The cinema and the public: a critical analysis of the origin, constitution, and control of the British Film Institute (1934)

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a Royal Charter and State-appointed governors, com- plete independence of control by the cinema trade, and wide powers over the whole realm of cinematography comparable to those exercised by the B.B.C. in the realm of wireless. It was a proposal which, although it was too ambitious and suffered from other grave defects, had also obvious merits ; and it was on the whole favourably received. It was strongly opposed, however, by nearly all the leaders of the film trade. In October, 1933, representatives of the film trade and the same " Commission " set up and registered a body called " The British Film Institute," which, although it has been frequently confused with the National Film Institute proposed a year previously, bears little resemblance to it. On the contrary, its registered Constitution, on analysis, shows that it has governors appointed not by the State or some independent authority but by the cinema trade and the " Commission," a large measure of control by the cinema trade, and very restricted powers. In this form, it received the warm support of nearly all the leaders of the film trade . 2. Parliament and the interested public required, not a new body to deal with class-room films—to which, as a result of restrictive clauses secured by the cinema trade in its Constitution, the " British Film Institute " is mainly confined—but one to deal with the vast output of entertainment films which are exhibited each week to twenty million people in every corner of the country. The urgent need for raising the character— Page 6