The New Spirit in the Cinema  

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"Certainly, in the Bolshevist love-making pictures such as Moscow Laughs and Weeps the kissing, such as it is, looks more like nose-rubbing."--The New Spirit in the Cinema (1930) by Huntly Carter

"Unless we can do away with money entirely as a medium of exchange, as the Bolshevists tried to do in the early years of the Revolution , then we must recognise its symbols and understand that they indicate a peculiar power which the time requires."--The New Spirit in the Cinema (1930) by Huntly Carter

"Among the élite you saw Charlie Chaplin, John Bunny, Fatty Arbuckle, Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Denny, Mary Pickford, William Farnum, Maurice Costello, Flora Finch, Florence Turner, Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, the stars of the comic shorts of Raymond Griffith, and so on, and so on."--The New Spirit in the Cinema (1930) by Huntly Carter

"Fantasy, which has for so long been accepted as an expression of the whimsical state of mind, is, of course, within the legitimate sphere of the Cinema. On the screen it is seen at its gayest and best in a small line that assumes thousands of fantastic shapes that compose the Cartoon. In the Cartoon, which is one of the most popular and in some respects the best medium of cinema expression, the human atom and its belong ings, undergo whimsical changes that cause a continuous stream of images to form in the mind, and that throw an abundance of rich crumbs to the imagination. But the Cartoon never departs from the actual. It consists of an elastic line in evolution . Shapes grow out of it with which we are familiar even though they are distorted and battered by a sort of recurrent earthquake.

In other words, the Cartoon of the Mickey Mouse, the Krazy Kat, the Felix the Cat, the Inkwell, the Adventures of Sammy and Sausage, or the Oswald Sound Cartoon kind, is simply the caricaturist playing with a line that has the elasticity of gas. It shrinks and expands, collapses and recovers, behaves like a spring winding and unwinding, and at the same time assumes the shapes and characteristics of human beings, animals, insects, of animate things, and inanimate ones made animate. These extraordinary puppets of all sorts, that fall to pieces in heaps and reunite, and outdo even an india - rubber ball in diversity of shapes, that speed through space with a velocity that has no parallel outside the Cinema, have a distinct sociological value. They exhibit man in society caught in a network of events under going or trying to escape the consequences. They are in fact a comment, a very witty instructive and biting comment on the absurdities of Man and other living things seen in the light of materialism . At the same time they are human, tragic and comic. According to Mr. W. O. Brigstocke, of the Education Department of the Liverpool University, the Cartoon has a valuable educational side owing to its elasticity. He has suggested that the moving line of a Felix Cartoon can serve to teach architecture. 'Felix could illustrate in a film such difficult conceptions as that of thrust in architecture. Suppose the teacher turned two other Felixes into pillars at his side and then con structed a Felix arch. It would be easy and amusing for him to show stresses and how they could be met. You would see the arch sagging at the knees or wherever it would sag. Gothic cathedrals which demonstrated in the sight of all men where they were weak and where they were strong, by bending, writhing, and even falling down promise infinite amusement. In the same way what could not be done with maps? Let Felix be taken up to a great height and let him behold all the kingdoms of the world with their pomps and vanities not to speak of their trade and transport ; then drop him a given number of feet, or let him use up one of his nine lives and drop him all the way ; in this manner it would be easy literally to see what scale means, both in space and times values. When one thinks of Felix and mathematics — cones sliced in lovely sections, curves developing in a panopoly of perpendiculars, and tangents to illustrate the secrets of growth and motion and form —why, on these lines we could have all the joys of Felix, Professor Einstein and the Zoo simultaneously.'"--The New Spirit in the Cinema (1930) by Huntly Carter

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The New Spirit in the Cinema (1930) is a book on the history of film by Huntly Carter.






The book demanded to be written . There was a col lection of materials and a theory that sprang therefrom , ready to throw a light upon and to give a new orientation to a current event of the greatest magnitude. There was the personal desire to make a material contribution towards the solution of a great problem of the epoch, the Cinema. 2. There was a definite aim . To state and illustrate the Fall and Redemption of the Cinema. To reveal the present situa tion in the Cinema; how it has arisen ; how it may be met. To present a picture of the Cinema unfolding in Time and Space. 3. There was an unlimited scope, -the Cinema as an organic part of human and social life. Hence a field of inquiry including the departments of Science, the natural, vital and human sciences. 4. There was a new method ; not compilation but creative construction . The material offered to lend itself to a form called “ architectural structure .” There was : A Plan or Lay -out. A Structure or Cinema World. 3. Material; the outcome of first - hand observation , or drawn from records, official and press cuttings. 4. Manner, or style as it is sometimes called. 5. There were general characteristics ;-originality, interpretation, and those of a new kind of thriller, such as the new functional architecture claims to be.

Let me expand these points to help reviewers who, in these days of money-making and motoring, have no time to read books, and whose chief qualifications for reviewing them are a marvellous gift of sensing inaccuracies that do not matter, and of missing the abiding values of a work of creation, or of lesser significant merit. I say this with no malice. I try to remember that we live at a time when the spirit which breathes in criticism is that of Push and Speed. Origin of the Book . There are, broadly speaking, two sources whence good books spring. One is the inner necessity of the author to express himself. The other is the recognition by the author of the need of communicating, making known and intel ligible, the results of an inquiry into the truth of a subject of interest to a vast number of human beings. From the first come good books that attempt to state experiences or to solve problems, psychological, æsthetic, and so on, for their own sake, and which therefore appeal to a few persons only. From the second comes the fill-the-gap sort of book, or the “ timely ” or opportune " book, to give it but three of its distinguishing titles. This book in its best form aims to fill in a gap in our knowledge of a remarkable person , or thing that is occupying immediate attention. To complete our knowledge of what was in the mind of the first when in deeds or words he sought to throw a light on himself, his contemporaries, on past, present and future events of a vital import ance. Or to interpret in the truest and broadest sense a current event that is exercising a powerful influence on the new civilisation, is a key of the

present trend of human evolution ; is, in short, making history A third source of books is found in money. An author out to make money by means of the timely ” book , carefully watches for a “ topic and when it comes breathlessly compiles a book that has no particular merit except that of enter taining a large number of readers who are fas cinated by the game of catching the man of the moment, or the moment itself, on the hop, in a sensational, sentimental and silly manner. The present book springs from the second It is the outcome of years of patient observation, of painstaking inquiry, under the most difficult conditions encountered in the war and revolution swept areas of Western and Eastern Europe, into what is generally held to be the most significant instrument of human ex pression to-day. I say generally held to be advisedly. Truly speaking, the Theatre is the most powerful and significant instrument of human expression; the Cinema is merely an auxiliary. But by a series of skilful and stragetic movements the Film Kings have succeeded in pushing the Cinema into the forefront of public appreciation, and of giving the Theatre the miserable semblance of a hanger-on. One day it seemed to them that the Cinema lacked a voice.

So they stole the Voice of the Theatre and led everyone to understand that they did this in self protection. In the darkness of ignorance they had pushed out the Eye of the Camera as this was interfering with their pocket and rest. For several years back I have been interested in the Cinema, not for the reasons that film

directors and old film stars give, that they want to make shattering records in picture making, or to be the boss of sets , or to indulge in activities that would take the attention of the inmates of an asylum for well-meaning dunces. proached the Cinema as a sociologist searching for social and human values. It seemed to me that the Cinema, like the Theatre, should be one of the chief ornaments and interpreters of humanity. And I noticed that humanity was never seen to worse advantage than when it was misinterpreted, as it has been too long, by the owners of this medium. It was as sociologist then that I accumulated a mass of records that came to give birth to a theory similar to one to which my pre-occupation with the Theatre had generated. Briefly stated the theory was that the Cinema truly considered is primarily an organic part of social and human life. I felt that I could do useful work by writ ing a book to expand and illustrate this theory. At this point let me make a digression.

A little more than a year ago I set out to write a book on “ The New Spirit In The Russian Theatre.” This book had an origin similar to that of the present one. War, Revolution , travel in dark , dangerous and death -dealing places, collection of first- hand records, a theory of the moment, and the need of a book to state and illustrate the theory. The book duly appeared .' What was the theory ? That the Theatre is primarily an organic part of human life, and that the drama, rightly conceived, is a highly sen sitive instrument of representation and interpre

1 " The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre " ( Brentano, 1929 ).

tation by means of which man may play with , understand and illuminate his experience in quest of a tolerable system of human life. Too metaphysical for most ! Again, the Theatre when fulfilling its true vital function is an indispensable part of the social organism ; and that function to-day is to express practical sociology which is a feature of present day thought andaction. Nothing perplexing in that. Simply that the theatre of any country should be organised to reflect the working of the brain , heart and pulse of the whole people, and not to entertain the privileged few . In my book the term Theatre was used to include the drama. The Russian theatre was used as the best illustration of my theory that I could find. How many reviewers dealt with, or even per ceived the theory and illustration ? One hun dred ? Fifty ? A dozen ? Not half a dozen. Generally, they were intent on proving that they had not caught up to Comte. Sociology, as far as they were concerned, was an unknown thing. Yet it is the great thing of the moment. It offers the key of evolution . Its reflection by the Theatre and the Cinema is a reflection of the process of social evolution. To continue. The desire to write the book was suddenly intensified by the amazing situation that arose in the Cinema world with the coming of the Talkie in September, 1928. It is true, that signs had already appeared to warn every body of a coming change. The Fox movietone had arrived to suggest a new entertainment. The astonished public saw Hollywood screen stars augmented by eminent persons like Mr. George Bernard Shaw whose attempt to prove on the movietone screen that though Mussolini could govern a nation he could not waggle his high brow like Mr. Shaw, was excellent box office stuff. But though it was evident that a revolution was about to take place, the Film Kings continued to argue in favour of the silent film . They maintained that the “ movie attaining undreamed of heights. The big spectacular sentimental film of the Fox 1928-29 programme was proclaimed from the studio top as the last word in perfection and extravagance. The million dollar picture had receded to the background as representing a contemptible out lay, and the two million dollar one had taken its place. In the early days of 1928 millions of pounds flowed from the bursting coffers of the Film Kings and supporting bankers to capitalise their frantic endeavour to outdo each other in the pro duction of the biggest and best commercial movies. Then it seemed as though a Demon or Con juror waved a wand. And there was chaos. In the midst of unheard of confusion the Film Kings fitted the Voice which they had stolen from the Theatre, to the little black box. They plundered the Theatre of its priceless heirlooms, the objects and agents of interpretation and representation, authors, actors, producers, and so on , quite unaware that this raw material was no good for the Cinema ; that Cinema human utilities are born not made. They took every thing they could lay dollars on. It was perfectly plain to anyone who had an eye to see with, that something like a revolution had taken place. There was a complete and sudden change amounting to an overthrow of the old Cinema order, similar to the social overthrow which changed Russia from an Imperialist to a Bol shevist country. If prophecies of coming events, —the coming of the giant screen, and the all colour, stereoscopic picture, are fulfilled it may appear to future historians as a revolution of revo lutions. In any case, a new and perplexing situa tion arose . Theatrical folk knitted their brows and were unable to sleep at night. Everyone went mad. The whole public career of the Cinema was called up for review, judgment, and prophesy. It was as though a giant company promoter had suddenly gone smash . The first shock of surprise and alarm was magnified into an almost morbid interest in the origin, career, - personality , ” “ mode of living, ” associates, and the rest of the more or less intimate affairs of a big business man who, by a staggering blow of misfortune, suddenly becomes the centre of public attention. The history of the Cinema from September, 1928 , on, is then the history of a remarkable cinematic revolution . The progress made by the Cinema as the genius of magic movement, has been overshadowed by the plot of a group of Film Kings to overthrow the silent picture ap parently for the sake of advance, really for the sake of gain. Cinematographically speaking, we live at the most critical period in the history of the Cinema. This great instrument of human expression has reached the parting of the ways. XX INTRODUCTION We are about to witness, either its emergence as a mighty auxiliary of the Theatre, capable of re flecting those epic subjects which the Theatre by reason of its limitations, can never hope to reflect, or its disruption and disappearance in the quicksands of over-reaching financial ambition ." To the few persons who have kept their heads during this unparalleled period of tumult, who have witnessed the wild fight for and against organised monopoly, it is clear that an event of the utmost historical importance is taking place. They have been brought suddenly face to face with the questions: Is the Cinema about to take a form that will enable it to contribute most materially (if not spiritually also) to the benefit of mankind? Is it about to fulfil its proper function for mankind ? Is it about to reveal itself as an organic part of human life and society ? Or is it about to dwindle into an instrument of expression of sensationalism at the last gasp and of profit-mongering, beneath contempt?

That was what tempted me to undertake the task of writing the book . It seemed the Over-lordship that such questions, as questions the sense landship springing from the main question of the Human Purpose. place of the Cinema in the newcivilised world, and its power of rousing and reflecting the vital interests of a new civilised community, called for consideration in a book, and that my inquiry into the nature and value of the Cinema, and my theory of the new spirit ( new because neglected or suppressed ) were fit matters for a book, especi ally as my line of inquiry and its outcome, the theory of the Cinema fulfilling a human function, were just the things to explain and introduce the present outburst of the “ revolutionary spirit, and to provide answers to the questions of the meaning and significance and proper direction of the revolution. I saw that the object must be to determine what is the true spirit, or purpose of the Cinema ; what has been done to divert or promote that spirit; what kind of Cinema have we got to -day, and how is it fulfilling or promising to fulfil its purpose. It is according to that purpose that I have tried to shape the following inquiry. The questions I have set myself to answer are human ones. They are not the how and why of the technique of mechanics, not the how and why of the technique of æsthetic, not questions of the birth , growth and development of apparatus. They are the how and why of the human use of the Cinema, of the reactions of human beings to and against its good and bad influence. The task I have undertaken is to state and consider the three concepts (and the polices, methods, etc., arising from them) , of the Cinema that for years have been and still are struggling with each other for pre-dominance and thereby causing chaos. The commercial concept that has chained the Cinema to gold, and has made it a house of entertainment controlled by a box -office ; the semi-commercial concept that has linked the Cinema with purposeless æsthetic experiment, and argues that the function of the Cinema is to apply art principles to the illusion of movement; the non - commercial or social concept that has given the Cinema a human purpose, and argues that the Cinema is an instrument on which the xxii INTRODUCTION people as a whole should play ; they must utilise it for the expression of their memory and aspira tion, for their ambitions, desires, prejudices, the longing for and attainment of that liberty upon which the War and after events have fixed their attention. That, in short, it must be used to study and understand humanity, and in this way serve the great and vital interests of each country. I have sought to show that the æsthetic con cept is really a part of that money concept which at the moment actuates the film world. Money is the over-lord both of the Theatre and the Cinema as we know them to-day. The Film Societies and little advance guard Film organisa tions argue that they cannot exist unless there is sufficient money to pay expenses. They argue that they exhibit films for the good of society, and that society must pay in gold for this much good conferred upon it. This means that they are thinking in terms of financial investment and dividend. While they condemn the money in vestment system , they cry aloud for the million aire to invest his unholy gains in their specula tion. It seems to me important to point out that these organisations are part of the great organised system of gambling which at present appears to overpower the good purpose of the Cinema, though not wholly, as I shall show. If it is necessary to get to the roots of this system in order to do away with it , as I think it is, then it must be shown that it is wrong for organisations whose business it is to oppose it, to become en meshed in .it. There is no excuse for acquiesing in a system which they repudiate by implication , at any rate. The position of the semi-commercial INTRODUCTION xxiii or æsthetic Film Guild is examined elsewhere in this book . It may be stated here that the book seeks to show that the Cinema as it is to -day, is largely an outcome of conditions imposed upon it by the Financial Age which has succeeded the great Industrial Age. It mainly represents a vast industry with a financial investment basis, a monetary policy and with business organisa tion principles. This basis and policy are extremely harmful, for while the Cinema represents money -production only money produc tion can be got out of it . Humanly speak ing, it should rest not on money economics, but on energy economics, the kind of energy power, or energy conservation and expenditure that the new economist has in mind. Hence the question arises, can anything be done to supply the energy basis which, alone, can enable the Cinema to fulfil its true function for man ? The book attempts to answer this question by sug gesting that man himself is the Cinema. It does not exist outside of himself. And the new spirit that I have observed is that of the Cinema ful filling a human function , despite its fetters of gold. It will be gathered from the statement of aim that the book has a very wide scope. Indeed the ground covered is that of the past,, present and pos sible of the Cinema, the new commercialised tool of expression that has penetrated to the remotest corners of the earth , where it has been , and is , exerting a powerful infuence on human thought and action , according to its past and present shape. The Camera is shown as it has appeared Scope. xxiv INTRODUCTION to me unfolding in Time and Space, detecting and recording, in a more or less dramatic and thrilling way, the different aspects of the Great Gamble which is the striking feature of human life to -day. The complete picture of this dramatic theme obtained by sifting, assembling, editing, pasting together the bits of film or records, is the picture of the scope of the book. No one I think is more fond of analogies than I am, and the fascinating story of the Cinema evokes many similitudes. It has much that is analogous to the amazing story of the Great Financial Gamble; it has something analogous to the Bible story of the Fall and Redemption of Man to which I shall come presently; something analogous to the story of Cræsus and Solon , of Gold crushing Wisdom. As the Cinema is attracting the close attention of all manner of men and women it may not be unreasonable to employ different similitudes to set forth the course of a remarkable career . It is necessary to say something about method, because a book that presents a subject from a new point of view, and with a wealth of detail that seems to be the outcome of a process of gathering, sifting and classifying records and innumerable facts, is apt to be mistaken for an interesting piece of compilation and nothing more, and mercilessly dismissed as such. My method is not a compilation. It is a con struction, and I am vain enough to believe that it is a creative construction . I think I am correct in calling the result of my method an archi tectural structure. The method itself is analogous to building. I have considered the Cinema, with Method . INTRODUCTION XXV 1. Concept. 2. Plan. for purpose. its industry and manifold activities, as a vast city expressing that maximum of financial power and might, and that minimum of real human values which characterise the money- power city of the present Age. And I have striven to realise this City stage by stage, and in such a way that its defects could be noted and the means to remove them recognised and applied. Briefly the stages are : A building determined by fitness for purpose. A plan determined not by style, but by fitness A lay -out that would bring the mighty and unbounded world of the Cinema into view, that would admit of its arrangement into different sections, or plots, each complete in itself, yet each having a relation to the other, and all others, and would provide for such extensions, changes or developments, as might be necessi tated by natural growth or radical reform . In other words, a plan for the erection of a structure designed to afford a comprehensive view of the Cinema world in the past, present and possible, so as to enable everybody to see what this world is, how it has become what it is , and what it will become if it be evolved from the natural starting point to which the amazing events of the past year appear to have brought it . The reader will find the proposals for this advance considered in the section on Fulfilment. The site is determined by the plan. It con sists of a centralised surface like that of an im mense international exhibition, that can be divided into plots for the erection of different groups or masses, Hollywood , London , Berlin and Moscow , according to the functions they 3. Site or Surface . xxvi INTRODUCTION 4. Foundation . ness for 5. Building Material. were designed to fulfil, and in a manner that enables them easily to be compared. The foundation is determined by plan ,-fit purpose. The purpose falls roughly into two divisions, (a) Money-making, (b ) Liberation. The foundation of (a) is Money-Power or Finance-Capital ; of (b ) Energy-Power, or Energy Capital. The first belongs to the great com mercial Cinema ; the second is the starting -point of what may become an equally great coopera tive Cinema. The building material is determined by fitness for purpose, and at the same time it determines the structure, just as steel and glass have broken old architectural conventions, and have led the new architects of France, Germany and Russia to realise extraordinary concepts of functional architecture. It will be shown that the material which the Cinema builders found ready to hand, comes within the region of the three sciences, natural, vital and human, or those concerning geography, occupations, and the people or workers, to which geography and occupations have given birth. It will be shown how Holly wood provided the first building requisite, a natural geographical beginning, which called forth the second, the vast American Cinema In dustry, and that, in turn the third , a colony of the workers of all kinds moulded by that Industry. The material which I have used to build my book is derived from four sources : first-hand observa tion ; records; press cuttings; and press publicity material circulated by the big Film Producing companies. A reason may be given for the use of press cuttings and publicity material. I de 1 INTRODUCTION xxvii 1 cided to use newspaper cuttings because a great deal of verifiable information, facts and figures, is contained in news stories ” and views nowa day that is not to be found elsewhere without long and painstaking labour. Newspapers give us the curve registered by that seismograph the world ; their news paragraphs emphasize the daily drama which is being enacted all around us, and the workings of science, history, economics and politics.” Publicity material, likewise, is a ready source of information. I have found that it throws very much light on the more or less inti mate facts of the machinery for the production , distribution and consumption of cinema com modities, and on the personalities and careers of those engaged in these activities. “ Publicity is one of the greatest essentials in a stage or film This principle is fully recognised and applied by the Film Kings and all in their em ploy. They realise the news value of everything they do, and accordingly everything they do gets the widest advertisement. For this reason their publicity sheets are full of “ revelation revelation ” of a kind. 972 career. 6. The Structure . The main mass is an American industrial mass that resembles a living organism . Its component parts are :

1. Department of Organisation . 2. Department of Production . 3. Department of Distribution and Ex change. 4. Department of Consumption. 1 “ The City of To-morrow.” By Le Corbusier. English edition, p. 131 . C. B. Cochran , in The Film Weekly, Vol. 2 ; No. 97.

7. Manner of the Book . Smaller adjoining masses. 1. Berlin . German industrial mass that seeks to separate itself from the main mass. 2. London. English industrial mass also seeking separation. 3. Small mass with an æsthetic func tion joined to the main mass by commercial interests. 4. Moscow . An industrial mass with a liberation function striving to secure separation from the other masses but connected with them by economic necessity. This seems to call for explanation because it resembles that of my previous book .' To most of my critics the manner of the latter was in explicable. To one or two it was determined by subject. Perhaps I can best describe it in the words of an intelligent American reviewer who saw that I was setting up my house according to functional requirements and was not writing an encyclopædia. “ The book is an example of the functional theory of writing : it is a good book not by virtue of decoration , but by virtue of fit ness to material . ” ? Like the African wizard, I took my bits of straw and clay and whatever was essential and stuck them together in the form of a structure whose exterior is the language of the purpose it contains. 8. General It is not extravagant to call this a first book. It Charac teristics . may be the first really comprehensive sociological I “ The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre." By Huntly Carter ( Brentano, 1929 ). 2 Hallie Flanagan. New York, U.S.A.

study of the Cinema. So far as I know, it is the first attempt to express the synoptic vision of the wide cinema world. In any case, it is the first book to consider the Cinema as an organic part of human and social life, and, as such , a natural and organic part of the theatrical machinery. It is original, not by reason of its material , much of which is clearly open to common use, but by reason of its point of view and the ingenious arrangement of its material. Further, it is inter pretative. It is designed not only to exhibit an array of facts, but to show their relation to the spirit of the age. Finally, it may be said to be a thriller. Writing of my just-mentioned pre vious book ', a reviewer observes, “ so thrilling are the facts (of the Russian theatre) he ( the author) presents. The story of the Cinema and the Spirit of the Age likewise con tains all the ingredients of a first -class “ thriller . ” The hero is the magician in the little Black Box ; the heroine is the Good Purpose ; the villain is the Demon in the Box Office who strives to separate them ; the end is the death of the villain slain by his own cupidity, and the marriage of the Magician and Good Purpose. That is the whole thing; it is a thriller which could be written in magic language by any. one who has the gift, and who glories in fantasy. There are limitations. Enough has been said to indicate that the book is not a technical treatise on the subject of the Cinema. A good many technical treatises are in existence already. a 9. Limitations. I “ The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre." ( Brentano, 1929 ) . By Huntly Carter XXX INTRODUCTION Indeed to judge by the amount of technical stuff that pours from the Press and from the inter national publishing houses, it seems as though writers on the Cinema have gone mad on technique, or what appears to be technique but is really guesswork. Some day nearer the mil lenium the men of the Cinema will recognise that the golden rule of film making is : Take care of the subject and technique will take care of itself. At the present time there is emerging, as this book shows, the foundations of a science of film making . It is , however, not the purpose of the book to explain the “ art and craft ” of the Cinema from their humble and clumsy be ginnings to the present stage of mechanical and æsthetic ingenuity and efficiency with yields such results as may be seen in the best films. To the unreflective mind these films are marvels indeed. But to the reflective one they are sad illustrations of the use of tricks to conceal the absence of the real miracle, the development of the Cinema as an instrument which shall appeal to the human needs of mankind everywhere and in a manner suited to each succeeding age. In brief, the limitations are those imposed by what I might term a study of cinema humanism , or the Cinema considered as a humanising, even civilising, factor. Much might be said about difficulties. I will, however, mention but one—that of obtaining essential sociological data. To me Hollywood is the most perfect illustration of the present-day, Comte-Leplay -Geddes, three - fold theory of Place, Work and People, the theory, that is , of human i See “ Pudovkin on Film Technique." 1929. 10. Difficulties . INTRODUCTION xxxi 1 life and labour originated by locality, or region . This theory is very finely illustrated, perhaps un consciously, by Jean Epstein, in his production of “ Finis Terrae,” which was exhibited at the enterprising Avenue Pavilion. ” I say uncon sciously because it is most likely that the pro ducer was mainly concerned with “ entertain ment " values, such as are to be found in a good sentimental, artistic and human film . He may not have been aware of the extraordinary socio logical values of the subject. Yet there they were all the time. One detected the evolutionary process of a region (wild sea coast) producing a natural commodity (seaweed) in great abund ance, and this in turn calling forth a community of primitive and hardy fishers to gather, prepare and market the commodity, and so to subsist on this labour, while developing the characteristics of their environment and function . Hollywood has had a similar natural evolu tion , as natural as that of some of our great in dustrial centres, cotton, brewing, mining, etc. A very instructive form of drama resides in its unified, unfolding life and labour during the past fifteen years, a full description of which would have added to the importance of this book. But the necessary material for a complete picture of the evolutionary process was not forthcoming. By all accounts natural scientists have not dis covered Hollywood as yet, probably because it was originally a desert, not worth much scientific attention. The result is there is no regional survey of Hollywood, at least I have not seen I See “ The Sociological Journal.” Making of the Future.” Edited by Patrick Geddes and Victor Branford ( 1917 ). 2 October 14, 1929. Also works on > xxxii INTRODUCTION The many one, and though there is an overwhelming low of facts of Hollywood life and labour, the facts of the geographical aspects, physical facts of geology, climate, temperature, and so on, of that wonderful combination of natural features which made the Hollywood Film City inevitable upon the birth of the Cinema, are not to be had, except from the more or less sentimental guesswork impressions of visitors . difficulties experienced in the attempt to study the reactions of populations to the Cinema in the war and revolution areas, would take too long to explain. In the chapter on The Personal Equation, wherein I tell the story of my adventures in search of first -hand evidence, the reader may, if he likes , imagine them for himself. With regard to London as a world cinema industry centre, there are regional surveys that enable one to see what natural advantages this centre possesses to promote film life and labour. But the industry itself is too young, and its exten sions as yet too uncertain, to permit the inquirer to make a definite and complete London cinema industry survey. The most that can be done at present is to compare such natural and commer cial advantages as London possesses with those of Hollywood. Anyone who does so will find that commercially London has considerable advantages over Hollywood, especially as the new conditions of production set up by the present “ revolution ” of the picture promises to transfer the American cinema industry to New York and its suburbs ' . The Talkie has set Hollywood i See Film Weekly , November 18, 1929, p. 5. INTRODUCTION xxxiii a moving on, like Poor Jo. Now, it moves Londonward . There is one other difficulty that demands to be mentioned . It is that of writing a book on the Cinema that shall not be out of date as soon as it is written. The Cinema is moving with unexpected rapidity. It advances and retreats by turns. The present change seems to say that it has gone back to scratch for a fresh start all over again , from the very point where years ago it began to take the wrong path. Twenty years or more of development have been crowded into the past fifteen months. The grand scale possi bilities of the Cinema have become recognised as never before. Talkie after talkie, colour pic ture film after colour picture have appeared treading upon each other's heels to announce that something new is taking place, and to sug gest that something is about to emerge the magnitude and importance of which is being predicted by the Film Kings in such terms as Grandeur Films, Giant Films, and so on . Maybe it is something that will enable the Cinema to solve its own problem , and thereby to fulfil its function for man, both separately and as an organic part of the theatre. The book came to be written at a moment when, in fact, the Cinema was at the parting of It was a moment when one vast cinema building had reached completion and another, and perhaps vaster, was demanding to be erected. These circumstances produced the problem of writing a book not only of the moment but of permanent value. The only solution was to the ways. 3 xxxiv INTRODUCTION make past and present records as permanent as possible, and to handle possibilities in such a way as to suggest that a book will be needed some day to take up the story where the present one leaves off . 11. Definitions . Significant words are so much misused to -day that definitions of some used in this book seem necessary. A few definitions are given in the body of the book . 12. Acknowledg ments . These are placed at the end of the book owing to the late arrival of some supplementary material. i See “ Note to the First Edition ." NOTE TO THE FIRST EDITION Since this work was completed there has been an un avoidable delay in publication which has given to some of the matter of immediate interest an air of staleness ( also , let me hope, of prophecy). A slight loss of freshness in some of the details was to be expected in any case, in a work of research on a subject that is undergoing swift change and development. How swiftly the Cinema has changed since it entered the padded cell of the microphone and took to talking two years ago, need not be described here. We know that the cell has expanded to admit the open, and has lost its novelty. And we know that already new mechanical forces are being put to practical use, which had hardly been utilised six months ago . The work was planned and written at the close of one great historical period of the Cinema and at the beginning of another, and perhaps greater. It was a moment when the mighty Film Kings were beginning to build another (a Talkie) story upon the mammoth and long established money -production organisa tion called Hollywood. They hoped thus to overcome the dangerous cracks and fissures which they detected in their struc ture and apparatus, due to public revolt against the long con tinued bankruptcy of subject. They have now a harder task before them than the replacing of ethical subject by mechanical novelty. They must build story upon story in the full knowl edge that it is a temporary expedient to stave off ultimate collapse. They can never, in this way, solve the true problem of the Cinema. That problem is the problem of Subject-power, not mechanical-power. Subject progress is stronger than mechanical policy; the Cinema race is for the most progressive in Subject-power, not for the most powerful in Talkie mumble. XXXV





Nor long ago , hearing that I was preparing the present book, and noting the title, Mr. John Galsworthy inquired of me, “ Is there a New Spirit in the Cinema ? ” The question is a natural one for two reasons. In the first place, the film is still so crude in many particulars, its subject retains so many of its early rudimentary characteristics, that it is hard to believe that a new spirit has actually made its appearance. In the second place, many persons regard the Cinema as a wonderful thing that was born yesterday and therefore is much too near the date of its birth to manifest anything but the spirit with which it was born . There has not been time for the old spirit to give place to a new one. Just as many of us think that writers are still too near the great war to produce the truly great war epic, and that, therefore, authors of so -called great war books like “ All quiet on the Western Front,” by Remarque, Case of Sergeant Grischa, ” by Arnold Zweig, have accomplished only what the present-day perspective has enabled them to accomplish.

Perhaps the term “ New New Spirit Spir ” is perplexing. It is one of those significant terms which have come to lose their meaning through ignorant misuse . But it must be admitted that the word “ spirit ” is a vague one like the word “ soul ” which it is now the fashion to use at random . Recently, Mr. J. L. Garvin made the astounding discovery that his newspaper has a soul. “ The > No more sensational discovery has been made since the celebrated Mr. Hannen Swaffer discovered that he was about 1 “ The Soul of a Newspaper.” Observer. 17 November, 1929 . 3 4 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA to attain his fiftieth birthday.' No doubt Mr. Galsworthy would have understood me better if I had said , The New Pur pose, or even New Movement, although movement is not what I have in mind. Then he would have altered his question and inquired , “ Is there a New Movement ? ” and might, without waiting: for my reply have added, “ Yes. You are of course referring to the Talkie Revolution. ”

I am notreferring to the “ Talkie Revolution , ” new though that event appears to the man in the street, and to one or two persons of sense who are still undecided as to its merit. I

refer to a purpose in the Cinema which has been there from the first, which has been striving to assert itself throughout the Cinema's comparatively short career, but has been held down by the commercial hand. I remember receiving a letter from a friend, Professor Wincenty Lutozlawski , of Wilno, Poland . It seemed that his attention had been drawn to two books of mine by their titles, and having read the books he was curious to know whether I attached a spiritualistic meaning to the term “ New Spirit . ” I will take the liberty of quoting an extract or two from his letters. He explained that he is a student of reincarnation and has written an important book on the subject' in which he “ Proves by new convincingly decisive arguments that old truth so well known in India , Greece, Celtic Gaul , now very much acknowledged chiefly in Poland, and France, also by such modern English writers as Tennyson , Browning, Kipling, Matthew Arnold , Carpenter, Lafcadio Hearn , etc. — that many of us have lived in human shape many times before, and we reap now what we have sown ages ago..” After which he in quired , “ Do you think that the New Spirit consists in the awakening of the soul, in the discovery that we are eternal beings with a long past which explains the present? > " The New 1 World's Press News, November 7, 1929, p. 3. 2 “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre " (Benn ). Spirit in the Russian Theatre ” (Brentano) . Pre - existence and Reincarnation , ” 1928. 3 66 THE PROBLEM 5 1 “ This may not be expressly avowed but it seems to me that it is implicit in what you call the New Spirit . ” Probably a similar interpretation actuated the Theosophy Company when it invited me to expand, in an article, the thesis contained in my book ,' that the Theatre (which includes the Drama) is an organic part of human and social life. I have long held the belief that the Theatre is a part of the “ spirit ” or “ soul ” of humanity. It was originally projected by human need. Hence this “ spirit ” or “ soul ” is an eternal thing that is potential in human things. It comes to the surface when human beings are at their freest and best ; it remains submerged, it may be for long periods, when they are enslaved and at their worst. I do not think that “ the awakening of the ' soul ' comes with the discovery that we are eternal beings with a long past that explains the present. I think that it comes through the agency of an extraordinary event, one that strips human beings of illu sion and brings them into sudden and close proximity to the eternal verities that move and govern human society, or one that suddenly moves a whole nation with an intense desire for fine achievement. An example of the first event may be found in the twentieth century war and revolution which drove into the background as matters of comparatively small importance, many of those false interests with which human thought and action had become clogged up, thus releasing the vital springs of action . There has been during the post-war period a strong movement towards freedom of development, in particu lar on the of young people. An example of the second event is the Renaissance which suffused Italy with the glow of a real cultural existence .” Another and political example near our own time is found in Poland where war, the menace of revolution, and Marshal Pilsudski's influence are said to have had the effect of awaken part 1 “ The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre . " Huntly Carter. (Brentano, 1929 ). The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy ." By Jacob Burckhardt. 2 See 6 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ing the people to a sense of intense patriotism . They have sought patriotism in everything with the result that they have regained confidence under which they have lost fear of Bol shevism. As my book is not a metaphysical treatise I will not pursue this kind of definition further. The term New Spirit came into my works under the disguise of Purpose, or let me say Good Purpose to distinguish it from Bad Purpose which , I think , is the real cause of the unhappy state of the Western European and American theatres and cinemas. The thing I want to make clear is what I have in mind when I say that the Cinema has a New Purpose, that is, Purpose not in the theological sense of Design, but in the human one of Service. I think I can best show what this Purpose is, how it came into being, its path and its present position and possibilities, by pointing out the analogy to the old Bible story of human life and that of the story of the life of the Cinema. It seems to me that a religious simili tude is likely to be an attractive one, for human beings are now in such a religious mood that the great Film Kings have taken to building cathedrals to exploit it. “ A motion picture cathedral as the more grandiose establishments ( cinemas) are now known in America . " There is no doubt that a remark able feature of to-day is, as anyone can see by reference to the public prints, the big wave of religious curiosity. There is a general search for an object of faith, for contentment, for an explanation of life and conduct, in the old religions, in particu lar Christianity, in the re-interpretation of religion , in the re discovery of the Christ of the first century, and in the new creeds. Political legislation is suspect. Party politics no longer satisfies the people. Social organisation leaves them cold because its importance has not been made clear and intelligible to them . Changing environment is not yet understood as a revelation of the changing mind of the community. Present-day science is too much concerned with externals, and is far too pro 1 Ivor Brown in The Manchester Guardian , October 12, 1929. THE PROBLEM 7 one. 1 - ductive of charlatans and dark superstition , a state of things that leaves the public a prey to abject fear, and clouds the mind with confusion that obscures the hope of spiritual rebirth . If we closely examine the picture of the present wide- spread religious mood we shall detect a noteworthy thing. There are signs of a return to the Bible for guidance and inspiration, no longer in the old theological way, but in the new humanistic The Bible is now seen to have attributes by which it is possible to interpret the present by the past. It is accepted as a record of discovery. “ It is a travel journal of the road to spiritual truth , and at times the explorers are down in the swamps, and sometimes they are on the hillside, and sometimes they dip again into jungles, and then again they climb.” The Cinema explorers are on the point of climbing. The comparison of the Two Seeds,—Satan's and the Woman's — to the Two Purposes of the Cinema is a simple and instructive one. The things compared are different in kind, but they possess a similarity that makes the one illustrative of the other. On the one hand there is the Evil Seed setting Man on the downward path with its culmination in Armageddon and its outcome the birth of a new race of men. On the other there is Bad Purpose setting the Cinema on the downward path with its present culmination in the Battle of the Giants and its promised outcome the triumph of the Good Purpose. But to make the comparison intelligible to the generality of human beings material facts must be made to resemble each other. The resemblance should turn on a current relevant cir cumstance. That circumstance is the mad scramble for gold . If we study the Bible carefully we shall learn that greed and avarice have been universal ever since Satan began selling Hell to Eve. Indeed the more we look into this matter the more convinced we shall be that Satan was a sort of Cræsus whose object was to make a hireling of Man as Solon. Probably he was the first gambler. He put Hell on the market and invited 1 The Evening News, October 26, 1929. 8 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA everybody to invest in it. Near the end of the nineteenth cen tury the Cinema was put on the market with a bad purpose. Since then all the peoples of the world have come to invest in it, either as shareholders or spectators. It is computed that Holly wood makes nearly £ 30,000,000 annual profit out of the Euro pean investments. American Talkie production firms are draw ing £ 7,000,000 a year from England. This is not to be won dered at for we live in the Financial Age when everything is conceived in terms of financial investment and dividend, of buy ing and selling, of speculation and gambling. So far the Cinema has trod an organised path of gambling. The Bible is a magnificent literary work expressing the greatest form of drama, —the unfolding of human life under the touch of Evil . If we may believe Bible prophecy, human beings are now beginning the last act of the mighty play. The last act is Armageddon and the coming of a new Leader and a new human race. Probably by new human race is meant the survivors of the old one starting again from the very beginning and taking the high road instead of the low one. The time covered by this play is many centuries. The scene represents the earth. Christ is the Hero. He is in love with the human race whom he desires to unite with a spiritual purpose. Satan is the villain who has taken possession of the human race for an evil purpose. He is the obstacle to be overcome. How to overcome it , that is the burning question ? The play opens with an act of creation . “ In the beginning God created heaven and Earth .” “ He planted a garden east ward in Eden .” There He put a perfect man and woman for the purpose of establishing a working model of Heaven on earth . And He appointed Lucifer to take control and instruct Adam and Eve in the task of founding perfectibility on earth . Now Lucifer had a vast ambition . He wanted a dominion of his own, and he saw that the best way to obtain one was to buy the 1 i Genesis I. , 1 . 2 Genesis II , 8. THE PROBLEM 9 perfect man and woman and shape them and their offspring to people his dominion. He was the first exploiter of human beings, and he made a corner in Sin with which to capture the human race, just as some American Film Kings made a corner in American cinemas in order to place exhibitors under their rule. They would have succeeded if the American State officials had not interfered to stop their game of monopoly. Lucifer's plot was discovered and he was turned out of heaven together with a number of his followers who were qualified to assist him to embark on his system of company pro moting. His firm became known as Satan & Co., and all con cerned had the peculiar advantage of being able to dematerialise themselves whenever a business collapse threatened ; an advan tage which present-day company promoters would be very glad to possess. Satan fully realised that there would soon be a bill of sale on Hell, as his dominion was called, unless he success fully launched his scheme of humanity exploitation. His first step was to sell Sin to Eve, who in turn sold it to Adam. As it was not current coin in Eden, they soon had to face bankruptcy and expulsion. Under the guidance of Satan they and their children ( save Abel, who was slaughtered by Cain) and children's children, their successors and associates and kinsmen, formed Trust companies for capitalising the manufacture and distribu tion of varieties of Sin according to recipes supplied by Satan. Thus Sin became commercialised like the Cinema became com mercialised by Hollywood. Faust made a deal with Mephis topheles. In 1517 Martin Luther made his powerful protest against his over -commercialised Church. In time Satan's subjection of mankind to the processes of Evil brought down the Flood , or a sort of Wall Street record Auid collapse that involved Hollywood. Noah and his perfect family survived for the purpose of restoring the celestial system of perfectibility. But Satan and his crew were not drowned, only dematerialised, and at the first opportunity they obtained their discharge from bankruptcy and began again in the invest IO THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ment and dividend business. He bought up efficient tools autocrats and despots — implements of the production of general corruption and debasement. He sold permission to these over seers to trade in human beings and to apply false principles of virtue. Gambling became universal. Men bought and sold each other. They set up the Golden Calf and fell down and worshipped it. Keeping an eye on the main chance became fashionable. Then came Babylon, meaning the Gateway to God, now known as the City of Demons, as Hollywood came first to be known as a wing of the City of the Angels (Los Angeles), and thereafter as the City of Gold. The demons are still with us. They appear to have over - reached the minds of all men, even the intelligent ones. For nowaday the whole world is a Stock Exchange and men and women are merely mad gamblers. Satan's success in persuading the generality of men to buy shares in his Sin market brought forth the critics, the seers and the prophets of old , just as the evils of the great Industrial Revolution brought forth the socialist critics. They foretold the coming of the Messiah, His system of Redemption, the inevit ability of Armageddon and its consequence in a new Leader and new race , and by doing so they gave a fresh direction to Satan's activity, that of seeking to destroy the Messianic hope and the Messiah Himself. But Satan's investment in fear and hate was insufficient to prevent the Divine Birth or Physical Incarnation, and the delayed commercialisation of Christianity. It is true that the Satan-inspired Judas Iscariot sold his Master for money. But the first-century Christ was not an investment. He had no cathedrals, churches, chapels, and other ecclesiastical machinery for exploiting Him and placing His doctrines on the market. It was not till two centuries later that the buying and selling of Christianity became organised , and vast machinery was erected resting upon gold , and designed to serve the function of selling heaven (in the form of salvation) for money, just as “ Lord Beaverbrook has undertaken to ‘ sell’his Empire Free THE PROBLEM II > 1 Trade Policy to the Empire,” though for a different purpose -a politico -economic one. It was not till the Church became allied to the State that the gambling in Christianity became universal, as it was not till the Cinema became allied to Big Business that the Cinema became a box office. Billions of people have been led to invest in heaven and have received as dividends a maximum of delusion and a mini mum of spiritual consolation. They have been led to put their money on Divine Wisdom and forgiveness and to lean heavily on old theology and old guess-work religion, instead of cultivat ing self- support, self-discipline, self -control and self- vitalisation . These practices do not require money. The subjects, mythological and other, with which the Bible deals are then human ones analogous to those of the present Financial Age. Buying and selling predominate. Human life is shown to be under the powerful influence of a demoniac agency as it may be said to be to-day. The main subject is that of The Two Seeds, Satan's and The Woman's ; the one com mercial, the other non -commercial. Satan undertook to sell his seed to the human race, and no one has ever undertaken a more stupendous task , or been more successful. To sell Sin in its seven deadly forms so as to set humanity on the wrong path, and to keep it descending in spite of repeated attempts to divert it to the right one, was no mean achievement. It absorbed all his energy, and by all accounts the end is near. The old prophets, and the recent interpretations of prophecy, like those of The Pyramid , ' point to some big event about to take place of an Armageddon-like character that will make a clearance of wrong -doers and put right-doers on the true path which all human beings should have followed from the beginning. In other words the neglected seed will take root and as life ascends 2 i World's Press News, November 7th , 1929, p. 21 . 2 See “ Books of Prophecy . " 3 See Davidson's Great Pyramid Theories. " Morning Post, 28 September, 1929. 66 Beginning in The 12 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a and trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit appear, so the law of liberty will come into operation. I will place by the side of the Bible story of the two seeds the Cinema story of the two purposes. It is another story of wrong organisation and the reaping of gold instead of human values. In other words, it is the story of the commercialisation of the Cinema. It is similar in many ways to the Bible story. There is a similar plot to exploit the Bad Purpose, to extend the mischief to the ends of the earth , and to keep the Cinema and all concerned with it, rolling down towards a pit of general debasement, and there are the signs that a limit has been reached and something is about to happen to give the Good Purpose in the Cinema an opportunity to fulfil itself. This neglected Good Purpose is the New Spirit which was in the Cinema at the beginning, which has asserted itself from time to time according to human need, as I shall demonstrate in the chapter on The Personal Equation, and which appears to be on the point of conscious development. In other words, the Cinema is about to solve its own problem at last, that of taking its place as an organic part of human life and society. It has a vital function to fulfil for man, both on its own part and as an auxiliary of the Theatre. If I see rightly, the beginning of the true life of the Cinema is here. There are signs that the Cinema is, so far as Subject is concerned, back to scratch for a fresh start. THE PROBLEM 13 ANALYSIS OF THE ANALOGY Bible. Cinema. 1. The Creation . 1. The Creation . 2. Garden of Eden. 2. The Inventors' Garden of 3. Sin and Expulsion. Eden. 4. The Descent. 3. The Investment and Divi 5. The Flood. dend Machine. 6. Babylon. 4. Fully Commercialised. 7. The Golden Calf. 5. The War. 8. The Seed Disseminated. 6. Hollywood as the Gateway 9. Revelations. Summary of to Klondyke. Prophecies. 7. The Worship of the 10. Armageddon. Cinema as a Box -Office . II . After ? 8. Cinema Penetration . 12. The New Leader and Race. 9. The Great Failure 1924-8. 13. The New Spirit in the Un- 10. The War of the Talkie developed Seed Giants 1929 and II . After ? 12. The United Cinema and Theatre. 13. The Undeveloped Purpose as the New Spirit.



a In the foregoing chapter I have shown that the book rests on the argument that the Cinema truly conceived is an organic part of human life and society. It has a function to fulfil for man which hitherto it has not been permitted to fulfil. It has been developed as a machine for making money and in such a fashion that human debasement has followed . And I have implied that there are two concepts struggling for supremacy , -- one is that the Cinema is an investment and dividend-making concern ; the other is that the Cinema has a purpose of its own which has nothing to do with organised money-making. The first has turned it into a gambling machine such as the civilised world has never known before.

It will be recalled that when Mr. Philip Snowden, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, addressed the delegates at the Labour conference held at Brighton during October, 1929, on the subject of the Bank Rate, he told his hearers that an orgy of speculation had completely deprived the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of control of the money market.” Further that, “ there must be something wrong needing attention when an orgy of speculation in a country 3,000 miles away should dis locate the financial system here ( in England) and inflict grave suffering upon workers in practically every country in the world. That was a matter to which serious attention must be directed .' Now if Mr. Snowden and his fellow cabinet ministers were acquainted with the history and present conditions of the Theatre and Cinema they would be aware that the foregoing statement 1 i Daily Herald, October 4, 1929. 14 HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 15 applies not only to the financial situation but to the Theatre and Cinema systems in civilised countries outside America . If Mr. Snowden had said there must be something wrong needing attention when an orgy of speculation in a country 3,000 miles away impedes and imperils the advance here in England of two highly sensitive instruments of expression , and cuts off peoples in all countries from the proper development and the full and proper use of such instruments, and it is a matter to which seri ous attention must be directed , he would simply have stated the truth that the Theatre and Cinema in this country are part and parcel of a vast system of financial speculation, the foundations of which were laid by American business men who invaded this country in the eighteen-nineties to take possession of the English theatre for the purpose of laying the foundations of a business science, and by others who invaded the country about purpose of collaring the English cinema and placing it securely on a scientific business base that should equal , if not outrival, that upon which a great Department Store, like, say Selfridge's rests . In short, the object of the Americans was to capture not only the English cinema but all other cinemas for a commercial end. It may be said at this point that this book is not intended to throw stones and mud at the Big Business Builders of the American Film Industry, Fox, Warners, Goldwyn, and so on . It may be true that, as one writer says, “ When the Future of Hell is written a large number of pages will have to be reserved for the Americans who make films.” And it is true that they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the ( Financial) time.? It is well known that they have risen from very humble begin nings, have gambled recklessly, have had astounding reverses, and have succeeded in making fabulous fortunes. They have stated these facts themselves and have not hesitated to make them appear as thrilling as possible in order to amaze people. 1900 for the 2 66 1 “ Heraclitus, or The Future of the Film ,” by Ernest Betts, p. 40. Hamlet,” Act 2, Sc. 2. 16 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Men of their type are a severe criticism of our present social system. But it should be remembered that sociologically they are in the line of evolution, they are in fact the inevitable out come of the time. We live in a Financial Age in which money is the mainspring of thought and action, and money is a symbol which is used to interpret new forms of expression. And the Big users of money are also symbols evolved by the symbolic money system. The Financial Age has succeeded the Industrial Revolution Age and its symbols, and will be succeeded by the Technical Age with its new and inevitable symbols. The Film Kings are symbols of money power and they are in possession of special or individual power to employ methods of expression by means of money. If their intent appears to be an evil one it is because evil resides in money. Unless we can do away with money entirely as a medium of exchange, as the Bolshevists tried to do in the early years of the Revolution , then we must recognise its symbols and understand that they indicate a peculiar power which the time requires. To -day the power is, I think , that of business organisation on a financial basis. Such power is a gift that certainly distinguishes the Film Kings whatever their money-grabbing propensities may be. A's the history of the past twenty years shows there never has been such a period of organisation of commercial entertainment. Cræsus is cer tainly king, and Solon and Thespis are his hirelings. That much is made plain by a study of the scientific his tory of the Cinema. I mean the technique of mechanics. Throughout attention has been rivetted on the Cinema as a mechanical tool while Wisdom in the form of Subject has merely been left out. The excuse is that Subject must be either of universal interest or omitted, and since the majority of human beings are still in the rodent stage, the universal subject must not offend the rodent taste. Whether this thesis can vindicate the claim of the Cinema to supply stupidity at from tuppence to fifteen shillings a helping will be shown in the next chapter. It is noteworthy that at first the Money Lords had nothing HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 17 to do with the Little Black Box with an Eye and an ambition. By all accounts the Lord of the Golden Calf does not concern himself with potentialities and possibilities of magic things till they begin to promise Big Profits. There are men who bring the new wonders into subjection to the financial hypothesis, who conduct them from the limited realm of magic to the unbounded realm of commercialism . These are the creators, the liberators of genii, the pioneers who open up new paths, the men who are nearest to the all-powerful processes of Nature. They are the chief ornaments of humanity who, however, are not per mitted to adorn humanity, but some obscure dust heap. The generality of them are expected to die poor ; and generally speak ing they do not disappoint expectation . The men who come after them benefit, the organisers, the exploiters, the gamblers. To-day the practitioners have an unfailing spring of gold by means of which they gather round them strong and nimble talent that enables them to win mechanical victories at great cost, like that of the Talkie, to the vastly increased value of their banking accounts, and thus to stop a general flight from the Cinema, like the historical American one of 1924-28, which the expenditure of millions and millions of pounds on mammoth cinemas, and entertainment innovations could not stem. By luck they found a new attraction in the Talkie and the boom of the Talkie saved their financial lives. The history of Cinematography (considered as a science ), of which only an outline will be given here, principally because the book is a study of sociological expression in the Cinema, or of the Cinema as an organic part of social life , and not one of mechanical science, may, for all practical purposes, be said to have begun with photography. That is to say, not with the men who ground lenses and made experiments as early as Leonardo da Vinci's time, and with him, but with those who related photography to the principle of rotating pictures, shaped and fitted the camera, and invented the film and sprocket wheel. Preceding this start was a fairly long period of abstract science, a 18 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA and a still longer period of drawings. In due course abstract drawing became related to the experiments with lantern slides. These three paths of research and experiment have become mixed. Various theories, such as the persistence of vision, the portrayal of movement by drawings, have become confused with one another. Ingenious minds have done their best to remove boundaries, and to make inquiry into origins and developments very hard . Here and there an over industrious investigator has thrown the origin of the moving picture back to cave drawings. What have abstractions like primitive cave drawings to do with living photographs, or a series of mechanical snapshots ? “ The Cinema at the Dawn of History,” is a fine sounding title and for that reason no doubt it is attractive to the historian in search of sensation and pence. While the picture of the cave man laying the foundations of Hollywood is a cer tain draw if well done. Some persons know nothing about Cinema history. All the same they say that Hollywood was founded and is run by living cave men. But that is a matter of opinion. On the whole then, the path of the seeker after the truth of the origin of the motion picture, as we know it to-day, is a tortuous and hazardous one. It is long, strange and involved. The theory of the portrayal of movement has wobbled very much, now keeping to its own path, now seeking to enter upon a path full of queer turnings and twistings, of ups and downs,, of odd little alleys, more than one blind one, and it has success fully slipped out of the verifiable in to the unverifiable. Let me point out a few sources of confusion. The prin cipal is the neglect or inability to distinguish between illusion of movement expressed by drawings from the earliest to the latest time, and the portrayal of actual or living movement by a machine, or photographic means ; the one being the outcome of human observation and sensibility, the other, the reflection of actual movement by a mechanical process — a process that ex cludes human sensibility. Then comes conflicting evidence ; gaps 1 HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 19 in the chain of evidence ; facts and figures not substantially endorsed, or unendorsed ; unjustifiable claims to authenticity. Then there are statements based on fragmentary knowledge, or proceeding from the desire to raise the market value of examples of old mechanical toys collected by investors. Then , wrong attributions; wrong dates ; wrong description of structure and function , and so on. All these and other sources of confusion help to make an attempt to pick out the true milestones of the career of the Cinema a very tiresome job. Here are some examples of confusing facts and dates. In 1832 Plateau invented the Stroboscope and Stampfer the Phenakistoscope. In 1835 Plateau invented the Phenakisto scope and Stampfer the Stroboscope.. In 1872 Edward Muy bridge, in seeking to prove to the satisfaction of an American Senator ( no name given) that a horse when trotting lifts all four feet off the ground at once, secured a picture that was practically the beginning of the moving picture as it is known to -day. In 1877 Muybridge proved to Senator Stanford, by a number of cameras electrically worked to get successive photographs, that a horse lifts all four feet off the ground when trotting. In 1872 Leland Stanford wished to investigate the gait of the horse. Stanford assigned the photographic problem to John D. Isaacs, an engiặeer, who contrived a battery of cameras with electrical shutter controls. The shutter mechanisms were improved and the speed of photographic materials were increased, permitting at last the first photographic records of objects in rapid motion. Edward Muybridge operated the Isaacs' apparatus installed at Palo Alto on Stanford's stock farm . The pictures made were analysis in motion, synthesis was still to come. " The late William Friese -Greene, of Bristol, made the fore runner of the modern motion picture camera in 1839, several 1 " The Film Finds Its Tongue, ” by Fitzhugh Green . 2 W. Day, in The Times Film Number, March 19, 1929. 3 lbid. 4 “ The Film Finds Its Tongue, " by Fitzhugh Green . Ency. Brit., " Vol. 15 , 14th Ed. , 855. 9 5 20 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 2 5 years before Edison came to the front in this connection .' (The date may be a misprint for 1889.) In 1889 Friese-Greene in vented the camera which admitted of a series of intermittent photographs to be taken on a band of sensitised celluloid film . He was the inventor of commercial cinematography. He in vented the first camera .? Friese -Greene was the first by three years to invent the film. In 1890 Edison solved the final problems by replacing glass plates by a flexible film , inventing a machine to pass this film through a camera and before a pro jecting light. “ In 1899 George Eastman replaced glass plates by a flexible film ." In 1899 George Eastman invented the modern film . In 1887 Edison attacked the final problems.” In 1889 George Eastman began the manufacture of films on a nitro -cellulose base.8 In 1890, the first film ever taken shows a scene at Hyde Park Corner. August Lumière was the pioneer of cinemato graphy ( about the eighteen nineties )."' Kinematography 1892." The first picture projected. No picture was ever projected on a screen till 1896. The first colour picture was projected in 1895.1 In 1890 Friese-Greene projected his pictures on a screen at Chester. In March, 1896, there was a Cinema entertain ment at the Alhambra - surely one of the first in London . An Englishman, Robert Paul, exhibited the “ Animatograph a tentative engagement was extended to one of a year. Mr. Paul is the man who projected the very first picture on a screen 10 12 14 » and 15 > 7 i The Daily News, September 9, 1929. 2 W. Day, in The Times Film Number, March 19, 1929. 3 W. Day, in The Evening News, November 19, 1929. 4 “ The Film Finds Its Tongue," by Fitzhugh Green. 5 “ The King Who Was A King, ” by H. G. Wells. 6 “ The Film Finds Its Tongue," by Fitzhugh Green. “ Ency . Brit., " Vol. 15, 14th Ed., 855 . 8 Ibid. 9 The Daily News, November, 1928 . 10 The Evening Standard, October 14, 1929 . 11 Labour “ Historical Synopsis," Sheet IV. , 1876-1899 . 12 The Film Weekly, November 1 , 1929. 13 lbid. 14 The Times Film Number, March 19, 1929. 15 Londoner's Diary, The Evening Standard , December 6, 1929. HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 21 at the Royal Institution in February, 1896.' Meissonier, the painter, synthesized the photographic analysis into motion pic tures by projecting transparences on a machine similar to the Heyl phasmatrope . By 1890 the “ moving picture ” was in existence. " I shall leave my readers to compare these statements. From the various records of the history of Cinematography it appears that theory, experiment and practice with which inventors and others have been concerned according to their lights, fall broadly into two groups : —drawings and abstract science, and photo graphy. The commercial history of the Cinema has followed the solution of the first important problems of photography, like that of the rapid plate, in its relation to the film . This book begins with the commercial history of the Cinema. It seeks to show that if commercialism had not been introduced to the extent it has been, the Cinema might have had a far different career, and its good purpose would not have been buried by the bad one under a heap of the latter's misdeeds. The Cinema has been treated as a financial investment. The Great Wall Street Crash of 1929 revealed that every section of society has come to invest its money in it, and has expected heavy dividends. It revealed that bankers, financiers, and big plungers of all sorts have regarded it as a part of the Stock Exchange machinery. So closely indeed have they united it with that machinery that when an unparallelled period of gambling in stocks and shares was followed by an equally un parallelled collapse of the machinery, and a sum of no less than £ 2,000,000,000 was lost by investors, so deeply did this state of things affect Hollywood that this mighty Cinema Babylon was compelled to cease work for nearly four months, thus offering the competing Hollywoods in other countries a moment to look round to see whether they could overcome the encroachments of the American octopus. In this way the Cinema has been

i Daily paper. 2 “ Ency. Brit.," Vol. 15, 14th Ed. , 855 . 3. “ The King Who Was A King ,” by H. G. Wells. 4 See Sunday Referee, December 15, 1929.

locked up in a gold mine and its natural growth impeded in consequence. Thomas Edison had the first finger in the commercial pie when on April 14th , 1894, his kinetoscope made its first appearance at a kinetoscope parlour at Broadway, New York . But the machine was not a “ Gold Rush ” for Edison.

It found its way abroad where, as the invention was not pro tected by patents, it fell into the jaws of the sharks. It was rescued from this unhappy position by Edison's union with his chief competitor, the Biograph Co. , which till then had been opposing Edison by marketing a machine of its own. A demand for Edison's machine arose. But it appears there were still problems of the Cinema to be solved, that of the projector for instance. In 1895 came the Vitascope which applied a principle discovered by Thomas Armat, —the principle of the modern projector, a film movement which gave each successive image a period of rest and illumination . In 1896 Robert W. Paul demonstrated the projecting machine, the theatrograph. The commercial career of the motion picture on the screen began with the presentation of the Armat machine as the Vitascope at Koster and Bials Music Hall, Herald Square, New York . To these activities must be related the continued influence of the Lumière Brothers. The main fact that emerges from these statements is that the commercial history of the Cinema begins between 1894 and 1896. A word may be said here with regard to the æsthetic con sequence of putting on record inventions and discoveries which rightly considered do not come within the province of the Cinema . To-day the terms “ illusion ” and “ illusion of move ment are frequently used to describe living photography or moving pictures of actual human life. It is not correct to describe living photography as “ illusion of movement any more than it is to describe a “ still ” picture or dead photograph , as an illusion of stationary objects, or the alphabet as a picto > 1 See “ Ency. Brit .,” 14th Ed. , 1929, Vol . 15 , p. 855. Also, “ The Film Finds Its Tongue, ” Fitzhugh Green , p . 100 . HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 23 » he is graph method . It is correct to say that illusion of movement in pictures has existed ever since Man began to express his wants and to communicate himself in the ancient dynamic way by cave drawing and design, really symbolic drawing and design. A cave drawing of an abstraction of a crocodile walking along the ground, or of a cassowary pecking at a seed possesses the illusion of movement. Such method of burdening a drawing with a story or meaning has existed from the dawn of human life, and when a writer on the history of the Cinema carries the attention of the student of that history back to “ the delineation of the trotting boar with complete sets of legs, drawn by the Cro -Magnon race centuries before the Christian era , luring him into the maze of the technique of æsthetic into which so many present-day directors have wandered beyond sense and escape. Famous schools of painting and sculpture, art critics, and, within recent times, anthropologists have been much concerned with the illusion of movement. Ruskin saw mountains as Nature in motion ; plains as Nature at rest. Celebrated anthropologists, like Dr. A. C. Haddon have related movement to the evolution of primitive Art expression. ” Savages are shown communicating with each other by little drawings consisting of lines abstracted from living insects, reptiles, fishes and so on. These are true pictographs. The Old Masters though they were not so intensely concerned with dynamics as the New Masters are, yet got movement into their pictures, and movement that was intentionally illusion of movement. When I was art critic for a London paper I spent much time studying the big European galleries, and somewhere I have got the record I kept of eyes you about, heads that appear to turn , and other apparent movements. Since Cezanne's time there have been, broadly speaking, three illusion of movement tendencies in painting, sculpture that appear to follow 1 The Times Film Number, March 19, 1929, p. vi . 2 See “ Evolution in Art," A. C. Haddon. 24 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 66 >> and draughtsmanship. The Father of Cubism set the fashion of abstracting a sort of activism from natural objects which has since his time become universal . Then came the militant Marinetti and his Italian Futurists who performed the conjuring trick of passing objects through the brain to obtain livingness. Actually they observed objects moving against each other, abstracted odds and ends of form , and composed a picture by sticking them together. So they sought to catch the movement on the hop. Then there were the German Expressionists who passed objects into the brain, which skinned them alive, till noth ing was left but the bare line forming a dynamic design, and then ejected the result, like Jonah's whale. This, the Expres sionists , maintained was pure movement or another example of movement on the hop. And then there were the Paris Rhythmists, John D. Fergusson , Estelle Rice & Co., shepherded by John Middleton Murry, the apostle of Bergson, and strongly influenced by the Russian Ballet rhythmists, just as the present day Russian cinema rhythmists, Pudovkin and others, may be said to be influenced by the said Paris ones. According to their theory of movement, the thing to do is to take a root motive, say a curve, cut out harmonising curves and straights from surrounding objects, piece them together and so obtain a por trait, or other subject, having unity and continuity which were so characteristic of the early Bakst ballets. Mainly by tricks latter-day painting was brought into the sphere of illusion of movement. Likewise the Cinema has been brought into a similar sphere by tricks. According to Dziga Vertov, the Russian director, someone has put a brain into the empty skull of the camera, and this accounts for the many strange things that have taken place of late. But camera tricks appeared early in the history of the Cinema. Almost as soon as it had begun to dazzle folk with its then miracles of movement in peep shows and nickel-odeons, the camera took to cutting capers, as though it were a cross between a spring-heel Jack and a conjuror. About 1900 Melies made a trick picture of a journey to the moon .

