Came the dawn : memories of a film pioneer (1951)

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in this film, and very well he looked and acted it, and the always charming Chrissie White played opposite him. Plumb and Gladys Sylvani were the principals in a considerable number of the films we made around this time, but Chrissie and Alma Taylor were coming very much to the front, and Madge Campbell was doing good work in many 'Vivaphone' subjects as well as more serious work in several of the larger films. It was during this general period—from 1910 onwards—that significant and important changes in the aspect of film affairs in this country were seething up all around us and necessarily impinging on our own situation. The same necessity today suggests that I should give a short account of them although— except so far as I may have been actually influenced by them— they do not really concern this story. Indeed, working more or less out in the country, I was to some extent only vaguely aware of what was going on and did not consciously take any steps to adapt our conditions to those of our contemporaries. This may or may not have been a good thing: it was certainly not an intentionally superior attitude, but I am not at all sure that it did not serve us well. It seems that foreign countries got tired at last of importing English films and were retaliating by making their own and unloading them upon us—naturally enough. The trouble was that many of them were better than ours, but that, too, was better for all of us in the end. Film production in this country had got into a rut and, with very exceptional bright flashes, seemed content to stay in it. I am uncomfortably conscious that in my case there was a feeling that we were doing very nicely, thanks—principally on account of our foreign trade and particularly because of that anaesthetising American standing order, and had no sufficient urge to push out into wider seas. In one way and another that seems to have been true of all the English trade. So the foreigners got a start of us and when we did begin to wake up and rub our eyes it was all we could do to keep our places in the race—little we could do to recover ground we had lost. It was, I think, the Americans who first began to encroach upon the chosen field of my company—romantic drama (but it was mixed up with any amount of other things). The Italian com- panies specialised in spectacular subjects—which they handled remarkably well, while a kind of midway place was taken by Nordisk, the great Danish company. The French, who had held 120