§ Mr. WALLHEAD
I beg to move to leave out the Clause.
This Clause is designed for the purpose of compelling exhibitors to show British films whether they desire to do so or not, whether there is a demand on the part of their patrons or not. It is entirely unnecessary, and it does not advance the cause which the Bill is supposed to have at heart. The quota has already been established by the renters, and the producers ought to be satisfied without compelling the exhibitors to exhibit whether they want to or not. If the producers cannot produce films that the exhibitors will exhibit to the public, then these films ought not to be forced upon them. The amazing thing is that we are attempting to foster this film business because the Conservative party want to make a pretence that they are very busy. Our film producers have failed to produce the films the public requires. Yet our history is the finest in the world and full of dramatic incidents, while our dramatists and novelists have been as prolific as any in the world. Their work is characterised by rich imagination. Yet the British producers have failed to take advantage' of the rich material lying ready to their hands. Having allowed other people to go in and do the work which they should have done, we are now to compel exhibitors to show "dud stuff," as it has been so eloquently described. When once the producers have satisfied their demands that the renters shall take their quota and when they have got the plunder which some of them desire, I do not see why exhibitors should have foisted upon them stories such as that of Sweeny Todd, the homicidal barber. I understand that some of the films produced are of that 924 type or such as "Maria Marten or the Murder in the Bed Barn." The President of the Board of Trade is not insisting on any aesthetic qualities in these films. Anything that can be produced will do. I should not be surprised if they do not soon have some anti-Bolshevist propaganda produced on the films. The principal point, however, which I wish to make is that the quota has been passed and that the producers are protected by the renters being compelled to take a quota, and I say that to compel the exhibitors to put on films that the public do not desire is going too far.
§ Colonel DAY
I beg to second the Amendment.
I am sure the President of the Board of Trade will agree that the exhibitors' quota is one of the most important things in the whole Bill. To place this quota upon the exhibitors is a very grave injustice to them. They have voted against it by a majority; they have on many occasions expressed their opinion that it will not be possible to get sufficient good, drawing, British films to be able to comply with the regulations of this Clause. Further, the exhibitor of this country is the man who has millions invested in the bricks and mortar of his theatres. We have read lately in some of the leading journals some criticisms of this Clause dealing with the quota. In one it says:If a bookseller was told by the Board of Trade that for every four American novels sold to customers he was to sell to them one British novel, whether they wanted it or not, he would probably resent the order as a great impertinence, lightened only by its obvious absurdity. In that judgment he would have the full weight of public opinion behind him. That demented situation, however, is precisely what the Government wishes to create in the cinema indus- 925 try by giving legislative sanction to 'Compulsory Films.' The compulsory system, at its maximum, means that for each hour of screen time purchased by the cinema goer, 15 minutes are to be devoted to the exhibition of British films, whether he wants them or not. Advocates of 'Compulsory Films,' who, as a class, are not picture goers, will exclaim 'Quite right.' The test of pleasure in pictures is patriotism! In that case, they had better ask the Government to include 15 minutes of compulsory British music in each hour of broadcast opera. That 'reform' should obviously be included if we are to have compulsory entertainment. From movies to music is but a step. Why not take it now?That seems to be the case against the exhibitors' quota. I ask the President of the Board of Trade again, while he is compelling the British public to see British films, how many has he himself seen? I should think that he is anything but a regular frequenter of cinemas and anything but a regular visitor to the cinemas that show British films, unless it is a picture like "The Somme," which was produced lately. If the right hon. Gentleman had taken the trouble to witness many of the British films produced lately, I am sure he would not have been quite so anxious to support the Bill in the way he does. I have had several letters from some of our leading West End exhibitors. As they are dealing with the exhibitors' quota, I should like to refer to them and give extracts from them 'for the benefit of the House. One, which is dated 17th October, from one of the principal exhibitors, reads as follows:I should like to draw your attention to the price the Wardour Film Company are demanding for British International films made in England. 'The Ring,' which was trade shown at the Capitol, they asked £2,000 for and demanded a run of three weeks. We would not take it, but another picture house did. For 'Poppies in Flanders,' trade shown at the Astoria last Friday, they demand the same terms. I assume another picture house will take this also. It means that the films are made for the benefit of the renter only. I consider it is monstrous to extort these prices for these British films. The only reason such fabulous prices are demanded for British films is because of the prestige obtained in showing a British picture, but can it last? Will it not place the English film making companies in a false position? Are they not receiving fictitious prices because of Government intervention? These are facts worth considering.That is one letter. Another is as follows:It would seem that we are in a most unfortunate position and it is very hard 926 lines to be forced into such a position by a Government Measure which would have the effect of compelling us to exhibit poor films at exorbitant prices. You, I feel sure, will appreciate that such a course would mean ruin to a large percentage of the exhibitors.'Those are a selection of letters from some of the principal exhibitors that we have here in London. I have here another one which really states the position of the poor exhibitor in the West End of London at the present time:As a further example of the extravagant prices that British film producers are quoting for their pictures, I should like you to know that the Gaumont Film Company are asking £2,000 for a month's run of the film entitled 'The Glad Eye.' …[Interruption.] I am glad it causes some mirth among Members because they will probably realise the position in which they are placing the exhibitors who have thousands of pounds invested in their picture theatres.…There is nothing at all special in the production, it being of quite a mediocre type for which the American price for a week's showing would be about £150. Further, it must be borne in mind, if we were compelled to exhibit a picture for four weeks, the cost of the film for the last week would be £1,500, as the theatre would be empty.That is a sample of what is going on between the producing companies, the renters and the exhibitors, and, if the right hon. Gentleman has taken the trouble, as I have, to make inquiries, he will find out that the instances I am giving him are quite correct. Here is a further instance in a letter that has only just come to my hand from one of our prominent West End exhibitors, who is giving it as his first experience of having to get British films. This is dated 25th October, 1927:I have had my first experience of a British picture this week at the Capitol. It is called 'The Woman Redeemed,' is a Stoll production and issued by the New Era. I saw it last night and it was roundly hissed. I am paying £500 for one week for this picture, but so far as is possible I shall avoid putting on a British picture again. It means a very bad week's business for which I am paying a most unreasonable price. However, I have tried it, and I do not want to repeat the experiment. If this is what the quota is going to produce, God help us all! They had ' Downhill ' at the Plaza last week, and saved it by putting on Ivor Novello to act part of the picture, for which they paid him, I believe, £200 a