HC Deb 15 November 1927 vol 210 cc971-9

I beg to move, in page 12, line 16, at the end, to insert the words (3) Every licensed exhibitor shall exhibit in connection with each registered film the registration, date, length, and whether British or foreign. I think this is an Amendment which will commend itself to the hon. Gentleman who is at present in charge of this Bill. Hon. Members opposite have expressed themselves as being quite confident that British films can hold their own against any in the world. They have told us that British films are quite as good as any others that can be produced. I expect that the hon. Gentleman will accept this Amendment, but, if he does not, I should like him to say why the public are not to know the source of the films that are being produced, for it seems to me to be a very important matter. After all, the Government are very keen on the question of merchandise marks, and on allowing the public to know the source or origin of everything they consume. Everything has been stamped. Even our eggs must be stamped, and, if eggs are to be marked, I do not see why films should not be marked. I expect the hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment. At any rate, I move it in the sure and certain hope that this modest little attempt on the part of the Opposition, who are usually supposed not to be patriotic, will be met in the spirit in which it is made, so that these supreme British products of ours shall at least be known for what they are, and that anyone who sees them shall recognise them at once. We do not want dud films with a recent date. We want the date included, so that the public cannot be imposed upon. If the film bears its history on its face, we shall be quite satisfied. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade will accept this Amendment in the spirit in which it is moved.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The hon. Gentleman has provided me with many arguments, and I almost might say that out of the mouths of the Opposition we have heard so much of the bad productions that obviously it would not be advisable to mark them if they are as bad as they say they are. My reason for not wishing to mark these films is that nowhere in the Bill do we ask the renter or the exhibitor to exhibit the marking of films. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] If the hon. Member will allow me to proceed I will tell him why. In the first place it would mean that the exhibitor would have to exhibit the information on a separate film or on a lantern slide. Just think what it would mean to the ordinary exhibitor if he had to put on a separate show in order to give the information the hon. Gentleman thinks it right to give to the British public. I submit it is not of any interest to the British public that he should exhibit in connection with those films, the registration, date, length, and whether British or foreign. If hon. Gentlemen on those benches say: "Why should I be driven to see films I do not want to see," I would say that they are not interested in films at all, let alone being interested in the particulars the hon. Gentleman desires to be put into the Bill. It would be a very inconvenient thing for exhibitors to have to do. The main reason for not putting these particulars into the Bill is the absence of any good reason in favour of them. Furthermore, if the exhibitor did not give a special exhibition of these marks, either on a lantern slide or on a separate film, he would again be liable to very heavy penalties to which hon. Gentlemen so strongly object. I am afraid, therefore, that I cannot accept the Amendment.

Colonel DAY

The speech of the hon. Gentleman shows how deplorable it is for us to have to hear some of the explanations that are given, quite innocently but ignorantly. When the hon. Gentleman says that it will be necessary for lantern slides or some separate film to be used in order to make the announcement that the films are British, it shows how hopeless it is to expect any good from the Bill introduced by the Department that he represents. All people who have seen films know that the announcements are made in the film itself as a "forerunner" before the picture is shown. If they are so ashamed of letting the public know that these wonderful British films that are being produced really are British, we want to suggest to them that they should give the public the opportunity of going out if they do not want to see them.

Many instances have been given that not only in Great Britain but in our Colonies it is a common occurrence for patrons before they go to see a cinema picture to ask one another: "Is it a British film?" If the answer is in the affirmative, they say: "Do not let us go there; let us go somewhere else." [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to say "Oh!" but what I have stated is a fact. I have heard it myself on many occasions, and, if hon. Members opposite had the courage to get up and say so, they could tell us that that has been the case among their own personal acquaintances. [Interruption.] I suggest that the hon. Members who are making those remarks are not picture patrons at all, or very seldom go to the cinema. In Committee we had a statement made by several hon. Members that they did not go to the pictures. One hon. Member said that he had only seen one cinema picture in many years, and I can tell the House that it was an American picture which he saw. If the Government think that these British films are going to be so good, and there have been so many super-films made during the last year, as the President of the Board of Trade told us, do not let us be ashamed of our own productions. The Government are continually saying: "Buy British goods." Then let the public know that these magnificent pictures which we are making are British, and do not let us be ashamed of it.


The hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), who is so anxious to advertise British films, knows that there is nothing to prevent anyone from saying what the film is, where it was made, and on what date, and all about it. Why should it be made compulsory in the Bill that something should be done which is already done in connection with the film? The House, I think, will agree that this Amendment is simply put forward as an excuse for delaying the passage of the Bill.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

The speech to which we have just listened from the hon. Member opposite completely obliterates the speech made by the great expert in shipping who represents the Board of Trade. I have seen British films shown with the date of the film, and advertised as of British production. The great film companies always have in connection with their films certain preliminaries, giving the caste and telling whether it is of British production, of German production, a Metro-Goldwyn production and so on, and there is no reason why they should not do what is proposed in this Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary does not appear to know anything about the put-

ting together of a film. The other day, I wanted to give a lecture on the Navy to some schoolboys; not political at all, I went to a British company, which makes films, and said, "Have you some good films of the Fleet?" They showed me a great number and I picked out a few feet here and a few feet there, and while I smoked a cigarette they put together all the pieces that I had chosen, packed them in a tin box and I took them away and showed them to the schoolboys—it was at one of the public schools—and they were very pleased with them. The pictures were beautifully done as one of the British news features. The hon. Member for Central Southwards point is that we have not produced any number of feature films. There is no technical difficulty in carrying out what we suggest, and I think the Amendment might have been received with a little more consideration. The Board of Trade want us to mark herrings, eggs and so forth, so long as it is a form of protection for some British manufactured article, but they are not prepared to mark the British film. I have never seen the Board of Trade show up in a worse light than on this simple little Amendment.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 130; Noes, 252.

