HC Deb 22 March 1927 vol 204 cc237-313

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [16th March], "That the Bill be now load a Second time."

Which Amendment was: To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words this House, whilst welcoming proposals to restrict blind booking of cinematograph films, thus providing a fair field for British producers, cannot assent to the Second Heading of a Bill which compels British traders to supply goods irrespective of their comparative merits and the demands of their customers."—[Mr. Ramsay Mac-Donald.]

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


I have never heard in the House of Commons a more extraordinary speech from a Minister than the speech with which the President of the Board of Trade moved the Second Reading of this Bill. I have taken the trouble to measure the linage of the report of that speech, and I find that, apart from his recital of the Clauses of the Bill, two-thirds of the speech had no relevance whatever to the provisions of the Bill. The President of the Board of Trade seemed to be quite ignorant of the fact that there are 30,000,000 people in this country who get their entertainment each week by attending the cinema productions. A good part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was devoted to a matter upon which, I think, there is general agreement in the House, and that is the importance of doing something, if possible, to prevent the exhibition of objectionable or obscene films. But the Bill makes no provision whatever for dealing with that matter. I think there will be agreement also that this is not a matter that can be dealt with by national action alone. If anything is to be done in regard to this subject, there is only one machinery by which it can be done, and that is by some international arrangement, perhaps initiated by the League of Nations. The other part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was devoted to dealing with this Bill purely as an instrument for advertising British trade. We all know the source of origin of this Measure. It did not need the disclosures which have been made by one of the leading newspapers this morning to let us know that the President of the Board of Trade is, in this matter, as in many others, simply a tool in the hands of the Federation of British Industries.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

I do not want to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman unnecessarily, but I must interrupt him on this occasion and say that there is no truth whatever in that allegation. This Bill is founded upon the recommendations of the Imperial Conference.


The facts are well within the knowledge of every Member of the House. Long before the Imperial Conference passed the Resolution to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, the Federation of British Industries were very active in this matter and the Bill, as a matter of fact, does nothing to carry out the recommendations of the Imperial Conference.


What about being a "tool?


If the hon. Member below the Gangway considers that his refined senses are hurt by that word, I will substitute the word "instrument." Hon. Members opposite know quite well that the Federation of British Industries have written to some hon. Members of this House, and have been taking for a long time a keen interest in this matter. Hon. Members will search in vain through the speech of the right hon. Gentleman for any reference to the interests of the exhibitors or the patrons of the cinema. As a matter of fact, this Bill is part of the ridiculous campaign for stimulating the buying of British goods by artificial means. The declared purpose of the Bill, as stated by the President of the Board of Trade, is to make the cinema a commercial medium for boosting British goods, to make the cinema, the purpose of which is to provide entertainment for the people, advertise British goods which cannot sell on their own merits. There will be no need for such advertisement if British goods were such' as would recommend themselves by their own merits. Although that was the declared purpose of the Bill, by some peculiar inconsistency the most effective, the most obvious and most permanent means by which the cinemas might be used for trade advertisement are not to be used at all. Trade may be advertised, the scientific processes may be advertised and exhibited on the screen.

4.0 p.m.

These films may be British produced, but they are not to count in the quota of British films. The right hon. Gentleman gave a pathetic story of the failure of the British film-producing industry to maintain and extend its pre-War time dimensions. At that time, if I remember aright, something like 40 per cent. of the films that were shown in this country were British produced. At the present time the percentage is something like 4 per cent. To be precise, there were last year about 760 films, and of these only 28 were British. The rest with the exception, I think, of between 60 and 70, were American. There are many things which explain the pre-eminence of America in the film world. America has gone into this business with the enterprise and with the business acumen which is characteristic of the American people. She has spared no expense. She has not had in her business arrangements a clause or condition that no foreign aid shall be employed. She has bought talent wherever the best talent can be found. It is true that America has natural facilities for producing films which this country cannot, and never will, possess. I am told that Sweden is now producing some of the finest films. Sweden, probably, has an advantage over this country in atmospheric conditions. But one of the reasons why America has obtained such supremacy in the film world is because of the business enterprise to which I have already referred, aided by unrivalled climatic conditions.

May I impress this fact upon hon. Members opposite? America has made the British film industry. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that America has made the cinema industry in this country. If it were not for the supply of American films, there would be practically no cinemas in this country. I understand there is something like £50,000,000 of capital employed in the cinema trade in this country. Thousands of people, probably tens of thousands, are employed in the Industry. It brings millions of revenue a year into the British Exchequer, and all that is due to the fact that America is able to provide a sufficient number of films for exhibition. I hope, therefore, there will be nothing in the way of reprisals, although it is part of the gospel of Protectionists and Tariff Reformers that there should be reprisals in the matter of tariffs. It would be a lamentable thing for the cinema industry of this country if America were to stop the supply of films to this country. She would not suffer so much, because she has her own huge population to supply. She has the vast market of the East, an expanding market, for cinematograph exhibitions.

This Bill proposes to deal with three things, each, I suppose, aimed at stimulating the production of British films. It deals with what is called blind booking, block booking and advance booking. I do not profess to be able to understand clearly the distinction between those three things. There seems to me to be a good deal of confusion in the definition of blind booking, block booking and advance booking. They seem to me to dovetail into each other. But, surely, a proposal of this sort introduces an innovation into English trade. I have never heard before proposed such an unwarrantable interference with the liberty of people engaged in industry, to prevent their conducting their arrangements in a way which they believe conduces to their advantage. Why blind booking, block booking, advance booking is the ordinary routine of everyday trade. Business could not get. on without it. Certainly, I myself have blindly booked numerous contracts. A publisher writes to me and says, "Will you write a book?", giving me the title, and nothing more. We sign the contract. There is nothing said as to the way in which I should treat the subject. The same in regard to newspapers and all other matters. An hon. Member opposite goes to some artist and asks him to paint a portrait of his wife. He undertakes to paint the portrait. It is a blind booking. It is the common practice in all trades. This, I say, is a most unwarrantable interference with that freedom. It is quite true that at one time the exhibitors were nearly unanimously in favour of the abolition of what is called blind booking, But second thoughts are often best, and now you can get nothing like unanimity, and I doubt if you could get a majority, in favour of this Bill among cinematograph exhibitors engaged in what are called blind bookings and advance bookings.

From the point of view of the Government, the most important provision in this Bill is that which deals with the quota, and I declare this introduces a hitherto unthought-of restriction and limitation of trade. All hon. Members of the House have no doubt received a circular, which has been issued by the Manchester Cinematograph Exhibitors' Society. This circular states the case against this Bill, and if we followed in this House the practice which, I understand, there is in the Congress of the United States of America, of putting in printed matter, and asking that it should be recorded as the hon. Member's speech, I should be perfectly satisfied to put in this memorandum as my indictment of the Bill. May I, however, be permitted to read one or two sentences, because they express far more powerfully than I can the objections to this Bill. This point has been made before, and it has been ridiculed by the President of the Board of Trade. They say: The proposal with respect to British films could in its absurdity be equalled only by a measure to compel fruiterers to sell a percentage of home-grown oranges or tobacconists to sell a percentage of homegrown tobacco. The right hon. Gentleman has described that as being absurd. I should have thought the fact that it was absurd would have met with the approval of the right hon. Gentleman, because the more absurd this Bill is, the more it appears to recommend itself to him. Make no mistake about it! If the President of the Board of Trade could have his way, he would impose a quota restriction upon every trade in the country. He would compel every greengrocer to sell a certain proportion of British fruit. He would impose upon all the dry goods stores of the country an obligation to have at least 25 per cent. of British goods. He would go much further than that, and say not more than 25 per cent. of foreign manufactured articles. This is only the first step. It is ridiculous legislation, and if the House of Commons endorses such a proposal as this, it will be an encouragement to the President of the Board of Trade and other Protectionists to carry the restriction still further.

The first people who have to be considered in this matter are the people who attend cinemas, and find the money for the carrying on of the industry. Neither they nor the exhibitors, however, receive the least consideration in this matter. The object of an exhibitor is to meet the requirements of his patrons. His industry is in a very different position from most other trades. People must go to a grocer's shop. They may have a choice of grocers' shops, but they must buy groceries. It is not so in regard to the cinema. People can either go or stay away, and they stay away unless the programme is satisfactory. Now these people, I repeat, receive no consideration whatever. It is proposed, by an ascending scale, to compel the exhibitors of pictures ultimately to show 25 per cent. British films. The Federation of British Industries want, I believe, the quota to begin at 12½ per cent. It will soon get to that.

Let us see what is to be the effect of this upon the picture exhibition. Up to 27th July of this year there will be only 40 British films available. There are about 800 films required in order to keep the industry going. Therefore at the present time there is only 4 per cent. of British films. It is going to rise by 2½ per cent. per year. That means 20 new films every year. It is eight years since the close of the War, and the British producers in those eight years, notwithstanding their pre-War experience, are able to produce an output of only 40 films a year. 2½ per cent. means 20 additional films for each year. At the end of next year the minimum requirement will be 60 films, and ultimately in eight years' time 200 films. I want to put this question seriously to hon. Members opposite: Is there the least likelihood that by the end of next year there will be 60 British films of a fairly good class available? Anyone with experience knows that there can be only one answer to that question. There cannot be 60 good films available, much leas can there be 200 good British films at the end of eight years. Therefore, what is going to happen? Everyone knows what is going to happen. British films will be produced; I do not doubt it. I believe that the films will be produced because, seeing the opportunity of making money the same incompetent people who have either reduced or kept the British film industry in its present parlous condition, will rush in and they will produce the films. They may be good, but they will mostly be bad and indifferent.

What is the position of the exhibitor? He must take the film. This is the most serious effect which will follow from the application of this quota. In order to meet the quota the first two years there must be an expansion of the British industry by 50 per cent. And the film is not going into a competitive market; it is going into a guaranteed market. Every producer knows that, whatever may be the quality of the film, it will have to be taken. What is the effect of that on the exhibitor? He is bound to take these films, whether they be bad, indifferent, or objectionable. The effect of a bad film on people who visit cinemas is much more lasting than the effect of a good film. When they have seen a bad British film they will naturally say, "We will not go to that place again." But they will find the same experience, under this quota system, wherever they go. As I say, the British films have a guaranteed market. That means much more. It means that the producers can get what price they care to charge, and the producers who are supporting this Bill realise that quite well. There never was such an opportunity presented to incompetents to make fortunes as is given by the quota provisions of this Bill. Many of the cinemas in this country at the present time are having great difficulty in making a living.

It may be that the industry, as far as numbers of cinemas are concerned, has been overdone; it may be that there are too many of them. I do not know. But I do know that many of them are working on a very small margin of profit. If for one quarter of the films that they exhibit they have to pay twice, thrice and even five times more than they previously paid, then there is nothing but ruin in store for them. There is no assurance whatever, there is no guarantee under this Bill, of the quality of the British films which the exhibitors will be bound to take. On the contrary, this ascending scale of the quota is altogether irrespective of the quality of the films. There is no provision in the Bill to say that the films must pass a certain test of excellence. There is much, I think, to be said for—shall I say a censorship in this matter?—or at any rate some Board which will pass these films, and no film ought to be included in the quota unless it represents a certain standard.

I repeat it because it is so important, that as the Bill stands the exhibitors will be compelled to take any rubbish that the producers and the renters care to impose upon them. I cannot see the end of the possibilities. The guaranteed market must, with the ascending quota, absorb any increase in the production of British films. Therefore, there is not going to be in the trade any competition which might otherwise have the effect of pulling down prices. The party opposite is the party of private enterprise. It is the party that believes in competition. It believes that competition is the stimulus that is necessary for expanding trade. Here they are taking away the stimulus of competition. Here is a reflection upon the position that they invariably take up when they are attacking us who advocate and profess Socialist principles.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Are we not compelled to take any rubbish that comes from abroad?


The hon. and gallant Member has evidently quite misunderstood the point that I have tried to impress upon the minds of hon. Members opposite. We have no objection to, and even would welcome, anything which could be done to stimulate the British film industry, with full regard of all the interests that are involved. We would prefer that British films should be presented instead of American or foreign films. But the matter is in the hands of the industry itself. Let it set its own house in order. Let it apply brains and business ability to the problem, and then, in spite of the national advantages which America possesses, there would soon be, under the influence of competition, a reasonable proportion of British films. This is going to be a most serious thing for the exhibitor and particularly the small exhibitor. I do not think that the super-cinemas will suffer very much, because they can afford to pay big sums. They can run a film, like several big films which are running and have been running in London for some time past—they can afford to run it for weeks and weeks and even months. It is not so with the cinema in the country villages and the small towns. They cannot run a picture for more than about three nights. Therefore they will be particularly hit by this proposed quota arrangement.

There is another important point, as showing how the exhibitors will be very severely hit indeed. All hon. Members are. familiar with towns in the country where in the principal street you have two or three or even four cinemas almost next door to each other. There is only a limited number of British films. There may be 60 British films during the first year of the operating of the quota under this Bill. All the cinemas will have to take them. One of the four cinemas in a town, being very anxious to get the first run of a picture, will buy it at a very big price. The other cinemas, in order to make up their quota, will be obliged later to take that and other pictures which have already been shown in the town. What is to be the effect of that? It will simply be disastrous. Of course, this is nothing new to the right hon. Gentleman, because the whole of his policy since he went to the Board of Trade appears to have been directed to devising means of ruining any industry that he can reach, but I can imagine nothing more calculated than the proposals of this Bill to be disastrous to the industry.

Just a word or two about the definition of a British film. 75 per cent. of the cost will have to go to the payment of British labour, but there is nothing in the Bill which is going to guarantee that the film will be really made by British labour and will represent British ideas. A foreign star may be engaged at a salary which will be larger than all the other costs of production. 25 per cent. of the other expenses may be paid to foreigners. A person must be domiciled in this country. I am no lawyer, but I believe that there is in law nothing which is more difficult for the lawyers to decide than the question of domicile. I understand that "domiciled" in the Bill does not mean naturalised, and, therefore, you may have any number of foreigners engaged in the production of these so-called British films. They may give, not a British atmosphere to the Bill, but the atmosphere of the country with which they are better acquainted, and then, after the film has been produced by a foreigner domiciled in this country, and a great part of the cost has gone to pay for foreign artists and skill, it will be presented to the British public as a British film. The cinema may not be quite perfect as an elevating institution, from the point of view of high art—I think it will get better by and by—but I can imagine nothing which is more likely to degrade the artistic character of the cinema than such provisions as are proposed in this Bill. The one thing above all else, if it has to be propaganda at all, that the cinema ought to do is to give the international outlook, the international point of view, but instead of doing that, the President of the Board of Trade is going to degrade it to be a mere bagman of British industry. I suppose this Bill will pass, for hon. Members opposite will do as they have done on so many occasions during the last two years—they will support the Government in a policy of which they heartily disapprove. I cannot believe that there is an hon. Member on that side of the House who, if left free, if this were not a party question, would not treat this Bill with the derision that it deserves. But, as I say, the Bill will pass, and I am quite certain that when it is operating we shall find that all the disastrous consequences which we, from this side of the House, have stated as certain to happen will be realised, to the great disadvantage of the industry as a whole.