Trick pictures were in vogue in 1905. In time the youthful trick photography grew up and was handed on to the Germans who since 1922 have demonstrated to their own satisfaction if to no one else's, that there are more things in the little box with an eye than are dreamed of in our æsthetic. Rooms appear con structed at strange angles to one another to make interesting shots which ordinarily are not found in houses, broken floor and ceiling levels are seen making changes in light and shade. Ramps, instead of the stairways, give approach to upper floors.' Tall windows, the ingenious use of spotlights and other devices, serve to produce an illusion of movement. Cinema movement has then become hopelessly confused with illusion of movement. Properly speaking illusion of movement does not come within the legitimate sphere of the Cinema. It is a small region bordering upon that sphere. Owing to mis conception it has come to encroach upon and now threatens to dominate it . By this I mean that under the name of Art of the Cinema likeness, which is the object of the camera, is being superseded by unlikeness which, unless checked, will do as much harm to the Cinema as the Art of the Theatre has done to the Theatre by substituting stage æsthetic for a living form of drama, drama that is , that memory and aspiration of the people as a whole. What is the legitimate sphere of cinema movement ? It is important to answer this question. Rightly conceived it covers four regions : —actuality ; phantasy; fantasy; and a com bination of actuality and fantasy. Of the first kind, which includes a multitude of pictures composed of objects bearing the likeness of actual ones, are such pictures as the early current events one-reelers, and the two and three and five and six reelers that followed when the Cinema began to find its way about the world persuading the camera to snap -shot whatever came in its way. Then there

1 See The Daily Express, September 6, 1928. expresses the

were the pictures that D. W. Griffith made more intensely actual by using the close-up, the cut-back and the fade-out. Then came the long procession of all manner of pictures from Holly wood with only three things to bind them together, actuality, fashion and the box office. Good or bad , costly or cheap, an enormous mass of pictures had that much in common. Of the second kind , which are far less numerous than the first, but cqualling if not surpassing them in importance, are pictures such as come within—what shall I say? the Freudian field . Pictures that interpret phantasy in the Freudian way. I refer to the sound part of Freudism, not quakery. This sound part which deserves the title of New Psychology and is extremely valuable, has together with other new depart ments of science, like Sexology found its way into even commercial pictures unsuspected by the Film Kings, who of course are not expected to know anything about human scientific “ mys teries,” and unsuspected also by that Over- lord of Film Kings, the Censor, whose chief fault is not that he is stupid , but that he is unfashionable. He is never in the fashion in the world of new and daring scientific knowledge with the result that such knowledge gets into the pictures where it spreadeagles its five fingers to its nose at him. I shall explain how the New Science outwits the Censor in another chapter. Here I shall indicate only the elements of the sound part of Freudism. They are Repression, Con Alict, the great factor factor inin development development.. Regression to childhood. And Fixation , or complete stoppage. These are bound up with Civil Life, Sex, War and Fear. Civil Life and Fear are related to Conflict. Fear alone is the great factor of war. Fear created the British Navy. During the past fifteen years the whole of the civilised world has been paralysed with dreadful fear. Peace rests on confidence. Fear is a very active source . If we examine the pictures since say 1919, we shall find that character and conduct in them are mainly shaped by fear, especially portrayals of the Great War; Civil War, or war of war. HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 27 on society (crime), and various aspects of Sex , fear of separation, loss, etc. The system of fear is related to other emotional systems, anger, jealousy, love, etc., with complicated results ." Regression is the path to phantasy. There is no doubt that a very large number of Cinema-goers regress to a primitive state, and to childhood in sight of their favourite stars. ' They put themselves unconsciously into star parts. They are carried back to their earliest days to find their old mytho logical heroes and heroines clothed in flesh and blood and no longer dreams but actualities representing desires projected into living symbols. Human beings have a habit of regressing as a means of progression. In the quaint words of a philosopher they like to look into, unto the onto for material for a fresh start whenever they come to a dead wall . When the famous Professor Patrick Geddes planned his new sociological world he said, “ there shall be little chapels of meditation everywhere to which human beings may retire for rest and meditation and so escape for a time the hard realities of the material world and meditate upon the past, and so enter a world of phantasy to re -emerge with their ideas remodelled . ” Thus back , unconsciously it may be, to scratch , returning laden with the new phantasies or re vitalised inner desires to be consciously projected in fresh symbols of a new form of human life. Sometimes the regression is a mass one. As soon as a nation comes to a full stop, realises that it has ceased to advance towards a more tolerable form of social life than the immediate one, a regressive process sets in. Take Soviet Russia . Before the Revolution, Russia had ceased to progress. The Revolution took place . An enormous mass of people was suddenly promised liberation and advance. It was encouraged to wish for these things. That was the first step. It could find noth ing in the existing order of things to satisfy the wish. So came 1 “ The Foundations of Character,” Alexander F. Shand, contains an analysis of the systems of the emotions. 28 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA stars a return to more fundamental things of human life upon which to place a scientific reality. It was led to found a Theatre that was a part of itself; a living religion that pinned Faith to science and biological function instead of to dialectical theology and disputation . The Mass readjusted institutions to express its wishes and needs as in days of old ; ceased to be separated from them. It created new symbols, that to some writers bear a strong resemblance to the old phantasies ,' to determine this advanced form of social expression, just as folk in English -speaking countries symbolise cinema as living versions of old phantasies. To them the well-known figures of the child's Christmas story book are re -created by the Cinema in the like ness of Pickford, Fairbanks, Chaplin, Clara Bow , Conrad Nagel, and the rest of the assortment of cinema folk who nowaday take the place of the old mythological folk . In attempting the amazing venture of suggesting a new point of view from which to solve the stupendous problem of build ing a new world , the Mass has hit upon the plan of pouring new ideas into the old forms of phantasy, such as folk - lore, ceremonials, demonstrations, the theatricalisation of social life in which acting, dance, music and humour play prominent parts. Puppetry too enters largely into the new scheme of inter pretation. The Mass has taken the eternal figures of the Petrushka ” puppet show or “ Punch and Judy,” overhauled them with its new experiences and exhalted them as present-day symbols of class-war. Phantasy is the leading feature of the Russian pictures far more than nations outside Russia suspect. It is the thing that justifies the belief that some day, not very far distant, Russian motion pictures will dominate the world , because the new social life in terms of phantasy is what human beings are asking for. In the expression of phantasy, then, there is no camera 1 In “ The Mind and Face of BolshevismFülöp-Miller takes the view that the New Russia is simply a regression to the old one, where it is fixed . He sees no regression to progress .

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HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 29 2 illusion. Even mechanical puppets are modelled on living ones whose form , movements and dress they repeat. Illusion, if any, proceeds from the imagination of the spectators who con sciously project ideas of fundamental things. The puppet in the “ Great Gabbo ” represented the personality of the ventrilo quist projected into a mechanical object made in the likeness of a human being. Catherine Hessling's remarkable character study of La P'tite Lilie is marionette-like. Her state of illu sion in “ The Little Match Girl ” calls forth phantasy." Fantasy, which has for so long been accepted as an ex pression of the whimsical state of mind , is, of course, within the legitimate sphere of the Cinema. On the screen it is seen at its gayest and best in a small line that assumes thousands of fantastic shapes that compose the Cartoon. In the Cartoon, which is one of the most popular and in some respects the best medium of cinema expression, the human atom and its belong ings, undergo whimsical changes that cause a continuous stream of images to form in the mind, and that throw an abundance of rich crumbs to the imagination. But the Cartoon never departs from the actual. It consists of an elastic line in evolution . Shapes grow out of it with which we are familiar even though they are distorted and battered by a sort of recurrent earthquake. In other words, the Cartoon of the Mickey Mouse, the Krazy Kat, the Felix the Cat, the Inkwell, the Adventures of Sammy and Sausage, or the Oswald Sound Cartoon kind, is simply the caricaturist playing with a line that has the elasticity of gas. It shrinks and expands, collapses and recovers, behaves like a spring winding and unwinding, and at the same time assumes the shapes and characteristics of human beings, animals, insects, of animate things, and inanimate ones made animate. These extraordinary puppets of all sorts, that fall to pieces in heaps and reunite, and outdo even an india - rubber ball in diversity of shapes, that speed through space with a velocity that has no 1 “ La P'tite Lilie," produced by Jean Renoir. 2 Produced by Jean Renoir. Shown for the first time at the Avenue Pavilion, London, December, 1929. a 5 30 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a parallel outside the Cinema, have a distinct sociological value. They exhibit man in society caught in a network of events under going or trying to escape the consequences. They are in fact a comment, a very witty instructive and biting comment on the absurdities of Man and other living things seen in the light of materialism . At the same time they are human , tragic and comic. According to Mr. W. O. Brigstocke, of the Education Department of the Liverpool University, the Cartoon has a valu able educational side owing to its elasticity . He has suggested that the moving line of a Felix Cartoon can serve to teach architecture. “ Felix could illustrate in a film such difficult con ceptions as that of thrust in architecture. Suppose the teacher turned two other Felixes into pillars at his side and then con structed a Felix arch . It would be easy and amusing for him to show stresses and how they could be met. You would see the arch sagging at the knees or wherever it would sag. Gothic cathedrals which demonstrated in the sight of all men where they were weak and where they were strong, by bending, writhing, and even falling down promise infinite amusement. In the same way what could not be done with maps ? Let Felix be taken up to a great height and let him behold all the kingdoms of the world with their pomps and vanities not to speak of their trade and transport ; then drop him a given number of feet, or let him use up one of his nine lives and drop him all the way ; in this manner it would be easy literally to see what scale means, both in space and times values. When one thinks of Felix and mathematics — cones sliced in lovely sections, curves developing in a panopoly of perpendiculars, and tangents to illustrate the secrets of growth and motion and form —why, on these lines we could have all the joys of Felix, Pro fessor Einstein and the Zoo simultaneously . ' Einstein in the Zoo ? Some persons would say by all means.. The Close Up is sometimes identified with illusion of move ment. It certainly has the power of enlarging and intensifying, " 1 i The Observer, May 8, 1927 . HISTORY OF THE MACHINE 31 sometimes to a frightful degree. Who has not seen the skins of their he-man heroes suddenly appear like the bark of trees, and the ears of the handsome “ star ” take on the size and shape of a jug -handle. Not long ago one of the best -lookers, who I had always seen at a distance, unexpectedly closed -up and to my horror I saw his face was asymmetrical. I think the reason why D.W. Griffith, the producer,firstused the close up when het made his first great picture, was to get isolation. He sought not only to isolate the face and thereby fix attention on an interpretative facial expression, but to isolate the body and its members so as to get motion , e -motion, and strength out of parts of the body that on the stage are allowed to slop about as they like, or in other words, have no interpretative value. To Griffith the close up was no doubt an instrument of analysis of emotional states by every physical means. Probably he was of the opinion that every physical atom could play a close up part if it could be isolated . At any rate, the close up was related to the beginning of cinema story telling. America discovered the true art of telling a story in pictures, when the camera was allowed to take its part, selecting, isolating, pursu ing. We see a woman on trial, suddenly we see only her hands, the veins knotted, the fingers clutching the dock . Objects become expressive; a revolver is a silent threat, a racing motor -car is a symbol of hope or aid . ' This isolating method of emphasising the plastic and cine matographic value of the object has not escaped the attention of easel artists, and more than one have scribbled pages in its praise. A well-known cubist has stated his appreciation of the value of isolation as follows : “ Every effort in the line of spectacle or moving -picture, should be concentrated on bringing out the values of the object — even at the expense of the subject and of every other so -called photographic element of interpretation, whatever it may be. All current cinema is romantic, literary, historical, expressionist, etc. Let us forget all this and consider, i The Nation and Athenæum , October 30 , 1929. 1 32 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 a pipe — a chair — a hand — a typewriter — a hat — a foot, etc. Let us consider these things for what they can contribute to the screen just as they are — in isolation — their value enhanced by every known means. The technique emphasised is to isolate the object or the fragment of an object and to present it on the screen in close ups of the largest possible scale. Enormous enlargement of an object or a fragment gives it a personality it never had before and in this way it can become a vehicle of entirely new lyric and plastic power.” The writer suggests that these fragments constitute a “ whole new world of cinematographic methods,' and he proceeds to suggest how their values can be obtained by light. “ Light is everything. There is another kind of isola tion set up by different mental processes. “ If matter hears and speaks do not objects see ? Do not lines adjust themselves to one another? Similarly do not the vibrations of the cinema have speech, thought, will ? .. is not the imagina tion to be permitted its faith in an arrangement of living lines which, going beyond pretext Mickey the Mouse, the famous animal satirist 1929. American Animated and Sound Cartoon . and scenery, play the leading invented by WaltDisney Mickey as Major Domo. Mickey is a wonderful representation of rôle ? a legendary character enjoyingimmense popular 1 " A New Realism - The Object,”, decessors of the daily comicstrip order, Krazy ity with the present- day public. Like his pre F. Léger. “ The Little Review " (New York ) Exhibition Number, Kat, Felix the Cat,Mutt and Jeff, and new rivals, Flip the Frog , Toby the Pup, he is a symbol of 2 " The Little Review " American national humour to-day, combining ( New York ) Exhibition Number, 1926, p. the best features ofthe American Cartoon . By 73 . courtesy of Ideal Films, Ltd. а 2 1926 . 66





As the astronomer, in order to tell fairly the time kept by a star in heaven, must first record the time taken by his own thought, and thereby correct his reckoning; and as Descartes did not deem it beside the purpose to tell the Sorbonne that he was in his dressing-gown when he sat down to prove the exist ence of God; so it will not be in vain for me to describe with what bias I approached my present task .” If I say, with what bias produced by first-hand experience I approached my task, the rest of the above introductory para graph will serve to introduce this chapter. I have approached this study of the Cinema in the spirit of one who sets out to inquire into the purpose of that which he examines according to the truth of the purpose which he himself possesses, and who has followed the method of accepting a theory that has grown out of first- hand knowledge and the collection of facts, and not the reverse one of conceiving a theory and then collecting the facts to support it, as Darwin did. Although I have long held the theory that grew out of experience that the theatre, rightly conceived, is an organic part of human beings and social life, it would not be true to say that I have long held a similar theory of the Cinema. The Cinema is a comparatively new and unexpected instrument of human expression which would not have come into existence without the evolution and help of mechanical science. I did not ap proach it till some time after its birth , and when I did I was 1 “ The New Word ,” by Allen Upward. 33 34 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > not immediately aware of its relation to human beings as an instrument projected by human need . I ignored it as a toy Then I approached it in the spirit of the biblical student who places the Story of Creation in The Garden of Eden. I began to notice cinema conditions and possibilities. I heard men talk of it as a “ wonder ” machine, of its potential mighty future. I felt like a sleeper awakening and seeking to understand the human side of a new interpreter that has arrived while he slept. Then it seemed to me that the stranger was capable of exploring and expressing the human mind, and like Man in Genesis had two paths before it, one bad and one good, one downward and one upward, and it would follow the path dominated by the most powerful Will, as in the Bible, Man is shown following the path dominated by the Will of the Prince of Darkness. I became aware, then, that the Cinema had two paths before it , but, as in the Bible, though evil seems to be always uppermost, good may be still discerned, so by watching human beings going back to fundamental desires under the stress of mighty events like the Great War, and returning with sanctified wishes - eternal wishes - it might be possible to catch glimpses of the good path which for many centuries humanity has abandoned . Then by watching the reaction to such desires as were expressed unintentionally by the Cinema, glimpses of the true human purpose of the Cinema might be discerned. Before the war I was engaged in many activities, but only three brought me within sight of the Cinema. I was engaged in all kinds of theatrical work both before and behind the cur tain, but chiefly as an actor. Then I semi-starved in a painter's studio at Chelsea. And then I spent some time as art and drama critic and reviewer on one of the most, if not the most; brilliant weekly of the period. In some such ways I learned much of the function the theatre must fulfil for man, of the metaphysics and philosophy of movement, and of the rapid progress of photography. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 35 B. My ÆSTHETIC APPROACH At the same time I learned something of the thing we call Art and found that it was a thing underlying all forms of expression of Art, in all ages and in all lands, as though all men called artists, were working with one thing, but making it express their intentions in thousands of different ways. I stated this theory in the journal with which I was associated. Later a book was published in which the theory was applied to significant form . The book said that all works of art, in the strict meaning of the term, have one thing in common . They have significant form . But form was not the common funda mental thing I had in mind. To me the common thing was motion . At that time there were many sensible men and women who shared my opinion, and took part in my crusading work of separating Art from adjectives.. The late Haldane Macfall was one of the most enthusiastic. The concept of Art as a creative movement outside human beings which acts upon them as a means of inspiration had the effect of setting me against the Cinema. Another thing that set me against the Cinema was photo graphy. I had not been art critic long before I was drawn into the controversy between two parties, one that would have nothing to do with the Camera as art expression, and one that held the Camera as an instrument of Art. In those days æsthetic and intellectual circles were in a Autter over the true nature and achievement of the Little Black Box. Painters in particular were in a continual state of excitement over the Camera. One had only to mention the word to revive the flagging spirit of the knights of the brush who saw their occu pation threatened , and their bread and butter snatched away by the prevailing over-appreciation of a mechanical toy. Such ap preciation came from even men and women of parts, who rose to their full height to uphold the assumed superiority of a Art," by Clive Bell. 36 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 the Camera. I remember how Mr. Bernard Shaw set all the studios in Chelsea on fire by expressing the controversial opinion that if Rembrandt had been alive then , he would have been a photographer not a portrait painter. Tº this challenge painters replied that photographs were merely mechanical copies of human beings and other animals whose natural charms so portrayed were such as to frighten birds and children to death. A painted portrait might be a miscarriage of the palette, but it was not a machine-made scarecrow . In this way painters sup ported an old convention , which still lives, namely that “ ordinary photography can never claim to rank among the arts, because although the operator may bring his taste to bear upon the arrangement of his subject, the actual work is done by the unselective camera.” As an amateur photographer I found that the Camera served a very useful in record ing evidence in support of my theory of Art as an external creative movement. Judging by the photographs of natural objects which I took during a period of seclusion on the South East coast, there is a creative movement outside things ( call it Will, if you like) which expresses itself in natural art forms. Living by the sea, I collected large quantities of pebbles, shells, etc., and I photographed sea - side trees, plants and other vegetable life, which revealed to me that the movement that sweeps over the sea and sets it carving the rocks and stones, is a natural force which leads Nature to anticipate the forms expressed and per petuated by the hand of Man. But I was never led by this discovery to argue that because the Camera portrays the natural æsthetic of an object, it follows that the Camera produces art forms. Look at the Camera how you like, it must appear a mechanical thing capable only of producing mechanical results. What took my attention at that time was that the Camera is capable of revealing things not always apparent to the human eye. In that respect it scores over the human organ . But it does not create, and never can unless a machine can create . purpose i The Observer, November 17, 1929. - 1912. Swedish National .ASvensk Film Production Ingeborg Holm marks theransition from national subjects .Inthe 1909-11 sensational path ofSwedish Film Industry topath ofgreat foreground ofthe scne ,which portrays selling -upofhome ,isSwedish actress Hilda Borgstrom . 1 THE PERSONAL EQUATION 37 C. MY THEATRICAL APPROACH My early association with the Theatre gave no better results. I learned from observation and experience gained in all its departments that the rightful function of the Theatre is social service, but misuse of the Theatre and avarice had given it a two- fold function — acquisitive gain and social service, two opposing functions. I saw that it was shaped to support money makers and to serve the public. But the function of gain was operating so strongly that the function of service was nearly dead, and this was true not only of the commercial but of the uncommercial form of theatre. I had formed the opinion that though the Theatre and Cinema differed in method, fundamentally they had a common motive, namely, so to express human experience that human beings are initiated into its truth, and the spectator profits by the expression, morally, mentally, economically and socially. And I found that the Cinema had, at a very early period of its history, come to resemble the Theatre in as much as miscon ception and mis- use had given it two functions. Almost at the beginning of its career it entered upon the downward path of acquisitive gain, to retake the upward path of social service at long intervals and unintentionally, as I shall show. D. MY SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH At this point I might have given the Cinema up altogether I as not worthy of serious consideration , had not another approach presented itself. This time it was the sociological one. In 1906 the Sociological Society was founded mainly through that very great sociologist Professor Patrick Geddes. I became a member at the start. The circumstance proved to be of utmost importance to me, for it gave my mind a direction which it needed and has never lost, it made known to me the meaning and significance of the synoptic vision. It set me exploring 38 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Man in society, and the human mind (or “ soul as it is some times miscalled) as it is revealed by environment, and by re action to and against human life. I did not do any exploring in an “ armchair ” but in the open amongst my fellow creatures. I became a social organiser, I organised civic surveys, I formed committees of Labour representatives and learned from them , and so I came to think in terms of human values, and to seek such values in human institutions, and sociological expression in art galleries, museums, and wherever it was likely to be found. I aspired to become the first sociological dramatic critic hoping thereby to give a sociological direction to dramatic criticism generally. I had grown weary of the Theatre as it then was a mixture of money-making and pseudo-scientific expression ; on the one hand, unshamedly commercial, on the other, pretend ing to be uncommercial by thrusting a mess of guesswork social science down the public throat while keeping an eye on the main chance. The Free Theatre movement had partly caught it which meant that it was being maltreated by about fifty varieties of a vague something called Socialism . The effect of my first acquaintance with sociology was to set me reapproaching the Theatre from a fresh point of view . One day I spoke to Professor Geddes about contributing a regular article on the drama to the “ Sociological Review ." He liked the suggestion, and the outcome was that we discussed it with the late William Archer. This dramatic critic had not much sociology in his bones but he was a very great admirer of Professor Geddes (who is not ? ). He thought my proposal sound and saw no harm in its being tried. Accordingly I pre pared some pages of criticism for thenext issue of the “ Review ,” but for a reason that I forget this initial interpretation of socio logical expression in the Theatre never went in, and as shortly after I had sent it in matters took me out of London , I dropped the experiment so far as the “ Sociological Review cerned. The next eighteen or twenty years saw me following the was con THE PERSONAL EQUATION 39 new sociological tendency and seeking its expression by the Theatre and its rival the Cinema. By doing so I was able to formulate my theory while collecting a great deal of evidence in support of it, also to trace the paths of the two powerful instru ments of human expression leading up to the present world wide critical situation , -a crisis that appears to threaten the life of one or both , —and to suggest a policy whereby the two may be united to fulfil a common function for man, the function of promoting social advance. By 1910 my indifference to the Cinema had changed to a curiosity that subsequently led me to watch the activities and evolution of this new and wonderful mechanical toy very closely indeed . But the War and Revolution and terrible after events were needed to enable me to discover, compare and estimate its true and false values as an instrument of social service. These events gave me a rare opportunity of studying events and con sequences such as peace time could never provide. Watching the reaction of human beings to this instrument under unusual conditions, led me gradually on the side of those who maintain that the Cinema will in time effect the most remarkable “ revo lution ever known in the entertainment world . I however had my own idea as to how it would do so . I hoped it would be diverted from the wrong path which it was following to a path by means of which it should become an auxiliary of the Theatre; a means of strengthening the power of that great in strument of expression while performing duties of its own. I have explained some of the reasons why the Cinema did not at first attract me. There are of course others. The chief ones are the lack of information of any kind likely to arouse interest in the Cinema. There was no publicity, no advertise ment, no criticisms, no signs in the public prints that it existed . The character of the early crudities and the manner of exhibiting them were not alluring.. Living photographs were first ex hibited in this country in 1896. The circumstance set all sorts and conditions of men producing them . The type of picture 40 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA produced is best described by Mr. Frank Mottershaw to whom belongs the distinction of having made a marvellous picture called “ The Sweep ” in 1899. It appears that the rate of pro duction was determined by the fact that the producer “ had only forty feet of film , and the whole thing had to be over in half a minute.” Nowaday a producer thinks nothing of using a million or so feet of film in order to obtain a picture from 6,000 to 8,000 feet in length. And the time taken to produce may be a year or it may be for ever. Producers who try to break the multi-millionaire corporation bank , as some of the German ones have been doing within recent years, may go rolling on for ever like Tennyson's “ Brook . ” Mr. Mottershaw says further, “ We took the picture in the street " (where by the way many pictures were taken because of the lack of proper artificial lighting facilities) “ using the outside of a cottage at the bottom of Muswell Hill for the setting.” From the dia logue which was given to the unprofessional actors, we may judge the quality of the action which it produced. Simple it was — such as , ' Ere where are you going ? Look out, you clumsy fool .' ' Who's a clumsy fool ? Take that .' This brought out the lady of the cottage exclaiming, ‘ Lor' ha' mercy,, what has happened .' A real tit-bit of a shot was got of a real policeman who not knowing what was going on joined in the fray in deadly earnest.” Other quotations from reliable sources may be given to describe the character of the early pictures. “The subjects were very short, sometimes only 40 or 50 feet in length, and were very crude both in production and photography. Even in 1909 wefind an imposing subject completed in a film of 450 feet in length, its presentation occupying only 7 or 8 minutes.” Again, “ In 1900 I was travelling round the country with my primitive limelight outfit, visiting Mechanics’ Institutes and Corn Exchanges." If I remember rightly between 1900 and 1910 6 a a " ' 1 “ 3 1 Evening News, October 1 , 1929. . See Charles Hepworth in “ The Cinema ” ( 1917) . 3 Ibid. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 41 there were definite stages in the development of the moving picture. 1. The miracle or novelty stage; -anything that moved , trams, trains, cabs, etc. 2. Short story adapted from thriller novel. 3. Stage shows with professional actors appearing under aliases; current events, such as the Derby, acrobatics, trick photography ( probably the precursor of the German “ stunt photography), general increase of length of picture and greater variety of subject. 4. Improvement of the picture theatre owing to decrease of public interest in the moving picture itself. From 1896 to 1910 or thereabout pictures were shown in any hole and corner, shops, sheds, institutes, any place, no matter how insanitary and cold and damp, that could hold a small paying audience was hired for the purpose. In America pic tures were shown in nickelodeons, picture parlours, road - side theatres, circuses, travelling booths. While the novelty of the first living photographs lasted the public were content to accept makeshift accommodation that an Hottentot would turn his back upon . Still offensive as many of these places were their condition was nothing compared with that of many of the cinemas in Europe between 1918 and 1925. It is worthy of note that the first cinema was opened in the Strand, London, in the nineteen -hundreds. Just before the war began the building of new and luxury cinemas was general all over Europe. The war had the effect of stopping all theatrical building operations in the warring countries (with the exception of a palatial Anglo -French theatre in Paris, Max Reinhardt's Theatre of Three Thousand in Berlin , and a small theatre de luxe in Cracow ), and many imposing buildings were left half born till the war finished . Owing to this, during my after -war travels, I came across a number of palatial cinemas, two or three in Leningrad, for instance, which though mere skeletons were in use, waiting for money to clothe them with flesh . However, the decade of the super-cinema began in pre -war days, and to -day there are the Roxy and the Paramount in New York, and Mr. J. Schenck's promise of a 42 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA London cinema costing £ 1,500,000, to show that the movement towards the bigger and brighter cinema has not finished. The first stage of the building of the better and brighter cinema had the desired effect of attracting the public. At the same time it faced the exhibitors with a fresh problem . They had but few new home-made pictures to exhibit. The lure of the vulgar picture palace was sufficient to bring the public back, though the old crudities could not keep them there for ever. These pictures did not then suggest the true and real as they came to do when exhibited under different circumstances. By 1907 the English public had tasted of more solid and, to it , palatable fare coming from abroad, and like Oliver Twist it held out its plate for more. Demand had compelled the English exhibitors to turn to foreign sources of supply. So came America's opportunity. English exhibitors imported American pictures which, at that time, were exceptionally good, and rapidly increasing in size and quality. In 1914, America gave to the world that big masterpiece, Griffith's “ The Birth Of A Nation.” About 1917, 90 p.c. of the pictures exhibited in this country were American. This percentage has been maintained unin terruptedly almost till the present day. Certainly it lasted un broken till 1925 inclusive. Since 1925 the world percentage has fallen. The character of the early pictures may be gauged by the examples contained in the Film Society's programmes. Though the Cinema was comparatively speaking still in a primitive state, by 1911 I was taking an intense interest in its sociological possibilities. I had begun to inquire into the social value of the living picture, to ask myself whether it was an organic part of society, what benefit it was capable of conferring on human beings, whether it could do anything to solve the eternal problem of liberation with which the human mind is ever occupied. I asked myself why do people go to the Cinema ? Is it to see a wish exhibited or fulfilled, or to spend an idle hour ? And what is the driving force behind the Cinema that is responsible for its evolution or devolution ? Is it the greed of THE PERSONAL EQUATION 43 gold, the craving for investment and dividends ? Or is it a desire to benefit human beings? I got some of my answers before the war from a few pictures like John Lawson's thriller “ Humanity,” from the Americans that began to flow in, and those that had already been exhibited here, like the Keystones, Essanays, Biographs, the Vitagraphs, Mack Sennetts, Charles Chaplins, Mary Pickfords ( then Gladys Smith ), Zukor's first “ feature " pictures. There was a Zukor picture called “ Queen Elizabeth " in which Sarah Bernhardt appeared, and an F. Paul, in which Ellen Terry was featured . From such pictures II gained two impressions, the one was that the Cinema had started its career on a strictly financial basis. Embroidered on its banner of gold were the words, “ I serve Mammon.” The other impression was that the best comic shorts had something in them , put there un intentionally and received unconsciously, which related itself to the psychological experience of the spectator. I suspected that it was one of the sociological values that I was looking for. In time and with proper opportunity my suspicion was confirmed . What I noticed was that the best of the comic actors in the early shorts were able to retain and transmit their human qualities in even their most extravagant exhibitions. E. My WARTIME EXPERIENCES The War came. For fully fifteen years I had the finest opportunity, of which I took every advantage, to answer my questions about the bad and the good sides of the Cinema. As time passed I found these questions resolving themselves into three. What is the value of the Cinema to human beings at a period of great world-wide disaster ? Why do people go to the Cinema when they are distracted and almost driven mad by terrible events ? By what means can the Cinema provide consolation, impart strength and courage to carry on an unequal struggle, and this at a time when it is being intentionally put 44 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA to a low and degraded use ? By this, I mean , by what means can the Cinema instruct human beings, conjure the demons out of them , and initiate them into the old and sustaining truths of their existence ? I was thinking of the wartime demons, of fear, hate, misery, despair that eat into the vitals. Such demons invariably possess the victims of overwhelming disaster, and reason demands that they shall be driven out and destroyed ( as undoubtedly they were by the wartime German theatre) so that folk may resume their normal shape. By way of a start I cut away, in imagination, the bag of gold with which the Cinema appeared to me to be heavily weighted, to try and discover the nature of the social service the Cinema could perform . Next I tested its human influence on myself and noted my reactions to and against it. I was much assisted in these preliminary tasks by the rapid technical development of the Cinema and by the intro duction of psychological characters. To the genius of Griffith was due certain innovations which largely affected the results hitherto obtained by the use of the camera and the interpre tation of the subject by actors. To him belongs the credit as already stated , of being the first to make use of the transforming cut-back ," " fade-out," and " dissolve," and to invest the actors and scene with atmosphere . " By such methods of pictorial emphasis one was able to study the re actions of the actor, to note the most intimate expression of the feelings of pain, fear, grief, joy, anxiety, etc., raised to the highest interpretative power the influence of which no one could escape. Likewise, the evolution of lighting from the out-door, pre Kleig lighting to the Kleig and post-Kleig studio lighting, also added significant black and white values, and gave emphasise to feelings expressed by movement, and by picking out details of characters. I remember that the first sign of a social purpose in the Cinema that came to me through such means, was intimacy. To those who are acquainted with the contemporary history of “ close up ,” > a which (the ,some ofbegan in1916 productions that classical One ofthe series National .Early Swedish Maurice produced and Lagerlöf bySelma works funded onwere icluded )Hoard Arne's Herr present ,Thy Soul ,”and “Gösta Berling ofThe Atonement were “this series Others inSjöström .Victor Stiller and the dram ofthrough reclaimed drunkard ,ofabyflashbacks moral story tellshe ”wich Witness Shall Bear ).right centre Lund (Richard left ),and Johnson (isMay .Above byDeath cart driven rattling a . THE PERSONAL EQUATION 45 the Theatre, it must be well known that within recent years intimacy has been much sought after by the men of the Theatre. The aim has been to make the player and spectator, the stage and auditorium as much one as possible. So when I saw in timacy flowing from the screen to the audience I felt sure that I was on the road to one satisfactory answer at least. This cinema intimacy produced a sort of depersonalisation that rid you of the distracting and unessential ( or so it seemed to me) element in the picture, and caused you to exchange one mental state for another. An audience so influenced became the picture. It lost sight of the material objects put there by the producer and sat watching the realisation of its own desires and wishes. Some of us have noticed how the spectators of a big prize fight have through intense intimacy become the prize fighters themselves. Whenever I was in Paris at wartime I attended the Army Boxing contests at the Cirque d'Hiver, a place made memorable by the fight between the Italian Carnera and the American Stribling. The immense arena was always packed, and excitement over the contests used to reach un parallelled heights after the American “ Dough -boys ” came to Paris. No sooner did a contest begin than a remarkable change overcame the entire audience. It became one. I became one of the multitude; and we all became the two central figures so beautifully carved out by the great arc light, and moving with matchless logic, rhythm and symmetry. It was a strange ex citement, a sort of exaltation that took possession of everyone. We were caught up and set in motion by a common rhythm . As stout blow followed stout blow , as dazed boxers staggered about the ring, so we swayed and staggered, exchanged blows, repeated, in imagination, all that was taking place before us. But what was more we audibly expressed those feelings which the boxers were disciplined not to express aloud. We shouted and raved, roared with joy, shrieked with dismay, and so on. We were in fact the boxers. We realised the dynamic painting of “ The Boxers ” by Dunoyer de Segonzac. > a 6 46 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Those studies of the psychology of the prize fight strength ened my opinion that the true form of the Theatre is that of a circus with the stage in the centre, and the action is so interpreted that the audience is completely mixed with it. Later in Russia I came across the circus idea applied to the Theatre by Eisenstein the well-known moving picture producer. He was, at that time, a theatrical producer occupying a prominent position at the Proletcult theatre. I think it was before he took seriously to picture production. The intimacy which I noticed in the Cinema was contained in pictures made primarily to entertain and to make money. This led me to discover that there is in nearly all , or perhaps I should say , in pictures that are not peurile, an unintentional influence, something beneath the surface not put there know ingly by the producer, as there is something in fine paintings not put there intentionally by painters, which nevertheless exerts a powerful and enduring influence on the beholder. What this something was I found in the Westerns, the early shorts, the true American comedies, in the colossal results of the first era of the spectacle picture — an era that established a tradition which began with “ The Birth Of A Nation, ” was continued by “ Ben Hur,” and recontinued by the mammoth “ Noah's Ark ” -and set a fashion in the “ biggest ever that has on the whole strewn the screen with immense biblical and historical subjects, Greek , Roman, Italian, French , German , with national sagas, epics, documents, pages torn out of the epoch -making stories of nations, with German psychological, metaphysical and religious subjects like “ Luther ” and “ Faust. ' I shall analyse it as I proceed. As time passed other values made themselves apparent and commended themselves to the thoughtful mind. “ The Cinema takes people out of miserable surroundings, ” said one practical observer. “ This is a form of amusement that reaches a poorer class more than any other, and it is therefore encumbent on those more favourably placed , while doing all possible to im > THE PERSONAL EQUATION 47 i prove it, not to do anything that would rob shadowed lives of the little brightness that comes through it.” Again, “ We must recognise that the picture house fulfils a needful and useful function amid social conditions which press very hard not only on the poor, but on the bulk of the working classes. So un satisfactory is housing both in town and country, that there are few houses in which the leisure hours can be spent in quiet comfort and enjoyment. Not only are the slums and mean streets, physically injurious, but they are beset with moral perils; the sights seen and the sounds heard are potent factors in the deterioration of the morals and the manners of youth . For many months, owing to our climate, the parks and open spaces cannot supply a refuge from the house or the street. Apart from the picture house the only resort that is offered to the teeming Masses above the prohibited ages is the public-house with its constant temptation of strong drink and its no less polluted moral atmosphere.' This was spoken in 1916. It was not till I left England for France shortly after the War began and started, as circumstances would permit, those investigations on foreign soil which continued intermittently till 1927, not till I began to move about a vast area that in cluded Western and Eastern Europe (and Russia) an area that swiftly reverted to barbarism , became most foul with disease, and death -ridden through War, Revolution and the consequent Chaos, that I came to realise the deep and far-reaching social influence of the Cinema on human beings. Not only did it serve to take them out of such economic misery as I have just described, but out of themselves, or rather the selves fashioned by overwhelming disaster. To me it was a magical influence, but I must repeat that I saw it was an unintentional one put in the pictures by wrong-headed men who were gold -seekers, not soul-deliverers. I found that this influence exerted itself through three channels already mentioned, actuality, phantasy, 2 1 “ The Cinema ” 2 Ibid. ( 1917) xliv. 48 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ( or reversion ) and fantasy ( or whimsicality ); that is, facts of real life that explained mental states; memory that restored wished for states and reincarnated aspiration ; and laughter that killed horrible monotony, and exalted . Today there are the whimsical twistings and turnings of a line that express human desires in sociological shapes. I allude to those of the cartoon . Simply, these three elements assisted folk to read their desires or wishes into pictures, as some socialists read socialism into Dickens because they wish to see the socialist in him ; other persons, metaphysical, spiritual, historical, rational and literary meanings into the Bible ; others again, mystical, metaphysical, poetical, actual, and propagandist meanings into Shakespeare's plays. It was not hard for me to see that pictures with aparticular bias, like Griffith's, with their varied theme of intolerance, were likely to be most popular at a period of abnormal recep tivity. Devitalised and demoralised folk were bound to crowd the cinemas where the remarkable Cowboy and Company pictures - pictures full of sun and open -air romance and vitality were waiting to hand it a never-failing tonic . What pleased me most was that, as I went, I found more and more to confirm my theory that there is a good and bad purpose in the Cinema. That it started with a good purpose which was quickly suppressed by the Mammonites, but has ever since been reappearing at the surface in response to the demand of human beings brought by disaster into sudden and close con tact with the eternal truths that govern and move them .. That is, coming to the surface at those moments when the things that claim attention under normal conditions are seen to be no longer of vital importance. I applied my theory to the French and English Cinema under the abnormal condition produced by war from 1914 to 1919. Immediately after the Peace Conference, which I attended as a representative of a London journal, provided with the neces sary permits through Lord Riddell, I set out upon the first of my cross- European travels with the intention of devoting as much a THE PERSONAL EQUATION 49 time as I could spare to the Cinema. I had not very much time for the purpose , except when I made some special journeys on behalf of Cinema technical journals. I was also engaged inquiring into the causes of the outbursts of the revolutionary spirit which some persons declared were intended to crush and destroy, still further, the cultural activities of the war -stricken folk , as expressed in art forms, the theatre, literature, and so on . My main purpose, that of making known the facts of European recovery, revival and reconstruction, naturally took me into the wide fields of intellectual achievement and human aspiration which I extended as much as possible by entering upon the then untrodden fields of post-war investigation. In other words, I went out of my way, and courted disaster, even death, to gather and verify facts related to my Theatre and Cinema theory. F. ENGLAND AND FRANCE, 1914-1919 Of the Cinema of these two countries during the War I can say but little that I have not said in my book about the Theatre'. Indeed the story of the wartime French and Eng lish Theatre is the story of the wartime Cinema, if technical differences are excepted. They had a common task , Govern ment and military propaganda. They were in fact used to serve war aims. At the same time they were controlled, financi ally, by combines or private persons who used them for profit. Of course , I except the cinemas of the different war fronts whose only contact with commercial interests was that set up by the supply of pictures and apparatus ordered by the Government from cinema production companies and apparatus manu facturers. Apart from this, cinema and variety entertainments at the front were organised by bodies of professionals and amateurs with the aim of keeping the minds of the soldiers off the war and Home, just as at Home one of the aims of the Cinema was to keep the minds of the public off the horrors at 1 “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre, 1914-25 ,” by Huntly Carter . 50 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the Front and on the re-assuring thought, “ All's Well At The Front.” Both in London and Paris, the business of the cinema shopkeepers, like that of the theatrical ones, was to give a new reading to the commercial function of the great instrument of interpretation which had fallen into their hands. The meaning of profit-making was changed to profiteering, and the selling of pictures became not so much a matter of providing entertain ment for the multitude as of patriotism of a sort. The simple truth is that the civil population had to be kept in a state of mind favourable to the successful pursuit of the W To attain this object the men in the cinema industry bought and resold to the public the successive moods bred by rapidly succeeding events. Having very few home-made pic tures suitable for this purpose they imported American pictures in such quantities that, as I have said, by 1916, 90 p.c. of the pictures shown in this country came from Hollywood, or near it . Such pictures were shown to the public. Of course they were under strict military censorship which however did not rob the exhibitors of anything except the privilege of indulging in anti-war propaganda, or propaganda calculated to arouse public suspicion and unrest. They were in fact at liberty to exploit the lowest and most debased public moods, and they took advantage of this license to such an extent that early in 1917 an English Commission was appointed to inquire into the conditions and possibilities of the Cinema. ' Some of the cinemas had reached such a stage of impurity that clean citizens would not touch them with a barge pole. At the back of this state of things was the public craving not so much for amuse ment or diversion, as for enlightenment. But bad though the cinema conditions were, and un doubtedly true the charges of vile misuse brought against the screen and the auditorium , it was not hard to see that a con siderable section of the public sought in the pictures not the i See " The Cinema. Its Conditions and Possibilities." Report published in 1917. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 51 material properties of the objects exhibited but the ideas which the mind could read into them. The War made the conditions of social life abnormal, intolerable and monotonous. The cinema exhibitors made their profits by hashing -up each public mood evoked by such conditions. To-day, it was the craving for victory, to -morrow , for laughter, the next day, for retalia tion . Before the War the exhibitors had learned the business of selling fashionable moods as they appeared, and especially debased ones. They became experts in gauging the box office value of such moods. It was no wonder then, that at wartime, there were rapid changes in the types of pictures exhibited pictures that anticipated the demand of the public. These tradesmen saw that pictures which in pre -war days satisfied in tellectual or emotional states, or the peacetime craving for salacious goods, no longer did so . They recognised that even the civilised section of the public required entertainment made from wartime recipes. And if the fare was hot and strong and basted all over with money it must also contain a little serious interest, not much perhaps, but enough for the memory or aspiration to work upon . Moreover there must be a flavouring of national needs, patriotism , strict saving, recruiting, the need of money, men and munitions. No doubt in preparing this mixture unintentional things got in which served to satisfy an unconscious wish , to stir up a recollection, to awaken hope, to renew courage, to strengthen determination , and so gave the queer dish a human value or two. It should not be overlooked that among so much rubbish that constituted wartime cinema entertainment there were a number of pictures which were calculated by reason of their character or unusual and ambitious subjects, to assist the sensible reading of the proper function of the Cinema. I allude to the big pre -1918 spectacles with their scenes in Egypt, or scenes taken from the scriptures, “ The Eternal City ” with its scenes laid in Rome, the Griffith great scale pictures, “ The Birth Of “ A Nation , ” and “ Intolerance, " and subjects such as “ Judith a 52 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Of Bethulia, Cabiria,” “ Quo Vadis," “ Les Miserables,” the Fairbanks and Mix early Westerns and Broncho Bill pictures, and other Western and comic pictures in the true American tradition. Audiences doubtless found in these productions, re ligious, legendary, and epic matter, and stalwart types that neutralised the crushing effect of the War by keeping up the spirit. But it must be admitted that some at least of the big spectacles contained scenes of unequalled debauchery which might reasonably have commended themselves to the attention of the Censor. The best side of the wartime reading of the function of the Cinema was more apparent at the front, especi ally in the big out-of- the way camps in France, Egypt, Flanders and Mesopotamia. At such places the Cinema was introduced to administer partly to the avowed needs of the soldier, and partly to needs which the military and relief bodies presumed that he wanted satisfied . One of his conscious needs was to have his mind taken off the realities of the War. And one of his presumed needs was to have his mind relieved of all thoughts of Home. The Y.M.C.A. entered upon the task of providing cinema entertainment for soldiers, as a kind of ministering angel. It was actuated by secular and religious purposes. It established large wooden halls to accommodate 1,000 or more men, and it had travelling cinemas suitable for use in any wayside shelter. Its policy was to select pictures likely to keep the men's minds off Home, to keep the men themselves out of brothels and pubs, and to induce them to join in religious services that followed the pictures. It may be asked to what extent did the attempt to keep the men's minds off Home succeed ? It was fully recog nised by the Government and the military chiefs that the very mention of the word Home or the sight of anything recalling Home was sufficient to set loose a flood of wishes and desires most likely to interfere very seriously indeed with the conduct of the War. It was all very well for the Government and the Y.M.C.A. to provide such subjects as the transport of troops, THE PERSONAL EQUATION 53 parades, ceremonies, travel, animal and insect life, life on the ocean, under the earth and above it, and on Sundays special attractions as a religious lure, like “ Quo Vadis,,” “ The Sign Of The Cross,” “ The Eternal City,” “ Jane Shore , " " In The Ranks, ” and on Mondays and during the week, a leaven of Charlie Chaplins, and the rest of the old - timer comedians. I was always certain that lurking at the back of their minds was the thought of “ Blighty, ” and in the front, was the wish to be there taking shape through the agency of the material objects in the pictures. I think that the game of strengthening the memory of, and desire for “ Blighty ” by the material objects of the pictures was a favourite one with soldiers in the war zone. They strongly objected to subjects dealing with fighting or military action of any kind, and their laughter almost turned to tears whenever they saw a brass- hatted figure appear in the scene. On the other hand, they liked anything that took them out of the war zone and placed them amid peaceful scenes of recon struction , and in touch with their kith and kin. This does not imply cowardice or shirking of stern duty. It may imply that war is necessary to sicken human beings of war. An illustration . I remember being at Arras just after the Germans had finished making a mess of the cathedral. In the market place there was a theatre which had seen better days, much better days, before the Germans had given it their blessing. The men were fitting it up as a temporary cinema. It was not an easy job. There was a great hole in the roof, the back of the stage had been blown away, and the sun had taken the centre of the stage as though in readiness to play the star part. The seating accommodation consisted of a number of crazy chairs tied together with string and a mound of debris the crest of which formed the seats of the mitey. Outside Jerry was dropping his eggs.. But in spite of the mess and noise every thing was going favourably. The old screen had been fixed and shaded, when suddenly from the operator's corner came a 54 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > > . 91 an ear- splitting yell . Then followed a voice, “ Blimey, ” it ex claimed, “ they've given us the wrong reel. It's all about brass hats, military mernoovres, and ” —with a gasp—“ military training. Look at this title ' Your King and Country needs you .' “ Well, wot's the matter wiv it ? ” said someone. Why,” said operator scratching his head, there's no Blighty ' in it.” On the whole, then, the subject of Home very largely determined the attitude of our soldiers towards entertainment. They tolerated enforced methods to banish it from their minds, but at the same time, they sought a subjective revelation of its ties. Fighting and working was a duty to be done, and done well, but Home was the ever-present vision that ordered their lives. ' And, as I have said, keeping their minds off Home was a duty to be done by the Government, and done well . Toward the end of the war, when the final struggle began, it became the duty of the Government to keep the men in France. There was no leave beyond Paris where all entertainments in cluding the pictures, were organised to stop the men asking to cross the Channel . Looking back at the path of the Cinema during the War I see three circumstances standing out. One is the positive descent of the Cinema. Another is , an advancing and receding human function ; the third is the emergence of an æsthetic interest. G. THE ART OF THE CINEMA IN PARIS, 1916-1917 I was in Paris when I first noticed the incipient growth of a movement towards what has since become known as the “ Art of the Cinema.” French intellectuals and ästhetes were very eager to evolve an æsthetic of the Cinema in spite of the obvious fact that the Cinema was, at bottom , a mechanical toy which could never be dissociated from mechanics. It did not matter to them what the war conditions were, that for instance 1 " Told in the Huts " ( 1916 ). THE PERSONAL EQUATION 55 the Germans were but fifty miles off doing their best to per suade Big Bertha to reduce Paris to dust, the advance-guard were up and doing with their constant cry “ Now for the Cinema. ” Often I sat on one or other of the well-known café terraces, the Café Floré on the boulevard St. -Germain , the Café Lilas at the corner of the Boul' Mich ', the little Café Lapin 1 'Agile on the heights of Montmartre, while bad Bertha dropped her eggs and spoilt the scenery,, human as well as architectural. It was always in the company of enthusiasts, the pick of the young insurgents, painters, sculptors, writers, poets, etc. Among the painters were Picasso , Juan Gris, Fernand Leger, Irene Lagut, Othon Friez, Derain, Braque, Severini, Modigliani, Favory and Herbin. Among the sculptors were Archipenko, Chana Orloff. Among the poets were Jean Cocteau, Blaise Cendrars, Henri Hertz, Alexander Mercerau, Paul Dermé, editor of “ Nord -Sud,” Max Jacob, Reverdy, and Albert Birot, editor of the provoca tive “ Sic. ” And till the time of his death after returning home from the war, there was Guillaume Apollinaire, the acknowledged leader of the Left to whom one invariably went for news of all the “ revolutionary ” movements. Finally, there were the musicians and composers, Erik Satie and I think, Darius Milhaud, and others. To all these fell the self- imposed task of taking the Cinema as an intellectual not emotional medium of art expression, of discussing its conditions and possi bilities, writing articles in the little advance - guard sheets, of founding little propaganda journals, and of realising ideas in out-of- the-way places what time the Censor was not looking. These surely were the forerunners of the intellectuals and æsthetes who started work , in particular in Germany, after the war and achieved results which have given a good many honest persons pains in the stomach. One writer is of the opinion that “ the present-day ( 1928) little cinemas of the advance-guard are the consequence of the meetings of the C.A.S.A. , notably the first manifestation at the Salon d'Automne in 1921.” Myself, > 1 1 “ Monde ” ( Paris ), November 27, 1928. 56 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA I think they belong to the Art of the Cinema movement of 1916-7, and I do not think it would be hard to prove that the fine work of such present-day producers as Germaine Dulac, Marcel l'Herbier, Abel Gance, Rene Clair, Jacques Feyder and Renoir, the son of the celebrated painter, derives from the earlier source . Of course I do not wish to suggest that all the young war time live wires were on the side of the Cinema. There were some who hated it, for example, Jacques Copeau. All he would say in favour of it was that it might help to improve the con ditions of the Theatre. By a stroke of irony it has since almost improved his own little theatre of experiment out of existence. The Theatre Vieux Colombier is now a cinema, but one that has the honour of being on the Censor's list ; while M. Copeau himself is glancing very keenly towards a directorship of one of the Paris subsidised theatres. H. AFTER THE WAR, 1919—1928 Let me now come to my adventures after the War, and in countries where you would hardly think that the Cinema could possibly exist. It is reasonable to say that in these countries, with perhaps one exception, Czecho-Slovakia, civilisa tion had receded so far into the background, I mean the sort of civilisation with which Western nations were acquainted before the War, that wherever one moved territories and peoples had dwindled into the shocking semblance of a state of barbarism . I passed through country after country ravaged by war and revolution, and internal strife of some sort or another. To me the world seemed to have reached its worst. Had the end come, or was the human race back to scratch pre paring for a fresh start ? Were human beings about to choose the peacefullest path they had ever trod , or were they going to continue in conflict till not a single passenger remained for Charon to ferry across the Styx. Rebirth or Extinction ? that seemed to be the question. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 57 Faced with these conditions I had little hope of finding the Cinema alive, and it seemed hardly worth while occupying my time seeking support for a theory in a field devoid of material. When , however, I came to look round I had to acknowledge there was no ground for my fear. There were cinemas by the score, by the hundreds, by the thousands, I was about to say by the million, but I must not forget that I am not writing about America. I recalled Tennyson's exhilarating Charge of the Light Brigade ” and shouted, Cinemas to the right of me; cinemas to the left of me ; cinemas in front of me; volleyed and thundered . ” Truly they did thunder for the generality of them were unknowingly administering to the vital necessities of communities. ItIt was was all all very strange. If men had gone back to scratch, the Cinema had caught up to the Flood. After a cross-European journey or two I realised the wisdom of starting from London and Paris, thence passing through each European country in turn till I arrived in Russia, and then re turning by the route I came. It was like taking a dredger to sample layer after layer of human misery till the lowest was reached, and the reverse . This gradual descent into the Devil's Kitchen or The Witches' Cauldron, as some picturesque minds have labelled Bolshevist Russia, and the ascent from it till the flaming lights and life of Paris were reached, enabled one note with astonishment the social strata . Moreover, this cross -European Journey enabled the traveller to note, with what astonishment may be imagined, the different readings of the function of the Cinema by different peoples under different political, economic and social conditions. In Russia, for in stance, where economic conditions were at their worst, the population read into it a collectivist function . In countries bordering on Russia where distress was very marked people read into it their wish for and ideas of liberation . And so from country to country the Cinema picked up what pictures it could and served up by chance those which indicated clearly to 58 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the issue upon which public attention was fixed most intensely. In the more oppressed and distressed countries the general desire was for relief from misery, and the attainment of liberation . In released countries it was for security of gains, political and territorial. In prosperous countries the desire was for diversion and sensation . And so on. And the American Flood which had been increasing for ten years and had a reputation for quantity to sustain, enabled the different readings by different peoples to be made. America, in fact, provided accommodat ing pictures into which you could read anything you like, except an intentional good purpose. I say “ except an intentional ” because there is a widespread belief that the Cinema does good not by stealth but openly. For instance, “ Mr. Will Hays recently reported to the President of the United States, that the Film has carried the silent call of honesty, ambition, virtue, patriotism , hope, love of country and of home to audiences speaking fifty different languages ." Mr. Will Hays is a big man in the American Film Industry, who receives a five-figure salary (a sure sign of size). He is said to know what he is talking about. It is doubtful, however, whether he was talking fact or fancy. Still , oddly enough these were some of the very values which the worst sufferers from the War read into the ancient and much abused pictures that came their way. The explanation is my oft-repeated one that in all pictures there is an element put there by guesswork and not by business or scientific (that is, technical) perception. Whether or no Mr. Hays is aware of this, he very discreetly does not say. Some day the nature of this element will, like the nature of the influenza germ , be discovered . But that time will not arrive till picture production has passed out of the sphere of guesswork into that of applied Science, out of the hands of the odds and ends of human beings who drift into studios and obtain work on the strength of their knowing little or nothing 1 The Observer, November 11 , 1928 . See also The Daily Express, July 25 , 1927. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 59 about human values, into those of groups of experts possessing an ample knowledge of the natural, vital and human sciences. Leaving Russia , Germany and England to be dealt with in separate chapters, I shall , in this place , make an outline sketch of the story of the other countries I visited and my observation of the reactions of different peoples in different countries to the Cinema from 1919 to 1925 when the first of the recent transitional phases of the Cinema began. By some it is stated that a new period of the Cinema set in during 1924. The big American Production companies were beginning to grow un easy about the attitude of the public towards the sameness of the pictures, and seeking to prevent a flight from the Cinema. They were repeating history by falling back upon the expedient em ployed by the exhibitors just before the War. They were in fact building vast cinemas all over America equipped to give the public as much luxury in the Star Spangled Manner for one and threepence as the said public might reasonably expect to get else where for a guinea. With its money well invested in marble palaces and plush seats that invited slumber, no well disposed. audience would continue to quarrel with the sameness of the pictures, or to think about them at all . The plot was no doubt a deep one. That it did not succeed , however, is made plain by the story of the Talkie as related elsewhere. It may not be out of place to begin my sketch by describing two or three of the various journalistic adventures from which I. emerged unscathed . The first in importance and the one that has left the deepest impression on me was the search for evi dence in Russia during the Great Black Famine ( one of Russia's periodical famines). At the time, I was eager to see for myself the actual ravages of this awful scourge and national disaster. The Nansen Mission very considerately provided me with a pass port for the purpose. It was a passport which was issued in Moscow to representative persons who could be trusted to make observations of actual events without malice or bias. I found it an exceedingly useful document for it enabled me to travel 60 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA free and to go anywhere I liked unquestioned, unmolested, and unsearched. Anyone who knows what it meant to be overhauled in the early days of the revolutionary struggle will understand the privileges conferred by a free pass. Personally, I took no undue advantage of such privileges. I was content to use my eyes and knowledge and judgment in a reasonable manner, and so I learned what a century spent in libraries could not teach me. Searching for Theatre and Cinema material in support of my theory in this famine-stricken area was simply risking death by cholera, typhus and malaria. Indeed two members of the Quakers' Relief Organisation died in a district that I chanced to be in although well protected by medical and scientific preventives. When I come to think of it, in those days I must have appeared an odd creature, though I did not call myself odd, to be moving about looking for cinemas and reactions in districts where two -thirds of the houses and cottages were deserted and mostly in ruins. Dwellings from which the skins on the doors, and the thatched roofs had been torn by the half-maddened starving inhabitants who ate anything no matter how repulsive and unfit it was. But the worst of the bad business was that the inhabitants ate each other, as some of the following facts which I collected first- hand prove. The most startling of the facts and photo graphs of the outburst of cannibalism were published in “ The Black Year " Moscow , others in the London “ Medical Press ” as matters of medical and scientific interest. Remember these facts were gathered in bad districts where I found that theatres and cinemas were still active although the inhabitants were forbidden to congregate for any purpose what ever , and public institutions both large and small were held to be death traps. In the vast famine area 6,000,000 died of starvation . You saw girls lying in streets half -eaten by dogs. 1 1 “ The Black Year ” (Moscow ) was engaged in making a national appeal for co -operation in fighting the Famine. The Atonement ofGösta Berling ,Another ofthe .classical super -National films . Swedish Early films ,was Jerusalem sometimes called The Saga ofGösta Berling ,-and Igmars like the -afilm which , available anational one .The best was .The purpose ofthese films Lagerlöf founded onanovel bySelma ofthe service tobrought were subjects classical oftreatment the finest resources ,talentechnical acting before Garbo and Greta Lars Hnson .Above end commercial not artistic national atiming pctures .them ”cornered “Hollywood

THE PERSONAL EQUATION 61 You discovered peasants eating each other, parents their children, husbands their wives, wives their husbands. Bodies and limbs were exposed in the open market for sale. You saw heaps of human and animal bones everywhere. You saw little children eating each other's fingers, eating roots and excrement. In Buzuluk, a town in the worst part of the famine area , you saw great open pits down by the river, some containing corpses, or bones, others waiting for their ghastly human content. It was in Buzuluk, a veritable deserted town , where I was the guest of the Quakers for a short time, that I came across a little wooden theatre which despite government orders was filled each night with an eager audience, composed of all the folk left in the town, that sat from about eight in the evening till one and two o'clock the next morning deriving sustenance from little Russian comedies (I think Gogols and Little Chekovs), lapping up laughter as though it were the finest draught of wine. My patience was rewarded by the discovery in two or three other small towns of cinemas handing out the life stream , as I may call it, to remnants of their populations who in spite of terrible privations still clung to their homes. Sometimes I tried to imagine our magnificent Grub Street reporters, book and pencil in hand jotting down news stories for their favourite journals. But I could not imagine it. Their business was not to get closer to actual events than a palatial hotel or the inside of a luxury Pullman would allow. When all is said they would not have found much to jot down, not much in their line I mean. What I found was a steaming interior filled with emaciated human beings exalted, or taken out of themselves, by a Western or a comic short, by the magnificent exploits of one of the physically fit and dazzlingly daring heroes of the cowboy picture, or the laughter makingpantomime of Charlie Chaplin, or the laughter rousing facial contortions of “ Fatty ” or John Bunny. Two hours ac quaintance with the physical shorthand of these magicians of 7 62 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the screen was sufficient to put the gloomiest member of the audience in the frame of mind to say, “ Well, I don't care." It is not an exaggeration to say that the pantomime and facial contortions of the early comic one and two reelers Aung a huge wave of laughter over the dwellers in the down and out corners of Europe; while the Westerns gave them a general bucking-up, that have never been equalled in the whole history of entertainment. To the hard -boiled hater of the American invader there is nothing to justify the distribution of his goods in all parts of the earth . No matter how you take them, they are bad and they are not worth importing at any price. To the man who does not disdain to look for the truth , the invading Film Kings are symptomatic of changes and tendencies and for that reason their goods are worth examination and for the sake of the good that may be in them . He will tell you that probably there is an excellent reason why the Westerns are widely popular in spite of the scurrilous abuse that has been aimed at even the best. I. I Face DEATH IN THE CINEMA 1 f There is an excellent reason , and I will break my story to explain it . Not long ago I read in an important French Left Weekly Journal a sound article on the American cinema by an American writer. He maintained that the true American Cinema subjects fall into two classes, the Western thrillers and the short comedies. I should like to say that there are three classes, the third being the Chicago Crime and Jazz civilisation which has been getting increasingly into the American pictures Leaving the question of the true American comedies let me consider the claim to widespread attention by the great national classic the Western epic. This Hollywood speciality is a portrayal of the many and, in some respects, won 1 “ Monde,” Paris. since 1925. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 63 derful phases of life in the great changing West. Just as some of the finest of the Russian plays, Chekov's for instance, are psychological interpretations of changing Russian society. I think it is understood by sensible persons that the Westerns, in particular the early ones of G. M. Anderson and Douglas Fairbanks ( both of the Broncho Billy type), Tom Mix ( beginning in 1914) , William Hart, Fred Thomson and their successors, Buddy. Roosvelt, Wally Wales, Buffalo Bill Junior, down to the recent ones of, say, Tom Mix in the William Fox gallery, and of the newcomer, the very attractive Ken Maynard in the Universal gallery, stand for the genius, the immense skill, the fine physical attributes conferred by a vast natural territory that is rapidly changing under the encroachments of financial enterprise, of mechanical, industrial and business science. There are travellers who say that Western America is changing through a vast system of grabbing and gambling. Perhaps they are right. Certainly the Western pictures have rendered serious folk the service of showing them that extermination of races, and commercial exploitation and skinning have been going on for a considerable time with the result that the romantic and picturesque elements of life in the Far West have almost ceased to exist. In turn the Indians, the Mexicans, the Spaniards and the Cowboys have been dispossessed of their natural heritage, the land they formerly owned. No doubt the gentlemen who are so busy nowaday pushing railways across sandy wastes not belonging to them will say, “ Well, what about it ! We stand for advance not decay. If we can plant potatoes in these sands it will be much better for the human race than leaving them in the undisputed possession of cut- throats whose chief occupation is play -acting for the benefit of American Cinema Syndicates. ” The logic of such an argument is doubtless Alawless. It does not matter to me whether anyone is seriously considering a proposal for laying a network of underground railways under the Sahara. All I am concerned with is the magnificent historical and sociological 64 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA X a material offered to the Cinema by this amazing change in all its aspects. Rightly it is true cinema material. To put the Far West on the screen as it deserves to be put would be a marvellous achievement. I shall not say whether in my opinion it has been so put. All I shall say is that it is a subject which, no matter how badly it is portrayed , shall still retain its human appeal. And this fact accounts for its wide and enduring popularity. In short the best Westerns are excellent examples of sociological expression by the Cinema. I will explain why when I come to the chapter on sociology. My second story is not so grim as the first. It has no louse suits, no barrels of disinfectant and antiseptics, no iodine squirts to give you a complexion like that of an Indian on the war path . Still , it is rooted in all tie things that stank to Heaven which seemed to have gathered together on Eastern European territory for the benefit of, and to welcome those who had occa sion to travel thereabout. It takes me back to the time when the train service between Moscow and Warsaw had just been re sumed on the instalment plan. To get from one terminus to the other you had to make so many changes that you wondered whether you were really on the earth or off it. Indeed what struck you most about this journey was the chaos of connections. On the sixth class (or something near it) I picked up Mr. John Gorvin, the excellent organising secretary of the Nansen Mission at Moscow. He was travelling my way to Warsaw, thence to Berlin. To judge by the number of big leather bags in his possession you might have thought he was bound for New York. What they contained I never ceased to guess , and as no official dare open them I gathered a skull- full of curiosity. They were a nuisance not only because our compartment was made for two persons only, but because every time the engine stopped for lack of fuel, or the train got tired and rested an hour or two on an off-line to allow the passengers to alight and weave wreaths of prairie grass for its funeral, they re quired to be moved on. There were a good many of these THE PERSONAL EQUATION 65 a a harvesting intervals, a good many occasions when we had to change, a good many occasions when we lost connections. And each time Gorvin and I lifted our tired selves out of and in the animated cattle boxes followed by the faithful family of bags. After two days, or it may have been a little longer, for there was no hurry, we struck a conveyance that in addition to the usual cattle --trucks had one half of a second -class compartment. We collared it and by arranging the bags to look like a travelling exhibition we were able to keep at bay the numerous army officers who applied for admission on the ground that the best sites in the Moscow to Warsaw express were especially reserved for them . But as the bags suggested that our ration of compartment was taken by members of their own class, they reluctantly found a stable elsewhere. So we travelled in peace if I except the interruptions caused by two men armed with revolvers who continually dashed into the compartment, one on either side, to examine passports and to look under the seats for machine-guns. Fortunately, as I have said, they dare not touch the baggage. In due course the worst portion of the journey came to an end, and suddenly. The overworked engine broke down and we found ourselves stranded at an off- the-map paradise near the Polish frontier. It consisted of a sandy waste, a few huts thrown down higgledy- piggledy after the manner of the houses in districts in North Wales. An old railway wagon which accommodated the station-master and his dog, a rudi mentary platform and ticket office, and some hoarding com pleted the scenery. I do not know what became of the bag family, but Gorvin gave himself in charge of the station master - and I was left to find my own billet. I will draw the curtain upon what I did find. I remem ber spending half the night shooting insects. Early the next morning I went nosing about partly to find food if there was any (for though I always carried an army outfit containing everything necessary for an emergency at any place, I could not . 66 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA was carry food that went bad on the least provocation. I also I wished to see what the surroundings consisted of. I did not expect to find an electric lighting plant nor a tuppeny tube, nor an American hotel containing 6,000 rooms. I was not dis appointed. What I did find, however, pleased me very much. There, in this village, and taking the centre of the stage, as the cathedral took it in the Middle Age, was a cinema. It was a wooden building, round like the Albert Hall, but not quite so ugly, and plastered all over with big posters, the majority of which advertised American and English attractions set forth in the English language they employ at Wardour Street and Holly wood. The first picture that caught my eye was of a cowboy wearing a soft hat with an unlimited brim. I think the subject The Border Legion ,” an early Western thriller. Then came a Charlie Chaplin stopping a custard with his nose , some where about 1909 or 1910. A French poster of a picture por traying the Western European struggle for property theme also caught my attention . I wanted to see that picture in order to compare the Western European treatment of the property theme with the Russian which I had been studying three days earlier. Alas ! there was no performance till the evening, and as another engine had been rounded up and Gorvin had gathered together his roving family, and all was ready for a start at seven provided the engine behaved itself, the only hint I could gather of the reaction of the villagers to the cinema fare was from the size of the queue forming round the building, and the eager expression on everyone's face . The third story is a much more serious one than the second. I was nearly bayoneted and shot and otherwise threatened by death. Still, I did not let such incidents damp my ardour. On this occasion I was travelling from Moscow to Vienna by a long, roundabout and dangerous route. I had decided to take this route because it promised unusual informa tion. At Reval I found two things to note. One was a meet ing with Lenin who complained of the inadequacy and ineffi THE PERSONAL EQUATION 67 ciency of the European Labour Press in furthering his revolu tionary aim. He spoke in particular of The Daily Herald , ( then under the editorship of George Lansbury, who had given me a note to hand to Lenin ), and shrugged his shoulders when I asked him whether it agreed with his idea of a fighting paper. The second incident that impressed me was a remarkable demon stration of friendship for the English by the Baltic States. I had to leave Reval by a train which carried a heavy cargo of refugees. A great number of these came from Russia and were making for Poland by different routes. When I arrived at the station I found a dense crowd camped outside and inside, the whole apparently set on going by the only train that was likely to leave that day. I had ten minutes in which to get my ticket and to find a seat in the train . At first I was in despair. But I happened to be in the company of a very amiable Reval journalist. He noted the situation and then turning to me said , “ follow me.” Pressing forward into the crowd he whispered a single word, “ English .” The effect was like magic. The crowd parted like the Red Sea in the Bible. People not only gave way to let us pass but they actually pushed us forward . Arrived near the booking office word was passed to those rubbing hardest against it and in a second or two, or so it seemed , a ticket flew at me leaving nothing more for me to do but to be guided by friendly hands to a compartment where by the courtesy of an officer room was made for me. A minute or two later the train carved its way through a throng that seemed denser than ever. And the secret of my success ? Simply that English ships had lately been assisting the Baltic States in their fight for independence. This kind of goodwill was often shown to me especially at times when I happened to be the only Englishman on board a crowded ship or train . There were times, however, when the officials that I met behaved like wild beasts and were disposed to do me utmost harm being restrained alone by the papers I carried. 68 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a A good deal of this wild beast behaviour was handed out to me on the present journey. I will not stop to describe it . I passed through civilisation shattered and stinking. I recall those everlasting breaks in the journey, changes, con nections, the truly horrible carriages not fit for skunks to travel in, the fragments of stations where platforms were completely covered with the excrement flowing from stopped-up or smashed up lavatories, and overspreading the line for long distances, the cattle- trucks filled with cholera and typhus stricken refugees who died by the score each day, and whose bodies were thrown out at every halt, the mad baggage examinations at frequent intervals at wayside halts and in the pouring rain. I recall the fanatical examiners who threatened to shoot me the moment they found anything of a Russian character among my belong ings , and the sickening hours of waiting while the whole train load of human beings was vaccinated, an ordeal which for tunately I was spared owing to the precaution I had taken to provide myself with a medical exemption form . Life drifted on, shocking circumstances throwing up shoals of shadowy creatures with weary and battered souls and shat tered nerves and bodies sick unto death . At last there came a day when we were told that we could go no farther by the train we were travelling in. We must alight and catch a con nection many miles away. Those who liked could go by spring less carts that were fifty times worse than the motor transports that used to carry you across shell -shocked roads in France and Flanders. They were so bad that if you rode in them you ran the risk of swallowing your false teeth. Sick of being cramped up in odd corners of compartments filled with vomiting and dying folk I told the station -master that I should walk and get some fresh air. He warned me of the danger. There were two frontiers to cross guarded by savages. He rubbed this well in , but I did not care. It was a choice between being jolted to death or run through with a bayonet.. On the whole, it seemed the bayonet would be a luxury compared to the cart. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 69 a The station -master was right. I was lucky enough to miss the first consignment of savages by going a little out of the way. But I ran full tilt into the second lot . The boundary ran across the middle of a little street of cottages thus cutting the street in half. There were two effectively camouflaged sentry boxes with nothing unusual to attract attention to them except a sort of barber's pole that hung athwart the road. It was a strange arrangement. The woman who lived on the east side of the pole and brought home the laundry to the folk who lived on the west side, was compelled to pass through the sentry boxes and have her passport visaed every time she made the crossing. The upshot of my attempt to take this divided way was that the defenders of the country I was in, or to be precise, the undersized military roughs, put me under arrest. They were quite unable to read my papers or to speak any language but one that sounded like an American talkie at its worst. Moreover an intelligent officer was not expected from headquarters for a day or two. I was placed in the small guardroom where I was free to sit or sprawl on a hard bench till my deliverer arrived. Two days of this sort of thing made me wish for a change. I tried to ask one of the guards if there were any attractions besides himself and his gallant fellow - guardsman . In a moment of desperation I murmured the word “ kino .” He had a spasm of intelligence. His eyes lit up at the sound of a universal word which was familiar even to him. “ Kino ” he said, and pointed I nodded vigorously . He turned and consulted the other soldier and shortly after I and the two guards, who were fully armed , set out for an unknown destination . Thin rain was falling and forming small lakes amid the dreary cobbles. A mile or so of darkness hung with the sickly yellow lights of dim dwellings and shops, and then a gloomy building with men and women herded outside. My guards had brought me to the very place I wanted to visit, and doubtless which they wanted to visit also. It was the village cinema. A pause before the door opened enabled me to study the a to me. 70 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA film fans herded outside in the drizzling rain . Sometime later, I came across some verses by F. C. Davis. They were called “ Cinema Queue ” and, oddly enough, they nicely des cribed what I saw . They ran : “ Herded I saw them stand Like tired oxen , With filmed eyes, And spattered legs And drooping mouths. Waiting, waiting In the thin rain Which fell aslant Their bowed heads, Their curved shoulders. Welled in my heart A poignant pity That they should stand So patient, So tired , So thin , So poor, 1 So dejected . ” ! Herded we went in, passed from semi-darkness without to semi-darkness within, from sickly yellow lights to dim blood red ones. At one end was a worn -out silver screen . At the other a projector balanced on a pile of bricks. Between were old benches and chairs tied together for security, on which we herded.. The smell of hot flesh and unclean bodies sickened one. A murmur arose from the audience, eyes brightened, depression Aed. The picture came. I forget its title. It was 1 From “ The Bermondsey Book ." THE PERSONAL EQUATION 71 a a stream . one of a series of the marvellous exploits of a hooded man, whose valour, courage, daring and chivalry roused the audience to an intense pitch of excitement. All the time I seemed to live surrounded by armed men whose bayonets pressed against me, might go through me at any moment should the picture cause the soldiers to start with emotion . But nothing happened except the effect on the audience. It herded in like stagnant sewage ; it Aowed out like a revitalised And my rough guards. As we splashed homeward through the little lakes I noticed that they went not behind but before me. Something had humanised them , had made them no longer guards, but guides. An officer came the next morning, and I resumed my journey. There was another stoppage near Warsaw . II nosed out another little cinema of the pattern with which I was becoming familiar. I had no time to see pictures, but I saw the interior containing old apparatus, and wreckage, called furniture. The mechanical equipment consisted of an old projector mounted on bricks, a worn-out light- producing apparatus, a screen that would have gone to the wash had it known its way. The proprietor told me he had some pictures, some rare old - timers, which had been stored away during the war and were in mint state . Whenever I heard a statement of that kind I used to feel sorry that I was not in a position to collect some of the oddities and rarities I came across. My path was strewn with them . Europe was a veritable Tom Tiddler's ground for the Junk Hunter who sells his goods by salting museums with them . There was only one rarity I did not want. He was the invari able operator who was more capable of grinding a mangle than working a projector, and who needed several sleeps to help him through with a night's programme. The visit to this out-of -the-way cinema was interesting, but it nearly cost me my life, for as I returned to the train I was fired at for crossing the line. I was not aware that I was tres 72 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA passing, but even if I did trespass that was no excuse for treating me as English gentlemen treat partridges in the shooting season. I was entitled to a warning before being potted at. The incident was another illustration of the blood- letting mania that possessed defenders of their country in out-of- the-way parts of the earth . J. POLAND If The first thing I did on reaching Warsaw was to spend a whole day disinfecting myself. At the same time I could see quite plainly that the relief would be only a temporary one. This remarkable city had nothing to boast of in the matter of cleanliness. Indeed , when I visited it in 1919 it was in a worse condition even than Moscow . To say that it was crumpled up is to pay it a compliment. It was worse than a wreck, and prices were higher even than in England to -day. The cost of being buried in an egg chest was £ 1,000, and then your family were expected to play the parts of funeral mutes. your family or friends refused to carry you to the grave there was nothing left for the undertaker to do but to put you in the dust-bin. Prices were sky-high. Everything cost a fortune. Consequently, no one ate. They followed the example of the true poet who never eats, at least not at his own expense. I remember going with the wife of a famous Polish composer to the old market. She looked very thin and ill and I invited her to have some refreshment. We went to a pastrycook who, like the rest of the shopkeeper tribe, put a princely price on everything. I ordered a large dish of cakes, which to judge by their solidity and smell were luxuries meant for sewer rats, and should have cost, say, tuppence or threepence a cartload, but which actually cost a king's ransom a-piece. But the point is that my friend started on this banquet and never stopped till every crumb was consumed . That Poland in 1919, 1920 and for a year or so after, should be in a state of financial and architectural and civic rottenness, is not to be wondered at when the terrible events which it had THE PERSONAL EQUATION 73 gone through since 1914 are recalled. Three foreign nations, Russia, Germany and Austria, had taken a very strong interest in a country which they had divided up between them . And as during the War victory turned now this way and now that, so there were evacuations and re -occupations of much of the Polish territory, but in particular Warsaw. Between the three, Warsaw was sweated to death . Each army as it evacuated the city helped itself freely to any material that could be used for war material or for making money. The metal roofs of the houses and churches disappeared, so did the water pipes and house fittings generally. Telephone receivers took part in this exodus of property. Gradually Poland came to assume the appearance of a city that had been thoroughly skinned . Therefore it will not cause surprise when I say that my first encounter with the Polish cinemas sent me hot-foot to the nearest disinfecting station. Every establishment was alike dirty, dark and dilapidated. Probably they had all gone bank rupt and would have closed down, but I think their proprietors were requested to keep them going on behalf of the public. I fancy the Polish authorities had read into them a function of service. In any case, they were open and doing something to encourage the population to keep a stiff upper lip and to strengthen the spirit of patriotism which the realisation of a Free Poland had re-kindled . Before considering the subjects then exhibited, let me indi cate political events of which the pictures were to some extent the consequence. When I commenced my cross--European journeys in 1919, the Peace Treaty had divided much territory among peoples who claimed to have been dispossessed of their rightful kingdoms and their national rights. For instance, there was Poland. This parcelling-up business yielded a small crop of nations with different objectives. There were, in particular, three or four classes of nations with different aims. I allude to the victorious nations, England, France, etc .; the defeated nations, Germany, etc .; the liberated nations, Poland, etc .; and 74 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the nations formed by peoples of races that had been separated, and were now rejoined under the terms of the Peace Treaty, such as Czecho -Slovakia, Jugo-Slovakia, etc. All alike were dominated by one big emotion, Fear. All demonstrated that they were moved by that common emotion. Their cultural expression was full of propaganda resting on Fear. Anyone could see that some sought to prevent the repetition of a disaster which had threatened to overwhelm them ; others to maintain the advan tages which they had gained ; others to ward off the worst evils of the reverses they had sustained . The War had evoked one set of varieties of Fear. The Russian Revolution had evoked another set. The whole of Europe was paralysed by Fear, and while the whole of Europe employed a common method to over come the causes ; while a wave of propaganda unequalled in volume and force swept over the entire continent, dominating all thought and action ; when analysed it was seen to be a method of methods. In other words, different nations sought to attain their objects each by its own method. The Poles, for instance, sought alliances for the sake of protection, just as within the past three or four years there have been immense business amalgamations for the sake of protection, and they set up barriers to ward off the new reign of terror threatened by the bolshevist invasion. Such barriers consisted of the most intense expression of nationalism and patriotism.