Division No. 342.] AYES. [10.21 p.m.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (File, West) Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty) Kelly, W. T.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) England, Colonel A. Kennedy, T.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.) Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.
Amnion, Charles George Fenby, T. D. Kirkwood, D.
Attlee, Clement Richard Forrest, W. Lawrence, Susan
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston) Gardner, J. P. Lee, F.
Baker, Walter Gibbins, Joseph Lindley, F. W.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery) Gillett, George M. Lowth, T.
Batey, Joseph Gosling, Harry Lunn, William
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mackinder, W.
Broad, F. A. Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)
Bromfield, William Greenall, T. March, S.
Bromley, J. Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Maxton, James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute) Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)
Buchanan, G Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Montague, Frederick
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel Groves, T. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Cape, Thomas Grundy, T. W. Murnin, H.
Charleton H. C. Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton) Naylor, T. E.
Clowes, S. Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Oliver, George Harold
Cluse, W. S. Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Owen, Major G.
Compton, Joseph Hardie, George D. Palin, John Henry
Connolly, M. Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon Paling, W.
Cove, W. G. Hayday, Arthur Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Hirst, G. H. Potts, John S.
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale) Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield) Rees, Sir Beddoe
Day, Colonel Harry Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Ritson, J.
Dennison, R. John, William (Rhondda, West) Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)
Duncan, C. Johnston, Thomas (Dundee) Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Dunnlco, H. Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Rose, Frank H.
Scrymgeour, E. Sutton, J. E. Westwood, J.
Scurr, John Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro. W.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Short, Alfred (Wednesbury) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.) Wiggins, William Martin
Sitch, Charles H. Tinker, John Joseph Wilkinson, Ellen C.
Smillie, Robert Townend, A. E. Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Trevelyan, Rt. Hon, C. P. Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighiey) Varley, Frank B. Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanell)
Smith, Rennle (Penistone) Viant, S. P. Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Snell, Harry Wallhead, Richard C. Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffes)
Snowden. Rt. Hon. Philip Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline) Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Stamford, T. W. Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda) Wright, W.
Stephen, Campbell Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Stewart, J. (St. Rollox) Wellock, Wilfred
Sullivan, J. Welsh, J. C. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Mr. Hayes and Mr. Whiteley.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Davies, Dr. Vernon Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T. Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.) Jephcott, A. R.
Ainsworth, Major Charles Dawson, Sir Philip Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Albery, Irving James Dean, Arthur Wellesley Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton) Dixey, A. C. Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Applln, Colonel R. V. K. Drewe, C. King, Commodore Henry Douglas
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W. Eden, Captain Anthony Lamb, J. Q.
Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W. Edge, Sir William Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Edmondson, Major A. J. Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Elliot, Major Walter E. Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Ellis, R. G. Loder, J. de V.
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.) Long, Major Eric
Barnett, Major Sir Richard Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Everard, W. Lindsay Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Fairfax, Captain J. G. Lumley, L. R.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W. Falle, Sir Bertram G. Lynn, Sir R. J.
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish- Fanshawe, Captain G. D. MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Berry, Sir George Fermoy, Lord Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Bethel, A. Fielden, E. B. Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Betterton, Henry B. Forestier-Walker, Sir L. Maclntyre, Ian
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Foster, Sir Harry S. McLean, Major A.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton) Foxcroft, Captain C. T. Macmillan, Captain H.
Boothby, R. J. G. Fraser, Captain Ian Mac Robert, Alexander M.
Bourne, Captain Robert Croft Ganzoni, Sir John Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Garro-Jones, Captain G. M. Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W. Gates, Percy Margesson, Captain D.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Brassey, Sir Leonard Goff, Sir Park Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive Gower, Sir Robert Meller, R. J.
Briggs, J. Harold Grace, John Merriman, F. B.
Briscoe, Richard George Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.) Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Brittain, Sir Harry Grant, Sir J. A. Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)
Broun-Lindsay, Major H. Greene, W. P. Crawford Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Grotrian, H. Brent Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E. Moore, Sir Newton J.
Burman, J. B. Gunston, Captain D. W. Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Burton, Colonel H. W. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Murchison, Sir Kenneth
Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich) Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Caine, Gordon Hall Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.) Nelson, Sir Frank
Campbell, E. T. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Neville, Sir Reginald J.
Cassels, J. D. Harland, A. Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City) Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent) Nuttall, Ellis
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth. S.) Haslam, Henry C. O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston) Hawke, John Anthony Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Chapman, Sir S. Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle) Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Christie, J. A. Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P. Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Clarry, Reginald George Henn, Sir Sydney H. Phllipson, Mabel
Clayton, G. C. Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J. Pilcher, G.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Power, Sir John Cecil
Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George Hilton, Cecil Price, Major C. W. M.
Colman, N. C. D. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Radford, E. A.
Conway, Sir W. Martin Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone) Raine, Sir Walter
Couper, J. B. Hope, Capt. A. O J. (Warw'k, Nun.) Ramsden, E.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar) Remer, J. R.
Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim) Hopkins, J. W. W. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Craig, Sir Ernest (Chester, Crewe) Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N. Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend) Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K. Ropner, Major L.
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.) Ruggles-Brise, Lieut.-Colonel E. A.
Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Galnsbro) Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n) Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cunliffe, Sir Herbert Hume, Sir G. H. Salmon, Major I.
Curzon, Captain Viscount Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Dalkeith, Earl of Huntingfield, Lord Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd) Mine, Sir Edward M. Sandeman, N. Stewart
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H. Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H. Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Sanderson, Sir Frank Streatfeild, Captain S. R. Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D. Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C. Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Savery, S. S. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn) Watts, Dr. T.
Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie Styles, Captain H. Walter Wells, S. R.
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W.) Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Sheffield, Sir Berkeley Templeton, W. P. Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)
Shepperson, E. w. Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton) Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down) Thompson, Luke (Sunderland) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Skelton. A. N. Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dlne, C.) Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell- Wolmer, Viscount
Smith-Carington, Neville W. Tinne, J. A. Womersley, W. J.
Smithers, Waldron Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Spender-Clay, Colonel H. Waddington, R. Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F. Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland) Warner, Brigadier-General W. w. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Warrender, Sir Victor Major Cope and Mr. Penny.
Strauss, E. A. Waterhouse, Captain Charles