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

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II. THE PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE. 1. ITS FIRST RECEPTION. The proposal in its original form, as developed in this Commission's report and discussed by Parliament, although it was in many respects too ambitious, had much to recommend it. Some kind of central in- dependent body concerned with cinematography in all its aspects and its development along the best lines had, for some time, seemed to many highly desirable. This country was, as the Commission stated, almost alone in not having some such central organisation. Above all, while all independent observers were agreed that an indispensable basis for any such Institute was, as the Commission insisted,* " indisputable commercial dis- interestedness" this seemed to be assured by the form of constitution which it recommended, and particularly by its insistence that the Institute's Board of Governors should be appointed by the State*)*, and that its income should be " demonstrably independent of outside financial influence."J The Commission, it was understood, had given some two years to its deliberations ; it included, it was stated by its Chairman, " representatives of nearly all the * Throughout their report and in many public statements—e.g., in two letters from their Secretaries to the Editor of The Times in August, 1932. t See page 155 in the Commission's report. J See page 151 in the Commission's report. Page 12