HC Deb 15 November 1927 vol 210 cc917-23
Colonel DAY

I beg to move, in page 10, line 6, to leave out Sub-section (3).

7.0 p.m.

I think it is understood, at any rate by all Members on this side of the House, that this Sub-section is quite unnecessary, and, perhaps, without taking up time in discussion, the President of the Board of Trade will let us know whether he agrees with that.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This is a most necessary Sub-section, and I should have thought it would have commanded general assent. The House has already assented to the proposition that films acquired by a renter must be acquired by him bona fide for the purpose of renting, and that he should not acquire what are vulgarly described as "dud" films in order to get them into his portfolio but without any intention of using them. That would not be a genuine compliance with the quota. What is the fair test to apply as to whether films have been acquired by the renter in the bona fide course of his business as a renter? Surely, the best test to apply is to see whether he has kept those films on his shelf or whether he has made a genuine attempt to get them shown, and we get the evidence of that from the contracts into which he has entered.


I am afraid that the reply of the President of the Board of Trade does not convince us at all. It has been pointed out again and again, in the discussions on this Clause, that it is quite possible that the renter might be actually unable to sell—or to rent, as the President puts it—all the films he has acquired as part of his quota, and this Sub-section will be used against him as a penalty, not for keeping them on his shelf, as the President suggests, but for really being unable to dispose of some of the British films he has taken in the hope that he will be able to complete his quota from those purchases. That seems to us to be very unfair, and that is the reason why we ask for the omission of this Sub-section. This point is one of considerable substance. The President of the Board of Trade has spoken to-day about the quality of British films produced this year. Already some little information has been given to me about some of them. I do not want to specify them by name, because I do not want to damage any particular interest; I do not think that that would be fair; but I have very adverse reports upon some of them. It may be that certain renters have acquired exclusive quota rights in the best films, while other renters, who know that they have to comply with a certain quota, have to do with other films, and at the end find that they are not able to dispose of them. Then this Subsection will be used in order to punish a man, not for trying to evade the Act, but for being unable to sell British films which he has purchased with a view to being able to rent them.

Captain A. EVANS

I think the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) has overlooked the fact that in some cases renters are exhibitors themselves. For instance, we have big theatres in London which rent films direct from the manufacturers, and it may pay those exhibitors, although for the purposes of this Bill they may be known as renters, to acquire second-rate British films and put them on the shelf, in order that some American or other feature film may be put on which they may think may benefit them at the box office.


Surely, the purpose of this Bill is the protection of the British film industry, and, if the films are sold to the renter and are put on the shelf because they cannot be or are not intended to be re-sold, the purpose has been achieved. I take it that the President of the Board of Trade is not going to suggest that the House of Commons, in passing a Measure of this kind, is really out to force people to see British films or any other particular kind of films. There is no æsthetic purpose; the Measure is the commercial one of encouraging the production of British films; and, surely, the encouragement is there if they are purchased, even if they are not exhibited. It seems to me, therefore, that the proposal to delete this Sub-section is quite reasonable.


It is a good deal more than reasonable. It seems to me that it is the only thing that can possibly save the Government's face, and that is more than reasonable. You are asking the renter to prove that he has sold the goods. You are making the renter take 20 per cent., and a good deal more, because we know that a British film cannot count twice; and then you

are saying to him, "You must prove that you have had this shown," although it is already provided in the Bill that the exhibitor is only to have 20 per cent. How can the exhibitors, if they stick to 20 per cent., possibly show all that the renter has provided? It is a physical impossibility. Of course, it goes into the Bill, because, I suppose, somebody wanted it, and somebody said: "You must not be mercenary. We are not a materialist party; we are an Imperial party, and think that way. It is not a question merely of producing British films; you have to make this Philistine British population look at the things, too." You are not satisfied with the renter buying them; he has to prove that they were shown, and not only shown, but shown at the right hours, when the house is full and people cannot get away from them. Of course, the Government put that in the Bill, and it is this Subsection that makes it valuable. They will not take it out; they insist that the renter shall not only prove that he has bought the film, but has sold it for honest money and made people look at it.

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

The House divided: Ayes, 256: Noes, 135.

