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

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just referred to, appointed by the governors themselves for the first year, but for every year. Not even the Institute's members will have anything to do with the appointment in his case. It may also be noted here that an ex-President of the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association* acted as Secre- tary pro-iem to the Institute for nine months before it was officially founded and has since become its permanent Secretary ; that, during the greater part of 1933, the trade housed the embryo Institute in one of its own buildings ; and that, during the last few months, it has twice made it loans of £500 free of interest.| Enough has been said to leave no doubt as to the remarkable change which has taken place in the situation between the time, in June, 1932, when the general idea of a National Film Institute was first proposed by the Educational Commission and strongly opposed by the film trade, and the time, in September, 1933, when the constitution of the " British Film Institute ' was registered amidst the icarm applause of the film trade.% Is it any wonder that certain leading men in the industrv, who were each of them strongly opposed to the original idea, have expressed their approval of the Institute in its present whittled-down form, as being (a) "a means of keeping quiet a group of educational busy- bodies who might otherwise be a nuisance " ; (b) " now quite innocuous " ; and (c) "a useful buffer for * Mr. R. V. Crow. He was President of the C.E.A. in 1931-32. t One from the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association and the other from the Kinematograph Renters' Society. See The Kine- matograph Weekly, October 26th, 1933, and The Cinematograph Times (the official organ of the C.E.A.), November 25th, 1933. + Again, as in the case of the earlier opposition, with a few courageous exceptions. Page 31