It is always a singularly stimulating thing for us on these benches to hear a great Socialist pleading the cause of vested interests, but I doubt very much really if my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) is a Socialist. He seems to me to be a great Liberal who wants things left alone. He likes the freedom of the individual untouched. I was hoping to hear from him that this industry, among others, should be nationalised, but according to him here' is one industry which he would leave entirely alone. All others we are to control by the State. I must say that X had a certain feeling of sympathy with him at the beginning, as I thought he had a very grave suspicion of this Bill because it was connected with the Federation of British Industries. With that I cordially agree, but it may very well occur that the Federation is occasionally right, as the Trade Union Council may be occasionally right. They do sometimes hit on something good, and one must not prejudice one's whole outlook because the Federation of British Industries happens to agree with this particular Bill. My right hon. Friend did remark on a reference that was made in a paper this morning in regard to the prerogative of Mr. Speaker. I want to assure you, Sir, that we know very well that we can rely on your independence, and we know also that the House would protect you in any way in which it might be necessary if any improper action were being taken to interfere with your prerogative.

A week ago we had a very interesting speech from the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), who justified his intervention in the Debate on the ground of his long connection with the industry. If I may say so, he somewhat exceeded his quota, because he spoke for an hour and a quarter, but after that I feel that I must in some way justify my intervention in this Debate, and I do so on these grounds. I never have been, and never will be, I suppose, interested in the cinema industry, but I happen to be a photographer. All my life I have been a photographer in various branches of that particular science, and when cinema photography started, I started, naturally, taking photographs in that peculiar way. Although it was early days, I think I am one of the few people who can show my children at every age from I on to 16. It is not a pastime that I recommend everyone to go in for, because it costs about 4½d. a second to show it on the film. But all my life I have butted-in to the industry because of that, and sometimes a looker-on knows a good deal of what is going on in a particular industry, although he may not be actually interested in it. I am going to come back to that, because I claim to know just a little about Wardour Street as a looker-on.

If I may pass to rather a broader point of view, there have been three very great propaganda media introduced into the world. The first, and undoubtedly the greatest, was the introduction of the letter press. Two of these propaganda media have been due to the sense of the ear, and one has been due to the sense of the eye. The introduction of books, although looking as if it was due to the sense of the eye, was really due to the ear, because we transcribe in our minds what we see on paper into sound, and thence into thoughts. That was the great advantage that Western civilisation brought about as compared with Eastern civilisation. Eastern civilisation tried to make pictures of thoughts, but Western civilisation tried to make pictures of sounds, and the advance due to that particular roundabout method introduced by the West advanced their civilisation over that of the East. Why I want to refer to that is that, when that spread, it only first of all touched the scholar, and as education expanded it slowly got into a bigger field of people, and there was a natural protection due to language. The other form of propaganda is broadcasting. There, again, it started on quite a high scientific level. Only people who could manipulate complicated electrical apparatus first of all heard the voice through ether. Very early, as the thing got more popular, the Government quickly realised that here was such a state of affairs that some form of control would be wanted. There, again, we had the power of language to stop interference from too much propaganda from any foreign country, and from America, perhaps, distance at present is a bar to that. But very early, as I say, the Government thought it right that broadcasting should be controlled.

How did the cinema start? That is really the point that I am dealing with in mentioning these two other things. The cinema started as a conjuring trick. It started as a showman's stunt. Those people who can remember the start of the cinematograph know that it was absolutely a bang-the-drum, walk-up business, and in this country it has never got out of those people's hands. That has really been the curse of fete cinema in this country. We might just as well have handed over broadcasting to Barnum and Bailey as to have done what we have done in leaving the cinema industry entirely alone in this country until now. I am not saying anything against showmen as showmen. We all know that all the greatest men in the world have showmen's qualities. There are the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), for instance, and our own Chancellor of the Exchequer. They have all got strong showmen's characteristics. It is the same with great authors like Bernard Shaw and great journalists like Lord Beaverbrook; they have all got strong showmen's characteristics. The difference, perhaps, between Bernard Shaw and Lord Beaverbrook is that one is a conscious humourist and the other is an unconscious humourist. But all these people are great citizens, and we should be very much at a loss without them. What I want to come back to is the fact that the actual crowd of people in Wardour Street, the people who really we relied upon to start the cinema industry in this country, were showmen, and they remain showmen to-day. It has been stated as an abjection to this Bill that there are companies waiting to form to start taking English pictures. I am very pleased to hear it. The only hope of developing it as a national industry is to get it out of the present hands into new hands, and I welcome very much the fact that there is going to he a start in that direction.

I have referred to what I think is one of the troubles that got the industry into the wrong hands, and there is this other trouble, that the machinery of booking makes it extremely difficult, even if you have got a good English film, to get it properly passed on. The Bill deals with that, and I think, from that point of view, it is an improvement. One word on the American film. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude for the quality of the films which come from America. After all, the greatest films which we have seen have been produced in America, but they have developed along a line, I think, that we would expect America to produce, the line of great mechanical perfection, of great spectacles, and of great, grandiose effects, and I think we must appreciate the fact that the American film has never exploited the propaganda position as it could have done if it had meant to. But we have to remember this, that the film produced in America is really produced for America and for nobody else. What comes to this country is practically what one would call dumped goods. Whatever they can get extra for sending it to England is all to their profit, and I think I can prove my point there. I do not know if hon. Members saw "The Great Parade," but there was a great war picture in which not one single mention was made of the English Army. Nobody, if they had been really concerned to sell that film in England, would have designed it like that, showing that they are only thinking of America and not of anybody else.

I think, as a matter of fact, the stunt side of the American films is very much overdone. I think the British public are getting tired of stunts; it is just like reading articles into which you introduce an acrostic or a cross-word puzzle on every other page. One cannot go on with it; one gets tired. They have in some cases exploited the national spirit in a film like "The Birth of a Nation." I do not know whether I really am convinced that the future of the film lies with America. It is all very well to criticise them, but we have to ask ourselves what we have done over here. We have done precious little. After all, we have got a country which has produced the greatest history in the world, even within .300 yards of this spot. Have we ever seen a film which has shown the struggle for liberty which has gone on in this country? Has it ever gone round the world to show what sort of people we are? Do we ever see a film showing the real sweetness of the English character? Never. We can never get tin's sort of film produced to show England at its best, and why not? Because the whole control of the producing of films in this country is in hands which never will produce that kind of film.

Now about the quota. The quota is regarded by hon. Members opposite as some very serious interruption in private business. I agree that when you have a very serious condition you want a serious remedy. Here is a scheme which says to English producers, "You are going to be assured a very small corner of a programme throughout the week," and, as my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade says, it is the purpose of the quota to keep competition for inclusion in that quota very keen. After all, here we are, like a young boxer, trying to take on the championship of the world. We cannot rush straight into the ring; we have to have our own scraps first. The only way to tune up our British industry is, first of all, to get new blood into it, and, secondly, to make them fight for their share of the small quota, and I believe that after a few years English genius and English films will be able to take on any others in the world without falling back on the mechanism of the quota.

My right hon. Friend is going to have a good deal of difficulty because of the opposition of vested interests, and I do hope that he will not pay too much attention to the exhibitors end, because there are three things here. There are the producer, the renter, and the exhibitor, and in England the exhibitor is far and away the richest. All the money has gone into the exhibitors' hands. If that money had gone into production, there would be no film difficulty to-day. It is because it has gone into those hands that the difficulty has arisen. If I might give a maxim for the President of the Board of Trade, it would be, "Look after production, and the films will look after themselves." It is because we have neglected that side of the industry that we are in the parlous condition that we are in to-day. In conclusion, let me again tell my right hon. Friend that we on these benches, always accused as we are of looking after vested interests, are, as it seems to me, the only party that ever takes them on. The whole of last year I was up against one of the strongest vested interests in this country, and I know what it means. I hope my right hon. Friend knows what it means. He is going to have a very-rocky time in Committee. If I have been able to support him on the Second Beading, I only hope that his reward to me will be to see that I am not on the Committee upstairs.


This Bill rather reminds one of the story of a clock of which the owner once remarked that when he saw the hands pointing to twelve and heard it striking two he knew it was twenty minutes to seven. So this Bill, pointing as it does to restrictions on advance-booking and blind-booking and sounding an alarm about a quota, tells one that the time has come to prohibit any further advertisements of American manners and styles. The President of the Board of Trade, in introducing the Measure, did not describe it as a good Bill; all he claimed for it was that it was the only attempt made to revive the British film industry, and he has not carried the whole of his supporters with him. I find that an evening newspaper, which ordinarily supports the Government, describes the argument of the right hon. Gentleman as being a very pathetic argument, and it goes on to describe the Bill in these terms: The Film Quota Bill illustrates very exactly the inconveniences likely to arise from Governments, which unable to think of anything to do or else unwilling to do important things that they ought to do. are nevertheless determined to do something. The President of the Board of Trade has objected to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) describing him as the tool of the Federation of British Industry, but he has brought in his Bill apparently as the only means of protecting the industry at all. He knows perfectly well that he is precluded from protecting the film industry by placing a tax on foreign films owing to certain undertakings and certain parts of Commercial Treaties, and therefore he has adopted the only other course open to him.

We have heard a good deal about the necessity of protecting this industry in the interests of British patriotism. The hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) referred to the advertisements given to American manners and styles. It is true that the American public have had a great advertisement through the film industry, but it is not only a perverse public in this country or the unpatriotic exhibitor who is responsible for the present state of the film industry in this country. Those in high positions, those in responsible official positions, in this country, who are usually regarded as the custodians of British patriotism, have also been responsible. An American film artist comes over here with his circus horse, and, as we have witnessed during the last few weeks, the Mayor at Southampton goes to receive him, and, when that circus rider comes to London, the Lord Mayor of London gives him, if not an official, a semiofficial reception. When that same man takes his circus horse across the Straits to France, the only notice that is taken of him is to tell him that he must not obstruct the traffic. Yet the President of the Board of Trade finds that the only remedy is to produce a Bill of this description to support the British film industry.

It is a very remarkable Bill. It creates 13 new offences—that is a rather remarkable figure—and it imposes 13 new penalties. It is a little important to notice how they are going to operate. A penalty is of itself an evil thing, but when it operates in an uncertain way it is a double evil. I turn to Clause 10, and I find that if an applicant, who has registered his film, desires substantially to alter the length of the film he must notify the Board of Trade of that change, whether a film is substantially altered or not can only be determined, according to Sub-section (2), by the Board of Trade itself. The result will be that the applicant will not know. There is nothing in the Bill to indicate to him upon what lines the Board of Trade are going to find whether a film has been substantially altered or not. There is nothing to indicate whether that alteration should be notified to them, and he will not know whether he is liable to a prosecution at the instigation of the Board of Trade at any time. Surely, when you are creating a new offence and imposing a substantial penalty—a fine not exceeding £20—there should be an indication what the Board of Trade mean by a substantial alteration in the film.

Clause 19 creates another offence. The exhibitor has to perform various calculations. He has to work out a sum by way of measurement, multiplication, addition, and proportion, and, if he gets his sum wrong, then he is liable to a prosecution unless he pan obtain a certificate from the Board of Trade. The certificate is to be set out in the manner hereinafter mentioned. First, he has the opportunity of proving his case before the Board of Trade, and, secondly. if he does not get the certificate, he has an opportunity in a Court of Law. If he can show that he has worked out the sum under conditions over which he has no control, he may be acquitted. I turn to Clause 22 to find out what is the certificate that is hereinafter mentioned, and the certificate hereinafter mentioned, to my astonishment, is exactly the same thing as the defence provided for him if he is prosecuted in the Court. The certificate is merely a pre-determination by the Board of Trade of that; which the Court will determine if the man is eventually prosecuted. Under Clause 13 a renter, who has on his quota a greater amount than he himself needs, can transfer a proportion to a transferee, but only provided that he obtains first of all the consent of the Board of Trade. If, having obtained the consent of the Board of Trade, it is eventually found that he has not a sufficient quota himself, the Board of Trade may prosecute him for the very offence which they themselves ought to have found out before granting him their consent to a transfer, and he can again be mulcted in a sum of, I believe, £20. Sub-section (4) of Clause 13 contains a remarkable definition of a registered British film. It says: In this Section. 'registered British film' means a British film which either at the time of its acquisition by the renter is. or later within the same calendar year becomes, a registered British film: and registered film' means a film which either at the date of its acquisition by the renter is. or later within the same calendar year becomes. a registered film. It reminds one of the definition of Polonius of madness. "What is madness? Nothing else but madness[...]." I am not going to cavil so much at the language of the film—I do not know whether American captions are responsible for the English of this Bill or not—but I take, as an instance, Clause 26 (3) which gives a definition of a British film. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley has already dealt very clearly with paragraph (3, iv), but I turn to (3, i). A British film must have been made by a person who was a British subject"— 5.0 p.m.

A man may at some time or other have been a British subject, and he may have changed his nationality before he became responsible for the film, but he fulfils all that is demanded of him under that para- graph. The Solicitor-General shakes his head, and I have no doubt that what is intended is that he must be a British subject. at the time of the making of the film, but the Bill does not say so and this is a penal Clause. I want to draw attention to another serious penalty imposed under Clause 23. Clause 23 provides that, in certain circumstances, there can be proceedings taken, either summarily or by way of indictment, and that the Court can impose penalties upon the renter under Sub-section (2); that his licence shall be revoked and that no licence shall be issued to him or to any person with whom he is financially associated or to any person who acquires his business. Imagine the position under this Clause. A prosecution can be launched, or it need not be launched, during any period within two years of the commission of the offence. If an offence has been committed by a renter, and after a year he sells his business in good faith to a bona fide purchaser, and if it has been found that an offence has been committed by the previous renter, it may be 15 months or even two years previously, proceedings are taken against the previous renter. The purchaser of the business in this case may, if the Court thinks fit, have his licence revoked. I have no doubt that the Court will not revoke the licence in these circumstances, but the onus of proof will rest on the man who bought the business, and that is a complete change of policy. Where you are prosecuting, the onus of proving the offence should be on the people who are taking proceedings, and it should not rest upon a man who is an innocent purchaser.

In regard to the quotas which are to be provided, there are two sets of quotas here, one to be provided by the renter and the one to be provided by the exhibitor. The exhibitor has to obtain his quota from any one of 30 renters. He may take either foreign films, or his quota of British films from any one of the 30. Fifteen of the 30 may have passable British films, but the other 15 may have British films that no exhibitor desires. The renter is compelled to store 7½ per cent. of these, for which they can never have any market. It is a loss in the first year, and it is a progressive loss. The alternative may be to say that the exhibitor would have to take his 7½ per cent. as he books his films. If that is what is meant by the Bill, and I think that is what is meant, then you are imposing on the exhibitor a number of British films which he may not desire.