week. If it were not so sad, it would be a huge joke. Yours sincerely, WALTER GIBBONS.927 I am sure hon. Members will at least acknowledge that Sir Walter Gibbons is one of the greatest authorities we have in showing pictures to-day; at least they will give him credit for being one of the pioneers of the picture business. He was one of the first owners of bioscopes in the United Kingdom, and when the position is such that he writes letters of that character and condemns the pictures that are lauded so much on the other side of the House, and when he does that as a capitalist and as the owner of one of the finest theatres in the West End of London, surely Members of the House should give his words very grave consideration before passing this Clause. Hon. Members should seriously consider whether opinions expressed by men of that calibre, who have been pioneers in the business, are not worthy of the gravest consideration as against the opinions of those who have been advising the President of the Board of Trade. I have here another cutting that may be of interest. It is from one of the principal supporters of the Government party, one of the daily papers, which says:British films produced under the spur of competition have failed because they were inferior. They are not likely to succeed when produced without the incentive of competition. British cinema owners object to the 'Compulsory Films' Bill because they fail to see how a commercial product, which serves artistic and entertainment purposes, can be made in quality by the compulsory exhibition of a statutory quantity. If British films had the quality, we could be certain of the quantity.That has been the contention right through. The quotation is from the "Daily Express," which supports the Conservative party. [Interruption.] I sincerely wish that Lord Beaverbrook would support our party in the same way as he has supported the party which the Government now represent, notwithstanding the gibes that one hears in this House when the "Daily Express" is mentioned. I think supporters of the Government should really be ashamed of themselves, laughing when the "Daily Express" is mentioned. I am coming to the point of the exhibitors' quota. We are firmly convinced that British films for many years in this country will not be made to supply the exhibitors' quota in good enough quality to draw audiences. What is going to be the ex- 928 hibitors' position? Take the exhibitor who has many hundreds of thousands of pounds invested up and down the country in theatres and cinemas. You are practically compelling that man to sell in his theatre something which he knows will not attract the public, and which, more or less, will mean to him ruination and perhaps bankruptcy. There is no other trade so handcuffed as this trade will be. You are compelling the exhibitor to show eventually 20 per cent, of British films. The President of the Board of Trade says that the Bill has been brought forward because it was the decision of the last conference that was held. Very few of the Colonies have thought of emulating this Bill, and when they do I guarantee that many of the films produced in England—
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
If the hon. Member is referring to the Dominions in those terms, we were expressly invited by the Dominions to take the lead as the Mother country, and New Zealand has already asked us to send her particulars of our Bill.
§ Colonel DAY
That is not going very-far, and it is not helping the British film industry, because we read regularly in the cinema papers of British films that are exhibited in this country being banned by the censorship in our Colonies. In Committee I have given the names of the different Colonies that have banned the films as unfit for showing—Australia, India and the different Colonies. If the right hon. Gentleman wants the names again I will let him have them before this discussion ends. He is thoroughly well aware of the fact. The exhibitors in this country are going to suffer because the British producers will not be able to produce sufficient super-films such as the American producing companies are producing. I see that that remark causes some hon. Members opposite to smile. The hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) is smiling. He thinks it can be done. I would like him to give me one instance where a super-film has been produced by a British company and can in any way compare, in expense, with the film that was at the Tivoli recently, namely, "Ben Hur."
I could mention many other films costing practically £500,000 to produce. If 929 we produce films that are to cost as much, where is the market for them? If we had the whole market of the world outside America, even then we should not be able to get back our outlay. Therefore, films produced here have no market or very little market in America. There is no use talking of the Continent as a market. It is practically dead. They buy pictures outright. When you talk of Australia or our Colonies or Africa, practically the same thing applies. This is the country that pays rental and heavy rentals for films; and also America. To talk about our own Colonies or the Continent as the very wide field that we have for the exhibition of films is ridiculous. We cannot capture the American market. There is no use thinking that we can. It has been tried again and again by English producers. A very eminent Member of this House was the chairman of one company which was formed with a capital outlay of £500,000. That company could not capture the American market, and had to go into liquidation. As a matter of fact, I have discussed the matter with the hon. Gentleman on several occasions, and he has explained to me that it was because they could not get their films taken in America that they went into liquidation. The American market was more or less controlled by two or three firms.
Unless you can get films into the American market there is no hope of making a big super-film pay. It would be better, as a means of helping the British film, if instead of insisting on an exhibitors' quota some arrangement were made with the American film renters that they took certain of our films in exchange for theirs. That arrangement was almost made at one time, but the negotiations broke down. No compulsory arrangement such as this exhibitors' quota will ever make a success. There is the great difficulty of finance. We had an instance given to us yesterday of a company just formed, the capital of which is £200,000. That is ludicrous when talking of producing super-films. £200,000 is only an ordinary amount of money to spend on some of the huge American productions. The hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff knows that if he knows anything at all about the subject.
Captain A. EVANS
Surely the hon. Member realises that the super-film takes 80 per cent, of a programme, not 20 per cent., and that the 20 per cent. quota does not become operative until 1936, nine years hence. We can do a lot in nine years. To begin with the quota is much less.
§ Colonel DAY
We are talking about the exhibitors' quota as it is in the Bill. You must look forward to the time when you have to supply that 20 per cent., and you must consider from where you are going to obtain the British films. You must also take into consideration where the producer, who has to make the films to supply the 20 per cent., is going to place the films so that he can get his money back. It will be impossible for any British film whatever to bring a return for its cost unless we have the American market, and it is impossible under present conditions to get the American, market. I think this Bill will antagonise those people who could give us the American market. I am very sorry that the hon. and gallant Member does not agree with me. There is another very serious point to be taken into consideration with regard to the exhibitors' quota. This provision of the Bill is of the greatest importance to the small exhibitor. You have the instance of one very big combine, the Provincial Cinema Theatres, who own over 100 cinemas in this country, taking the film "Coronel" before one inch of it was made. Admittedly under the blind booking Clause of the Bill that cannot be done in future. But you have the position to face, that there you have a huge combine which is like an octopus stretching out all over the country, and it will come along to the trade show and say to the producer, "All right, we will give you 100 weeks for that."