The widespread struggle for victory and liberation caused by Fear bred new ideologies. In England in 1920 there was the beginning of a new ideology which has since developed into an ideological struggle of an individualist character not of the collectivist character of the Russian struggle. It is the struggle between the fossilised ideas and new ones which have been fertilised since the War. Applied sociology, or sociological studies of human communities, far-reaching investi gations into sex, have, for instance, made valuable contributions towards the new ideology. As I shall point out later, many of the post-war pictures have expressed aspects of the ideology in spite of the financial policy and management of the Cinema.

The past eventful eleven years have, then , witnessed the emergence of new ideologies under the pressure of fear, desire for liberation, for freedom of self -expression and development, for associative system of government, and new forms of social growth and development. The process of ideology making was well-marked in Poland at the distressful stage of its history which I have described . There was perceptible in 1919 a desire to encourage the use of the cultural establishments, especially the Theatre, Opera House and Cinema in sustaining the spirits of the people under severe trial, in making known the importance of Poland, in developing and maintaining patriotism . This was one of the first examples of the use of cultural establishments in nation building by the new European nations, that I came across. The changing ideology was to be traced in the pictures pro duced and selected. The Polish Film Industry began about 1912 when the first two pictures were produced. Two pictures were produced yearly till 1926. At first the pictures were deter mined by the occupying armies. Exhibitions of patriotism were sternly suppressed by the Tsarist authorities. More licence was permitted in Cracow . Indeed the whole of Austrian Poland enjoyed a moderate autonomy. Here, fervent patriotism such as Wyspianski, Poland's poet and dramatist, sought to express, was tolerated. Still there is nothing in the titles of the pictures pro duced between 1912 and the fall of the Russian Tsarist regime, to suggest that they were determined by a national and patriotic ambition . In 1917-18 came a change of title to denote the be ginning of a new state of affairs and an ideology of escape in stead of servitude. The subjects of the pictures showed the Polish people attacking the Tsar and the Tsarist regime. “ Tsarism and its Slaves , ” and “ The Favourite of the Tsar, ” plainly indicated that the Cinema was now organising public opinion in support of the full rights of a liberated nation. Fol lowing these came stronger and stronger expressions of patriotism and nationalism in such home-made pictures as The Shot ” and “ The Heroism of The Polish Scout.”

By 1922-23 there was a marked improvement, though economic and social conditions were still bad . Cinema taxation was as high as 50 p.c. One, however, saw the exhibitors taking the golden path again. The 32 cinemas in Warsaw and the 100 in Poland, had received a visit from the renovator, and electric light embraced them as though they were in the heart of Paris. The main object of promoting a powerful national spirit had become a common one. As there were but two Pro duction Companies, and two home-made pictures a year were not sufficient to satisfy the public craving for large helpings of memory and aspiration , foreign productions were called in. Of course America was already there circulating its wonders but only so far as the ruinous cost would allow . Plunging on the newest American pictures was like plunging at Monte Carlo. The Palace Kino had sunk all its capital in the fourteen days rent of the Carpentier -Dempsey fight, which amounted to 300,000 Polish marks. Conducting a Cinema on this basis was simply asking for bankruptcy notwithstanding that the public demand was for strong, invigorating, sensational fare, and boxing matches that had a high eugenic value. The price of pictures was sending exhibitors to the cheapest markets whence they drew a supply of goods suitable for their propaganda pur pose though much of it deserved an old age pension. The order of pictures purchased was 1. German ; 2. American ; 3. an assort ment of old French and Italian spectacle specialities. I noted that exhibitors were asking for D. W. Griffith pictures, as many as they could get of this prodigious producer's stories. In par ticular they were clamouring for 1. “ Way Down East; “ Broken Blossoms;" 3. The Two Orphans;" all three so peculiarly adapted, so they thought, to serve public need. Then they were after new Chaplins and foreign sport pictures. But they never tired of telling me that the rent of the pictures they wanted was enough to break Poland. “ Look at the cost of a 66 French National Finis .Terrae directed ,Jean byEpstein This .the perfect film issociological though ,probably unintentionally soIntentionally .documentary istafilm ofanrea oFinisterre the lonely region French ofthe inhabited coast bygatherers weed Sociologically .,itllustrates place how produces and work ,produces work reveals geographical -people ;occupational ,anthropological Technically values .æsthetically and ,the naturalist itsntradition .natural The æsthetics objects of,landscape man and perspective are expressed .natural composition Above isaobjects ofevolved byprocesses natural ,and not painter's arecord ofindividual reaction todesign anemotive . SON the1:17man! JE be ide, 01 20f THE PERSONAL EQUATION 77 a new Chaplin for three weeks,” they would exclaim , “ 1,000,000 Polish marks." “ Look at the cost of other foreign specialities, —some of them 4,000,000 marks each , at least. How are we to get that back from audiences who have not sufficient money to buy two ounces of bread a week ? ” Not being a born mathe matician , I gave it up. But I noticed the cinemas were booming all the same. It is worthy of note that censorship was very strict, particu larly regarding Soviet Russian subjects. But there was no organised fight against it as there is to-day in Western Europe, where intellectuals and ästhetes, both Right and Left ones, are going about their countries demanding that Russian pictures shall be recognised and exhibited to the toiling Mass. The fact is the Polish people had had as much of Russia as they wanted for a century or two. Poland had been liberated from the Russian toils , the facts of a new world were asking to be added to the general knowledge of the people. Such knowl edge must be guarded and transmitted and made clear and intelligible to the common folk . When that was done it would be time to pay attention to the cultural advertisements of a country that too long had been a bitter thorn in Poland's side. The Polish people could afford to be indifferent to censorship, even to assist it, for the task of their cultural establishments was to define and interpret nationalism and patriotism , to follow the lead set by the Polski theatre and the Opera House. The latter was busy indeed in providing first instalments of the common heritage—in folk -songs, dances, legends — all, the stuff of which the Folk themselves were made, derived from desire, occupation and natural environment, the true sociological stuff of communities. There was a wonderful opera- full of real Poland. It was called “ Pan Twardowski ” and was the in spired work of Ludomir Rozycki. I begged some of our mag nates to import it and give the English people an opportunity of seeing how a liberated country puts itself on the stage. But 8 78 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA C they were not engaged in selling liberated countries just then ; they were selling dirty sex .

Among the imported pictures that from time to time I noticed engaged in Polish propaganda were Conqueror and Victory pictures, such as “ Napoleon " at the Kino -Stylowy, the headquarters of the Esti-Film Syndicate ; Resurrection pictures, such as “ Resurrection of 1863 ; " Nationalist pictures, “ 1865," at the Coliseum , a national film with a love interest produced at Warsaw . Of course there was a quantity of mixed fare con sisting of sex, “ Casanova , ” scenes in the life of the Italian adventurer; splendour and voluptuousness, “ Pearl of Warsaw , a German monumental Eastern spectacular picture ; and a Roman Ballet type of picture portraying love, hate, revenge; and the Western romantic serial, such as “ Hercules Armstrong,” a sinewy gentleman who at one time was to be met making his appearance all over Europe. K. BALTIC STATES In some respects the Baltic States resembled Poland. They too were liberated from an old yoke and for a time were to be seen organising freedom under unparallelled conditions. No money and no credit. There was the wreckage of the Cinema Industry which the German occupiers had established , and there were cinemas which had to throw off a lot of useless cumber heaped on them by Germans, Russians and other occupiers. In Reval , for instance, in those early days, I counted 11 cinemas. They were showing old pictures titled in three languages Russian, German and Lettish . These titles told the story at length, with the result that they took so long to roll on that seeing a picture was mainly a matter of getting fleeting glimpses of movement and getting drinks. In Riga it was much the There were a few cinemas some of them of the pre war luxury type but all alike in the “ untouchable " condition. The pictures were determined not only by national necessity same. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 79 a but by an event of some importance, namely the presence of English sailors in Riga, Reval and elsewhere. Like the Polish cinemas, they were, however, affected by economic conditions. Exhibitors insisted that the price of good foreign pictures was so high that they could not afford to pay it . Hence folk must read the Life and Death struggle in the crudities that marked the beginning of the Cinema Industry, and take a sob or a thrill or a laugh from any old-timer that was lying on the shelf, or could be bought at bargain price. I noticed that for a year or two our old friend “ Hercules Armstrong was first favourite. Hercules was the early type of he-man who goes through a thousand thrilling adventures and emerges unscathed . To the audience this picture symbolised, I think, the eternal theme of Man's struggle with destiny. It had in fact a crude Laocoon character, or a sort of Lear-like struggle against overwhelming disaster. It was no hard matter for an audience faced with struggle and adversity of the worst kind to put itself in the place of Hercules and thus form the nation, Latvia, Lithuania, Esthonia , as the case might be, surrounded and attacked by enemies, say cut-throats and brigands, and like Hercules emerg ing victorious from each encounter. Likewise the audience, in imagination, took the place of the cowboy who to them was a force fighting for and saving the nation. There was Hart, the two- gun man, as he was called, who was always turning up in the nick of time to rescue the persecuted and much be battered maiden. The virility of the leading actor, the wonder ful romance of the scenery , and the triumph of virtue over vice all served to mix the audience with the action of the picture. Other Transatlantic thrillers that drew the crowd, included “ The Red Glove ” and the serial, “ Elmo the Mighty. ” The cinemas in the Baltic States gradually recovered along the line of the Polish ones . They put on flesh and electric light and took unto themselves a goodly supply of Hollywood's attractive if not most expensive pictures. From the aforegoing it will be gathered that, in the 80 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA countries described , the Cinema from 1919 to 1923, or a little later, pursued two paths and fulfilled two functions. On the one hand, the financial policy and management were maintained though under the utmost difficulty; on the other, the broad Mass of human beings, fear-stricken, deeply touched by suffering and patient in tribulation , read into the Cinema a new function which actually was the original good purpose with which it started . They recognised that it was an organic part of them selves capable of reflecting their wishes and ideas. These two paths were clearly perceptible till the financial policy once again asserted itself and widened out and overspread the human one which came to the surface occasionally only under the spur of a political , economic or social crisis, or when ideological material got into the pictures unknown to their producers. This was the case when the mighty Hollywood Magnates took to selling the War, Crime and Sex.


What was the Hungarian Cinema doing at the beginning of 1920 ? It was rather in the fire. The War had given it an air of nastiness to which the fumes of a revolution had been added . This revolution, run on the model of the Russian one, turned it into an instrument of revolutionary propaganda. The ideology expressed by the pictures was intended to awaken similar ideology in the minds of the audience. It was an in structive demonstration of how the Cinema can be put to political service at a moment's notice. But on the whole it was love's labour lost, for the revolution lasted only six months, the revo lutionists either fled or were arrested , and the nation reduced to a terrible economic condition, was left to put its cultural establishments in order as best it could. The subsequent story of the Cinema was the usual story of slow recovery along the two paths, financial and public service. Three years later the Cinema had emerged on the high road THE PERSONAL EQUATION 81 > a of practical commercialism again . There were two things about this revival which, in particular, took my notice. One of them was not confined to Hungary. Though cinema business was bad and exhibitors were to be met everywhere wringing their hands and crying, ““ We've We've got got nono money money ” (always in English let it be said , as though they thought it rather nice to know so much of a fairly universal language), there was always a good supply of fat little Cinema Year Books. I sometimes thought I should like to be a publisher of European Cinema Year Books. It must be rather easy to sell copies and get rich . They were really joy books. A mere glance at their contents was sufficient to show that all the Cinema Trade was in its place, all the technicians and good men were in the Cinema Industry , and all was right with the Cinema World. There was for instance a fairly early edition of the “ Lichtbild Buhne, " a German Year Book, which contained more than 400 pages, and was crowded to death by the advertisements of producers, renters, exhibitors, apparatus makers and sellers , etc. There was another fat little book , whose birthplace I have forgotten . It had 700 pages of small type and illustrations, and contained facts and figures that led me to believe that the Commercial Cinema Millennium had really arrived. Yet whenever I showed a copy of this testa ment to a weeping exhibitor, his only remark was, “ Yes, the publishers are making money but the poor exhibitors are not. So I came to the conclusion that the Year Book was a new form of fairy tale, the Money Producer's Manual. Another tendency was to make much of the English, such as I had noticed at Reval . By chance I met at Budapest a delegation of Oxford men including Professor Julian Huxley. I was invited to join them and together we tasted a very rich and large portion of Hungarian hospitality and were filmed to make the public smile and it did not cost us a penny. That made the really sound Scotchmen in our ranks glow. The third tendency was one that I was destined to meet in neighbouring countries. Laughter had taken possession of a 82 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a the Cinema, loud and exhilarating laughter that stretched like a sunburst across the dark places , Hungary, Czecho- Slovakia, Austria, and found a boundary in France. The fact is that an amazing number of early American comic shorts had invaded this wide territory and were falling over each other in the en deavour to change the atmosphere in places as far apart as Budapest and Paris. These short reels were not news reels, that is, the portrayal of current events and educational matter that nowaday forms a part of every cinema programme, and without which a programme is not complete. (Such gazettes I may say provide more sociological interest than most of the biggest pictures with lots of entertainment value.) The majority of the little reels told funny stories, a few were intense little dramas. Any one of them could be rolled round the finger. There must have been thousands of them . I did not stop to inquire how many there where or whence they came. Probably the fresh -looking ones had been in cold storage, others not so fresh but given to pumping out Aicker and dull and brilliant spots by turn , had no doubt seen full service. Together they provided an invaluable portrait gallery of the first and early stars of the screen . Among the élite you saw Charlie Chaplin, John Bunny, “ Fatty ” Arbuckle, Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Denny, Mary Pick ford, William Farnum, Maurice Costello, Flora Finch , Florence Turner, Marie Dressler, Polly Moran, the stars of the comic shorts of Raymond Griffith, and so on, and so on. These revivals and revivers brought one face to face with the two paths, one, of the men who sought to make big money out of little reels, and the other, of the people who refused to be downhearted while there was the Cinema to keep them laugh ing. But in spite of this improvement and relief, Hungary had not much to boast of. It was by no means the heart of the world . It could proudly boast that the Hungarian kronen had fallen so low that it would soon hold the record for money world. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 83 horizontal currency. There were between 90 and 100 cinemas in Budapest; and 19 studios turning out about i p.c. of home pictures mostly of very inferior quality. Charges for admission were exceedingly high. Moreover whenever the exchange rate dropped one point, prices went up three. This kind of balanc ing of accounts went on all over Europe. The lower money fell the higher you had to climb to exchange it for food and clothes. And whenever the money tried to rise and apologise you paused in your travels to write articles on this strange event. It sounds like England in 1930.


Vienna, when I visited it in 1923, was indeed clothed in shining laughter, or to be precise, its cinemas were. And about time. If there is a city in the world that has suffered more than the once proud capital of the Austrian Empire, former heart of the money world, the Mecca of culture, then I should like to know where it is. So far my globe trotting has not revealed it to me.. The sight of Vienna's plight immediately after the War was heart-breaking. I have related it elsewhere. In 1919, Vienna was practically all that remained of an Empire after the Peace-makers at Versailles had done carving mid-Europe up. Its 3,000,000 inhabitants had two engrossing occupations, starving and smuggling. Each day thousands tried to creep out of Vienna in order to exchange art treasures for potatoes, and to creep back again through a relentless customs barrier that took from them all they had got,, if they were not cunning enough to con ceal it. You can guess the devices that came into fashion . False hair that concealed ha’p'orths of butter and ancient eggs. And many others worthy of a museum . And while the adult popu lation was thus qualifying for Vienna's prisons or Chamber of Horrors, the baby population were qualifying for heaven stretched in rows beneath the sun which was expected to burn 1 See “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre,” Huntly Carter. 84 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the effects of pre-natal physical injuries out of them. The starvation of the mothers was visited upon the children. There were cinemas and scrap -heap films, but as it took days at a time for folk to imitate Chicago rum - runners, there were few moments left for seeing pictures. The passing years brought relief and recovery, though the exchange fell to pieces. 1923 saw you trudging round to the nearest bank with a pound note to change, and you heard the pleasant words of the cashier, “ Take this key and get you to the vault and help yourself . ” It was always advisable to do the rounds of the shops with two pantechnicons, one to carry the purchase money, the other to collect the small change. A similar thing happened when you went to the pictures. The cause of Vienna's Sunny Jim atmosphere was an interesting one. The Opern and Flüger Kinos were living on shorts. But the great attraction was the Lustspeilabend, a sort of weekly festival, with a programme of from eight to ten star shorts, including, say, “ Fatty ” Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe, an old Chaplin, “ At the Dance , ” “ Fatty ” as Servant, “ Fatty ” as “ Loschmeister, ” and a Pickford and Bunny. There were four shows a night, at 4 ; 5.45 ; 6.30 and 7.45. Early closing was symptomatic of economic conditions. There was no arti ficial light after 8.30, and no conveyances of any sort. “ Fatty ” was exceedingly popular. His name circled the city in letters almost a mile high. In his pictures he usually “ played oppo site ” Rappe (the cinema player whose death “ Fatty ” was accused of having caused at a wild cocktail party near Holly wood in 1927 ). Though he was acquitted, he fell from public favour, or was it that his association with an unpleasant matter gave the Film Kings much pause ? To exploit anyone less than an angel would, of course , be a stain upon their characters. Vienna seat prices sent you into a cold sweat. They ranged from 4,000 to 12,000 kronen . After 1923 they were considerably worse. There came a time when new films cost from 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 kronen for four days' hire. This state of things directed byJean Gremillon .The another advance guard picture .Itwas French National .Maldone personalities Itisastudy ofman with two difficult toscreen .Lenormand mixture very story isaPirandello -aristocratic brother .estate ofhis when heinherits thehe life ofabargee wr .Heisliving which arelways atincident There isasimilar kills himelf .amirror and its reflection inheshootsubdue one personality Failing to .The photography isofcamera -angle period inThe Mystic -Mirror produced inGermany about 1927 . Above ,M.Dullin the celebrated French actor . 1 THE PERSONAL EQUATION 85 almost stopped importation . Germany's economic situation alone prevented complete stoppage. Faced with financial ruin Germany was able to export at a rate well within the means of a country impoverished even as Austria was. Hence in the transitional years, those between complete financial collapse and stabilisation, I found the Vienna luxury cinemas, like the Rosensturm , exhibiting fairly new German types of social and spectacle pictures, and in addition the Roman spectacle picture of an early date. As to home production, there were 43 Austrian studios of a highly unindustrious character. Nine of them , the Astoria, Dreamland, Mordial Olympic, Sacha, Schonbrum , Staatliche Bundes, Vita and the Micheluzzi and Co. Film fabriken had produced a few creditable pictures of a national type. The sight of Austria thus getting out of the workhouse did one good. a N. CZECHO -SLOVAKIA a Czecho-Slovakia has, since the War, been a kind of blessed inland sea full of the salt of life. To a great extent it was a protected State from the moment it gained liberation . If it had hardships, they arose more from its geographical position than from economic necessity. It consisted of one of the most pros perous industrial provinces cut bodily from Austria , in such a manner that it was able to continue to do business uninter ruptedly, like a branch shop cut off from a multiple commercial undertaking. The fact is , its poor neighbours were the cause of sorrow . Austria having, not without protest, given birth to a very vigorous competitor, had no money to buy its goods. And Germany on the other side, though an exceedingly useful country, was also without money. Between the two Czecho Slovakia was hard put to it to find a profitable outlet for its produce. Production was at high water -mark, but low currency forced down the price of exports. Hence arose the uncommon and complicated situation of its neighbours being unable to buy 86 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 66 > except at famine prices, and Czecho -Slovakia being unable to sell because the low prices compelled the manufacturers to pay low wages, and low wages caused the workers to strike. So when I came to make my first visit to Prague I was faced with cinemas strutting about in an unusual state of pre servation and brightness what time their proprietors stood still and wept. “ Nothing doing,” they replied to my inquiries after the health of trade. Absolutely nothing. We want some of the big pictures. Give us some Griffith or Goldwyn pictures. All we have got to go on with are the early shorts." “ Life is short, ” I commented. “ Where I have just come from ” (mean ing Russia and the bordering countries) “ it is the shortest thing on earth .” Then I stole silently away. Change came swiftly enough. The years passed and refined comedies replaced the knockabouts and feature picture plays, and tragedies replaced the early Westerns. Even the vanguard of the new German psychological, phantasy and trick photo graphy pictures began to appear. In a country that was pros perous in spite of its neighbours being broke, there was bound to be less of deep human interest in the pictures. Though Czecho- Slovakia was busy for a year or two nation- building, and called upon its cultural establishments to participate in the work, there was not so much new reading of the function of the Cinema required as in other and deeply-distressed countries. Little, prosperous Czecho- Slovakia, wedged in between great States that had dwindled to the semblance of fifth - rate ones, was very useful to the observer. It showed that while normal con ditions prevailed folk did not trouble to recognise as an organic part of themselves those cultural institutions which once upon a time had grown out of their inner necessities; and while abnormal conditions prevailed they instinctively turned to them for an expression of their vital collective needs. In prosperous centres, like Czecho -Slovakia , England, France and America, the whole meaning of the Cinema changed. In those countries it seemed to be assumed that the Cinema was not an instrument THE PERSONAL EQUATION 87 of expression to which the folk could take their memories and aspirations and have them interpreted, but one to which mil lionaires took their goods, praised them as beautiful things, and sold bits of social life that moved to and fro upon the screen singing Stock Exchange songs. It was probably for this reason that about 1923 or 1924 there was little, cinematically speaking, to distinguish Czecho Slovakia from Paris or London. In Prague alone there were 64 cinemas, many of them of the first -class order. There were no less than eight production studios forming a miniature Holly wood. Pictures suitable for export were being produced by the A.B. , Weber, Poja, the Lloyd and Atropos Picture Production Companies. Their pictures, including “ Van propasli,” “ Cikani,,” “ Peslodni polibek ” (“ The Last Kiss ”'), “ Sur l'Abime, ” had travelled , or were about to travel, to America, France, Italy , Spain and elsewhere. Though Czecho- Slovakia had the luck to export and import millionaire pictures, national and human interests were not alto gether left out in the cold. A danger or two menaced the country. Fear was still drawing dividends, for Soviet Russia refused to die. Moreover, something remained to be done to complete the building of the new little kingdom. Hence, the demand for D. W. Griffith . Exhibitors told me that if I came across a copy of “ The Birth of a Nation ” I was to send it along. “ Intolerance ” and “ Way Down East were also wanted. It did not surprise me to hear that Griffith was in demand. Though “ The Birth of a Nation ” is highly controversial and calculated to offend some countries, the generality of Griffith pictures have points of appeal to the common people. “ Way Down East ” has the oldest story, the story of an innocent girl who suffers for a man's sin. ' It was not hard for folk in countries that were drawn into the War against their inclination , to read their own troubles into this picture. In “ Intolerance ” we have Griffith's favourite theme of intolerance of human beings to a a > 1 G. A. Atkinson , The Daily Express, November 19, 1928. 88 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 human beings. Such a theme produced on an unthinkable scale of magnificence could not fail to move multitudes. It was an excellent thing to be the first in the Cinema world with the oldest mixture, oldest melodrama, oldest theme, oldest moral, for when we come to think of it they are the oldest con stituents of human beings themselves. I think that Douglas Fairbanks has also made it a life practice to sell some of the “ oldest ” stuff. Look at his “ Taming of The Shrew .” What is it but the taming of speed, wind and Shakespearean smells mixed. As a result you have the Taming of the Primitive in Douglas himself. Prague exhibitors also welcomed Goldwyn and Universal pictures. At that time personality was beginning to take the centre of the stage. Goldwyn had discovered and was exploiting Will Rogers, the American humourist. “ It was in revolt against the suppression of personality that, early in 1919, Douglas Fair banks conceived the idea of the United Artists which Mary Pick ford, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith helped to found. He sought artistic liberty .” Nowaday, Mr. Joseph Schenck is closely identified with the activities of this corporation. By 1926 Czecho -Slovakia had fully taken the Gold -Rush path. Like the generality of Europeon cities, its cinemas were practically owned by American Film Kings. Prague was stamped all over with the names of three big American cor porations. The name of Goldwyn was to be met forming end less combinations with the names of Mayer and Metro and Gaumont and many more. Pictures fell into three or four types. Pro- and anti- Russian were symptomatic of a mixture of public fear and confidence. Cecil B. de Mille's “' Volga Boatman, " “ Michael Strogov ,” with its incident of the miraculous restora tion of sight to the hero after he has had his eyes burnt out,, and A. Moskvin's “ Stenka Razin ,” may be said to have been slices of the usual anti-Soviet pudding; while the wild advance 2 1 G. A. Atkinson, The Daily Express, November 19, 1928 . 2 The Daily Chronicle, August 7, 1929. a French .This film AnItalian Straw Hat together with four others ,EnRade The Fall ofthe House ofUsher ,Maldone and Finis Terrae ofwhich scenes ar reproduced inthis book ,elong tohe period ofFrench advance guard movement aiming toraise the standard ofFrench films ,1924-28 .AnItalian Straw Hat ws directed byRené Clair .Itisabrilliant French period comey ,remarkable for the reproduction of the atmosphere ofits period 1895 ,and for the spirit ofFrench tragi -comedy acting .Above are Olga Chekova , Albert Prejean ,and Jim Gerald inascenerising from the destruction ofwoman's straw hat which se holds .All fivems were exhibited atthe Avenue Pavilion ,London .

THE PERSONAL EQUATION 89 publicity of Eisenstein's “ Potemkin ,” which had half buried the city in foreign press-notices and filled the bookshops with little illustrated volumes relating the revolutionary story, was evidently a big helping of unusual pro -Soviet custard. Valentino had also arrived with his load of half-savage Sheik sex hypnotism. “ The Son of The Sheik ” was bringing sex-starved women to their knees in adoration. And there was Douglas Fairbanks serving liberal portions of his primitive personality basted all over with pre-historic romance, in the stereotyped cut-and -dried manner. To-day Czecho-Slovakia has nothing to boast of in the matter of picture production. It has two factories, and about 90 cinemas which lean heavily on America and Germany for goods. O. FRANCE From the beginning, the story of the French cinema has been almost similar to that of the English one. In the beginning both were little brothers to the Theatre. Before the War both had a considerable output of home pictures, and France supplied a very high percentage ( 90 p.c. , it is said) of the world's pictures. Both lost their favourable position soon after the War began. By 1916 90 p.c. of the pictures shown in England were American. : Neither has regained its predominance. Since the Quota Act, England has been advancing at the head of that small group of European countries which has been glancing anxiously and seriously towards the possibility of Cinema Industry revival. During the War the two cinemas continued to run on parallel lines, the one maintaining a very large popularity , the other a comparatively small one. To-day but 7 p.c. of the French population goes to the Cinema, and this proportion has been stationary for several years. At wartime the cinemas in Paris attracted a very large number of the foreign soldiers with which the capital was always full. Also of the settled war workers and relief bodies. There was a good deal of co-opera tion between the two countries in providing material for this 90 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 miscellaneous crowd, and there was not much difference between the commercial policy and management of the two cinemas. Government propaganda aims differed in some respects accord ing to the different collective needs of the populations. It is worthy of note that the number of cinemas in each country was nearly the same at wartime, being about 4,000 in England, and a little less in France. But the averages of attendances differed in the provinces owing to the different attitudes of the popula tions in the country districts towards the Cinema. Again, both countries were flooded with American pictures, and in both the cinemas fell into the hands of unscrupulous profiteers. Not much can be said about the new reading of the func tion of the Cinema in France. The fact that France was the battlefield, and the German army was making titanic efforts to enter Paris, made Fear the predominating emotion . Intense patriotism rose to meet it. Every attempt was made to keep up the fighting spirit of the people and to blot out of memory everything except the necessity of shedding its last drop of blood for its country. Along with this went a strenuous effort to stimulate the fighting ardour of the troops, and to keep the desire of foreign soldiers to cooperate in the work of freeing France from the invader, at fever heat. As army English, Russian, American, etc., marched into Paris, the order was given to provide the most suitable national dishes, or inter national ones, of sexual and erotic stuff, calculated to satisfy a common dirty palate. After the War, Hollywood rapidly became the cinema hub of France. A victorious nation, its population sank into apathy, lost touch with the verities which the terrifying events of the War brought to the front, became dissociated from vital interests , and displayed complete indifference to matters of great significance. The cinema consequences were plainly to be seen everywhere. In 1920 the cinemas on the Grand Boulevards looked like two flaming processions exhibiting an unparallelled hodge-podge of pictures of all types except the true social ones. after army, The French National . Fall ofthe House Usher ,directed byJean Epstein from the story byEdgar Allen Poe .According tohe film story male Ushers have exercised amysterious power ofextracting the vitality from their wives and putting itnto the latter's portraits .The scenehows Sir Roderick Usher (Jean Debucourt )mesmerising Madeline Usher (Marguerite Abel Gance )whose vitality heputs into her portrait . treatment The successfully symbolises vague emotional and intellectual processes .

THE PERSONAL EQUATION 91 Pictures were selected to affect the audience sentimentally but not to orient the questions put by it. Entertainment came first with its “ sure-fire ” box office values. It was responsible for a glut of American specialities, particularly sex and crime pictures, and fourth - rate French comedies, dramas, farce, and other theatrical attractions, exhibited principally for the benefit of the lingering soldiers. Next came some public service pictures, in cluding national and patriotic ones made from standard novels, stories and plays. They were not intentionally meant to allay the lingering or renewed fear of the public, or to suggest a way out of chaos, but to rouse it out of its torpor. Under the influence of this more stimulating diet probably the attention of the audience was turned towards economic and social reconstruc tion , and social things that mattered. With the exception of the very striking production of “ J'Accuse, ” exhibited at the Circle Français de la Presse Etrangère, Paris, in 1919, and the Westerns and comic shorts, I do not retain the memory of a single title of a picture that impressed me. In these early post-war years the American invaders poured in, led by the great Film Kings who formed combination after combination with French interests, and amalgamation after amalgamation to safeguard their own interests and to derive utmost profit from their investments. One saw their names combining and recombining, as at Prague, falling together in groups and falling apart again. It was like looking into a kaleidoscope and watching coloured pieces, each worth millions of pounds, arranging and rearranging themselves to form dazzling totals of Cinema Finance Capital. For four years, at least, the French cinema contributed nothing to the French ideology bred by the War. It introduced instead Hollywood's new fashion in “ stars,”" and the exploita tion of the ideology of the American dollar civilisation. Ameri can social laws and customs, ideas of sex relations, of courtship, marriage and “ quick-lunch ” divorce and , in particular, the re pulsive marriage for alimony, all determined by the greed of gold . 92 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA X Such subjects did not rise out of the minds, customs and lives of the French people. They set a code of morals and manners and conduct to which the French people were tempera mentally and mentally opposed . Therefore they exerted a very harmful influence on the large number of young people who saw them expressed , and who were thus led to imitate much that was false and foolish . About 1924 a change set in. Though the mixture of bad and mediocre, of foreign and home, of commonplace, dull, old and new, odds and ends, all sorts and conditions of pictures, was as strong and offensive as ever, a tendency towards national ism could be noticed . It seemed as though France wanted to become France one more, and although it was powerless to turn out the foreign invaders, the intellectuals decided to do what they could to stir up French production and the making of the French picture. There were plenty of good men for the purpose, men whose outlook was French, whose feelings and sentiments were French, men who could be trusted to add the proper French flavouring to a French dish, but who were unemployed because of sad economic conditions, and because the public had not awakened from its lethargy to demand French subjects approached from a new point of view. The encouragement needed to make a fresh start was probably delayed by the freak character of some of the so - called “ artistic ” pic tures coming from other parts of the Continent. In 1922 Ger many was up to its neck in artistic horrors of the “ Dracula " and “ Dr. Mabuse ” kind. In any case, the intellectuals of the Cinema began to assert themselves and a new wave, sociological, realistic and naturalistic appeared bearing on its crest the progressives with whose aims and achievements we in England have but lately become acquainted, and in a fleeting sort of way. The names of Feyder, Rene Clair, Renoir, l'Herbier, and Calvacanti, to quote but a few , are not household words in this country , but judges of quality set great store by their pictures. It should be a > a 1928. French National .EnRade directed byAlberto Calvalcanti documentary .Afilm wth marked sociological values .Itportrays dockside life and the characters who are produced bythe environment and occupations .The character ,centre istelling the story ofwreck ,hih determines action .Itstops The Son (the man with tweed hat )from going tsea ,which brings him into assciation with The Kitchen maid (Ctherine Hessling ,right )that ends intragedy .Ithas the compositional qualities ofaschool directors , containing and influenced bylatter -day French painters .

THE PERSONAL EQUATION 93 noted that some of their pictures had a considerable commercial success . 1925 saw the birth of the advance-guard cinema with the object of experimenting in ideas, some of which were no doubt derived from the wartime advance- guard theorists. The new extreme school of producers thus founded was chiefly concerned with analysis, stylisation, and the documentary picture. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that some of its mem bers were concerned with technique for technique's sake. To them form came first and social content came last, or not at all . Some sought the natural æsthetic and the light and shade appearance of an object. The advance-guard cinema was really a movement of re volt, and a gesture of defiance. It was established for the purpose not only of producing unusual French pictures but of assisting the production and exhibition of unusual pictures of foreign origin. Naturally the Censor was opposed to the exhi bition of the home-made offending pictures, and he made it very difficult for the insurrectioniststo introduce banned foreign pictures. Complete censorship and sabotage ran riot. Out of these circumstances rose a widespread protest against censorship. For the years a war has been fought by the intellectuals on behalf of banned pictures especially of a revolutionary character. Censorship is said to prevent the spread of technical knowledge and social influence by means of good pictures. The Left French intellectuals maintain that the Censor is unusually and unnecessarily severe in banning pictures. To them this tyrannical censorship is a cause of the rotten state of the French cinema . If pictures, which they consider good, pictures in the making of which the best brains co -operated, are not allowed to be shown to the public it means that the public are prevented from enjoying good pictures, and cinema influences cannot be anything but bad. Briefly their charges, as summed up in Left journals that are strongly supporting the anti -censorship movement, are that there is a crisis in the French Cinema In past three 9 94 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA x dustry ; that nothing is being done to develop the French picture; that decrees, like the Herriot one ( 1927) for regulating the importation of new foreign pictures are harmful and should be modified ; that national protection is really for the benefit of the big commercial combines ; and that excessive and unreason able censure, of Russian, French, German , and other advance guard pictures, is excessively harmful, and is having the effect of driving the younger and more progressive French producers out of France, and of keeping out the representatives of the young “ school ” of Russian producers, Eisenstein , Dziga Vertov, Pudovkin, and others. These charges are the basis of an attack , not altogether unwarranted, on the combines comprising cinema magnates, bankers, newspaper owners, industrialists, who while operating with big American interests seek to use the French picture for nationalist propaganda purposes. According to an English Year Book, “ During 1926 it has dawned upon the perceptions of those who have hitherto counted the kinema among the amusements of the masses, that the mov ing picture has become the vital expression of national ideals, of social, domestic, and industrial problems, influencing in the most subtle and agreeable way, the thought, outlook and action of the world in matters spiritual — using the word in its broadest sense — as well as material. It has been realised that the moving picture holds within its power the most powerful propagandic force in the world . It influences more people than any other by millions, and does it through the earliest and most receptive channel for the most easily impressed people of all nations.” It is true that by 1925 or 1926 the cinema had become a universal instrument of nationalist propaganda, a condition which , however, was not destined to last for at an International Cinema Congress held in Paris in the autumn of 1927, seventeen representatives of as many countries decided that the Cinema must be put to international purpose because the national one 1 1 W. G. Faulkner, “ The Daily Mall Year Book ," 1927. THE PERSONAL EQUATION 95 was productive of discord and war. This resolution, excellent as it was, is now faced by a situation arising from the demands of the Talkie. The language question promises to exalt nationalism once more. Returning to Paris, in 1926 I found nationalism in full swing. In conversation with the managing director of Cinéromans, I learned that efforts were being made to develop national pictures. Subjects were being drawn from standard French novels, plays, stories by established writers, stories from newspapers, and stories written specially for the pictures to be published in newspapers. A feature of this period was the alliance between the Cinema and new papers. The state of the French Cinema Industry was said to be good, 120 French pic tures had been produced that year. The Cinéromans Corpora tion was outlining a programme of epic pictures. France has since had some success in the production of the big picture, like Abel Gance’s ““ Napoleon Napoleon ,,”” Feyder's Carmen," Casanova,” and “ Verdun . ” The latter picture when shown in London at the Marble Arch Pavilion was generally acclaimed an exceptionally fine piece of French war picture making, with the War itself as the protagonist. Such productions do not prove, however, that the plight of the French Cinema Industry is ended. Reliable statistics tell us that its position is any but a good one. In 1926, “ the 75 p.c. of the 2,500 pictures shown in France were American . ” ı In 1927, the Americans constructed or reconstructed in Europe 733 new cinemas of which 280 were in Germany, 100 in England , 90 in France.. 400 pictures were produced in Europe, costing costing 16,000,000 dollars. Germany had 241, France 74 , England 44, etc. During the same period America exported to Europe about 2,000 films, of which 723 came to England, 192 went to Germany, and 368 went to France. ” 2 Of full- length films shown in France in 1927, the year before the Herriot decree (of protection), in 1 W. G. Faulkner, “ Daily Mail Year Book ," 1927. 2 “ Monde ” ( Paris) , No. 14, 1928. 96 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA which the American predominance was much greater — more than 60 p.c. were American, 15 p.c. German, and about 13 p.c. French. England, Russia , and Italy each supplied between 1 “ The French production in 1928-9 was not 50. America produced 74 great films by four Production corpora tions alone."” “ The French film production is practically non existent." and 1 1/2 p.c." 1 P. ITALY 6 There is not much to be said of Italy. About 1909, the Italian Cinema Industry was very active. It produced big scale national pictures in some of which as many as 10,000 figures appeared. Historical Italy was combed for subjects. Then came the War with the result that Italian production was seri ously affected . Matters grew worse and worse, till finally there came the after-war socialist “ revolution ,” and then the birth of the Fascist regime to put an end to the Italian Cinema In dustry. Proposals for the rivival of the Cinema Industry on a national propaganda basis, resembling a sort of Fascist version of the Soviet Russian model, have been in the air for some time. But nothing of importance has been done as yet. Occasionally there are reports of agreements concluded between Italian firms and German and French, but the fact remains that only two or three films emerge from Turin or Milan in the course of a year. Italy has about 3,000 cinemas. The pictures are very popular and needless to say America is always the first in the field to supply footage of film necessary to entertain the Italian population. Q. SPAIN The Spanish Cinema Industry is , like the Soviet Russian , of recent growth . It is about six years old. The Cinema in this short time has become so popular that there are no less than " The Times Film Number," March 19, 1929, 1 xvi. ( Paris) , No. 2. 3 G. A. Atkinson, The Sunday Express, October 6, 1929. 2 " Monde " THE PERSONAL EQUATION 97 “ 286 permanent cinemas giving performances every day in the year, as well as 1,917 provincial theatres or halls, pictures are shown about six months during the year. “ About 100 films have been made, —an average of about 20 a year." » 1 where > 2 SUMMARY of my personal survey and actual experience of the actualities of the Cinema from 1914 till 1928 is definitely within the field of practical sociology. It is completed in chapters on Germany, England and Russia. It is a survey of conditions, events and cinema consequences which is not likely to be repeated for no one has had experiences similar to my own, and circumstance such as determined my experiences are not likely to return . I have no doubt that many persons who are very sceptical about the Cinema , and who refuse to believe that it has any good in it, will ask , “ Did folk, in the wide region which you traversed , crushed by overwhelming disaster, or just rising from the ruins, derive consolation, strength and comfort from a little mechanical toy which has fallen into the hands of those who have so misused and abused it that audiences who witness its exhibitions rightly should wear gasmasks ? ” The answer is, “ They did .” It is hard to believe that everywhere there were analogies revealed by photographed objects, human and other, according to the state of mind or wish of the spectator. Hard to understand how audiences could discover in thrilling Westerns, in little melodramas, in folk tales , legends, sagas, the good fairies who have come to set them free from servitude and misery. Yet minds tortured by fear of war, revo lution, of failure, of poverty, of hell on earth, can and do convert the living figures in pictures into the likenesses of heroes, saints, gods , devils, and compel their own wishes and sympathies to read the defeat of the evil in the ruin of human beings like themselves, in the action of the story. story This part itself may be 1 " The Times Film Number," March 19, 1929, p. xvi . story. The 2 Ibid. 98 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA one of misery, mockery and disaster, yet mental regression may make it something quite different. The whole magic in the Cinema , in the regions with which I have dealt, was put there by the audience. The wretched creatures who crowded into the awful dens in out of the way places and sat herded watch ing a Western, were the picture itself. The words “ the audi ence is the picture itself, ” are words that must be learnt by every producer. Till all producers learn the secret of mixing the audience with the picture's action quite 90 p.c. of their energy will be wasted.. Throughout my journey I found it was the lure of psycho logical and emotional experience, the procession of social events and cinema consequences, kept thousands of little bankrupt cinemas full. Fear of attack, need of defence, advertisement, propaganda, building of cities and nations and citizens, the blending of racial units, new ideologies, the renewal of old ideas, the revision of values in every department of social thought and action , such things actuated the minds of those who sought in the Cinema the meaning of the difficulties and troubles which beset them . From these proofs of the traces of the Garden of Eden in the Cinema, I will now come to the story of Paradise lost. By this I mean the construction of that path which has led to the triumph of the bad purpose. Some will say that it is impossible to trace any redeeming nobility in any of the personages en gaged in the building of this path and the money Babylon to which it has led. But I think it will be seen that the building of a magnificent business organisation saves them . Their genius is most brilliant when they show themselves to be part and parcel of the present Financial Age. Unconsciously they reveal the rottenness at the core of their own passing civilisation. PART II BUILDING HOLLYWOOD 1 1 .111




The denial. A powerful machine was born . It contained a new spirit of expression. It called for good work to be executed in the new spirit. But it also invited a mass of work to be achieved with the aid of industrial money production. And that called for Capital. The Business Man took possession of the machine. He saw it had an eye for the money production and investment and dividend . The Business Man has an eye which sees only the money production and investment and divi dend. So from the beginning he saw eye to eye with the machine, as he thought. In so doing he denied the new spirit which the machine embodied. It was the spirit relating the machine to man. So he planned to stifle the spirit by building with the aid of the machine a colossal industry which should reach to the ends of the earth . It was to be an industry for manufacturing saleable commodities. The machine was to be the heart of a new money world , upon which should be inscribed Box OFFICE. The Plan embodied the problem of the perfectibility of the commercial machine. The solution was to be dictated by commercial issues . Throughout the realm of present-day society was to be organised, established and encouraged a system of trading based on the production, distribution and consumption of the most saleable article. In our own epoch the most saleable article is SENSATION, its essence and quintessence. At least so it appears 101 102 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA to the Business Man whose eyes do not see beyond the Financial Age. The Plan demanded that the main building should have wings representing nations forming part of the industrial machine. Such wings should be built in its own style but of less precious metal for the purpose of applying a principle of unity which was to animate all the work of industrial production for the sake of producing money. The universal result should be the outcome of one state of mind having a special character of its own, GOLD-GETTING. The Plan then was to make the Machine an Idol of Gold, and the public were to burn incense to it. B. THE SITE The site was determined by the plan. It was a veritable Gold Hunter's Paradise. It was as though Nature had utilised all its resources to prepare a place where the Business Man could set down the machine and watch it grow into a marvellous Golden Palace of Industry. The vast problem of the penetra tion of the universe with money production according to the needs of financially determined conditions required for its solu tion a natural centre capable of generating the essential machinery, and offering the widest scope for systematic large scale organisation, enterprise and rapid consolidation, of amal gamation and of pooling of resources. Such a site the Business Man found in his path of inquiry. C. THE BUILDERS To this site, inviting a new industry which, rightly con ceived , should overwhelm the universe with a reading of a passing civilisation, and furnish man with a new instrument of expression adapted to the Financial Age, and animated by the Commercial Spirit, came the Builders, The Film Kings, as they are called to-day. Nature had prepared the perfect site. They THE FABLE 103 brought the perfect equipment of the Gold Digger. No men had greater capacity for business organisation, more shrewdness, untiring energy, diligence and thoroughness; none possessed in larger degree the genius of the elements of the commercial picture business on a money production basis. D. FOUNDATIONS The foundations were securely laid according to the Finance Capital system . It was a system invented by some one bitten by the money excesses of the Financial Age whose mind was incapable of distinguishing between money and sense. The foundations were, in fact, Financial ones mixed up with investment and dividend, the elements of The Great Gamble. In order to secure them , financiers, bankers, and men of great wealth were invited to throw in bags of gold so that this terri tory could be put on the market as a gold-yielding one in which everybody could be invited to take shares by throwing down more bags of gold out of which would grow bags of gold to repay the throwers for their courage. The foundations were, in fact, laid on the principle of money production. E. MATERIALS My acquaintance with sociology leads me to believe that the raw materials grew inevitably and logically out of the natural surroundings. They were in order, natural, vital, and human. There was the perfect wilderness, the perfect and amazingly varied surroundings of sea , forest, mountain, and so on, the perfect climate, the perfect light, that powerful god of the moving picture. the multitudinous mechanical occupations that these fostered , materials that might have formed a world transforming Palace of Industry if only the conception of scientific humanism had been given pride of place instead of scientific commercialism . Then there were the human materials, —the human beings of all races that were There were 104 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA attracted by the occupations from all parts of the earth to form a new race, or so it seems, to feed the Machine, and to enable it to be seen at its best as a Box Office . Place-Work-Folk, so the latest sociological formula runs. All occupations have a geographical origin ; all workers have had an occupational origin. When that formula is recognised and properly applied , the troubles of the old world will cease. In the beginning were Nature and Labour; in the end will be Nature and Labour ; to -day Chaos. In the beginning Hollywood was Nature and Labour. It was a new world of occupation and men. If it had been ruled by enlightened unselfishness it would have helped the human race to a heaven. It has been ruled by unenlightened selfishness which has promoted only Money Production and Financial Investment. F. THE STRUCTURE The structure was determined by the materials and mass production. In every field of the new Industry there were financial problems to solve, and new tools had to be fashioned to re-solve them . Thus the history of the Industrial Palace of Gold is the history of the attempt to attain the perfectibility of the Commercial Machine by means of organisation , produc tion, distribution and penetration, and consumption , both in detail and mass on that immense scale which the undertaking has, to the present, been carried out. We see the mighty Holly wood building rapidly unfolding itself, and the war years, and the after -war years , bringing it new world conquests which have given the main construction a greater capacity for expan sion and change. There have been two or three “ revolutions.” Two or three phases of money and mass-production. G. CONTENT Content was determined by the function of the building. It was a building capable of applying industrial and business THE FABLE 105 science to the Cinema. The content was to be that suitable for a great Selling Mart. Whatever the earth had of Sensation must be passed into the machinery, converted into the perfect money- making entertainment and sold to the “ mass mass..”” Hence came the ransacking of the Great War Field, of the sensational sphere of Sex, of the thrilling universe of Crime. Then came the mass-production of War, Sex and Crime pictures. And then the wholesale and retail selling of The War, of The Sexual Madness, of The Blackest Page of Social Crime in human his tory. The War which cost so many millions of lives fetched billions of pounds. The next war will be a more profitable investment if only it is properly organised to sell . The last one was a catch -as-catch - can affair. Anyone who could turn a pro jection handle, or spill ink on paper or smudge a canvas, made a profit out of it. The more lies, the more profit. But what has been said above must not be taken as a re flection upon the character of the Great Business Men who set the Commercial Film a-rolling. Unintentionally they have done some good. In ransacking the Jungle of War, the Sex and Crime Weeds, they have unconsciously brought to light, or rather they have expressed through the Cinema, some of the ideas of the new race of scientists who are exploring the world of knowledge and achievement to -day. Unintentionally they have exhibited living photographs of the secrets of sexology, of warology, or criminology , those gems of thought of the early twentieth century of which the Mass is so unaware that when it goes to see, say, a Valentino picture, it sees all the external signs of an overwhelming erotic emotion , without know ing what they mean. It catches glimpses of mysteries forming the key of its emotion. The Mass is much better off than the Censor, for he sees nothing in the unashamed portrayal of the sexual act. He is not aware of it. Such then, and so formed, are the materials for the Fairy Tale of How the Business Man Built Hollywood. Let me next describe the actualities.