Possibly the most remarkable provision is in Clause 14, which deals with the small renter, the man who does not rent more than six films during the year. He has two courses open to him for the purpose of providing his quota. The first course that is open to him if he so desires, and if the other people so desire, and, in addition, if the Board of Trade consent, is to combine with other renters to provide his quota. If he does not so desire, or if he fails to obtain the consent of the Board of Trade, he has to provide his quota upon six films, and 7½ per cent. on six films would work out roughly at about one-third of a film. I read with interest a speech by the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth (Sir F. Meyer), who spoke with first-class knowledge of this subject. He said that the only line where the British film industry could hope to recover its prestige was in those sections of the industry which are precisely excluded under the terms of this Bill. There was no hope, in his view, of the British film industry being able to compete with and rival that of America. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has not said that the Bill is going to do anything of the kind. Hardly a good word has been said for it in the Press, not in the Press which is hostile to him but the Press which supports him, from the "Times" downwards. I would not be surprised to find the right hon. Gentleman bringing in a Bill to make readers of the "Westminster Gazette" take in the "Morning Post," and that would be just as sensible as the Bill which he has brought before the House.

Colonel APPLIN

I have listened to this Debate with some interest, because I think the principal thing in the Bill has been rather lost sight of. One hon. Member said last week that the quota was really a subsidy, and that, while he did not object to subsidies, he objected to a quota. The quota is a subsidy with this enormous difference, that it does not cost anything. Why is it necessary to have a quota or subsidy to encourage the making of British films here? The reason is that, when we were engaged in a world War,, America was making films and developing this brand-new industry, and by the time the War was over and we could look at films again, our theatres had begun to take American films, we bad begun to build theatres to take American films and we have taken them practically ever since. That is why we have to adopt this method, which may not be the best method of dealing with the matter, but it is the only method. British films are no worse and no better than American films as pictures or works of art. The great mistake we all make in speaking of the American film is that we confuse the super-film which costs £100,000 with the ordinary film costing £10,000. We have not attempted to make the super-film because we could not afford to do so, but America can make it because they have the market on the spot. Their 120,000,000 people will pay the whole cost of it before the film comes over here. Before the super-film can come here, the exhibitor is obliged to book blindly, because he does not know what the films are to be. He has to take a certain number of films which are wedged in between the super-films, and he has to book as long as 18 months in advance. That must be a method by which, in the block, you get inferior films. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has said that British films are bad films. They are not bad films. They are better even than some of the films that are more popular. When we go to see some of the American films, we realise what the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. Mac-Donald) said with regard to the foreign film that he saw in Arabia. We realise that these films are very objectionable. I saw a film some time ago, in a big theatre in Regent Street, called "What Price Glory," and I was astonished that that film had passed the censor, and glad that no daughter or female relative of mine was there to see such a film or would go to see it. That is not the sort of film we British people want to see in our London theatres. The war scenes were magnificently made, but the scenes in the cabarets and the women and that sort of thing are not the kind of thing we British people want to see.


You want more; it is all part of war.

Colonel APPLIN

I have seen a little more of war than the hon. Member, but in the three campaigns in which I have been engaged I never saw a British officer or a British sergeant behaving in the way these people in the American film were alleged to have behaved. We have got to get hack into the film industry, and we cannot do it unless we have some means of compelling renters and exhibitors to take at least a small proportion of British films. Germany has produced some of the most magnificent films ever shown. and there is a new German super-film. Germany has a 50 per cent. quota and that is how it is done, but we are not asking 50 per cent., we are asking 7½ per cent. The right hon. Member for Colne Valley made a statement in which he said that next year we should want a 6 per cent. quota of British films.


No, 7½ per cent.

Colonel APPLIN

But this year we are actually producing 7 per cent. of British films.


indicated dissent.

Colonel APPLIN

I am quite prepared to stand by that statement. If we get the quota we are asking for and the renters show these films, next year, when the quota is raised, we shall have more than sufficient to meet the quota and of the very best quality.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that American capital has now got control of the film-producing industry in Germany?

Colonel APPLIN

I would be extremely sorry if that happened, but we have the capital here to invest in our own film industry. Perhaps Germany, owing to the War, had not the capital, but that is not to say that we are to be in the same position later on. It has been said that we have no good films and cannot produce good films. The "Daily Express," in an article on the subject, speaking of the President of the Board of Trade, says: Sir Philip now understands the screen situation as Well as anyone. Of these 60 British films produced under the urge of his threat and with his entire blessing, I challenge him to name 10 which could be regarded as first-class box office attractions in acting, dramatic or story merit, irrespective of technical quality, in which we are admittedly bad. A challenge is there thrown out. I think we have these films, and if the House will bear with me I will read a little list. Anyone who has seen the films I am about to mention will admit that they are first-class films. They are not £100,000 films. I dare say some of them did not cost £10,000, but they are first-class films equal to any block-booked American films. They are: "Hindle Wakes," "The Flag Lieutenant" "The Triumph of the Rat," "Mademoiselle from Armentieres," "Mons," "Palaver," "The Lodger," "The Chinese Bungalow" and "Second to None," and there are more. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments in favour of the quota is to be found in the article in this particular issue of the "Daily Express"—18th March—written for the express purpose of condemning the Bill. From beginning to end of these quota negotiations, not one word has been said about producing the kind of film which the British public wishes to see, but the ordinary man will be disposed to think that that should be the keystone of the whole discussion. The plain truth about the film situation is that the bulk of our picture-goers are Americanised to an extent that makes them regard a British film as a foreign film, and an interesting but more frequently an irritating interlude in their favourite entertainment. They go to see American stars; they have been brought up on American publicity. They talk America, think America, and dream America. We have several million people, mostly women, who, to all intent and purpose, are temporary American citizens. There is the greatest indictment I have read yet of the system under which films are shown in this country. When we remember that these films are being shown all over the world, we must realise the necessity for doing something to build up our own industry. I desire to point out some practical facts in reference to the question of the quota. In the first place, there is no question as to the means of producing these films. We already have quite a number of firms competing, and, if the quota comes into operation, it will not be a case of the renter or exhibitor having to accept any sort of film. A number of good British firms are pro- ducing and there will be competition among them. Business men are not fools, and with half-a-dozen competing firms they are not going to be content with producing inferior films. Competition will produce the best quality. Already we have seven studios which are at the present moment making films. There are studios at Cricklewood and Elstree—and Elstree is going to be one of the biggest studios in Europe. It already is large enough to hold two studios. Already one bay has been built, and if this studio is developed we shall be able to produce super-films of the kind which America is now producing. Then there are the Gaumont Studios at Shepherd's Bush, the Gainsborough Studio at Islington, the British Instructional at Surbiton and the Nettlefold at Walton-on-Thames.

With these studios in existence, there is no reason why good British films should not be produced—films better than those produced in the past and able to hold their own in competition. In that way renters and exhibitors will be assured of having a choice of first-class British films. In any case, the House must realise that at present the exhibitor has to take blindly these very inferior American films—I do not want to use the expression "rotten." These films are being booked blindly in advance and are exhibited every day, very much to the detriment of our people who have to go to see them. This Bill is a necessity in order to restore our power to compete with the American film. I have not the slightest doubt that long before 1936 we shall have got back at least 50 per cent. of the industry and that long before we reach the quota, we shall have put the British film industry on its legs again. We shall then be well on the way to the point at which we can dispense with films which many of us deplore and which we do not like our children to see in our cinema theatres.


The hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken has made very able use of the argument always advanced from those benches when it is suggested that any section of British industry should be assisted by some method of protection. If one does not scrutinise arguments of this kind very carefully, they sound very generous and good hearted. This proposal at first sight seems to do credit to those who support it. But I find it completely unconvincing. When proposals of this kind are brought before the House, we are told that they are for the benefit of British industry, British labour and British working people, but we always find in them some peculiar loophole whereby a monopoly is to be given to a certain small section of producers or manufacturers, whereas no safeguards are provided either for the workers in the industry or for the mass of the people who are concerned. This Bill follows the precedent of previous Protectionist Measures brought before us by the President of the Board of Trade. A certain very small industry regardless of the cost of its wares or their value or the capacity of those engaged in their production, is to have unlimited scope to help itself—to a great extent at the public expense—and no guarantee of any kind is given to safeguard either the exhibitors, the people who pay to see the pictures or the great mass of the people.

We are all desirous of seeing the standard of the pictures exhibited here as high as we can make it, but if the Government were sincere in the patriotic declarations which they always make when introducing a Bill of this kind, it would be the simplest matter in the world to enact that this quota must be taken, provided there are sufficient British films of suitable attractiveness at a price which is reasonable to the exhibitor. Many of us here are quite as anxious for British industry as any hon. Gentleman opposite, but the part of this Bill which makes us despair is the utterly callous way in which the interests of the mass of the people are thrown haphazard at the feet of those who have been described very well by the hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) as a set of Barnum and Bailey showmen, not fit to handle a great enterprise of this kind. These people whom the hon. and gallant Member describes so adequately are the people at whose mercy, without any restriction of any kind, the President of the Board of Trade is going to place the exhibitors and picture goers. I wish to look at this matter from a broader point of view than the economic point of view. Hon. Members have deplored the standard of pictures exhibited in this country. As has been said, the art of the cinema grew up in an extraordinary way, and it has not yet, so to speak, found its feet. Hon, Members have spoken here as though the American pictures were those which we must specially seek to keep out because they are so cheap, so garish, so vulgar and their headlines and quotations are so bad. I have seen considerable numbers of British films as well as American films, and I do not think I have ever seen an American film with such cheap and vulgar quotations as a film which is touring the country at the present moment—"The Cabinet." I do not think the Americans ever reached such a depth of degradation as to refer to a responsible member of His Majesty's Privy Council, governing one of the most important Departments of State, by an extremely vulgar nickname and as being "the boy" who would chase some mythical people away. That seems to be an even lower standard than some of the objectionable headings I have seen on the American films.

The hon. and gallant Member who spoke last read a list of British films which he regarded as first-class pictures. That list included "Mademoiselle from Armentieres." and it is interesting to study the history of that picture. The great American war picture "The Big Parade" has already been mentioned. I saw that picture and I had the honour on that occasion of sitting near an hon. Gentleman who occupies a, place on the Front Bench opposite. We had a brief discussion afterwards. Like most men who served in the War, we admired the picture. Although it depicted American soldiers—there were American soldiers in the War if they did come in rather late—although as was natural in a film intended for exhibition in America, it showed a part of the Front which at that time was entirely occupied by American troops, that film was a wonderful and touching picture and very artistically presented. Then we had huge advertisements from the British producers about the British reply to the "Big Parade" and we were told to come and see "Mademoiselle from Armentieres." The hon. and gallant Gentleman who spoke last referred to the vulgarity of "What Price Glory." I went to see the British reply to the "Big Parade" and when I saw the spectacle of French peasant girls running about the British front line during a bombardment, I realised that for mawkish and ridiculous sentimentality there was nothing to touch those people for whom the hon. and gallant Gentleman was at such pains to speak this afternoon.

It is useless to suggest that we are going to do any good by encouraging people of that kind. If it is to be of any use to our people, the cinematograph must be regarded as an artistic asset to civilisation; otherwise we are starting at the wrong end. That very great producer and actor, Mr. Douglas Fairbanks, recently made a tour of the film-producing countries, and when he came back he said that if he were to place them in the order of artistic merit Russia was producing the best films, that America was second and England was at the bottom. I do not think it is necessary, in order to qualify as a patriot, to be prepared to set one's own feelings aside in these matters. The Government have actually refused to allow some of the very best Russian pictures to be exhibited in this country because they are afraid they will not square with their own political opinions; as if art had ever known any frontiers or limitations of country and nationality.

The problem of the cinematograph is greater than an economic problem. If we are to improve the cinema we must improve the standard of films. Personally I would rather it were British producers who improved the standard; but whatever country's producers are prepared to get us away from the cheap and nasty films which have been described so very well by the hon. and gallant Member—except that the British are rather worse than the American—is going to do a tremendously great service, not only to the English public but to the world of civilisation in general. To send round the world the kind of film which the hon. and gallant Member has been boosting is a thing which I hope no patriotic Member of this House would think of doing, because films of that kind are repulsive and repellent to everything that is best in our national character, and are calculated merely to hold us up to ridicule and laughter wherever they are exhibited. The hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) made one of his usually very able and informed contributions to the Debate. I am always impressed with his extraordinary gift for attaching entirely inaccurate premises to a wonderful collection of facts, and he was really at his very best this afternoon. First of all he told us what a terrible crowd we had producing films in this country. Perfectly true. We can tell that by the kind of stuff they turn out. He then said: "What of the American films? They are produced for America; and only if they have got time do they send them over here—dump them, to bring in a little extra revenue." On his own confession, and he is a very good judge, he said that British films, in their present hands, are not even able to compete with those prepared in America for American custom and dumped over here as a sideline. Having said that—and those are valuable facts for us to have—he then goes on to the premise that because the film industry in England is in the wrong hands, because it has no serious opposition from America, it is necessary for us to give a rapidly-increasing monopoly to the people on whom he has just poured every kind of scorn and abuse. I submit that there is no logical basis for this Bill at all. We cannot govern art, especially international art, by a quota system.

If ever anyone proposes to carve a statue of the founder, of the illustrious author, of this Bill, I sincerely hope that someone will not be selected haphazard and told that he must do it in two days and that he can charge what he likes for doing it, and that however much he does charge he will get his money. I can quite understand a gentleman who, if he is not the tool, is clearly the instrument, of a small and unscrupulous section of business people trying to force this Bill through the House. His own Press is against him; even the hon. Member for Wandsworth, who sits in his party and who knows this industry inside out, was. extremely nervous at out it in the Debate last week. We have had a number of cheap grafting Bills introduced into this House, and they usually come from the Board of Trade, and I suggest now that the Prime Minister is here, that he should take the advice, not of the Socialists and the Labour people, but of the people of his own party, not only those who are interested in this industry, but those for whose artistic opinions and standards he has some respect—that he should ask them whether this important, industry is to be exposed to the cheap grafting purpose which this Bill is supposed to have.


It must have been a great comfort to the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down to find in so distinguished a person as Mr. Douglas Fairbanks an ally in his support of that spiritual home which so many hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite are proud to claim.


I should like to say in reply to that very foolish observation that I have not made that claim, and that I am quite as willing to do anything for my country as people who swank about the Union Jack.