You have the other combine that has been formed with a capital of £2,500,000, which perhaps will come to a working arrangement with Provincial Cinema Theatres. Then you freeze out all the independent exhibitors. How is the independent exhibitor going to get the quota of films which will draw sufficient audiences when the combine theatres take the first run of the pictures? How many Members of the House would care to visit an independent theatre if for two weeks at one corner of the street the 931 big combine theatre shows a star picture and for another two weeks the second theatre shows it? That is the difficulty of your quota as far as the exhibitors are concerned. In some towns you have seven first run theatres, as they are called. In Glasgow they have seven first run theatres. I should have thought a member of the Government would probably be advised about that. How is it possible to get the quota operating to an extent which will allow these theatres to get sufficiently attractive programmes if they have to show 20 per cent, of British films? The public themselves will not patronise them, and it will be more or less the ruination of the cinema industry. If you had a quota working up to a basis of perhaps 10 per cent, it might be possible, but even then, if you take the majority of the programmes one sees, it would be almost impossible.
The cinema industry is more or less based on the theatre and entertainment industry. You only have to look at the West End of London, and in the majority of theatres which are successes you will find foreign plays. It is not that we have got good enough English producers and authors and artists, but we have not got the combination whereby we can spend the money to put the artist, the producer, and the author together to make the play a success, as they can in foreign countries, and that is the reason you have to go to the Continent for the production. It is exactly the same with films. In America they spend £400,000 or £500,000 on a production. In this country they are afraid to spend £4,000 or £5,000. Hon. Members on many occasions have seen comedy films. They have seen houses demolished, and motor cars smashed up for the purpose of getting a laugh. I will tell the House an experience of my own, seeing the making of a British comedy film, where the big star comedian was supposed to get a laugh by falling off a chair and breaking it, which is a thing you commonly see in American films. He went to fall off the chair and the stage manager shouted through his megaphone, "Be very careful of that chair. It is only hired and we have to return it." That is the kind of pettiness and cheapness that prevails with the production of the majority of British films. 932 The producer will endeavour to curtail crowds so as to save money, and you never see in, British films the demolishing of ships and things of that kind which you see in big American films. If you do, it is done in such a way that cheapness prevails throughout. In the big studios in America they build up cities to demolish them. Here if they build up the outlines of them, they think they have gone to a great deal of expense. When you have a fire here to demonstrate the burning of houses, it is always done in a pettifogging way, so that you just get one view. I have seen it on many occasions and I know what British films cost because, unfortunately, I have been interested in them and I know what has been lost on them. This Clause will do more harm to the cinema business than all the rest of the Clauses in the Bill.
§ Colonel DAY
I think many of the Clauses are so thoroughly bad that when he has had to work the Bill a little while the right hon. Gentleman will come to the conclusion that it was very regrettable that it ever had to be introduced, because it will do more harm to the cinema industry than anything he could possibly have imagined. It is impossible to conceive how it is hoped to reorganise the producing industry so as to be able to supply films which will be attractive in sufficient numbers according to the provisions in the exhibitors' quota. By the means suggested by the right hon. Gentleman we are going to get inferior films. The public will not appreciate them, and will not patronise the theatres as they do for the big super-productions. The right hon. Gentleman is probably aware of what is known in the entertainment industry as goodwill. If a house shows a certain number of successful pictures and then has a bad picture for one week, the audience will still come. A proprietor will often show a picture which he knows will not draw simply to help the cost of his programmes through. Before the right hon. Gentleman proceeds further with the quota, let him take into consideration that he is compelling proprietors and exhibitors to show films which they know before they book them and advertise them will have no drawing power and will more or less empty their 933 theatres. I hope he will try to explain how he is going to supply sufficient British films not only in the suburbs of London, where in some cases you have three or four first-run houses, but say within one mile of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, where you have 20 first-run cinema theatres. You are going to drive those houses into bankruptcy. In addition to the houses you have at present, fresh theatres are being built of huge capacity. The Empire in Leicester Square will be one of the biggest houses in the country. How are you going to provide sufficient films to supply the quota to go round those theatres?
Captain A. EVANS
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has delivered himself of a very lengthy oration, the main theme of which apparently was an attack on British producing companies. Of course, the House will realise that if the Clause is deleted the whole purpose of the Bill is defeated. I do not want to discuss the advisability of exhibiting British films in Great Britain. That point was adequately dealt with on the Second Reading. But I should like to deal with one or two points the hon. and gallant Gentleman has raised. In attacking British producers I do not think he was quite fair. I think he was rather apt to compare the methods of British producers before the War and of American producers at present. It is obvious from his speech that he hag not had the privilege of visting1 British producing studios.
§ Colonel DAY
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is entirely wrong. I have had every opportunity of visiting some of the finest studios in the country. I do not want to keep on giving advertisements, but the methods I explained of what I saw myself happened only nine months ago.
I do not think anyone who heard the hon. and gallant Gentleman would gather that he was anxious to give an advertisement to British producers. I do not think there is any need to apologise for not having done that.
§ Colonel DAY
If you look up the Report of the proceedings in Committee you will find that there was no bigger champion/ than I was of the British producer. I was responsible for the Amend- 934 ment being carried in regard to the British producer.
I suppose the privilege of having changed his mind is one the hon. and gallant Gentleman has indulged in, but it is absolute nonsense to say that his speech was not an attack on British producers. Anyone listening to him would have assumed that the 20 per cent, quota became immediately operative after the Bill becomes law. As a matter of fact in 1929 British exhibitors will only be called upon to show 5 per cent, of British films, and it is not till nine years have passed that they will be called upon to show 20 per cent.