In Chapter 3, I have sought to trace the analogy between the Bible story of Man and the two purposes, and the Cinema and the two purposes, bad and good, or the spirit of acquisitiveness, and of service suited to the best purpose of the Age. And I have suggested that the Cinema, like Man, has been put to the first. Today the service asked of the Cinema is sociological expres sion. I produced evidence based on personal observation in sup port of my contention that rightly considered the Cinema is an instrument of social ( or sociological) expression. It is peculiarly suited to contribute to the study of, and to initiate into, the truth of the life of a human community, and to reflect the social world in all its aspects on the largest scale. I showed that this evidence had been supplied not by any intention on the part of the men who control the Cinema world, but by human beings who at moments of great crisis have sought to read their wishes and desires into the material objects contained in the pictures. In this way social values have leapt out, only to be suppressed again as prosperity swelled the flood of commercialism . The present section is designed to follow more closely the architectural plan of the book, a plan which , it seems to me, is calculated to enable the reader to see the parts and the whole of a mammoth growth , such as the Cinema undoubtedly is , more clearly, and to realise that it is a material and financial one from beginning to end determined by the present-day material and financial state of mind as symbolised by the craving for financial investment, dividends and wholesale gambling, those vortices of Mammon which so strongly characterise the spirit of the age. In the following chapters I shall sketch the actualities of plan, policy and methods which have produced the Cinema City called Hollywood. Hollywood is treated as an architectural construction with its related forms, English, German, Russian , etc. , processes of building, and organisation similar to those of a great twentieth -century business store. To-day This Cinema Holy of Holies practically rules the world. Above its portals is written : “ The Cinema is mightier than the Press. ” And “ By Sales it Rules the Earth .” In future days, when historians come to ask which were the two Gods (or Demons) of the Earth in the early twentieth century, that most intensely fixed men's attention and excited their thoughts, I think the answer will be Moscow and Holly wood. To some persons to -day such an association may appear fanciful. They will tell you that while Hollywood is healthy, virile, active, balanced and useful in its way, Moscow has none of these attributes. We may take that to be a matter of opinion. The fact that stands out and cannot be denied is that both centres of human activity have during the early part of the twentieth century received more attention, invited more criticism and com ment than any other centre , Berlin not excepted. Take away the news and views which they have set flowing in the Press of all countries for ,, say, ten years past, and the newspapers and journals of the world would appear half empty . They hold the record for long distance Press running since the dark shadow of the Peace Treaty fell upon the earth , and rightly should share the medal for conspicuous ability in capturing space in our daily and weekly news-sheets. They have many resemblances, but I will not work them to death. Both are the children of revolution, the one social, the other mechanical. Both denote a change of civilisation , the one of an associative character, the other of a scientific and 108 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a a mechanical one. Both prophesy the coming of methods of inter pretation raised to a higher level than hitherto . Both are tools of their time. Both move with the spirit of the age. Both are full of sociological possibilities. Both are capable of playing a significant part in a creative civilisation. And so on .. There are many differences. The most important and the only one that need be mentioned here is that while Hollywood was founded in money production , the New Moscow rejected this foundation . While the one accepted a slave ideal, the other accepted the ideal of Marxian liberation. Let me give an illustration of the kind of magnet that Hollywood has become and how it attracts explorers and pilgrims and seekers after fame, to say nothing of worshippers of the Golden Calf, from the uttermost ends of the earth , many of whom set forth their impressions of the Magic City in pictures and impressions for which the World's Press pays something like a million pounds an inch. I have before me a pile of newspaper articles on Holly wood. I shall mention a few of the headlines taken at random . These will suggest the pictures and impressions of those who have explored everything ,—the representatives of every human race drawn together as by a magnet, the Stars in their courses and in stucco palaces, in their anything but moth - eaten boudoirs (except after the Wall Street crash ), their bits of architecture of every imaginable school, their gilded lives and restaurants and night haunts, their baby minds, their moments of disillusion and unemployment, their healthy and happy lives on the golden sands of the seashore where their chief occupations are the cult of the nude and experiments in sluggishness. Everything about them is told for the delectation of the millions who dream afar off of Hollywood as the quintessence of Paradise. “ Peter Pan Township Of The Films, ” by Mr. Winston Churchill. (How the English Statesman sees Hollywood). “ A Picture of Hollywood, ” by Mr. St. John Ervine. (How the Eng 1 The Daily Telegraph , December 30, 1929. ACTUALITIES 109 2 3 “ lish dramatic critic sees it through the eyes of an “ American author of wide repute,” whose style and views remind one of those of the adorable Mr. Mencken.)' Hollywood’s ‘ Brilliant Inanity ',” by Mr. Arthur Weigall. (How the English archæo logist sees it). “ The White Slaves Of Hollywood ,” by P. G. Wodehouse. (How the “ famous” humourist sees it).” “ Holly wood's Fallen Idols and The New , ” by Alice M. Williamson. (How a novelist sees it). “ Film Stars Must Be Tempera mental, ” by Mr. Charles Whittaker. (How a producer sees it ). “ The mysterious Pola Negri . is credited by rumour with possessing a temperament so devastating that before her arrival in England ( 1929) people spoke of it in hushed tones.” * But,” continues Mr. Whittaker, “ she was so angel-like in Cornwall that the children got to calling her Auntie Pola.” (Those children ! ) “ Hollywood Has Got Old-Fashioned ,” by Iris Barry. (How the film critic of the Daily Mail sees its methods and con ditions). Studio Murder Mystery.” (How the strange morals in the Hollywood studios are seen and exposed by the pro ducer). ” “ My Lonely Life at Hollywood,” by PaulineFrederick. (How an early star sees it).' “ What I Saw At Hollywood ,” by Lady Diana Cooper. (How the Madonna in “ The Miracle sees it) . “ Lady Diana , who is the third daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland, has just returned from America. . Dur ing her visit there she went to Hollywood, met all the stars of the moving picture world, and saw them at work and at play. Her point of view of the “ ” is quite Madonna-like. “ From a Window in Hollywood,” by Harold Brighouse. (How a playwright sees it. ) 1 ° 6 66 7 99 > stars 1 The Observer, June 16 , 1929. 2 The Daily Express, November 11 , 1929. 3 The Daily Mail, December 6 , 1929. 4 The Evening News, August 29, 1929. 5 The Daily Mail, September 9, 1929. 6 The Daily Mail, December 12, 1928 . 7 The Daily Mail, August 18, 1929 . 8 The Daily Express, April 17, 1927. 9 The Weekly Dispatch, April 4, 1927. 10 The Manchester Guardian, June 12, 1929. 10 IIO THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA The Plan, determined by the plot, to make the Little Black Box the greatest money-making machine worked by the Gods of Wall Street, did not originate with the pioneers who ruined their health and pockets in striving to make the camera beget the living photograph. Nor with the producers in Cali fornia who made the first one and two reelers. The commercial possibilities of the Cinema were not apparent from the outset. It was not till 1910 that the first “ Gold Rush ” took place. According to an article, “ The March Of Ambition, Some thirty years ago the foundations were laid in America of the greatest entertainment and educational industry in the world, the moving picture industry. In those days ( about 1889) , how ever, few people looked upon it as an industry and fewer still as a great one. It was simply a good joke. Such an attitude did not last long, for the film industry progressed at an alarming rate, alarming because the makers of pictures found it hard to satisfy the demand which arose quite suddenly. Ten years after its inception (about 1900) the industry was firmly established as a feature of modern existence, a feat which no other industry has or could ever achieve. As the early years of the twentieth century slipped by, cinemas appeared like mushrooms all over the world . " ! “ When the film companies, drawn by the lure of sunshine and a semi-tropical climate, began coming to Southern California, some eighteen years ago ( 1910) , they settled in various and scattered parts of Los Angeles. There was at first little or no community spirit among them . But in time, following the lead of Universal and Christie Brothers, and influenced perhaps by the geniality of the climate, they adopted Hollywood , the north -western section of Los Angeles, as a common location for their studios, and thus sowed the seed of the formal business association that now binds them together in one general , harmonious body, under the title of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America." There was " 1 1 “ Fox News,” May 13, 1929. 2 Clifford Howard in “ Close Up," November, 1928 . ACTUALITIES III actors a sequence of events all of which pointed to the drawing up of the Plan. Production activities increased, business expanded enormously, pictures improved, took off their masks and revealed their identity, the money-grabbing public dis covered the new field of investment in their midst, the Press adopted the Little Wonder, the first reviews appeared ( 1908) , and scenario writers began to descend on the gold-bearing region like flies. From this it is easy to gather what the Plan was, namely, the generator of the vast money production building. “ Reasons for the universal predominance of the American pic ture include the advantages derived from the greater investments of capital. 1 B. SITE The Plan generated the vastest piece of money-making machinery the world has ever known. It did not generate the Site. Nature generated that. The Site matured the Plan. It was the geographical origin of the Industry and People, and as such, a factor that helped the Plan to be realised, and in a way that helped the American Film Kings inevitably to dominate the world's Cinema market. The Site was not the supreme thing that gave these Money Lords of to-day the power to rule the Cinema world . The power of world rulership was conferred on the Picture Makers of Hollywood by Capital and Organisation. In these two essentials they excelled , and by their aid they succeeded in routing the unorganised and unfinanced bodies. In Hollywood they found a surface for their utilitarian and profit-making needs. It was peculiarly suited to the grandeur of the idea of mass -production and industrial organisa tion. It was suitable for a Cinema City outlay, for factories, large stores, dwellings, and for the construction of streets fitted for Cinema purpose. 1 John D. Tippett in “ The Cinema. " 1917. II2 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA But above all it had natural surroundings of unequalled variety, and of great beauty, probably that no site in any other country possessed. They were an extremely valuable asset to the picture makers, for they provided every kind of outdoor scenery they required. I do not know whether there exists a regional survey of the part of California to which Hollywood belongs. But if there is one, it must offer a wonderful example of a natural Cinema Centre in which all the geographical features necessary to its industrial life combine. Within the past few years a good many impressions of Hollywood and its natural surroundings have, as already pointed out, been written by visitors who have approached it from different points of view. Some for the purpose of examining the chief activities which have brought Hollywood to the notice of the whole world. Some to observe the new population, its mode of life, its mind, its morals, its religion, its recreations, its education , and so on. But all alike have been struck by its natural advantages of climate, light, air , sea, shore, hills , vegeta tion, forests, mountains, lakes, that make the Los Angeles-Holly wood district the joy of the sociologist, of the colony of eugenic kings and beauty queens, of the Film Over-lords, of the extrava gantly overpaid and domineering personnel, and of the pleasure seeking visitors. Mr. Winston Churchill, the English stateman , is one of the visitors who was much impressed by the diverse uses to which it can be put. After “ following from north to south the great road which runs the entire length of California," he arrived at Hollywood, which he describes briefly as follows: “ The second staple industry is found in the films associated with Hollywood. Here we enter a strange and an amusing world, the like of which has certainly never been seen before. Dozens of studios, covering together thousands of acres, and employing scores of thousands of very highly-paid performers and technicians, minister to the gaiety of the world. It is like going behind the scenes of aa theatre magnified a thousand- fold .. ACTUALITIES 113 Battalions of skilled workmen construct with magical quickness streets of London, of China, of India, jungles, mountains, and every conceivable form of scenery in solid and comparatively durable style. In a neighbouring creek pirate ships, Spanish galleons and Roman galleys ride at anchor. This Peter Pan township is thronged with the most odd and varied of crowds that can be imagined. Here is a stream of South Sea Islanders, with sweet little nut-brown children, hurrying to keep their studio appointments. There is a corps-de-ballet which would rival theMoulin Rouge. Ferocious brigands, bristling with pro perty pistols, cowboys, train robbers, heroines in distress of all descriptions, aged cronies stalk or stroll or totter to and fro. Twenty films are in the making at once. A gang of wild Circas sian horsemen filters past a long string of camels from a desert caravan . Keen young men regulate the most elaborate processes of photography, and the most perfect installation for bridling light and sound. Competition is intense; the hours of toil are hard, and so are the hours of waiting. Youthful beauty claims her indisputable rights ; but the aristocracy of filmland found themselves on personality. It is a factory in appearance the queerest in the world, whose principal characteristics are hard work, frugality and discipline.” It is worthy of note that he was not impressed by the Talkie as the concluding lines of his article suggest : “ Alone among producers Charlie Chaplin remains unconverted, claim ing that pantomime is the genius of drama , and that the imagina tion of the audience supplies better words than machinery can render, and prepared to vindicate the silent film by the glittering weapons of wit and pathos. “ On the whole, I share his opinion. Another impression of a different character is given by Mr. Arthur Weigall, archæologist, antiquarian, scene designer, dramatic critic , novelist, etc. He is concerned with the life and 1 2 1 The Daily Telegraph, December 30, 1929. 2 Ibid. 114 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA manners of the people to whom Hollywood has actually given birth . His description of the pictorial beauty of the surround ings, which they have projected from themselves, is full of glow. He sees “ to the south and west the whole vast expanse of the city and its suburbs, including Beverly Hills, built upon the wide plain between the mountains and the sea, -resident Hollywood and Beverly Hills as artists' visions materialised , the dreams of poets come true.” And he sees that in this “ miracle city, as the real estate salesmen call it , the great miracle is that it harbours, and somehow conceals, the most reckless set of delightful lunatics to be found anywhere in the world . ” He illustrates this view with descriptions of orgies and sheer in anities that simply take the breath away. But the point of capital interest, capital in more ways than one, is contained in the following extract : “ Miles upon miles of charming sun bathed residences, gorgeous gardens, stately avenues, polished roads — a paradise of art and culture ; such is the first impression one obtains of this park-like seat of the film colony. It is a marvel conjured out of the barren wilderness by the sorcery of money ; it is America's most shining example of what civilisa tion can do when the dollars roll in, and artists, architects and decorators are given a free hand. Soon one discovers that not many of the owners of these wonderful homes could themselves have planned or furnished them ; and, indeed, the majority of the occupants are like pretty birds in gilded cages, not in the least able to appreciate the difference between one style of decoration and another. “ Residential Hollywood and Beverly Hills are artists' visions materialised , the dreams of poets come true. Water has been brought into a wilderness, and the desert has been made to blossom like the rose. The sorceries of money are responsible for the artificial, human and other aspects. > 1 It is literally true that “ the desert has been made to blossom like the rose .” The site of “ the 1 The Daily Express, November 7, 1929. ACTUALITIES 115 " 1 2 city where the kings and queens of this new world take their ease upon their own estates, was once a desert. If it be true that once upon a time the red men sold New York for twenty four dollars, which in turn has bought and sold men and their wares into the millions of millions,” it is probably true that the red men gave the Hollywood site away, or simply left it to be discovered by white men who bought and sold Cinema wares for millions and millions. It was a desert annexe of Los Angeles of approximately four miles square. No one dreamed that it was a gold bearing land potentially overflowing with Cinema and money, a surface concealing mines and millionaires. Probably the first explorer who looked down upon this waste from the Beverly Hills turned from it with contempt as a desolate region fit only for savages. Gold ,” he may have exclaimed. “ There's not enough to fill the hollow of a small tooth .” He little thought that the land he jeered at was sooner or later to yield billions of pounds. It is said that the commercial Gold- Rush in the neigh bourhood of Hollywood began in 1910. Producing companies were attracted by the sunshine and natural lighting conditions, and though at first weakened and separated by rivalry later they came together and found strength in unity. “ Carl Laemmle blazed the trail for motion picture producers and he alone had the vision to see the industry as it is to -day. When in 1915 Laemmle established Universal city on the West coast, he the first motion picture producer Hollywood bound.” So arose the Cinema Babylon, under the guidance of men who were not in pursuit of an architectural idea, but were guided by the industrial and financial necessities which they themselves produced, mainly the need of satisfying the enormous demand for sensational entertainment. Following Carl Laemmle's “ was i Lady Diana Cooper in The Weekly Dispatch , April 4, 1927. 2 “ New York ," by Ethel Fleming, quoted by The Observer, November 3 , 1929 . 3 " Universal Pictures Souvenir," 1929. 116 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > a initiative came other “ movie towns," “ cities ” little worlds in which sections of the strange new population moved and had their being. There came the Metro-Goldwyn -Mayer Com pany's “ the world with a fence round it —— within the fence one can wander at will through the streets of London, New York, Cape Town, or Pekin . -It covers an area of 68 acres. There are 15 stages with a total space of 240,823 square feet, where the interior settings for the 54 films issued yearly are erected . Within the fence there are ten miles of cemented streets.” Then there is the Fox Movietone city , the particulars . of which would fill a small book . And there are the new hustle ” cities , massive and imposing, including the Warner Brothers enterprise, The First National Pathé extensive allot ment at Burbank , the whole or considerable extensions of which have been called forth by the Talkie. 1 C. THE BUILDERS , 12 “ Carl Who were the builders of the New State ? Business men. Men of low estate to begin with but with immense commercial ambitions. Holding aloft the symbol of the box office they descended one after the other upon the Eldorado of their Cinema dreams. There was William Fox who “ entered the film busi ness in 1904 as aa theatremanager of a ‘' Penny Arcade." " 2 " Laemmle who was at one time employed in various clerical and executive positions in clothing and jewellery business." “ Samuel Goldwyn, who before entering the picture business was in the glove business. " Joseph M. Schenck whose pre vious career was druggist at Chinatown, New York . ” 5 Adolph Zukor was engaged in the fur trade till 1903 , when he and Marcus Loew started a ‘ Penny Arcade ' company. And later I 1 “ The Times Film Number, " March 19, 1929. 2 “The Film Weekly, " November 18 , 1929. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid . 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid . ACTUALITIES 117 there were the Warner Brothers, all four with humble begin nings. “ Harry M. Warner. Early career, bookkeeper and salesman ; entered bicycle business with brothers.” To-day Warner Brothers are Cinema Magnates of the first order. “ Warner Brothers announce that their net profits for 1929 will reach 1.3,200,000 . The latest Kings are those of the Western Electric company and its subsidiary companies. There is for instance “ Joseph P. Kennedy, Chairman of the Radio Corpora tion of America. Early career was banking and shipbuilding . The Western Electric Corporation Kings promise to dominate the whole world , since it is their Talkie apparatus that is invad ing cinemas of all countries. " 2 3 D. FOUNDATIONS went Like good business men the early Builders did not fail to lay the foundation of the Cinema Babylon with solid gold. And the story of these first speculators in a virgin field is probably the story of men who staked all in the wild scramble to gain control of the industry in order to have sole right of selling Cinema commodities to the 2,000,000,000 human inhabitants of the earth and thereby to pocket a large share of the world's income of £ 33,500,000,000 a year. · Starting almost penni less, as time on they penetrated to ' the heart of the money world . How deeply involved they became in big finance, the Wall Street crash of 1929 show . Says a London Cinema trade journal, “ An announce ment of outstanding importance is made this week in our advertising columns. It sets forth a complete and power ful aggregation of box office requirements offered by the com bined force of Warner Brothers and First National-Pathé. Here is a combination of which the dimensions have never been sur passed in cinema history. As a source of everything required to can 1 “ The Film Weekly," November 18, 1929. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 118 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > 66 > « make a complete programme these firms stand in an unequalled position. Backed by the greatest resources in the world , guided by economic and showman principles, headed by men whose names have long been associated with progress,, and possessing a long record of success, they form a combination which merits confidence. " An instructive suggestion of policy and method. The resources are of course chiefly financial ones. This organisation is stated to be a world -wide one. The process of cementing the Hollywood foundations with Finance Capital is illustrated by the careers of Warner Brothers and William Fox. In 1903 the four Warner Brothers, one of whom is described as a “ born showman ,” gave up running " small businesses,” bicycle, shoe-repairing, and others, to set up a projector in a store in Newcastle, Pennsylvania. They furnished it with 91 chairs rented from an undertaker ; and it became one of the hundreds of motion picture theatres that opened its doors during that winter of 1903-1904 ." The Warner Brothers got two changes of programme a week for dollars.” InIn 1925 we find them working hand in hand with bankers. “ When Harry had gone to the bankers and for the first time had gotten outside capital , he raised 2,000,000 dollars from stock to finance his ' agents ' on a larger scale for the new contracts that then had to be made.” Then follow the transactions with bankers over the purchase of Vitagraph. He asked for an advance of capital and “ finally got 4,000,000 dollars.” “ They, Warner Brothers, went into frenzied produc tion on the coast ." In 1929, Harry Warner is described as “ the head of the 500,000,000 dollar corporation. ” Thus Warner Brothers who in 1903 were spending 40 dollars weekly on two programmes, were in 1929 making a profit of £ 3,000,000 a year, advertising themselves by means of broadcasting stations of their own, the first of which they bought “ second- hand -- in Los Angeles in 1924,” and entering into big contracts with the Western Electric Company, " the electrical parent of the 1 “ The Cinematograph Times," August 31 , 1929. 40 > > a ACTUALITIES 119 Talkies ” that is now sweeping the world with its apparatus and amalgamation schemes.' So much for Warner Brothers. Now for William Fox, probably one of the most daring and speculative Film Kings Hollywood has known. Fox was a business man in a small way who transferred his activities to the Cinema. Like his fellow get-rich -quick Film Kings, he made a humble start. Like them he has struggled for first place and world control of the Cinema Industry. But for the Wall Street Crash there is little doubt that he would have got it. He was affected by this crash which caused him to have a serious set -back, and at the beginning of 1930 he appeared with his back to the wall fighting his creditors. His career and its check by the biggest Stock Exchange gambling collapse in history will no doubt be considered sufficiently im portant to include in the thrilling story of Film Finance which will be written one of these days. This catastrophe reveals how closely the Cinema Industry is bound up with Finance Capital, the operations of Wall Street and our own Stock Exchange, and how it is determined by the various movements of the great heart of the money market. Money production determines the Industry. “ William Fox, the multi-millionaire, head of the Fox Film Company, one of the biggest moving picture organisations in the world, twenty -five years ago was the proprietor of a small cinema in New York, and there he showed as his first picture ' The Great Train Robbery.' He stared work at the age of fifteen and earned £1 per week . William Fox's enterprises, which include film producing, distributing and exhibiting, are valued to -day at more than £ 40,000,000. “ Within five years after Fox had started his one small cinema he possessed twenty, and had earned £ 50,000. In 1913 , the Fox Film Corporation was formed , and by 1917 the original capital had been paid for out of profits, and to-day the Corpora 1 " The Film Finds Its Tongue, " by Fitzhugh Green . 120 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 " 2 , tion has offices in every principal city in the world, and it con trols over 800 cinemas in America alone. The Fox Companies have more than 12,000 people on their weekly salary list. “ His new talkie studio, which was built at a cost of £2,000,000, is one of the most up- to -date in the world. He has taken a foremost place in talking film production, and is known as a man who possesses great pioneer qualities. “ His latest progressive plan is the establishment of Gran deur ' pictures, of which he gave a demonstration on a wide screen in New York recently . ' A newspaper headline: “ Fox's £ 50,000,000 deal. His 1,000 theatres. Started with a penny peepshow ." A news item , “ Gaumont-British and a prospective London purchaser.” “ Several months ago, Mr. William Fox, acting personally, made arrangements to purchase a large block of Gaumont-British ordinary shares. The amount involved was roughly £ 1,250,000, and the purchase when complete would have resulted in Mr. Fox in person acquiring a controlling interest in the British undertaking." Owing to the Wall Street Crash the purchase was never completed. “ The position now is that the final instalment which falls due at the end of this month , January, 1930, cannot be met, at least by Mr. Fox who is busily engaged defending himself against his American creditors. We under stand , however, on reliable authority, that a prominent London financier may step into the breach and meet the amount due. In that event, control of the company would pass into his hands." Since, Fox has been bought out of the Corporation which he established , for £ 5,000,000. A very important chapter could be written on the subject of enthroning the financiers and bankers at Hollywood. They are, as I have indicated , the main support of the Builders. 3 1 “ The Film Weekly ," November 11 , 1929 . 2 The Daily Express, March 6 , 1929. 3 The Evening Standard , January 21 , 1929 . See also The Sunday Referee, June 15, 22, 1930, for Gaumont-Fox Mystery . 4 Ibid. ACTUALITIES I21 > 3 “ The Notice the last line of the news item just quoted. Notice, too , this headline, “ Hollywood Makes Love To London Bankers.” Again, “ Hollywood and Wall Street. ” “ The Wall Street Crash has affected Hollywood very seriously. There will be a cessation of productions for about four months. Owing to the crash, bankers and financiers are unable to provide money . “ Wall Street bankers shown to have tremendous hold over American film industry.” : It is not difficult to understand why the bankers, some of them the heads of big banking corporations are so ready to finance the Cinema Industry as represented by four or five immense combines. Here is a reason . capital invested in the world's Cinema Industry to-day amounts approximately to £ 800,000,000, about half of which belongs to the United States where the industry takes third place, coming after foodstuffsa and motors . Britain has £ 70,000,000 invested in the trade, and one big German firm has a capital of £ 2,250,000. There are 57,000 cinemas in the world. American cinemas can accommodate 100,000,000 people. “ The cinemas of America realise an annual receipt of 730 million dollars, 85 p.c. of the films of the entire world are produced in the U.S.A. " The annual production budget is 175 million dollars, that of propaganda, 67 million dollars. This represents 2,500 films of which 98 p.c. are produced at Hollywood. 70,000 persons are employed in production, and 350,000 in the general cine matography industry. Not to control this flow of investment no doubt would , in the eyes of bankers and financiers, be to forfeit immense profit. From the effect of the Wall Street Crash on Hollywood Stars, it may perhaps be gathered that, financially speaking, the bankers practically owned some of these vastly overpaid persons. At any rate, the latter were heavy stock -holders. A “ film fan 5 1 G. A. Atkinson, The Daily Express, September 9, 1929. 2 The Sunday Referee, December 15, 1929. 3 “ The Film Weekly, " January, 1929 . 4 The Evening News, December 13 , 1929. Quoted from “ The Inter national Labour Bureau Statistics, ( Paris) , July 14, 1928 . Geneva. a Preserved food . b U.F.A. 5 “ Monde ” 122 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA journal draws a pathetic picture of these £ 150,000 a year folk selling their fur coats, saloon cars, jewellery, and the rest of their belongings. Miss Pola Negri is reported to have sold her castle in France. In one of the Year Books published by the leading cinema trade journals in this country, there is an article by a writer who “ ventures the opinion that 1925 will be remem bered as the year when the motion -picture business entered the ranks of the ' big American Businesses. ' He has before him a list of stock quotations and checks neatly in pencil of those issues which deal in motion pictures.” Among them is , “ The Fox Film Corporation, Pathé Exchange Corporation , and Warner Brothers. He argues that the industry has at last come into its own. The year had developed ample recog nition from banks and financial institutions whose names em brace the kingpins of the entire American Financial structure. In such company as General Motors, United States Steel and International Harvester, one now finds the principal film companies such as Famous Players, First National, Metro Goldwyn, Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.” He gives startling instances of Wall Street seizing opportunities of Aoat ing cinema issues, of obtaining capital from the American in vesting public for new enterprises. At the moment, the lead ing cinema corporations had big building programmes and money was needed to enable them to carry them out. Bankers and financiers were called upon to see them through. Their eager response illustrates the writer's argument." The following news story is an instructive comment on what happens to the Film King who rests his plan of cinema development on the financial assistance to be obtained from Wall Street and banking affiliations. It is headed “ Film Magnate on His Crash .” “ Mr. W. Fox ‘ Doomed by Wall Street Gods. ' ' It comes from a New York correspondent : “ Minority shareholders in the Fox Film Corporation are 1 1 “ The Kinematograph Year Book ," 1926. ACTUALITIES 123 filing petitions, which are to be heard this week , for the appoint ment of a receiver. “ In one petition Mr. William Fox and ten other defendants are charged with ‘ mismanagement and maladministration ' resulting in ‘ serious and threatening financial difficulties .' “ In another, filed to-day by Mrs. Susie Dryden Kuser, of New Jersey, four main allegations are made. These are that Mr. Fox bought 440,000 shares of Loews Inc. at 225 dollars when the market price was 70 dollars ; that he bought a string of English theatres, paying about £ 3,800,000 for them when he had not as much as even seen them, but the film company under his direction lent £3,400,000 to the Fox Theatres Corporation , thus impairing the working capital ; that Mr. Fox, while specu lating with the company's money, devoted all his time to watch ing quotations and neglected the affairs of his organisation ; and that he suffered heavy losses. Mrs. Kuser asks for an injunction preventing the officers of the corporation from paying Mr. Fox any salary. “ Mr. Fox, in a letter to the stockholders, says that he will fight to the end. He declares that ' the gods of Wall Street proclaimed my doom. Nothing on earth could prevent this great money machine from mowing me down. ' He explains that his plan was to secure as nearly as possible a controlling interest in one of the most successful picture organisations in the world, and also to get a strong foothold in England by the purchase of a substantial interest in the largest of the English picture organisations. “ After a motoring accident which kept him in hospital for three months he approached the banks and those associated with him in the creation of short-term obligations, but was coldly informed that it was each man for himself. “ There was afterwards presented to him what he believed now to have been a cleverly concocted scheme, in the form of a friendly gesture, by which he was to place the control of the companies he headed in the hands of friends who would see a 124 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA that all his problems were solved. He assented to this arrange ment, but 48 hours later he found that it was not a scheme to help him but that he had placed himself in the hands of those who were determined to make capital out of his difficulties. “ I resisted, ' Mr. Fox proceeds, “ this attempt at destruc tion with all my strength of mind and body, with the result that I found myself arrayed against the most powerful forces in the financial world. No matter where I turned , every door was closed to me. Banking friends secretly told me they wanted to help but dared not, as to come to my assistance at this time would bring down on their heads the resentment and enmity of the most powerful forces on Wall Street.' “ Mr. Fox concludes with an appeal to the stockholders to purchase for their own protection his proposed short -term note issue of £ 7,000,000.” 1 E. MATERIAL It con manner Next to the money with which the Wall Street founda tions of Hollywood have been laid, comes the material out of which have been manufactured the machinery, and the life of the cinema, that is, commercial, not humanist one. sists of ingredients which are mixed by the Film Kings in an attractive entertainment to appeal to the Mass according to the basic emotion determined by the circumstances of the hour, and in obedience to the necessity of defeating each other in the battle for world supremacy. The Film Kings make no secret of the fact that they are pastrycooks engaged in making commercial tit- bits and selling them in the best market. They try to make the best of the matter. They claim that they buy the best available materials and commodities that money can procure ; that, like Satan, they employ (or buy) the best cooks, organisers, technicians, sales men, directors, producers, scenario and story writers, players, i London Evening Newspaper, January, 1930. ACTUALITIES 125 talents of every kind and the public moods suited to their pur pose, that of money production and box office values. From this we may reasonably expect fare of exceptional merit. But what we actually receive is too often a strange medley of ingredients mixed according to a recipe from which scientific technique, and the advice of a consultative body of experts in all departments of applied sociology, are omitted. The historical pictures, for instance, should be a synthesis of historical facts duly attested by men who are fitted for the job. As a rule the historical picture is a technical impertinence, cal culated to destroy historical knowledge instead of to preserve it. Pictures made with the object of claiming serious attention should be perfect in every detail, properly supervised at each stage of their making from the raw material to the manufac tured, from nature to the factory, from the studio to the cinema or shop window, from the cinema to the public. Only then can the manufacturers lay just claim to the pursuit of perfecti bility which they now allege is their journey's end. Still, in spite of lack of order, harmony, of knowledge of the natural, vital and human sciences, in spite of so much guess work and the close attention of a blind Censor, the commercial pictures do very often contain up -to-date scientific facts of much value, introduced by accident not design, and capable of illus trating advanced scientific theories. The material out of which machinery and box office enter tainment are manufactured, falls into three parts, natural, vital and human, answering to the three divisions into which applied sociology falls nowaday. First come the natural surroundings which have been described already. They include the outdoor ingredients, the astronomical, geological and physical elements of exceptional variety. Second come the vital or occupational factors — the “ movie towns, " " walled cities, ” “ lots,” the innumerable smaller fac II 126 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA tories, the mass of complicated apparatus, all the mechanical machinery that forms the technical outfit of a large-scale industry. The solid capital in fact. Third comes the human material, meaning the human beings who colonise Hollywood and are used for the purpose of being mainufactured into saleable commodities, by camera kings, production kings, film kings, make-up chiefs, and the rest of the major and minor royalties and nobility. They them selves occupy a prominent place in the Hollywood Debrett where they shine as kings and beauty queens and somebodies of Filmland importance. The Hollywood Film King is , like the primitive, a cooking man. He cooks everything, even Apollo-like kings and beauty queens, and he uses a recipe made according to the prevailing picture fashion. There are fashions in pictures as in women's hats, and the Cinema Cooks follow them. Perhaps some would say that entertainment undergoes an evolutionary process, and the wearers of Hollywood crowns and coronets do not let Darwin's missing link have it all its own way. Thus for the early short reelers the minor Film Kings used to take odds and ends of acrobats, plunge them into natural extravagance, and set the dish before a small audience. Then came the stage show, and odds and ends of disguised actors were bought up brushed and trimmed and thrown like Chaplin custards at the open -mouthed public. Then came the big stage star in the “ feature ” picture, who was served up basted all over with gold , in a luxury setting, and surrounded by publicity. Then came types ranging from the dream - like beauty to the Caliban-like beast. Then the commercial recipe was : Catch your beauty or beast, buy him or her at a price that would make Cresus weep with envy ; then dissect him or her ; select the parts that photograph best; then put the result into the close up. After the assorted parts of the types came the type stars in rôles exactly suited to show them to greatest advantage and as a whole. In this case the recipe contained “ doubles. doubles.” It ran, remove those parts of the star which are unsaleable by reason ACTUALITIES 127 of their unshapeliness, say, silly legs or arms or splay feet, and replace them with the comely limbs of a double. Of course the spare parts are always plentiful and cheap, and they are fitted so cleverly that no one in the audience knows that they are spare parts, not even the critics who are invited to view them through a glass of cheap port, or if they be Cochrans of the profession, through a champagne luncheon, on Press view days. That roughly is the practice; now for details of the ingredients. Once upon a time while I was at Moscow I saw a little revolutionary play performed in a cellar by workmen, their wives and friends. The play was called “ The Mangy Dog." It was an attack on army methods. Army officials were shown buying cannon fodder from Fodder Kings who called up sturdy young men and women from the audience and sold them piece meal to the “ brass hats." Prices varied according to the physical fitness of arms, legs, bodies, eyes, teeth , and so on . These fragments, or little personalities, it appears, have a sale a able military value. I was reminded of my experiences. Each time I was called up for military service I was examined by about 50 doctors to each of whom a part of me, liver, intestines, etc., was allotted for valuation . The Moscow incident led me to take notes of the most saleable human parts exposed for sale on the screen . I was able to detect and judge their values by the method of isolating objects or fragments of objects by means of the close up, or by lighting. In time I came possessed of a long list of these little personalities, or best seller parts, as they appear to the hard-headed business men who put them on the screen . I was very interested in watching this game of making half-a dozen personalities out of one personality, of seeing a human figure represented by a pair of acting hands, or by a nose, or eyes, just as Phil Scott, the boxer, has been described as a body hung on two fists. I am sure that a classified list of the acting or box office bits of stars will interest readers. So I open my note -book and jot down the following: a a 128 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA First let me give two or three recipes for making pictures. Here is one for “ Her Wild Oats,” a Colleen Moore comedy: i Lumbering girl. I Policeman . 1 Big dog. 23 Men (assorted ). 3 Fat women. 5 Small boys ( assorted sizes, poor clothes ). I Overdressed Italian. 6 Women ( old clothes ). 6 Men (old clothes).' This looks like Barnum in a rag shop. Here is a note by Pudovkin , the Russian producer, on physical values: “ Ears, after eyes, he considers most important as revealing idiosyncrasies. Young men, in his opinion, should try to get a glimpse of the lobes beneath the shingle before they propose. Young girls should pay attention to the shape of their suitors' ears . ' The kind of ear to avoid, ' he said, “ is the pointed one. It means selfishness and deceit. “ The almost flat-topped ear is the outward and visible sign of an honest, straightforward nature.' ” " Here is the recipe for making an American film given by Mr. W. Gavazzi King, consulting secretary of the Cinemato graph Exhibitors' Association, at an exhibitors' conference at Morecambe : One pound of sob sentiment. One pound of thrills. One- and- a-half pound of legs and backs ( bare if possible ). Half a pound of night club and cabaret mixed . Three pounds of star (at a million dollars per pound if possible). 2 i First National Pathé Publicity Sheet. 2 The Daily Erpre88, August 19, 1929 . ACTUALITIES 129 1 One pound of humour. Three pounds of settings. One ounce of story. Here is why babies sell : “ It is well known by film -makers that, by putting into a picture, even without any good reason, some photographs of a baby, aged from nine months to four years, a large proportion of almost all audiences will respond with a murmur of ' Oh, the dear little thing !' Kittens in a basket, or young puppies lurching towards a saucer of food have much the same effect. “ It was left for Chaplin to put on the screen almost its only objectionable child, that small monster in ‘ The Pilgrim ,' who so much liked punching Charlie's face. “ Perhaps the best- known children on the screen are those called ' Our Gang,' but a little of them goes a long way. Hundreds of people also sighed with relief when Baby Peggy retired from the screen at the age of eight or so, and others are delighted that Jackie Coogan — who was rather unconvincing when he went on trying to look six after he was ten - has now had a manly haircut and will in future play big boys' parts .' Here is how the Hollywood Film Kings classify and pigeon -hole their goods, and what happened when two vamp types refused to vamp : “ Hollywood's habit of classifying its actors and actresses as ' types ' rather than human beings has resulted in a remark able situation over the screen future of the two famous Con tinental stars, Miss Lya de Putti and Miss Greta Garbo, who have repeated in America, on a larger scale, the success that they won in European countries. “ Miss de Putti is well known here, chiefly owing to her performance in the film ‘ Vaudeville,' and Miss Garbo, who was seen in ' Gosta Berling,' is a worthy rival to her. When they reached America they were so different from " 66 1 The Daily News, June 23, 1927. 2 Iris Barry in The Daily Mail, May 11 , 1927 . 130 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 6 anything that Hollywood had ever seen before that the film -pro ducers were at a loss to classify them in the conventional pigeon holes of photoplay construction . “ Finally they said to Miss de Putti, in effect, ‘ You are the type of woman who (on the screen ) deliberately leads men astray,' and to Miss Garbo, speaking figuratively, they said : ' You are the type of woman who (on the screen ) leads men astray in spite of herself. ' “ Miss de Putti and Miss Garbo, however, though gratified by their success, were not content to go on ‘ vamping ' for ever. “ They asked to be allowed to vary the ' vamp ' theme with rôles more ingenuous. Permission was refused. “ Miss de Putti at once threw up the job, an act which brought immediate compliance from her producers, but Miss Garbo was not so fortunate. “ Her contract had a long period to run, and her employers were powerful enough to prevent her from getting parts else where. “ They told her that if she refused to ‘ vamp ' they would have her deported by asking the immigration authorities to cancel her permit to work in America. Vamp or vamoose ' was what they said, in effect, to Miss Garbo, and there the matter rests. Here is a bid for Gene Tunney's, the well -known prize fighter, voice : Gene Tunney, retired heavy-weight champion of the world, has not departed entirely from the limelight. “ Messages arriving here to-day from the liner ' Saturnia, in which his fiancée, Miss Josephine Lauder, is journeying to Italy for their wedding, state that Mr. Jeffery Farnol, the novelist, has offered Mr. Tunney the starring rôle in a ' talking version of his book , " The Amateur Gentleman, ' which was screened less than two years ago as an ordinary film . “ It is understood that Mr. Tunney is awaiting the opinion i The Sunday Express, April 3, 1927. > 1 ACTUALITIES 131 of his fiancée before reaching a definite decision on the offer. “ Mr. Farnol, I understand, suggested a re-screening of his novel as a ' talkie ’ in order to take advantage of Gene’s fine speaking voice. The original version of the picture starred Richard Barthelmess. ” ı Here is a list of “ Don'ts ” which 24 American picture pro ducers have taken a solemn oath to observe, because they are convinced that vulgarity does not pay,, and moreover, that Holly wood must live down its wicked past. There shall be no more renaming of subjects on the American sensational catch -penny plan. No renaming of “ Annie Annie Laurie Laurie ” as “ Ladies from Hell or “ Lilliom as “ A Trip to Paradise.” Everything shall be refinement itself : “ Pointed profanity by title or lip . Illegal traffic in drugs. White slavery Mixing of races. Ridicule of the clergy. Wilful offence to any nation, race, or creed . " There is a second list of ‘ Don'ts ' which can be used if treated properly. They are : Religion or religious ceremonies. Arson . Use of firearms. Theft, robbery, safe- cracking and dynamiting trains. Methods of smuggling. Third degree methods.” I wonder if the 24 have ever heard of the Censor. Here is how “ revolutions,” technical and other, affect the market : “ The coming of the talkies must have created quite a brisk demand for noses fit for film - heroines to squawk through ." “ Stars who used champagne to bathe in, lived in palaces 1 The Evening Standard, September 9, 1928. 2 The Evening Standard, September 17, 1928 . 3 The Evening News, August 31, 1929. 93 132 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA built of solid gold, and went to Hollywood in diamond- studded trains ” no longer do so .' As for the classification, let me begin with the whole per sonality. Here are some “ He-man ” types of high investment value. I daresay the Film Kings have paid millions for them . The Great Lovers : John Gilbert, Ronald Colman , Ivan Mosjoukhine, Lars Hansen . The Rough Necks: Wallace and Noah Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Victor McLaglan. The Men of the World : Adolph Menjou , Lew Cody, Clive Brook . The Nice Youths: Rod La Rocque, Monte Blue, Douglas MacLean , Harrison Ford, George O'Brien, Richard Dix, Richard Barthelmess, Reginald Denny, Ralph Forbes, Conrad Nagel. The Strong Silent Men : Conway Tearle, Milton Sills, H. B. Walthall, Antonio Moreno . The Westerners : Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Fred Thomp son , the former preacher, Buck Jones.” The complete types fall, roughly, into two classes. Angels and Devils or Heroes and Heroines, and Villains and Villainesses, or simply Good and Bad. Sturdy villains com mand attention and a high price : Ripe and sturdy villains, once confined entirely to films of the Wild West, have of late made their way into the fore ground of the screen world . They are the best thing in it to -day. Gross, inarticulate, and touching figures like Jannings in Vaudeville ,' and Bancroft in ‘ Paying the Penalty, ' strike the public imagination far more forcibly than do the saccharine figures of handsome heroes, so thickly coated with whitewash that they are prevented from performing one credible action, and 2 6 1 Mrs. Alice Williamson in The Evening News. 2 The Evening Standard , April 18, 1927 . ACTUALITIES 133 confined almost entirely to loving, losing, and regaining pretty maidens. “ A gust of drama, great because it touches real life, has found its way into the cinemas since it dawned on producers that it was possible to put real living characters into films. Victor McLaglen in ‘ What Price Glory ' was a horrible fellow ; but how much more interesting to watch than John Barrymore in the artificial and sickly rôles to which his talent has unfor tunately been condemned lately! The world loves a villain on the screen every bit as much as it loves a lover. Barrymore and the other handsome actors have been reformed to death ." The types of the wicked include : 1 MEN WOMEN . The Sheik, the red -blooded he- Vamps. man. Big strong man . Decoys. Cave man stuff. Thieves. Gunmen . “ Women with Souls as black Bootleggers and Hi- jackers. as Hell.” Rum -runners. And a variety of real bad ' uns. Gangsters and Stick -up men. Rough men and foul women Underworld Denizens. who have no chance of Bowery Types. seeing heaven. Broadway Rowdies. Waterfront Plug-uglies. Bolshevists disguised behind beards like young forests. Convicts with domes like bil liard balls and faces like baboons. Tough Seamen . Bandits and Bank -busters. Thugs. All alike realise good prices. The most precious and most valuable of the go-between i The Daily Mail, September 8, 1928. 134 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA types is the “ It ”” girl. The Clara Bow type. She is required to have special qualifications. “ International interest, weight, shape, size, Age, Youth , Beauty, Personality and above all a powerful ' It ' Appeal.” “ It ” is another name for sex. > The “ It ” men are priceless. Rudolph Valentino was king or, should it be, emperor in this class. They are the Perfect Lovers that adolescent and sexually starved women worship. The requisites on the “ good ” or “ virtuous ” side are Youth, Beauty and Personality. Eugenic heroes, or the perfect man type (as Elinor Glyn, the originator of the “ It ” type in fiction , classifies Tom Mix), come under the head of Youth, a term that covers a multitude of incompetents, such as Flappers, dainty and intriguing Fashion Plates, Joy Girls and Boys, and all the capering young people we see on the screen who have just left the nursery. Beauty sets the Film King in quest of the Golden Girl and the Apollo Boy. Female beauty on the screen , such as is seen in Clara Bow , Janet Gaynor, and Billie Dove, attracts men, and male beauty, women, just as the public are attracted by Botticelli's “ The Birth of Venus, " Piero della Francesca's Virgin, ” Baldovinetti's “ Virgin ,” Titian's “ Salome,” and other types of female beauty in paintings. The majority of these Golden Girls appear to have two characteristics in common . They are baby women, or baby“ virgins ” as Yvette Guilbert described them ,” ranging from 4ft. 6in. to 5ft. zin. , and in years from 16 to 21. They come from schools, convents, beauty competitions and so on, and they are golden in more senses than one. “ The little wisp of a Janet Gaynor, ” demure little Lois ' (Moran 4ft . roin. ), Madge Bellamy, Dolores del Rio, Mary Pickford, Pola Negri, Judy King. All small and priceless beautiful fragments with a box office value are exceedingly valuable. They include: 2 i See “ Fox News,” July 9, 1928. 2 The Sunday Chronicle , June 16, 1929 . ACTUALITIES 135 Visible necks of adorable girls. Different kinds of hair that Alluring legs. talk . The badly -be Inviting lips. haved hair of Estelle Naughty feet. Brody. The well-be Embracing arms. haved of Lillian Har Fathomless eyes. vey. The baby hair of Angel noses. Betty Balfour. Million dollar smiles. Any bit of a personality that Pearl- like teeth . invites adoration and Tears like crystal drops. excites vice. Hair that frames the face with magic. A large variety of odds and ends of human material may be gathered from the publicity sheets, such as Fox News, prior to 1929. 1 It appears that there exists a Hollywood standard of Perfect Female Beauty. “ It consists of loveliness of Form, charm, grace, intelligence, femininity, colouring and type.” “ Intelli gence " is no doubt of a strictly Hollywood kind. Perhaps it would be more correct to say did exist. · Since the arrival of the talking picture, beauty has given place to facial contortion, and india- rubber faces now rule the cinema market. The acting parts of the body that fetch high prices are in numerable. Here are a few . Adam's apples that register thirst, scorn , etc .; noses that turn up as though asking Heaven's forgiveness for their owners' sins, or down, or inside out when belching with rage; ears that Aap. It will be remembered that Sir James Barrie said he could Aap his ears and was in this respect superior to Mr. Bernard Shaw, just as Mr. Shaw said he was superior to Mussolini because he could waggle his brow and Mussolini could not. There is much money for ear flappers and brow wagglers on the screen . Toes that fondle each other also have a screen market value. To judge by the exhibition of toe fondling by the semi-nude sexes on the seashore, appar ently you are expected to consider it the only thing worth living 1 The Daily Express, March 15, 1929. 136 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 for. Miscellaneous things that add a few thousands a year to the value of Bathing Beauties like say Mae Busch, and other Beauties, include names (a star by any other name than her pro fessional one would not sell half so well. Fancy a Star Beauty Queen using her own name, Sally Scratchit ). Also titled hus band's. When June married Lord Inverclyde there was a report that she was offered open cheques to appear in pictures. I do not know whether it was true. The animal kingdom is not neglected. Look at those best sellers the dog, “ Rin - tin -tin ,” and the magnificent cowboy star steeds, like Tom Mix's “ Tony." Needless to say, the Talkie has led the Film Kings to desert the old silent market for a new sound one, where a new class of “ goods” fitted to Talkie purposes are to be found. Hence one reads : After eighteen months' preparation and an expenditure of £ 3,000,000 on new equipment, the Fox Film Company of America to -day announce that it is dropping the silent film and concentrating entirely on producing dialogue and musical mov ing pictures.

  • According to an official announcement issued at the New

York headquarters of the company, 200 leading American musical comedy and legitimate stage stars, directors and dramatists, including the cowboy -comedian, Will Rogers, have been signed to appear exclusively in films made by Fox. “ This move, made by the largest single film company in America, dooms many film stars whose beauty is their sole asset. - International News Service. ” ı Formerly, sob - stuff and slim women were in demand . Now, brighter and plumper females are required. Cornering the Talkie market means the wholesale pur chase of everything and everybody of Talkie and Vaudeville value — singers, orchestras, song writers, music publishers, variety artistes, smart-crackers, dancers, song and dance men, plays, musical comedies, professional actors and actresses with i The Evening Standard , March 25, 1929. CC 1 1 ACTUALITIES 137 1 > voices, electrical apparatus technicians, play producers; the pur chase of big tracks of land 40 to 50 acres in extent, the erection of immense padded cells, the expenditure of 100,000,000 dollars on buildings and equipment, and the rest. Besides the genuine types of Beauty there are the faked types. It is to the credit of the Film Kings that extravagant though they be they do not waste material. They have evolved methods whereby the most unpromising types can be converted into money-makers. Speaking of one of the causes of the failure of English pictures, a London cinema critic says that “ Beauti ful Film faces are not beautiful. Many film beauties are plain women who have been transformed by the skilful handling of the Camera. They do this thing better in Hollywood than at Elstree. For instance, Betty Compson, though comparatively unattractive here, is attractive at Hollywood. Hence, Holly wood has the pull.” He is arguing that the failure of the Eng lish photographers to “ fake ” faces, to make a skilful use of the camera, is the cause of bad business. Hollywood can not only pay the price for the genuine article, but it can turn out imitations of it calculated to deceive the connoisseur of the highest rank . Of course this means that Hollywood is a seventh heaven where the chemist rules the stars. It is a sort of synthetic Elysium in which the women are a marvellous combination of the chemical industries. Read this, and you will express no surprise that the Film King who runs a chemical factory does not worry when the temperamental, genuine Star Beauty gives him the sack for not increasing her salary by another thousand a week. He can always fake a substitute. “ The resolution of a ' Papper's ' appearance into its chemical constituents did much yesterday to disillusion a Daily Express representative. “ Dr. E. F. Armstrong, managing director of the British Dyestuffs Corporation, has described the ' Aapper' as the patron 1 G. A. Atkinson in The Daily Express, September 2, 1929. a 138 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > 6 > 6 saint of chemistry. Professor A. M. Low not only elucidated this description : he established that the ' Aapper ' was a walking chemical experiment - a parade of substitutes for nature. “ Let him who adores a girl reflect that he adores largely a combination of red lead oxide, petroleum greases, henna, cellu lose products, paper and wood pulp, nitric acid , and dyes. “ I would say ,' remarked Professor Low , that only twenty-five per cent. of girls have naturally coloured hair. The rest use henna or peroxide unashamed or else some “ brighten ing ” washes — and the brightening quality is due simply to mild dyes. Many of them have “ permanently ” waved hair, and that operation involves the use of glutinous chemicals to help the heat in its deformation of the natural lie of the hair. Her face,' continued Professor Low , ‘ owes its roses to red oxide of lead on lips and cheeks. Her creams are largely extracts of petroleum . Her dark eyelashes and eyebrows pay tribute mainly to sienna or lampblack or carbon .' “ And her pale hands, pink -tipped ? ' was asked. Chemically bleached, ' replied Professor Low, “ and pink tipped with nails covered by tinted celluloid. ' ' ' Her clothes?! Imitation wool and imitation silk. The “ wool is made of grass and wood fibre.. The “ silk ” is a cellulose pro duct - a compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which, when treated with nitric acid, forms the base of artificial silk. “ Her shoes are often paper pulp, stamped and printed with chemical dyes into the resemblance of skins. " Coming to the question of Star Finance, it is important to ask, what do Film Kings pay for their precious human material genuine and faked ? The answer may be given in head-lines and figures. “ The Highest-Paid Vamp.” This is Greta Garbo Hollywood's most highly-paid vamp. “ £ 42,000 a Year Film Autocrat." Mr. A. E. Dupont is re 1 The Daily Express, November 29, 1927. 2 The Daily Express, November 18, 1927. 3 The Evening News, January 7, 1927. > " 1 " 2 >> 3 ACTUALITIES 139 > 3 > ferred to. “ Mae Murray to Have £ 1,500 a Week for Making Talking Films.” “ To Make £ 100,000 in Six Weeks.” Paul Whiteman, the famous orchestra leader, is the “ quick - lunch £ 600,000 getter.” “ £ 150,000 Talkie Offer To George Robey. ” But Mr. Robey is required to do eighteen months' hard work for this meagre sum. And the news story leaves him thinking it over. So I should think. Tall as Mr. Whiteman's six weeks' remuneration appears, it sinks into utter insignificance beside the figures of Mr. “ Jolson's income.” Under his Under his agreement with Warner's, A. Jolson is paid £ 45,000 in cash, and a royalty of 10 p.c. on all gross receipts over £ 200,000. It is expected that the “ Singing Fool ” in this country alone will make £ 500,000 gross. It is , therefore, probably underestimating A. Jolson's income very heavily to say that it amounts to £ 5,000 a week. It is estimated that he will make £ 1,000,000 a year if he joins the Allied Artists to make two pictures a year. £ 1,000,000 aa year year is not so bad. Compare it with the following salaries paid to bill-toppers: “ A census taken in connection with the wage war shows that there are 750 film stars in California, receiving an aggre gate of £ 5,200,000 a year. The general prosperity of the United States film industry is indicated by the following table of salaries received annually by the best-known film stars : 94 £ Harold Lloyd 208,000 Adolph Menjou 52,000 Tom Mix 208,000 Reginald Denny 36,400 Charles Chaplin 156,000 Mary Pickford 104,000 (and a p.c. of profits) ( and a p.c. of profits) Douglas Fairbanks 156,000 Lillian Gish 78,000 (and a p.c. of profits) Gloria Swanson - 72,000 John Barrymore 104,000 Norma Talmadge 72,000 Buster Keaton 83,200 Colleen Moore 72,000 1 The Daily News, May 1 , 1929 . 2 The Evening Standard, October 23, 1928 . 3 The Daily Chronicle, April 6, 1929 . 4 The Daily Chronicle, December 19, 1929 . 140 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA " ] a “ Two thousand of the lesser-known stars receive an aggre gate of £ 2,000,000 annually.' This was in 1927. Harold Lloyd is said to receive now £ 400,000 a year. Turning from the value put upon stars by the Film Kings, let us consider the value stars put upon themselves.

Dorothy Mackaill asked £ 50,000 for an appearance in an English film ."

“ Mae Murray, the famous film star, has brought an action against the Fox Theatres for £ 50,000 damages in respect of an injury to her foot, which she alleges was caused while she was working for the defendant company at Brooklyn last year. Central News.” “ Miss Faye Marbe, the well-known singer, dancer and cinema actress, who is said to be studying with a view to taking up grand opera, is suing Mr. Samuel Zierler, president of the Prudence Pictures Corporation, for £ 20,000, and the corporation itself for £ 10,000 on a charge of breach of contract. — Reuter.

“ Miss Marbe, according to the Central News, states that Mr. Zierler made overtures to her to devote her career to the ' talkies,' and that a contract was signed. This contract she alleges has been broken. “ Miss Fay Marbe had a £ 100 a week part in ‘ Yvonne, ' at Daly's Theatre, London , in 1926, but the directors considered her unsuitable and dismissed her. She sued the theatre and obtained £ 6,300 damages. “ She is said to have insured her smile with a British com pany for £ 50,000. This sum is to be paid if during the ten years up to 1937 her smile loses its charm through accident or illness." Probably the £ 50,000 foot and the £ 50,000 smile leads them to presume that they are entitled to every penny they fetch . In 94 1 The Sunday Express, July 31 , 1927. 2 A. T. Borthwick , The News-Chronicle, July 3, 1930. 3 The Daily Chronicle, October 25 , 1929. 4 The Daily Chronicle , September 9, 1929. belongs tohe grat Poduction Tom Mix inSky High .This film 1929. American .AWilliam Fox American National series —the Western .Itmarks andvance from the early and crude portrayals ofthe cowboy ashero .Ithas aremarkable sociological value for itshows the cowboy inasurrounding which has produced him and his occupation .Mix ,probably the greatest ofcowboy actors ,isaeugenic symbol . Valentino was .oman's attraction ,assexually Physically ,heisasgreat a

ACTUALITIES 141 any case, the income tax man has been on the trail of some of them . “ Investigations by United States Government officials into the income tax returns made by members of the Hollywood film colony have been followed by accusations against two famous screen personalities. Miss Eleanor Boardman, the film star, has been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on a charge of evading income tax payments by filing false returns. “ The Grand Jury also returned an information against her husband, Mr. King Vidor, the producer, who is accused of similar evasions. “ Miss Boardman is accused of withholding £1,786 due on account of income tax in three years. “ Mr. Vidor is accused of under -estimating taxes on £ 7,775 for two years. “ It is reported that a compromise will be arranged between Miss Boardman and the United States District Attorney. “ Miss Boardman, who is 30 years of age, made her film debut in 1922. Her more recent films include ' Bardelys, the Magnificent,' and ' Tell it to the Marines .' “ Mr. Tom Mix, the cowboy film star, was indicted recently by a Federal Grand Jury at Los Angeles on a charge of with holding £ 20,000 due on account of income tax. — British United Press. " I “ Miss Mackaill is alleged to have fraudulently deducted £ 3,168 .” ? What does the millionaire star buy with his money ? “ Tom Mix is the owner of one of the largest ranches in Arizona, comprising some 10,000 acres, and containing 7,000 head of cattle and a large number of fine horses . ”3 Miss Corinne Griffith invests in stocks and bonds and plays the market sys tematically. Miss Dorothy Mackaill trades in stocks and buys 1 The Evening Standard, May 23, 1929. 2 The Evening Standard , October 18, 1929. 3 “ Fox Newspaper Service ," July 11, 1927. 66 12 142 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 2 Hollywood real estate . Miss Alice White plays the stock market. Richard Barthlemess buys and sells or trades business properties. And so on. “ The mind of the ordinary man is staggered by the finance of Hollywood. Estimates for the next twelve months show that £ 20,000,000 is to be spent on film making.” And the return for this outlay, the dividends on the investment in directors and stars ? In 1929, Warner Brothers made over £ 3,000,000 profit. Such are the golden materials of Hollywood. Moral : “ After the death of Pertinax, the Roman world was offered for sale by auction by the all-powerful Prætorian Guard. Didius Salvius Julianus Marcus, a wealthy Roman merchant, outbid all others, and the world was knocked down to him after he paid the equivalent of 5,000,000 dollars in gold on March 28, 193 A.D. The Roman Senate took the oath of loyalty to him .” If Didius S. J. Marcus were alive to-day and in an investing mood all he would get for his £ 1,000,000 would be one Holly wood star. F. STRUCTURE AND ORGANISATION Structure is determined by organisation ; therefore it is necessary to consider only organisation in detail . Structure will suggest itself. Looked at squarely, Hollywood comprises a function building designed to apply industrial and business science to the Cinema. It is organised by business men on strictly business lines with the aid of the vast banking amalgama tions which practically govern America. Considered strictly from a business point of view it is a miracle structure with an 100 p.c. efficiency which has inevitably made it the predominat ing picture production centre and box office of the world . It cannot be repeated too often that the application of the science 1 “ First National Pathé News," June, 1930. 2 The Evening News, May 6 , 1927. 3 From “ Believe It or Not." ACTUALITIES 143 sun. a of business organisation to picture production , distribution and consumption together with the use of unlimited capital have given the American Cinema Industry its place in the universal This fact appears to have escaped the attention of the different bodies who are fighting against this mighty octopus. Those who are interested in the subject of this mammoth business organisation, which has extended itself to the Cinema world, and wish to understand it and to know what position it occupies in the present-day entertainment world, cannot do better than compare three important documents, one a book written by a man of genius who controls a mammoth House of Business ;' another a book written by a very able theatrical “ show man , as he calls himself;” and another a Souvenir containing details of the business organisation of one of the four or five leading American Production Companies. The first is con cerned with the wonderful story of Commerce from early begin nings, its growth and development and the rise and amazing organisation of the Mammoth Business Store, world -wide in its operations to which it has given birth to -day. The second re veals how the Theatrical Business House is related to the Business Store and the system of ransacking the earth for the most attrac tive and saleable goods in the form of super artistes and shows, and how it leans heavily upon bankers and financiers for support. The third reveals the most attractive features of the Cinema Business House, and its methods of buying and selling. The following extract from one of the able publicity articles by Callisthenes, appearing daily in The Times, might, but for its literary quality, be an extract from a Hollywood publicity magazine. “ The Selfridge organisation was built for high speed and we enjoy it . It was built to overcome difficulties — and there can never be enough of them to make us stop smiling. We feel we are on our mettle. The numbers and the urgency 1 “ The Romance of Commerce ,” by H. Gordon Selfridge. 2 “ The Secrets of a Showman, " by Charles B. Cochran. 3 “ 1929 Souvenir of Universal Pictures Ltd." 144 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 of our Customers demand that we work at high pressure — and we like working at high pressure. Hollywood's organisation was built not only for high speed but for efficiency in production, distribution and consumption of saleable commodities. The problem it attacked was maxi mum profit by maximum exploitation. The solution was aa strictly commercial policy, application of the principles of busi ness science to every department of the Cinema Industry, and strictly commercial methods of production, distribution and con sumption. The big producers, in fact, pledged themselves to become world traders operating on the largest scale. They identified themselves with world “ markets , ” and they sur rendered themselves to millionaire speculators, financiers, bankers and every kind of vast Financial Trust that would trust them with untold gold and could be trusted to see that there was ample return for the money loaned . There is nothing to show that the Big Producing Companies operating on Wall Street used the queer processes by which unscrupulous financial experts throughout the world extract huge sums from the unsuspecting investing public, the small man and the big one alike - processes, that is , associated with “ stock pools » called “ investment trusts, mushroom banks ” to disclose public financial resources, intensive selling organisations to induce depositors to withdraw their money from the “ mushroom banks ” in order to buy worthless stock ; processes that are boiled down by the sneak thief street auctioneer who by a system of trickery finds out what money the people around him possess and then pro ceeds by means of a confidence trick to secure it. The Big Pro ducing Companies took cleaner and most effective means to capture the two classes of picture consumers, the 120,000,000 Americans, and the 2,000,000,000 or so consumers outside America. Doubtless there are contained in each Production Company's Sales Department a set of questions which when answered provide a clue to the purchasing capacity of the public. 1 “ Peak Week ,” by Callisthenes, The Times, December, 1928. a ACTUALITIES 145 What is the purchasing power of cinema-goers in such and such a country ? Who are the cinema-goers ? Why should they interest our corporation ? What entertainment do they require ? How can we get the entertainment through to them ? It is a fact that in more than one big Production offices there is a map of the earth stuck all over with little flags to denote the areas invaded and captured. This recreation of the Film King reminds you of Cæsar's when he drew a line through the heart of England to denote the all -conquering Roman road . It is not too much to say that in the matter of organisation Hollywood evolved for itself a sort of personality which has held sway over the world since 1914, and was till recently greater even than that of the Press. The world cinema taken col lectively is still greater than the Press, but there are signs that the power of the Hollywood personality is on the wane. It is most likely that before long the talking picture will decentralise the American Cinema Industry. In the aforementioned book , by Mr. Gordon Selfridge, there is a most instructive chart of a 20th Century Department Store. is immense. Probably an organisation chart of a 20th Century Department Film Factory would cover nearly as much ground. At any rate, the following analysis of the Science of Business applied to the Theatre and Cinema suggests how much ground a chart would cover if worked out in detail. I will describe the application of the Business Science to the Theatre because it came earlier than the application to the Cinema, because it is similar in most respects to that of the Cinema, and because it shows how widespread the scientific busi ness system is . The Financial Age which succeeded the Age of industrial and mechanical revolution and was in fact the direct outcome of it, introduced the latter -day science of making money to the English theatre. It orientated the theatre from the point of view of a mammoth Business Organisation , which in time was set working smoothly and swiftly like a very carefully adjusted a Its scope a 146 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA piece of colossal machinery. The amalgamated and ordered activity so represented introduced a new phase of theatrical monopoly which gave rise to a fresh struggle to free the Eng lish theatre from an evil that to many persons seemed worse than the one it succeeded. In place of royal kings governing the theatre it substituted kings of finance as possessers of monopolistic rights and trade perogatives over theatrical amuse ments; and it called forth the alleged Free or Semi- commercial theatre promoters to act as monopoly breakers. Just as the Industrial Revolution called forth an endless variety of socialists to put the industrial and social house in order. This science of the business organisation of the theatre has persisted till to -day. The seeds of the monopoly were sown in America. Here business men with large fortunes suddenly came to recognise that the theatre could be made a great distributing house con taining the efficient money making machinery of the big Store. The formation of theatrical financial Trusts followed . In due course American monopolistic methods reached England where they were welcomed by business men of the theatre and outside groups of money operators. Thus the Eng lish theatre began to be studied as a business science for the first time in its history ; and the first efforts were made to formu late the principles which must be employed in order to make the theatre as financially successful as an efficiently organised mammoth Store. Briefly stated the most important principles applied are as follows: (A) Profit-making or production for the sake of profit. Everything in the theatre is bought to sell again at a profit. ( B) Monopoly, or possessing the whole of a commodity ,—theatres, plays, players, scenery, accessories, etc., -on demand with the , object of determining the price and profit. ( C ) Marketing or distributing and persuading people to buy commodities. This is largely assisted by ( D ) Advertising. Trusts have throughout practiced the theory of advertising as a means of selling the best seats. To-day the practice has ACTUALITIES 147 reached such proportions that advertising is one of the main supports of the Trust theatre. Endless announcements in the advertisement columns of newspapers and periodicals written by theatre directors (who like Mr. Charles Cochran add journalism to their many activities ), publicity agents and journalists ; giant posters everywhere; electric signs that cover theatre fronts; publicity newsprints sent through the post; house journals : these are but a few of the innumerable advertising devices by which the retailer of theatre merchandise, following the examples set by wholesale manufacturers and big shopkeepers hypnotise the public into buying their goods. ( E) Service or being of business use to the public. This embodies the theories of advertising and selling. It is based on the assumption that a very large portion of the public is not inclined to think about entertainment; on the accurate knowledge of what that portion wants ; on putting something that meets this want on the market, say war or sex or crime plays, and keeping it there till it ceases to make money owing to the inability of the public to maintain interest for long, or the over-exploitation of a subject that sets up nausea and produces a violent reaction. (F ) Foresight, or antici pations of change of demand owing to the said public inability to sustain interest, and,, in consequence,, the necessity of laying in months in advance, stock that will meet a new demand to be satisfied . There are more principles, but those given will suffice to show to what extent the commercial theatre has had applied to it those scientific business principles, which have also been applied to the Cinema. Let ( F ) provide an illustration of this parallelism . Foresight led theatrical managers to lay in a stock of plays during the early part of 1914. ' When the War broke out they were found to be unfit for consumption owing to the situation that had arisen. Likewise just before the War a number of German pictures were acquired, some by a big London Daily Newspaper. The War caused them to be put 1 See “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre,” Huntly Carter. 1 148 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA into cold storage. After the War, the question arose of ex hibiting these pictures in which a very large sum of money had been invested . In order to get them on the English market excuses were invented for Germany's alleged crimes by the very newspaper and persons that had most inflamed England against that country There is aa difference between the Theatre Business Organisation and the Cinema Business Organisation. It is not in the policy of the business, but in the scope. A theatre addresses itself to a limited audience, whereas a Cinema Pro duction Company addresses itself to the vast Mass in all parts of the world, whose pence bring fortunes far in excess of those made through the shillings and pounds spent in the Theatre. This business of selling to educated and uneducated billions through the exploitation of the tastes of all countries, and not of one alone, calls for a selling organisation, with methods of distribution, publicity and penetration on a scale unknown to the Theatre. Speaking of American method of penetration a French journalist said recently, “ The greatest, strongest and most terrifying campaign of penetration is going on in Europe, and many of us barely perceive it. Paris is becoming as Ameri can as London and New York. History records no such war in all its pages. It extends all over Europe and to it appears to be no defence. The Cinema which is the weapon of these invaders seems to be all powerful.” Concerning advertisement we are told, “ Millions are spent on newspaper advertisement. It is not unreasonable to say that the Film Kings practically control the film features of the newspapers in which they adver tise on a big scale. An indiscreet word or harmful criticism by a critic may cause them to withdraw advertisements worth thousands of pounds to the paper.” In confirmation of this one may turn to the first two or three numbers of a weekly journal and read the threat of boycott for plain speaking. ' > 1 2 1 The Evening News, October 16, 1929. 2 London Daily Paper. 8 See “ The Film Weekly early numbers. ACTUALITIES 149 6 Nothing is left undone in the way of publicity and adver tising. They are carried to lengths that the Theatre does not attempt to go . “ In Hollywood big departments are full of employees writ ing good copy, much of which will find its place in the magazines and newspapers. “ Interviews' are being written up in a way which pleases the ‘ fans ' and, therefore, the editors. Everything from health hints to gardening notes is being written up in these departments, so that the stars are talking to their public almost all the time. There are still ' photographers em ployed by the publicity departments and no one else, taking pictures of the stars from morning to night. When they are not actually taking the pictures, they are developing them or talking over ' stunt ' pictures which will be taken to -morrow . You see the results in the picture papers you read every day. Pictures of the Hollywood stars are printed in good magazines circulating all over South America, Australia, Germany, South Africa, England, and Spain. That is why everybody in the world knows the stars who work in Hollywood. At least seventy -five per cent of the pictures and stories published in the London '‘ fan ’ magazines come from Hollywood publicity departments, although magazines often obtain the material by the way of their correspondents. “ Editors want this publicity stuff when it is good. They like those snappy photographs that tell a story and brighten up their publication. If they originated in Elstree they would probably like them better. Publicity directors — ex -newspaper men, most of them - earn something like fifty pounds a week in Hollywood. Their assistants net from ten to twenty pounds a week. But they have to turn out good stories suitable for the American film magazines one sees on the foreign and London news stands. ” l The little publicity sheets once issued by the most powerful Production Corporations, Fox, First National Pathé, Warner 1 “ World's Press News, ” October 3, 1929. 150 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Brothers, etc., are unique in their way. Since the Talkie there has been a change. F.N. Pathé, Metro -Goldwyn-Mayer, Para mount, Wardour, issue useful information. But Fox and Warner, in my experience, are asleep. Each new picture and the stars in it were described minutely. The stars were offered bouquets, and details of the pictures were recommended in Powers of speech that almost made one swoon . The men and women who wrote to praise must have been provided with libraries full of books containing stores of sublime epithets which never apppeared to be exhausted. Week after week the costly star was basted with this varnish till like an over- faked old master she became almost hidden beneath the layers of sticky stuff. But perhaps the most amazing feature of these publicity sheets is the attempt to educate the exhibitor in the business of selling each picture. He is instructed as to the method of advertising every separate feaure in the picture, in his cinema and district. He is advised to “ Go All Out.” If the subject of the picture is the life of a music master, the exhibitor is told to get the theme a song sung and played everywhere. To invite music shops to co operate; to have musical instruments in the foyer of his cinema ; to engage a jazz dancer to amuse the queue; to get costumiers and shoe stores to co -operate; to send a barrel organ round covered with posters drawing attention to the picture; to engage a smart-looking man wearing a straw hat to go along the main thoroughfare playing a large saxophone; to send out novelty post cards, and so on and so on. ' 1 G. PRODUCTION — DISTRIBUTION — EXHIBITION As the mighty Hollywood edifice rose from its bed of gold, there came problems from the insatiable money -getting appetite of the Film Kings. There was the problem of securing more and more world power for themselves; more and more golden lubricant for their machinery to enable it to stand the terrific 1 See “ Monde ” ( Paris) , December 8, 1928, p. 14 , for a French opinion of this method of educating the exhibitor how to sell pictures. ACTUALITIES 151 strain of realising the perfectibility of the picture, as they under stood it. How to squeeze a Niagera-like flow of gold from billions of pockets by a process of exchange whereby they took the monstrous essences, experiences and feelings of the world's population, converted them into Sensation and resold them to their owners at an enormous profit: that was the question . The fact is they were Commodity Kings. The com modities were the things produced by the Cinema Industry labour acting upon Human Beings and Nature, that is, Holly wood flesh and blood and natural surroundings. There was a Consumer for whom these things were produced. He was the buyer to whom the pictures produced were to be sold . The thing to be done was to devise a means of supplying the com modities direct from the producer, the seller, to the consumer, the buyer; a means to enable the manufacturer to become the showman . There were many processes involved in the linking up of Production with Distribution and Exhibition and Consumption. Many points to be considered. For one thing, though the Con sumer represented a vast appetite, it was not a single appetite but one made up of many appetites. All the varieties of foods preferred by all the different peoples of the world were to be eaten by this universal Consumer, after they had first been pre pared for human consumption by the would -be universal pro ducer. The first process in the production -distribution -consumption link was, then , the preparation of two common dishes, one suitable for home consumption, the other for universal consump tion, that is , one for America's 150,000,000 mouths, the other for the 450,000,000 Empire mouths and the world's 2,000,000,000 or so mouths. So there were the production of a national dish, and of an international one. The recipe for the latter was primitive excitements, sensations, and feelings, common to all men ; hashings and re-hashings of pictured stories, cutting, faking, sabotage, co -operation with foreign producers, and the 152 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA use of international stars,—stars, that is , possessing sex and other delicacies that could be consumed, relished and assimilated by the common man as consumer. The next process of the production for the sake of world consumption industry was the establishment of efficient dis tributing organisations, organisations that could be trusted to bear in mind that the Universal Consumer must be approached as a superior, not as a subordinate, one willing to pay for his hashed-up moods, and feelings, and pay handsomely, but at the same time, likely to kick against a surfeit, or an element not evolved out of himself, or buried in freak æsthetic as in some of the so - called " art " pictures. First came the go-between, the middleman distributor. For a time little distributing agencies and organisations constituted the tools whereby Hollywood's commodities were passed from machine to mouth. This method was however too slow and expensive to be tolerated for long by the Film Kings with their minds set on rapid and com plete world domination. So gradually they came to operate together and in common. Big producing companies combined with big distributing agencies for associative action. And as these combines increased in size and power by the simple methods of absorption and elimination of competition , so re markable developments took place. Not the least was that caused by a revolt against the domination so obtained by the Film Kings. From the following news- story may be gathered the nature of the domination , and of one important revolt which it has caused : “ A combine of big American film interests is about to be formed which will add further strength to the domination of the world's film shows by about half a dozen American con cerns. “ The Metro-Goldwyn -Mayer Corporation of America, which controls in London the Tivoli Theatre and is turning the old Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, into a super -picture palace, is combining forces with the United Artists' Corporation . ACTUALITIES 153 “ The latter company is a mutual- interest distribution agency for such well-known stars ' as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin , Gloria Swanson, John Barrymore, Buster Keaton, and the Talmadge sisters. FILM KINGS' DOMINATION “ Most of these people joined the United Artists Corpora tion as a means of escape from the domination of the film kings, and in order to make pictures after their own inclinations. “ The organisation has proved a great success, but, as Miss Pickford pointed out to me some time ago, one of their diffi culties has been in obtaining good distribution of their films while so many American cinemas are controlled by the film kings. “ The concern has set up the largest number of film dis tributing organisations in the world. The present merger is being undertaken to avoid the expense of these branches and to make sure of a good showing for United Artists' films. “ Charles Chaplin disapproved of the deal at one time, but apparently his objections have been overruled . 6 “ £ 12,000,000 INCOME “ The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer concern is one of the three most powerful film concerns in the world. “ The Big Parade ' and ‘ Ben Hur’are two of its latest pictures. It has more than a dozen directors at work simultaneously on films, and is a sub sidiary company of Loew's Incorporated, a theatre-owning con cern which controls some 400 cinemas throughout the world , as well as a number of legitimate theatres. “ The ramifications of Loew's extend all over the world. The concern recently lent £ 400,000 to save the leading German film concern from extinction , and so ' cornered ' the best Ger man directors and film stars .' It is amalgamated with the 154 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > pioneer firm of Jury's in England and the famous Gaumont firm in France. “ Its income for the year ended August last was £12,221,915 , and its net profits £ 1,277,640. It is spending £ 10,000,000 on more theatres in Europe and America .”ī A very remarkable outcome of the combination of pro ducers with large scale distributing agencies, and without them , for the purpose of selling their own goods directly to the con sumer, is seen in the amazing scramble for cinemas. “ Build ing, buying and controlling theatres by Americans in Britain, Germany, France and the Far East have been going on during the whole year ( 1926 ). Even in Kartoum and Omdurman, the Americans control the picture theatres to this extent, that none but American pictures are shown in them. ” ? Since these words were written the tendency has increased one hundred -fold. New causes have arisen to stimulate the business of collaring the cinemas. The principal causes appear to be : ( 1 ) Militant, (2) Economic, (3) Attraction , (4) The Talkie. The first is due to the titanic struggle now taking place for the ownership and control of the cinemas of the world. The second, to the neces sity of building cinemas to hold the maximum of consumers at the minimum cost. The third , to attract the consumer to the cinema by an increased standard of comfort that shall minimise the risk of losing him by continuing to offer him commodities which are out of fashion , or which have lost their novelty for him. As in pre-war days, when the public began to desert the cinema because the novelty of the early moving picture had worn off, exhibitors sought to hold their customers by building vulgar luxury cinemas. The fourth cause is due to the demand for cinemas set up by the Talkie, and the craving of the Talkie Kings to make the most of a market which is no longer world wide but exceedingly limited by reason of the language difficulty. i The Evening News, February 25 , 1927 . 2 W. G. Faulkner, in “ The Daily Mail Year Book , 1927." ACTUALITIES 155 Here are some of the causes and effects. The decline of business in America : “ Hence came the three great building years. Gigantic cinemas were built all over the United States, so that in one case quoted by George Banfield last week there is a town in the United States, of 7,000 inhabitants, having a cinema seating 3,500 . Easy chairs, ankle -deep carpets, Ruritanian attendants, soda fountains, magical lighting effects, atmospheric decorations were all installed .” The fight for the World's Cinemas : “ There are now four great distinct motion picture corpora tions in the United States. These are Warner Bros., Fox,, the Radion Corporation of America and Paramount. “ The battle for supremacy between these four organisations is just beginning. The prize is the control of a capital of £ 200,000,000 and of a chain of theatres greater than all the cinemas in Britain . " 2 An economic cause : “ Another factor in the arrival of the giant cinema is the increased cost of films, which demands that a house that pro vides the best pictures, adequate music, and the greatest comfort for its patrons must be able to accommodate at least 2,000 people — or lose money. A first -class picture costs a first -class theatre anything from £250 to £ 600 a week to hire, whereas ten years ago the best film cost only £20 or £ 30 .". The Talkie : Mr. Samuel Goldwyn, interviewed on his arrival in London, said : “ If you ask me am I going to buy theatres in London to show my Talkies, I'll tell you why you need not do that. Cer 3 1 The Sunday Referee, June 2, 1929 . 2 The Daily Chronicle, November 4, 1929 . 3 London Evening Paper. 156 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 6 1 2 3 tainly one of the things I've come to London for is to fix up places where my Talkies will be shown. And Cochran's ' Wake Up and Dream ’ is pretty sure to be a Talkie before long.” Profit from Rents : “ The big American Cinemas pay their rents by letting out the buildings above the cinema ; a practice forbidden in London .' The Paramount Cinema, New York , which seats 4,000 , towers 35 stories above ‘ Times ' Square, New York .” The Golden Chains of Cinemas : “ Another huge theatre and film merger in the United States, representing a combined capital of £ 60,000,000, was re vealed by the announcement that Warner Brothers, the pioneers of the “ Talkie-movie ” are acquiring the Stanley theatre cir cuit, according to the New York Herald ( quoted by the British United Press.) This is the first step towards a still bigger merger, which will include the well-known Keith circuit. The Stanley theatres will provide an outlet for the Warner Brothers' films. “ With the Stanley circuit Warner Brothers acquire control of First National Pictures, which were previously controlled by the circuit. “ The merger is to be effected by the purchase of shares. British United Press . " 4 Fight to control the Golden Chains : Mr. William Fox, president of the Fox Film Corpora tion , announced this evening that he had completed the sale of his holding in the First National Pictures Corporation to Messrs. Warner Brothers. “ The sum involved exceeds £ 2,000,000. The purchase 1 The Evening Standard , May 11, 1929. 2 “ Close Up," November, 1927, p . 68 . 3 The Observer, December 5, 1926 . 4 The Evening News, September 9, 1928. STUDIO FOX MVIETONE HILLS -FOX CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES . -

AULA SALE LEGEND ADMINISTRATION BUILDING A.GENERATOR DUILDING L-3OFFICE BUILDING PROJECTION D-MACHINE SHOP CROOM CREHEARSAL HALL •M-WATER TOWER U-PILM VAULT MELLC D-CUTTING LAD MPLABING .TEST SHOP VPICO BOULEVARD PROJECTION EROOM NELECTRICAL )2.5 PANT TOUL UNIT EKW-Stact >346DIRECTORS EMUSK ,RALLIESEARCH VAULT N.LADECAMERA WUNIT STAGES 4718 STAGES F-UNITI 12.0 DRESSING ROOMS X-AREAS KOR FUTURE STACES G-UNIT 214. PSTAGE 9 X'PPARENT SJELDING APPARATUS BUILDING H-IPDUILDING Y-SPAKE TOR EXTEOR SU REFRIGERATION J-HEAT RMOPROP CABINETY PAINT SHOP APPARATUS DUILDING KER.DRAPERY 2AWARDROBE :DERTZ FOR EXPANSION ARIA a 1928. Architecture .Bird's -eye view oflayut and style ofFox Mvietone Studio ,Hollywood .During 1928 Hollywood underwent anmazing architectural change from aSilenttudio world toSoundtage one .The official description runs ,“From the cactus -grown wastelands ofthe Fox Hills inless than 90days hs arisen magnificent walled city .This colossal undertaking ,representing anivestment of10,000,000 dollars ,isnow the home ofFx Movietone productiors .”Note the “stages which exclude all sound ,also the Zara extensions for tocst £3,000,000 . covers Itabout 108 acres .