I am sorry that a little Parliamentary chaff should have drawn from the hon. Gentleman that singularly offensive remark. In the course of his speech he criticised remarks made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon), but evidently he had not listened to what that hon. and gallant Member had said. He seemed to think the argument had been that the production side of the industry had been in the hands of a very poor class of showman, and that these had been compared to Barnum and Bailey. My hon. and gallant Friend was referring to the exhibitors in this country. If the hon. Gentleman opposite looks at the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow, he will see that it was the exhibitors—who seem to be, just for this occasion only, the special subject of tears and sympathy on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite—who were compared to Barnum and Bailey. I was interested in the early part of the speech of the hon. Member, when he suggested that he would not be against the principle of a quota so much if it could be accompanied by some means by which a standard of quality in British films could be assured, and by control of prices. That is an interesting suggestion, but though I have thought over this matter for many years, and was for a long time connected with the exhibiting side of the industry, though I have no more connection at the present time, I cannot see what standard can ever be set up by which one can judge whether a film be a good one or a bad one.


The box office.


In other words, the public; but you can only tell how they like it after the film has been exhibited. That provides no standard by which you can say whether a film is fit before the contract is made and before the price is paid.


You can stop it afterwards.


That is a very difficult question. It has seemed to me that there are two main points of agreement amongst all Members on all benches. One is that it is desirable to promote the production of British films; and another point of agreement, perhaps not quite so universal, but I think almost universal, is that the kind of legislation we have in this Bill is prima facie undesirable It is because I believe this legislation to be so undesirable that I would like to examine very carefully whether the Bill will attain the object which we all agree is desirable, the production of good British films.

What are the subsidiary objects we have in mind when we say we want British films? The President of the Board of Trade laid emphasis at one time on the commercial side. He said a film would be a good selling agency. With that view of his I am not in agreement. Of course, it is a matter of opinion, and I do not think it is possible to prove whether a film is a selling agency or not; but even if it were a selling agency, we should not be justified in promoting the sale of British goods by such a Measure as this; because if the desire to sell British goods in foreign countries is to be the justification for a Bill like this it must follow logically that we could apply such legislation to other forms of industry. For my part, therefore, I put that argument on one side as not being a sound argument in favour of the Bill. The second object in view is to prevent the lowering of the standard of British taste and even British morals. How far can this Bill be said to effect that purpose? If American and other foreign films are really so lowering and degrading as some hon. Members would have us believe surely it is an insult to this country to leave us with 92½ per cent., 87½ per cent. and finally 75 per cent. A great deal of nonsense is talked about the effect of American and other foreign films on the people of this country. Some of them may be cheap and vulgar, but so are many plays, so are many books, and unless we- are going to set up a censorship of taste I do not see that we have any right to deal by legislation with that aspect of the question.

Another subsidiary object, as put forward by the promoters of this Measure, is to get British films shown abroad. In my opinion that is exactly what this Measure will not do. We can never have a successful British film industry in this country based simply on the home market. There is not the money to be obtained from exhibiting it in this country to make a really first-class film pay. An outlet for the film must be found in foreign countries, most desirably in America, and if not in America at any rate in our Dominions or in foreign countries. We can only do that if we can produce good films. The mere fact of having a quota of films produced in this country will not sell them abroad. The mere quota provisions will not help but rather hinder in selling films abroad. The tendency will be that Americans will be less likely to take our films, whereas lately there has been a slowly growing tendency on their part to take the better pictures we have produced.

Hon. Members seem to forget that this is entirely a question of profit, and a good film will always find a market. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not in this country!"] An hon. Member says, "Not in this country," but, speaking as an exhibitor of films for three or four years, I have no hesitation in saying that whenever an English film of any quality was offered to us we were always more than delighted to take it. It is ridiculous to suggest that even a system of blind or block bookings could prevent good English films from being shown, because there is always a demand for good English films. We have to judge this matter by box office results, and I can say that some of them were very good and successful, although on the whole I must admit we found that our audiences preferred the American films, because technically they were better made, and undoubtedly America has obtained the lead in the film industry.

Another object of this Bill undoubtedly is to give employment in the film industry, a most laudable object, but such a device as compelling retailers and wholesalers to take a. certain number of English films in order to encourage home production is not justifiable even in an effort to provide employment. If you follow that proposal to its logical conclusion, you must apply it to other trades as well. Therefore in the end it. boils down simply to getting more English films made, and undoubtedly that will be the effect. In that connection, however, I should like to deal with the arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley {Mr. Snowden). It seems to me that for once in a way the right hon. Gentleman, who is usually so careful in his facts and figures, allowed himself to be misled. He said there were 800 films exhibited, and under the quota of 7½ per cent. we should have to increase the number of British films to 60 in the first year. From that the right hon. Gentleman argued that there might be as many as three cinemas in one town, and in order to get sufficient films this would set up an enormous competition among cinemas and this would have the effect of forcing up prices. My experience is that each cinema shows only one or at the most two films a week, that is 52 in the year, or 104 films a year when they change their programme twice a week.


They all change their programmes twice a week.


All the leading cinemas do not change their programme twice a week, but many of them show their pictures for seven days. Having been a director of one of these companies I know that in the big towns the pictures are booked to run for six or seven days. Assuming you can show 104 films in a year, you have only to show seven or eight British films in the first year, nine or 10 in the second year, and if you have 60 to take there is a very fair choice for the exhibitors. I do not believe the price will be affected as some hon. Members seem to fear, but what I do fear is that the quality of the films made in this country will suffer, and the industry will go down the hill instead of being encouraged.

A great deal of rubbish is talked about the American films. If hon. Members had seen a good many of these American films as I have done in years past, they would have found that a large majority of them which are booked by the better houses are first-class productions. What is the reason for that? Simply that America gets all the best talent to come to her assistance. American films are not produced and acted and written by American citizens, because a very high proportion of those employed in the film industry are brought into America from all over the world. They have the very best German and Swedish producers, and others are also enlisted in support of the American industry. It is really an international industry in that country. The hon. Gentleman, who said that the market in this country was unimportant, is entirely wrong. A great many American films are produced at a very heavy initial cost, and the profit which they make is made on their foreign sales. They spend a considerable amount of money on their productions, and they only get it back in some instances on their exports to this and other countries, and this fact is of great importance to them.

It is very easy to criticise and say that the quota will not achieve the desired result, and it is perfectly natural to ask what is your solution of the difficulty? I admit I am disappointed that hon. Members opposite do not appear to have offered any alternative solution, and they seem to be more and more divided in regard to this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley definitely said in his speech that blind-booking was quite legitimate, and to interfere with it was entirely wrong. In that respect the right hon. Gentleman seems to be in disagreement with the Leader of the Opposition.

I want very briefly to throw out a suggestion as to how better films can be produced. It is entirely a question of finance. If you have got the right finance you will get the best producers, the best actors, and the best scenario writers. You may call it art if you like, but it is really an entertainment, and to get the best entertainment you must have the right kind of finance. In America they have built up a proper system of finance to carry on the film industry. What is needed is continuous financial support for any company, because enormous expense is incurred in the first instance, and before a company gets back its money on the sale of its first production it has to be making the second production; otherwise the studio is lying idle.

In America the banks advance the money on the forward contracts, and this enables the producer to make a second film, and they are able to get continuous finance in that way. I suggest to the Federation of British Industries that if they want more films they should at once turn their attention to the question of finance. The banks are generally willing to lend money on forward contracts in commodities. It has already been emphasised that the film industry is in a sound financial position, and there is no reason why banks should not lend money to producers on their contracts with renters and exhibitors whose balance-sheets and accounts are open for inspection. It is by providing continuously adequate and sound finance, and getting the right people by that method to ensure sound productions, that the film industry can be built up just as we have built up the industry on the exhibiting side on a sound basis.

This Bill incorporates what to me, personally, seem to be almost all the objectionable features that can be included in legislation. In the first place, there is interference with the business of an individual to whom you dictate as to how he shall carry it on. You provide for periodical inspection of books and contracts and so on, and additional returns have to be made out. Officials have to see those returns are properly made out, and inspectors have to see that the provisions of the Bill are carried out. The President of the Board of Trade said the administration of the Bill, when it becomes an Act, would cost about £4,000, and that that sum would be paid by the industry through registration. Nevertheless, that money has to come out of the industry whether by registration or through the general body of the taxpayers. Then there are new offences created, and that is one of the greatest objections there can be to any Measure which comes before this House. Surely we have enough petty offences without creating new offences and subjecting those who carry on this industry to harassing worries as to whether they are breaking the law or not. For all these reasons, I am opposed to this Bill, hut, if I really thought in spite of all those objections that this Measure would have the result of producing a better quality of films which could be sold in foreign countries and our Dominions, I would support it. I do not believe that it will have that effect, and it will only produce quantity without quality. It will not raise our prestige as a film producing nation, and for these reasons I find myself unable to support the Bill.


I congratulate my excellent colleague opposite on the speech which he has just delivered, and I am pleased to find on the Conservative benches opposite at least one hon. Member who is not only in favour of individual liberty in the smoke room, but is determined to advocate it on the Floor of this House. I am glad to find that we shall have his support in the Division Lobby against this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill did so in such a refined atmosphere that I felt that be himself could never have sunk so low as to go to the pictures himself, and there was not one word in his speech referring to the common people who do go to the pictures. The President of the Board of Trade may find before this Bill is law that the common people who go to the picture have got votes. I suppose that quite 5,000,000 people per week go to the pictures, and they have not been considered in regard to the provisions of this Bill.

6.0 p.m.

I have listened for two days with a growing rage and anger to speech after speech from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have never in my life seen such a crowd of highbrows debating any question whatever. Really, I am a Philistine; I admit it; I go to the pictures. I am, in the language of those shocking American captions, a "film fan," and I believe honestly that I have seen more of these "second-grade American productions, don't you know," than the whole of the rest of the present House put together. I have not been corrupted by them, but I do feel inclined to tell the House, that does not go to the pictures, something about this Bill from the point of view of those who do. In the first place. I think it is becoming clear to every Member on both sides of the House that, whatever else this Bill will do, it will shove up the price of the pictures. We understand, for instance, that all the costs of this inspection, all the cost of this licensing, measuring of reels, and so on, all the vast bureaucratic department that is to be established, the Committee which is to be set up to keep the Board of Trade permanently advised—all this is not to come upon the taxpayer. From whom, then, is it to come if it is not to come from the taxpayer? Obviously, it is coming from the people who go to 6ee the pictures—the consumers.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Is not the amount between £4,000 and £5,000?


I do not know, but, if the hon. and gallant Member will kindly glance at the Bill, he will find that in no case do the Government specify what the fee is to be for licensing or for registration.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

If the right hon. Gentleman had listened to the President of the Board of Trade when he was making his opening speech, he would have heard him say that it would only cost between £4,000 and £5,000 a year.


That was only one element in the price. He did not take into account the cost of keeping an extra clerk in every picture palace in order to keep on measuring the length of the reels and do other things in accordance with the terms of this Bill.


Only one clerk!


At each picture palace. And apparently hon. Members assume that, if we establish here a British film industry, with a quota, the people who produce for that quota, and who are in a sheltered trade, will never think of combining together to keep up the price in the sheltered market. What innocents hon. Members must be! We have seen every trade that has a sheltered market managing to combine to keep up prices. There is the Light Castings Association, there are the brick and tile firms, there are Messrs. Brunner, Mond and Company, and, latterly, we have seen the Government encouraging these amalgamations. When you have got amalgamated film producers in this country, and when they know that they will have a quota of one-fourth of all the films shown, I think they will see, that not only their quota is cheap, but that their price is dear. We are going, obviously, therefore, to raise the price. With a large demand, a small supply, and the possibility of combining, all will combine together to force up the price of this inferior art. But that is not all. Hon. Members seem to think that the public of this country are prepared to go and see things that they do not want to see. This is the most insolent piece of legislation that I ever heard of. Why should I be made to go and see Sybil Thorn-dike? I like her very well as St Joan on the stage, but I do not see why I should go and see her on the pictures. I want to go and see Leatrice Joy and Laura La Plante. Why should you make me go and see some inferior artist that I do not want to see?




The hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Colonel Applin) seemed to think that the British people were being corrupted with American captions. Let me tell him that we prefer American captions to English captions. The people who go to the pictures like to be amused. If the hon. and gallant Member had been to see some of these English films the names of which he read out, he would find that the captions were vulgar and dull compared with the American. That is not all. We do not go to the pictures necessarily to see the things with which we are familiar. We sometimes go to the pictures to be taken out of ourselves. Honestly, I infinitely prefer to see one of those giant American locomotives dashing through the Rockies, rather than the Southern Railway express to Brighton going through Horley Station. The ordinary people who go there like to see something fresh. They do not want to see Maudie driving Dobbin down to Mudford Market, but would rather see a bronco buster riding down the Bronx and hitching up to the rail outside Morgan's office—[Interruption]—or, if you prefer it, outside Lew Rosenbloom's in Tucson, Arizona. We want to see something that we do not see every day in England!


We do see it every day!


Believe me, the people of this country really know what they want to see best, and, if you come along and say, "No, this is not highbrow enough; the House of Commons thinks you ought to see something which will improve your morals, and sell British hats at the same time," you are making the House of Commons ridiculous, and you certainly will not improve the electoral temper of the people who go to see the pictures. Do we really want, as a matter of fact, to produce in this country a film superior to the American? From what I have seen of British films, I think they fail in one or two particular ways. The humour is not so good. The humour seems to be drawn a good deal from the publichouse and the racing stable, rather than, as in America, from the college. The humour is poor. Then, again, there is too much of what we see in "Mademoiselle from Armentieres"—too much sentimental sloppiness. It is worse than in American films because, as it happens to be about people that we know, we see its faults, whereas in the American film you do not recognise the faults at once. In the case of the English film you see that the thing is false, and, therefore, you are disgusted with the film, and I think, until you get your artists over here to get round that difficulty, you will find that people will have to be quota-ed to make them go in and see British films.

Hon. Members opposite will say to us, "If this scheme of ours does not meet your views, what do you propose?" I do not see why we should be called upon to propose anything. The people who go to see the pictures are thoroughly satisfied with what they are seeing to-day, and I think it is for the Government to make out a case to show us why we should perforce change the minds and tastes of people who go to see the pictures. I think it would be extremely difficult, in any circumstances, to develop a film production trade in this country. It would be very difficult because we have not got a sun; we cannot rely on the atmosphere and climate in the way that they can in America. It would be very difficult for us because the big salaries that are paid in America are now drawing all the best artists in the world to Los Angeles, and we cannot get them here. For these reasons, it would be very difficult to build up a film production industry in this country. But is the world going to come to an end because we cannot build up a film industry in this country? Do we really depend upon developing a more or less parasitic trade of that kind here? Hon. Members might just as well say that we must have a banana industry in this country, that we must produce bananas, that we must make a banana quota in order to force the people to grow bananas in this country, and to eat them when they are grown. We have got on very well all these years without growing bananas in this country, and I presume we can still get on.