It is the year 1936 that the 20 per cent, basis becomes operative. The hon. and gallant Gentleman, with his undoubted knowledge of the industry, must realise that nine years, that is the time when the 20 per cent, basis first becomes operative, is a very long time in the history of the film industry. You have only to compare the quality and tone of the films of to-day, be they produced in America or be they produced in this country, with the quality of those films which were produced nine years ago. The hon. and gallant Gentleman told the House that the British film had little or no chance of being exhibited in the United States of America. That is, of course, true to a certain extent, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman based his argument on the fact, as I understand it, that the British producers were to confine their activities to what is known in the trade as super-films. The super-film takes up not 20 per cent, but 80 per cent, of programmes. After all, British producers now have only to confine their activities to produce films which for the next six years at least will not take up 10 per cent, of the programme. I have not the slightest doubt that those films when they are produced, providing they are good films, will have the same opportunity of penetrating into the American market as the German films have to-day.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman suggested that because of this Measure those American captains of the film industry, who, apparently, control the situation from the point of view of the exhibitors in the United States to-day, would be less apt to facilitate the passage of British films into America than they were before 935 this Bill became law. I know quite a number of the American captains in that industry personally, and I can assure the House that there is little sentiment, if any, when it comes to deciding a question of this kind. The film will be considered from one point of view only, namely, whether it is a film which will be a success from the box office point of view. After all, it is obvious that as a result of this Bill many producing companies will spring up in this country. My hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. H. Williams) quoted a case in this House only yesterday where a film company in putting its prospectus before the public had its share capital subscribed over eleven times. It is obvious the British investor, at least, has far more faith in the capabilities of the British producer, British industry, and British resources than the hon. and gallant Gentleman has himself. I sincerely hope that in deciding this question the House will bear in mind the facts which it has been my privilege to put before it to-night.
The whole question comes down to this. Do you or do you not want to encourage the production and exhibition of British films in this country at the present time? We on this side of the House feel for many reasons that that is a desirable and legitimate object. With that purpose in view, we have endeavoured to give all the encouragement to British producers which is possible and, at the same time, which is practicable, and that is the reason why the quota percentage has been set out in the Schedule in the way that it has been. For instance, anybody who visits the cinema will know that a film which takes up only 5 or 7½ per cent, of the programme, may be an instructional film or a short comedy, and I think it is reasonable to suppose that the British producers to-day will be able to produce among themselves sufficient films of a high quality at least to fill 7½ per cent, of the programme. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that the exhibitor will be forced, whether he likes it or not, to buy or to rent British films, and the studios, knowing that fact, will not concentrate on those films or invest the necessary capital, and turn out a quality of film which can compete fairly with American or with other foreign films. But there are, even if no other British 936 producing companies are formed after this Bill becomes law, sufficient producing companies in Breat Britain to-day to fill anything up to 10 per cent, of the programmes.
There is only one other point with which I desire to deal. When the hon. and gallant Gentleman quoted, I believe, the views of many exhibitors in this country, he knew that it has been the policy of American producing companies to acquire cinema theatres direct in all parts of the world. I say American producing companies chiefly because they have more capital at their command at the moment. They have acquired many cinema theatres in this country and many cinema theatres on the Continent. Of course, it is reasonable to suppose from their point of view that they do not want and they will not support any legislation which is introduced which has the effect of making them show films which are not manufactured by their own parent firm in their own country. I sincerely hope, bearing in mind the fact that it is not until nine years hence, during which great strides can be made in this industry, that British exhibitors will be called upon to show 20 per cent, of British films, that this House to-night will give the necessary encouragement to British producers in order that the British public who visit the cinema theatres may have a better knowledge of British ideals, of British policy, and of British aims than that which comes from the medium of foreign pictures.
§ Mr. MONTAGUE
I regard this Clause as having the most vicious principle behind it that one can possibly conceive, because if it means anything at all, it means that the British public are going to be forced to see films of a particular character whether they want to see them or not. It is a question of forcing the public to see a certain percentage of films irrespective of their artistic value or of whether they satisfy the taste of the public at all. I regard that as an exceedingly vicious principle. Apart from the economic side of the question, and apart from the point as to the protection or encouragement of the industry, the renter has to take his quota anyhow. So far as the encouragement of the industry is concerned, that is already covered, but here the exhibitor is compelled not only to. 937 buy, but to exhibit, films of a certain character whether the customers of the exhibitor require to see them or not. Otherwise, the Clause is totally unnecessary. That is the only possible purpose of a Clause of this character. The principle behind the thing is vicious in this way. Members of this House remember that during the War there was a point of this character brought out in the attitude which was adopted by a well-known conductor of music in London. I refer to Sir Henry J. Wood. At that time there was a movement more or less official—semi-official and of a public character—which endeavoured to prevent the performance of German music, because we were at war with Germany. To the credit of his artistic and moral courage, Sir Henry Wood stood up against it. He realised that in matters of art the only possible attitude of mind would have to be an international one, whether it was a question of war or not. Yet here you have the same vicious principle, not in the encouragement of the industry—that is already covered—but in the name of patriotism, which I respect quite as much as any Member opposite. I think that patriotism, if worth anything at all, can very well be left to take care of itself without the encouragement of such a vicious principle.
At the present moment, Sir Thomas Beecham has brought before the country a very important proposal with regard to the development of opera in this country. Suppose the proposal brought before this House was that out of every four operas produced by Sir Thomas Beecham under his new scheme one had to be the production of a British composer and a British librettist, what would the effect of it be? The effect, obviously, would be not the encouragement of music in this country, though it might be a temporary encouragement to certain British composers, not the encouragement of art, but the kind of thing which would encourage people to discard that very form of art and find satisfaction in other directions. If I may use another illustration rather different in type but analogous, I remember as a boy I was compelled to read the Bible through once every year. When I reached the period of life when I could decide for myself as to what my literary satisfaction would be, I did not, for many years, read the Bible at all. I 938 had had too much of the Bible forced upon me. It was not until much later in life that I began to realise the literary and spiritual value of that Book. If you are going to force people to see particular types of films, whether they want to do so or not—and that is the only meaning that can be attached to this particular Clause—the only effect will be— it will be so in my case, I am perfectly sure—that they will not go to see the films at all, but will rather go to see a revue or something else, and the industry will not be encouraged at all. For those reasons, I support the deletion of this Clause, believing in the broad principle that art and patriotism can be left to look after themselves without these adventitious aids.
