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

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generally, as seemed good to the Privy Council, "for the purpose of encouraging the use and develop- ment of the cinematograph as a means of entertain- ment and instruction."* July yth f 1932 : Viscount Hailsham, Secretary of State for War, in a reply to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the House of Lords, stated :— (a) " It " (the Fund) " is not to be specially earmarked for a proposed film institute ; it is to be available for all concerned in the develop- ment of the industry .... Whether it " (the film institute) " will get any such assistance will depend on the nature of its constitution and the nature of the work it is performing." (b) " Quite obviously, if the film institute is constituted and if it is to have a public character, it will be necessary that its constitution and powers should be submitted to Parliament, because you cannot set up a public body without public assent through Parliament." (c) " We are in no way committing ourselves to a film institute whose existence, powers and character are at present unknown .... The position is that, under Clause 2, a Fund is to be administered by the Privy Council for the purpose of the improvement of films and of the character of cinema entertainments. We are not in any way proposing to give this money to the film institute, if such Fund comes into being, nor * Parliamentary Debates —House of Commons—Vol. 267, No. 122 Cols. 1,824-1,831. That Parliament itself had already grave doubts regarding the whole proposal, even in this wider form, was made clear during this Debate, and by the eventual small majority of 18 (Ayes, 186 ; Noes, 168) by which the Fund was established (Col. 1870). Page 19