The whole argument in favour of building up a film industry here is based upon a familiar fallacy. The idea is that, if British capital is not invested in producing films, British capital will be lost. Every business man knows that, if British capital is not invested in making films, it will be invested in something else, perhaps more productively. By directing the investment of capital into that particular line, we are not creating greater opportunities for employment in this country; we are merely diverting employment which would be going on in some other industry, if the capital were invested in that industry, into the film industry instead. I would sooner see British capital invested in those industries which are producing the ordinary common necessary articles for the mass of the people than in producing inefficient films of a character which will secure the approval of the right hon. Gentleman, who will never go to see them. This Bill, of course, is an importation from Germany. I could wish that the right hon. Gentleman should take his economic views from somewhere else than Germany; but, if he is going to import from Germany this new idea of compelling a docile population to go and see what they do not want to see, I would advise him at the same time to get over here that docile population which they have in Germany, who would submit to this compulsion. In Germany they have been trained to do and to think as the State thinks they ought to do and think. Our people here have not been trained on those lines, and they will not tamely put up with a Measure which dictates to them what they have to see, which compels them to a course which will strike every man who thinks as impertinent, as an interference by Government which no British Government has any right or ever will have any right to make.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

I have listened with much interest to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, and in one point I agree with him. He says he has listened with growing rage and anger to some of the speeches. I too have listened with growing rage and anger to some of the speeches that have been made by hon. Members opposite. There is one point on which I should like to tackle the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. He talks about growing bananas in this country. Can he control the frost? How can a single banana grow out of doors when we expect frost in the winter?


It would have to grow under glass, like your film industry will.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

That is a totally impracticable proposition. The banana is an outdoor fruit and it is impossible to grow it under glass. In listening to the opening speech of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer I was forcibly reminded of a picture of Torquemada, the grand Inquisitor of Spain, confronting a person charged with heresy in the person of the President of the Board of Trade. To the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the question of Protection and Free Trade is absolutely a point of heresy and his real fear about this Bill is that there is some element of Protection in it. The whole of his arguments were directed against any form of Protection. The moment you mention Protection he is narrow-minded and bigoted, though thoroughly sincere, exactly as was Torquemada. He suggested, among other things, that if we had any form of Protection here the Americans would retaliate and would give up the British market. But the British market is far too valuable for them ever to give it up. They have spent their money in this country. They are buying up cinema houses all over the country and having the quota is the only sure foundation by which you can insure that British films are shown in American houses in this country. The right hon. Gentleman also said that America had made the cinema industry in this country. Before the War our cinema industry was prospering. During the War we devoted all our energies to winning it, but for two years America was able to devote her energies to building up the cinema industry.


Is that any reason why you should handicap the ordinary person who goes to the movies in England?

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

No, but they got the start. After the War we had to put our house in order. [An HON. MEMBER: "So did the Germans!"] The Germans have a quota to-day. They are putting their house in order, and that is what we ought to do. I only wish my right hon. Friend had started it earlier, and by this time we should have made the cinema industry. But I cannot understand hon. Members opposite, who always say that British films are bad and anything with regard to Britain is bad. They say films are bad because they are British. If they go on that Coue system, people will eventually believe that British films are bad. Why cannot they say sometimes that our films are good? Is there any reason why we should not produce good films? There is nothing in the climate to prevent it. Most of them to-day are produced indoors. After all, we have the great advantage of scenery. Take Haddon Hall, for instance—where could you find a finer example of an English house?—or some of the old Dorsetshire manor houses, with green lawns and beautiful trees as a setting for a film. We have advantages which America has not got. We want to start this industry, but we want some protection for it at the beginning. You have these great American financial interests whose object is to prevent the industry from starting, and they are using all their endeavours to decry our films and to say they are bad and are not worth showing. The Americans were the earliest to realise that it is no longer a question of trade following the flag but of trade following the film. In Canada 95 per cent. of the films shown are American. We want to show our ideals and our life as it is and not American ideals and American life as portrayed by American films. It is the best propaganda possible to have a strong British film industry. Some 300,000 people are employed in the American industry.

Hon. Members are anxious to have a remedy for unemployment. Here is a remedy by building up a new industry, and the only way we can build it up is by a system of quota, gradually increasing year by year. We shall thus employ a large number of people who are unemployed to-day. I do not say it is the best solution, but it is one of many and I believe in course of time we shall not only be showing a 25 per cent. quota but the British public will be demanding more than the 25 per cent. To-day they are compelled to take American films whether they are good or bad. because the British industry has not had a chance of starting properly. It has been handicapped ever since the War. The right hon. Gentleman stated that for eight years the British film industry has done nothing, and has had no chance. The reason is that you have had American money pouring into the country to prevent the growing up of this young industry, and to-day the great opposition is from the American money that does not want to have a new film industry to work against it. I believe it is the very best thing for us to have a strong industry, and to be able to send our films out to our Colonies and Dominions, for they are, after all, ambassadors of good will from us to them. They want to see English life as it really is and not as portrayed by the Americans. People living in the Dominions, many thousands of miles away, always look to the home country. Many of them cannot come and see their home country. If it were portrayed in films, they would have some real idea of what it is, and they would get to know something of our most picturesque villages, such as they have not got and will not have for hundreds of years. The American producers are taking from this country between £6,000,000 and £7,000,000 as rent for these films. It is not subject to taxation, but is going free. Surely that money would be far better spent if we had a film industry in this country, and would bring in more money to the Exchequer, which is badly in need of it. I shall, therefore, support the Bill with all my heart, and I wish it had been introduced sooner. I firmly believe it is going to make a start with a new industry which is going to be a great help to our trade, not only in this country, but with the Dominions, because it will be a message of good will from us to them.


I do not often inflict a speech on this long suffering House because I hold the view that one should either have some oratorical power or else have some intimate knowledge of the subject under discussion. I hope I may be able to contribute some little to the general knowledge of the House on the question under review. I have listened very attentively to the whole Debate, not only to-day but last week, and I think I can safely say that the only two technical speeches that have been delivered were one from the Opposition Benches, by the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day) and the other by my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Sir F. Meyer). I can fairly claim some technical knowledge of the film industry, but it is necessary to say, in view of some remarks that have been made, that I am not a member of the Federation of British Industries, and at present I have no financial interest either as exhibitor, producer or renter. I have, however, a somewhat indirect interest in the business in that a very close relative of mine—I might say a distinguished relative—has been, perhaps, the greatest contributor to super-films among British authors. I think he has contributed as many as 12 what are called in America super-films. Speaking as one who at any rate understands the author's point of view, the British authors to whom I have spoken will welcome the Bill, for they will at last find themselves in a position to have their films properly produced under British auspices and not have to suffer as they have done for many years at the hands of foreign producers.

Sixty per cent. of super-pictures are taken from novels or plays and only 40 per cent. can be said to be studio-written films. A British author is approached by a cinema-producing company and is made an offer for the rights of his book or play. Having agreed terms, he hands it over to the company and they put it before their scenario writer. This is perhaps the most important man in connection with the whole thing we have been discussing. It is entirely in his hands as to how he deals with it. He can alter the whole plot and the whole tendency of the story and make it pro-British or anti-British, pro-American or anti-American. One of the objects on which we are nearly all in agreement is that we do not want our life and methods of life to be distorted to foreign people. The Leader of the Opposition was in agreement on that point. If the scenario is drawn by someone who is in opposition to this country, he may take the work of a British author and so distort it that it will be unrecognisable to the author himself. I had a rather amusing experience in the South of France only the other day. I went into a picture theatre a few minutes after they had started and watched a film. I thought to myself," I know something about this thing. I have seen something of this story somewhere before"; but I had to wait until the end to find that it had been written by my father, and the book was one which I knew backwards and forwards. The scenario writer had changed the names of the characters, and, although he had laid the scene in Great Britain, he had so completely altered and twisted the plot that it became unrecognisable to one who knew it thoroughly, I am not going to say whether the scenario writer had improved it or not, but I only point out this instance to show how dangerous it is that the work of a British author should go to our Dominions and Colonies representing scenes which were never in the original plot.

A great deal has been said in this House about the value of sunshine. It seems to me that sunshine has been a blessed word among the opponents of the Bill. The hon. Member for Central Southwark, who has been more or less born and brought up in the industry, made a great point of the value of sunshine. The right hon. Member for the Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that we have not the necessary sunshine in this country, and other hon. Members have talked about sunshine. Everyone seems to forget that in this industry 90 per cent. of the scenes in the film are taken inside the studio. I suppose-someone will say, "Yes, but in England you are so full of foggy weather. "The hon. Member for Central Southwark made a great point about a studio in North London which, owing to foggy conditions, had suffered tremendous losses. I think he was referring to a studio built at Islington, on the banks of a canal; the very worst position for fog in the whole of London.

Notwithstanding that fact, let us look at the statistics of fog in that particular studio. In 1919, when the studio was built, they suffered interruptions on 20 days, due to fog. In the following year, they were closed down for another 20 days owing to fog. In the year 1921, they put in an air conditioning plant, and in the subsequent three years they lost only two days a year owing to foggy conditions. I suppose it is still within the memory of hon. Members that in January of this year we had thick fogs, terrible fogs, I understand. Thank goodness, I was out of them. I understand that they were of the worst possible description. During that period, this particular Islington studio was never closed a single day, but was working the whole time. That is due to the tremendous strides that have been made in the science of cinematography. Cameras are vastly better to-day than five years ago or even two years ago, and I believe that the methods for getting rid of fogs are improving every day and every hour. We talk in this House as if Hollywood was the only place in America in which films were made. Many of the great super-films produced in America have been produced in and around New York. Anyone who has been to America or who has lived in America and known something about the New Jersey fogs will know that a London fog is only an imitation. Therefore, I think we can dismiss the question of fog.

It is perfectly possible to produce films in this country if it be only a question of climatic conditions. It is very largely a film-producing problem. We have three problems to deal with. There is the national problem, the exhibitors' problem, and the patrons' problem. One hon. Member says: "Why should not people who go to the theatres see what they want to see?" That is quite right, but the whole thing turns, in my opinion, upon the question of the producer. Can we in this country produce as good films as there are in the world? If we can, then the exhibitors' problem is solved, and the problem of the patron, the British public, is partly solved. Surely no one would complain of seeing 25 per cent. as the maximum quota of British films because they happen to be British films, so long as they are as good as any other. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!" I am glad that I have carried hon. Members with me in that statement. Therefore, it is a problem of producing, and on the problem of producing I have tried to show that there is nothing in the climate against it. Some five or 15 years ago the hon. Member for Central Southwark would have been quite right, but things have moved since then, and the climate is no longer a factor. I do not want to mention any particular film, but there was a film produced recently—I think it is called "Down the Hill"—which was as good a piece of photography as any that I have over seen, although it was produced during a difficult period. I ask hon. Members to look at it, and they will see that I am right from the photographic point of view; I am not talking about the value of the film.

With respect to the actors and actresses, it has to be. remembered that British actors and actresses went out to Holly-wood and were were originators of the great American industry over there, backed, I admit, by American capital. Some of the greatest producers and some of the greatest directors of the American film industry have been Britishers, and I am proud of it. What Britishers have done before they can surely do again. What we are asking them to do is to do it right here at home in England, because there is nothing in the climate against them. Science has so advanced that there is nothing whatever to stand in the way of their doing it. I am glad that the hon. Member for Central Southwark is now in his place, because I dislike criticising him behind his back. He pointed out the method by which film-producing companies were financed. I think I am quoting him correctly. He said that the film-producing companies went round to so many exhibitors and gathered up contracts with 100 or 200 of them, and upon that the bank advanced money.

Colonel DAY

In America?


In America. The hon. Member must go over there again and rub up his facts. That is not exactly what takes place to-day. I am a little more modern than he is. There are three factors in this great industry. There is the producer or film maker, there is the distributor as they call him in America, or the renter as we call him, and there is the public. It is true that in some instances the distributor controls a certain number of theatres, but what happens is this, that when the producer has captured a great story out of which he is going to make a film, he goes to the distributor in America and says: "I have got this book, I have got Charlie Chaplin to play the chief part, and I have got Herbert Brennan to produce it. What do you think of it? I have worked out the cost and I think it will amount to 500,000 dollars or 1,000,000 dollars. Will you advance me 50 per cent. of the money, on a sharing terms basis?" The distributor looks at the position. He looks at the cost, and perhaps says: "You are paying too much for this fellow," or You are paying too much for that. "He looks at it from the partner point of view and finally says: "I will go in with you." He has not consulted any theatres or booked any theatres. He takes the chance and backs his judgment and advances to the film maker 50 per cent.

That is exactly what has not happened but is going to happen in this country in the future. In future, we shall have large film producing companies established here. It will be a new business for them. We cannot call it any very great protection at 7½ per cent. for the first year, with practically 90 per cent. of foreign films. What will happen over here will be this, and I think the House will find that it will happen, that companies will start here to produce films and they will go to the big distributors or renters over here, who are 80 per cent. American themselves. The distributing houses in this country are 80 or 90 per cent. American allied houses. They are either actually American houses or they are British companies, with shares held by an American company. The film maker will go to the distributor and say: "I have got Sir Gerald Du Maurier to act for my film. I have this book, and I am going to spend £100,000 upon the film. Will you finance me to the extent of £50,000?"

The film distributor or renter will have to make up his mind. He will say, "Yes I will." Then, the renter becomes an interested party. He is interested to see that a jolly good film is produced because it is obvious, and no one knows better than the hon. Member for Central Southwark, that a distributor is not going to get beck even his 50 per cent. out of the English market alone. The film has to go ahead; it has to go to the great American market and it has to be a good film. The distributor is an American company. The Americans have the distributing business in their own hands. The distributor will see to it that as far as he is concerned the film maker does his job and does it right well. I think it is going to be possible for the British film maker, more or less, to make terms with the distributors, and to say, "It is the distributor who gives me the American market as well as the British market with whom I will enter into partnership over this film." I have tried to prove to the House that there is a possibility of establishing here a film industry.

There seems to be a fallacy in the mind of the hon. Member for Central Southwark, and in the mind of a gentleman who has an imposing and important circuit of picture theatres—who has, no doubt, addressed to other hon. Members the same letter that he has addressed to me—that if you have a great theatre like the Plaza, the Rialto or the Capitol, where you show only one great super-picture, you will be in a much more favourable position in regard to the quota than if you are some poor little picture theatre in the East End of London or in my constituency or in some tiny town where you have to show a large number of small films. As I understand it—the President of the Board of Trade will correct me if I am wrong—the film is to be a footage film. The quota is to be footage. Two films of 6,000 feet each are the same as one film of 12,000 feet, and if you show a 6,000-foot film three times over it is equal to one film of 18,000 feet. If you take the number of films and a man shows over 300 films as against another man's 400 films, you must add up the footage, and the only man who will have to take the greater quota will not be the man who shows the smaller number of feet but the one who shows for the longest number of hours. If you show a thing three or four times every day and another man shows it twice, you use more feet of film than the man who only shows it twice. The thing is perfectly clear. You have 6,000 feet of film, if you show it three times you show 18,000 feet of film, and that is exactly the same thing as if you show a film of 18,000 feet, which is about one night's entertainment.