§ Mr. T. SHAW
I have only a few words to say in support of the deletion of this Clause. I have heard the arguments in favour of the Bill, but it appears to me that those arguments have fallen short of dealing with the whole of the principles laid down in this Clause as well as in the Bill generally. I do not want to repeat what has been said about trying to force patriotism down one's throat. I am as patriotic a. Briton, I think, as any Member of this House, and I am so patriotic a Briton, that I absolutely object to the idea that unless I am spoonfed I shall refrain from being a Briton. It is a wrong idea of patriotism altogether. It is damning the country in the eyes of the world continually to be trotting out the idea that unless you are always shouting about the flag, that unless you are constantly being fed with inspiration about the flag, you will not remain a good Briton. It is a monstrous idea that we should have this kind of thing inflicted on us generally and to an extent that is really an absurdity. But there is another thing—and the principal thing—that I have as an objection to this Clause as well as to the principle of the Bill. You say to the man who is going to show the film: "We will force you to show a certain percentage of British films," but you give him absolutely no guarantee against being bled by the producer of the film. You say to him, in fact: "It is patriotism that you should use these films; it is patriotism that insists that a certain percentage shall be British films." We are to give him no guarantee that the force we apply to make him show these 939 British films shall not be used against him by the people who produce the films.
If you insist, whether for patriotic or other reasons matters nothing to me, that the man must, willy-nilly, show a certain number of films, and that the film-going public, willy-nilly, must see the films, you ought to give to the shower of the films and the people who go to see the films a guarantee that the films shall be of a price that is reasonable and a quality that is good. You do nothing of the kind. You hand over the shower of the films to the tender mercies of the producer, and give him no guarantee against being exploited, under the compulsion which you put upon him to exhibit the films. If this Bill in any way gave an assurance to the exhibitor or the public that, as a result of the compulsion to show the films, the Government would give a guarantee that the films were good and the price reasonable, one could understand it; but to hand over the exhibitor of the film and the cinema attender to the tender mercies of what will almost inevitably become under this law a great combine, is contrary to the spirit of fair play and justice. Because I believe that, I will not say the purpose but the result of the Bill will be to place the cinema proprietor and the pubic in the hands of the British film producing company who,, by virtue of this law, will be able to inflict their films, whatever their quality, on the public, and whatever their price on the cinema proprietor. I shall vote for the deletion of this Clause.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I am sorry that I was not in the House in the earlier stages of the discussion of this Clause, but so far as I can gather from what has been said the attack on the quota provisions in respect of the exhibitor is directed more from the point of principle than anything else. Let me deal with it from that standpoint. May I recall what has led up to the establishment of the quota? Hon. Members will remember that before we foreshadowed legislation the President of the Board of Trade called together the sections of the cinema trade, the exhibitors, the renters and the producers, and said to them, "We feel that this new element in our national life, this moving picture, coming to us, as to 95 per cent., from foreign countries and going about among the youth of the world, and particularly the ignorant 940 native populations of the Empire, is so important that something must be done." He called the three sections together, and said, "Can you do anything to relieve the situation?" These gentlemen got together, with the best intentions in the world, and for many months tried to do what they could to arrive at some mutual understanding which would bring about a larger production of British films, which we Britishers, very reasonably, feel we might have. They failed. Then the President of the Board of Trade decided that we must embark upon a Bill, and this is the Bill, and the exhibitors' quota is one of the great cardinal features of it.
Hon. Members criticise the quota as to exhibitors, but they must bear in mind that we have already imposed the quota on the renter, who is one of the three essential parts of the trade. We have said to the renter: "You must acquire for the purpose of renting a certain percentage of British films in the quota year." In fairness to the renter you must go to the exhibitor and say: "You must take a percentage of this quota of British films from the renter." Therefore, you are at once led from one section of the trade to the other, and you establish the exhibitors' quota. If this Clause were to be rejected now, we should be back to the condition we were in before Second Beading, when the House approved the principle of the exhibitors' quota. Arguments have been advanced as to there not being enough films available and as to the hardship, of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, that would be caused by forcing the exhibitor to take these films and forcing the British public to go and look at such films. I think those arguments have not much bearing on the main question with which we are concerned, to which reference was made by the hon. Member for Cardiff South (Captain A. Evans) namely: "Do we or do we not want to produce a greater quantity of British films?" Surely, all in this House are desirous of circulating throughout the British Empire a larger quantity of British films and I do not believe that the hon. Member for Islington West (Mr. Montague) in his heart believes that British films of a good kind cannot be produced.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I should be prepared to deal with that question whenever it came before the House; but for the moment I am dealing with the question of the exhibitors' quota, and I must ask the House not to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
The House is much obliged to the Parliamentary Secretary for the very frank way in which he has replied to the discussion, and it must have been interested in the reply he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington West (Mr. Montague), which would seem to indicate that the Government are so pleased with the success they have had up to date in regard to this wonderful Films Bill that later on, if it were proposed to apply the same principle in regard to opera or comic opera or anything of that kind, the Parliamentary Secretary would be prepared to stand at that box and defend it. I should hardly think that the experience of the Government in regard to this Bill would have been sufficiently promising to encourage the Parliamentary Secretary or his Chief to go further into the development of this principle in industry. I should like to quote from an evening newspaper, tonight, the "Evening Standard," in which the editor says:Scarcely any Measure introduced into Parliament of recent years has had fewer friends. Not only were its specific Clauses picked to pieces yesterday, but the whole conception of the Bill is felt to be futile.This is one of the newspapers which supports the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
We are dealing with the particular proviso as to the exhibitors' quota.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
This is one of the main Clauses of the Bill, and the evening newspaper is right when it says that this is one of the most futile of the Clauses. It goes on to say:A Measure to make compulsory the purchase of a certain quota of British paintings, British music or British fruit could hardly be more futile.That is not encouraging to the Parliamentary Secretary. The Government have failed, despite the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary, to meet the case that has been made on behalf of the exhibitors to-night. Anyone who listened to the case made out by the hon. Member 942 for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), who has a knowledge of the industry, must feel that this Bill is severely handicapping the great majority of exhibitors in this country. The test is the opinion of the exhibitors themselves. We have been told throughout the discussions on this Bill that the President of the Board of Trade and his colleagues have consulted the trade. The Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association cannot claim a majority in favour of this Clause. The Parliamentary Secretary knows that a plebiscite was taken with regard to the exhibitors clause and a majority was recorded against it. If it be the case of the Government for the Bill that they are really acting on the advice of the trade, then they should take out this Clause at once, because on a referendum the trade is against it. The next point is the impossibility of the managers and owners of cinemas in the more crowded industrial areas like Lancashire and Yorkshire being able to comply with the quota as laid down. I have had conversations with people interested in six or seven picture houses. Within a very small area all round are competing houses, so that it is impossible with the present rate of production of British films for them to get an adequate supply of a drawing capacity to fill the quota.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
I will take the hon. Member on the figure of 5 per cent. The Board of Trade announced with considerable pride that there had been about 60 British films produced, and I ask the hon. and gallant Member how many British films you would want in any one year in order to fill the 5 per cent, quota in the first year for all theatres; films which would ensure that the box office receipts, for that is what is important, are not ruined by this legislation.