Division No. 337.] AYES. [7.9 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Buchan, John Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Davies, Dr. Vernon
Ainsworth, Major Charles Bullock, Captain M. Dawson, Sir Phillip
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Burton, Colonel H. W. Dean, Arthur Wellesley
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby) Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Drewe, C.
Applin, Col. R. V. K. Caine, Gordon Hall Eden, Captain Anthony
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Campbell, E. T. Edmondson, Major A. J.
Astbury, Lieut-Commander F. W. Cassels, J. D. Elliot, Major Walter E.
Atholl, Duchess of Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Cayzer, Ma]. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.) Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Cazaiet, Captain Victor A. Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Cecil, Rt. Hon Sir Evelyn (Aston) Everard, W. Lindsay
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Fairfax, Captain J. G.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Chapman, Sir S. Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Christie, J. A. Fanshawe, Captain G. D.
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.) Clayton, G. C. Fermoy, Lord
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Fielden, E. B.
Bennett, A. J. Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Forestier-Walker, Sir L.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Cohen, Major J. Brunei Foster, Sir Harry S.
Berry, Sir George Cooper, A. Duff Foxcroft, Captain C. T.
Bethel, A. Cope, Major William Fraser, Captain Ian
Betterton, Henry B. Couper, J. B. Ganzoni, Sir John
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L. Gates, Percy
Boothby, R. J. G. Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W. Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Goff, Sir Park
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Gower, Sir Robert
Briggs, J. Harold Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro) Grace, John
Brittain, Sir Harry Cunilffe, Sir Herbert Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Curzon, Captain Viscount Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Dalkeith, Earl ol Greene, W. P. Crawford
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham) Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Grotrian, H. Brent.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y) Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.
Gunston, Captain D. W. McLean, Major A. Shepperson, E. W.
Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Macmillan, Captain H. Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Mac Robert, Alexander M. Skelton, A. N.
Hammersley, S. S. Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel- Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Harland, A. Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Smithers, Waldron
Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Meller, R. J. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Harrison, G. J. C. Merriman, F. B. Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Haslam, Henry C. Milne, J. S. Wardlaw- Sprot, Sir Alexander
Hawke, John Anthony Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.
Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden) Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M. Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr) Storry-Deans, R.
Henn, Sir Sydney H. Moore, Sir Newton J. Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph Streatfeild, Captain S. R.
Hills, Major John Waller Nelson, Sir Frank Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Hilton, Cecil Neville, Sir Reginald J. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Styles, Captain H. Walter
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone) Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Nicholson, O. (Westminster) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Nuttall, Ellis Tasker, R. Inigo.
Hopkins, J. W. W. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton) Templeton, W. P.
Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Oman, Sir Charles William C. Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n) Penny, Frederick George Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Hume, Sir G. H. Perkins, Colonel E. K. Tinne, J. A.
Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Perring, Sir William George Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Huntingfield, Lord Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Ilifte, Sir Edward M. Pilcher, G. Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Pllditch, Sir Philip Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l) Price, Major C. W. M. Waddington, R.
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert Radford, E. A. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Jephcott, A. R. Raine, Sir Walter Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Ramsden, E. Warrender, Sir Victor
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston) Rawson, Sir Cooper Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Kidd, J. (Linlithgow) Held, D. D. (County Down) Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
King, Commodore Henry Douglas Remer, J. R. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Remnant, Sir James Watts, Dr. T.
Knox, Sir Alfred Rhys, Hon. C. A. U. Wells, S. R.
Lamb, J. Q. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sar'y, Ch'ts'y) White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple
Lane Fox, col. Rt. Hon. George R. Ropner, Major L. Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Lister, Cunilffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A. Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Little, Dr. E. Graham Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Loder, J. de V. Rye, F. G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Long, Major Eric Salmon, Major I. Withers, John James
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham) Wolmer. Viscount
Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney) Womersley, W. J.
Lumley, L. R. Sandeman, N. Stewart Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Lynn, Sir R. J. Sanderson, Sir Frank Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen Sandon, Lord
Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.) Savery, S. S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart) Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain
McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby) Margesson.
Maclntyre, I. Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West) Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Hayes, John Henry
Adamson, W. M. (Staff, Cannock) Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Day, Colonel Harry Hirst, G. H.
Ammon, Charles George Dennison, R. Hore-Belisha, Leslie
Attlee, Clement Richard Duncan. C. Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Dunnico, H. Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Baker, Walter Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) John, William (Rhondda, West)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) England, Colonel A. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)
Bondfield, Margaret Fenby, T. D. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Forrest, W. Kelly, W. T.
Broad, F. A. Gardner, J. P. Kennedy, T.
Bromfield, William Gibbins, Joseph Kirkwood, D.
Bromley, J. Gillett, George M. Lawrence, Susan
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Gosling, Harry Lawson, John James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Lee, F.
Buchanan, G. Greenall, T. Lindley, F. W.
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Livingstone, A. M
Cape, Thomas Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Lowth, T.
Charleton, H. C. Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Lunn, William
Clowes, S. Groves, T. Mackinder, W.
Cluse, W. S. Grundy, T. W. Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) MacNeill-Weir, L.
Compton, Joseph Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) March, S.
Connolly, M. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Maxton, James
Cove, W. G. Hardle, George D. Montague, Frederick
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Dalton, Hugh Hayday, Arthur Murnin, H.
Oliver, George Harold Snell, Harry Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D.(Rhondda)
Owen, Major G. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Palln, John Henry Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Paling, W. Stamford, T. W. Wellock, Wilfred
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Stephen, Campbell Welsh, J. C.
Potts, John S. Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Westwood, J.
Ritson, J. Strauss, E. A. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich) Sullivan, J. Wiggins, William Martin
Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland) Sutton, J. E. Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Scrymgeour, E. Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby) Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Scurr, John Thomson, Treveiyan (Middlesbro. W.) Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Shepherd, Arthur Lewis Thurtle, Ernest Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tinker, John Joseph Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness) Townend, A. E. Wright, W.
Sitch, Charles H. Varley, Frank B. Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Smillie, Robert Viant, S. P.
Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Wallhead, Richard C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —
Smith, Rennle (Penistone) Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.