Colonel DAY

It is one day's entertainment, not one night.


Yes, one day. The other small point I want to touch on is this. The hon. Member for Central Southwark asked: "What are you going to do about these films. They will get cut down, and a film of 2,000 feet will ultimately come back for registration, if it ever does, 400 feet less, or 200 feet less." Surely the hon. Member knows that all the great distributing houses have service depots in various parts of the country, where a film is brought back and thoroughly repaired. If an exhibitor finds that a film is 50 feet short he raises a row about it. There are not many exhibitors who would accept a film 400 feet short.

Colonel DAY

Will the hon. Member explain what an exhibitor can do who is 150 miles away from London and a film arrives on the Monday morning 400 feet short? Is he to show that film or send it back?


Obviously, he will show the film, but he will do what we all do when we have damaged goods sent us; he will raise the devil next time. I am sorry to have kept the House so long with a rather technical disquisition on this Bill. My own view is that it will do good for the British film industry as a whole. Hon. Members must remember that there are only 40,000 people engaged in the industry in this country as compared with 500,000 in America, where there are three hundred millions of capital invested. There is plenty of room for its development in this country. We can make as good films as anywhere in the world, and I look forward confidently to the time, eight years hence, when British films will not only be the most sought after, but will sell at the highest prices in America.


I think it is accepted now as common ground that we have been the victims since the War so far as the production of films is concerned. We were submerged then, but on the conclusion of the War we found that we were being held under by what has become a tied-house system, or ring of trusts, controlled mainly in America. I admit that certain other films come from the Continent of Europe. This trust, this tied-house system, is now so strongly entrenched, that it has much capital behind it, owns the films, owns 80 per cent. of the distributing power, owns a great deal of the publicity agencies, the trade journals and so on, all of whom are concerned with the policy of securing the trust in their position rather than the actual merits of the films shown. Reference has been made on various occasions to the climate of this country, and I think too much emphasis has been laid upon our climatic conditions in certain quarters of the House. The last speaker has pointed out that the greater portion of films are now produced in studios, and I think we might also suggest that there are great possibilities of still further improvement in the photographic art and practice which will enable us to do even better in facing any climatic troubles that may still remain.

There is a further point in that connection, and it is this, that in the Empire—and this Bill relates to Empire production—we have all the sunshine we could wish. There is not a climate, however excellent, that we cannot find in our own Empire. We have during recent times been very conscious of the fact that Empire settlement can proceed only at much the same pace as Empire development. It is no good trying to migrate people to our Dominions unless there are industries upon which they may be employed. At present we have concentrated our thoughts almost entirely upon Land settlement, but here, I think, is a great opportunity for people who have been brought up on the film industry, and who would be just as valuable as settlers as people brought up on the land. Nay more, I think they would be more valuable because their very needs would give an opportunity for further land settlement. I am confident that if this Bill is carried, with or without amendment, and no doubt there will he considerable Amendments made in Committee, we shall see a great deal more capital attracted into the industry and a far better organisation taking charge of it than we have at the present time.

We are too modest about our own abilities. Some of the best film artists have come from these shores. At the present time they are practising in America, but there are just as many potentially good artists in this country as those we have already sent abroad. In art and literature we far surpass other countries; and there is this simple test for that, whoever heard of an art collector going to America to buy things? Plenty of our art collectors go there to sell. We have a flair for pageantry. Our military tattoos, and other scenes we stage, show that we have a flair for this kind of art, and we have a wealth of history, romance and scenery, from, which we can draw every sort of inspiration and subject-matter for our pictures. It is for these reasons that I feel confident we can, if we are given this initial protection to enable production to get well under way, win through on our merits. I do not wish to criticise the films that come from America and the Continent, but I do think that necessarily there are a great number of incongruities in these foreign films which rather repel and irritate audiences in this country. I find in conversation with my friends that they have had a surfeit of these foreign ideas. The American youth is a most splendid thing, but the American youth is the most stereotyped animal we find anywhere in the world.

Then again, our own Empire is most eager to see films depicting scenes in the mother land, and it would be a great thing if we could see their scenes on our films. The Bill is based on the quota system, and I believe no other system is quite practicable to achieve the purpose desired. Those friends of mine whose Free Trade susceptibilities seem to be hurt by this Measure, all those who desire to keep a free market in films, ought to bear in mind that if they let things go as they are at present they will never get it. There is no free market to-day, and no likelihood of a free market in films unless something is done to break the ring which has been formed. I have no doubt many Amendments will be moved in Committee,, and changes may take place. Personally, I rather favour the idea of putting some limit to the time this form of quota protection is to be enjoyed. Other hon. Members wish to speak, and I do not want to detain the House any longer, except to say that I support the Second Beading of the Measure.

7.0 p.m.


I desire to say one or two words with reference to the speech made by the hon. Member for East Dorset (Mr. Caine), who, like a good many other speakers in this Debate, added something to the knowledge of hon. Members regarding this Measure. I think the speech of the hon. Member was more informative than he intended it to be, because he gave us a very carefully-worded picture, drawn from practical knowledge and experience,. of the producer of a film securing the co-operation of somebody in putting that film on the market, but ho did not draw a picture of what might happen under this Bill, and I could not help thinking, while he was speaking, of the controversy which arose between the hon. Member for Enfield (Colonel Applin) and the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Snowden). The argument of the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Oppositio[...] Bench, which I do not think has been finally settled, was that under the provisions of the Bill and in the present state of production of films in this country it will be doubtful if next year there will be enough films construt[...]ed or finished to reach the quota laid down in the Bill. The hon. and gallant Member for Enfield quarrelled with the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, but even the figures which he gave to the House himself seemed to show that the supply of films would be very little larger,, if at all, than the quota laid down in the Bill.

If that be the case and the supply of films in this country is not enough, or only barely enough, to reach the quota which the right hon. Gentleman the Pre[...]i- dent of the Board of Trade, has laid down, it is perfectly clear that the element of competition almost disappears, and we must surely have, and I venture to predict we very quickly shall have, a state of things, not as pictured by several hon. Members on the opposite side of the House of British film producers competing to get a share of this quota, but combining between themselves and sharing out the quota laid down under the provisions of the Bill. When the hon. Member who spoke last, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chelmsford (Lieut.-Colonel Howard-Bury) criticises us because our Free Trade susceptibilities were hurt, I would reply that that is no answer to us and that the essential core of the opposition to this Bill has never been answered. We have had various interesting contributions. The hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford, for instance, said we were debarred during the War period, owing to the efforts we were making, from developing the film industry, but he may remember, although I was not here myself, that it was during the War period—and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Miles Platting (Mr. Clynes) who was in his place a little while ago, can tell me if I am right, as also can the President of the Board of Trade—and during the later stages of the War, that the Government themselves were organising a film to advertise themselves. I think that was so, and even if that be not true, it is true that Germany, with regard to the production of films, was in just as bad a position as ourselves. When the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford tells us, "Yes, but Germany had a 50 per cent. quota," I reply that it has nothing to do with the quota. The reason Germany is making progress in the film world to-day is simply because she is, for the first time and first among all the film-producing nations, bringing an element of brains and intelligence even into the production of films.

The hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) spoke in defence of American films. I do not feel as he does, nor do I feel with the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield that the films are grossly immoral, because, if that be the criticism and if he objects, as he seems to object, to the portrayal of cabaret life in other countries on the films, he will find in London cabarets which go as near to nature as anything I have seen on the films. It is not in the standard of morals where the film has failed; to my mind, it is the terribly low standard of intelligence. I have very much sympathy with the hon. and gallant Member who has not been in the House to-day but who complained, on the occasion of the first day's discussion, of the libellous films which appear in various parts of the world with regard to the habits and modes of life in this country. I entirely appreciate his objection to that, although I would say that this Bill does not touch that matter. A great deal of the criticism of American life which we hear on all sides of us is derived from the spectacle of American life that we see on the average film. But there is nothing in this Bill which is going to help the better portrayal of British life and British manners either in the Dominions or elsewhere. When the hon. Member for East Dorset was speaking, he threw some light on the method by which a film is produced and marketed, but he said nothing which would convince anybody for one minute that when this system of quotas is introduced it will not be used by the producers and by the authors to enable them to combine together and to share out the quota and to foist a bad article on the public at what may easily be an enhanced price. He told us about the means by which a large portion of films are now produced indoors, and he gave as an example the studio at Islington, and how during the last seven years in that particular studio there had been great improvements made and adaptations of scientific research so that even on a foggy day or in a foggy month a first-class film can be produced in our climate. If that be so, then what need is there for the Bill and what need is there for the quota?

Our objection, and our sole objection, to this Bill is that you are giving people an artificial protection. Either the film industry needs the quota because it cannot produce good enough films to compete in the open market without a quota—and I agree at once that with regard to blind booking and block booking you must take steps to make the market as open as possible—or, if it can produce films good enough to compete in the open markets it does not need the quota, in which case the quota is an immoral protection because it bolsters up an inefficient industry. I think it was a perfectly good argument which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition the other day when he said that this quota system was in the nature of a subsidy. On that occasion when I made an interjection, the Leader of the Opposition took exception to it apparently and he was good enough to suggest that I suffered from delusions. I was under no delusions as to what he meant nor was I under any delusion about the right hon. Gentleman himself. What he was arguing was that the quota system as laid down in the Bill was in the nature of a subsidy and that a subsidy could only be justified if after a certain stated period it had rendered itself unnecessary. I ventured to say that was why the coal subsidy was wrong—because that subsidy was put up by the Government in order to give the trade an interval for coming to terms. It did not achieve its object, and that is why it was wrong. If it be necessary to have a subsidy of this kind, or a quota, as it is in this case, because the British film industry, by its merits, cannot compete in the open market, then I say it would be just as sensible to insist that British furniture makers should employ 25 per cent. of British mahogany in producing goods, and if there be no British mahogany, to say that then we will plant some.

I saw in the papers this morning that one of the members of the crews who are taking part in the boat race is suffering from German measles. It would be almost as sensible to say that he should have a certain percentage of English measles, which is certainly as good as German measles. There is no end to the absurdity of the examples which could be produced and which are just as sensible as the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman that you should insist on 25 per cent. of a bad British product—if it be bad. Let not the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford tell us on this side that we are the people who say British films are bad. In his opening speech, the right hon. Gentleman himself said, as far as I understood the passage, that if you opposed this Bill, then you were as good as saying that nothing could be done. I think that was the meaning of that passage of his speech. We do not say that. We say that the British film industry can be improved and can compete on its own legs. It is hon. Members opposite who are the Little Britons or Little Englanders and the hon. Member for Acton (Sir H. Brittain), because if you say the British producer cannot compete in the open market you are the people who are belittling your countrymen, and not we. We say this industry can be improved and has got a future but on its own merits. We do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has any right nor do we think any case has been made out, for putting one more British industry on the dole and adding it to the long list which the right hon. Gentleman has already got.


In the few minutes which are at my disposal I want to try to answer, to the best of my ability, some of the arguments which have been used by the Opposition against the Bill. The general argument made against it amounts almost to this, that the Bill is going to impose upon an unwilling public boring and uninteresting films. I would suggest that there is talent and genius in this country sufficient to compete in a similar industry with that in any other country. Three requisites are necessary for producing an attractive and good film—climate or the equivalent of good indoor apparatus, good scenarios, and good acting.

In the first place, we have in this country already at Elstead, a studio which, I believe, in efficiency, is equal to any other in the world. I think it is the only one at the present time, but others would come into being with the natural growth of the industry itself. With regard to climatic conditions, there are many good films produced from Germany and France—and even from Russia at the present time, although it may be a bitter pill to confess that at the present moment. I believe that what I have said with regard to the climatic conditions has the support of the Meteorological Society in this country. They say that according to statistics extending over a period of some 15 years, the best climatic conditions in England both with regard to absence of rain, sunshine, and clearness of visibility, are obtainable in South and South-East England, and that a group of studios built in the best areas in these districts would enjoy climatic conditions comparable to those obtainable anywhere in Europe, say, north of a line drawn from Paris to Berlin.

On the ground of climatic conditions I do not think there is any insuperable barrier against producing really first-class films. As regards scenarios, who to-day are the most popular authors in America? They are Bernard Shaw, Wells and Kipling. I cannot believe that this country, which since the days of Shakespeare, in practically every century and almost in every decade, has produced literary genius which has commanded the attention and admiration of the world, will fail to-day in producing a scenario which is comparable with that produced by any other literary genius. Finally, there is the question of the artists themselves. This is the country of Siddons, of Keane, of Booth and of Irving. There are English actors and actresses who to-day are touring the world with the greatest possible success. I do not believe that we cannot find among the people of this country actors and actresses who are comparable with the cinema stars of America and other countries. It may be argued that a good actor on the stage is not always a good performer for the cinema. I dare say it is within the recollection of hon. Members that two years ago the great actor, Mr. Barrymore, was performing in "Hamlet ' to the admiration of crowded houses every day at a London theatre. You could step across the road and see him performing on the films with the same admiration and perhaps to the same public, in the capacity of a hero in a mere love drama.

I am convinced that this country, both in providing scenarios and actors, is the equal, if not the superior, of every country that produces films to-day. This much discussed quota is not a product of the President of the Board of Trade, nor of the Government, nor of the British films industry. It was first suggested by a Committee of the exhibitors and distributors, who met in November, 1925, and suggested that the quota should start at 10 per cent. and rise to 25 per cent. in 1929. Compared with that suggestion, which came from the industry, the proposal of the Bill is child's play. I am convinced that it is only by the provision of the Bill that we can break the commercial coils which have strangled the film-producing industry in this country and can give it breathing space in order that it may develop. I am convinced that as a result of this Bill in an amazingly short time we shall find that a compulsory quota is no longer necessary, because we shall be producing films which will not only be universally popular, but will do just tribute to the artistic, literary and dramatic talents of our race.


The speech to which we have just listened is the speech of a Member who has been whistling to keep up his courage. It said that this country possesses all the necessary qualities for successful film production. But that is not the view of the majority of hon. Members opposite, who, curiously, are to-day suffering from an economic inferiority complex on this matter. Their view, broadly, is that the plight of the British cinema industry is so serious and so bad and that there is so little likelihood of its ever being able to hold up its head in this country, that it must have 25 per dent. of the British market set aside for it in perpetuity. That is the principle of the Bill. In this Debate we have had an interesting discussion, from which most Members have learnt much of the cinema industry. But many of the speeches of hon. Members opposite in support of the Bill have been remarkable rather for their irrelevance and some hon. Members have supported the Bill with an uncertain voice and with the feeling, as expressed by one hon. Member, that the Bill is going to be considerably amended in Committee.

