Celluloid : the film to-day (1931)

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PREFACE XI still points the way for the perfect sound and visual film that is yet to be made. From reading reviews and hearing remarks occasioned by the appearance of " The Film Till Now," I gather that there seems to be some confusion as to the exact attitude I adopt towards the film. While some persons, no doubt for reasons of their own, deny me the rights of a critic, others find fault with what they like to call my " high-hat " approach to the cinema. Because I have stated my preference—in no measured terms, I admit—for a film which, for example, dramatizes an industry or a battleship to one which exploits the sex of some actress, I am branded as being " intellectual." To me the cinema is simply a method of expression admirably suited to the needs of present-day argument. It is a means of propaganda, either in a fictional way or as a specifically designed piece of advertisement. It is a medium which offers to any creative mind a wealth of experiment in its peculiar technical devices for appealing to the human beings of this world. In this book it will be found that this last-named aspect of the cinema—the remarkable magnetism which exists between the screen and the audience—is a source of perpetual interest to me. By analysis of every film I see, I endeavour to fathom the constitution and the strength of this appeal between a projected film and its audience. It is obvious that in this secret lies the key to entertainment, from a cultural, aesthetic and box- office point of view. And because there would seem to