HC Deb 07 February 1929 vol 224 cc1926-7

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that at the New Gallery Cinema, Regent Street, on Sunday last, 3rd February, the Film Society presented a film entitled "The End of St. Petersburg," a Russian picture commissioned for propaganda purposes in connection with the tenth anniversary of the Russian revolution; that during the presentation of the film the words, All power to the Soviet, appeared; that these words were cheered and the National Anthem hissed; and what action he proposes to take?


Yes, Sir, I am aware that this film was exhibited at a meeting of the Film Society last Sunday, and that there was some demonstration on the appearance of the words mentioned. The society state that no demonstration of any kind save that of respectful attention was remarked by members of the council during the playing of the National Anthem. I may add that a colleague in this House who was present assured me that the National Anthem was properly received by all the people at the meeting. The Film Society is authorised by the London County Council to exhibit privately on Sunday afternoons to a restricted audience of members and their friends films which have not been passed by the British Board of Film Censors, subject to certain conditions, of which one is that no film likely to lead to disorder or to bo in any way offensive in the circumstances to public feeling shall be exhibited. I have drawn the attention of the London County Council to the exhibition of this film, and they will no doubt consider whether it comes within the condition referred to. I am disposed to think, from information that has reached me independently, that such incidents as occurred have been exaggerated, and I do not contemplate any further action in the matter.


May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) is an official censor; if not, whether the right hon. Gentleman does not consider that the time has arrived for the appointment of at least two or three official film censors?


That question does not arise out of the answer.

Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY

Are we to understand that, while this was going on, the right hon. Gentleman left this city for a week-end in the country, and that these matters were only brought to his attention by the hon. Baronet the Member for Anglesey (Sir R. Thomas)? How is it that the right hon. Gentleman has to have his attention drawn to such a terrible—[Interruption.]