There are really serious questions affecting the cinema industry. There is the economic question and there is that series of political and moral and aesthetic questions to which reference has been made. My submission is that this Bill does not solve either of those questions. The American cinema industry is the largest in the world, and in my judgment it will for a century continue to be the largest in the world. It has economic advantages over the British industry and certain Continental industries which give it assistance that we cannot possibly claim. Is it to be suggested that the struggling infant industry of this country is going to be set upon its feet by merely putting a ring round 7½to 25 per cent. of the British market? I am not at all sure that that means that there will be an expansion of the trade beyond that 25 per cent. If the President of the Board of Trade really believed that in 1936, when the 25 per cent. maximum is reached, the industry will be capable of keeping a quarter of the home market, he would have brought the operation of the Act to an end at that date. But he is so doubtful as to the prospect of the industry being able to keep that quarter, after it has got it, that he seeks to make the Bill a permanent feature of our legislation. In the long run the position of the British industry will depend on the quality of its films. It does not follow that because you compel people in this country to buy more British films, the producers will produce better British films.

I ask the learned Solicitor-General who, I understand, is to reply, exactly on what grounds the Government bases its view that producing more British films means that we shall produce better British films. If we do not produce better British films this Bill must fail in its purpose. Unless we do produce better British films the question of our entering foreign markets, in addition to keeping our 25 per cent. of the home market, would not be solved. The difficulty that I see about the quota is that it cannot and does not pretend to do anything to improve the quality of the British film, but what it will in fact do is to keep out of this country not merely a proportion of the low grade, unsatisfactory and sloppily sentimental American films, but will keep out the finest films that the world is to-day producing, the films to which reference has already been made, the films of Sweden and Russia and Germany. It does not seem to me, therefore, that this Bill solves the economic problem of the industry by increasing its output and increasing its quality. There is what I regard as a far more important question than that. It is not merely a question of taste. I do not believe that censorships can fashion the taste of the people. It may be agreed that many films shown to-day are of a deplorably low standard. That is a matter which can only be remedied in the course of time. It is a matter of education of the film-seeing public who will learn in time to appreciate the better films that are now being produced.

There is another side—the question of propaganda. I am no lover of the straw-hatted, gum-chewing American, and I am not at all excited at the prospect of witnessing many American films, but it is true that there is a certain subtle propaganda influence in the films of every nation, and that the very atmosphere of the cinema does make the mind more receptive of the influence of the film itself. This Bill is not going to remedy that. It is in the first year going to make certain that 7½ per cent. of the time you are in the cinema you shall see a, true-blue British film, as that is defined by the Bill, and the unfortunate people of this country will still have to witness 92½ per cent. of American propaganda. When you get your 25 per cent. of British films, in a two hours' performance, half an hour of British film is to be expected to counteract one and a half hours of propaganda from American and foreign films. It is absurd. To reduce. the propaganda value of American films to three quarters virtually leaves the problem untouched from the practical point of view. I am not satisfied that the influence of the foreign film on the people of this country is quite as deep and permanent as people imagine, but I think there is a real and serious problem to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in his speech, and that is the effect of certain European, British and American films on the minds of Asiatic people. That is a very serious problem. I think that the majority of films that are being shown in the East to-day reflect little credit on the people of this and other countries in the West, that they do, indeed, bring into contempt Western civilisation. That is a very serious feature of the film industry today. It is, unwittingly if you like, creating erroneous impressions of Western civilisation, and probably doing incalculable harm in Asia and the East generally.

That is the biggest problem, so far as; the cinema industry is concerned, with with which the world is faced to-day. That problem is virtually untouched by this Bill, and I ask the Solicitor-General precisely how this Bill, with its provisions-regarding blind booking, and advance booking, and the quota, is going to minimise the serious influence which is- being exercised abroad, not only by American, but by British films. It could only have an effect in this direction if, as a result of the Measure, the British- cinema industry became as large as the American cinema industry, became so large that it would be able to oust other films and if, in addition, every British film shown was picked for the purpose of exhibition to people who are easily capable of misunderstanding certain films. You can achieve neither of these objects by this Bill. The Bill is really a sop to the cinema exhibitors as regards the booking of films, in order that they may agree to a bribe to the producers, who are really the inspirers of this Bill. It is not even a bribe to the producers to produce good films; it is a 'bribe merely to induce them to outbid the sensational "crook" dramas of the American films, because, excluded from the operations of the quota are films of the kind which I should think the British cinema industry would be well advised to develop.

The President of the Board of Trade is the greatest exponent in this House of the fantastic caricature of Socialism, which hon Members profess to believe is supported by Members on these benches. This Bill is a caricature Socialist Measure, with its licenses, its registration, its records, its books, its inspections and its penalties. It will promote the kind of slave state which hon. Members opposite say—they do not believe it—Members on this side are endeavouring to lead up to. The real author of the slave state to-day is the right hon. Gentleman with this pettifogging series of restrictions, cramping an industry, not merely to prevent an evil—restrictions and regulations are necessary for that—but in order to determine the direction of trade. I say this kind of bastard bureaucracy has often been fastened round the necks of Members on this side of the House; it now proves to be the Conservative adaptation of our principles of public regulation. To anybody who has read its provisions, the Bill is the wildest farrago of administrative nonsense that was ever contained in the pages of a Measure submitted to this House. By any practical administrator this Bill would not be regarded as a serious Measure. It creates administrative problems which will exercise the mind of the right hon. Gentleman far more than it has been exercised by the Safeguarding of Industries Duties—and that is saying a good deal. If this Bill ever emerges from Committee, about which I think there is a certain doubt, and if it is ever put into operation, about which there is even greater doubt, it will prove to be administratively unworkable. it is an attempt to use the State machine to twist into new channels a relatively small industry—and it is a relatively small industry, whatever its political influence and its moral and aesthetic influence may be. That attempt is bound to fail.

There are two ways only in which this cinema problem can be faced. If it be true, as the last speaker said, that in this country we have all possible advantages for successful film production, then let those advantages be used. To give an assured market will do nothing whatever to promote the efficiency of the industry. To-day every good British film is booked heavily, and all that is needed is for the producing side of the industry to continue to produce those good British films, and that problem will solve itself. As to the larger problem to which reference has been made in the course of the Debate, namely, the effect on other peoples of films depicting certain aspects of Western life—often the most unsavoury—there is no way short of international treatment. If the Government are in earnest about the foreign propaganda side of the problem, they should take the initiative in dealing with it on international lines. Believe me, British films sin against the light as much as American films. There are German films, Russian films, films of all countries, which may have unfortunate effects on the minds of certain peoples, and this problem can only be dealt with by a friendly international understanding—and I would say by means of a Convention under the auspices of the League of Nations.

This Bill cannot touch that great question which may prove to be one of the most important questions of our day, namely, the question of the exhibition in the East and elsewhere of undesirable films, giving impressions of the life of the white peoples which can only disgust and revolt the people of the East. That may prove to be an important factor in determining our relations with the people of the East in the future. I seriously commend to the Government the possibility of taking international action on those lines. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has said, the Government will no doubt get their Bill. If they get their Bill, they will create a serious problem for themselves and their successors. They have not, in my view, handled this problem as it ought to have been handled. It is an attempt to apply rather petty Protectionist principles to an industry, the importance of which is far beyond that of the capital invested in it. It ought to be regarded not merely as a manufacturing industry producing so many hundreds of thousands of feet of film per year, but as an industry with powers for good or evil, for making or marring the people of this and other countries. It is the moral and aesthetic aspects of this industry which are all-important. Those problems are left by the present Bill for others to solve.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)

Until I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) resume the Debate this afternoon, I was under the impression that there was at least one point on which everybody in the House was in agreement. I thought there was no dispute as to the condition in which the British film-producing industry is to-day. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in a previous stage of the Debate, went so far as to express the opinion that it had been dead for the last five or six years, and he went on to say that not merely was the industry in an unhappy condition, but that its condition justified Government assistance. That opinion does not appear to be shared by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley, if one may judge from his speech of this afternoon. I am left in some doubt as to whether the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. A. Greenwood) shares the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition or the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley. He put his argument to the House in a hypothetical form. He said, if the Government were of opinion that the conditions under which films might be produced in this country were satisfactory, it would be better to allow the industry to proceed without Government interference. But he did not express an opinion as to whether the industry needed assistance or whether it was capable of proceeding without assistance. The hon. Gentleman's Leader thinks it does require assistance and that it has been practically dead for five or six years; and he is in favour of one part of the Government's Bill, namely, that relating to blind booking or block booking. It is remarkable that we should have been asked to give two days to a Debate on this Bill only to discover that the spokesmen for the Opposition on the first day were of one opinion, while the spokesmen for the Opposition on the second day were of an entirely different opinion.


We hold to both of them.


I gather that some hon. Members opposite feel that they know more about the subject now. If so is it their opinion that the right hon. Gentleman who took the responsibility of moving the rejection of the Bill, did not educate himself before undertaking that responsibility? Assuming that the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition is the better one, and that the industry is practically dead, and that its condition justifies Government assistance, I quite appreciate that there is a very natural difference of opinion as to what particular measures are desirable or possible. There is no doubt about the disease—except in the opinion of one or two hon. Gentlemen opposite—but the difference of opinion is as to the remedy for the disease. It all comes down to a very small point of controversy as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Sir R. Home) said two or three days ago in his speech on this Bill. The Leader of the Opposition gave his support to that part of the Bill which proposes to abolish blind-booking or block-booking. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley is not in agreement with his leader upon that point.

The hon. Member for Southwark (Colonel Day) who spoke as an expert about films, was of opinion that blind- booking has built up the industry to a large extent and, presumably, he was not in favour of the abolition of that system. Although the hon. Member for Southwark repeated a series of questions which occupied about half an hour in the reading, he did not begin sufficiently far back to include a question on 15th December, 1925, when he asked my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade whether he would consider putting an end to the advanced booking in block of cheap American films. If time allowed of a detailed examination of the opinions advanced at one time or another by Members of the Opposition, including the opinions suggested in questions put by the hon. Member for Southwark and by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy), one might almost show that this Bill is the product of intelligent anticipation on the part of the Opposition coupled with a process of suggestion in questions addressed to the President of the Board of Trade.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley, I am sorry to say, introduced a personal note in this Debate to-day. One understands his dislike of anything in the nature of interference with industry. In spite of the fact that he is such a good Socialist, he is always advancing opinions in favour of private enterprise, but on this occasion he went out of his way to declare that my right hon. Friend was in this matter a tool—then he corrected it by substituting the word"instrument"—of the Federation of British Industries. Faced, as he immediately was, by one of my hon. Friends behind me with the report of the Imperial Conference, and faced with the fact that it was the Imperial Conference that had recommended legislation for the prevention of blind booking and the imposition of requirements as to the acceptance of a minimum quota of Empire films, the right hon. Member for Colne Valley said "Yes, but the Federation of British Industries had taken it up before the Imperial Conference had arrived at those conclusions." If that were his only justification for the somewhat offensive suggestion that my right hon. Friend was the tool of the Federation of British Industries, I can only say the justification for that phrase is a singularly weak one, and I think the right hon. Gentleman could make out a better case for the Opposition in moving the rejection of this Bill if he were able to eliminate the personal factor, which so often incites him when he is discussing questions of Free Trade.

As I say, the Leader of the Opposition, having deliberately last week expressed his opinion in favour of the abolition of blind booking and block booking, really the only question which the Government need seriously consider is whether the criticisms that have been made against the proposals regarding the quota are justified. The Leader of the Opposition, I think, regarded those proposals as in the nature of a bounty. I was not surprised that my right hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead found it a little difficult to know whether the Leader of the Opposition was in favour of a bounty or not. I have looked at the report of his speech, and I think it is quite plain that he was prepared to support a bounty on two conditions, first, that it was extended to the exhibitor. and, secondly, that it was for a limited period. It is a little surprising to me to hear the right hon. Gentleman advancing those opinions, but I believe the House as a whole would much prefer the suggestion, which is being adopted from the Report of the Imperial Conference Committee, of a quota than any bounty, even though limited to a term of four or five years, as suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. The other criticisms which have proceeded from the Opposition have been mutually destructive. One says you cannot produce films in this country, because the atmospheric conditions do not permit of it, and that you may do what you will with a quota, but you will never produce a good film. Another Member of the Opposition,, as usual, supplied an answer to that The hon. Member, who spoke with artistic knowledge on this question, said he totally differed from the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), and that the facilities for producing films in this country were just as good as the facilities in any other country in the world. All that was needed was an artistic touch, and skill and efficiency in the industry. It is quite true the hon. Member raised our hopes a little in his opening sentences by saying that he was going to suggest a remedy for the evils from which the industry was suffering, but when he came to the end of his speech, he sat down with no other practical suggestion to make except that you must employ artistic methods to produce artistic films.

I think it is agreed that the good film can be produced in this country as far as atmospheric conditions are concerned. It is practically agreed that we have the artistic talent in this country capable of producing films. It has been said over and over again by numbers of hon. Members that some of the greatest artists in this film industry are British-born subjects, people who have been attracted by the wealth employed in the industry in other countries. When we are asked how it is we have not then produced British films, I think the answer, which has been given many times in the course of this Debate, is that for some reason or other—it does not matter whether it was the War; it does not matter what the reason is, if it be the fact—that for some reason or other the British film-producing industry has suffered practical submergence. It has been submerged by the American film, and to a less extents by other foreign films. The blind booking, and the block booking, are not unconnected with it. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition cannot divide this problem into two parts, and say he is in favour of abolishing blind booking but is not in favour of the quota. The blind booking or the block booking is the practice which has made it impossible for the British film industry, once it has got behind in the race, ever to catch up again. It is no use the British film producer making a tolerably good film if he finds there is not a market for it.

The right hon. Member for Colne Valley suggested that blind booking is not unknown in other walks of life. He said that he is often asked to write an article for a newspaper, and receives a cheque, I understood, before even the newspaper knows what he is going to say. I think we generally know what he is likely to say. But, apart from that, let me suppose that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to turn an honest penny by writing articles, shall I say about Mr. Cook, and he finds that the columns of the newspaper have been already booked up by Mr. Cook for 12 months ahead. I wonder whether he would be in favour of blind booking or advance booking in such circumstances? Anybody who considers and understands what advance booking and blind booking have done for the American film producers, must be aware of the fact that the British film-producing industry has not a chance under the conditions which exist to-day, however favourable the other circumstances are in which films may be produced. the Government have proposed, therefore, not to stop half-way, having abolished blind booking, but to give the industry the encouragement which the unhappy condition of the industry requires.