ACTUALITIES 157 by Warner Bros. of the William Fox holdings in First National of America is a chapter of one of the most exciting dramas played behind the scenes of the film world. Early last year William Fox purchased the West Coast Theatres, a chain of cinemas dominating film exhibition on the Pacific Coast. With this purchase went a large holding in First National. “ In the autumn of last year Warner Bros. bought the Stanley Circuit of theatres, which carried with it a one- third interest in First National. An exciting race for control of First National ended by Warner Bros. securing 19,000 shares held by another theatre chain. The purchase announced yesterday from New York probably refers to the West Coast theatre situation , and will still further strengthen Warner Bros.' hold on the American cinema theatres. “ Although the negotiations for an alliance between Warner Bros. and Paramount have unexpectedly broken down, Warner Bros. continue to dominate the American film world. “ This position they won by their early monopoly of talking picture production. They are now extending their monopoly to colour picture production, the first example of which to be seen in England is ‘ On with the Show ' at the Tivoli.” The £ 1,000,000 cinema : When Mr. Schenck arrived at Southampton this after noon in the German liner Bremen, ' he told me : “ ' It has been wrongly stated that I am proposing to take over a number of your legitimate theatres for the purpose of showing pictures. That is not true. “ ' For one thing, your theatres are not well adapted for picture showing. They are too small, and they are wrongly built. “ To show a picture in one of your legitimate theatres means, with a seating capacity of about 700 , charging ros. or so 1 1 The Daily Chronicle, November 4, 1929 . 13 158 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA for every seat. That is much too high. No seats in any cinema should cost more than 5s. “ “ I have come to Britain this time to plan a million pound theatre. It will have between 3,000 and 4,000 seats, and will be built in the West End.' » The Cinema Cathedral: The Roxy model : The Roxy Theatre in New York, built at a cost of £ 2,000,000 and seating 6,000. The latest triumph of a cinema > house. > ' 2 66 95 only of At Roxy's Theatre last night more than 6,000 persons arose and cheered , drowning out the noise of the recording machine." “ More New York film theatres are to be built on the plan of the Roxy. “ Fox Film Corporation has paid more than £ 3,000,000 to secure a controlling interest in the new Roxy picture house." “ Cathedrals for Great Pictures " : “ William Fox's two theatre deals, involving as they do an expenditure of close on $ 150,000,000, are undoubtedly the most sensational event that has ever occurred in the film industry. By this master - stroke Fox has put himself at the head of the field of American Theatre magnates. For, to speak the West Coast Theatre Circuit, which was involved in the first deal, the theatres concerned are valued at over $ 100,000,000, and do a weekly business of $ 700,000.. All over America now William Fox has key houses which will show Fox films and he has expressed a definite intention of building theatres in the great capitals all over the world.” “ A Cinema Combine : The Gaumont British Picture Company which has a registered capital of £ 2,500,000 .” 1 The Evening Standard , December 23, 1929. 2 The Westminster Gazette, March 28, 1927. 3 Fox Newspaper Service , June 13, 1927 . 4 The Daily News, March 28 , 1927 . 3 Ibid. 6 Fox Newspaper Service, February 20, 1928. The Daily Herald , March 28, 1927 . 7 ACTUALITIES 159 9 The Cinema fight leads to “ conspiracy ” : The Federal Trade Commission has issued an order call ing on Adolph Zukor, Jesse L. Lasky, and the Famous Players Lasky Corporation to discontinue alleged unfair methods of competition in the cinema industry, which the commission alleges involve practices prohibited by the anti-monopolistic laws. “ The commission characterises these efforts as a conspiracy to “ monopolise or attempt to monopolise the motion picture industry.' It states that the defendants control 363 theatres, and dictate to cinema exhibitors through ‘ block booking,' under which exhibitors are compelled to take all the pictures in a group, or none. The defendants are ordered within sixty days to discontinue this practice, and also to discontinue the acquisi tion of theatres for the purpose of intimidating others.” A further cause of cinema building and buying is publicity. Some of the super theatres serve the purpose of shop windows for the exhibition of goods to be sold. In other words they are used for Trade and Press shows. That much importance is attached to these first shows, which are attended by critics, directors, society folk , stars, and some starvelings, a very varied assortment of theatrical folk , etc. , may be gathered from the following : “ A world première of a film , wherever it may be held, is a very important affair indeed — much more important than the casual filmgoer ever dreams, for on it depend not only enormous sums of money, but the reputation, and perhaps, in the long run, even the very livelihood of the stars. An unsuccessful première of a picture on which, say, £ 150,000 has been spent - not by any means an unusual sum for aa production — may mean the total loss of practically every penny, a loss that is felt by thousands of the company's shareholders. “ Similarly, the star of a picture that ' flops ’ at its first showing may, as a consequence, if it is her first big film , find herself unable to get further employment ; or, if she is already 1 The Daily Express, July 11, 1927 . a 160 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 well established, discover that she can no longer command so high a salary.” It should be said the cost of such shows is very heavy, especially when, as sometimes happens, it becomes necessary to buy out a super-cinema for use for three or four successive ex hibitions from 11 a.m. till midnight. The midnight exhibitions are on the increase, and on special occasions are “ champagne and oysters, ” which the critics and editorial staffs of newspapers have no objection to consume. H. CONTENT I. INTENTIONAL A. THE ABYSSES OF HUMANITY : AMERICAN ECONOMIC CIVILISATION TO -DAY From manufacturer to showman. From machine to mouth. From a barn factory to world domination . Unity of production -distribution -exhibition interests. The mania for building -buying- controlling cinemas. Such being the sum of the processes necessary to evolve the complete machinery to bring the golden commodity to market so as to secure that it shall be eaten. Underlying the processes and setting them in motion are the policies, principles, methods, technique by which the all-powerful Film Kings built the Mighty House of Holly wood, as just described. What was this magic commodity that satisfied the multifari ous appetite of the universal Man ? What was the content that squeezed the golden stream from the universal Pocket? What, in other words, was the content of the mass-produced standardised picture that sent this “ soulless ” product careering gaily through all lands cap in hand for bright pennies, as though holding out a sanctified collection plate ? Many persons will tell you that it was intentionally composed of trash , a dolled-up procuress intended to prostitute the Cinema to the pursuit of 1 The Sunday News, September 8, 1929. ACTUALITIES 161 gain, just as art to -day is a procuress. This opinion may not be flattering to the Cinema Overlords. Is it true ? Not alto gether. For as I have shown and shall show still further, they used ingredients that admitted an unintentional purpose capable of fulfilling the good demands of an audience possessed of more than a wish to buy. So the commodity was not such a Holly wood miscarriage after all . If you were to ask the powerful magnates whether they are guilty of the charge of conspiring to cheat the universal Man of his ha’pence, they would probably reply that they claim that they buy the best available materials with which to manufacture their commodities, that money and research can procure. That they employ the best organisers, salesmen , technicians, directors, producers, scenario and story writers, designers, players, talent of every sort, and the best public moods suited to their real aim of attaining the perfectibility of the picture. Moreover they are at heart real public benefactors. They have long wished for an opportunity to demonstrate this side of their character. But circumstances have been against them . Now, however, in the full tide of their prosperity, they intend to set aside millions from their profits for public benefactions. For proof, not long ago, there was William Fox proposing to put down £ 5,000,000 for educational purposes. There are the Warner Brothers proposing to set apart untold millions to be returned as a sort of bonus to the widows and orphans who have bought their pictures at from threepence to a shilling apiece. Yet in spite of these assurances of goodwill, and of the intention to continue the march towards perfectibility, one has an uneasy feeling that all is not right with the best of cinema worlds. The Overlords may be in their heaven , but there are departments missing from it. One is an advisory department wherein may be found a consultative body of authorities in all departments of those special branches of knowledge, scientific and other, which demand to be applied to the making of a 162 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA perfect,, say, historical picture. For lack of such a department the Hollywood historical picture is calculated to make one shudder. Well informed persons greet it with the cry of “ trash ,” and no wonder.

Though the golden-tinted banner of perfectibility has been waving from the gleaming pinnacles of Hollywood so long, there are critics who still tell you that the commodity produced is a debased and debasing affair, and if asked for the recipe invari ably point to one that runs : Take a primitive story . Add fifty per cent of excitement ; thirty per cent of “ sex appeal ” , ten per cent of photographic atmosphere and ten per cent of sentiment. Mix well , and serve up hot.'

This however disposes of the matter too summarily. Tests have proved that the content of the American picture is not empty air alone. It has a substance of a sociological nature and value whence proceeds both the nausea of the mass-product of the mammonised Film industry, and the odour of sanctity. When we come to analyse the content we find it is, in fact, made up of an expression of American economic and jazz civilisation .

To give it an international flavour other civilisations are added, such as bits of the Russian associative civilisation ; the Italian Fascist civilisation ; the English Financial Age civilisation , and All these ingredients are poured into the witch's cauldron at Hollywood. If we want a description of the kind of sociological broth of man in society that issues from the cauldron here we have it stated in the words of a sociologist who is writing not of the Cinema but of the conditions of the indi vidual and society today.

“ The educated man is a creature of Metropolis cut off as never before from all contact with reality. He is enmeshed in technicalities. He is never trained to form a synthetic view of his world, or rather is hampered by ignorance or prevented by fear from doing so . Thus his whole mind works on verbal lines and is governed by opinion as expressed in writing or in i See “ The Times Film Number,” March 19, 1929, p. xix . SO on. ACTUALITIES 163 1 speech. He never reaches knowledge that comes from an in formed study of facts.

The Society in which that man lives , which moulds him to this pattern, is in turn moulded by him. Like him it is based on opinion. Cruelties and oppressions which a strong tyrant would justify or remedy are explained by sophistry or lies. All debate in politics or economics is so mere (much ? ) opinion. Theories of reform are evolved out of air and argued with use less and ludicrous zeal.” Substitute critic for “ educated man and how aptly the first paragraph of this quotation describes a predominating type of present-day critic and reviewer. There is no doubt that a great deal of the regression and growing decadence of Society, both in America and out of it, is thrown upon the screen . But the facts portrayed do not differ from those exhibited by the early spectacles. By a laborious process the disease that charac terised the Roman and other historical orgies, is made to appear that which characterises the cabaret orgies of the fashionable spectacle to -day. The symptoms are identical in both . But by reclothing the types that manifest them , by giving them the air of interpreting and explaining the age in which they now exist, by unintentionally making them demonstrate by means of stunts ”' some of the significant conclusions and facts of twentieth century scientific thought, the picture makers lead us to believe that we are watching present-day men and society in a present-day environment. But human beings seen in the American picture are not changed according to the actual change now sweeping over the whole world . They are at bottom primitives. Douglas Fairbanks Petruchio is simply Petruchio as Douglas Fairbanks; Tom Mix, the splendid cow boy, is merely the primitive hunter astride a noble steed and armed with a never failing deadly lasso. The study placed before us by the American Film Kings (if it may be called a study)) is evolution, the kind of evolution that argues that actu i Geoffrey Davis, in “ The Sociological Review ," January, 1930. as 164 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ally very little or no evolution has taken place since the dawn of what is called “ civilisation .” The fisher on the sea - shore in the old days is now the proprietor of the multiple fish -shop. At bottom he is no different from his primitive prototype who sold his small catch for a few pence or exchanged it for a utility. If he appears different it is because artificial wealth has brought into existence an artificial environment under which he buries his real identity. Revolution not evolution is the factor that is now changing society and setting up new needs and desires and has evoked a new social organisation that seeks to get itself fulfilled . But social revolution, the complete change of society under the touch of a new and vital vision of human life has yet to make its appearance in the American picture, and in the pictures of most other countries for the matter of that. 2. UNINTENTIONAL : SOCIOLOGICAL VALUES A. AMERICAN ECONOMIC AND JAZZ CIVILISATIONS From this it may be gathered that the American picture, even at its worst, may be sociologically considered. Intention ally it reflects the kind of American economic civilisation which has moulded the Hollywood Film King, and is in turn moulded by him as a best seller. Accordingly, he has seized the three aspects of the great epic of the Far West, the primitive one of mountains and wide wastes and cowboys, Indians and brigands in their glory of hunting and conflict; the transitional one of the land grabber and the man skinner; and the latter-day commercial one of the man with a machine and the plan of the mammonised city. He has made a saleable commodity of them and brought them to market. He has seized too the sensational aspects of the more recent American jazz civilisation, and presented man as “ a creature of Metropolis ” cut off from contact with reality, and enmeshed in jazz technicalities that completely prevent him from taking any view of existence except that governed by money and its vices, avarice, gambling, ACTUALITIES 165 debauchery, social crime, lies and base opinion as expressed verbally or in print. In these two subjects is contained sociological matter of extreme importance. They offer a contrast between the old and the new Americanisation , between races and types — types evolved, on the one hand, by contact with nature, on the other, by separation from it . On the one hand, we have Man and Labour or his occupations as at the dawn of the human world ; on the other, Man and Money cut off from natural relations and sources of inspiration, entombed in a Metropolis where he has become solitary, nasty, ugly, brutish and bestial—a moron . Two subjects so sociological as Man in a Life - centred en vironment, and Man in a Death -centred environment cannot be prevented from transmitting gleams of true sociology no matter how thickly they are coated with the picture maker's and seller's sticky sensation and sentiment. They are capable indeed of feeding the sociological sensibility of an audience, even if very primitively employed, as in many Western pictures they actually Hence the unintentional sociology of the Far West and the Jazz civilisation pictures - pictures that contain material objects that the audience is able to clothe with its wishes or desires. Elsewhere I have illustrated this process. I have told the story of whole populations in the grip of the basic emotion of Fear and its system of emotions, taking their wishes for relief from this awful tyranny to the Cinema and obtaining satis faction from heroes and heroines whom desire or wish turn into gods and saints. The causes of reactions to unintentional elements contained in American national and international pictures, as well as to the content of many German pictures (which I shall consider presently) are contained in the following syllabus of a lecture course given by the gifted editor of “ The Quest ” G. R. S. Mead .' The subjects dealt with are those of the ancient com plexes inhering in the collective subconscious. They include i The Quest Society, Lecture Syllabus, February, 1930. are. 166 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the Unseen and the Primitive; The Medicine Man and his Craft ; Disease and Demon Possession ; Healing Wonders and Incubation ; Magic and Magical Religions; Mystery Cults and Initiations, and Esoteric Disciplines.” That these complexes manifest themselves to-day in revivalism , religious and other, must be very clear to anyone who studies the great daily news papers. Probably they are common to mankind. If so it ac counts for a reading of the function of the Cinema by the public which is unsuspected by the makers and sellers of pictures as well as by that innocent functionary, the Censor. Provided with the above key and American national and international picture subjects, it is easy to discover what mean ings the collective subconscious is likely to read into them . a 1. 2. 3. THE PRIMITIVE : TRANSITIONAL : AND PRESENT FAR WEST Here is a big Production Company's description of the content of a Western : The passing cowboy : Although the cowboy is slowly vanishing, he is still the envy of young and old alike. Many people find more real adventure in bowed legs, buckskin trousers and a sombrero than in all the thrills of modern inventors. This is the reflection of Ken Maynard, star of the First National Pathé picture, “The Devil's Saddle. Slowly, but surely, the great open spaces of America have been conquered by the telephone, the telegraph, the motor car, wireless and most deadly of all , the railways. The cowboy of the west and his brother of the La Plata pampas, the gaucho are engaged in a losing fight against progress. The cowboy of the plains, from Texas to Montana, was a gallant fellow . Dependent on his agility, particularly in the use of a rifle, he used literally to carry his life in his hands. Living close to nature, so to speak, and relying on his own powers to conquer distance, heat, cold, rain , hunger and thirst, his knowledge was little short of astonishing. A good cowboy could find his way about unknown country. He could trace cattle after they had strayed for miles. Away from civilisation , he developed an intuitive knowledge almost accurately described as a sixth sense.

Ability to stand fatigue and pain, sturdiness of character, loyalty to his friends leavened even the worst cowboys." Bandits past and present : “ The First National Pathé picture, ‘ Hawk of the Hills, ' unfolds a richly dramatic story of Montana in the 70's. Like other newly discovered countries, Montana attracted all sorts of people, good and bad. The struggles between these two oppos ing factors formed the basis of many stories. “ The Hawk'is a ruthless bandit suppressed only after many exciting experi But for rare hold-ups occurring at long intervals, we in the United Kingdom, could almost disbelieve in the existence of bandits. Yet visitors to Albania and the wilder parts of Macedonia, not to mention areas further East, testify to the fact that bandits are a real menace to the safety and comfort of travellers. At the same time, there is good reason to believe that this admittedly picturesque form of robbery will eventually be stamped out. The forces of law and order are better equipped to -day for this purpose and highway robbery on an organised scale must be a ticklish business for desperadoes now that there is every possibility of detection and even attack from the air. What were the experiences and feelings of travellers long ago when routes passed through countries with natural defences suitable for the bandits' operations? The backwoods lumber industry : “ The Redwoods of California, many of them 300 feet high and twelve feet in diameter, form the background of the First National Pathé picture. “ The Valley of the Giants, ' starring 1 First National Pathé Publicity Sheet, October 22, 1928. 2 First National Pathé Publicity Sheet, September 3, 1928 . " 2 6 168 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 a 1 Milton Sills , with Doris Kenyon. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Peter B. Kyne and deals with life in a wild country, where there is no place for a weakling. Sills is seen as the son of a timber baron . No one can complain that the big scenes in the First National Pathé picture, ‘ The Valley of the Giants, ' are not true to life. They are made in the redwood area of California with men ordinarily employed as loggers taking part." Here is a vivid description of a temporary revival of an amazing epoch of human life in the Far West, recalling a scene from an early “ Gold Rush ” : “ The wild, woolly West has come to life again. Frontier days are not dead. Romantic frontier life with its picturesque characters, its suave, gun -belted, top -booted gamblers, its sheriffs -complete with silver star on shirt — its painted women, its cowpunchers, its card sharpers, its prospectors, and its comple ment of ' tin -horns ’ and ‘ sourdoughs,' is very much alive ! “ The scene of its resuscitation is the little town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the reason for its rapid rebirth lies in the opening operations now in force in building the giant Boulder dam, which, at a cost, it is said, of £ 25,000,000, is to irrigate thousands of miles of hitherto unclaimed desert land. “ If you look for Las Vegas on the map you will not see it. A world gazeteer will tell you that it is a little town of some three thousand odd inhabitants, and in Las Vegas, prior to the dam project, the sole pastime of the greater number of the inhabitants lay in parading down to the railway station to see the coastbound Aiers boom past, and to greet the evening mail train with its clanging bell and booming siren announcing its arrival out of the sandy wastes. It is a surprising sight, is Las Vegas, this 1929 as ever was. Shut your eyes minute and picture it. The long, low roofs of the temporary buildings, the crazy, leaning telegraph poles, the dust, the horses, the parked motor - cars, the little bunches of Indians peddling for a i First National Pathé Publicity Sheet, October 8, 1928 . ACTUALITIES 169 > 1 beads and moccasins on the street corners,' the working gangs, the cowboys, the sheriff's posses, the women and the gamblers, the coatless sombrero-hatted prospectors, the engineers, and the thousand and one types which you only see on the ‘ movies ' — all of them talking money, thinking money, making it, losing it, winning it, stealing it. “ A Californian newspaper describing it the other day, said : ‘ Las Vegas is the beginning of the end of frontier days in America. It is also the sight of one of the greatest engineering projects in human history.' The typical Far West. Who could not but feel that these wonderful sights, these contrasting types— each man and woman being highly individualised, yet all fitted into the en vironment that produced the labour that produced them needed only actual portrayal to exert an influence on even the dullest audience. Here we have the primitive man and his craft. Gods and demons. The love and glory of miraculous horses and dogs. Eugenic types. “ Tom Mix is the most per fect specimen of manhood I have ever seen . Ken Maynard is no less perfect. Hoot Gibson, and the rest of the open-air “ heroes.” Each is a part of universal nature . Each is fitted to fix the attention of the woman audience upon the perfect partner. > 2 B. AMERICAN JAZZ CIVILISATION Likewise the portrayal of American Jazz Civilisation is a method of hypnotising, but not so salutary as that of the Western Civilisation . The collective subconscious would probably en shroud it in Disease and Demon Possession . In many respects it exerts a bad influence, though not upon students and trained sociologists. America is Aung upon the screen like a jazz-band " Talkie .” We see a mass of figures moulded and stirred by curious jazz rhythms. They form a conduit pipe from the i The Daily Express, March 1, 1929 . 2 Mrs. Elinor Glyn, The Evening News, November 30 , 1929. 170 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Jazz Metropolis to the audience, a pipe through which pours noisy and barbarous jazz morals, jazz fashions, jazz thoughts, ideas, sentiments, jazz customs, that stress and strain the spectator's nerves. Sometimes they fall together and take shape as a vague world in which all the passions are black, and all the music comes from broken reeds. This commodity is ex ploited and sold in the form of pictures portraying man in a society mainly actuated by lust nourished on the greed of gold, and tempered by sickly sentimentality. In pre- Talkie days the Jazz motives were shown invading the home. They appeared in portrayals of sex and social relations, such as courtship, marriage, divorce, gambling, parasitism , and larger outbursts of the Jazz mania in scenes of social debauchery. Also as unspeak able forms of crime. In these Talkie days the disease is shown invading all public places. It is exhibited on an unprecedented scale as a kind of organised emotion that invades all the fashion able haunts of American society, cabarets, variety theatres; every place of entertainment and recreation , in fact, gains a notoriety as the rendezvous of the Great Jazz Maniacs. This Jazz civilisa tion is portrayed in such pictures as “ Restless Youth , ” “ The Gamblers,” (the religion of the Stock Market), “ Syncopation ( a mad Jazz world) , “ Stolen Kisses,,” “ Confessions of a Wife,”” “ The Escape; a daring drama of night clubs, bootleggers, and dancing girls, ” and “ Half Marriage. Some critics maintain that the portrayal of this Jazz civilisa tion is worthless because it falsifies the actual civilisation out of all sense. It is converted into such an immense and intense commercial stunt that nothing remains but a hideous nightmare —which is only a screen nightmare. This might be true if it were not true that the big American Production companies have thrown upon the screen one or two faithful pictures of social and factory life at Hollywood which, while tending to question the honesty and morality of some of the Hollywood folk, prove incontestibly that the Film Kings do not hesitate to tell the truth at times, even though in doing so they foul their own nests. 6 a ACTUALITIES 171 1 What I mean by “ fouling their own nests ” is exhibiting a picture that portrays a discreditable incident in a studio. Hollywood not only brings the ( Film Studio ) scandals to light but, as in the case of the S.M.M., exploits them for Box Office profit." No one who knows New York can deny that it is capable of yielding abundant facts of a death -centred civilisation . A civilisation, that is, that equals those of Babylon and Rome at their worst. They are facts of a dollar civilisation. If there be a worse form of civilisation I do not know where to find it. Such facts are sociological ones piled up on the Jazz spectacle for those who have eyes to see. As for the subconscious it could go muck-raking in the portrayed Metropolis of Spiritual Decay and emerge with a very big armful of ancient complexes of Demons and Death . a


The maker of the Jazz civilisation picture could no more keep sociological facts out of it than he could keep them out of the famous American comedy picture, commonly known as the slapstick, ” the nature and value of which I have already ex plained . Nor could he exclude it from another laughter maker of a unique kind. I allude to the moving cartoon drawn by hand the hand made - moving picture as opposed to the photographed

An outstanding example appears in the Mickey Mouse cartoon by Walt Disney. In an early chapter of this book I have pointed out that this cartoon is composed of an elastic line which assumes an unending variety of whimsical shapes representing objects in the human, animal and insect spheres, but deprived of those shapes, gestures and movements with which we are familiar and given others that perform the metaphysical trick of exchanging Appearance for Reality. We are

i G. A. Atkinson, in The Sunday Express, August 18, 1929. one.

shown Man and his companions (in the Darwinian sense) con tinuously undergoing metamorphosis, battered into real shapes by surroundings, circumstance, and contact. Such shapes touch the primitive and subconscious in us, and move us to gargan tuan laughter. They are full of social attributes which we have no difficulty in relating to those that come within our actual experience. A critic commenting upon an entire programme of Walt Disney sound cartoons of Mickey Mouse and The Silly Sym phonies, said, “ Disney shows nature's insect underworld and some of the overworld capering with joy over the advent of Spring." He was alluding to the “ Spring Time cartoon . As we know the distinguished French biologist Fabre made a pro found study of the lives and habits of social insects. Dealing with the subject of “ The Social Insects, their origin and evolu tion ;" a writer observes, “ Of all infra -human societies those of the social insects are at once the most complex and most amaz ing. Social organisation at various levels has been found to occur in at least thirty different groups belonging to eight widely differing orders of insects — beetles, ants, and wasps (Hymenoptera ), earwigs, crickets, termites and several others. Twelve of these thirty groups have become ' definitely social.' Professor Wheeler concentrates on the wasps, bees, ants and termites, where insect societies are seen at their highest level . They are very ancient societies these. In comparison human society is an evolutionary development of yesterday.” 2



A large part of Hollywood production is, as I have pointed out, carried on to satisfy the demands of foreign countries, and the pictures so produced undergo a process of adaptation to suit

1 G. A. Atkinson, in The Sunday Express, January 26, 1930. 2 “ The Sociological Review ," 1930. ACTUALITIES 173

the different demands of different peoples and censorships.

Hence alterations, fakings and sabotage. But in spite of this treatment, the pictures retain elements that stir the subconscious. Moreover the intensification of “ stunt ” effects as in “ sex appeal, ” has been the means of putting on the screen many material objects that serve to demonstrate the conclusions reached by advanced scientists, in particular in the sphere of sex. Thus we have the strange fact of commercial sensationalism contri buting to scientific advance. If we examine the American pictures that have been offered for sale in Europe, and in particular, in this country since the War we shall find that they exploit broadly speaking three subjects, in order of supply and demand, Sex, War and Crime. That is, these subjects have been sold wholesale in this country in the form of pictures, just as the War has been exploited on an enormous scale by writers who have seized an unprecedented opportunity of selling it and thereby have undoubtedly reaped huge profits. The supply was brought into existence by circumstances due to the War. A universal consequence of the War was a state of mind bordering on mental anarchy. In every country affected by the War there arose an unparalleled craving for sensation and excitement. Human beings were tired and in different. Their thought and action were characterised by lack of control, lack of inhibitions, by physical nervous and moral exhaustion . To meet this mental situation came a long succes sion of sensational and exciting pictures which fell into three main categories, Sex and Love; War, international and national; and Crime or civil war, that is, war on property. To attract a paying public with no palate for fare save that served up hot and strong, it was necessary to raise interpretation and representation to the highest level of sensation and excitement and to add as many varieties of the exploited emotion as possible. In “ Abe's Irish Rose ” there were no less than nine varieties of love.

Analysis reveals that all three elements Sex, War and Crime, entered into the composition of post-war American pictures. In addition, there were odds and ends of nationalism, patriotism , publicity, advertisement, and other American specialities, such as Youth and Beauty. But Sex ( or Love) pre dominated. This fact has not escaped the notice of many acute observers, and vitriolic critics. Here is Mr. George Jean Nathan's observation and criticism , “ The moving pictures, for all of the Will Hays pious hoopdoodle, go in for blasphemy and foul language that exceed anything in print, and cunningly excite the eroticism of susceptible youth with comely females in the nude. If a writer were to employ such execrations as are clearly and plainly conveyed on the screens by such films as The Big Parade, What Price Glory ,” and “Old Ironsides," the post-office would be on his neck in a jiffy.” “ The Big Parade " was the war film that gave great offence to France and to this country by its American propaganda. Again Again,, speaking in public, Mr. Bernard Shaw said , “ The whole business of choosing programmes is carried out by gentlemen whom we call exhibitors, incurably romantic persons, who think that nine tenths of a film should consist of what they call · sex-appeal. This was the occasion on which Mr. Shaw remarked, “ If you offered me the opportunity of kissing Miss Pickford I should enjoy it, but not if I were watched by a crowd.” Further : “ We are still overshadowed by the hysteria and the urge to live recklessly for the moment that were bred in the days of the Great War. Physical life becomes infinitely precious in the face of death ; and though we are ten years away from that period of ecstasy and animalism we have not emerged from the mental morass which it engendered. Sex in all its attributes was summoned to the surface by the war; and we still move " 2 a 3 1 The American Mercury , March, 1927 . ? The Daily Erpre88, November 19, 1927. 3 Ibid. 1928. Fox early sound picture . Mr. Bernard Shaw on the movie tone . The photographs gain their strange appearance from being t len direct from the film as is proved by the sound track showing on the edge . See the Appendices for Mr. Shaw's frank explanation of his intention to show Fox how to make a movietone picture. Fox Newspaper Service of June 25 , 1928, contains a lengthy explanation of Mr. Shaw's extra ordinary facial gymnastics.”

ACTUALITIES 175 and think — aided by books, films, and plays — in a welter of " 1 sex .



By all accounts, sex-appeal has been and still is supremely important from the Film Kings' point of view. What is “ sex-appeal ” ? It seems to be bound up with extreme eroticism , sexual mania, sheer animalism. On the pic tures it usually manifests itself in an orgy of registering passion.

M. Andre Maurois gives the following definition : “ Sex -appeal is the power which enables one human being to arouse in others by his presence emotions of sex - conscious or unconscious.”

That is, a power possessed by a man or a woman to communi cate his or her sexual feelings to each other and to the widest circle of people. This definition is important in view of the effect of “ sex -appeal ” upon an audience. One of the most interesting effects of the insistence by producers on the use of “ sex -appeal ” as a box office attraction , and the intensification of the expression of the emotion in order to stimulate the interest of a tired -out population, has been that of bringing the portrayal of “ sex-appeal ” well within the region of that branch of up- to -date science, known as sexology. The conventions of the civilised world ,” said Mr. Bernard Shaw , “ do not permit us to present certain physical phases of love on the stage. If the conclusions to which sociologists have come, and which may be examined in a number of recent important works on sexology,' be correct, then the physical phases of love are being presented both on the stage and on the screen . What are the conclusions of sexologists? 1. That sex is no longer confined to morals, but is one of the mainsprings of

1 F. G. H. Salusbury, Daily Express, September 11, 1929 . 2 The Sunday Dispatch, November 11, 1929. 3 See The Sunday Express, November 10, 1929. 4 See, for instance , “ Sex in Civilisation : a symposium edited by V. F. Calverton .

human thought and actions. 2. That the physical phases of love ( or commerce) are not confined to any one part of the human body, but are common to all parts. That is, there are physical doubles. Hence there is a sex pantomime when all the physical doubles of the sexual parts ( or actually sexual parts themselves), tongue, lips, glands, muscles, breasts, etc., come into pantomimic action which may be observed by anyone who watches a stage or a screen couple in a prolonged passionate em brace. It is maintained that the organs of sex have their counterparts even in the organs of speech .

I remember seeing a set of drawings by Mr. Wyndham Lewis, expressing human beings completely changed by sexual desire. The whole human body was shown responding to sexual excitement, and what was experienced erotically in one part was so experienced in many parts. There was one drawing in particular, that struck me. I think it was called “ Seraglio. ” A female was shown offering lips, face, neck, shoulders, arms, breasts, to the male's eager lips. Another was called, I think, “ Post-Jazz.” It was a study of the change wrought in male and female figures by the sexual excitement of the jazz dance. Last summer I saw at the New Burlington Galleries a very important exhibition of paintings by the Spanish painter, Signor Frederico Beltran-Massés. Among them was a study of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova. The latter, it will be recalled, made the decorations from designs by Aubrey Beardsley for the silent picture of Oscar Wild's “ Salome in which Salome appears trying to vamp John the Baptist, after the conception of Wilde, and failing, demands his head, and Wilde — Beardsley — Rambova. I was struck by the strong resemblance of some of the details in the Beltran -Massés painting to some in Mr. Wyndham Lewis' “ Seraglio ."

Valentino is shown supporting a half -swooning woman with head thrown back, and face, lips, neck, all eager for the pas sionate kisses which one feels are coming from the male figure whose face, set with a mystical, emotional expression as of one gets it. ACTUALITIES 177 who is escaping from actuality into a world of intense eroticism , is slowly approaching hers. It was not hard to read into these two figures the physical phases of “ Seraglio ” although they are not definitely expressed by the painter, who is more con cerned with expressing the serpent-like look of fascination of Valentino resembling that which characterises the majority of his portraits of Spanish women. The painting illustrates the fascination stage of Valentino's act of passionate love making.

In reviewing the book on “ Sex in Civilisation" for one or two London newspapers, I came across chapters which analyse the technique of what I may call the all-body contact, and describe the method, and catalogue the various parts that come into action under the stimulation of physical contact. In apply. ing my knowledge of sexology to the “ sex -appeal ” figures on the screen , I have borne in mind what I once learned from a little book' by that authority on psychology of sex, Dr. Havelock Ellis. It taught me that not only the display of bare flesh , naked breasts, arms, legs, etc .; but details of a woman's wearing apparel , stockings, garters, underlinen ; and beyond this acts, such as a man stroking a woman's legs, constitute erotic sym bolism which excites sexual feeling."

The fashion in “ sex-appeal ” pictures, especially of the “ It ” variety, and in “ Great Lovers,” “ Sheik Sheik,,”” “ He-Man ," and “ Vamp " types, together with the use of the close up, have served to demonstrate sexological theories by revealing facts upon which they are based. Anyone who watches a picture which portrays an orgy of eroticism can easily detect the physical phases, or the external signs of complex sexual processes. In my experience, the close up has revealed a large variety of signs, such as the swollen thyroid gland, swollen muscles of neck and arms, and various other changes, together with such physical contacts as tongues, lips, necking, caressing and fondling 2 ) sensitive parts. 1 “ Erotic Symbolism ," by Havelock Ellis. 9 See The New Spirit in the European Theatre,” Huntly Carter. 178 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA This public exhibition of sexual technique probably gains its scientific value from the fact that the technique is not guess work but a carefully thought out system of movements by which the actor seeks to express the true facts of sexual pursuit, ap proach and possession, and moreover strives to reach the most intense climax of the love passion. An example of this mastery of technique may be seen in the Sheik pictures of Rudolph Valentino the sometime dancing partner. There is no doubt that Valentino was a master of sexual technique and action. He owed a great deal of his success in pictures and his strange in fluence over women to the degree of perfection to which he attained in screen passionate love making. He took the matter seriously and it appears went to the length of working accord ing to a formula, either of his own, or attributed to him by publicity agents. Here it is : Meantime, Rudolph Valentino, the ' prince ' of lovers, has been all but monopolising the cinemas this week in ‘ The Son of the Sheik. ' Some of the advertisements associated with this produc tion are of the most exotic kind. “ I have been reading one called “ The Technique of a Kiss,' which is explained in the following terms: “ 1. The Approach . — This calls for a musing smile, a melting gaze, and a tensing of the warm handclasp. 2. Fascination . — This is the mesmeric moment -- the registry of dominant will—a Aeeting but significant mood. 3. The Dramatic Pause. This indicates the method of mastery, a delicious delay, eloquent of intense affection. 4. The Burning Climax .-- A crushing impact of lips the swooning submission — and bliss ! “ The technique' is illustrated by Mr. Valentino with the aid of Miss Banky . It defies comment. ” 1 G. A. Atkinson, in The Daily Express, November 19, 1926 . 66 6 ACTUALITIES 179 It is the second stage which marks the aforementioned painting of Valentino and Rambova, by Frederico Beltran Massés. Such then is the scientific value of the marketing (uninten tional as I have said) of the perfect lover with the perfect formula of sexual approach, fascination, dramatic pause, and burning climax, and the consequent physical contacts and signs with which the sexologist is preoccupied to -day. There is another unsuspected value which I shall call the religious one. It is abstracted by the audience which, unac quainted with its scientific value, approaches the “ sex -appeal picture through the subconscious only, and the result makes its appearance in the forms of ancient fetish worship, idolatories, religious superstitions, hero worship and so on. To the close observer of the screen life and death of Rudolph Valentino, there is an outstanding circumstance, one of which the future historian of the cinema star will no doubt take note, that fixes the attention upon this popular screen player. Before his death he was the object of a peculiar idolatrous wor ship which has no parallel in the history of the screen star. Other stars have excited the hysterical applause of the universal cinema-goer, and dying have received a homage out of all pro portion to their value as human beings and public servants. There is for example, the case of Wallis Reid , (mentioned by a well-known writer), who, when he died , like Valentino, a pitiful death, was the object of the most amazing public display of sympathy. “ From one end of the States to the other, the film - loving public famed up in the deepest emotion . Articles appeared everywhere when Wallace Reid died which would have given any who read them without knowing who he was the impression that they were the obituaries of some hero who died while saving his country from great dangers.” I do not know whether Reid was deified after his death , whether societies were formed for the purpose of perpetuating his 1 1 Miss Rebecca West, in “ The Realist," June, 1929 . 180 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 91 2 3 5 66 Cinema, memory and worshipping at his shrine. But I do know that Valentino has become an object of adoration , and that societies have been established for the purpose of crowning his memory with the nimbus of saint, or something near it. I pick up a few newspapers at random and I read these headlines : Valentino's Devotees,” Quarrels Between Rival Sects, “ Valentino Worship ,” “ Memorial Service to Dead Film Star ,'? ” “ Women's Slogan ," “ Women Weep for Valentino," Crowded Memorial Service, ” “ Intense Intense Feeling Feeling,” ““ Dis coverer of Valentino, ” “ Dies at The Theatre, “ Valentino latry , ” “ Valentino Pilgrims, ” “ 150 To ‘ Memorial Service in London , Memorial To Valentino , ” “ Service in a London Hymns and Films.” The following is instructive : “ Thousands of women stormed the Shepherd's Bush Pavilion yesterday afternoon and evening to associate themselves with the ' Valentino Memorial Service,' performed in a ‘ Temple of Remembrance ' which filled the whole stage. “ Twelve thousand women attended yesterday's perform ances, which included a revival of the dead ' star's ' most popular film , “ Monsieur Beaucaire .' Many hundreds remained outside during the evening performance. “ These women came from all over the country, from the far north of Scotland and the West of England. “ Many came in motor-coaches, a long line of which stood outside the theatre. “ There were scores of women bearing titles, I was told by the box office clerk . One of these women booked thirty two seats . “ They were quiet and dignified and , for the most part, 6 of mature age. 1 The Weekly Dispatch, November 4, 1928. 1 The Daily Expre88. 8 The Daily Erpress, July 26 , 1927 . • The Daily News, July 23, 1927. 5 The Sunday Express, August 18th , 1929 . • The Daily Express, July 6, 1927. ACTUALITIES 181 a a “ There was a great wave of excitement at the evening performance, when Mr. Ivor Novello came to place a bouquet of red roses in the Temple of Remembrance.' This ' temple ' was Roman - looking affair, with smoking censers and tall candlesticks on either side of a plinth, the lower step of which was decorated with the letters ‘ R.V. A large wreath of laurel rested against it . “ On top was a large picture of Valentino and the Italian flag. ' Mr. Novello expressed the thought that it was a great thing to die at the height of fame.' Signor Sideli sang Massenet’s ‘ Elegie ' with such intense feeling that many of the women fell to weeping, but there were no scenes. ' One might justly describe the proceedings as reverential. “ A film called ' Reminiscences of Valentino ' was shown, obviously with the intention of disproving the charge of effeminacy which New York critics brought against the star. ' “ This film showed Valentino, in the costume of an athlete, throwing heavy weights, boxing, and fencing. " It certainly proved that he had excellent muscles and the light bearing of a man in fine physical training. “ It was noticeable that all the sub - titles were in the present tense , thus : “ Rudolph believes in fencing.' Mr. Novello's presence caused a great crowd of excited women and Aappers to gather outside the theatre. They were obviously of a type different from those who had come in memory of Valentino. “ There must have been at least a thousand delirious girls outside the theatre when Novello came out to his car, taking me with him. “ For a few breathless moments I enjoyed all the sensa tions of being a film -star. Valentino was forgotten. “ This wild scene was in sharp contrast to the mournful 182 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA women 6 silence in the theatre .”” ! Note the emphasis on idolators. Of no less interest is Valentino's influence on the women I read : “ Polo Negri's Haunted Wedding Day,” “ Her Memories of Valentino ." “ A strange Rudolph Valentino note ran through the wed ding of Pola Negri at her château at Seraincourt to-day. “ In the morning the film star had made a little pilgrimage to the ancient tower which rises in front of her château. She had fitted up the tower as a shrine to the ‘ Sheik. ' “ In the afternoon she had dressed in her white velvet wedding dress in the three sunny rooms that she had set aside for her honeymoon with Rudolph when she bought the château two years ago. “ Pola walked along among the innumerable photographs and other souvenirs which she retains of Rudolph Valentino until the village mayor, who had come to perform the ceremony, and the guests, became impatient. “ Finally, at five o'clock, long past the time appointed for the wedding, the film star came slowly down the grand stairway of her castle on the arm of her future husband, Prince Serge Mdivani. " “ Men I Have Loved ,” “ My Tragic First Lover," 93 “ I have brought death to every man I have loved. " Miss Pola Negri is celebrated for her performances as a vamp.” The female sex -appeal type of star is , like the male, capable of arousing intense emotion in an audience, as the fol lowing extract concerning Miss Greta Garbo testifies : Merely out of curiosity, I went into the new Empire Theatre last Sunday evening, just to see what it was the theatres were complaining about - I mean in regard to Sunday opening. “ It was six o'clock , only an hour after tea -time, and 66 1 The Daily Erpress, July 26, 1927 . 2 Sunday Erpress, May 15 , 1927. 3 Pola Negri, Series of Articles in Sunday Erpress, April 28, 1929. 4 Pola Negri, in the Daily Erpress, May 1 , 1929. ACTUALITIES 183 1 miles away from the places in which most Londoners live. Yet the place was crowded . “ There was no special attraction that I know — just a poor film version of ‘ Baby Cyclone, which failed here as a play, and an ordinary spy melodrama, in which I saw Greta Garbo for the first time. “ G. A. Atkinson had called her the super-vamp,' referred to her ‘ kissing orgies,' and ' osculatory strength . I did not think much of her. She was just one of those Northern blondes. “ Yet the vast cinema was packed, and, long before the second house opened, nearly 600 people were standing at the back, five deep, and there was a queue outside that went half round the Empire block ! '

Why were audiences, and especially the women composing them, so strongly and strangely moved by Valentino's "sex appeal"? There is nothing to show that he was not a respectable man, or that he did anything more than raise his power of interpreting an intense love passion to the highest level. True he did not teach or preach love as Stendhal's "On Love" does, as a proposition in algebra, but more as Freud does. The explanation must be sought in the ancient complexes in hering in the collective subconscious. An audience which witnesses a Valentino "sex-appeal" picture does not understand the scientific facts of the satisfaction of its sexual impulses, so the subconscious steps in and provides an explanation.

Not long ago I read an important article by Miss Rebecca West in which she took the view that Americans are reading old religious ideas into present day social observances, and are clothing present-day secular forms with old myths. As an illustration she points to the widespread interest in the Cinema and its stars which amounts, she thinks, to idolatry and religious worship. The public has fixed its attention so strongly on the million dollar satellites that they have assumed the forms of

1 Hannen Swaffer, in Daily Erpress, April 10, 1929.

ancient duties and saints. That is they have changed to types lingering in the subconscious thoughts of the Americans, in particular the women. “ The film stars fall into categories.

Mary Pickford, who is the wife of Douglas Fairbanks, the apotheosis of the male on the screen , and yet is completely sexless in quality, clearly plays the part in America's imagina tion of the virgin wife ; Irene Rich, who has divorced her hus band and lives an extremely public life of complete solitude with her two children, and is therefore an image of the Virgin Mother. There is the vamp, the always desired and ill-spoken of Aphrodite. May it not be said that the extravagant worship of Valentino, the wild hysteria that was the cause of the three days lying in state of a dead cinema actor, was simply ancient Phallic worship. Who were the people that went to see the Valentino sex -appeal picture ? Many of them were no doubt sexually starved women, sexually insane women, females suffer ing from moral repression, women with a sublimation com plex, women with minds running over with seminal waste, adolescents of both sexes seeking advice on sex relations, young people given to reading sex -appeal books whose minds are satur ated with over -emotionalised ideas of sex, and who seek illustra tions in “ It ” pictures. All these and more who are incapable of studying this type of picture scientifically and connecting it with the phenomenon of mania or disease, would exalt its principal character as God of the Generative Centre. In short it comes to what I have been saying all along. A very large proportion of cinema-goers visit the Cinema to see their wishes fulfilled. When they go to see a sex -appeal picture they take those sexual impulses which they wish to satisfy. Thus science will out even in the worst regulated picture. When we add to the exhibition of the picture, the darkened auditorium , the incantation of the orchestra , the attention fixed 1 See “ New Secular Forms of Old Religious Ideas,” by Rebecca West. “ The Realist , " June, 1929. ACTUALITIES 185 on the illuminated scene in which seemingly sacred rites are being performed , it is not hard to believe that thereby every thing is raised to that point which produces delirium, or that feeling of ecstasy which accompanies the act of initiation as in the process of religious conversion. It may be said that in the type of picture with which I am dealing, and which owes its origin mainly to the cinema trafficing and bargaining in sensation , there are other scientific facts unscientifically stated. For instance, students of Gymnosophy, or the science of naked ness, can learn a great deal from the bathing babies, the nearly nude baby virgins, as the famous French actress, Yvette Guilbert, called the diminutive screen staresses. Love-making scenes on the beach when little is seen but the lovers' feet with the toes feverishly semaphoring messages to the unseen and the passionate, are instructive. In fact pictures of the “ Nothing To Wear type, indecent and offensive though they appear to some persons, have a present-day scientific value, i.e, Naked Culture. Then the orgy-of-kissing picture has something to offer the pathologist who is interested in the new attitude towards love making. We have it on good authority that Bolshevist Russia has put kissing on the retired list , and here is the reason , “ Thou Shalt Not Kiss ” . Moscow's Fiat, Latest Edict.” 40,000 Bacteria as the Cost.” A news story from Vienna that Bol shevists have awakened to the kiss peril. They are bent on placing hygiene first . Certainly, in the Bolshevist love-making pictures such as “ Moscow Laughs and Weeps ” the kissing, such as it is, looks more like nose-rubbing. It reminds you of the sort of thing that you witness in that exceptionally fine piece of New Zealand publicity, the Maori picture “ Under the Southern Cross ” in which all the characters are played by natives. Here kissing by means of nose-rubbing is the fashion . The male and female noses strike each other with the impact of steel and tinder as though to kindle the sacred Aame of love. 1 i The Daily Express, September 26 , 1929. 186 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA а The use of the nose as Cupid's sparking plug has caught the attention of the Press, as witness the following: Kissing, it is said , goes by favour. It no longer goes by favour of the hygienists. They frown upon the practice, de claring that when lip is pressed to ecstatic lip a thousand re pulsive micro-organisms seize upon the occasion to move to a new and more promising field of evil endeavour. It may be so , but there are, it would seem , other means of combating the evil than by abandoning kissing for, let us say, rubbing noses or some kindred rite. The correspondent of a contemporary reminds us in all seriousness that a little iodine rubbed on the lips is a reliable germifuge. Well iodined, we can osculate with no physical ill-results, whatever the emotional consequences may be. “ In the interests of national hygiene the proposal should be developed. It is clear in the first place, that it should be suffi cient if one pair of lips in every two concerned is sterilised . As men do not kiss each other (at present) in this country , it is obvious that some ingenious compound which combines the aseptic properties of iodine with the beautifying effects of lip stick may yet lay the foundations of fame and fortune for some body." Elsewhere we are reminded that there is “ No Kissing in Japan . ” Kissing may be bestial, the cause of disease, a crime. “ Lip contact has to be cut out of the close ups in the Japanese cinemas." ? To persons of sense who know anything about bacteriology, kissing is a filthy habit. How dangerous it is , can be imagined, if we realise that one of the kissing couple may be suffering from virulent venereal disease . I remember one actor was, when playing juvenile lead in a sex-play. 1 1 The Evening News, April 26, 1928. 2 The Daily Express, November 13, 1929 . ACTUALITIES 187 2. WAR AND WAROLOGY The second saleable commodity, in order, put on the market by the Film Kings in post -war days, is War. Sex comes first because its presence in pictures came earlier than that of War. “ There was a time when few exhibitors would show a war film . People wanted to forget the war, they said . It was not possible, of course, to ignore it entirely. You cannot tell any story in which the characters are not young children without some reference to the war, but as far as possible it was never mentioned. As most films are American, that was not so very difficult. But the great success of “ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,' and ' The Big Parade ' changed the minds of American producers of films. And now wehave ' What Price Glory ? ' “ It is curious how the tastes of cinema audiences change, for only a few years ago the finest war film ever made,

  • J'Accuse ' was a dead failure in this country. That was really

an imaginative film which neither stressed the brutality of war for the sake of sensation nor glossed it over with sentimen tality .” With the stirring up of public interest in war pictures came a food of portrayals of different aspects of the Great War, which has not abated . I say different aspects, although when we come to examine these pictures we find that with few ex ceptions they have much in common. They are in fact pictures of the War seen through the eyes of the entertainment Film King, the scenario writer and the producer. What there was of original truth in the stories whence they were derived has been almost left out. The little that remains gives them that . unintentional purpose of sociological humanism and science to which I shall come presently. All are made to a box office 1 E. A. Baughan, in The Daily News, March 16, 1927. 1 188 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > pattern ; all to stand up to be knocked down by honest criticism ; and all according to fashion . This does, I think, describe them nicely, if I except some noteworthy attempts to reach widest truth as,, for example, the French picture of “ Verdun ” produced by Leon Poirier, in which the War played the star part. At the other end of the scale is that concoction of sentimental slosh the British picture, Blighty,” in which Miss Ellaline Terris played a principal part, and which was produced and marketed by the commercial firm of Brunel and Montagu. For the most part the American war pictures vary but little in composition. Here is a “ Liberal ” analysis : “ The danger is, I think that the war is only a background in most films. Always there is some vapid romance which disguises the powder. The hero generally comes home with his breast covered with medals to the girl who has waited so faithfully for him. Even in ‘ What Price Glory ? ' one of the brutes who is made a hero of the story pretends that he has dis covered what love means. Here is a Socialist analysis : Mrs. Monica Ewer, reviewing a number of recent war films, said that the kinema had for screen purposes evolved a type of war of its own. In that war no enemy was seen , every one killed was shot through the heart, no one was ever dis figured, and the hero was sure to return to the heroine at the end of six reels. Private soldiers were always comedians, the film army was composed of Old Bills , ' and the officers were gallant fellows making spectacular rescues. The screen war happened for no reason at all ; everyone immediately rushed to enlist, and there was never a suggestion that anyone could possibly ask if there were a more reasonable way of settling the quarrel.” a > 1 6 1 E. A. Baughan , The Daily News, Mareh 16, 1927 . ? Mrs. Monica Ewer, reported by The Manchester Guardian , February 22, 1928. $ 1928. American talkie .AWarner Brothers picture The Singing Fool ,first publicly exhibited atthe Regal Cinema ,London .Itisthe second offirst talkies that exploited AlJolson and the cild -actor ,Davy Lee .The first wa the Jzz Singer ,September 1928. Both were sensational successes ,owing tonovelty ,and toJlson's personality Mammy songs and singing .Warner's first year talkie profts were over 3,000,000 dollars .The scenehows Jolson deriving inspiration tosing from the sick child ,Lee .The setting flat .sound -trap ,oalkie inthesanexample ofthe early

ACTUALITIES 189 1ܙܕ And here is the Communist analysis : “ Pictures and films show the glory' but not the horrors of war : young men standing amongst mud reeking with the blood of their mangled mates ; the gas choking the helpless wounded, heavy-calibre shells driving in the trenches and bury ing alive those who are not killed by the explosion . It may be said that till the Germans began exhibiting their war pictures in this country, the English public were treated to the War from the victor's point of view. Finally here is the opinion of the film critic of a Tory newspaper : Where is the Great War Film ? In London cinemas, this week, you may see one of the best inspired by the conflict, ' Verdun .' It is far from being the picture of one's dreams. “ The bitterest struggle in history (as Mr. Edward Shanks pointed out the other day) has produced no great novel , but a volume of good literature. It has inspired no great film - few that are even good. “ Verdun ' is good , because it is real; but its virtue is pictorial. The best British war films, the sober chronicles of great events of which Mr. Bruce Woolfe was the pioneer (* Armageddon ' and the rest) are good in the same way ; but they do not even try to get at the root of the matter. ' The Americans ? Their war pictures are a joke. I know there are flying thrills in ‘ Wings, ' sobs in ‘ Four Sons, ' swear -words in ‘ What Price Glory ? ' and sex- appeal in “ The Big Parade. Not one of these is a real picture of the war. “ Their English imitations are beyond a joke. They vary in their quality, but are constant in a fundamental falsity .” Such unanimity of opinion makes it clear that the war pictures made from the Hollywood recipe are, taken in the lump, a job lot that does not call for further analysis or particu lar illustration . At the same time, it must be admitted that > " 2 i From the Methil “ Spark ." 2 The Evening Standard, November 12, 1928. 15 190 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA these standardised pictures contain evidence of sensationalism promoting sociological humanism and science to a prominent place on the screen , which has, I think, been generally over looked . They reveal that there is a science of war and a science of peace, or warology and peaceology, and that the Great War made material contributions to both . “ There is a science of peace as well as a science of war. The world as a whole did not understand that in 1892 — when the planning of the Great War of 1914 really began ; 1892 saw the start of the competition in armaments. I am arranging to give addresses to young men in all parts of the country. I start at Nottingham in December. “ One thing I shall be able to tell the younger generation is that in the whole of the last war only 380 tons of bombs were dropped upon London — and we know with what destruction and loss of life. But in the next war a few aeroplanes would be able to hurl that amount on London in a few hours. We must impress upon the younger generation that in modern war the only result is horrifying and widespread loss of life and property. The screened science of peace does not, however, amount to much as yet. An example appears in the British picture High Treason , ” which, while recalling some of the mass features of the German picture “ Metropolis,” differs from it in having a peace instead of a revolutionary motive. Mr. H. G. Wells has written a remarkable peace scenario. From what I have read of it, I gather that the author is the one man who is most capable of directing the Cinema peaceward, and who, if there is ever a sane organisation of the cinema world, would be best fitted to direct its peace department. The screened science of war is a different matter. There is plenty of it owing mainly to the fact that the American Film Kings follow the example of the newspapers by helping them 1 > 2 a i General Crozier, reported by The Daily Chronicle , October 17, 1929. 2 See “ The King Who Was A King,” by H. G. Wells. ACTUALITIES 191 selves freely to current views and news. Also they have scraps of scenes taken on the spot. By these means they catch not only the moment but a good deal of scientific matter on the hop probably without being aware of it. Hence we find in structive odds and ends of the new technique and methods of warfare in even worthless pictures. War making, planning of war, the carrying out of war, the production , distribution, con sumption of war material , the devilments of war in the new methods of mass slaughter, of the use of poison gas, tanks, submarines, aircraft, intimate detail without and within the lines as in the French fragment, “ The Battle of Arras.” In short, we have thrills of scientific value from all the new paraphernalia which the ingenuity of the human brain has brought to the service of slaughter in these later days. Though Hollywood has put a war of its own on the screen it is a war that serves to illustrate the changes wrought by time in the methods followed in warfare. This is brought out by the sensational realism of pictures like “ 7th Heaven, ” “ Wings, ' Wings,” “ Out of the Ruins,” and the rest. A contrast in methods of warfare is provided by the historical war picture of a national character, like, say, “ Court Martial ” which shows the method followed in the American Civil War. Coming to the field of sociological humanism it may be asked what is the effect of these “ travesties ” of the Great War on the unscientific audience ? The answer is the effect experi enced through the subconscious approach. The effect, that is , of the audience clothing the material objects, or the main emo tional themes with its wishes. Each of the American war pic tures has a basic emotion which constitutes its theme. All the emotions are the eternal ones which form the mainsprings of human action . Love, fear, hope, sacrifice, hate, tyranny, revenge, retaliation, cowardice, jealousy, pity, courage, forgive ness, reconciliation, justice, these and many more are basic emotions or elements of emotions that operate upon the emo tional and over -emotionalised audience and are the cause of the 192 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA effect which I have frequently noted in this book, namely, the satisfaction of impulses and wishes, and in many cases, a tem porary exaltation, without the scientific facts of the satisfaction and exaltation being known to those who experience them . It is possible, but not necessary to show how war pictures fall into emotional groups, each group having a basic emotion in common which exerts a common influence. There is for instance the “ sacrifice ” group which includes pictures like The Four Sons,” in which a mother loses her sons in the War. Or the “ religion " group including pictures like “ Our Increasing Purpose ,” showing the effect of war on a soldier who returns believing he has a divine mission to fulfil. By such pictures the subconscious is led to visualise, per sonify, and to glorify the elements of sacrifice as human beings were accustomed to do in ancient times when they hung the sacrificial altar with votive offerings to the god of sacrifice. 3. RELIGION Religious pictures, which together with the sex -appeal ones are of much earlier date than the War pictures, make stronger appeals to the subconscious and instinctive even than the War ones. For it is easy to read into even the very crudest of them healing wonders, magic, mystery cults, initiations, bits of mysticism , witchcraft, spiritualism , morality, sermons, super stition , indeed aa universe full of diabolical curses and miraculous cures, to be identified with superstition complexes belonging to the Dark Age. Examination of the American religious picture discloses that it is constructed rather instinctively than scientifically, and is as much guesswork as applied knowledge. Like the War picture it is mainly the outcome of Hollywood's ingenious com mercial genius and is to all intent and purpose an example of Hollywood's own brand of religion. Not only outsiders, but those actively engaged in American picture production have ACTUALITIES 193 1 detected its unsatisfactory character. Mr. Charles Chaplin, for example, has expressed a strong opinion of the Christ type of religious picture. It seems that he proposed to produce one himself, and in doing so made it clear that he was under no delusion concerning the existing Christ picture. He recog nised that the examples of this concoction already produced had been shaped by very bad conditions. He is reported to have taken up an attitude that led one reverend gentleman, at least, to believe that “ what Mr. Chaplin says about these films shows that he understands what is wrong with them . He sees in the figure of Christ a morbid and thoroughly unhealthy portrait, a limp and feeble sentimentalist and always too old a figure, and too weary an expression. These figures are not the Christ of the New Testament." Of course they are not. They are not meant to be. The Christ portrayed by Mr. Cecil B. de Mille's strange Hollywood dish , “ The King of Kings,” is the Christ of the Financial Age, A.D. 1928. Otherwise, the box office Christ exploited for cash. No man of sense would mis take the characterisation of Christ by Mr. H. B. Warner as that of the spiritual Christ of the first century. The interpreters of the Christ type may have perfectly honest intentions but what they are not aware of or fail to recognise is that the New Testa ment Christ has a dual personality. He is Christ the God, and Jesus the Man. Further that eighteen centuries of wrong think ing and action have buried the Christ of the first century under an accumulated heap of abuse and misconception. In order to represent Christ as the New Testament represents him, the Hollywood producer and actor must give him the dual person ality which the New Testament attributes to him, and must, moreover, rescue both him and his doctrines from the heap of irresponsible cumber under which they are buried . There have been a fairly large number of religious pictures produced since the early days of the Cinema. It must be nearly twenty years ago since the first of the “ conversional ” and 1 See The Daily Mail, November 30, 1929. > 194 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > 1 Christ pictures was produced. The I.N.R.I., series as they may be called, began with an early one reeler or two, and from the picture “ Ben Hur ” and “ From Manger To Cross , ” pro ceeded to grow rapidly into the mammoth spectacle, like Mr. Griffith's “ Intolerance," thence to “ The Ten Commandments, · Ben Hur ” (an affirmation of Christianity ), “ King of Kings,” “ The Shepherd of the Hills,” to that mammonised conception of the Flood, “ Noah's Ark ,” in which an element of conver sion may be detected . Conversion to peace. Concerning “ Noah's Ark ” the Dean of Peterborough said , “ I don't believe in the Flood. I never did, and I was never asked to .” “ Noah's Ark ” is a portrayal of the Flood, or rather of two Floods. One the Flood which the Dean of Peterborough does not believe in ; the other a Flood which the Great War is alleged to represent. One caused by Lust ; the other by Hate. Even if there were a Flood in Noah's days, it is not analogous to the so - called War Flood. The first Flood was intended to sweep away all evil , and to leave untouched only those living creatures necessary to make a start at repopulating the earth on a more sanctified basis. What the War was intended to do I do not know. Certainly it has not washed the earth clean and thus swept away all evil . To judge by American pictures which express post-war civilisations, the earth stinks to Heaven worse It is so bad that the nose alone can tell us how bad it is . It hardly needs the newest Solomon Eagle, in the person of the Very Reverend Dean Inge, to declare from the steps of St. Paul's, and in the Evening Standard, that the world is mad. By these facts alone the “ history ” and “ science ” of Noah's Ark ” are condemned. The attempt to obtain organic structure by transplanting biblical types to the war area is a failure. Considered as a religious entertainment on the most colossal scale yet attempted, as official statistics prove—a 2,000,000 dollar picture that took two years and a half to make—it is not i Evening Standard, October 15, 1929. than ever. > a ACTUALITIES 195 beyond criticism. Its five thousand actors ; greatest interior set; its thousands of yards of texture ; its mighty rush of water en gulfing a despairing host ( or so we must assume), a food supplied by huge tanks,—these and other commercial " thrillers ” do not destroy the real statement of the picture that it is actu ally nothing more than a gigantic piece of showmanship. The following extract from a criticism is worth quoting : Noah's Ark, ' a much -heralded American super- film , presented at the Piccadilly Theatre last evening, must be num bered among the screen's disappointments, though the producers had all the materials for an epic spectacle in their grasp . “ They have chosen, unfortunately, to combine a story of America's participation in the great war with pictorial parallels based on Biblical descriptions of the great Deluge, and have seasoned the whole with Scriptural texts and anti-war comments, to say nothing of a love story , in which George O'Brien and Dolores Costello indulge in prolonged and frequent orgies of close up kissing. “ The screen result of this medley is dyspeptic in the worst degree. It is as if all the courses of a good dinner had been piled on one plate, though, here and there, there are samples of excellent Aavour. “ Scenes leading up to the war, showing all the world plunged in a frenzy of international hatreds and gold-getting, are vividly produced, but contrasts based on scenes of " Golden Calf ” worship in Old Testament times seem to be grotesquely misplaced. “ The connection may be there, but when it is illustrated by a temple and a tape machine it looks ridiculous, and that queer juxtaposition perhaps indicates where the scenario of

  • Noah's Ark ’ went astray.

