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

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principal educational and cultural agencies in the kingdom "* ; its recommendations regarding so im- portant a matter were, at the least, worthy of serious consideration. It is not perhaps surprising, therefore, that its main proposal—the setting up of a National Film Institute— should, at its first enunciation and before either members of Parliament or writers in the Press had had time to consider it in detail, have met with a large measure of support ; nor yet that the first Debate in the House of Commons in which it was discussed")* should, while advertising many of its merits, have failed to reveal its grave defects. 2. FOUR SERIOUS DEFECTS. Later Debates in the House of Commons,J however, and particularly in the House of Lords,** together with a more careful study of the report and its many implica- tions, did a substantial amount, as you will remember, to modify these first impressions ; and more recent events (to which I will presently refer), in so far as Members of Parliament and the public at large have been aware of them—and of many of them, including some of the most potent, they are not yet fully aware— have done much more. i. In the matter of those Institutes in other countries, for example, to which the Commission and its spokesmen in Parliament had referred with so much approbation, it was discovered that the Commission had not sent out to any of these * Letter from Sir Benjamin Gott in The Times, May 7th, 1932. t On May 27th, 1932. See Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 266, No. 99, Cols. 744-802. J E.g., that on June 29th, 1932. ** Those on July 4th, 6th and 7th, 1932. Page 13