It has been more than once asked, and I do not deny with some show of reason, that you may produce numbers of films, but how are you going to insure the production of good films'? The underlying suggestion of a question of that sort seems to be that the films which are going to be displaced are good films. It is a fundamentally false assumption. There is no suggestion that this Bill is going to keep out the super-films about which we have heard so much. There is no intention to make it impossible for the exhibitors or the renters to give to the public those films the names of which are household words at the present time. The films of which we are thinking today as fit to be displaced by British films are those dull', dreary, inartistic films, which too often fill the bill in the smaller cinemas up and down the country, and if you once realise that the great bulk of the films shown in this country are not the first class, the super-films, the objection to which I referred, that you do not necessarily produce good films because you produce large numbers of films at once disappears.

There is one provision in the Bill which has been overlooked, I think, in this connection. Hon. Members will observe that the Bill provides that the quota for the exhibitors lags a year behind the quota for the renters. As respects the year ending 31st December, 1928, the quota for the renters will be 7½ per cent., but there will be no quota for the exhibitors until the following year, 1929, and if the renters want the exhibitors to take their films they will have to make some endeavour to produce films which are attractive to the exhibitors. In the following year, 1929, the routers' quota will be 10 per cent., but the exhibitors' quota will only be 7½ per cent., and so in ordinary progression up to the end of the scheduled time. The fact is, there will he by this arrangement an inducement to the renters to produce films which will be attractive to the exhibitors, and will prevent them from being left with British films which are not sufficiently attractive to induce anybody to take them for exhibition.

There is one other argument to which I would like to refer; it has been mentioned many times in the course of this Debate. It is an argument, which, I think, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition advanced for the first time. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) followed his example. We have heard it again to-night. It is that if you ask for a quota of British films, there is no reason why you should not ask for a quota of British pictures or British music. I cannot help expressing a little surprise that such experienced debaters should be caught in that old trap of a false analogy. There is nothing so misleading as false analogies. For one thing, the film industry differs from the producing of paintings in that finance is invariably associated with it. Vast sums of money are required to produce a film. You do not produce pictures by a vast outlay of capital. Then the taste of the public is sufficient to lead to the production by characteristic British schools both of music and of painting. The film-producing industry is different. Whether it is due to the requirements of finance, or to the business instinct of the American, somehow or other the British film has not had a fair chance, and this Bill is designed to give a fair chance, which, we believe, will be given.


What about the case of British opera?

8.0 p.m.


No doubt the case of British opera is a little nearer the case of films, but it is not of quite the same importance as films, partly because the film industry employs a considerable amount of labour and partly because British opera has not 8.0 p.m. the same value for propaganda purposes that the film has. I should like to refer to that question of propaganda. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade introduced this Bill largely on the grounds that it had been reported to him by Trade Commissioners from the Dominions that the American films had a very insidious effect in displacing British goods. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley rather laughed at the idea that films should be regarded as a sort of commercial traveller for the British nation. I do not know that it is such an ignoble object that the quality of British goods should be recommended, if possible, by the films shown all over the world. It may not be the chief object of the film, but if it is going to have any effect upon industry we think that that effect should be rather in favour of British industry than of American industry. I think perhaps the effect upon employment has been a little overlooked. We are at the beginning of the scientific development of the film industry. There is nothing which would have had so much effect on the optical industry as the development of the British films. The scientific and technical industries connected with film producing will benefit if we can transfer at any rate a small portion of the production of films to this country.

It has been suggested that there would not be a quota sufficient for the films that will have to be shown, but may I give the House some figures to show that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley was inaccurate in his predictions? In 1927 there were 40 British films of 6,000 to 8,000 feet already completed, and other shorter films. In New Zealand, six full length films are in this year's programme. In Australia 14 full length films were produced in 1926 and in South Africa six full length films are expected to be produced in the first year after this Bill comes into operation, making a total of something like 60 films available for 1928. That is more than sufficient to provide the films which will have to be taken by the renters in order to satisfy the quota under the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley was apparently unaware of these figures or he would not have suggested that there would not be the films available to comply with the require ments of the Bill. The position being, as I have already stated, that the industry is in a bad condition; everybody having considered it for a great many years with a view of discovering some remedy; the Imperial Conference having suggested this particular method; the trade, as the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Captain Cazalet) pointed out, having recommended this particular method, and a quota even more severe than we propose, there has been a complete absence in this Debate of any alternative suggestion. There has been some vague reference to the need for allowing skill and efficiency to play their part; some reference to the power of artistic films to satisfy the British public; something about the right of the British public to see what films they like, but there has not been one single suggestion from any of the critics of this Bill, from either part of the Opposition, for displacing a single foreign film in favour of British films. In the face of those facts, which are beyond dispute, the Government think that this Bill still holds the field. We are gratified to think that from the Liberal party there has been one Member who has spoken whole-heartedly in favour of the Bill. The hon. and gallant Member for South Hackney (Captain Garro-Jones) need not be afraid that we shall found any great anticipations on the fact that he was able to support us in regard to this Bill. I think that anybody who has not been misled by prejudices about Free Trade, which has really nothing to do with this Bill, and anyone who faces the facts, will realise that it is necessary to do something to get rid of a state of things which everybody deplores and I hope that they will be able to give this Bill their support on the Second Reading. Fears have been expressed as to what may happen in 1936. If in 1936 those fears are shown to be well founded, I presume that this House will have an opportunity of re-considering its opinion. Until then we recommend this Bill to the House as the most hopeful proposal yet devised for dealing with a state of things which everybody deplores.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

The right hon. Gentleman was rather surprised because the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) said that the Government would be unduly influenced by the Federation of British Industries. I have in my hand a cutting from a morning paper in which they reproduce a letter sent by the Federation to an hon. Member who is requested to support this Bill. I do not for one moment suggest that he would be influenced by this kind of thing, but here we nave one of the directors of the Federation of British Industries promising an hon. Member that he would use his influence to have that hon. Member called in support of the Bill. I do not suggest that the Government had anything directly to do with this, but it shows that the Federation of British Industries has sought to exercise its influence on our Debate on this Bill. I think every hon. Member will agree with me that that sort of thing is highly objectionable and should be resented in all parts of the House. I regret that this kind of outside influence is attempted. The Solicitor-General and the President of the Board of Trade have referred to me in their speeches as having taken some interest in this matter in the past. That is so. I am afraid I am one of the perpetrators of this Bill. It may be said that it is my child but, as so often happens, we do not know how the child will turn out. I agree with what has been said as to the propaganda value of British films, but the introduction of the quota system will defeat its object, as two Members of the Unionist party, the hon. Baronet the Member for Yarmouth (Sir F. Meyer) and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Chatham (Lieut.-Colonel Moore-Brabazon) have said. The only other hon. Member with practical knowledge who has spoken in favour of the Bill is the hon. Member for East Dorset (Mr. Caine). I can quite understand his pride in his family connection with the film. We say, however, that the quota will defeat the object which the Government have in view. It is not so much that we want the British film shown in this country, but we want to get the British film shown overseas, in the Colonies, in India and in the Dominions. But the quota will make a sheltered industry, and, probably, therefore, for that very reason, an inefficient industry.

We have been twitted with having no alternative. I propose in the moment or two left to me to give a practical alternative. Anyone who has listened to this Debate must see that the real need is in regard to finance. Hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House have been accused of making speeches full of Anglophobia, but that is not their real objection to this Bill. It is that British Alms coming from overseas are better than those produced in this country, and the reason for that is money. The American bankers have been more elastic than our bankers and they have given support to the industry The great super-film from Hollywood is not an American film but an international film. The industry is in the hands of an international race, the Jews. It is none the worse for that, but it will be realised that the real need in this matter is finance. It is held that this quota will attract finance into the industry. I am not certain that it will. I am not certain that it will encourage the production of British films which will be able to force their way into the highly organised markets overseas. That is what is wanted from a propaganda point of view and that is what we are not certain of getting.

I have put my alternative proposal forward both inside and outside the House for some years. I think I was one of the first to speak on this subject in the House. What is really needed is finance, and there the Government could have helped a long time ago under the provisions of the Trade Facilities Act. This year we are building two battleships costing nearly £7,500,000 each; nearly £15,000,000 of money. One-tenth of that money, given at a low rate of interest to the film producing industry in this country three years ago, might have enabled that industry to get on its feet.

The industry will need finance to be able to force its way into the market. There is no guarantee that American capital will not come here and control firms established in this country. That is what has been done in Germany. America controls 50 per cent. of the German film producing firms. The ILKA. Company, the German company that produced "Metropolis," and other films is controlled by American capital. Hon. Gentlemen opposite should have some fear that, as that has been the result of the quota in Germany, it may well be the result of the quota here, and there is no guarantee that that will not be the result. The definition of a British film could be met and the requirements could be met by any acute American business men acting as agents for the American capitalists over here, and that is where your propaganda film comes in. What guarantee is there that if you have these so-called British supervising companies they will make any real attempt to force their way into the foreign market? That is our objection to the Bill, and that is why we shall vote against it. It is not because we do not want to see British films; above all it is not because we do not realise the propaganda value of British films abroad. But while we are in favour of making illegal blind booking, we have no hesitation in voting against this Bill to-night.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 135.

division No. 54.] AYES. [8.15 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Clarry, Reginald George
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Albery, Irving James Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Cockerill, Brig.-Generai Sir G. K.
Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'I) Briggs, J. Harold Conway, Sir W. Martin
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Brittain, Sir Harry Cope, Major William
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M.S. Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Couper, J. B.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K. Bullock, Captain M. Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.
Apsley, Lord Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Burman, J. B. Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Burton, Colonel H. W. Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover) Butt, Sir Alfred Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)
Atholl, Duchess of Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Crookshank. Col. C. de W. (Berwick)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Calne, Gordon Hall Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey,Gainsbro)
Baln[...]el, Lord Campbell, E. T. Curzon, Captain Viscount
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Carver, Major W. H. Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Cautley, Sir Henry S. Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.) Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Davies, Dr. Vernon
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake) Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N (Ladywood) Dawson, Sir Philip
Berry, Sir George Charterls, Brigadier-General J. Dean, Arthur Wellesley
Bethel, A. Chilcott, Sir Warden Eden, Captain Anthony
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Churchman, Sir Arthur C. Edmondson, Major A. J.
Eills, R. G. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Salmon, Major I.
Everard, W. Lindsay King, Captain Henry Douglas Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Fairfax, Captain J. G. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Sandeman, A. Stewart
Faile, Sir Bertram G. Lamb, J. O. Sanderson, Sir Frank
Fermoy, Lord Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R. Sandon, Lord
Fielden, E. B. Litter, Cunllffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustavo D.
Ford, Sir P. J. Little, Dr. E. Graham Savery, S. S.
Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley) Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D.Mcl.(Renfrew, W.)
Foster, Sir Harry S. Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green) Skelton, A. N.
Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Looker, Herbert William Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Fraser, Captain Ian Lowe, Sir Francis William Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Galbraith, J. F. W. Luce, Maj-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Smithers, Waldron
Ganzonl, Sir John Lumley, L. R. Sprat, Sir Alexander
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Lynn, Sir R. J. Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Gates, Percy MacAndrew Major Charles Glen Stanley, Hon. O. F. G.(Westm'eland)
Gault, Liout.-Col. Andrew Hamilton Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Glyn, Major R. G. C. McLean, Major A. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Goff, Sir Park Macmillan, Captain H. Styles, Captain H. Walter
Gower, Sir Robert Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcoim Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Grace, John McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Macquisten, F. A. Tasker, R. Inigo.
Greene, W. P. Crawford MacRobert, Alexander M. Templeton, W. P.
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London) Maltland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Makins, Brigadier-General E. Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Grotrian, H. Brent Malone, Major P. B. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Gunston, Captain D. W. Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K. Tinne, J. A.
Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R. (Eastbourne) Merriman, F. B. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Hall, Capt. W. D.A. (Brecon & Rad.) Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Hammersley, S. S. Monseli, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Waddington, R.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Harland, A. Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C. Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive Warrende, Sir Victor
Harrison, G. J. C. Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Hawke, John Anthony Nelson, Sir Frank Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Watts, D. T.
Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley) Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn.W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.) Wells, S. R.
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle) Nuttall, Ellis Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Oman, Sir Charles William C. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Penny, Frederick George Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings) Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Holt, Capt. H. P. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frame) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Pilcher, G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Hopkins, J. W. W. Pilditch, Sir Philip Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Pownall, Sir Assheton Wise, Sir Fredric
Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Colonel C. K. Price, Major C. W. M. Withers, John James
Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n) Radford, E. A. Wolmer, Viscount
Huntingfield, Lord Raine, W. Womersley, W. J.
Hurd, Percy A. Ramsden, E. Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)
Hurst, Gerald B. Rawson, Sir Cooper Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Mldi'n&p'bl's) Remnant, Sir James Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Wragg, Herbert
Jacob, A. E. Rice, Sir Frederick Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Ropner, Major L.
Jephcott, A. R. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Rye, F. G. Major Sir George Hennessy and
Captair Margesson.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Grundy, T. W.
Alexander, A. v. (Sheffield, Hllisbro') Crawfurd, H. E. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Ammon, Charles George Dalton, Hugh Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Davies, David (Montgomery) Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)
Baker, Walter Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Hardle, George D.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Harris, Percy A.
Barnes, A. Day, Colonel Harry Hayday, Arthur
Barr, J. Dennison, R. Hayes, John Henry
Batey, Joseph Duckworth, John Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Beckett, John (Gateshead) Dunnico, H. Henderson, T. (Glasgow)
Bondfield, Margaret England, Colonel A. Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Brlant, Frank Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)
Broad, F. A. Forrest, W. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Bromfield, William Glbbins, Joseph John, William (Rhondda, West)
Bromley, J. Gillett, George M. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Gosling, Harry Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Cape, Thomas Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)
Charleton, H. C. Greenall, T. Kelly, W. T.
Clowes, S. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Kennedy, T.
Cluse, W. S. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Groves, T. Kirkwood, D.
Lansbury, George Ritson, J, Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlisbro. W.)
Lawrence, Susan Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Lawson, John James Robinson, W. C. (Yorks,W. R., Elland) Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow]
Lee, F. Rose, frank H. Thurtle, Ernest
Lindley, F. W. Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Townend, A. E.
Livingstone, A. M. Salter, Dr. Alfred Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Lowth, T. Scrymgeour, E. Viant, S. P.
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon) Scurr, John Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
MacLaren, Andrew Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
March, S. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Maxton, James Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah
Montague, Frederick Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness) Welsh, J. C.
Morris, R. H. Sitch, Charles H. Westwood, J.
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Smillie, Robert Wiggins, William Martin
Murnin, H. Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Naylor, T. E. Smith, Rennie (Penistone) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianeliy)
Oliver, George Harold Sne[...]l, Harry Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Owen, Major G. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Palln. John Henry Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Paling, W. Stamford, T. W. Windsor, Walter
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Stephen, Campbell Wright, W.
Ponsonby, Arthur Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Potts, John S. Sullivan, J.
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring) Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Riley, Ben Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey) Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Whiteley.

Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.

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