Thousands went to see the picture, and while many no doubt pitted emotion against emotion, the majority satisfied religious desires of one sort or another. a 1 1 The Daily Express, March 20 , 1929. 196 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 4. CRIME AND CRIMINOLOGY From the foregoing chapters on Sex and Religion it may be gathered that the American pictures were to a large extent standardised and sterilised from the outset, that is from the beginning of the first Gold Rush just before the War. The subjects have throughout rested on basic themes, or basic emotions of which a short list has been given. The War pictures, although they did not make their appearance till some time after the War owing to the attitude of the public, did not disclose any change. With few exceptions, they were founded in elements calculated to appeal strongly to the emotional nature of an audience. Thus they touched the subconscious and in stinctive in the audience while offering unintentionally scientific values to those who were equipped scientifically to receive them . American crime plays also fall into the standardised rut with this difference, that while they have a common aim in rousing emotional excitement, most of them are made according to a formula with a scientific basis. They are illustrations or expressions of a game that is being played in the American Underworld or Upperworld, in which human beings make war on one another for the sake of acquiring property of great value, and allow no obstacle to stand in the way of complete success. The game portrayed by the camera is played in such a way that the audience is invited to take part in it. It sits watching the moves and taking part in them , as in a game of chess, without being able to say with absolute assurance what the end will be. It is kept guessing, is in fact told to guess. “ Guess who the villain is in ‘ Belphegor ,” “ Guess who will get the treasure , ” “ Guess who is ' The Ringer ', Guess how ' The Ringer' will trick the police and get off in the end.” And so on. In this way the audience is drawn into the action 1 i See American and British picture advertisements . ACTUALITIES 197 a a of the crime picture and for the time being plays the dual part of criminal and detective, or whatever the leading characters, who are pitting wit against wit, may be. The formula of this type of picture is not new. It is as old as crime itself, as old as the classical detective masterpieces in which the plots are woven with such consummate skill , as by the French masters of detective fiction . It was in existence when Sherlock Holmes first made his deductive method of approach to the solution of crime. To -day the structure which rests upon it shows a mental method of approach supported by up-to-date ingenuities of mechanical science. The criminal in the detective picture is a mechanical expert. He has extraordinary familiarity with mechanical in struments that can be applied to the successful pursuit of crime. His equipment includes an extraordinary knowledge of mechanical science, a gift of tongues, and a regard for appear ance and dress that makes Bill Sykes and even Raffles look like fossils of a very remote age. Anyone who wishes to study the difference may do so by comparing Crime and the Pictures with Crime and The Drama," a book in which the author deals with the records of the ancients of crime, such as Sweeny Todd, Paul Jones, Claud Duval, Turpin, and others .? Or an instructive comparison can be made between the two pictures “ Sweeny Todd ” and “ The Sinister Man ,” “ the most brilliant creation of the supreme master of mystery ” ( advertisement), otherwise Mr. Edgar Wallace. There is, in fact, a great deal that is old and standardised in the American crime picture. Much that has been common property for a very long time — scenes, incidents, technique, methods, conception , facts, fields of experience, fields of thought, general ideas. The characters, in particular the detectives, are old friends. Probably the personalities of Scotland Yard, the Big Five, etc., with whom Mr. Wallace has made us familiar, had their prototypes in the old Bow Street Runners, who, how 1 > 1 See “ Crime and The Drama," by H. Chance Newton. 198 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ever, were not equipped with up- to -date mechanical appliances to be used in crime warfare. At the same time, there is much that is new which un fortunately has not been expressed in the best manner, but in the hands of the Film Kings has become standardised and sterilised, though not without yielding values that belong to the fields of sociological humanism and technical and mechanical sciences. The old conception of crime deals with the fossilised criminal in fossilised surroundings. The new, that is , post-war conception, deals with crime committed by the contemporary criminal in new surroundings, which are now being over elaborated by the Talkie in, say, cabarets and crooks pictures of which “ Broadway ” is a typical example. There are four new elements in the crime picture: 1. A new orientation of subject. Hollywood has dis covered the Underworld, and is engaged exploiting that black spot on American economic civilisation to which partly legisla tion and partly accumulation of money wealth may be said to have given birth . I allude to Bootlegging and its foul men and deeds, and the savage war on society engendered by the effect of the exhibition of great possessions on the mind of the criminal. The study and expression of the Underworld has become fashionable. Within recent years a new aspect of the criminal world has been brought to view containing the secret machinery of crime, a world in which detectives and criminals, some of them of unsuspected mental ability, are seen plotting and counter plotting against each other in a veritable war of wits. Leading from this subterranean Inferno are complicated passages by which the criminal reaches the upper world and engages with his confederates and dupes in the exciting work of disposing of his victims, if he himself is not first disposed of. 2. A new orientation of technique and method. Both are brought into relation to recent scientific invention and dis covery as means upon which the criminal relies to carry out his plans. ACTUALITIES 199 3. A new orientation of the Law in order to cope with the new technique and methods of the criminal. The readjusted machinery of the Criminal Investigation Department for detect ing, preventing and punishing crime, is exhibited and analysed. 4. Finally, there is the new orientation of the moral and emotional elements, necessary to supply the lump of sugary sentiment suited to Hollywood box office requirements. The detective and the criminal are exhibited as human beings with sentiments and feelings that can be shared by the audience. Detectives no longer wear evening dress. They are clothed in humble work -a-day garments, they fall in love with the daughters of their wealthy clients, or with repentant female criminals, they forgive their common enemy the criminal and even enable him to escape the law if he shows a disposition to take the right path. There is no end to the sex, humane and benevolent propensities of the screen detective. Likewise, the criminal is shown to have his sentimental and human spots. To judge by the human touches in his Hollywood make-up, the criminal in him is only skin deep, and so strongly does he impress us with this fact that we feel (or ought to feel) quite sorry when he goes to the electric chair. Doubtless it is the human attributes of the new style detec tive and criminal together with the strangely unfamiliar, terrifying, yet fascinating surroundings in which they move, that touches the unscientific members of the audience and sets them reading into the terrible conflict between the forces of the Law and Order and those of anarchy a new war between heaven and hell, as though the heavenly host had suddenly descended upon Chicago or the Bowery to engage in mortal combat with a criminal host. It is hard to say what they read into the variety of crime picture heavily sugared with magic, mysticism , occultism and queer religious elements of which the new version of the long -drawn-out serial and chapter play provide examples. But all types of crime play, those dealing with the under world, like “ Romance of The Underworld ,” “ Manhattan 200 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Knights " ' ; or exhibiting excessive violence, “ The Sea Beast," the Noah Beery pictures, in particular “ Hell Ship Bronson, ” which is simply a long sequence of terrible brutality ; or rival crooks “ Come Across ” ; or crime and atonement, “ The Secret Lie " ; set the mind regressing to scratch in search of the path to righteousness. I mean there is a moral factor, as well as the immoral one which leads “ righteous” people to say that Hollywood's crime plays are meant only to frighten children and birds to death . Others say, to make criminals of us all . The scientifically minded may refresh themselves with the scientific facts peeping out of that aspect of American civilisa tion which the Film Kings delight to hold up for our admira tion or execration, one affording proof that America, or the box office part, is the home of wholesale slaughter and ceaseless con spiracy and revolting debauchery. To be fair to the Film Kings it must be said that there is another aspect of America which they portray with a powerful and moving balance in favour of America itself. I allude to the patriotic one, with its commer cial and instructional implications. Here is a list of enterprises in that direction. It reveals a sort of Cinema for All policy with which Soviet Russia is pre-occupied but without the money production evils . “ Mr. Hays turned the film ‘ Abraham Lincoln ' into a financial success by telling the public that if it failed film -pro ducers would invest no more money in patriotic pictures of that kind. “ The result was that five thousand cities and towns turned out in force to see the film . “ Educational films are shown in all schools and colleges, and religious pictures in hundreds of churches. “ Films are shown in the ships bringing immigrants from foreign countries. These films give the immigrant a concrete idea of the country to which he is coming. “ They outline ways and means by which he can become a good citizen and make a good living. ACTUALITIES 201 1 Films are shown to leper colonies in the Canal Zone and in the Philippines. “ They are shown to Eskimos to teach them about the United States. They are shown to thousands of people in prisons, hos pitals, orphanages and homes. “ Films are produced which show all the uses of remedial and preventative medicine. “ These films show pictures in slow motion and in colour of surgical operations performed by masters. The American College of Surgeons uses these for the in struction of students.” Besides this educational side of America there are the propa ganda and publicity ones which inspire the Film Kings to make powerful appeals abroad for customers to buy America's goods. I may point to the much-praised picture “ Nanook of the North ,” which reveals the benevolent methods followed in fur trading and suggests the advantages to be obtained from buying furs from American fur traders. I remember seeing the other side of this picture exhibited in a Moscow cinema. In the bolshevist eyes the fur trader is a low thief, not the fine honest fellow that he appears in the American picture. There are a number of good Hollywood pictures intended to put the best points of American industry and trade on the screen for the delectation of the whole world. The sentimentalised Speed and Flying pictures like “ The Air Circus,” “ Wings,” and the British Smashing Through, ” type, have a commercial publicity basis. But for scientific persons there are pictures of man in his present-day surrounding that awaken speculation and add impulse to sociological inquiry and research . What could be more sociologically stimulating than the following : “ Paul Fejos, the Hungarian scientist, who became a screen dramatist, has certainly produced the outstanding talkie sensation in ‘ Broadway,' shortly due for public presentation. 1 G. A. Atkinson, Daily Erpress, July 25 , 1927 . 202 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA “ Dr. Fejos is a bacteriologist, and in ‘ Broadway,' as in ' The Last Moment, ' and in ‘ Lonesome,' he has the detached air of Browning's student, who was ‘ not incurious in God's handiwork. ' “ The writhing, wriggling cultures of crime and the cabaret clearly interest Dr. Fejos, and he has a vivid way of presenting them for public dissection. “ In this new and utterly astounding screen epic he lifts the lid off Broadway's seething, swarming, sinister, infinitely active and infinitely futile existence. “ It is not civilisation that you see, but the starkest bar barism , an absolute hell- broth of lucre and lunacy, though Dr. Fejos does not say so . “ He throws it all against a background of architectural extravagance in cabaret settings, in which fantastic perspectives and dissolving nightmares of futuristic decoration reduce the human factor to microbial focus. “ Dante's visit to the infernal region is a near parallel to the spectator's personally conducted tour with Dr. Fejos round Broadway." The producer is a bacteriologist. He has certainly caught a whole picture full of pathogenic microbes. Lest it be said that the picture is probably an excellent example of Hollywood guesswork and money-making exaggera tion, let me hasten to say that though the Film Kings have the “ crime obsession ” it is not unmixed with sanity. They do not leave the production of their Chicago, or Bowery, or Cabaret and Cop pictures to amateurs. They are careful to lay in , if not a stock, at least two or three favourable specimens of the real thing in criminal producers while themselves claiming to possess not a few of the valuable qualities of their employees. Here is evidence. “ Even some of the chiefs of the cinema industry ascribe their success to the qualities which they acquired in the under 1 G. A. Atkinson, The Sunday Express, June 9, 1929. 91 > ACTUALITIES 203 world. They talk facetiously of ' gun play ' when they are selling films. One of them , who opened one of London's best theatres a few years ago, was frankly proud that he had previously been a successful ' gangster. ' “ One of the most famous St. Louis gangsters, Ray Renard, who has been arrested 138 times, according to his own state ment, is among those now producing crime films in Hollywood. “ He has, to use his own words, ‘ changed his automatic for a megaphone.' “ In St. Louis he went through two gang wars and reached the high position of second in command to ‘ Dinty'Colbeck, one of the generalissimos of crime. “ He acted as technical crime director to the Universal Company's ‘ Broadway ' and the Lasky Company's ‘ Thunder bolt,' the criminal authenticity of which he guarantees. “ When the screen crime wave subsides he promises to write a book on criminology. “ Mr. Renard is not wholly an attractive character. Presi dent Coolidge released him from a long term of penal servitude because he ‘ squealed ' the evidence that sent twenty - six other gangsters to prison . “ Mr. Renard will certainly need the courage of his con victions." For the æsthete there is the æsthetic -minded burglar who is a connoisseur of the finest works of art and an expert in burgling, say, a £ 100,000 old master by detaching it from its frame, or maybe follows the example of the exceedingly enter prising masters of this kind of burglar craft who not long ago stole two enormous Adam fireplaces probably to adorn their country mansion. Could the criminal æsthete go farther ? Finally, there is something for the pathologist who is studying the criminal as a fit subject for the medical man and lunacy expert. 1 G. A. Atkinson , The Sunday Express, June 9, 1929 . 204 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA E. THE EVIL THAT THEY Do A. HISTORY WITHOUT AN HISTORICAL BACKGROUND I have shown in the preceding sections of this chapter that Hollywood has made a practice of using three or four subjects, Sex, War, Crime and Religion , for best sellers, regardless of their true significance. The aim of the Film Kings has been throughout to offer the public a saleable commodity heavily charged with sensation , for gain, and to some extent for a propa ganda purpose. This has been made from a recipe that fitted it for the home and world market. Thus each selling picture has contained human, sentimental, artistic (Hollywood) and comic elements. Each was the outcome of a good deal of guess work, for there is no evidence to show that the big makers of commercial pictures are regularly assisted in their business by a consultative body of experts in all departments of the natural, vital and human sciences. There is evidence to show that they do sometimes spend a lot of time and money in producing a huge picture, like “ Noah's Ark ,” and that for a picture of the kind they secure the services of the historian , archæologist, per haps the Bible scholar, in short, a miscellaneous collection of explorers, all of whom are however tied to the task of providing material that shall contribute to the principal content of the picture, namely, sensation . It is needless to say that pictures made on this basis have no lasting value. Although they possess, as I have pointed out, unintentional elements to which audiences react in a human way under different sets of circumstances, they lack expert knowledge and true statement of facts to make the best of them records to which future generations could turn for much reliable information . Such science as they contain , Sexology, Warology, etc., has got into them accidentally. The best of the crime pictures may be excepted. Probably those made under the supervision of criminal experts in the Hollywood studio may , 1930. American Screen Star . A First National Vitaphone picture . Billie Dove ( in Careers) known as the Bird of Paradise, and reputed to be the most beautiful woman on the screen . A type of Beauty Queen used by the Film Kings to make a conquest of the Box Office of 1 he world . Is one of the Silent Queens who has successfully become a Talkie Angel.

ACTUALITIES 205 have lasting features, and I am inclined to think that Mr. Edgar Wallace's able analyses of crime, the criminal , and criminal pro cedure ( found not only in pictures but in the Press ' ) have cer tainly something of exceptional value for posterity. For similar reasons, American historical pictures are not likely to give anything to posterity. For the most part they are historical pictures whose historical backgrounds have been sacri ficed at the altar of “ sex appeal ”” and the happy ending. An excellent example of this treatment appears in “ General Crack,” in which John Barrymore, the American actor, plays the prin cipal part. Crack is supposed to be fighting to regain his little kingdom from the Austrians and Russians, but most of the time he looks as though he is trying to understudy Valentino. As a matter of fact, his attention is as much fixed on making love to and dismissing a gypsy whom he marries, as on the business of smashing the Austrian and Russian imperial forces. The latter is a marvellous feat when you come to think of it. A large book could scarcely contain the many examples of improbabilities, omissions, artificialities and excesses that characterise both British and American historical pictures. Here is an example of an anachronism : “ In the early days of cinematography — to be precise, shortly before the outbreak of war in 1914–1 witnessed a film of the Battle of Waterloo in which English lancers were shown making a desperate charge upon French infantry. “ The audience seemed to regard the scene as an excellent piece of realistic acting. Most of the people present were oblivious, as, indeed, was the producer himself, to the fact that no British lancers were present upon the field of battle. Indeed, the lance was not introduced into the British Army until several years after Waterloo. Here, then, was an anachronism of the worst kind. " 1 See The Morning Post ( series of articles) ; The Daily Mail ( series on America ), November, 1929 ; The Sunday Erpress, September 22, 1929 . 2 Sir Charles Oman, in The Daily Mail, October 1 , 1929. " 12 16 206 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > Here is how Hollywood faked a Chinese picture the story of which was taken from a novel, and what the novelist said about it. “ By the Sacred Dragon of China, but if Mr. Sax Rohmer could bring his villain, the sinister Dr. Fu Manchu, back to life again, there would be a few poison -snakes and venomous spiders lying in wait for the Hollywood film kings. “ Because Dr. Rasmussen , of Shanghai, now in London, in a letter to the Editor of The Evening News, makes some nasty digs at the ' bunk ' and ' nonsense ' in ‘ The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu ,' the talkie made from Mr. Sax Rohmer's story, and honestly all the silly parts of the film have come straight from the fertile imagination of Hollywood — things like Dragons used as symbols of dire r - r- revenge. Chinese wearing Cantonese dress. Hand -to - hand fighting in the Legation courtyards during the Boxer rebellion . American troops wearing modern parade uniform and carrying Springfield rifles. “ Dr. Fu Manchu could have soon settled his account with Hollywood. A furtive glance from his almond eyes, the stealthy dropping of a deadly scorpion into the film king's drink, and all would have been over . “ “ He has become, for some mysterious reason, a benevolent old gentleman with a wife and daughter,' said Mr. Sax Rohmer, drawing his dressing-gown closely around him. “ He gets mixed up in the Boxer Rebellion , which isn't even mentioned in my book . Some chance shots kill his wife and daughter, and their blood spurts all over a dragon curtain, which promptly is adopted by the doctor as the symbol of his revenge. ' Here is how publicity affects the historical picture. ‘ Old Ironsides, ' one of the last of America's great patriotic 1 Mr. Sax Rohmer, in The Evening News, October 3, 1929. a > " 1 ACTUALITIES 207 1 66 as spectacles, shown here recently under the title Sons of the Sea. “ The history of ' Old Ironsides ' was mainly the history of a fight with England, but in the film she appeared as having a mild scuffle with Barbary pirates. “ The Paramount Company, which sponsored this produc tion , pointed out that it had to sell its wares to Great Britain and seventy other countries, many of them under British in Auence, so they preferred to run the risk of offending Barbary rather than Britain ." Then there is the question of the preservation of the his torical masterpieces of the screen . Says one writer : “ One notes that there has been , as yet, no general desire to preserve for posterity any one of the masterpieces of cinematography, such Quo Vadis ” and “ Intolerance," probably the earliest and most stupendous spectacles ever shown on the screen , or “ “ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,' possibly the finest dramatic War film ever produced. In these unique productions the critic can detect artificiality and excesses ,'» which have been employed by the producer to convey his story. “ The Four Horsemen is a Valentino film , and I think it is reasonable to say it is artificial throughout. How much real truth about the Great War is there in it, and how much sheer emotional "‘ junk junk ” for profit? One asks, what is the use of preserving historical pictures " in which the critic can detect ‘ artificiality and excesses ? ” ? Historical pictures of true human interest, made under the super vision of experts in all the departments of knowledge covered by the historical subjects, cannot fail to have a lasting value owing to their educational meaning and significance. How many existing pictures answer this description ? If we turn to Hollywood's productions, it is likely that we shall not find one. Still, the emotionals of the Californian City of Gold have intro duced emotional elements into their pictures, have stored up 1 G. A. Atkinson , The Daily Express, September 24 , 1929. 2 “ The Times Film Number, " March 19, 1929 . 208 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA guesswork like sweet honey in the cells of their own building, that satisfies some of the wishes and answers some of the funda mental questions which present-day audiences take to the Cinema. B. MEDICINE AND SURGERY ACCORDING TO HOLLYWOOD The crudities and improbabilities of Hollywood's docu mentary pictures, in particular historical ones, are equalled only by the surgical and medical sins of the story of entertainment pictures. I have a long list of surgical and medical errors, excesses, stupidities, which I have noted in pictures whose action has involved accident, wounding, sickness, death , etc. I have been led to note them by my long and close acquaintance with medicine, beginning as medical student, and by my atten tion being drawn to absurdities by medical acquaintances who are cinema-goers. One of the latter, who would not object to be called a “ Film fan , ” has occasionally accompanied me to the Cinema, where he has given me the benefit of his experi ence in verifying my observation of surgical and medical im probabilities. In the course of a long period of picture -going I have noted enough of these inaccurate and distorted facts to fill a large book. Looking back, I do not see one picture of the type I mention in which medical and surgical facts are truly stated . Indeed, to judge by the evidence collected, it would seem as though both British and American production companies are in a conspiracy to lead the public astray in this direc tion . It is not hard to discover the cause of so much stupid blundering and incompetence. It is found partly in the method of subordinating everything in a picture to sensation, and partly in the fact which I have repeatedly stated, that entertainment picture production lacks the collaboration of a consultative body of experts capable of substituting essential and truthful facts for ACTUALITIES 209 amazingly stupid guesswork stuff that pours from the ignorant minds of scenario writers and picture directors. In saying this I am not thinking of the instructional pictures which are engaged in scientific, in particular, public health propaganda, and in the making of which eminent physicians, surgeons and hygienists elaborate. Nor am I thinking of a type of documentary picture made with the assistance of the Government who provide the picture maker with every facility. I am thinking, as I said, of the commercial story picture whose action requires that one or more of the characters shall be hanged, drawn or quartered to make a Hollywood banking account. Into this type of picture sensation enters to the exclusion of all sense. Take, for instance, the death of He in the picture “ He Who Gets Slapped .” After being stabbed in the region of the heart by a deadly-looking sword -stick , He goes through a very robust circus act , the excitement of which alone would kill any ordinary unwounded man. First he assists a fierce - looking lion to destroy two unwanted characters, and thereafter he staggers into the arena , goes through some of his knockabout business, and finally fops down and dies in order to give the circus and the cinema audiences the shock of their lives. In this and other ways a Victor Sjöström production of unusual promise is turned into a crude and common place affair, though the general conception is by no means offensive. Let me mention two or three more examples of improba bilities. There is the Thick Ear film variety in which the K.O. plays a leading part. Characters knock each other out with a single blow, especially on the jaw or the solar plexus, and one wonders how they obtained their expert anatomical knowledge. Next to the K.O. comes the wonder of the running fight, a feat which would cause an ordinary person to drop dead of sheer exhaustion . What means do these film acrobats take to build up a miraculous stamina. Of the non -casualty shooting matches, particularly in Wild West films, one concludes that 210 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the standard of marksmanship must be borrowed from Mr. Bernard Shaw's classical work, “ Arms and the Man . " The impossible exploits of the running fight order are usually too silly to be laughable. They reveal unoriginal producers trying their hand at the German stunt technique, while spoiling other wise excellent pictures. Drownings, complete and partial, provide much material for speculation and laughter. In “ The Last Moment, ” which has been so generally and deservedly praised by the critics, the story consists of the rapid review of a man's life which, some say, takes place during drowning. The man re-experiences in a few seconds or minutes all that he has ever experienced. The memory of years flood the mind. The length of time is an important point, for after rising to the surface three times, as the man in “ The Last Moment” is supposed to do, unconscious ness and death follow rapidly. Now in the picture the portrayal of the material facts of the drowning man's mind lasts one hour and a half, so we must believe that he is conscious under the water for that length of time. An utter improbability. It might be said by a psychologist that the particular mind so analysed is such an exceedingly commonplace, unbalanced and uncon trolled one, that it would not fight for life, particularly as it is paralysed by the thought of suicide, and would therefore be snuffed out quickly. An absurd rescue from drowning occurs in “ Somehow Good,” an excellent First National Pathé production. There is a thrilling scene in which a young girl jumps into the sea to save her father who is trying to commit suicide. She succeeds in helping to save him. The father recovers his speech almost immediately, although he is almost drowned. The girl drifts away and is seen fighting desperately under the water. But she is soon rescued while Aoating on the water, showing conclu sively that she is not unconscious or she would have sunk. In spite of this evidence of consciousness, she is carried ashore, where a young doctor sets to work to revive her. We are asked а ACTUALITIES 211 to believe that this operation continues for two hours and forty minutes, and during this time no one, the doctor not excepted, knows whether she is alive or dead. Signs of revival should show themselves within half an hour or so . Such medical blunders sometimes have the effect of setting one speculating like a detective or an amateur criminologist or a student of medical jurisprudence. Something of the kind happened to me when watching “ The Perfect Crime. ” In this picture a man is found with his throat cut. The door of the room is locked and bolted , so it could not be murder. There is no weapon, so it could not be suicide. Subsequently an innocent man is put on trial, convicted on faked evidence of murder and sentenced to death . But the most essential evidence which would have proved the man innocent is never brought forward by the defence. When was the throat cut ? After the man was dead ? while he was in a state of coma, or narcosis from a drug ? or while he was sleeping normally ? Any doctor could tell. If dead there would be no blood spurt. If in a state of coma the blood spurt would be weak. If sleeping normally the blood spurt would be strong. But he could not be awakened, which rules out normal sleep. He was either dead or in a state of coma, such alternative conditions being suggested by the use of two tablets, which a doctor, the real murderer, had given him to take overnight for the purpose of making him sleep heavily. In the end the doctor, an amateur detective, who has planned a “ perfect crime,” confesses to the murder. The pre vious night he gave the murdered man two tablets, told him to take them at bedtime and to bolt his room door securely. The next morning the man's wife fetched him because she could get no reply from her husband's room . The doctor went, smashed in the door and disappeared for a moment. appeared to call the wife's attention to the fact that her hus band's throat was cut. He himself had cut it during his swift entrance . The tablets, the throat cutting and the blood spurt He re 212 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a would have led any expert medical criminal investigator to discover how the man died. By these three clues the question put to the audience, “ Was it murder or suicide ? was made ridiculous. The sight of a man being throttled to death and yet able to speak in loud tones ( “ The Gamblers ” ) is funny. Amnesia, loss of memory, is a stumbling block . In “ Blindfold , " a Fox picture, a girl has a shock which causes her to lose her memory. She does not remember who she is , or whence she came, but shows no confusion nor exhibits the usual symptoms. Imme diately afterward she joins a gang of crooks and behaves as though there is nothing the matter with her, except that she cannot recall her name and old associations. A man may for get that he had kippers for breakfast and yet be able to remember a song learnt in childhood. The girl recovers her memory through an incident similar to the one that deprived her of it , namely, the shock of the sight of her lover struggling with a murderer. There are various causes of loss of memory, epilepsy, hysteria, etc. In this case we are not told the cause, no doubt, lest we should question the case. The pictured version of “ The Ware Case ” offered much room for speculation . A man is struck several times on the head and pushed under the water of a wide lake. Subsequently his body is found some distance away from the actual spot of the murder. It is entangled in weeds and one arm is extended above the weeds. What would happen to a man who is struck violently on the head when swimming ? Would he sink to the bottom like a stone and remain there ? Would an unconscious man with his skull fractured, drift some distance in a lake which has no current, and with his arm outstretched ? These are but a few of the questions raised by the details of the murder in the mind of the medical observer. Plunging a knife or sword into a vital part, generally the heart, and holding it there while delivering a long speech (Conrad Veidt in “ The Last Performance )" ) is a fashionable ACTUALITIES 213 blunder both on the stage and the screen . Shakespearean characters are experts at the game, and for this reason probably the screen actor would tell you that he follows a classical example. This method of dying is as silly as that of the character who on being shot in the back puts his hand on his stomach and falls forwards in a very stagey manner ( “ The Lights of New York ’ ). A shot in the spine would cause a man's legs to crumple up. Cases of progressive blindness such as the one portrayed in “ Sailors' Wives are apt to set one thinking and laughing, especially when all reasonable symptoms are missing was much interested by a little thriller called “ Fear." The picture was an attempt to reproduce realistically some of the terrifying incidents connected with The Plague of London. One of the characters alleged to have the disease was the daughter of a knight. She plays a principal part and there fore she is exhibited passing through the various stages of her illness, with the intention no doubt of making the audience shudder. But unfortunately, for his intention, the producer laid in the wrong complaint. What the audience was treated to were the symptoms not of the plague but of ague, or malaria. I remember asking an intelligent producer ( oh ! rare bird ) to tell me why the screen was so crowded with medical and surgical improbabilities. I knew he would not blame sensation , or the lack of expert guidance. I was not disappointed , for he laid the blame on the close up. He told me that one of the chief difficulties of obtaining realistic medical effects was that of showing physical signs of injury, such as a swollen foot, dislocated bare limbs, fingers, hands, ankles, feet, etc. The close up ruthlessly reveals the absence of swelling in bare limbs that are supposed to be sprained or otherwise injured. The close up has, indeed, a lot to answer for. Its revelations of the astigmatical features of the Beauty Queens and Apollo Kings of the screen are too painful for words. Jug-handle ears, squints, imperfect teeth, skin blemishes, skins like the bark of 214 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a tree, skins with pores so enlarged that they look like shell holes, all the physical defects, indeed, ascribed by Max Nordau to the great “ degenerates," as he called the geniuses of his time,' take the watchful eye, and move the soul to pity. 1 1 See “ Degeneration , ” by Max Nordau. 1929. American Animated and Sound Cartoon Mickey the Mouse in Mickey's Follies . The movements are said to be determined by the music, as in the Russian Ballet. But whether the music or the cartoon , the composer or the cartoonist comes first is uncertain . It is certain however that the cartoons are very rich comics. By courtesy of Ideal Films, Ltd. PART III THE REVOLUTION 1




So far the book has been concerned with providing evidence of the movements of the Cinema along two paths analogous to those followed by humanity as recorded by the Bible. It is in fact evidence of the two purposes in the Cinema. On the one hand, the good purpose which has never been intentionally sought and developed , but has nevertheless shown itself at the surface intermittently at times of crisis and in answer to the demands of peoples who have sought to read their desires and wishes into the material objects of which commercial pictures are composed .. On the other hand, the bad purpose, in the sense that it makes for acquisitiveness not for public service which is intended to enable the Cinema to fulfil a function for the Film Kings, not for Man. These circumstances required that the evidence should be that of a world-wide activity and significance. It must be drawn as far as possible from all those regions, even the remotest, throughout the world to which the Cinema has penetrated. Moreover, for the sake of truthfulness, it must be personal rather than hearsay evidence, that is, evidence proceeding from first hand observation that could not be denied. Unless it was the result of the observing eye watching the two purposes in action , and comparing the two springs of action, human and com mercial, it could not be accepted as altogether trustworthy and used to support the belief in the human and humanising function of the Cinema. SoSo the the evidence evidence produced produced begins with the birth of the Cinema through the invention of a mechanical toy 217 218 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA in which , as in the Garden of Eden, is contained immense possibilities of good for the human race . Then follows its ex pulsion from Eden and the start of its career on the downward path under the compelling and corrupting influence of the Mammonites (who may for the sake of analogy, be likened to Lucifer taking charge of the human race for the purpose of destroying it). Thereafter the two paths are paralleled so far as the results of personal observation under the most trying cir cumstances permit, so that the understanding mind can realise that they are not similar. Then follows the endeavour to ascertain the nature and value of the bad purpose, to determine what good, if any, there be in it. So the processes of the building of an organic structure intended to promote the bad purpose are traced . The golden city of Hollywood is shown rising from a desert. Its gigantic machinery for the production, world-wide distribution, and ex hibition, of a sensational, emotional entertainment, is considered . All the ingredients of that amazing dish are analysed, and the money lords, the bankers, speculators, and others, who contri buted to the cost of the building of the city, and the production of a dish calculated to draw billions of pounds out of the public pocket, are shown either pitted against each other, or amalgamating in the struggle for the biggest mountain of gold. Then the substance ( or content) of the universal dish is examined and shown to consist partly of standardised an sterilised elements of no real permanent value, and partly of a very small proportion of elements that have been added un intentionally, and which are capable of moving the audience, instinctively, subconsciously, and scientifically. Implicit in all this is the inference that the vast American organic structure, the great Film Industry of Hollywood, is built not upon a rock but upon shifting sands. The gold upon which it rests is not solid but Auid, and change of public demand may, at any moment, cause the structure to be swept a a THE TALKING PICTURE 219 was away, as events in the past have threatened to sweep it away. A year or two before the War began, the novelty of the early crudities began to wear off and there was an exodus from the Cinema. Disaster was averted by building luxury cinemas. Three or four years ago another exodus began, this time from the American cinemas. America's population had grown sick to death of a monotonous diet. A barrier of palaces, magnifi cent even beyond the dreams of the Pharaohs, arose to stop it . Without success. But what the grandeur palaces could not do, a little mechanical device did. By means of this miraculous device, called the microphone, the present-day “ Talkie ” born, and the Film Kings plunged once more into the realms of speculation and finance to dream of wealth beyond the dream of Cresus. With the coming of the “ Talkie ” it is asserted that some thing of the nature of a Revolution took place. A destructive yet constructive principle of power entered the camera . The vast organic structure which had been erected with the aid of the golden resources of America fell before the shrill strident Voice like the walls of Jericho before the blasts of the trumpets of the seven priests. And like a second Hiel, the Film Kings hastened to rebuild their Jericho. They laid the foundations of untold gold brought for the purpose by the bankers of America. They covered acres and acres of ground with sound proof buildings. They erected technical machinery of a new and hitherto untried character. They amalgamated with the great electrical trusts . They scoured the highways and byways for new human material wherewith to feed the machinery. They set up a new system of production, distribution and ex hibition. And they began to produce — what? The old standardised and sterilised dish , or something more appetising and lasting ? To what has the selling of War, Crime, Sex, Christianity given place ? Have the Film Kings at last seen the true possibilities of the Cinema, realised its true relation to the Theatre, and the wonderful development that is likely to take 220 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA place through the union of the two. Or, to them is the Voice but like the grandeur palace, a means to stave off disaster till its novelty is gone, and another trick must be played to keep the gold - getting business solvent? Let the following pages reply. Let me ask : What is the Revolution ? What is its cause ? What is it like ? What is its effect ? Is it Revolution or Armageddon ? B. WHY A REVOLUTION ? One morning in 1928, the cinema world awoke to learn that during the night a momentous event had taken place. A A little mechanical device upon which men had been experiment ing for long past, hoping thereby to attain the use of a principle of power before unused, had suddenly come into practical use, with the result that it promised completely to change the conception, policy, method and content of the mighty mechanical toy to which the principle had been applied. Or, so it seemed . Men who, for years, had been seriously exercising and con centrating their minds on bringing the silent picture to reason able perfection; others who had been investing their own and other people's untold money in the endeavour to make the silent picture the most colossal money- making medium ever known to man, suddenly found their achievements dashed to pieces by an Arabian Night's innovation (or so it seemed) con centrated in the hands of a few desperate gamblers ( so they styled themselves) to whom apparently true human advance and human values were nothing. From the facts of their careers, it was to be gathered that their chief ambition was to make and amass money, and to do so by destroying even the most sacred things. Or so it seemed. There was a moment of dreadful consternation . Some people peeped into the camera and saw Nothing; others peeped, and saw a Microphone, others again heard a Voice. Then 1930. American .AUniversal Production Luckyarkin Inthis picture the Talkie tkesoopen -airnd reintroduces the oldest most ppular film ,the grat American National film ,The Western . Itstars Ken Maynard (seated left ongate ).The striking interest and value ofthis Wild West film lies inthe method bywhich natural background isrestored tohe story ofasociological film . Nature ,function and folk are sen intheir proper relation .Italso hints atthe New Subject Power film .

THE TALKING PICTURE 221 66 > > arose swiftly a great noise. Cries, shrieks, curses, sounds of joy, of exultation, of bewilderment, shouts of praise, blame, prophecy, smote the air. Scare, Chaos, Boom , grinned triumphantly. Professional men and women sought the columns of the Press, their features convulsed with horror, dis torted with anger, their minds torn by the conflicting emotions of fear and hope — fear for the future of their careers, and hope of gain in the present Gold Rush. Never had the greed of gold in human beings been so stirred to its depths. But that was not the worst. Significant men and women of the Theatre, who had long been vowed to its service, had done something worth while for its advancement, were panic stricken by the momentous event. They completely lost their heads. They went about wringing their hands and exclaiming, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin.” " The Theatre is lost .” “ The Theatre is dying.” “ The Theatre is dead .” “ Long “ Live the ' Talkie. ' ” “ What shall we do ? ” they cried . And one of the Gold -Getters answered, “ Do as I do . ” “ Damn the Theatre.” “ It's dead . ” “ Bury it and all its good deeds.” “ Let's go to Mike” ( meaning the all-conquering microphone). “ Let's be foremost in the scramble for gold.” “ There's heaps and heaps of it.” And many of them went. They stood not on the order of their going. Their exodus from the Theatre, from the thing they loved most, (or so they said ), was not sorrowful, slow and dignified ; it was a fight. And above the tumult and the shouting of the Gold -Getters arose the sound of the word “ Revolution . " “ A Great Revolu tion . ” “ The Most Colossal Revolution of the Ages. ” “ Are you For or Against the Revolution ? ” The word “ Revolution " gathered force as it rolled. It collected together its rabble-like associations. It assaulted the ear of the sober minded. It invaded the Press where it marshalled its forces in immense headlines, many of them meaningless, yet all calculated to hypnotise, and to take the breath with sheer audacity. > 17 222 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA tion ? ” All the time the sober minded whispered, “ Is it a Revolu “ What is a Revolution ? ” And they went to the dictionary and other word books, and sought diligently for definitions so that the truth might not be hidden from mankind by Sensation and Stunt. What did they find to satisfy sense ? A Revolution is a sudden and complete change amounting to a reversal of an existing order, political, economic, industrial or social, or all four. It is different from Evolution which is a slow and continuous change. Revolution has come to mean to people of sense an overthrow of an organic structure necessitating the building of another. Evolution is the unfold ing of an organic thing, as a tree may be said to unfold from seed to root, to trunk, to branches, to leaves, to flower, to fruit. What of inorganic things — an engine, a motor, a ship ? Can they be said to evolve ? Has the camera evolved ? unfolded ? Has it not been built up slowly stage by stage by human in genuity, and mechanical processes. May we say that there has been added any new principle of power since the first lens was ground ? Has it not been adapted to principles. The practical use of the microphone has added to it a form of power hitherto unutilised. But has this power entirely destroyed that organic structure, the old cinema world to which the practical use of the camera without the microphone gave birth ? Let us con sider the changes produced by Mike. First some Press answers to, Why a Revolution ? The Revolution . “ Ai Revolution in the Cinema. The talking picture with which this country has been flooded by America, has brought the whole structure of film entertainment to the ground. Producers have had to scrap all the old methods, and theatre -owners have had to spend millions in new equip ment, with the knowledge that it is quite possible that these will have to be wasted ," through the introduction of fresh novelties. My italics. “ Revolution in Photography.' Accord a 1 W. G. Faulkner, “ Daily Mail Year Book ,” 1930. 2 The Daily Expre88, March 11 , 1929 . THE TALKING PICTURE 223 1 6 ing to Mr. Samuel Goldwyn : “ The business has gone upside down. Technique, players, direction , plot, action, and the public that pays to see — the whole lot's changed right round.” Unchanging Chaplin in a World of Revolution.” “ Holly wood's Colossal Gamble.” Out of the Mouths of the Film Kings. Again , according to Mr. Goldwyn : “ The film ' factory ' is as dead as the proverbial cold mutton . “ The great producers of Hollywood are now planning to devote eight months to the creation of a single ' talkie , instead of making fifty -two ‘ features ' a year. “ All existing contracts constraining cinema proprietors to take the mass -production films of any given film factory have, for all practical purposes, lost their validity. Hollywood pro ducers unanimously concede that the ' talkies ’ and the silent film are quite different things. “ From manufacturers, Hollywood's film producers have turned showmen. From purveyors of a standardised form of entertainment, with an absolutely assured world market for their tinned ' product that spelt profits of tens of thousands sterling, they have found themselves overnight to be gamblers — and gamblers on a scale such as the amusement world has never known before." My italics. Scare Headlines : “ Reshuffling of Star voices. Minor light of Yesterday the Star of To-day. Hollywood Packing . Millions Sunk in Talkies .' Mergers, Combines, Vast Amalgamations that the Advent of The Talkies has produced . “ Denunciation by Charles Chaplin. Prophesies Two Years Life for Talkies. Battle over Silent and Sound Reviving .' " Developments, Possibilities, Forecasts.” " 95 996 8 1 The Evening Standard , May 11, 1929. 2 Ibid . 3 The Daily Express, May 11, 1929. 4 Ibid. 5 6 7 8 9 Press Headlines, April, 1929. 224 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 66 The British Playwrights' Vision Beatific. “ Talking Films are the chance of a lifetime. Possibly because of our Puritan tradition, or maybe our lack of initiative, I find that English business men look at the cinema with suspicion ; it is almost impossible to make them realise what the film industry could mean to us, what it already does mean to America. “ I wish I could get it into their heads that in America one man—Mr. William Fox, the ex -trousers presser who has revealed such astonishing genius as a showman - controls assets worth £ 50,000,000. And he is only one of a dozen movie kings -Laemmle, Goldwyn, the Warners, and the rest — who have made vast fortunes, not by taking it out of other people's pockets, but by actually creating new wealth . Invention of the talking film , as I found recently in the United States, has re duced the film business to panic, and something very like chaos, and given us a great chance to make up our leeway.” " 91 C. WHAT IS THE CAUSE ? Let us examine the cause of this pandemonium and chaos in which some people appear to detect signs of a revolution . It is associated with two circumstances. 1. The attitude of the American public towards the Cinema. Its open rebellion against stale and nauseating food. In consequence, the frenzied efforts of the caterers to find a substitute. So the Film Kings fell on their knees and prayed to heaven for manna, and they received a microphone. In days to come it may be said that they asked for bread and received a stone, but it will be admitted that the stone was quartz containing gold. 2. The second circumstance was the feeding of the multi tude with one small microphone and a super-loaf of publicity. By this means it was filled with sound and wind and carried i Frederick Lonsdale, in The Daily Mail, April 8, 1929. NOTE.-Mr. Lonsdale has since taken to helping to create new wealth . THE TALKING PICTURE 225 of the process 1 to a new heaven called the “ Talkie.” The story of putting sound into the camera is a long and involved one. It need not detain us here. Essential facts are given in that Warners' bible, “ The Film Finds Its Tongue.”! Let me add some evidence by which the reader may form his own opinion on these statements. As to the exodus which caused a panic in the Mammonites army : “ America's Desperate Methods To Save Hollywood.” “ Discovering that Hollywood had become stale, America, in a moment of desperation, turned from the silent screen to speak ing pictures.” “ In analysing the position , it will help if we first find out how the talkies ' started . “ We must go back to the film year of 1926. In that year, in the United States, six pictures were signally successful. They were ‘ Ben Hur, ' ' The Big Parade,' ‘ Beau Geste,' ' Black Pirate,” “ Stella Dallas, ' and ` Variety, ' which in this country was called ' Vaudeville .' “ The custom of the film world is to show two feature films in the same programme, and to have a complete change of programme on Mondays and on Thursdays. Four feature films per week means 208 per year, and six outstanding pictures cannot maintain public interest in 202 pictures, most of which are indifferent, and many of which are 66 2 positively bad.” 66 Said Al Jolson : You in Europe do not realise that most of the motion picture houses of America before talking films came along were playing to empty seats . How the Boom began : The reluctance of English film people to be stampeded into 1 “ The Film Finds Its Tongue," by Fitzhugh Green . 2 The Daily Chronicle, April 19, 1929. 3 The Evening Standard , October 8, 1928 . 226 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA talking films is probably due to knowledge of circumstances behind the new American craze which are not familiar to the general public. “ Until a few months ago many of the 20,000 cinemas in America were in a bad way. They were feeling the reaction of unintelligent pictures. American film people, being of the get rich -quick -and -never -mind -to-morrow type, have always pre ferred novelty to quality. They have no interest in establish ing the film as an art. When a few German films penetrated to American cinemas two years ago , Hollywood's dictators de cided that pseudo-high -browism was a novelty worth cultivating, and American pictures began to improve. “ The craze for novelty led in due course to cine-variety . It failed . Cinemas shut up, and booking fell off. “ The American film makers, contrary to general belief, live very much hand -to -mouth financially, and they had to think of some new novelty in order to keep the flow of dollars from Wall Street going strong. “ Robert thinks talking pictures became inevitable in 1924. His reading of film history is that, in 1914, with the production of ' The Birth of a Nation ,' motion pictures entered on a decade of prosperity, increasing steadily until 1924 , in which year cinema attendances in the United States began to decline. Some said the decline was due to the coming of broadcasting. Some said it was due to bad pictures. The latter reason is the better. Anyhow , a panic began . American business is built on such foundations that it cannot stand still, let alone decline. The Alight from the cinema had to be arrested . The decline had to be converted into an increase. " » 1 a " 2 History: “ Patents were in existence in 1906 covering practically every process of ‘ Talkie ' production . 1 A. Jympson Harman , in Evening News, October 1 , 1928. 2 Robert E. Sherwood, in Sunday Referee, June 2 , 1929. 3 John Scotland, in “ The Review of Reviews," June, 1929. THE TALKING PICTURE 227 “ In 1920 the film with the sound break on the edge was being hawked about.” The reward : “ Western Electric experimented for years with their sound devices before putting them on the market, and they had to threaten the American producers that they would make talking pictures themselves if those producers would not go into the game. Hollywood saw the point — and the firm of Warner Brothers made a profit of six hundred thousand pounds ( pounds, not dollars) in the quarter ended December 1 , 1928, which is exactly one hundred and seventy thousand pounds more than they made in the whole of the previous year. “ That is the sort of gold rush which has come to the early exploiter of the talkie.' » 2 D. WHAT IS IT LIKE ? What precisely are the changes wrought by the revolution engineered by Mike ? CONCEPTION OF THE CINEMA. An all- talking machine -+ instead of one appealing to the visual sense only. Policy. The world -wide exploitation of Sound and Talk. MOTIVE. Money production. ORGANISATION . Changes in the system of production, dis tribution and exhibition owing to the new principle of power to be exploited, the new commodity to be marketed, and the limitations imposed by the nature of the commodity. The formation of vast combines between Production Companies and Electrical Corporations in order to overcome the limitation and 1 " The Film Weekly ," October 14, 1929. 2 Peter Burnup, in The Sunday Dispatch, March 10, 1929. 228 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA to recapture and satisfy the one vast and multifarious appetite if possible. ECONOMIC. Increased investment. Enormous collabora tion with the Lords of Finance-Capital for the sake of profit. MATERIAL. Wholesale purchase of new human Capital for the sake of profit. Such material now drawn from the entertainment world. Technically, from the electrical world. The electrical engineer is proclaimed Boss. The Microphone, the All-Highest. Some of the Beauty Queens and Kings sur vive the storm , but their facial beauty is now hidden behind an indiarubber mouth which moves as though smitten by palsy. METHODS. A mixture of technical science and work . guess CONTENT. No material change. Standardisation and sterilisation renewed . A large scale glorification of Sodom and Gomorrah replaces the small scale one. American Jazz civilisa tion is seen as through a magnifying glass. Latest English “ To date, 200 ‘ Talkies,' 40 of them murder ' Talkies. ' That is , 25 p.c. murder ‘ Talkies. " Pornography still giggling at the Censor. Two of the best of the old features retained , the Westerns and the Cartoons, with sound added. The original American comedy of Sennett and Chaplin almost extinct. summary : 6 Total RESULT. Very little that is new or fit for consump tion. But a suggestion of an immensity of portrayal which when allied to vision and rightful direction may deliver the Cinema from the furnace of sterile box office entertainment. EVIDENCE. Policy : ' Art has no place in Hollywood's outlook. If the men who make films in that Mecca of the get-rich -quick fraternity 1 Evening Standard, February 17, 1930 . 1930. Talkie .American AFirst National and Vitaphone picture .Paris Type ,back -stage and spectacle .Amedium for the return ofstage and variety stars tofilm work .This picture stars Jack Buchanan ,and Irene Bordoni (centre ).The film spectacle isnot rew but the introduction of talkies has orientated itfrom the idas and themes oftheatre ,music -hall opera house and soo.The scenehown isachorus following arrangement in,setting and costi meaFolies Bergéres one , but lacking depth . 1 THE TALKING PICTURE 229 > 7 91 could make more money, more quickly, by selling cheese, to morrow - they would all be selling cheese . “ They are making talking films because it has been proved that talking films have struck a ' gold mine ' of novelty interest and curiosity value. The first prospectors in this rich field will made a quick clean up ' and a ' getaway ." ECONOMICS. “ The aggregate amount of capital sunk in these early experiments and in the re-equipment of their vast studios for sound recording must amount to many millions of dollars. ” ? “ In America, where the vital importance of the films is realised and the greatest financiers of Wall Street are behind the leading producers, the Western Union Telegraph Company, Mr. Otto Kahn, and other financiers of equal importance, are pouring out money like water in a feverish and successful attempt to perfect the new talking devices.” MATERIAL. “' Great Screen Triumph of Hollywood Revue. ”

  • 25 Stars in Feast of Music, Beauty, Comedy, Dancing and Scenic Beauty

Collaring English Goods. “ What, in fact, is Hollywood doing with all the people it has taken from this side of the Atlantic who meant so much to us and mean so little to the American public, which only judges by names ? " Effect on the Beauty Queens and Kings: “ American talking picture stars seem to suffer terribly. They all appear to be victims of perpetual neuralgia or sciatica. They seem quite incapable of bursting into song until their faces indicate extreme mental and physical torment. “ Their arms seem convulsed by imaginary agonies. Their legs seem to writhe and stagger under invisible but immovable 1 G. A. Atkinson, Daily Expre88, April 10, 1929. 2 Basil Dean, Daily Mail, September 27, 1929. 3 Frederick Lonsdale, Daily Mail, September 2, 1928. 4 The Daily Chronicle, October 21, 1929 . 3 The Evening Standard, July 25 , 1927. 230 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA " 1 2 welter among burdens. Perhaps most pathetic of all, their heads constantly shake in horizontal palsies. “ Why it should be supposed heartrending to wag the head from left to right or right to left over every talking picture mammy, sonny or cutie, no one can tell. ” . CONTENT. The Dream : “ The film is able to create visibly and acoustically Holly wood's dream of a super-super-club.” “ When talking films are not occupied with the underworld or underclothed they the domestic affections. They sing for daddy and sonny as Jolson did, or display sisterly sacrifice.” “ Standardisa tion which means sterility. American producers want to make pictures like they make Ford cars and sausages. Someone evolves a formula of cabaret and crime, and at once all the other Big Business Men out with their variations on that un original theme. You remember the wearisome fashions they set with their silent pictures. At one time the bad Czars of Russia, at another the Klondyke gold rush .” Stages : 1 , Syrupy sentiment ( Jazz Singer ' ) ; 2, vocalised vaudeville (* Broadway Melody and Fox Movietone Follies '); 3, murder dialogue ( White Cargo ') and Prohibition dialogue (* Speak - easy ') ; " and so on. " The Jazz Singer ,' an interesting movie mongrel.” 5 E. WHAT IS THE EFFECT ? MADNESS AND WAR 1 . MADNESS. The public is mad upon “ Talkies, ” and everything is done in a commercial way to whip them into dis plays of madness. 1 The Daily Chronicle, August 7, 1929. 2 Manchester Guardian , June 6, 1929 . 3 The Evening Standard, June 3, 1929. 4 Peter Burnup, The Sunday Dispatch , June 9, 1929 . Everyman," July 4, 1929 . & G. A. Atkinson, The Daily Express, September 29, 1928. 5 66 THE TALKING PICTURE 231 2. War . The resumption of the battle of commerce on a vaster scale than ever . Hitherto the American Film Kings have carried war into all countries with remarkable success. Now the table is turned. Other countries, England included, are preparing to carry war into the enemy's country. What is the military situation ? Ironic. America first utilised the Voice that meant financial salvation for the Film Kings. By doing so it revealed and handed to England and European countries a powerful weapon which may be used against the Film Kings for their own destruction. War is declared on both Fronts, European and American. Two immense armies are massing. America has mobilised Hollywood and enlisted the two great electrical corporations, Western Electric and Radio. England and Europe are armed with the Voice. America has set up the electrical serpent; in Europe Aaron's rod is budding. So far no revolution, but checkmate. But the cinema Armageddon is here. It will be fought to a finish with all the new principles of power as they come successively into use . Technical novelty will succeed technical novelty, giant screen , all-colour, stereoscopic scene. What will emerge ? The cinema triumphant or its ashes ? Evidence. Madness. " Talkie ' Cinema Seats at £2 ios. each . Wild scrimmage to see and hear a ' Mammy’singer. “ As I recently suggested, the film industry is showing several signs of madness over sound . It is being tacked on to all kinds of films already made in order that they may be announced as ‘ sound pictures.' At present they have the advan tage of novelty, and a bad picture with sound is more popular than a good picture without it . But the cooler heads are plead ing that it should be remembered that the film's the thing, and that sound is only an adjunct which may improve a good film , but will not save a bad one. War. Invasion of England. “ U.S. Film King's Sensational " 1 2 i Evening Standard , September 19 , 1928. 2 Observer, August 19, 1928 . 232 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 91 1 world power. 2 Hint.” “ Jesse Lasky may make films over here. Natural home of talkies, he says.” American Imperialism : “ I showed , yesterday, that the present struggle between the American Telephone and Telegraph Company — with its associate, the Western Electric — and the Radio Corporation of America was merely a civil war to decide which should hold the balance of power; but that their real objective was a united attack for the complete domination of the entertainment industry of the world. “ This domination is necessary for a far greater scheme which is, even now, being actively developed throughout America. This is nothing less than the complete realisation of what can only be called American Imperialism through the medium of commerce rather than through the conquest of terri tory. It is a gigantic scheme whereby, by compelling the world to take its products, America shall be the undisputed greatest " “ World Domination Propaganda. Attack on British Industry Plans : " The Daily Herald ' learns that negotiations are actually in progress to effect something in the nature of a great Euro pean combine to fight contending American interests, notably the Western Electric Company, if satisfactory arrangements can be reached . ” 4 “ Talking Film War : New Move." The war over talking picture machines is following the same course as the war over the silent film projectors. " Another move : “ A new development took place yesterday in the legal dispute between two great organisations concerned with talking picture equipment. “ The parties are the Western Electric Co., claimed to be the principal manufacturers of sound film apparatus, and Klang 1 Evening Standard, May 8th , 1929. 2 Morning Post, August 29, 1929. 3 Morning Post, August 30 , 1929. 4 Daily Herald, April 5 , 1929 . 5 Daily Chronicle, May 21 , 1929. 9 警 66 5 1930. American talkie .Warner Brothers picture Disraeli May betrmed screen biography orthe historians shake their heads ,commerce .The screentory ,over which history ofpublic men asbranch ofdeals with the purchase ofSuez Canal .Disraeli ,effectively played byGeorge Arliss ,stands centre with arrangement ofthe scne isnstage trdition the man who has been active inpromoting his success .The and the costumes architecture make atypical dignified and respectable Victorian background .Itsuggests thatealkie isgaining breadth and with ,

THE TALKING PICTURE 233 film - Tobis, the German talking picture equipment manufac turers. Some time ago, the Germans challenged the Western Electric patents by seeking injunctions to prevent the use of the apparatus on the grounds of patent infringement, and the negotiations which followed broke down last week. It was then stated that the Klangfilm group would vigorously press its suits. “ Last night it was officially announced that “ The Western Electric is starting suits to nullify various patents of Klangfilm Tobis in Switzerland, Holland and Germany. Thirteen of these suits have now been initiated . The majority of them are against Tobis patents. Note . — There have been swift developments since this was written including Warners' 40 European affiliations; R.K.O's bid for World distribution ; Hollywood's bid for control of British capital; invasion by American key men, etc. ? 1 Daily Chronicle , September 21 , 1929. 2 See The Sunday Referee, June, 1930, G. A. Atkinson in The Sunday and The Daily Express, June and July, 1930. " 1 2 13i4 PART I V THE WINGS OF LEAD OF HOLLYWOOD BEFORE AND AFTER THE REVOLUTION 1