I say with great respect that the hon. Member misses the point entirely. The question of feature films does not arise for at least five years, and it does not require a feature film to fill 5 per cent, of a programme. It only requires a short film.
§ Mr. ALEXANDER
That is no answer, because the same thing applies to feature films. If you take the Board of Trade Report on the production of feature films, the same thing applies. It will not be possible in the first 12 943 months to meet the quota and not impair the box office receipts. As the hon. Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) has already said, we are hearing reports as to the type of film which has been produced. You have the military film, which does not go down in many centres, and you get films like Sweeney Todd the Barber. Does the hon. Member suggest that these are the kind of films which should be supported by a Protectionist Measure like this? Is that the type of film he wants produced? If you are going to leave this quota Clause upon the exhibitors it will be impossible for them to meet it unless their box office receipts are impaired, and if their receipts are injured you are not only endangering the profits of the owners of the theatre but seriously endangering the livelihood of a large number of working people. This consideration ought to have been more present in the mind of the Government than it has been.
In my view the Parliamentary Secretary has altogether failed to meet the case put forward by the Amendment. If you are going to have protection at all, it is quite sufficient to have a quota for the renter, and that is laid down in Clause 13. If the British producing industry is going to do the wonderful work it has been claimed it will, if it is a compulsory quota for the renter, who will have to get rid of his films on the basis of their quality, then there is quite sufficient protection afforded for those who go into the business side. It is a very serious and new departure in our industrial and commercial life to say to a great group of people in a business like the cinematograph exhibitors' business, with a capital of more than £50,000,000, who ought to know how to run their business according to the demands of the public on whom they are dependent for their profits, that you are going to lay down how in the future they are to carry on their business, and how they are to provide employment for the people who have worked for them in the past. If you are going to accept such a proposition in regard to the film industry, why not for every other industry? The conditions laid down in this compulsory quota for exhibitors and renters is just the kind of thing which hon. Members opposite usually charge Socialists with desiring to 944 bring into the business of the country. No Socialist Government would ever propose such a mad scheme as this, but the people who are always claiming that a Socialist Government will interfere with the reasonable conduct of business are now proposing an interference of a type which we have never had before, simply because it conforms to their own Protectionist theories. I hope the House will follow the advice given from this side and reject this Clause altogether.
§ Mr. STEPHEN
I would not intervene in this Debate at all but for one remark of the Parliamentary Secretary when he replied to the discussion. He said that the main reason for the introduction of this quota was the necessity for having British films shown to the natives of other parts of the Empire, and it struck me that there was something quite indefensible in subjecting the cinematograph exhibitors and the public of this country to what is involved by this Measure in order to protect the moral of the natives in some other parts of the British Empire. This Bill is not going to do anything of that kind. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] An hon. Member says "Why?" I do not think an exhibition of "Sweeney Todd, the Barber" would have an uplifting effect upon the natives of the Isle of Wight, or any other island around the British Isles. There is one question I want to put to the Government in connection with this Clause, and it is whether it is not possible to come to some kind of compromise regarding it. This Clause provides that a certain quota of British films must be exhibited. I suggest that the proprietors might take the quota and pay the renters for their share, in order to allow the development of the industry to proceed; but that they should be allowed to withhold from exhibition pictures which they thought might spoil their programmes and kill their business.
I do not think that during all the controversy upon this Measure a suggestion of the kind has been made, and I do not think the Government have considered the point. If the proprietor of the picture house is willing to take his quota of the films, he will also be prepared to exhibit films which are good business; but he ought to be allowed on the other hand to say, "If all the pictures in my share are such that the exhibition of them only means that people will see 945 neither British films nor any other films because they will not come to the theatre at all, then I will withhold them from exhibition." I think my suggestion represents a fair compromise. There would be no necessity for the exhibition of the film unless the person responsible for the cinema theatre thought it was good business to do so. If good British films were produced, the proprietors of these picture houses would be anxious to put those films on the screen. The public, too, would be anxious to see those British films if they justified themselves. Then business would prosper and everybody would be satisfied. But if the result of this Bill is to spoil business, it will only have the effect of doing away altogether with British film-producing and practically with the whole cinema industry in this country. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will agree to leaving to the option of the individual the question of whether he will exhibit or not, as long as he takes the quota. That would be a fair compromise and would offer an incentive to British producers to produce the real article and make British films a success. It would put them on their mettle and induce them to put their imaginations and their minds into the production of films and would place British films at the head of the film production of the world. Clause 19, as it stands, does not give the industry in Britain a chance. It is meant to be kind but it is mistaken kindness. It represents the grandmotherly attitude of saying to the industry, "Cling to my hand; I will look after you."
