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

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constituted, is quite unfitted to perform.* In the light of what I have said regarding the control of the Institute, however, any such detailed analysis of its proposed work may well seem redundant, and I will not trouble you with it further here, save to say that I would readily furnish it if desired. It should be added, however, that, neither in the official statement referred to nor in the Chairman's letter to the Press quoted above, was any reference made to any of the restrictive clauses or Articles of the Institute's registered Constitution detailed above, although they deal with matters in which large sections of the public, including many important organisations, are vitally concerned. 5. SOURCES OF REVENUE. The Film trade, with its abundant resources, may at any time, of course, decide to set up and finance a department of its own to deal with certain educational matters J—e.g., films for schools—and use it as a * E.g., " To establish a national repository of films of permanent value " (Item 6). This is a task which would require the resources of some permanent museum, and is quite beyond those of a small semi- private body of doubtful permanence and with limited accommodation and staff. Or " To certify films as educational, cultural or scientific " (Item 9). Certification is, of course, a form of censorship. If the Institute intends to apply this to e?itertainment films, it has already been ruled out by the clause in its Constitution discussed on pages 26-27 of this analysis. If it is to be applied to class -room films , it is, as was pointed out in the House of Lords on July 6, 1932, a proposal full of grave dangers. The Board of Education has never countenanced any kind of certification of school books ; and, if it accepted a certification of school films, it would be encouraging a censorship by the Institute which teachers and the public could not tolerate, which would create a most dangerous precedent for the Board of Education itself, and which the makers of educational films would be compelled to reject in the interests of freedom of publication. Any such certification - censorship would be certain to increase, and might easily in time become a vested monetary interest. + Or a section of the trade. One of the biggest producing companies has recently set up just such a department. It is to concentrate entirely on films for the class-room. Page 35