That is before and after the Talkie “ revolution .” There is not much to be said of the German cinema after the “ revolu tion as yet. But there is much to be said of its pre-Talkie career . In this chapter I take up the thread of my personal experiences where I dropped it to examine and build the Great Economic Machine of American Picture production, distribu tion , exchange and consumption, known as Hollywood; and to show how by means of this Machine the American Film Kings have succeeded in buying up nation after nation and have thus attained their supreme object, the capture of the universal appe tite and its conversion to gold — the idol of their own special interests. In this buying up of nations I mean in a cinema sense , they have bought up the groups of which each nation is composed, and the nations composed of big aggregations of groups have come to form wings of the main Hollywood structure . So nations have taken their place in the great game of producing commodities made from a Hollywood recipe, or of selling commodities supplied by Hollywood, and of paying Hollywood a heavy tax for being permitted to do so . In short they have become part of a mighty machine with a purpose of its own—not the purpose of serving eternal, supreme and fixed principles principles of good — but principles of evil of the Financial Age applied to production of money for money's sake. It is no exaggeration to say that Germany affords the best illustration of Hollywood's success in attaining and retaining 237 18 238 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA financial power over a present-day powerful nation that has experienced the bitterest reverses of the War. No other country, England not excepted, so enlightens us in the method of the American Film Kings of buying a nation , of making it a Brazen Wing of Hollywood, and thereby putting their own selfish economic purpose in the first place in a crude and unashamed manner, so far as the picture subject to be exploited is con cerned . This means that to anyone who entered Germany imme diately after the signing of the Versailles Treaty, and has repeatedly visited that country since for the purpose of stud studying the reaction of its fine cultural institutions to after -war events, a unique opportunity has been afforded to trace a parallelism with which I have dealt in Part II of this book . The parallelism, that is, that I have drawn between the two paths representing the two purposes, good and bad, of the Cinema, showing how along with the second has gone the first, sometimes at the surface in response to the human appeal of the cinema audience, sometimes underground where it has disappeared under the all-powerful heel of Mammon. On the one hand, the unintentional in the picture responding to the instinctive, subconscious or scientific call of the audience, on the other, the intentional appealing through Sensation, that keyword of all Hollywood politics and economics. I use the word unintentional to describe the effect of aspects of material objects in pictures on the instinctive, sub conscious or scientific in the German audience, because although the German cinema at its best has undoubtedly been used for the intentional purpose of stimulating patriotism , nationalism , a concern for the Fatherland, etc. , although it has been made, like the Theatre, a medium for keeping up the fighting spirit of the German people at moments when crisis and economic disaster weighed most heavily upon it, there is nothing to show that this intentional use of the Cinema for the purpose of “ ennoblement " has ever been promoted to a system , as in Bol THE DESCENT 239 shevist Russia, where both the Theatre and the Cinema have been consciously organised to cultivate in 150,000,000 or so people a consciousness of the meaning and significance of liberation as dreamed of in the philosophy of Marx and brought within practical politics by Lenin . The German cinema, in fact, came to serve an ennoblement purpose rather automatically than otherwise, like a man who, suddenly finding himself with his back to the wall surrounded by relent less foes, seeks to overcome them either by persuasion or by such pacific means as he can command. If we wish fully to realise the two paths followed by the German cinema since 1919, we must first know and under stand the conditions, political, economic and social, which have imposed themselves upon the Cinema, and by doing so have largely determined its content and method of expression. Such conditions were consequent upon Germany's defeat. They have given rise to a long-continued Political and Economic War in what must be to the Germans an Inferno of the senses. I say an “ Inferno of the senses ” although the fight for life and light brought about by the unprecedented military disaster has not been without its lessons and compensations for those who took part in it. I shall not attempt to state here in chronological order the series of political, economic and social events and cinema con sequences. I have already made a fairly complete statement of events and Theatre consequences in another book. Those events also operated upon the Cinema. But a clue to the nature of the events that did influence the Cinema may be given. They are some of the events that fixed the mind of the German people upon the wavering fortunes of its country and sent it to the Cinema for relief from dreadful Fear, and for Hope in the highest degree.. From the moment the War ceased Fear possessed and consumed the German people, and we may believe i See “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre ” Huntly Carter. ( 1914-25 ), by 240 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a on on that Fear possesses it as firmly as ever. For by all accounts to -day in Germany seeming prosperity is the cloak that hides a multitude of economic horrors. The following description of events and Theatre consequences is taken from an article which is a review of the post-war German theatre. The Cinema was affected by a similar sequence of events, which I have traced elsewhere and of which the following is an extract." By 1919 the Russian Revolution had evoked revolutionary outbursts, extensive strikes, and exciting political events in most European countries. Theatrically, it had the effect of doubling the purpose of political propaganda by adding to the fierce nationalist campaign the equally fierce war extreme Socialism or Communism . The latter, of course , served to fix public attention international affairs. In Germany Socialists, including Communists, continued in power after the Revolution of 1918, and, in consequence, their supporters, propagators of socialist ideals and ideas, were able to invade the theatre and stage the old crumbling social order and the new one such as they conceived it. Disillusioned members of the old social order (not necessarily Socialists) sought to drama tise the horrors of the World War. Fritz von Unruh, for instance, whom the War had converted to a view of its own unrighteousness, attempted to convert the public to this view. Other anti-war propagandists endeavoured to stage a microcosm of a world revealing how the bitterness of war had influenced the younger writers' conception of the world, of the structure of society, of the value of kings and dynasties. Communists, on their part, sought to put a world of class-war on the stage. Ernst Toller, for instance, influenced by Hauptmann's Weavers,' showed the masses roused to revolt by the supposed unrighteousness of machinery. With the subsequent decline of extreme Socialism came a broadening of democracy and dramatic themes began to reflect public opinion in favour of 1 See “ The Theatre and Foreign Affairs," by Huntly Carter, “ The Contemporary Review ," January, 1928. THE DESCENT 241 the downfall of tyrants, the overthrow of the old Prussian tyranny, the regeneration of mankind, and the exaltation of the collective Man as the representative of the people. Strengthen ing nationalism showed itself in both active and a great spon taneous passive resistance to the continued war on Germany by France. The theatre continued its policy of instructing and enlightening public opinion as to the meaning of catastrophic events with the best available materials. Thus, for example, it met the French invasion of the Ruhr with plays written at the time of Napoleon's invasion of Germany. “ Napoleon and The Hundred Days ’ appeared simultaneously in many German playhouses. It also exhibited plays specially written to expose the shameful treatment of the Rhine population by the French , Belgian and coloured troops, in particular, the horrible crimes against women by the latter. “ It may be said, then , that during the period covered by the signing of the Peace Treaty and the acceptance of the Dawes Plan, the German theatre became a social institution in which the German people organised access to their new Republic. Therein through their deputies they endeavoured to reconstruct a new social order and were only prevented from succeeding by the lack of stable political and economic conditions. Still, the popular Will could be traced manifesting itself on matters of great moment — monarchy and communism , revolution and counter -revolution — Spartacus, Kapp and Luttwitz, Hitler, Ruhr 1920, Hollz riot, etc., the attempt of the French to take over industrial, if not the whole of Germany, the Plebiscite on German ex-Royal property, the question of the return of the Kaiser, such matters were reflected indirectly and directly in drama forms. During the latter phase of the latter half of the wartime and -after period of the European Theatre, the phase of recon struction, the German theatre gradually changed its world of nationalism for that of internationalism , or more precisely, cos mopolitanism , which revealed Germany renewing its friendly 242 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a 1relations with hitherto hostile nations. By the autumn of 1926 several big events had succeeded the Dawes Plan to affect public opinion. Locarno, Geneva and the entrance of Germany into the League of Nations, the Commercial Treaty with France, the conversations between Streseman and Briand at Thoiry promising a Franco -German rapprochement, questions of international finance all these had come to lull the public into a sense of security and to give international affairs a wider and a new interest. The public no longer read Spengler and Rudolf Steiner ; they were losing interest in Keyserling and Vaihinger. Positivism was beginning to take a firm hold of the German mind. As in the days of the Morality play heaven and the Deity had become mislaid and the public were seen to be turning blindly even against the most sacred things. There was a coarsening of internal politics owing to the introduction of unfair methods of fighting. There was a decline of morals. Wedekind and Freud and their many imitators were in the centre of the stage exhibiting a world of sexual degenerates to people craving for excitement. Revolu tionary playwrights, like Toller and Kaiser, were almost out of fashion. Nationalism on the stage had taken the form of com promise. In January, 1927, a very popular military hero, Neid hardt von Gneisenau, Blucher's chief of staff, occupied the stage at Max Reinhardt's Deutsches theatre. Gneisenau was shown winning the war against Napoleon by finally defeating him at Waterloo. But because he did it in his own and not in the German king's way, the latter refused to honour him. The play, in consequence, was received by the public in two ways by nationalists as pro-Kaiser and the glorification of a great military hero ; by anti-nationalists as anti- Kaiser and the humilia tion of a man of the people by a narrow , selfish and vain monarch .” Let me try and follow the course of events as they affected the Cinema. I entered Germany in 1919, just after the War. Social conditions were almost beyond description. Germany THE DESCENT 243 was simply a Nation of Dreadful Night. To Germans them selves it was an Inferno of the Senses. The people were starv ing, disease stricken, dying, committing suicide by the hundreds. Food shops were bare. Turnips, filthy black bread and imita tion foods that stank to heaven and poisoned the blood were the only edibles. Rooms at the hotels were bare. All textures and metal fittings had disappeared. You obtained what com fort and service you could from paper sheets, paper pillows, paper coverlets, paper curtains, paper towels, paper string. It was paper, paper all the way, and destitution , misery, black death that filled the air with horror. The bad social conditions persisted for a considerable period and had cinema conse quences. In the depth of the bitter winter of 1921 I invited two university students to accompany me to the cinema. On the way they confessed that they were starving. I took them to Patzenhofer's on Frederickstrasse. Here I paid 2,000 marks for muck not fit for Hottentots. But they devoured it as though it were a Lord Mayor's banquet. Later they admitted that to them and many thousands of poor students the Cinema was an economic necessity. It cost less to sit huddled in a cinema of an evening deriving what heat they could from each other's body and the badly-heated auditorium , and what instruction they could from the picture, than to buy a pint of oil to keep them from freezing to death in their icy cold attics. The Cinema was, in fact, light and heat and entertainment to them . Similar conditions prevailed in 1922. Folk sought the Cinema for bodily heat. A starveling told me that the price of oil was sky high. A pint of oil cost over 300 marks. This was barely sufficient to provide heat and light for one evening. We were on our way to the Fata Morgana Cinema ( fateful name). It was packed to the door, and no wonder, a seat cost only 200 marks. But as the cinemas were heated only at night and were stone cold during the day, this kind of economy was limited . The Cinema in competition with the oil-shop ! Could 244 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA . . there be anything more human yet tragic. Even at a later date the public use of the Cinema to solve the domestic problems of economic distress was apparent. There were many other reasons why the German people went to the Cinema. In my note -book I find some of the principal causes of an awful wave of depression that seemed to overwhelm the German people in 1923. Here they are. Catastrophic fall of the mark . .. Chaos in prices. England sympathetic but leaning heavily on France. France, no change of attitude. America indifferent. Moratorium applied for and refused. Sanctions threatened. Economic sanctions applied. A large number of Germans turned out of Alsace and Lorraine and property confiscated. . . . Monarchist movement. Rathenau assassinated by nationalists . and so on. Not long before his death I had two important conversations with Rathenau. He was the quintessence of pessimism and depres sion, elements which are strongly marked in his books which he gave me. Such circumstances were sufficient to send the German people to the Cinema, which by this time was taking a strong part in the political and economic struggle of the nation . As an illustration, I may point to the Caligari and Mabuse pictures with their æsthetic trimmings. The subjects of these pictures are an expression of the gloom , morbidity and sense of horror that possessed German people at the time of their production. In such ways, then, the people was invited to take its fears and hopes to the Cinema to get them fulfilled . In other words, the Cinema was exercising on influence in the war of economics and politics. From this it seems reasonable to conclude that the German cinema had become, or was becoming, organised to satisfy a public craving for enlightenment and instruction on matters of vital interest — matters, that is , concerning their own, and the interests of their country. What was this organisation ? What X [ 1919. German .Produced byDecla incorporated now with UFA .The Cabinet ofDr. Caligari . The famousilm which has æsthetically influenced many pictures .Itbelongs tohe first stage of“soul period when the film took onfunction ofexpressing rapidly changing public moods .Caligari which deals with theerrible crimes ofsomnambulist acontrolled by11th century mountebank monk symbolises the public mind possessed byfear and horror .The scenehows Cesare (Conrad Veidt )carrying off Jane Dagoyer (Lil ,the celebrated vamp )whom heas filed tokill according Caligari's instructions .The scenery and figures were influenced bythe famous “Der Sturm "school ofimpressionists under Her warth Wlden . 1 |1 { THE DESCENT 245 was its cause ? What was its effect ? It was an organisation that took place soon after the War ended. It served to divide the post-war career of the Cinema into periods and tendencies. The German film industry began about 1909, and 1914 saw the close of the first period . The second important period began about 1920 and lasted till 1927. From 1927 to 1929 there was a period of descent into the vortex . From 1919 to 1923 or 4, there was a passionate outburst of insurrectionary activities by the young insurgents whom the removal of post-war restraints set free to their own wild expression of social indignation and reform . They sought reform through ästhetic channels. Plunged into Chaos, dimly aware of a new civilisation and of a Germany with a new spirit, they set out to embody the spirit in Form . To them Form came first. “ Create the Form, ” they seemed to say, and by a miracle the spirit will become enshrined in it. They were unaware that to be reasonable we must take care of the spirit and the Form will take care of itself. How ever, their enthusiasm and search for Form took them into the Cinema which oddly enough the German Film Kings had to some extent prepared to receive them . The outcome was the German æsthetic tendency which revealed itself in the Cinema in a preoccupation with the problems of space, and the search for the absolute picture. There was an attempt to raise cubism and expressionism to the front rank as means of interpretation and representation. Expressionism gave “ Caligari ” to the cinema world, and it has lived to exercise an æsthetic influence in many countries. The circumstances that linked the commercial and ästhetic tendencies together are not difficult to trace. The origin of the important revival of the German film industry was inflation . It enabled Germany to sell its com modities in foreign markets at a very low rate. The Concept. The Cinema was conceived of as an instru ment of national liberation . The Motive. To overcome the worst effects of economic 246 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA and Political situation produced by the War and the Peace Treaty. Organisation. A strictly economic one, resembling that of Hollywood. Economic machinery to promote economic activi ties consisting of the production, distribution , exchange and con sumption of picture goods necessary to meet a foreign demand, and to satisfy the present appetite of the German people. These activities depended upon and were controlled by Capital — Finance and Credit. Content. Two types of picture; one national for home consumption; the other international for foreign consumption. Briefly: Patriotic Propaganda, and Profit-making Publicity. Pictures made for foreign consumption carried an advertisement value by reason of their quality. Method. Technical efficiency. German technical progress after the War was very rapid . When I visited the German Cinema Exhibition at the Leipzig Fair in 1923, I found abundant evidence that in the matter of the production of technical novelties of the cinema, Germany was well ahead of other countries. The following extract taken from a German paper to which I contributed reveals that the sound film ” was occupying close attention and not without very promising results : The triumphal march of the German film has increasingly attracted the attention of the international film expert world , for in the last years the German Film and cinema technique has made enormous progress. The German film companies are unwearying in their efforts to improve and perfect the technique of the cinema in every direction . Among the greatest modern German inventions we may mention the new “ sound film ” ( system Vogt-Engl-Masolle) which offers, in perfect form , an absolute combination of picture and sound.” Though the aforesaid economic organisation resembles that of Hollywood, inasmuch as its primary aim is clearly to 1 The European Press ( Germany) , April 11, 1923 . THE DESCENT 247 > enable a film industry to pay its way and to make large profits, it has one redeeming feature put there by its promoters, who appear to have had an appreciation of the historic national struggle in which Germany was engaged, as well as a powerful commercial instinct. To the idea of making money they joined the ideal of the creation of a new , or at least, a better, Germany than the one destroyed by the War. It was an excellent ideal which might have worked wonders if only the Film Kings had kept it in its place and not allowed it to over- ride the idea of enabling the film industry to pay its way. Unfortunately, as time went on they plunged so heavily on national and patriotic films before the German film industry was financially secure, before they had an assured substantial income from foreign markets, that financial distress and the American pawnshop was inevitable . The redeeming feature is described by the term ennoble ment. ” What it means precisely I do not know . But as applied to material by these producers standing on the verge of an abyss, it is understood to mean quality. As applied to national and patriotic subject it may or may not mean glorification or exaltation . In any case, I read that in 1920 or thereabout, “ The Director-General of the largest German Film concern had just effected a certain amalgamation with a well -known American company, and after a brilliant harangue upon the international significance of the film before a small group of Berlin editors, concluded as follows: ' I believe the function of the German film is to give the American film that which it does not possess -that is soul.' " .' " To this benevolent intention may be attributed the fact that between 1920 and 1926 a number of pictures of high rank were produced by Germany which were very success ful in England, America and other countries. Probably this ennoblement ideal provides the key to the long -continued production of pictures to which I shall give the name of current event. " Their production and exhibition in 1 “ The New Vision in the German Arts ,” by H. G. Scheffauer, 1924. 248 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Germany were determined by current events . Such events operated upon the German public and produced a highly wrought state of mind that asked for a process of ennoblement or exaltation, to relieve it. We see , then , the German cinema launched into the historic national struggle, not by the people themselves, not by a Government acting on behalf of the people, as in Russia, but by commercial-minded men equipped with a higher purpose than the Hollywood Film Kings. They wanted the Cinema to assist in solving perhaps the gravest economic problem that has ever faced any country , with the exception of Bolshevist Russia ; and they wanted it to take part in the political-social struggle. To them , however, as business men, it was necessary that economic activities should always come first. They had, no doubt, sound economic reasons for this view. But, on the whole, it had a disastrous effect on the majority of pictures produced for national and patriotic pur pose. It led to the introduction to powerful saga, historical, national, religious, and other propaganda pictures conceived and carried out on the largest scale, of trashy elements and inconceivably stupid situations, such , for instance, as one of many that disfigures the U.F.A. production of “ Faust. ” I allude to the cheap melodramatic scene which exhibits Gretchen and her child in a snowstorm . There is no reason why Gretchen and her child should not be seen in a snowstorm any more than there is why Eliza and a child should not be seen doing acrobatics on icebergs. But to introduce this kind of stuff into a great national epic like “ Faust ” is simply a sign of commercial cretinism . The commercial falsification of the proper character of the big subject handled for the purpose of encouraging national unity, reconstruction and recovery , could be traced in many productions during the period of full action and decline. For this reason the study, during the said three post -war phases, of the content of pictures made for home consumption, though always highly instructive, did not always bring joy. x THE DESCENT 249 I think the content of the first phase of picture-making most interested me. It was the outcome of an unusual co -opera tion between the capitalist, the impressario and the young in surgents equipped with a new æsthetic. At that time the capi talists appeared to be moved by a sense of duty to the Fatherland. They upheld, as I have indicated, an ennoblement ideal ; they were aware, no doubt, that the old Germany had fallen to pieces, and that a new unity was wanted and must be attained even though it mean an alliance with forces that had no box office value. This strange wedding of Cræsus and Solon (an æsthetic one) took place at a time when so many young enthusiasts were talking and acting (as so many are doing to-day) as if the solu tion of æsthetic problems were the short cut to the building of a new Germany on a happier and more spiritually prosperous basis than the old one. Anyone who examines such unusual pictures as “ Dr. Caligari,” “ Mabuse, “ The Golem", ” and others whose technique is strongly inspired by these, can see at once that the makers are not concerned with the political, economic or social subject. They are not concerned with physical reality at all . “ Caligari ” is an illustration of the application of the principles of expressionism to the moving picture. It is an expression of something felt by the artist, and an attempt to use space as a material with which to obtain plastic form . Space is indeed thought of as a solid, as stuff to be modelled, like clay, and not as a vacuum in which to dump an object, say a con ventional street fountain . And “ Caligari ” is an experiment in Einsteinising space. Or putting it on the sculptor's block ." “ The creators of the picture were Walther Reimann, Walther Röhrig, an architect, and Hermann Warm . These men did not wish to produce a series of new and startling pictures. What they undertook was a scientific and ästhetic experiment in a new treatment of space.” X Method . “ Oddities of Sculpture," by Huntly Carter, “ Pearson's Magazine,” March, 1930. The titles describing the illustrations have been “ edited " to mean nothing. i See 250 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA “ Floors and pavements are streaked, splashed and spotted , divided and decorated in bars, crosses, diagonals, serpentines and arrows. The walls become as banners, or as transparencies, space fissured by age, or as slates upon which the lightning blazes strange hieroglyphs. Or they become veils and vanish in a mosaic of scrambled forms and surfaces, like a liner in camouflage. A grim effort is made to extend perspective not only in flight from the spectator — that is, toward the back ground — but into and beyond the foreground, to overwhelm the spectator with it, to penetrate and transfix him with its linear life, to draw him into the trammels, the vortex of the action. The first effect that strikes the eye in the Caligari film is the plastic richness and accentuation of all the masses. We are plunged into a cubistic world of intense relief and depth , a stereoscopic universe. The modelling of the scenery is emphasised by painted high lights, by artificial shadows, by bands of colour outlining masses and contours. no money in that, as a Film King would say. Such is the setting. But what of the characters?? They are far too naturalistic. They do not harmonise with the back

Pretty, but 0 1 t ground. The writer gives the credit of the " creation to Messrs. Reimann, Röhrig and Warm . But the production was in directly influenced by the Berlin Sturm Group of ultra-expres sionists associated with Herwarth Walden. From my friend Walden I learned that the painter decorators copied the ideas of the Sturm painter Arnold Topp without so much as a word of acknowledgment. In “ The Golem ," " a fantastic, cabalistic Jewish romance of ancient Prague, by Gustav Meyrink ,” we see the new architect making a practical use of space. But Herr Poelzig, to whom belongs the credit of having built Max Reinhardt's “ Theatre of The Three Thousand " during the War, obtains his expressionistic effects by means of plastic form instead of by painted scenery as in “ Caligari.” The picture 1 “ The New Spirit in the German Arts," by H. G. Scheffauer. THE DESCENT, 251 971 “ Dr. Mabuse " is a third candidate for expressionist immor tality. The above experiment with space is spoken of as some thing new . Actually the problems of space have occupied the attention of the artist for a very long time. “ No artist, even before the days of the camera , had for his object the mere representation of objects. The problem of space and the inter relations of its divisions was dimly in the minds of Giotto and his contemporaries. How long the early Italians felt the integrity and continuity of lines before it was definitely stated that they were not primarily the outlines of tangible articles it is now impossible to say. It is enough that principles of per spective have expanded as science has progressed, that colour and light have come to be understood as one and the same thing .' The original and striking cinema æsthetic technique of “ Caligari ” has exerted a world -wide influence.. It shaped, for instance, the very unusual Russian motion picture “ Aelita, ” a Martian fantasy, the combined work of Alexandra Exter, a Kamerny Theatre decorator, and Isaac Rabinovitch, also a prominent Moscow theatre decorator." If the German cinema appeared at this early date of recovery to be slipping into a whirlpool world of uncommer cial isms and rhythms, expressionist, cubist, constructivist, and the rest, it was not allowed to go beyond the golden plummet's sounding. The Film Kings were disposed to be indulgent but not to let virtuosity go too far. There was a public appetite demanding to be satisfied with human emotions. It was for this reason , no doubt, that subjects climbed into the subtler reaches of the cinema, suited to reflect the abnormal state of mind of the German folk in the early post-war days. Two of the subjects, “ Caligari ” and “ Mabuse,” reflect a mad world, 1 Elliot Paul, in “ Transition," American Number, Summer, 1928 . 2 NOTE.- " The Theatre Arts Monthly " ( New York) , April, 1927 , relates the treatment of this picture to constructivism . But from Madam Exter I gathered that it derives from Caligari.” - Author, 252 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA an almost unthinkable mental state of gloom and depression and horror. Yet it was the mental attitude of the public. “ The Golem ,” too , is a study in the bizarre, a subject bound up with hunger and misery and suffering. Gloom and ästhetic, the eternal emotion and the uncon ventional form , the impulse towards a national purpose and an “ ennobling ” expression (or so it seemed to the expres sionists ), such a union could not last in an age that called for material not spiritual action . As far as I know there has not been another “ Caligari ” of the German cinema. For five or six years I have been asking Walden and the members of Sturm Group, “ Is there any art expression worth seeing in the German cinema ? ” And, always, the answer has been, “ Nothing.” “ What about the ' artistic ' achievement of, say, the U.F.A. Production Com pany? ” A loud laugh. The fact is that succeeding the remarkable outburst of the Caligari ” days came a return to commercial and photo graphic fetters, that is, comparatively speaking. The technique of æsthetic continued to be employed to enrich unusual pictures. It was not allowed to take the centre of the screen and shout down the human subject as Caligari ” did. It was not encouraged to grow out of the subject, to clothe it in its own æsthetic with a function of its own, like the protective colour that animals put on. It became an accretion stuck on to a picture for commercial ends, like the crowds in Griffith's big pictures, either to excite curiosity, or to increase sensation. Photographic fetters increased with the use of trick photography. + And critics with no sense of social values applauded the play of light and shade, the confusion of subject and form , and murmured, “ What art ! ” From 1923 to 1927 the German cinema saw many living subjects moulded into eccentric, ill-fitting and concealing shapes. It would be possible to quote the titles of a whole galleryful of masterpieces ” which tried to speak an “ art ” jargon and Grimm 1923. German .ADecla -Bioscope UFA film .Cinderella The story follows the brothers version .The action takes place inasmall South German principality .The scenehows Cinderella (Helga Thomas )arriving and the Prince (Paul Hartmann )atthe door .The setting isnthe South German baroque style .Iisanother ofthe Soul type picture and forms asymbol into which the German people in1923 can read their feling that Germany isthe Cinderella among nations and there is Democracy .hope in

THE DESCENT 253 are worth study chiefly for their failure to do so . “ Waxworks , “ The Student of Prague, ” “ The Loves of Jean Ney,” “ The Last Moment,” “ The Man who Laughs,” are “ artistic coated pills of gloom , morbidity, insanity, weird fantasy, macabre mys teriousness, sex and crime . ” The technique of some may have been influenced by “ Caligari,” others by technical influences which have come from Russia since 1919, but on the whole, they are a proof that the Art of the Cinema is like the “ Art of the Theatre , ” nothing more than a carefully - laid plot by æsthetes and collaborating intellectuals to prevent the expression by the Cinema and the Theatre of contemporary natural, vital and human values. Soon after 1923 began the United Nation Crusade. The Cinema took up the Fight For Life and Light Campaign. It made a powerful appeal for unity, strength , fortitude to resist foreign attacks and encroachments. From the morbid subject that began in 1919,—the subject expressing the tortured and abnormal state of mind of the German people, -arose a sub ject that revealed the Cinema coming into closer contact, not with the abstract, but with the concrete world of human beings, not with the pathological but with the practical political-social issues of the nation . It was a subject that had a sociological bearing, for it dealt with the adjustment of the German people to their new environment under pressure of crisis after crisis. It is a noteworthy fact that this tendency was promoted by the German Film Kings, whose hands were strengthened in this direction by the revolt of not only the cultivated but the mass of the German people against the punishment meted out to them by the Great Victorious Powers, and against the banali ties of the persistent American pictures. The picture magnates took up the powerful weapon of propaganda on behalf of the They ransacked Germany's archives for material documentary evidence in support of Germany's claim to justice and to real greatness. They Aung upon the screen one after the other Monumental Historical pictures, such as common cause . 19 254 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA “ The Rhine” ( a protest against the French invasion ); Spec tacular Pageant Stories, legends such as “ The Nibelungs,” Part 1 Siegfried ; Philosophy and Religion , Classics, like “ Faust,” revolutionary events like “ Luther” ; National Leader pictures, like “ Bismarck ” and “ Prince Louis Ferdinand ” (and the struggle against Napoleon ); War pictures, “ The Emden,” and the German War picture. Thus Propaganda took the screen hand in hand with the Fatherland and Patriotism . When II came to study these extraordinary pictures I noticed one significant thing. The stories selected for screen treatment generally had two sides — a material and unmaterial one — which invited a two- fold treatment. So treated they yielded a blend of actuality and fantasy, or whimsicality; actuality and phantasy, or regression; of actuality and spirituality. I noticed that the attempt to get the blend of actuality and fantasy, and of actuality and phantasy was usually very successful; while the attempt to express the material and spiritual in one picture was invariably a dismal failure. For example, the material part of “ The Nibelungs ” was very well thought out and the phantasy (sometimes called by mistake fantasy) which is perhaps the essence of the story, seeing that it is concerned with those magical, mystical and mysterious beginnings to which the human mind is continually returning through the subconscious,—this, too , was well handled. It seemed to me that the most impressive pictures were those in which phantasy had, if not full play, at least as much play as might be expected in a picture made on a commercial basis as all these monumental propaganda pictures were. They were impressive because they harmonised with that peculiar psychic stirring and striving which is a marked characteristic of the German mind. The phantasy is really a religious one and it makes its deep appeal to the old religious complexes inhering in the German collective subconscious. To say that the German people are truly religious is to utter a commonplace. It is for THE DESCENT 255 this reason that it derived , I think, far more consolation from the contemplation of the screened sagas, legends and pageant stories, than it did from the big religious pictures. In any case , to me these pictures were, spiritually speaking, a failure. I may say that I did not expect much from the American samples, save religion debauched by the mammonised Film industry, and I was not disappointed. I did, however, expect better results than I received from the great religious subjects handled by such responsible directors as Murnau for German Film Kings moved by an ideal of ennoblement. When I was invited to see the American version of “ Ben Hur,” a descendant in the direct line of the conversional “ I.N.R.I.” family; and the Hollywood version of “ The King of Kings,” a descendant in the direct line of the De Mille quasi religious family, I prepared for suffering. But when I was in vited to see the portrayal of Goethe's “ Faust ” and “ Luther, ” I fancied I was in for a real helping of Kultur. The fact that I was mistaken was brought home to me by the opinion of “ Ben Hur” expressed by a very intelligent and religious German woman who witnessed this picture in my company. As we were leaving the Ufa- Pavillon am Nollendorf platz, I said to her, “ What do you think of it ? the good points ? She answered meditatively, “ Generally, the make-up. All this, ” she put her finger on the statistical part of the programme which gave in minute detail the facts and figures of Mr. Fred Niblo's objective achievement, “ all this makes a very exciting material shell.” I read, “ 45 operators, some of whom photographed from subterranean trenches, used the immense length of 16,000 metres of film . The photography was directed from a tower fifty metres high. The director gave his orders through a loud speaker and through a telephone 3,600 metres long. The operators preceded the chariots in motor cars. One operator photographed the course from a balloon .” They were the sensational details of the chariot race. “ And what does it give you on the spiritual side ? ” I inquired. “ Listen to this. “ What are 256 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > ‘ Carl Hoffmann ' ( the creative photographer of the great Nibelungs picture) has so charged with stimmung (mind, spirit, the spiritual?) the tremendous spectacle of “ Ben Hur ” that it emanates divine sparks.' Or words to this effect. She said impatiently and a little passionately, “ I hoped to receive something spiritual. But the spiritual side . Breaking off. “ Really I cannot say what I want to say about it, now. I am stirred to the depths by the problem of all problems which is contained in the story, and of course is not solved by the objective treatment, simply because it cannot be so solved ; nor by philosophic, æsthetic and scientific expression. It is not a matter for the brain or the intellect. It is something that goes beyond both . It is bound up with truth in the inward parts and is detected by the Christian who sets an inward watchful ness over the ' soul,' or ' spirit.' It is to be believed or rejected on one's own responsibility.” After a pause. “ I do not know why I came to see this picture. It may be that I dimly expected to obtain a little spiritual satisfaction, for which my heart is longing, from a subject that has such satisfaction in it. But I might have known that I should be disappointed. How can a thing made in the coarsening laboratories of Mammon and the Machine possess spiritual refinement, an essence that flows from the ' soul ?? ” All of which was metaphysical, but typically German . What my friend meant was that there was nothing in the material objects in the picture of “ Ben Hur ” with which she could clothe her inward conviction of the truth of Chris tianity. She was a Christian at heart, but “ Ben Hur " did not convert her to the fact that she was. Another evening we went to see “ Faust ” at the Ufa -Palast am Zoo . It should be said that the story of “ Faust ” is the antithesis of the story of “ Ben Hur.” The one is the negation of Christianity, the other the affirmation of Christianity. Thus the unique opportunity was afforded of seeing and comparing the portrayal of two opposing ideas of Christianity on the screen at one time. Besides this, there was the opportunity to com THE DESCENT 257 pare the German and American methods of treating the big religious subject. The different points of view presented by the two stories are these . “ Ben Hur ” says there are but two sides of human Life, Good and Bad. Man cannot save himself ; God will save him . For Christ the problem of sexual sin did not exist. The “ spirit ” in the end overcomes the latter. The story reveals how the Romans, representing hard material forces, are overcome by the spirit of Christianity. The saving element is belief in a higher power. The Romans are not to be overcome by human force but by spiritual. the final scene of the picture Ben Hur drops his sword, but not in a manner to sug gest that he is overcome by spiritual grace, has undergone the act of conversion, that he has realised truth and is speaking it from his heart. He suggests rather that his sword is being taken from him by manual force, that in fact he is overcome by the sense of a powerful manual force, not by spiritual con version . Of course , this is in harmony with what goes before, the mad excitement of the chariot race and the exciting but pictorial beauty of the sea fight. The whole thing is in a materialistic vein. “ Faust ” contains Goethe's argument that man cannot be saved by the love of God. No one can save him except hin self. He cannot be saved by pity and compassion but by courage. Philosophy would seem to be the saving element. In the picture Love is made the atoning and saving element. It rules out Goethe and substitutes sentimental slush . Goethe was concerned with the triumph of the evil, in the ruin of human beings. An accomplished , but pleasure-loving and weak -willed man leagues himself to the Devil, the embodiment of super human evil . Faust sells himself for the sake of short-lived sensual gratification — the possession of the virgin Gretchen. The lovescenes are meant to be scenes of mockery.NIn the picture they are scenes of bathos. According to one eminent inter preter, “ the tissue of the piece is mockery, misery and disaster . ” According to Murnau, or whoever was responsible for the ending 258 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 92 of the picture, Faust is rescued from the burning and ascends with Gretchen , lift- like, to heaven on the wings of Love. The much -over-rated Emil Jannings ( the much-beloved of the Eng lish intellectuals because of his marvellous ability to act with his back ) as Mephisto was mildly amusing. Instead of the personi fied principle of evil capable of rousing the diabolical sympathies of the audience, he was more like the embodiment of Falstaff. Again I asked my companion, “ What has this given you ? ” She bit her lip and remained silent. Mr. C. B. Cochran presented this picture at the Royal Albert Hall, London. He also expressed an opinion on it. Here it is : “ Mr. Cochran said yesterday that he considers ' Faust ' not only the best, most spacious, and lovely film he has ever seen, but also the best realisation of a familiar subject ever achieved pictorially. Mr. Cecil De Mille's “ King of Kings” likewise made its way to London, where the triumph it achieved was that of getting into the columns of the Press and of leading sensible persons to desert their senses. The version II saw in Berlin im . pressed me still further with the fact that the camera cannot go beyond its own domain no matter how hard well-inten tioned photographers strive to make it do so, even by putting, as they claim to do, the human mind into it and setting aside, as far as they are able, that of the Film Kings' mentality. Says a prominent writer, “ The camera in itself has no artistic value; it is merely a recording instrument. It is as essentially unselec tive as nature itself ; the only difference being that it reduces the full play of natural colour to gradations of black and white. The result is that the best of the so -called art -photographers men like Craig Annan, Horsley Hinton, Edouard Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Colburn - were forced in order to pro duce good photographs to become trained observers of the i See “ Close Up. " 2 The Daily Mail, November 25th , 1926 . THE DESCENT 259 camera. 2 degree of and shade in any given subject; they arranged their material, waited for the favourable moment, took innumerable negatives of the same subject, picked out the best, and displayed their full craftsmanship in the control they exercised over the printing of their happiest efforts." By this method of selecting, sifting and arranging material, the photographer, we are asked to believe, puts art expression into, or extracts it from , the “ The film , in so far as material goes, is rooted in actuality. What gives it artistic possibility is that it can com bine actuality of scene and of event to a far higher degree than is possible on the stage. It can relate each episode of a long story to its appropriate background thus the film solves the problem which agitated Ibsen and most of the great dramatists of the later nineteenth century." All the same, it fails where Ibsen succeeded , namely, in communicating his re ligious mysticism to the spectator. “ The mystical temperament and habit of mind of Ibsen made him contemplate man in all his relations as a spiritual being — a spiritual being in a material environment which , by the nature and laws of his life he can govern for good or ill . ” 3 The New Testament teaches that Christ was a spiritual being in a material environment. He had a dual individuality. As his names imply he was Jesus the Man and Christ the God. This means that he was able to extend his individuality to heaven. Swedenborg, the mystic, claimed to have a similar power. He too was able to extend his individuality to heaven where he held conversations with the Deity. In the moving-picture, “ The King of Kings,” Christ is not a spiritual being in a material environment. He is simply a material being without any mysticism in his character. To me Mr. H. B. Warner was a crepe hair-and - spirit-gum Christ, and he moved in a setting and under circumstances that had no 3 Art . i “ The Philosophy of the Film ," by John Gould Fletcher, work , " Autumn, 1928. 2 Ibid. 3 “ Henrick Ibsen, Poet and Mystic,” by Henry Rose. 9 260 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA . " 11 spiritual force. Mr. Warner is a professional actor not a mystic. In this respect he is unlike the simple peasant who takes the part of Christ in The Oberammergau Passion Play. There is far more religious fervour and mysticism in his characterisa tion . There were English critics, including literary ones , who held a different opinion. One of the latter let himself go as follows : “ Mr. Warner's impersonation of Our Lord has notice able defects but he does leave behind him the impression of a really beautiful presence, of sinlessness, of a wisdom , patience and charity more than human." My italics . Other Opinions. “ The spiritual effect of the picture is so intense that even a topical news reel must spoil it." One would think it would be the reverse . “ In spite of these faults, the film is a reverent and moving illustration of the story of the Cross. ” ' S “ • The King of Kings lacks spirituality; it lacks true understanding; it completely lacks inspiration. No person can impersonate Jesus Christ, no producer can materialise the divine." Should a film actor play the part ? Anton Lang plays the part at Oberammergau . “ Not an illustration of the Bible story, but an illustrated Holly wood story with Christ left out.” ? “ If the film is taken as it stands and for what it is worth, it must be regarded as a sincere and at many moments faithful and deeply affecting reproduction of New Testament incidents. “ Much of it is alarmingly naïve and unimaginative, and there are serious defects. The opening scenes of senseless luxury in the home of the courtesan, Mary Magdalene, are absurdly over emphasised. In what town in Syria outside Damascus could such a home as hers be found at that period of history ? The 4 66 CC 1 J. C. Squire, The Observer , December 18, 1927. 2 D. L. McE. , The Sunday Pictorial, October 30 , 1927. 3 E. A. Baughan, The Daily News, December 15, 1927. 4 The Evening Standard, December 15 , 1927. 5 The Daily Erpress, December 15, 1927 . 6 Press, December 15, 1927. 7. Ibid. THE DESCENT 261 alliance between Mary and Judas Iscariot is an unnecessary em bellishment. “ The whole of this incident, together with its garish colour ing, its leopards and prancing zebras, its ogling effeminates, and the seven deadly sins assailing the convert, should be ruth lessly eliminated. “ There is a needlessly realistic de Mille earthquake towards the end of the picture, including a far - fetched impression of the tree, with Judas hanging from its branches, pitching headlong into a cavity in the earth . “ The incident of the woman taken in adultery is carried too far, much further than in the New Testament. The entire point of Christ turning and looking at St. Peter after the denial is lost by being repeated three times. Simon of Cyrene is repre sented as offering to carry the cross . Caiaphas is undignified throughout. The call of Matthew is wholly altered. The treatment of the Cup after the Last Supper is open to criticism .' Publicity : “ Whatever the merits of the film may be there is no other word but ' bilge ’ in which to characterise the way in which the plain story of the life of Christ as set forth in the Gospels has been much “ written up ” in the programme. “ The opening scene, we learn, is : —The brilliant banquet of Mary Magdalene at Magdala, whence the witty, beautiful hostess of Judean and Roman aristocrats stormed forth to seek “ this carpenter ' at Capernaum. In the film she jumps scantily clad into a chariot drawn by six zebras ! ” The German Press was far worse . » 1 6 2 a Economics : “ The much -discussed American film on the life of Christ called “ The King of Kings, ' which, to the general surprise, was recently authorised for presentation here by the London County i The Morning Post, December 15 , 1927. 2 The Sunday Chronicle, October 30, 1927 . 262 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 66 Council, will probably be shown at Covent Garden . It is believed that £ 1,000 a week is the price required by the film company, so only a very large house could make it pay.” It is a relief to turn from this American concoction of scenes in the life and death of Christ, to the reverently handled though not spiritually satisfying, German picture, “ Martin Luther.” This picture was publicly exhibited in London mainly through the enterprise and persistence of Mr. Stuart Davis, the energetic manager of the Avenue Pavilion Cinema, known as the House of Silent Shadow owing to the policy of the management of showing unusual silent pictures only. Before “ Luther ” could be shown the objections of the Censor had to be overcome, and a drastic cutting submitted to which was the cause of some of the most significant scenes being eliminated. It underwent a similar treatment in Berlin. The new film , ‘ Martin Luther,' manufactured for the Ufa Company by Hans Keyser, part author of the ' Faust ' film , has aroused controversy and caused the Catholic bishops in Berlin to protest and express their expectation that no Catholic will visit it. The pictures of Tetzel as a lively auctioneer revivalist selling indulgences to gay sinners is the chief point of these objections. “ The Ufa Company states that the censor cut much out of it. It gives fine pictures of Luther's visit to Rome, of his trial at Worms, and of the peasants storming the churches against his wishes. It is worthy to rank with the best things that ever came from the Ufa studios. A Jesuit friend, in whose company I saw it, declared that the scenes of Luther's initiation as an Augustinian monk were dignified and accurate, and praised its objectivity in showing that the German princes supported Luther from self-interest." The Times inquest on the battered corpse revealed that in the coroner's opinion : i The Manchester Guardian, December 1 , 1927. 2 From The Observer's Berlin Correspondent, February 19, 1928 . THE DESCENT 263 “ Martin Luther cannot be regarded as a fair specimen of modern German film work. As it comes to us it fails either to create character or to draw a picture of the times in a way to compel illusion ; and it is not easy to believe that it had any greater dramatic merit when it left the studio than it now possesses. The producers have been content to make of Luther a conventional hero of the films and to invest the story of his life with all the glamour of false romance. The obstacles put in his path seem unreal and his enemies are all of lath and plaster. Luther's spiritual and intellectual development is con veyed in terms that have long ago lost their power to persuade us of their truth . A storm on a rocky plain, all flashes of lightning and Aying sand , has to serve to suggest the spiritual experience which sent him into a convent, and the worldliness of the Papal Court is sketched in with a leisureliness which only emphasizes its lack of distinction. “ The rest of his history is set forth in scenes which do nothing to persuade us that it offers a very suitable theme to the film . We are given a scene of drunken revelry to describe the evils which Luther found in the sale of indulgences; we see Luther nailing his 95 Theses on the church door; and we see him before the Diet at Worms swaying the mind of the young Emperor with his eloquence and incurring the violent hostility of the Spaniards. With the spectacle of Luther translating the Bible the film falls temporarily into an obscurity from which it emerges to end a sketchy record of the great reformer's life with a scene showing him calming his riotous followers from the pulpit of a church in Wittenberg. The captions, which in clude a quotation from Browning, are as undistinguished as the general direction of the film .” The following is a synopsis of the the story. It opens with Luther's return to Erfurt as a teacher. He witnesses the murder of a teacher by nobles. Takes a solemn vow to raise the fiery cross of revolt. Appears in a scene symbolical of a great storm 1 1 The Times, September 30 , 1929. 264 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ences. 1 overthrowing the Cross. He becomes a Black monk. He is sent on a pilgrimage to Rome. Here the scenes of Papal luxury dismay him and greatly strengthen his revolutionary purpose. There is the burning of the Papal Bull. Luther is sent to Wittenburg where he is horrified at the wanton sale of indulg He nails his famous ninety-five theses to the Cathedral door. The revolt spreads. Then Worms and the theological discussion . Luther appears in shining armour in the pulpit. He rebukes the crowd for its destruction of treasures. The final scenes are disjointed “ shots ” of martyrdom , and of happi ness won by the Reformation .' What light does the picture throw on the character of Luther. It suggests rather than actually shows, that he is a great crusader armed with a fiery sword of indignation. It suggests the following description : “ Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism , was a fighter, the man who flamed through mediæval Europe like a prairie fire, burning Papal Bulls, defying kings and emperors, being pitched into prison, laughing at the Pope, nailing his decrees to church doors, and preaching with the lungs of an ox, the courage of a Bersek .” It is hard to gather from this whether Luther was a man of faith , the best type of the class of the religious devotee armed with a great religious ideal necessary to reform the Church of his day, gathering around him all whom fortuneor chance had brought within his religious influence, or merely an ambitious politician provided with a scheme rather of self- than national aggrandisement, and putting forth his fifteen points at Marburg, fourteen of which were accepted, after the manner of President Wilson's at Versailles. By Germany Luther is accepted as a reformer with an intense religious conviction. He pursued a purpose and up held a faith which have a strong significance for to-day. The Luther of the moving picture does not communicate a 1 See The Manchester Guardian , August 30 , 1929. 2 James Douglas in The Sunday Express, August 11 , 1929 . THE DESCENT 265 > spiritual experience. Actually the picture is a contribution to the understanding of the deeper reasons underlying the world war conflict, and is extremely valuable on this account. I think the English critics lost sight of this fact. In any case , I did not come across a criticism that sought to relate the religious revo lution of four centuries ago with the one that is taking place to-day. This neglect by critics to read current events into the best pictures is a common one. When I went to see the picture in Germany I took with me the questions, “ Why has this picture been produced to -day ? What significance has it for our time ? I received satisfactory answers, which proved to me that the picture enabled the Cinema to fulfil a good function . Later I took my questions to a German friend, a prominent protestant clergyman. It was he who wrote the “ Luther ” manuscript, but as he did not altogether agree with its treatment by the director of the picture, he withheld his name. He said that the significance of Luther for our time could not be overrated . In a sense the world war was waged not only against the peculiar growth of German political and economic power but also mainly against the forces underlying this growth, i.e. , the protestant empire of the Hohenzollern dynasty. He alluded to the reference by Dr. E. Ludwig, the famous Jewish writer, to the utterance of a high functionary of the Roman Catholic Church , that the Pope had won the War. This victory of the Pope is, in the light of German history, synonymous with the downfall of Prussia, the arch -enemy of Roman ambitions in Germany. It is, however, not only the radical wing of Roman Catholicism that might well rejoice at this victory but other forces that are said to make for tyranny. All therefore who are opposed to spiritual tyranny, no matter where it comes from, should accept the bequest which Luther made to us, namely to stand for spiritual freedom . England is in no less danger from tyrannical forces than Germany. Hence the propaganda value of “ Luther ” in this country. 266 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA This book does not pretend to take a side in religious con troversy. Its business is interpretation of the Cinema as a medium of expression, human , sociological and other. Still I may mention that it was said in the English Press that a good deal of opposition to the exhibition of the “ Luther ” picture came from catholic quarters. It was pointed out that the censor, the later Mr. T. P. O'Connor was a catholic . But he denied that he was moved in any way by his religious con victions in, at first, refusing to allow the picture to be exhibited , and later, in permitting it to be shown after he had sanctioned extremely stupid cuts. The history of religious intolerance is a very long and sad one. To-day there is undoubtedly a new religious movement. Human beings seemed to be tired of the gross materialism imposed upon them by the War. Nothing should be ruled out that is likely to help the movement. The objection has been raised to Luther himself, by German students, that he is too strong and militant an individuality in the strict Christian sense . But militancy is implicit in the declarations of the Gospel Christ. From his life and teachings it is quite clear that he came to mankind not to be overcome, Faust- like, by the principle of evil but to fight it . I have dealt at length with the content of the German pictures from 1919 to 1926, because there is no doubt that the makers of the pictures have been obsessed with content rather than with form . And if we may believe that they held the opinion that the function of the German picture is to express soul ” , then it is logical to believe that the object of putting “ soul ” into the German pictures was to introduce the German people to their own soul.” I am not sure in what sense the metaphysical term “ soul " is used . Both “ soul ”” and spirit ” are vague, but their use cannot be avoided here. The point I am concerned with is that the attitude of the German Film Kings and intellectuals towards the post -war cinema justified my belief that an examination of the pictures would re veal far more evidence in support of my argument than pic > THE DESCENT 267 a of a tures produced in the victorious countries. I mean the argument that when the Cinema is properly handled it fulfils function for man. If I cannot say that I detected the German cinema introducing the German people to their own “ soul, ” as I understand the term , I can certainly say that I found it stirring the subconscious, the in stinctive and the scientific in the audience more perhaps than it appeared to do in those regions of battle, revolution, disease and death , with which I have dealt in the early part my story. Metaphysics, philosophy,, religion, science, æsthetic, politics, that is, social politics, economics, and social life, have all comprised the constituents of significant German pictures. As I have shown, they have done so for a national purpose, that of securing national unity during a period of storm and stress. Unfortunately this use of the Cinema as an organic part of the life of the nation, and as such capable of reflecting its memory and aspiration has not been elevated to a permanent policy. It was a policy adopted and followed from 1919 to 1926 only, fol lowed, that is, as far as economic conditions would permit. Since 1926 there has been a backsliding. Today Germany is reaping the reward of a financial alliance with Hollywood. The great energy, the enterprise, the technical advance that have gone to the making of pictures in the past have been sold to, or pawned with American magnates who in return have debauched Germany with their picture productions. Whether it is Ger many's fault I am unable to say . My impression is that Ger many is and has for some time, been in a deplorable economic condition . The impression is not shared by everyone. Not long ago Lord Rothermere stated in the Daily Mail that before the War, England was the richest country in the world . To-day is it fourth. America comes first, France second, Germany third . Each of these are making enormous taxation reductions this year. Germany proposes to lower taxation by £ 45,000,000. Against this optimistic view let me place a few facts gathered from first- hand and reliable German sources. “ The number of un 268 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA “ The employed is fast increasing again and on December 5th, 1929, amounted to 1,250,000. German towns once boasted of exemplary management; they rivalled each other in lowest taxa tion. Now they rival each other in large deficits.” (A state ment made during the session of the Reichverband Deutscher Industrieller ). “ Berlin the capital of the Reich is being drowned in corruption and bankruptcy ” (from a Berlin economic journal). “ There is hardly a day you do not find in the newspapers the announcement of some bank, cooperative society or other firms having gone bankrupt. Many bankers have either Aled abroad or committed suicide or both .” (Press statement.) On December 12th, 1929, the reichskanzler, the social democrat Müller, declared in the Reichstag that the funds of the Reich will be empty on January ist, 1930. This was stated in December, 1929. A political sign of the present economic situation in Germany appeared in the election for the federal diets and the townships on November 17th, 1929. radical parties increased vastly at the expense of the middle parties.” The interpretation put upon this by moderates was that the economic situation was so bad that it was strengthening the idea of armed revolution. The cinema signs — the signs with which I am chiefly concerned leave no doubt in my mind that Germany, in common with European countries, is on the verge of economic collapse. Since 1926 it has known the increasing activities of a group of five big American Producing Companies represented by Warner Brothers, Fox, Goldwyn, Zukor, and Loew . These, together with their bankers and financial supporters have established a financial dictatorship. In 1926 I noticed that the German cinema was beginning to pass under this dictatorship. Everywhere I saw signs of an amazing change, of disintegration, of economic chaos. The golden age (as I may call the 1920-25 period of production) was practically at an end. Some fragments remained to remind one of the “ ennoblement ” policy — the policy that was to put a 1926. German UFA production. The Holy Mountain . One of the German films made in Switzerland at a height of 12,000 feet by Dr. A. Franck , assisted by expert Alpinists as actors and camera -men . Another is The White Hell of Pitz Palu exhibited in England by Universal Pictures . The general theme is human adventure and conquest of nature with an occasional note of tragedy, as in Pitz Palu . The scene above shows the dancer, Leni Reisenstahl , and Alpinist, Luis Trenker . In 1926 such pictures harmonised with the feeling of a people fighting against terrible economic disaster and tossed between triumph and tragedy .

THE DESCENT : 269 “ soul ” into the commercial picture. There were two or three in the programme of The Universum - Film Aktiengesellschaft ( or U.F.A. for short), at that time the biggest German production and distributing organisation , with branches all over Germany, and connections in all European countries. It had a working and reserve capital of 60,000,000 Reichemark and was spending enormous sums on production. The first item on the pro gramme was “ Faust, ” illustrating the triumph of the evil principle to remind the German people of the evil that threatened them from without and the courage needed to over come it. It was a fine theme spoilt by foolish treatment and the American canker of false ethics. Then there was Lang's muddled “ Metropolis ” also cankered with false ethics, with ill-digested ideas of American civilisation , and strongly touched by Soviet Russian influences then making themselves felt in the German cinema. I need not say more about this queer and alleged prophetic picture, for Mr. H. G. Wells has dealt with its intentions and pretensions in a complete manner. ' The third item , “ The Holy Mountain , ” written and produced by Dr. Arnold Fanck, was a blend of sport, sensation and mysticism which on the whole was far nearer to the “ ennoblement " pur pose than “ Metropolis.” Another item was “ A Dubarry of Today,” U.F.A. Felsom Film, an historical picture of passion It was instructive in recalling the portrayal of a sub ject then very much the fashion, namely, republicanism seen through the eyes of the commercial picture makers. The result was a new imperialism ; a new fashionable world repeating the excesses and expressing the ideology of the fashionable world which the War is supposed to have swept away. Dubarry fans a revolution . But the guillotine has an easy time for there is no cry of off with her head except in the “ Alice in Wonderland The end is amusing. “ The Chaste Suzanne,” U.F.A. Eichberg Film adapted from the very successful operetta of that name, brought me very close to and sex . sense . i See Sunday Expre88, April 17, 1927. 20 270 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Hollywood and away from the German cinema as a culture factor. I recognised another fragment in the Catastrophe pictures, produced partly for propaganda, partly, no doubt, for profit though it was hard to say where the profit was coming from in documentary pictures more than one of which cost a king's ransom to produce. I have in mind, in particular, the kaleidescopic picture of the World War aiming to tell the truth , but hindered in doing so by its magnitude, and by the fact that naval and military events of a terrible war cannot be convinc ingly reconstructed from archives and in cold blood. The Emden ” picture, though significant, is open to similar criticism . It seemed to me that the fashion in German war pictures, like that in war novels ( some of which, like “ All Quiet on the Western Front,” are too horrible for words), was more than a step from grace.. The former use of the Cinema to secure national unity to strengthen the resistance of the people, to promote reconstruction and recovery, was highly commend able. But not the same may be said for the exhibition of war pictures which, even at their best, are, like war novels, calculated to do immeasureable harm to the cause of peace by fomenting hatred and all uncharitableness and, thereby, to keep alive and intensify a craving for war. I noticed that Party politics propaganda pictures were being exhibited in increasing numbers. And the cause ? And the cause ? Here it is . Industrial and newspaper magnates were seizing the opportunity afforded by the financial troubles of the big Film production companies, to acquire vast interests in these concerns for nationalist purposes. Their aim was Press dictatorship, political and economic . “ It is announced that a group representing the industrial, newspaper, and banking world is coming to the rescue of the greatest of Germany's film enterprises, the Universum Film Company, commonly known as theUfa, which has been in diffi culties. 1926. UFA production .APresent -day DuBrry .Acostly romantic spectacle with atransitional interest .Itreveals the German Industry Film falling under the economic power Hllywood of.The basic theme isdemocracy .But itserved upinthe strict Box imperialist Office manner . The story deals with ashop girl who from becomes King's intended bride ,thene cause ofa revolution and finally escapes the guillotine byahair's breadth .The scenehows DuBarry (Mria Corda ) surrounded byanhostile crowd .

THE DESCENT 271 “ Its troubles are well worth study in Great Britain. There is £ 7,500,000 invested in the Ufa. It received a mortgage of £ 840,000 on its theatres from the United States, and in spite of this its bank debts now exceed £ 2,000,000, while other current debts are about £ 500,000. “ Even an expert can hardly understand such a gigantic deficit,' writes Dr. Wenkel in the Berliner Tageblatt. “ The Ufa has produced monster films on which money was spent like water. “ Metropolis,” which is being shown in London, cost £ 350,000. Not one-seventh of that sum can be got back from the German cinema theatres.' “ Here, as Dr. George Bernhard points out, comes the great danger of Germany sacrificing her own ideals of art to provide American customers for her films. As it is , German films are beginning to show the American spirit. Among those now coming to the rescue is stated to be Dr. Hugenberg, the Nationalist and Monarchist, who already exercises more influence on the German Press than any one man and who desires to add films to his means of propaganda. Republicans regard this as the most serious danger to Germany both at home and abroad ." Enormous debts; Nationalist and Monarchist liquidators; the American “ soul ” in pictures. Who was behind this political propaganda movement ? Dr. Hugenberg the head of a powerful group of Nationalist and Monarchist newspapers, a former director of Krupps, and later the head of the Scherl Concerns. For the past five or six years he has been engaged cornering the German Film Industry. “ Dr. Alfred Hugenberg has enormous propaganda resources at his disposal. He controls important Film interests and owns several infuential newspapers. He still retains connection with armament manufacturers. ” 2 An effect : As is well known, the policy of the Ufa Company in 1 The Daily Mail, March 28 , 1927. 2 The Sunday Referee, October 6, 1929. 1 272 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 Germany is largely directed by the Nationalist magnate Alfred Hugenberg, whose influence in the topical news section is para mount. It is this news section which is regarded as more im portant in its general tendency than the big films whose story is so largely dependent upon production values.' These would seldom include as main theme the glorification of a Communist hero , or the happy home life of a Socialist family. But a resolute determination to boycott all topical films taken of strikes and demonstrations, parades inspected by generals and expensive sporting contests in the cinemas controlled by those who believe Labour should be kept in its place is a power ful propagandist weapon . Another effect. The Government are led to acquire control of an important Production Company through shares. “ The government of the Reich have acquired for political reasons shares in the Munich Film Company, known as the Emelka. The object is to prevent this Company passing into the hands of the Ufa Company which is controlled by Herr Hugenberg, the financier and newspaper owner.' Emelka has several am bitious pictures to its credit, one of which The Marquis D'Eon is said to have cost 1,000,000 gold marks." It should be pointed out that pictures which were the out come of this political civil war were not much good for im proving the economic condition of German Film Industry be cause such pictures were not fit for foreign markets. A further sign of the decline of the German Film Industry showed itself in a glut of American pictures. Monumental films of the type of “ Ben Hur,” “ Beau Geste,” (bepraised by Lord Beaverbrook on account of its English gesture) were arriv ing daily. That was in 1926-7. I marvelled thereat when I recalled that the German Government had passed a protectionist measure about 1925 : “ The Kontingent, equivalent to the quota, although 1 The Observer, June 17, 1928 . 2 The Sunday Referee, October 20, 1929. 3 See The Manchester Guardian , August 18, 1928. 2 THE DESCENT 273 - applied differently, has enabled Germany to become second to America as a producing country, and in some respects first in quality. Germany has established a film school permeated with a distinctive national spirit and character, much more so than has America, where the majority of pictures are more machine made. Standardization kills art in moving pictures as in other things. “ In the last two years Germany has produced nearly half the pictures required for the home markets. In a statement given to me last year by the German Minister of the Interior, who is responsible for the control of the Kontingent, he said : According to the heads of our film industry, if the Kontingent system had not been introduced the German film industry would have been swamped by American films. “ There were 201 long films made in Germany during 1925 , 462,000 metres in length, and 306 long films imported of 579,000 metres in length. There were therefore 507 long films avail able in the market. “ For the year 1926, Germany produced a few more pic tures than in 1925. The German industry seems to be in a healthy condition, though the Ufa Company which possesses two large studios out of 30 in the neighbourhood of Berlin, and owns about 100 theatres out of 4,000 in Germany (it owns 30 theatres abroad ), last year only produced 15 pictures, or 7 per cent of the German output. There are over 60 producers in Germany, and a number of studios in six other centres outside the Berlin Hollywood, the chief of which is Munich .” Germany which reduced the percentage of American pictures by its ‘ kontingent ’ law, has fallen once more into the hands of the Americans, who advanced money for production purposes, and then drew nearly every first- class producer and player away to America." 2 1 Robert Donald , Letter to The Times, April 6, 1927. 2 W. G. Faulkner, “ The Daily Mail Year Book, ” 1927. 274 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA To judge by this and America's subsequent stranglehold on the German picture trade, it seems this protective measure has not been any more successful in countering the American invasion than the English one. In any case, American Film Kings appeared to be running Berlin in the years mentioned . They were buying up wholesale German directors and actors among them Murnau, Lubitsch, Emil Jannings, and Conrad Veidt, and offering big bribes to others such as Max Reinhardt. They were subsiding the building of palatial and luxury cinemas, such as the Beba, the Rialto and the Kristall Palaces. And what is perhaps more important, they were fomenting a political war. According to reports of the new films America is making, advance pictures of which are occasionally shown in Berlin, as war pictures decline in favour, so the Russian Revolution, seen from the anti-Red angle, is growing in popularity. Beginning shyly with the great German actor Jannings as an ex - aristocrat and general, the new film , “ The Red Tempest,' is definitely in favour of things as they were . Berlin, where many new Soviet Russian films are being shown, and everything is welcomed and nothing forbidden owing to the extreme wariness with which censors have to tread, will therefore be the battleground of the political pictures 2 war. Needless to say this kind of thing set many persons read ing Bolshevism into pictures that did not contain it. One news paper identified “ Volga Volga ” with “ Potemkin ” and found a striking resemblance between the boat song and “ The Red Flag. ” Another was exceedingly angry because in the picture made from Hauptmann's “ Weavers,” it detected revolutionary mass ideas. The following facts and figures are worth quoting as throw ing light upon the financial difficulties which have led to the 1 “ Berlin Z -Mittag," Number 244, November 2 , 1926. 2 The Observer , June 17, 1928 . THE DESCENT 275 present plight of the German Film Industry. A meeting was called to consider the question of the re -organisation of the U.F.A. Company, at which Herr Hugenberg was elected chair man of the new governing board. “ In the course of the meeting a mass of interesting in formation and figures was given in explanation of the financial difficulties in which the “ Ufa ' became involved. Herr von Stauss attributed a number of the mistakes, which the old management frankly admitted, to the peculiar development through the inflation period from a semi-official war under taking to a private enterprise. He also considered that very heavy taxation had been largely responsible for the company's difficulties. It was admitted that the calculation of costs had often been very wide of the mark. The costs of production for 1925 to 1926, estimated at 10,000,000m . ( £ 500,000 ), amounted to about 26,000,000m . ( £ 1,300,000 ); revenue from distribution , estimated at 40,000,000m . ( £ 2,000,000 ), amounted to less than half that sum . Metropolis, the big film now being shown in London , was to have cost 1,900,000m .; it cost 5,000,000m . ( £ 250,000 ). It was to have taken a year to produce; it took two years. As the production dragged on, there was a great tempta tion to put a stop to it and write off the money already spent. However, it was completed, and the hope was expressed yester day that the exhibitions in the United States, of which favour able reports have been received , would reduce the loss to less than was at first feared . “ Professor Neumann, a shareholder, who accompanied the expedition dispatched to Abyssinia to produce the film depicting the capture of large wild animals for menagerie and zoological gardens, gave some financial details of this particular under taking. The film was to have cost 45,000m . ( £ 2,250) to pro duce. It cost 115,000m . ( £ 5,750), of which only 43,000m . (£2,150) were absorbed by the expedition and all the material for it, while 70,000m . ( £ 3,500) represented the cost of the production of the film by the educational film department of the ‘ Ufa . ' The 276 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 loss on the film was 80,000m . ( £ 4,000 ). The Swiss rights it was stated, were sold for 1,000f. (450).” Some time ago the Gaumont Company entered into an arrangement with U.F.A. for the exchange and distribution of pictures. As a result a number of U.F.A. pictures have been exhibited in London. Looking at these pictures it is not hard to see the powerful American influences at work. Generally they exhibit German republicanism seen through the eyes of Hollywood, that is no republicanism at all. And the talkie ?' i The Times, April 23 , 1927 . 2 See The Observer, December 11, 1927 . 3 See Appendices. 1924. Art of the Cinema. Silhouette or Paper cut film . Cinderella . One of the films made for the Institut Fur Kulturforschung, Germany (Dr. Hans Cürlis ). The series includes , Munchausen and The Flying Coffer. The designs are very interesting and original. Shown by the Film Society and the Avenue Pavilion, London . U Lue 1928. A German production of the Stenka Razin story . Tendencious . It reveals the influence of the Soviet stories and film technique on the German film productions. Stenka Razin is in circulation as a film story among several countries . The version in Soviet Russia is revolutionary, Stenka being a national hero ; outside , anti - revolutionary . The illustration shows how advan tage has been taken of the romantic subject to employ a romantic technique . It has interesting barbaric æsthetic values .



It is appropriate to follow the chapter on Germany with an examination of a tendency, very strongly marked in this country, and other countries abroad, known as The Art Of The Cinema. The tendency in England owes aa great deal to German inspiration and influence. Within the past three or four years it has received the added influence of the Bolshevist picture, distributed by Bolshevist organisations in Berlin. Several revolutionary pictures have been exhibited in Berlin which have not been permitted to be shown in this country. Owing to the fairly large number of Bolshevist pictures exhibited in Berlin, that city has of late become the Mecca of the æsthete in search of adventures among revolutionary films, and of evidence by which he may slay the British censor . The Art of the Cinema tendency is to-day a very involved one owing to its close association with the crusade against censorship . I shall , therefore, do no more in this chapter than state the bare, but rather extraordinary, facts of the tendency in its relation to the war on censorship. I have already, in other parts of this book, dealt with the Cinema and art expres sion. I have ventured the opinion that there is a plot on the part of those concerned with the Art of the Cinema tendency to drive the social subject out of the Cinema. They aim to put the technique of æsthetic where the portrayal of human life should be. It seems to me that the only form of art expression 277 278 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA X (if it may be called art expression) that rightly belongs to the Cinema is that of the natural æsthetic of an object as when a spider weaves a web out of itself, or, as The Secret of Nature picture natural objects unfold and clothe themselves in their own æsthetic, through the exercise of the power of art expres sion inhering in themselves. I have said that the Cinema has three forms of expression each of which is capable of putting the principle of “ art power to practical use. The three are actuality, phantasy and fantasy. The first is the portrayal of actual objects ; the second of objects that stir the subconscious; the third of objects that have a whimsical expression. The big German Fatherland pictures come within the region of phantasy; the “ Felix the Cat ” and “ Mickey Mouse " cartoons are full of whimsical humour com bined with a sociological significance and satire. In brief, my contention is that the camera is a mechanical instrument which by reason of its mechanical character cannot express the spiritual save as it is suggested by a natural object and its form . In my view, Art rightly considered is an active principle of the spiritual. That is what a study of Indian philosophy taught 6 ху me. Why a Wing of Hollywood ? Because this cinema in the air, called Art Cinema, cannot be dissociated from economic activities of Hollywood. The groups that have sprung up,, and those that are springing up to support it have, and must have, a financial organisation . They must organise themselves finan cially because money has so much to do with their establish ment, and in keeping them alive. It is as much a power in the so -called Art Cinema as it is in the frankly commercial one. Despite the assertion of these groups that they are not concerned with money, and do not aim to make profit, they are virtually private business enterprises aiming at a profit to carry on their benevolent activities. The Film Society, for example, is an in vestment and dividend society. If it observes certain conditions it conducts its business it pleases. It receives rent THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 279 from seats . It invites the public to investits money in a going concern . For an outlay of three guineas a year you receive a sight of eight programmes. The 1,000 or so members pay their subscriptions in advance and the financial organisation is the gainer by this through having payment in advance of services. Unless you pay this subscription, or are a member of the Press and able to offer publicity in exchange for a seat, or are attached to a newspaper sufficiently powerful to frighten The Film Society into giving you a seat, whether you review the pictures or not, you get nothing. I was once foolish enough to ask to be allowed to sample The Film Society's com modities and was promptly told that experts like myself were expected to buy the commodities; that the Society was obliged to give seats to critics, otherwise their editors would make trouble. My point is that these little hole-and -corner concerns have some good in them . They seek to destroy some, at least, of the evil that the bad Film Kings do. But they refuse to admit that they are a part of the great gamble. They refuse to recognise that they are a part of Hollywood (a minor part). They close their eyes to the fact that this is a financial age, and they pre tend to deny their commercial instincts while professing to fight those business persons who have fully developed their commer cial instincts and affirm them every hour of the day. Hence their failure to do anything effective. The truth I have in mind is crudely stated in the following extract : “ The intelligentsia are really to blame for the lamentable state of mind in which the majority of pictures are made, for they professed a disdain for the cinema which caused them to leave it alone, with the result that it fell into the hands of men who, although they had little education and no artistic sensi bilities, had keen commercial instincts, which told them that the moving-picture would produce fortunes for them . ” ı What this writer is trying to say is that if the intellectuals i St. John Ervine, in The Observer, June 16, 1929. 280 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA want a a free hand to go ahead they must have a full purse , and the knowledge how to use the purse to the best advantage of the Cinema. To overcome Hollywood they must first of all copy Hollywood's financial organisation. " The Art of the Cinema tendency is , like that of the Art of the Theatre, a branch of the very old Art for Art's sake tendency. It rests on the assumption that art expression in the Cinema can be separated from money. Its active supporters are pure ” idealists working without a thought of money, or so they allege. Indeed, to hear them talk you would think they were savages with nothing else to do but to squat on their haunches in damp marshes and produce sculptures that are the envy of intellectuals under the influence of the negro cult of art expression. Ravens, they tell you, bring these savages food, else they would starve . The Cinema æsthetes have been in existence a long time, ever since 1916 or thereabout. They came into existence for the purpose of making the Cinema safe for “ Art,” and fit for æsthetic heroes. They despised the commercial Cinema, said it was rotten to the core, and served only to make money. They ignored the fact that to -day money is the sinews of war, whether it be war on bad Film Kings or Hottentots. They believed that if only they could establish, even on a small scale, a pure cinema, it would be sufficient to frighten the bad Film Kings into Alight. They plotted indeed to remove from the Cinema everything but its own “ pure ” elements, such as they con ceived them . These elements consisted of space, abstraction and dynamic æsthetic, that is , movement got by related “ colours " and forms. The first in the field were painters, sculptors and architects, to whose attempt to use space as a plastic material, reference has been made in the chapter on Germany. The next comers were photographers and directors, who, provided with a camera and a box of tricks and a plentiful supply of guess work, proceeded to bewilder the cinema audience with a dis play of æsthetic thimble- rigging. No one ever knew under THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 281 which stunt thimble the true cinema subject was concealed, or whether it was being used at all . Far too few attractive films are being made at the present time. These directors have too much cynicism and far too much cinecism - a weakness for a few cheap tricks of the trade. When ‘ Vaudeville ' was produced Germany startled the world with a new film technique — a technique embracing ‘ angles,' moving cameras, double photography. It was excel lent. It was like having absinthe after a course of Devonshire cider, but one cannot go on drinking absinthe. These certain directors got the absinthe habit. “ Studios have now become a Bisley of ' good shots .' The story is neglected, the audience is neglected; everything is for gotten in order to put a tall, dark man in a black hat in a room composed of 25 isosceles triangles.