I also suggest to the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary that if they are in thorough earnest about this matter, they should give an exhibition of films to Members of the House. I throw out the suggestion that before the Third Reading arrangements should be made for an exhibition in some of the Committee Rooms of British and other films. It would be a cheering innovation in our deliberations and might result in the abandonment of the Third Reading of the Bill. The cinema industry and also British film production would then be allowed to go on and prosper. It will prosper if it is dependent upon the enterprise, imagination and endeavour of British citizens who can, I am quite sure, 946 hold their own against any rivals in the world without such adventitious aids as are offered by the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I have been conferring with my colleagues and we are prepared to make the Government an offer. If they will drop this Clause and also Clause 20 referring to the prohibition against carying on the business of an exhibitor unless licensed, we will not offer any further opposition to this Bill either during the Report Stage or on the Third Reading. [Laughter.] It is not a laughing matter. The exhibitors' quota is quite unnecessary as far as British industry is concerned. As long as the renters' quota is provided for, then a quota of British films is bound to be made and bought and probably shown. At any rate, there will be a certain amount of employment and of incentive to British producers. The renters' quota is already in the Bill. Could not we drop the exhibitors' quota and the provision as to licences for exhibitors? It is unneces-to give all this trouble to the exhibitors and it would be in the interests of the Government and certainly in the interests of the industry to simplify the Bill by leaving the exhibitor out of all the nuisance and inconvenience which these two Clauses will cause.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I have been four and a half months in Committee upstairs with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman on this Bill and, much as I have admired the adroitness with which he has led the small band of opponents to the Bill, there have been times when I have found it difficult to take him seriously. He comes to me now and asks me to drop a Clause of the Bill which we consider to be essential, and he asks me to do so for the sake of some bargain that he will drop all opposition to the Bill from this moment onwards. But he has already agreed with the President of the Board of Trade that the proceedings on the Bill shall terminate on Thursday. I must say that I do not like the suggestion which he now makes that we should drop out of the Bill a key Clause on which the renters' quota depends. He says it does not matter, but I say it does, and that if you did not impose a quota on the exhibitors, you would have a very weak ground for imposing one on 947 the renters. Of course, I cannot accept any such agreement.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word948
§ eleven,' in line 24, stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 232; Noes, 139.949
|Division No. 338.]||AYES.||[8.47 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Murchison, Sir Kenneth|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Ganzoni, Sir John||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Albery, Irving James||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Gates, Percy||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Appiln, Colonel R. V. K.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Goff, Sir Park||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Grace, John||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Grotrian, H. Brent||Philipson, Mabel|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Pilcher, G.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Berry, Sir George||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Price, Major C. W M.|
|Bethel, A.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Radford, E. A.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Harland, A.||Ramsden, E.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Remer, J. R.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Hasiam, Henry C.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hawke, John Anthony||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Rye, F. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hills, Major John Waller||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hilton, Cecil||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Burman, J. B.||Hope, Capt. A. 0. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Sandon, Lord|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hudson, R. S. (Cumb'l'nd, Whiteh'n)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Huntingfield, Lord||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Christie, J. A.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Skelton, A. N.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Jephcott, A. R.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cope, Major William||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Couper, J. B.||Lamb, J. Q.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Loder, J. de V.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Long, Major Eric||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Lumley, L. R.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Maclntyre, Ian||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Dixey, A. C.||McLean, Major A.||Tinne, J. A.|
|Drewe, C.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Edmonson, Major A. J.||Mac Robert, Alexander M.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Waddington, R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Margesson, Capt. D.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Meller, R. J.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Merriman, F. B.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Wells, S. R.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple|
|Fielden, E. B.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Foster, Sir Harry S.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Womersley, W. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.||Captain Bowyer and Major the|
|Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Yorburgh, Major Robert D. T.||Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Withers, John James|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hardle, George D.||Smillie, Robert|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Baker, Walter||Hayday, Arthur||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Hayes, John Henry||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Batey, Joseph||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Snell, Harry|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Hirst, G. H.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Broad, F. A.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Bromfield, William||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Kelly, W. T.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kennedy, T||Sullivan, Joseph|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Taylor, R. A.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Thomson, Trsvelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Clowes, S.||Lawson, John James||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lee, F||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Lindley, F. W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Compton, Joseph||Lowth, T.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Lunn, William||Varley, Frank B.|
|Cove, W. G.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Viant, S. P.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Mackinder, W.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||March, S.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Maxton, James||Wedgwood. Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Dennison, R.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Duncan, C.||Montague, Frederick||Welsh, J. C.|
|Dunnico, H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Westwood, J.|
|Edwards. C. (Monmouth, Bedweilty)||Murnin, H.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|England, Colonel A.||Naylor, T. E.||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Unlver.)||Oliver, George Harold||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Fenby, T. D.||Owen, Major G.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Forrest, W.||Palin, John Henry||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Paling, W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Glliett, George M.||Potts, John S.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Gosling, Harry||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ritson, J.||Wright, W.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln.,Cent.)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O.(W. Bromwich)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Greenall, T.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Elland)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Scrymgeour, E.||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.|
|Groves, T.||Scurr, John||Whiteley.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I beg to move, in page 10, line 24, to leave out the word "eleven," and to insert instead thereof the word "nine."
This is consequent upon the reduction in the period.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to move, in page 10, line 29, after the word "films," to insert the words "compared with registered foreign films."
