an actually pernicious influence was declining in numbers and popularity. The number of murder and suicide films was also diminishing. Cleanliness in public entertainment paid; dirt appealed only to the dirty, and at best was a transitory attraction, besides being deadly dull. Those who persisted in making and those who insisted on showing the unclean picture would soon be out of business. Public opinion would in due time force them out.