I have put down several Amendments to this Bill, and I am glad to say that every one of them has been accepted by the President of the Board of Trade, and I feel sure that, now that the Parliamentary Secretary is in charge, he will not 950 wish to be any less generous. This Amendment, I understand, is purely drafting, although I have had brought to me certain considerations which would appear to make it more than drafting. The object of my hon. Friends and myself in putting the Amendment down was to clarify Clause 19, and that is at present the whole of our intention. If hon. Members will look at the Clause, they will see that exhibitors must exhibit films at such and such a theatre in at least such proportion of registered British films as is mentioned with respect to the year in question. If you are going to have a proportion of British films, you must know what the proportion refers to, but I take it that the proportion of British films must be in a certain quota compared with 951 the number of registered foreign films. If in the Second Schedule you say that in such and such a year, say 1937, 20 per cent, of the registered British films must be shown, that must be 20 per cent, compared with a corresponding number of registered foreign films, but the words "compared with registered foreign films" do not appear in the text, and my object is to insert them and make quite certain on this point. I do not know whether there is any objection to these words; if so, I should be glad to hear what it is. They make it a little clearer, however, and I think the Under-Secretary might well emulate his Chief in accepting the Amendment.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I do wish I could accept the Amendment, but I cannot. The hon. and gallant Member wants for some reason or other to decide on a percentage of the foreign films only. What he will do by this Amendment is to reduce the total percentage and take a percentage of foreign films. If the amount of foreign films shown is 75 per cent., he will take his percentage on that and not on the total of all registered films shown. If he reads the Clause to the end, he will find that the percentage is to include both long films and short films,and if the films so exhibited include both long films and short films as hereinbefore defined the requirements of this Section must be satisfied as respects the long films so exhibited as well as respects all the films so exhibited.So that it makes it quite clear that the quota percentage is taken on the whole.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
It is not clear. You say "the proportion of all films." Do you mean all the films?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Then why leave the wording in such a way that it may mean all films, including those to which the Bill does not apply? It is
§ just like the drafting of this Bill, it is absolutely obscure. That is one of the points a decent draftsman would see at once.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
You are stating that the proportion of British films must be a certain proportion of something else, and, as far as I can make out from the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, it means the proportion of the total films registered. All those words at the end were added in the Committee stage to meet the case of the long and short films, but really they do not apply to the Clause at all. We ought to have somewhere in the Bill what it is a proportion of. I do not propose debating this matter. It is merely a matter of drafting, but it does leave the Clause in an obscure position. We do not know whether the proportion of 20 per cent, is to be 20 per cent, of all the films exhibited in the theatre or 20 per cent, of all the registered films.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
Cannot the Parliamentary Secretary give further consideration to this matter 2 If he will look at Part IV of the Bill, Clause 26, he will see a whole series of films to which the Act does not apply, but these films, although they have not got to be registered under the Bill, will be shown. The point we wish to make clear is whether these are to be calculated when you are reckoning the percentage. Surely the Parliamentary Secretary could make that point clear, and say whether the percentage is only to be taken from the actual registered films shown.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I do not want to leave hon. Gentlemen in any doubt. The percentage applies to films dealt with in Clause 19. Those are only registered films, so the percentage can only apply to registered films.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 135; Noes, 235.955
|Division No. 339.]||AYES.||[9.5 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West)||Baker, Walter||Bromfield, William|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Bromley, J.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Batey, Joseph||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)|
|Ammon, Charles George||Bondfield, Margaret||Buchanan, G.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cape, Thomas|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Broad, F. A.||Charleton, H. C.|
|Clowes, S.||Kelly, W. T.||Snell, Harry|
|Cluse, W. S.||Kennedy, T.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Compton, Joseph||Kirkwood, D.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Connolly, M.||Lawrence, Susan||Stephen, Campbell|
|Cove, W. G.||Lawson, John James||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Lee, F.||Strauss, E. A.|
|Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh)||Lindley, F. W.||Sullivan, J.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lowth, T.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lunn, William||Taylor, R. A.|
|Dennison, R.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.)|
|Duncan, C.||Mackinder, W.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Dunnico, H.||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||March, S.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Fenby, T. D.||Maxton, James||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Gardner, J. P.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Varley, Frank B.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Montague, Frederick||Viant, S. P.|
|Gillett, George M.||Morrison. R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Gosling, Harry||Murnin, H.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Nayfor, T. E.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Oliver, George Harold||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Greenall, T.||Owen, Major G.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Coine)||Palin, John Henry||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Paling, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Pethick-Lawrence, F, W.||Westwood, J.|
|Groves, T.||Potts, John S.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Grundy, T. W.||Ritson, J.||Whiteley, W.|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Rose, Frank H.||Williams, C. P. (Denbigh. Wrexham)|
|Hardie, George D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Scurr, John||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Sitch, Charles H.||Wright, W.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Smillie, Robert||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighiey)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr. Allen|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Clayton, G. C.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Gates, Percy.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Albery, Irving James||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Goff, Sir Park|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Colman, N. C. D.||Grace, John|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Cope, Major William||Grant, Sir J. A.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Couper, J. B.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Gunston, Captain D. W.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Berry, Sir George||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Bethel, A.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Harland, A.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Dawson, Sir Philip||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Dixey, A. C.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Drewe, C.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Ellis, R. G.||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Briscoe, Richard George||England, Colonel A.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Burman, J. B.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Fermoy, Lord||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Fielden, E. B.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Casseis, J. D.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Forrest, W.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Foster, Sir Henry S.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Ceh'l)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Christie, J. A.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Penny, Frederick George||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G, (Westm'eland)|
|Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Lamb, J. Q.||Philipson, Mabel||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.|
|Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Pilcher, G.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Power, Sir John Cecil||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Price, Major C. W. M.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Loder, J. de V.||Radford, E. A.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Long, Major Eric||Raine, Sir Walter||Sugden, Sir Wilfred|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Ramsden, E.||Templeton, W. P.|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Lumley, L. R.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Lynn, Sir R. J.||Remer, J. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. o. (I. of W.)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Tinne, J. A.|
|Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Ropner, Major L.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|MacIntyre, Ian||Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.||Waddington, R.|
|McLean, Major A.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Rye, F. G.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. steel-||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wells, S. R.|
|Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Sandon, Lord||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple|
|Meller, R. J.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Merriman, F. B.||Savery, S. S.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-||Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Shepperson, E. W.||Withers, John James|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Murchison, Sir Kenneth||Skelton, A. N.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Nelson, Sir Frank||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smithers, Waldron||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Somervilie, A. A. (Windsor)||Captain Viscount Curzon and Major|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||the Marquess of Titchfield.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
Captain A. EVANS
I beg to move, in page 11, line 17, at the end, to insert the words:(4) In the case of any exhibitor who, in any such year, does not exhibit in any one theatre on more than six days nor in more than one theatre at the same time, the provisions of this Section as to the exhibitors' quota shall apply, subject to the following modification: it shall not be necessary for any such exhibitor to comply with those provisions as respects any particular theatre if, had all the exhibitions given by him in the year been exhibitions at the same theatre, those provisions would have been complied with.This Amendment is really consequential upon the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain Macdonald) on Clause 16, and accepted by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade. As the Bill is framed, under Clause 20 an exhibitor has to obtain a licence from the Board of Trade for each theatre at which he exhibits his film, and also to comply with the quota provisions in respect of each individual theatre. I think it will be agreed that this imposes an obvious hardship upon the proprietors of travelling cinemas which move from place to place and give shows on only one or two nights in various halls in different vil- 956 lages and small towns. Accordingly, the Amendment proposes that such an exhibitor will be held to comply with the requirements of the Act if he shows at his theatres the requisite number of British films to satisfy the quota.
§ Sir B. CHADWICK
I am pleased to be able to accept this Amendment, which will confer a little benefit on a very deserving class of people, the small exhibitors.
§ Amendment agreed to.