  • The story , if there is one, is chosen because it savours

of the sewer. Another trick these directors have copied from the Ufa Company. “ In a film I saw last week the director took a crowd to a fair. The effect was like a scrambled egg. The legs of the fat woman were super-imposed on a roundabout. A shooting range abutted on a whisky bottle. And then I do not know what happened. A hundred feet of film was taken up with what I suppose were views of the fair. It made one feel sea sick .' Following these came the Bolshevist technicians headed by Vertov and Pudovkin. They were seen to be working out a science of technique determined first by the policy of the Bol shevist Government according to which the social and the revolu tionary subject comes first in the cinema ; second by the evident desireto raise the level of the interpretative power of the moving picture. For example, the basic theme of “ Potemkin ” is social liberation. The plot or story is a mutiny on a battleship. The 1 The Evening Standard , July 16, 1928 . >> 1 282 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA action is concerned with promoting the idea of revolution . The function of the theme is an organic and structural one. It brings all engaged in the action together in unity, and it is the basis for a revolutionary purpose. “ Potemkin ” deliberately sets out to produce a given emotional effect by communicating to the audience its full revolutionary intention. The technique is designed to realise this intention. It is powerful, simple, clear and capable in every way of communicating the emotional values of the picture. To attempt to detach the technique from the subject in order to hold the former up as a miracle of art expression is too stupid for words. Yet that is what some of the cinema æsthetes in this country are doing. The association of the Bolshevist directors with the mis guided intelligentsia and æsthetes of Western Europe has led them to unloose a flood of foolish terms for no other purpose, it would seem , than to conceal the real significance of their own useful methods. Thus we have Pudovkin remarking that “ the foundation of all film art is editing." How long has editing had anything to do with art ? Again, he speaks of “ the basic creative force, ” ? and one immediately sees the mind of Pudovkin putting itself into communion with the universal creative spirit. But when we come to examine his method we find that by using a term that promises and asserts such union he is simply poking fun at his unreasonable admirers. And it may be said here that the Russian directors, like Pudovkin and Eisenstein , have of late adopted the practice of going about Western Europe with the tongue in the cheek, accepting the hospitality of their admirers, lecturing in secret, and approving of laws and prin ciples of picture making which they know would not be tolerated in their own country. How far this Bolshevist technique is from “ Art, " and how closely it approximates to science, may be gathered from Pudovkin's statement that the film (meaning the celluloid 1 " 2 1 1 See “ Pudovkin On Film Technique.” 2 lbid. THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 283 + ribbon) comes first in picture making. Objects are photographed on strips of film . These are cut, sorted, rhythmically assembled and pasted together to form a series of scenes, each of which is intended toconvert the spectator into the director for the time being, just as the Government has converted the director into a composite likeness of themselves. There is no basic creative force required to build up a picture of bits of film , any more than there is to assemble a Ford motor. The method enters into the region of tricks. But it is a method worth study and perhaps approval because in the first place it is of a scientific character, and its results are in consequence a great improve ment on the Hollywood guesswork method ; and in the second it emphasises not suppresses the social subject. According to a well-known picture producer : We have discovered in contemporary films three methods, each emphasising a slightly different aspect of the story — the film of movement and action, such as “ Three Bad Men ' and ' Potemkin ,' the film which uses the motions and states of mind of the characters as pictorial elements such as “ The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari ' and ' The Last Laugh ,' and the film which builds up and throws light on the situation by small touches and clues such as “ The Woman of Paris ’ and most of Lubitsch's 6 2 films." Throughout the Purists have persisted in their attempt to soar into the empyrean of the “ absolute ” picture. Quite recently , some of us have seen in , for example, “ Tusalava by Len Lye, and “ Light Rhythms ” by Francis Bruguiere and Oswald Blakeston , how far their wings have carried them , The Bolshevist pictures had the effect of inciting the æsthetes into rebellion against the censorship. The English censor's attitude towards revolutionary pictures lashed them i See “ Pudovkin On Technique." 2 Anthony Asquith, in The Daily Mirror, June 1 , 1928. 284 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > own were into fury. Then came the “ Talkie ” to add fuel to the fame. The Purists rose in furious reaction against an innovation that threatened to destroy the silent moving picture. During the winter of 1929-30 there sprang up in England a tendency which doubtless brought comfort to the perturbed “ souls ” of the æsthetic enthusiasts. The tendency was towards the formation of groups for the purpose of stirring up active interest among the workers (in particular manual workers engaged in industry, agriculture and mining) in plays and pictures, expressing their own memory and aspiration. The ultimate aim was to encourage such workers to establish their Theatre and Cinema. Till such institution established and the workers were in a position to produce their own plays and pictures, these materials should be drawn ready made from favourable sources. Though Though the the groups differed as to the constituents of the fare that they were to offer the play and picture hungry workers; one assuming that the workers' yearning for liberation from capitalistic tyranny was a sign that they wanted blood and gloom , while another assumed that works by intellectuals suffering from mild attacks of social in dignation, like say, Upton Sinclair's “ Singing Jail Birds,” would meet the requirements of millions sighing for a new Eden; all were agreed that Bolshevist Russia had desirable com modities to offer for consumption by the workers in England. Needless to say a great deal of danger accompanied a conviction like that. The educational or conversional importance which the organisers of these groups attached to Bolshevist cultural commodities, was not likely to be shared by everyone in this country .. Pictures that appeared to one class of society to afford natural preparation for a higher state and a transforming knowl edge, would be likely to appear just the reverse to another class. And so it has come about. Intellectuals, æsthetes, and the repre sentatives of the workers' cultural and revolutionary interests have suffered a common misfortune. In seeking to promote the consumption of Russian cultural commodities by English a a a THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 285 workers and their sympathisers and supporters, they have come into active conflict with the picture censor. And now they are banded together for one common purpose , to destroy or limit the power of this strange phenomenon . The combination of forces thus brought about for the purpose of making war on censorship, and obtaining a free hand in the importation and exhibition of “ artistic ” and social pictures and the reduction or abolition of Customs duties, is a very unusual one. It is a strangely variegated legion, and for this reason , if for no other, deserves analysis. Broadly speak ing it falls into three divisions answering to those of the three present political ones Right, Centre, and Left. > THE THREE ORGANISATIONS FORMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXHIBITING MOVING PICTURES WITH A CINEMATOGRAPHIC, SOCIAL OR REVO LUTIONARY INTEREST. THESE INCLUDE PICTURES WHICH ARE NOT EASILY AVAILABLE 1 FOR PUBLIC EXHIBITION ? RIGHT. CENTRE. LEFT. ! 1. THE FILM SOCIETY . THE MAsses STAGE AND THE FEDERATION OP Est, 1924 . FILM GUILD. WORKERS' FILM OBJECT : To afford IMMEDIATE OBJECT : To SOCIETIES . people interested in the bring plays and films of This is a growth of the Cinema an opportunity democratic and inter- extreme LEFT WORKERS' of seeing films which national significance Theatre and Cinema were not otherwise within the reach of the activities . available to them ; also worker, and all who OBJECT : To bring to to act as a body supple- value the theatre as an gether societies and in mentary and useful to expression of social life . dividuals interested in the commercial film The Guild is supported the exhibition and pro world in introducing to by members of the duction of cinemato its study the work of Government and of graph films of value to talented newcomers and members of the theatri- the working class , and experimenters who cal profession . to stimulate interest in might later contribute President: such films among the to its progress . A. Fenner Brockway, working class of Great M.P. Britain and Ireland . 1 AUTHOR'S NOTE . — This analysis and the following observations do not go beyond December, 1929. Since then there may have been various changes. 21 286 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA RIGHT. CENTRE. LEFT. 1 Council : Hon . Treasurer: Provision Council The Honourable Ivor The Rt. Hon. F. O. Includes : Montagu. ( Son of the Roberts, M.P. The Hon . Ivor Mon late Lord Swaythling, Advisory Council : tagu. head of the banking Kyrle Bellew . Harry Pollitt. firm of Samuel Mon- Maurice Browne. Monica Ewer. tagu and Co., London .] Lewis Casson . G. P. Wells . A founder of the Film Sabben Clare. W. Gallacher. Society . The Rt. Hon. J. R. K. Macpherson. Miss Iris Barry . Clynes, M.P. 0. Blakeston . Sidney L. Bernstein. Edith Craig . Henry Dobb . 3 Frank Dobson . Archibald De Bear. Edmund Dulac. Ashley Dukes. E. A. McKnight-Kauffer. Capt. P. P. Eckersley . W. C. Mycroft. 1 Peter Godfrey. 2. “ CLOSE UP. " A J. F. Horrabin, M.P. monthly journal first The Rt. Hon. George published in 1927. Lansbury , M.P. OBJECT : In some re- Moyna MacGill. spects similar to that of Miles Malleson . The Film Society. Anti- James Maxton, M.P. censorship propaganda . Henry Oscar . To provide means Walter Peacock . whereby the general Jack Raymond. public can be not only Hannen Swaffer. put in touch with but Denis Neilson Terry. urged to demand artis- Sybil Thorndike. tic and intelligent films The Rt. Hon. Sir and also to point out to Charles Trevelyan , them all films of such a M.P. nature produced in any Frank Vernon. country. Also to pro- Dr. Egon Wertheimer. vide a platform for pro ducers to campaign against interference with the production and exhibition of good films. Editor : Kenneth Mac pherson. A principal contributor : Oswell Blakeston.2 a i From the official statement of The Film Society . 2 From the official statement of The Masses Stage and Film Guild . 3 From the official statement of The Federation of Workers' Film Societies. An analysis of the Provisional Council of the Left Wing F.O.W.F.S. reveals the fact that it contains the links that con nect the groups.. I do not know whether the Masses S.F. Guild is represented on the Council. But I think I am right in saying THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 287 that it is affiliated with the F.O.W.F.S. In any case, the re fusal of the County Council to allow the Bolshevist picture, “ Mother ” to be shown to members of the Guild, has brought that body definitely into the camp of the anti-censor crusaders. THE FEDERATION OF WORKERS' FILM SOCIETIES 1 COMPOSITION OF PROVISIONAL COUNCIL Right. RIGHT CENTRE. CENTRE. LEFT. 1 Hon. Ivor Mon- Monica Ewer Henry Dobb. Re- Pollitt, the well tagu, of the Film ( Daily Herald presents com- known militant Society, and critic ). promise between Communist. Con Brunel and Mon the Right and tributor to The tagu , producers Left. Was Cine- Daily Worker. and vendors of ma Critic of the Gallacher, also Sov -Kino Pic Sunday Worker, an extreme Left tures. a weekly class- Winger and con G. P. Wells, of war print, which tributor to Com the firm of ceased publica- munist prints. Brunel and Mon tion in order to tagu . concentrate all K. Macpherson, activities in The “ Close Up.” Daily Worker . 0. Blakeston , Dobb's criticisms “ Close Up. ' revealed that he was strongly in. fluenced by “ Close Up," to which journal he contributed . He placed far more emphasis on the æsthetic values of the moving picture than on the social ones demanded by the readers of a rev olutionist news print. Among his Right occu pations was that of titling and editing unusual pictures shown at the Avenue Pavilion Cinema. It is not necessary to pursue this analysis further. The charts show that all sections of society are represented by the combina 288 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a tions to fight the censorship. Wide ramifications are suggested by the many and varied affiliations and league and group organisations promoted by the three groups. The Film Society aims to be “ useful to the commercial film world .” It was very useful to the Avenue Pavilion Cinema, but it should be said that although this House of Silent Shadow used to receive services from representatives of the Right and Left groups, it has never been engaged in the anti-censorship struggle. It has been instru mental in bringing to the notice of the public a large number of “ unusual ” and highly instructive films, but always according to a commercial policy. Its achievement is dealt with in the appendices. Further, The Film Society seeks to promote the growth of specialized audiences. And it has had a hand in the formation of Picture Leagues and Cinema Clubs in France, Geneva, Rome, Madrid and so on. The F.O.W.F.S. is affiliat ing with groups all over the country. Finally, the ideas of these groups are filtering through the Press either openly or in more subtle ways. Some are to be found in The Daily Worker, and the Red Press generally, others in The Daily Herald , The New Leader and Plebs. O. Blakeston is a contributor to The Film Weekly , ” a “ film -fan ” journal which deals favourably with Bolshevist Films exhibited in this country, and with the ideas, views, and activities of Messrs. Eisenstein , Pudovkin and Vertov. The activities of The Film Society command the atten tion of the Right Press, and to judge by a recent leader' those of the Masses F. and S. Guild are likely to do so also. While the United Cinema Group keeps well within the limelight of sensation, it will not lack publicity. Whether it slaps the censor's face, or flaunts the Red Flag picture in the face of the Aabbergasted critic, it may rest assured that its fierce denunciations or daring innovations, will bulk largely in the Press. As, for instance, in the matter of propaganda and censorship : Moscow's most notorious anti- British propaganda film , 66 1 The Evening News, November 15, 1929. THE CASTLE IN THE AIR ! 289 ‘ Storm Over Asia ,' will be shown on Sunday afternoon by the Film Society, which is permitted by the London County Council to give private exhibitions of these Soviet films, and has already shown ‘ The End of St. Petersburg ,' ' Potemkin ,' ' Mother ,' and ` Bed and Sofa .' “ The Tivoli, controlled by the Gaumont- British Pictures Corporation, has been loaned to the society for this occa sion . " 6 > Mother, one of Moscow's numerous banned propaganda films, has become the storm centre of a political discussion likely to end in a general investigation of the present system of film censorship “ The disturbance arose over the refusal of the London County Council to allow ‘ Mother ' to be shown to the members of the Masses Stage and Screen Guild, although they had allowed the film to be shown, about eighteen months previously, to the members of the Film Society. “ This society is said to be interested only in the cultural aspects of Soviet films, whereas the guild is understood to be interested in bringing Soviet conditions, as illustrated in films, directly under the notice of working classes in Britain . The guild has three members of the Government among its patrons, and is therefore in a position to exert considerable political influence on censorship, which the Film Society is also anxious to reform in favour of the more general exhibition of Moscow films. “ A third party in the discussion is the London Workers Film Society, to which the L.C.C. , apparently, has given per mission to hold private exhibitions of banned Soviet films." “ The London Workers' Film Society, for example, is affiliated with the Federation of Workers' Film Societies, the organiser of which in this country is the Hon. Ivor Montagu, son of the late Lord Swaythling. Mr. Montagu is also the founder and principal agent of the Film Society.” i The Daily Express, February 2, 1930. 290 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 6 > 2 “ The importance of ' Mother ' to the ' workers ' film societies is the fact that it illustrates a revolt of factory workers.”

A rather curious circumstance is associated with the exhibition of the ““Soviet films.”” According to the extracts quoted, The Film Society is permitted to show these films, but the Masses T. and F. Guild and the F.O.W.F.S. are not. “ The Censors have allowed the film (“ New Babylon " ) to be shown to The Film Society, but the Workers' Film Society is refused permission to screen it.” The result is that the latter has a grievance against The Film Society with which it is associated in the fight against censorship. Why,” it asks, “ is The Film Society permitted to exhibit these films at one of the largest West End Cinemas, and workers' societies are not ? It is not hard to say why. The Film Society and “ Close Up ” clique have always done their best to convey the impression that they are obsessed far more with technique than with social con tent. Indeed it is doubtful whether the leaders and members of these two groups have any knowledge of sociology and the transformation which present-day society is undergoing. Their game is quite plainly to promote the idea that the moving picture must be detached from actuality and infuse it with a new æsthetic having nothing whatever to do with actual fact or a life -centred society. This is the game that has been played too long by the Art of the Theatre folk . With the Masses T. and F. Guild and the F.O.W.F.S. it is different. They are obsessed with social and with revolutionary content. They seek to enable the Cinema to fulfil its true function, by detaching it from the two extremes of commercial idiocy and ästhetic imbecilism , and uniting it with a life -centred subject. It is easy to gather from this why The Film Society receives preferential treatment. While it poses as a harmless school of technique, neither the censor nor the London County Council are likely to identify it with the plot (real or alleged) to make the Cinema i The Daily Erpress, February 2, 1930. 2 The Daily Worker, January 9, 1930 . THE CASTLE IN THE AIR 291 cure . safe for Bolshevism. Moreover, the fact that its founder and leading “ spirit ” is an aristocrat and the son of a millionaire banker and the members of the Society are drawn from the intelligentsia and most wealthy social class, is no doubt responsible for non - interference. The two other groups are in a different boat. They are for the Workers. Nowadays, thanks to Revolutionary Russia , the word Workers is calculated to give any ordinary censor a fit. By a process of reasoning peculiar to his class he has no difficulty in identifying the pro posals and activities of sympathisers with the cause of the libera tion of the Workers, with the most horrible conspiracy against making the world fit for asses like himself and all who agree with him, that has ever been known. Hence no “ bolshy films ” for them . As to the nature and value of censorship. Its cause and The wisdom or folly of the present desperate struggle against it. What more can I say or suggest than I have already said or suggested in these pages. The argument that I have put forward that the Cinema has a good purpose, and the means I have taken to illustrate it by showing that human beings are apt to read their own wishes into the material objects of the picture, means that the censor is powerless to control the mind of the audience or to suppress its reading of the function of the Cinema, just as he is powerless to prevent the unintentional getting into a picture and demonstrating new facts scientific and other, which are being discussed in secret outside the Cinema. What I have suggested is that spiritually, subconsciously, in stinctively, and scientifically speaking, the censor does not exist. What the action of such bodies as the groups I have described suggests is that he exists physically and is a public nuisance. To them , he represents rigid supervision , interference, opinion, doctrine, that proceeds from the vast storehouse of narrow pre judice and fossilised fanaticism . And because he represents this he must be made to walk the plank. The Crusaders uphold four practical complaints : 292 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1. The censoring of pictures of proved artistic merit. French, Russian and German . 2. The censoring of pictures of essential social value. Russian. 3. The censoring of pictures of essential scientific value. Various countries. 4. The very heavy customs duties that prohibit the importa tion of good ( uncommercial) pictures. How simple they look, yet what a multitude of problems they involve. i With 1924. Art of the Cinema. Silhouette or Paper cut film . Another scene from Cinderella .





Not long ago, in 1930, there was a recurrence of excitement in the English Press over the loss of Cinema players. American Film Kings were again at work draining our human resources by buying up precious human material and transporting it to the Hollywood mills. Strange to say, when some of the sup posed victims were invited to express an opinion on this busi ness, they exclaimed joyfully, “ We like it. ” They had no objection at all to fall into the toils of the American Octopus. They maintained that Elstree had nothing to offer them . Jobs were hard to get. Staffs were simply befuddled men and women , directors did not know their business and no one was at hand to teach them a necessary thing or two. And think of it ! Handsome heroes were left sunning their matchless bodies in idleness for months at a stretch, while Britain's Beauty Queens and Heroines, who had satisfied all the requirements of Prize Contests, were subject to shameful neglect. No proper studio lighting, no adequate make-up facilities, ill-fitting dresses, in competent photography that made their faces a libel on heaven ! Could anything be worse ! In short, they painted the English annexe to Hollywood as a kind of Dantean Inferno, and sug gested that a glass of sparkling Hollywood hock was the nearest way out of it. Among the epistles with which the disillusioned brightened the dull columns of the daily prints was one that 293 294 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ran : “ There is no British Film Industry. There is one big company, and there are seven films in production. In Holly wood seventy films are being made." Oh, that one understood the language of numbers and could say what that magical seven portends. And seventy ? Was not seventy years' captivity fore told ? After reading this stimulating stuff, I turned to the com paratively dismal facts and figures recorded by a scenario writer at Elstree (or is it Shepherd's Bush ? or elsewhere in the British Isles ? I forget), a man who is supposed to be in the know, and one of those “ villains ” marked down for disapproval by the disgruntled and persons who are out for the blood of the British Cinema Industry. According to this scribe (writing at the beginning of 1929): “ There are in this country about 24 production companies more or less actively engaged in making pictures. In addition , one or two foreign films are making one or more films to fulfil their quota obligations, and a few British firms are dormant. About a dozen of the active firms came into being as a direct result of the Government's Cinematograph Films Act, which called for an increased number of home-pro duced pictures, and several of them have built new studios. Of the others, four - British Instructional, British International, Gainsborough and Gaumont - were not appreciably affected by the legislation, because they were already committed fairly heavily to production, though British International, with a big record last year of 22 completed pictures, has shot far ahead of any other country.” “ The British film revival has been remarkable.” America produces between 800 and 900 films every year and Germany between 300 and 400 . The number produced here is well short of 100.” “ In 1928 no fewer than 78 full- length pictures were trade shown.” In a letter reproving a sister “ film critic ” the same writer remarks: “ If your film critic has seen two really good British 1 See The Evening Standard , March 4, 1930. 2 See “ Jeremiah ,” 25, 12 . 3 L'Estrange Fawcett, in “ The Times Film Number," March 19, 1929. . . THE RIDDLE 295 • films in eighteen months she has not done so badly if we are only turning out one first-class picture a year we are doing as well as anyone else .” He argues in this fashion because America and Germany between them turn out 1,100 full-length pictures a year, and because he saw only 10 or 12 American and German films of real merit in 1928, and as Eng land produced only 70 pictures in that period, it follows, etc. From these facts and figures, and the emphasis on the good tidings that England is producing at least one good picture a year, we may gather that the British Cinema Industry is in course of healthy and hopeful revival, rebirth, resurrection, re organisation , reconstruction, or whatever meaning we like to give to present incipient activities. But is it really breaking away from Hollywood? Throwing off the dreadful incubus of American domination ? That is the question . Except for pre -war strivings and stirrings, and post -1926 strivings and stirrings, and the production of important post-war patriotic and Imperial documentary and instructional pictures — the only pictures opposed to the food of American ones — the British Cinema Industry has never shown the slightest disposition to separate from Hollywood, and to stand upright on its own legs. In 1906 the American picture companies were already at work pooling brains and money for the invasion of the world's picture markets. “ In 1908 British exhibitors built better cinemas, but they had no films. So they imported American The Americans were producing a good picture which has never been beaten. But the quality of the English pictures has gradually been improved.” There was a brief period of success during which the Eng lish and French pictures made a bid for the world's markets. “ In 1914 there were 314 British companies with a capital of £ 2,449,300. By 1916 the figures were 208 : £ 899,926." That 1 L'Estrange Fawcett, Letter to The Observer, January 27, 1929. The Cinema, 1917." A Report of Investigation into Conditions. 3 “ The Cinema, 1917.” ones. 2 93 2 See 60 296 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 2 is, by 1916 the guillotine had fallen . “ 90 p.c. of the films being now ( 1916) shown in the British picture houses are American , and the British market is only a negligible fraction of the market of the American producer both at home and throughout the whole world . " “ In 1916 one firm paid £ 36,800 in ten months for Customs duties on films coming into this country." In view of the American invasion it is important to note the number of English consumers. “ In the British Isles there are ( 1916 ) approximately 4,500 cinemas. The seating capacity varies from 100 to three or four thousand, according to the district. Based on carefully-tabulated returns, the average attendance per day, per cinematograph theatre throughout the country may very con servatively be placed at 750. The total number of patrons per day on this basis is 3,375,000, which gives a gross attendance for the year, for week -days only, of 1,056,375,000. The number of theatres open on Sundays is relatively small and has steadily decreased . The large majority of such houses are to be found in the London area , and assuming a total of 500 theatres, with 750 patrons each Sunday, we have an additional 375,000 patrons per Sunday, or 19,500,000 per year. The gross total of visitors during the year thus becomes 1,075,870,000. The total amount earned by the cinemas in a year is £ 20,000,000. The number of persons engaged in the manufacture, exhibition and distribu tion of films in the British Isles may be estimated at from 80,000 to 100,000. About 5,000 new subjects ” are issued each year, and some 70,000,000 feet of film are running through the pro jectors each week.” As to company promoting and capitalisa tion . The figures are, “ from 1908 to 1916 (incomplete), Com panies, 2,285 ; Capital, £ 13,239,895." There were a large number of liquidations. “ During 1915 and 1916 there were 114 liquidations.” “ The B.F.I. has rested on an investment policy from the beginning. 1 95 These facts and figures are instructive as revealing the nature and value of the old B.C.I. structure — the structure that 1 2 3 4 5 6 “ The Cinema, 1917.” THE RIDDLE 297 66 971 one. existed till 1926 . The late War, and the conditions arising therefrom , including particularly, conditions relating to the marketing and exhibition of motion pictures within the Empire and elsewhere throughout the world have contributed to the prostitution of the British Cinema production industry .' One does not need to be a mathematician to calculate how much profit the American Film Kings derived from the yearly con sumption of their 90 p.c. of commodities by the 1,075,870,000 English cinema-goers. This rate of consumption continued for ten years. Since 1926, amid mingled cries of joy and derision, the outlines of a new Industrial structure have arisen . Let us see how they differ from the main lines of the old American -centred The chief cause that produced the old one was invest ment. As soon as business men saw there was money in the moving picture they set to work to draw the English investing public into the net. Company promoters waxed fat. The new one may be said to have had a similar origin but a new incentive to investment was added. This incentive was the curious piece of legislation known as the Quota Act, which required that 5 p.c. of pictures shown in this country should be English. Later there came another and perhaps more powerful incentive in the form of the talking picture, or “ Talkie ” for short. The Quota Act, now called Quota, was not passed intentionally to promote investment purposes, to enable bogus producing com panies and their unscrupulous directors to swindle the public, and other picture producers to make big Quota fortunes. Like the German Kontingent Law , the French Herriot measure, the imitations that appeared in various European countries, all made to compel the exhibition of a yearly percentage (varying in different countries from 772 to 50 p.c. of national pictures, it was intended to be a destructive and constructive weapon . The cause that produced it was the increasing menace of American domination. It was originally a monopoly breaker framed to a i The Referee, May 8 , 1927. 298 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA form a barrier against Hollywood's money -grabbing legions and a means to rehabilitate English pictures. If, after being passed, it came to assist evil investment tendencies by offering itself for use to promote Quota companies, and as a bait by such com panies to catch silly investors who were led to lose fortunes, that was because it was not properly made. It was as full of loop holes as a rabbit warren . By all accounts Quota was needed to save the picture pro duction business in this country from being buried outright. “ The outstanding feature of 1926 was the discovery by the Board of Trade that the British film industry was in a dying condition. A suggestion was made that on and after a certain date to be fixed each picture theatre should present a quota of British pictures, but the proprietors cast a heavy vote against this proposal. Later, when it was urged that the booking of pictures in blocks without seeing them , or even before they were made in America, was the cause of the then impending decease of the British industry, an overwhelming majority voted in favour of legislation to end this system . And in due course there was legislation. But not to everyone's satisfaction, simply because no Act in practice ever does give complete satisfaction. The chief objection to this one was that the Bill was not as originally contemplated, one capable of transforming the Cinema Industry. That it served to establish by law a power which might be exercised in an arbitrary and wrong manner, accom panied by the most mischievous results. In other words, it was capable of assisting the Americans, and English producers and renters seeking to take advantage of the Cinema Trade and Industry and of the public, instead of hindering them . Within a limited space it is impossible to consider all sides of the very complicated subject of the Cinematograph Films Bill and to describe the Quota system contained in the Bill ; and I shall not attempt it. All I shall do is to state briefly its pur pose and offer some evidence of pro and anti attitudes, and then i W. G. Faulkner, “ The Daily Mail Year Book , " 1927. THE RIDDLE 299 " 1 2 pass on to the effect of the Act in action. “ The purpose is , briefly, to provide market for the product of British makers of films by compelling exhibitors and renters to buy an increasing quota of this product. “ The purpose of the Bill is, of course, to encourage the production of British pictures and their more extensive exhibition throughout the Empire and elsewhere throughout the world .” ? For : “ The opponents of the Films Bill, such as Lord Beaver brook (who, by the by, has cinema interests) uniformly mis state the case . The block system at present in vogue secures the domination of the English picture house by the American film . And many of the American films are as contemptible artistically as they are dangerous from the point of view of alien propaganda. If the minimum quota of English films were established we might be in danger of getting some bad Eng lish films, but that is better than our present certainty of getting some bad American films. Moreover, the plan has been tried with success in Germany, a country we do not disdain to imitate when it does well. We do not think that assurance of a good home market is likely to produce a food of bad English films, it will merely stimulate production . And we think that our film producers have as good brains as the producers of Germany and America. We confess that we do not love the cinema, but millions of English people do, and it is bad to have them fed continually on the American idea. ” 3 “ We welcome the Cinematograph Films Bill because it seeks to achieve an excellent object. American capital has a stranglehold on the cinematograph industry in this country. If there were in the American people or the American climate some peculiar virtue which enabled them to produce better or more desirable films than this country can hope to do, or to a 1 The Times, April 6, 1927 . 2 William Marston Seabury, in The Referee, May 8, 1927 . 3 G. K.'s Weekly, March 26 , 1927 . 300 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA produce equally good films at a substantially lower cost, the Bill might be assailable on economic grounds. “ In fact, the Hollywood film is not American. It is con trolled , inspired and saturated with what is politely called the international complex. Still less is it British or in the remotest degree coloured by or concerned with what is best, or even with what is decently normal, in English life .” Against : M.P.'s Hymn of Hate. “ Mr. Philip Snowden (Labour): " The Bill shows that the President of the Board of Trade is simply a tool of the Federation of British Industries.' Sir Frank Meyer (a Conservative): ' It is an illegitimate interference with business. ' “ Major Crawfurd (a Liberal ): ‘ You might as well try to force a member of a university crew to catch English measles instead of German measles. ' “ Mr. Arthur Greenwood ( an ex -Labour Minister): “ The wildest farrago of administrative nonsense ever put before the House .' “ One of the ablest defenders of the measure was Colonel Moore - Brabazon. He considers that there has been too much of the “ bang- the-drum -and-walk -up ” showman business about films in the past, and that the quota will give a chance to British genius . " ? Sir Philip Cunliffe -Lister, President of the Board of Trade, denying Mr. Philip Snowden's charge, said, “ There is no truth whatever in that allegation . The Bill is founded on a recom mendation of the Imperial Conference.” “ Thus the Bill seeks to eliminate the symptom of blind booking, while it stimulates, protects, and grants specific immunity to the far more important and dangerous symptom , the ‘ first run ' theatre. The disease itself - consisting in the 2 1 The Evening News, March 12 , 1927 . 2 The Daily News, March 23 , 1927. 3 The Daily Herald , March 23, 1927 . supports UFA ufatone production The Blue Angl It1930. 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THE RIDDLE 301 " 1 exclusive exhibition contract system - flourishes unchecked and unabated. It is perhaps needless to add that the monopoly will continue to Aourish with slight and but quite incidental annoy ance, but at no real disadvantage from the Bill. ” ı The principal effects of the Act in practice are : 1. A start at building a new English Cinema Industry. 2. Booming the Industry on alleged Quota advantages in order to obtain capital from the investing public to float companies. 3. A new war against America. 4. English Civil War. Violent attacks on the Quota met by equally violent methods of defence. 1. Building of the new English Cinema Industry. Two stages have marked the erection of the new structure - A . Quota stage, or pre- Talkie, and B. the Talkie stage. A. 1. CONCEPT. An English economic machine, the activities of which are intended to follow those of the economic activities of Hollywood in the production, distribution , exchange · and consumption of Cinema goods. But it must make “ a British picture.” British defined. “ A British film must be made ( that is promoted) by British subjects.” Policy. Investment in home-made pictures for Eng land. Opening of a wide foreign market. MOTIVE. To promote English Cinema Trade and Industry so as to remove the worst features of American com petition. ORGANISATION : 1. Plan. An English Hollywood. “ As for the natural conditions which aid the production of films only a fool would suggest that the British film studio with all Europe at its back door, as it were, is not better situated than Los Angeles, which is six thousand miles away from anywhere that matters." a 2 B. C. D. 3 1 William Marston Seabury, in The Referee, May 8, 1927. 2 The Evening News, March 12, 1927. 3 Ibid. 22 302 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 2. Site. The environments of London. Elstree, Bushey, Walthamstow , Islington, Beaconsfield, Welwyn, Cricklewood , Wembley, Shepherd's Bush , Isleworth, Hounslow , Teddington and elsewhere. In these districts studios have been erected . The site though it offers big business advantages over Hollywood since it is part of a great commercial city, has not the latter's natural advantages. Its geography, atmosphere and light are unfavourable, and it lacks facilities for the intensive cultivation of institutions, production and other activities. 3. Foundations. Financial organisation. Laid by capitalists and investors of all kinds. It offers a scope for gambling and speculating with public money. To begin with , had a founda tion of millions invested in the Cinema. “ In Parliament yesterday Sir P. Cunliffe-Lister, President of the Board of Trade, stated at question time that estimates made by various sections of the cinema trade gave the capital invested in the exhibition side of the industry as from £ 30,000,000 to £ 50,000,000. “ He hesitated to give any reliable estimate of the amount invested in production, but he thought that at present it did not exceed £ 4,000,000 ." 4. Builders. Leading presidents and managing directors with tested organising and directional abilities who could be trusted to promote the best business interests of the new industry. If it cannot be said that they are like the German Film Kings of the best post -war period of German production who were obsessed with an “ ennoblement ” ideal under pressure of which they pledged themselves to put “ soul ” into commercial pictures; it may be said that they are seriously moved by the idea of establishing English machinery that shall make the most of the protection afforded by the Quota. They include Sir Gordon Craig, H. Bruce Woolfe, “ managing director of British Instruc tional Films, ” ? C. M. Woolf “ managing £ 15,000,000,” Michael 1 The Daily News, March 23, 1927. 2 Film Weekly , December 30, 1929 . 3 Film Weekly, December 2, 1929. 1 " 3 THE RIDDLE 303 1 2 3 Balcon,' A. E. Bundy, “ an extremely able financier," and John Maxwell. 5. Materials. Human. Do not differ from the Holly wood varieties save that they are mainly home product. Mixture of stars and starvelings. Assortment of technical staffs. 6. Content. Three elements. 1. Hollywood ; 2. Instruc tional and sociological, and 3. patriotic and national propaganda. I. “ Britain at the moment is undoubtedly copying; you can see it in every British production. Tricks which are antiquated both in American and German productions are being used , and not always to the best advantage. Ten years ago, de Mille set the fashion for cabaret scenes, and during the past year I should think more than 60 p.c. of British productions have in cluded at least one cabaret scene in each production , whether it is wanted or not." But copying does not end with cabaret The War, Sex and Crime have all been exploited and sold on a scale that even America might envy or consider sickening. Of course, these appeals to the popular mind have had their effect on the box office. This traffic in sensationalism has unintentionally put scientific values on the screen similar to those associated with the American sensational pictures. For instance, demonstrations of the theory held by sexologists that there are sexual doubles; criminal analyses. The new criminal and his environment, and his scientific equipment analysed by experts like Edgar Wallace. Warology exhibition of the new machinery of warfare. Sociologically speaking the new pictures reveal a lack of vision and knowledge . They have nothing to compare with the Westerns which so successfully put the Wild and changing West on the screen . The attempt to put Eng land on the screen has been, so far, mildly amusing. The American version of Hardy's “ Under the Greenwood Tree,” the production of other pictures, such as “ Red Roses, ” served scenes. 1 Film Weekly, December 9 , 1929. 3 Victor Sheridan, in The Observer, January 27 , 1929. 2 Film Weekly, December 16, 1929 . 304 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > to remind us that the English picture industry cannot do without foreigners and foreign elements no matter how much it tries ." The attempt to put Ireland on the screen is no better. “ The Informer is historically a muddle ; Sean O'Casey's “ Juno and the Paycock ” is revolution with the revolution left out. Still, if “ Juno and the Paycock ” failed to satisfy sociologically, it came as a boon and a blessing to one eminent Cinema critic , who found it compounded of “ the whimsical sentiment of Barrie, the unique grandeur of Shakespeare's tragedy, the lambent glory of Molière blended with cinematographic form. ' The cinema-goer should certainly not quarrel with that mixture for 1/4 tax included . Mr. H. G. Wells' two “ shorts ” “ Blue bottles ” and “ Daydreams” have interesting sociological possi bilities. The best sociological results have been attained by the British Instructional Films especially in pictures dealing with occupations in this country, with different parts of the Empire, such as India in “ Shiraz ” and “ The Throw of the Dice, ” that shed a light on India of the wealthy class and its environment, and with the Secrets of Nature.” The latter series are extremely valuable in revealing natural processes of birth , growth, development and habital adaptations of vegetable, insect and other forms of life . “ What extraordinary comedy and drama and pathos of dire tragedy are in the lives of the smallest things that leap or creep . The great French naturalist proved it. It is not out of place to mention the sociological importance of the news reel such as, for instance, The First National Pathé Gazette, with its vivid interpretations of nature, and man and his occupations and environment in the past, present and possible. Patriotic pictures have had a fairly long career. The attempt to make a record of the War, naval and military has resulted in such noteworthy pictures as “ Arma geddon,” “ Mons,” “ Ypres,” “ Zeebrugge,” “ The Battles of Coronel and Falklands," and other documentary pictures, some 1 See Manchester Guardian , November 2, 1929. 2 G. A. Atkinson, Sunday Express, January 5, 1930. 3 G. A. Atkinson, Sunday Express, January 26, 1930 . 3 British 1928. AInstructional Production The .ofrow the Dice .This film earlier and oe Shiraz “”first are th Indian fruits offilms movement for India Mr. Himansu led bythemes Rai .The are taken from mythology native That .ofThe the Throw covetousness Dice ispunishment and its .One another's king covets kingdom and wins itth loaded deposed dice ,but isnthe end .The scenehows hearing the crowd Sokat gambled that has kingdom away his tone educational .Its is,the sociological values preserved are well native architecture inthe and races .the Itbelongs toPower Subject film . ܀ THE RIDDLE 305 of which in the making have had the active co-operation of the naval and military authorities. 7. METHOD. Mainly guesswork. There is no science of technique in picture production in this country. One writer has attempted to indicate the present condition of picture pro duction by comparing it with the condition of Kinetics at the end of last century when Kinetics was simply guesswork. Mendel the biologist came and founded the science of Kinetics, which has since been applied to the improvement of live stock and plants that we eat. To-day the science of Kinetics is only in its infancy. The technique of picture-making, so far as English and American Production Companies are concerned , is where Kinetics was at the end of the last century. But so far as the Bolshevist producers, Kuleshov, Vertov, Eisenstein and Pudovkin are concerned it is where Kinetics is to-day; it rests on a scientific foundation , 1 a E. CONSUMPTION. The position taken by the Cinema ( as a place of exhibition) during the preliminary stage of erecting the new industrial structure fairly voices the commercial and speculative attitude of the Builders. It may be that for the first time in the history of the English picture industry the big Production and Distributing Companies in this country came to realise the extreme importance of exhibition, or the establish ment of multiple shops in which they could sell their own pro duce direct to the consumer. But whether or no it was the first time, they proceeded to follow the example of, and even to collaborate with the Americans in buying and building cinemas, in acquiring chains of existing cinemas, as shopkeepers acquire multiple shops, for profit. What the Americans did in this respect is related in the section on Hollywood which suggests what the English have done. Everything was done for profit, that is to satisfy the largest paying appetite. This cinema grabbing is an essential part of the game of monopolizing the i See Ivor Montagu, Introduction to “ Pudovkin on Technique." 306 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA men . a whole cinema business, and is in itself a vast gamble by business It has elements of fraud for some cinemas are so con structed that two thirds of the audience are cheated of from 50 to 75 p.c. of the entertainment for which they have paid full price. It is as though a customer went to a butcher and having paid him the price of a full flesh joint received only the bones. That this cinema cornering for the purpose of cornering audiences is a gamble must be apparent to the men who engage in it, for they must know that the construction of the super-cinema, and the super -super -cinema at a cost varying from £ 250,000 to £ 1,000,000 ( the estimated cost of the latest projected mammoth cinema for London ), is influenced by passing conditions set up by mechanical discovery and invention . It is pretty plain to the spectator who pays 5- for a seat, as it must be to cinema owners, that an auditorium whose vast size is determined by the small screen , is seriously affected by the use of the giant screen . Any one who occupies a seat in row A of the stalls ( that is, the row farthest from the curtain line on the ground floor), at the Regal Cinema, one of London's most sumptuous picture palaces, will notice that the line of the Aloor of the balcony which projects over several rows of stalls cuts off the top of the big screen and with it the upper part of a big spectacular scene and also the heads of figures that are enlarged to the full size of the screen . Moreover, it is impossible to see over the head of the person in front. This form of monopoly is marked by three activities. Buying up Cinemas. 2. Adapting existing theatres to cinema . requirements. 3. Building cinemas. There is abundant evidence of the mad scramble by big Distributing Companies for cinemas. But that relating to the amazing activities of the Gaumont-British Company may be taken as a fair sample of the whole. Amalgamations and deals with producing, renting concerns, bankers. “ Details will be published within a few days of changes within the Gaumont-British Pictures Corporation, the gigantic I. I. THE RIDDLE 307 2 British film organisation with a capital of £ 17,000,000, and con trolling more than 300 theatres.” The producing and renting concerns the Gaumont Co., W. and F. Film Service and Ideal Films are owned by the Corporation .” “ The rise of the Gaumont British undertaking is one of the business romances of the last two years. By acquiring the Ashfield - Beaverbrook interests on top of the recently acquired General Theatres chain, Gaumont British achieves a dominant position that is unparalleled in any other country, for even in the United States supremacy is divided between three great groups, whereas in this country it is Gaumont British first, and all the rest nowhere." “ The great new British film combine, the Gaumont British Film Corporation, with a capital of £ 2,500,000 , backed by Messrs. Ostrer Bros., bankers, of Moorgate Street, E.C., has completed negotiations for the amalgamation of four companies concerned in film production and distribution and the control of 22 cinemas in London and the provinces.” “ Another authority informed me that Messrs. Ostrer Brothers, a London firm of merchant bankers, recently bought for about £ 700,000 fifteen theatres of the Biocolour circuit, which includes cinemas in all parts of the country, four being at Holloway Road, Peckham , Hoxton and Dalston .” “ Several correspondents who hold Provincial Cinemato graph Theatres Ordinary shares have written to inquire if they should accept the offer made by Gaumont British Picture Corporation of £1 155. per share. My advice is to accept this offer, for the new company, now becoming part of a much larger concern , ceases to be a separate entity, and need not necessarily be run with a view to " 5 i Daily Chronicle, July 30 , 1929. 2 Evening Standard, September 15, 1928. 3 Daily Herald , January 3, 1929. 4 Daily Mail, April 5 , 1927. 5 London Newspaper. 308 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA earning the maximum amount of profit for its individual share holders . " 1 2 “ Provincial Cinematograph Theatres, Ltd., conducts the largest entertainment enterprise in the British Isles , owning or controlling 110 110 theatres. 35,000,000 people attended the theatres of the P.C.T. during the past year (1927).” The Company's chain of theatres now extends from Hull to Belfast and from Aberdeen to the Channel Islands. They are also caterers owning hotels and restaurants." 2. ARCHITECTURE. Along with the wholesale buying of chains of cinemas has gone the conversion of existing theatres and music halls to cinema use. One after the other compara tively old -established “ houses ” like the London Opera House, the Pavilion , and the Palladium have been turned into picture palaces quite regardless of their unfitness for this It is true that the directors of these palaces are of the opinion that they are suitable for “ pictures.” Mr. Charles Cochran says, “ the Pavilion is perfect for films by reason of its perfect sight line and projection .” The London Pavilion, like all theatres, has a correct sight line. But in order that the auditorium should have only this sight line, it would be necessary to do away with a very large number of seats. Mr. Cochran implies as much when he admits that he must close the side seats of the balcony. The fact is that most, if not all , of the old - established London theatres are pre-historic in construction . Their construction was influenced by the use for which they were originally intended , and they have retained their original shape while entertainment has undergone a gradual change. The disastrous effect of putting new entertainment in old theatres was fully apparent when the Art of the Theatre took the stage. In particular, when ever Diaghelev’s Russian Ballet was performing in one of the purpose. 1 Daily Herald, January 3, 1929. 2 Cinema Finance Floating Company's Advertisement, Evening Standard , October 11, 1927 . 3 The Daily Express, April 27, 1927. 4 Evening Neros, April 11, 1929. EXIT 32 1928. Architecture and Decoration . The Regal Cinema London . An example of the atmospheric interior. Italian with a suggestion of the Roman military freebooters period in the Roman arms over the stage opening. It is designed to provide comfort, cheapness and the maximum seating capacity, and to meet the ordinary requirements of eye and ear . The figures according to A. L. Carter, the Press representative, are : Cost £,200,000 ; Seating capacity , 2,100 ; Size of screen 28 ft . 3 ins . by 24 ft . 3 ins ; width of auditorium , 50 ft . extending to 58 ft .; depth of auditorium 110 ft. from stage to rear wall ; projection throw 120 ft .; proscenium opening 48 ft . wide . Running cost per week approximately £ 2,000 Photo by courtesy of the Regal Cinema. 4 THE RIDDLE 309 1 archaic West End theatres. Seen from the gallery of the Coliseum the dancers were like Aies. Looking down from the amphi theatre it was almost impossible to recognise the fore -shortened figures of the dancers. I never had a seat in a London theatre that did not cause me to lose from 25 p.c. to 75 p.c. of the value of the composition of the stage picture. A long and careful study of the auditoriums of London theatres and of sight lines led me to the conclusion that there is not a theatre with a correct sight line from all points. There are some that contain seats that afford a full and uninterrupted view of the stage, but the angles of vision are all wrong. “ Errors in sight lines are one of the commonest mis takes in theatre construction ." I found that in most of the theatres there are galleries in which at least 25 p.c. of the seats are useless. Another 25 p.c. are exceedingly incon venient ; and for two reasons, first because , while it is fairly easy for me looking straight at the stage to find a view -point between the heads in front of me, it is very difficult for me looking at the stage sideways ; and secondly, because the composer of the stage picture never expected me to look at it sideways. I may say that heads are a cause of obstruction in every part of a com mercial auditorium except the front rows and the boxes. When His Majesty's Theatre, London, was built it was said to be a new model of a commercial theatre. But the main architectural problem solved by this theatre was to satisfy the requirements of the typical theatrical speculator (Sir Herbert Tree) who primarily demands the greatest accommodation in a limited space at as low a cost as possible. The theatre cost £60,000 and accommodates about 1,500 persons. The approximate dimen sions are : Width of the proscenium opening at the curtain line, 35 feet ; height 29 feet 6 inches. Auditorium : Curtain line to front and first tier, 34 feet ; to front of second tier, 40 feet ; to farthest seat, 79 feet. Stage: Curtain line to containing back 49 feet. From this it appears that from the farthest seat 1 “ Modern Theatre Architecture,” E. Kinsila. a wall , 49 310 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA to the back of the stage is a distance of 128 feet, which means that figures at the back of a full stage composition are greatly diminished, while colour arrangements lose their value. The width of the main floor of the auditorium greatly exceeds that of the proscenium opening, with the result that persons seated to the right and left of the stalls have only a partial view of the stage picture. The use of the old theatres as cinemas is really condemned by the recent influence exerted by the moving picture on the construction of standardised cinemas. A marked influence appears in the doing away with the gallery and the old side seats in the tiers; just asas the the newly --erected erected super s and super-super cinemas are condemned by the influence which is about to be exerted on the construction of the Cinema by the giant screen and the stereoscopic picture. 3. Building. During 1926-1930 English, American , and English and American combines of big renting concerns, cinema owners, bankers, speculators, and gamblers have been engaged in a great and “ costly campaign to cover the Capital (London) -suburbs and all — with film theatres rivalling in size and luxury anything in America.” And it may be added, to cover the provinces as well. As a result colossal picture palaces re sembling “ mountains of marble, plate-glass and gilding,” or glorified railway termini, or vast mausoleums for little pictures, have, at the touch of the capitalists' wand, sprung up all over our Mammonised Metropolis. Their names, Astoria, Capitol, Plaza, Tivoli, Regal, Empire (rebuilt), Metropole, Regent, suggest size, capital, and atmosphere. Is it more than a coin cidence that some of these names and some of the “ atmospheric interiors suggest the ideals and ideas of the military freebooters upon which Western capitalistic civilisation is based ? Examine these palaces to which the frenzied fight for wealth has given birth and we shall find they are all made to i See “ Theatre Architecture," E. O. Sachs. 2 Evening News, February 3, 1927 . 3 “ The Times Film Number Supplement," March 19, 1929. 3 THE RIDDLE 311 per great interest. 2 a pattern , their plans, materials, their equipment are all in fluenced by one set of economic necessities. “ The general recipe for these new picture theatres of fection is of “ Take 1,000,000 bricks, 1,000 tons of steel, 4,000 seats, an organ costing £ 10,000, a roof garden with tennis and badmin ton courts, a stage bigger than that at Drury Lane, an auto matic restaurant, a series of shops, a nursery, an Italian Garden, and £ 250,000, and mix well. ” ı A nursery An automatic restaurant. Tennis courts. Italian Garden. A landscape picture theatre which will give the audience “ the illusion of sitting in an Italian garden beneath a sky which can present sunrise, noon or night,with or with out stars, as and when desired .” Such slices of Italy dot the London landscape — the Lido at Golder's Green, the Astoria at Brixton, the Regal at the Marble Arch , are three of them . The mode of construction is determined by commercial speculation, as was the case with His Majesty's Theatre, by get rich -quick competition, by the struggle for monopoly, by the requirements of a small screen measuring approximately 30 feet wide by 25 feet high, by the necessity of attracting and holding big audiences of from 3,000 to 5,000 persons. Actually they are examples of the embodiment of the latest demand for economic planning and cinema equipment and public comfort and convenience without due regard to cinema visual values, and a proper return to the public for the rent paid for seats. Of course, it may be admitted that a patron ” who pays 5/- and receives an Italian garden and a gilded club and a wash and brush up free of charge, is getting quite a lot for his money. If in addition he is allowed to catch fleeting glimpses of the procession on the screen he should consider himself exceedingly lucky. The enormous size of these illuminated addresses to the a 1 Daily Chronicle, July 29, 1929. 2 Ibid . 2 312 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 2 Stock Exchange implies that the business men who control them have discovered that the little cinema does not pay. A super cinema holds at least ten times more persons, and can, if managed successfully, make fabulous profits. The running cost a week of one of the largest and latest of London's cinemas is approximately £ 2,000. “ One West End cinema invariably takes a film out of the programme if the takings drop below £ 2,500 a week . Four thousand pounds a week is what this theatre considers to be a ' satisfactory ' box -office total . ” ı When the Empire opened it was estimated that during the first week the takings averaged £ 3,500 daily. The Sunday attendances at four West End super -cinemas on April 28th , 1929 , were as follows: “ Empire, 7,355 ; Tivoli, 7,084 ; Plaza, between 6,000 and 7,000; Capitol , 3,457. But costly and sumptuous though these Aladdin -like structures are, they cannot disguise the fact that they do not fulfil their undertaking to give the audience full picture value for its money. The dimensions are ridiculous. The vast audi torium is out of all proportion to the tiny screen . Take the dimensions of the Dominion theatre — a theatre that may or may not be used later as a cinema. ““TheThe stage is a hundred feet in depth and forty feet wide the theatre is very wide at the back - a matter of nearly 120 feet.” Put a - a screen , say, 30 feet by 20 feet, in the proscenium opening and according to where you sit in this converging auditorium the small rectangular screened picture assumes a different mathematical figure - square, parallelogram , rhomboid, rhom bus, right-angle triangle, and trapezium . The close up presents a variety of circles,-full, half, segment, cylinder, if you are looking down from a height or up from a depth. The values of angles pictures, unless seen from a very small area of the auditorium, are almost destroyed. Big distance from the screen . " 3 1 Evening News, February 2, 1927 . 2 Evening Standard , April 29, 1929. 3 Observer, September 29, 1929. THE RIDDLE 313 does not lend enchantment to the view, for the picture decreases in the inverse ratio of its square. At the Stoll picture house, which was originally constructed for use as an Opera House, there is a row of boxes at the back of the very deep auditorium, facing the stage. There are super-cinemas that have more reasonable dimen sions than the Dominion theatre. The Regal , for instance . But generally speaking the amount of correct sight line in these huge cinemas is very small indeed, and this is interfered with by the lack of proper slope of the main foor or the balcony slope, which makes it impossible to see over the heads in front. This loss of picture values is the worst feature of the super cinema. It is the outcome of an application on a gigantic scale of the abuse that began when the commercial theatre began in Burbage's time. Ever since, the commercial theatre owners and managers have promised the public a pound's worth of com modity in exchange for a pound sterling, while the public has received from these men of spotless character and unimpeach able probity, for the most part, little more than half, or it may be a quarter, their money's worth . 3. FINANCE. Booming the English Cinema Industry on the false assumptions and “ falacious premises ” of the Quota Act has, it seems, been since 1926, not only fashionable but the means of many discreditable financial transactions. It is stated on the best authority that Quota has been made the basis of a systematic appeal to the investing public for the use of its gold. Company after company have been formed and the public has rushed in and bought shares, and shares have depre ciated . Out of these and other facts has of the greatest gamble in the history of the English Film Industry. It is the story of how £ 1,800,000 was absolutely thrown away. Vigorous attempts have been made by friends of Quota to minimise this, one of the worst, if not the worst effect of the Quota. Let me state some of the evidence produced by both sides. grown the story 314 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Not long ago a very vigorously worded article supported by an array of figures appeared in a London evening newsprint. It was headed in black type : “ British Films:: The Dismal Fads. Loss to investors of nearly one and a half millions." Thereafter it proceeded to expose and explain the “ dismal facts ” by answering the question, What is wrong with the British Film industry ? It is ' protected ' by the Quota Act yet it is comatose. The financial losses are enormous; the artistic output is negligible; the unemployment is tragic.” As a guide to the black outlook it made “ an analysis of fourteen British Companies, comparing the value of their shares then with what it is in the market now shows a drop from £ 2,390,962 to £ 1,443,738, a loss of 60 Approx . Approx. 91 per cent. iiii Blattner Pic. £1 Pf. 18. Dr. British Filmcraft 58. Instructinl 108. Lion £1 Pf. 1s . Pl. Brit. Phototone 5s. Brit. Screen Prod . 58. Brit. & Fgn . Films 58. French Phototone 5s. Gainsborough Pic. £1 18. Moviecolour 58. New Era Films £ 1 Pf. 1s. Dr. Pro Patria ” Films 5s. Whitehall Films £1 Pf. 1s. Dr. Wish Prsn - Éldr £ i Pf. 1s. Latest Issues. £ 180,000 1,000,000 400,000 200,000 160,000 160,000 400,000 500,000 800,000 800,000 200,000 200,000 1,800,000 94,250 94,250 210,000 160,000 160,000 170,000 170,000 Total Present Cost Market to Public . Price. £ 8. d . 180,000 7 0 50,000 0 11 100,000 1 3 110,000 9 0 160,000 4 41 8,000 0 71 100,000 2 0 125,000 2 0 200,000 3 0 200,000 1 3 200,000 9 3 10,000 2 0 450,000 2 0 94,250 7 6 4,712 1 6 52,500 4 3 160,000 1 9 8,000 0 3 170,000 3 1 8,500 0 3 2,390,962 Present Market Value. £ 63,000 46,000 25,000 90,000 35,000 5,000 40,000 50,000 120,000 50,000 92,500 20,000 180,000 35,344 7,068 43,625 14,000 2,000 26,562 2,125 947,224 ... ... .. LOSS £ 1,443,738 “ All the above, except British Instructional, which was issued at is. premium , were offered at par. “ The passing of the Films ( Quota) Act designed to give Protection to the new industry led to a rush of Aotations and ? The Star, June 5, 1929. THE RIDDLE 315 " 1 the creation of new enterprises. The public, patriotically will ing to support such a promising industry, threw in their funds. The company promoter entered the happy hunting ground. “ Between the end of 1927 when the Quota Act was passed, and the end of the following year, 1928, between two and three million pounds worth of shares were bought by the British public. “ Of that sum £ 1,400,000 has already been lost .” At the same time as this article appeared another was published in a London morning newspaper. It had a similar character and dealt with the subject of “ British Picture Huge Losses, ” and contained a long table of Film Issues of 1927-1928 , which showed that the public lost £1,817,511 or 61.6 p.c. of the capital subscribed. This attack on “ British Film finance was met by an equally vigorous denial from reliable quarters. There were,, for example, the categorical denials by Mr. Charles Tennyson, which included the following criticism of the table of share values. Finally I must protest most strongly against the table of share values you published and the construction your cor respondent places upon .it. It is difficult to imagine any less reliable barometer of the prosperity of an industry than the tabulation of the market quotations of the shares of certain arbitrarily selected companies. Any industry could be proved virtually bankrupt by this method which must be held to exceed the bounds of fair criticism when the list of companies only includes those whose shares stand at a discount, and which in the case of one company at least omits reference to the other class of shares which are at a premium . Thus I note your table omits entirely British International and Gaumont British, both of whose shares stand at a premium , and it only includes British Instructional Ordinary shares which stand at a small discount, and refrains from mentioning the deferred shares i The Star, June 5, 1929. 2 Daily Chronicle, June 7, 1929 , 316 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 72 16 which are at a high premium . Moreover, professing to be an index of the prosperity of the producing side of the industry , it quotes one company which is purely a renting organisation and has therefore nothing whatever to do with production. The table is, therefore, doubly misleading and inaccurate." A reply to the criticism appeared in a leading Sunday news paper by a writer who took the view that the attack was part of the three - fold anti- British propaganda aiming 1. “ to dis credit British film finance," 2. to establish that the Cinemato graph Films Act has been a failure,” 3. “ to bring all British film production effort ( personnel, staff, studios, etc.) into dis repute .”? Another reply to the articles was made by Mr. John Maxwell, Chairman of the British International Pictures. The Federation of British Industries issued a circular on the subject of the damaging attacks ." Subsequently the Star published Mr. Maxwell's reply. This was followed later by a reply headed “ A Producer Endorses the Revelations made by the Star.” All things considered, it may be said, I think, that there was something financially rotten in the state of the reborn English Film Industry. “ Mushroom Companies subject of strong comment by the financial editor of a weekly Journal , who said, the public has been badly bitten by some of these mushroom companies. Several of these com panies' reports and balance -sheets are due, and the sooner they are made public, however bad they may be, the better for the industry. ” Continuing he considers in detail “ the very un satisfactory state of affairs ’ shown by the belated report and balance -sheet of the Whitehall Films, Ltd." Referring to this company's affairs a critic said : Consider the report which has recently been issued by 1 Extract from the typed reply by Charles Tennyson, Chairman Film Manufacturers' Group, June 14, 1929. 2 Sunday Referee, June 16 , 1929. 3 Film Weekly, June 17, 1929 . 4 Ibid. 3 The Star, June 11, 1929. 8 The Star, June 14, 1929 . ? The Film Weekly, June 17 , 1929. was the a THE RIDDLE 317 " 1 Whitehall Films. This company went to the public in Novem ber, 1927, and proceeded to build a costly studio at Elstree. There is no mention of the company ever having pro duced a British film in its Elstree studio . Instead , it bought one or two foreign films. Its accounts for the period from November, 1927, to January 31 , 1929, show a loss of £31,245 . No provision has been made for depreciation of buildings and equipment, which stand at about £ 64,000. All the cash that remains is £ 329. “ The auditors report that over £ 10,000 has been paid to managing directors for various considerations, in addition to directors ' fees. It would be difficult to imagine a more pitiable state of affairs for a company which obtained £ 168,000 from the British public on the strength of Government ' protection ' of the British film industry . “ Voice of an angry shareholder at this Film Company's meeting : ' Why did Mr. Lapworth , before he resigned the posi tion of joint managing director and drew £ 7,000, buy the pic ture “ Joan of Arc ” which the censor banned ? ' 2” ' Joan of Arc ' was banned by the censor and was an entire loss .” 3 “ Mr. Charles Lapworth has held important positions in the Goldwyn organisation and the Gainsborough Pictures, Ltd." Whitehall Films Company have failed ; and in other Quota companies the shareholders have seen the value of their shares enormously reduced .” 5 4.4 War. From all this it will be gathered that the Quota Act in practice was the cause of violent disturbances and shame ful abuse which were not confined to English Production Com panies and Renters' concerns. In fact, war developed on two “ Fronts ” to use a military term, the American and the Home There was civil war in England , conflicts between the " 94 66 > ones. 1 The Daily Chronicle, June 7, 1929. ? Evening News, June 24 , 1929. 3 Daily Chronicle, June 25 , 1929. 4 See * The Theatre, Music Hall and Cinema Companies Blue Book , 1928-9 ," for Whitehall Films Ltd., p. 138. 5 Daily Erpress, November 13, 1929. 23 318 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 1 friends and opponents of the Quota, and war on England by America, and marchings and countermarchings of forces on both sides. Looking closely at this contemptible effect it is not hard to discover that there was a strong political as well as an economic motive underlying it . Both attack and defence centred round the principle of protection included in the Quota Bill , and there were doubtless many attackers and defenders who justified their action by the political motive while relating it to an economic one. While English critics complained of interference with the liberty of the exhibitor and the incentive offered to the production of cheap and bad English pictures; the American Film Kings objected to a sort of tariff wall being put round the English market with the aim of excluding their goods. Accordingly they employed every means to overcome the Act, or evade the fulfilment of its terms. By all accounts, some at least of the most violent attacks were made in concert by representatives of the two nations in a manner agreed upon between them . Others were strongly influenced by the Ameri “ The campaign against the Cinematograph Films Act is avowedly of American origin . The reason for this campaign is that Americans fear the power of the great circuits of cinemas which have come into being as the result of the Act. " For a considerable time attacks and counter -attacks con tinued to be made with more or less violence. Then came the Talkie to give a new orientation to the war on the two Fronts. And one of the effects of the coming of the Talkie has been the change of opinion concerning the Quota. Critics and writers who a year ago were so eager to exalt the Quota are now as eager to have it revised or abolished altogether. Headlines that an nounced the “ Success of the Films Act ” are now replaced by others announcing the “ Failure of the Films Act." 3 The Spotlight, ” in Sunday Referee , June 19 , 1929 . 3 An “ Analysis of the Present Position of the Motion Picture Industry in England ," by Sir Gordon Craig, reviewed by Spotlight," in Sunday Referee, March 3, 1930. cans. 1 66 1 2 Ibid . THE RIDDLE 319 grounds for this change appear to be that 1. “ The Cinemato graph Films Act has failed to realise its original intention .” Accordingly 2. “ Its regulations should be amended to require distributors of motion pictures in Britain to have 25 p.c. of British films in their total output. 3. The Quota should be re moved from exhibitors. " 2. THE TALKIE. ADVANCE OR RETREAT On the whole the Quota Act may be said to have had a marked influence on the revival of the English Picture Industry. The idea of a national industry has undergone a gradual and formative development. The Act stimulated the establishment of the various departments of an English Hollywood. The word Hollywood must be used because the English structure so closely copies the American one in many essential details, just as the English pictures continue to be strongly influenced by the American ones. At the same time it has been the cause of some of these departments, especially the financial one, being put to corrupt and evil uses for which they were never intended, and as a result has become exceedingly offensive to clean -minded persons. In the Autumn of 1928, the English Picture Industry came under another and more powerful shaping in Auence by means of which, it is generally thought, the story of the struggle to free the Industry of the American monopoly may be brought to a close. It is important to inquire to what extent is that view justified ? Is England any nearer an All-English Cinema Industry and All -English pictures to-day than it was in the latter days of 1928 ? Or has the struggle which began with the Quota simply been intensified with perhaps the advantage on the side of the invading American hosts ? In short, what amount of freedom of development have the cinema activities in this country obtained through the Talkie ? The latter days of 1928 witnessed the introduction to the Analysis of the Present Position of the Motion Picture Industry in England," by Sir Gordon Craig, reviewed by “ Spotlight,” in Sunday Referee, March 3, 1930. 1 An “ 320 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Cinema of this country of that principle of power which the Americans had already put to practical and highly profitable use in their own country. No event in the history of the Cinema was more significant; and none, probably, was of more far-reach ing consequences either as to the issues involved, or the con troversies and the new problems arising out of the application of the voice to the Camera. It brought to a complete close the first and most amazing stage of the career of the Cinema, and it opened up a new and problematic one. In America the change it wrought was said to amount to a Revolution , meaning a reversal of the accepted ideals and ideas of the Picture In dustry and of organisation affecting production, distribution , ex change and consumption . In England the arrival of the Talkie had immediate important effects. In the first place, it threatened to close the Theatre. In the second, it armed the Americans with a weapon, the Talkie apparatus, with which they threatened completely to capture the control of all enter tainment enterprise in this country. In the third, by a stroke of irony it provided the English Industry and Cinema with a powerful weapon , the Voice, which could be made use of to vanquish the Americans who had brought it to practical use as a weapon to be used against England. In future days when the history of the Talkie comes to be written, the question that the historian will ask and answer is , how did England use the Talkie weapon against those who would have enslaved or des troyed the English Cinema Industry with it ? The story of England's struggle to take fullest advantage of the weapon put into its hands would doubtless be followed in the order of its progress. And probably it would be said that the fresh start at opposition to the American monopoly began almost as soon as the Talkie reached these shores. But it would be pointed out that the cinema forces in this country were unready as usual to meet the full attack, that there was no concerted action against the monopolists armed with the microphone, with the result that the monopolists got in the THE RIDDLE 321 first and staggering blow and began to supply the English cinema-going public with their new entertainment long before the English Film Kings had fully realised the principle on which that entertainment was founded. Their awakening came with the recognition that the American Film Kings were forcing down the throats of the English cinema-going public a com modity of the kind and quantity for which it cared little, namely the American Voice with the Star Spangled manner ; that the said Kings understood this and were accordingly plotting to capture and exploit the English Voice before the effect of their first blow wore off. And then probably the historian would make an attempt to determine what progress, if any,, marked the early stage of the Fight for the Voice. Surveying the position of the opposing forces at the opening of the big new offensive he would note that the situation was very favourable to the English cinema business men , because it was not possible, or possible only under the gravest difficulties, for the Americans to present talking pictures in foreign languages, and because the English language was spoken and understood in countries all over the world . He would note that the American Film Kings were quick to recog nise the low market value of the American voice, and the almost insuperable difficulty of making pictures in foreign languages at Hollywood situated 6,000 miles from Europe and maybe from enlightened civilisation. Therefore they turned to other methods in order to bolster up their tottering world market. Tradition ally, they were magnificently equipped to start with. They had an unparalleled business organisation. They were supported by mammoth financial organisations. They had no illusions about money-making. Mammon was their leader, their god. They were in a position to unite with and to utilise the most power ful resources of the American electrical industry. They called to their aid the mighty Western Electric Company and the Radio Corporation of America — two organisations that threatened to bring the whole Cinema world under the dominion 322 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a of their talking picture equipment. Thus fortified they descended, like Cæar's unbeaten legions of old, upon this un fortunate country, fully prepared, it would seem, to sweep Eng land's cinema “ contemptibles ” into the sea. Then the battle began. The objective of the Americans was the cornering of everything English suitable for the American-made English Talkie, and the laying down of a network of Talkie equipment in order to entangle and hold fast the English picture exhibitor. The exhibitor was to be induced to instal the American equip ment at a ruinous price only to discover when it was installed that he must not use it to exhibit any pictures save American ones. Employing this weapon, the wily American Film Kings succeeded in obtaining a very substantial initial advantage which they contrived to maintain by making concessions of all kinds, such as lowering the price of equipment from £ 4,000 to £1,200, and supplying it on the instalment plan with payments spread over three years; by buying up, wholesale, theatres and cinemas, building new mammoth ones, equipping them with their own Talkie systems and stocking them with their own sensational and sentimental and some critics say “ filthy ” commodities ; by the wholesale purchase of English theatrical directors, producers, players, singers, dancers, playwrights, plays, stories ; in a word, by cornering the English Alesh and blood market. Further, in addition to coercion by means of equipment, there was ingenious intimidation by means of promised new mechanical devices. Shrieking advertisements announced that new storm troops, in the shape of the giant screen and the grandeur picture, the stereoscopic picture and the all -colour picture, were in readi ness for fresh assaults, as though they were reserves about to be brought up to batter away England's last cinema defences. Such announcements were made with the ostensible purpose of frightening the English Production Companies' renters and exhibitors out of their wits, and forcing them into complete idleness, for what could they do faced with frenzied guesswork technical developments which must invariably in + THE RIDDLE 323 fluence the making of the picture and the form and use of the cinema, and render useless the cinemas already in use. Already the giant screen had been tested in America with results that said plainly that the existing cinemas of enormous size were doomed. Their mode of construction fitted them for the pur pose for which they were intended , the exhibition of the small silent picture for profit, but not for the use of the Talkie and the Giant Screen . Acoustics were finding out their weaknesses and discovering innumerable “ dead spots ” in their old armour, while the Giant Screen was playing havoc with their sight lines and angles of vision . Having surveyed these facts of the early triumph of the Americans in the new war for world supremacy, the historian would ask, “ What did the English forces do to meet the American attack ? What advantage did they take of the situa tion made favourable for them by the Voice ? What steps did they take to overcome the paralysing fear produced by the American methods of competition, coercion, intimidation and the cornering of raw materials and machinery of exhibition ? How were they equipped for the struggle ? ' Looking squarely at English facts, his answers would run as follows: English side unprepared. Confusion . Initial diffi culties and troubles. No great business organisation. No sup porting mammoth money organisations. No backers save the investing public made shy by bitter experience. No credit. City financial experts refuse to look at Talkie proposals. Critics fighting over the Talkie,-one side giving it hell , the other side pouring butter over it (or could it be margarine ?). For the first year, during which the Americans dug themselves in the Eng lish soil, comparatively little was done to make use of the new principle of power and isolation, the Voice. It is true that “ about twenty producing systems on the disc, gramophone and on the film were in use . But on the whole the English voice was held up by equipment, “ which was the key tothe situa 1 W. G. Faulkner, “ The Daily Mail Year Book , 1930. " " 1 324 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA tion. " 3 Before the end of 1929 American engineers had equipped 500 cinemas in Great Britain ." Today 1,000 are ? equipped but not all by America. The cause of this situation is the lack of knowledge of sound recording and reproduction systems, and lack of experience in making sound and Talkie pictures on the part of English producers. While Germany has been experimenting for years with sound and Talkie apparatus, and has perfected and patented several important systems, including the “ Klangfilm” controlled by Siemens Halske, ' which was sufficiently powerful to challenge the erican Western Electric system, England had done nothing. One effect of the situation was an exodus of English picture producers and play producers to Hollywood to learn their busi ness, and their return , like the spies from Canaan, laden with the fruit of the Hollywood vineyard, drunk with its fumes, and bearing an unfaithful report. The punishment they inflicted on this country was soon apparent. Instead of organising the spirit of England in the English Talkie, they adulterated it with the spirit of Hollywood as breathed on the American audience by the nasal brigade. Its content fell, American -like, into four categories, stage drama or comedy, musical play and spectacle,” and a blend of the three, like “ Broadway Melody.” The uncertainty as to whether the silent picture was dying caused it to fall into three other categories, all- Talkie, half- Talkie and sound. The Hollywood spirit is suggested by the following titles : “ Need of Film to Express British Ideals.” “ Britain's Cinema Studio Failures. The Talkies Still Loyal to Crime and Cabaret. " “ British Talkie Hustle. Two Noted Plays. The two “ noted plays ” are “ Rookery Nook ( crooks) and “ Splinters ” (theatrical entertainment on the Western Front). “ Britain Still Behind. So far, un a 5 . . 1 2 3 W. G. Faulkner, “ The Daily Mail Year Book, 1930." 4 Evening Standard , May 13, 1929. 5 Daily Mail, September 9 , 1929. 6 Daily Chronicle, October 7 , 1929 . ? Daily Chronicle, September 9 , 1929. THE RIDDLE 325 a 6 3 > fortunately, Britain has not taken up talking picture produc tion with anything like the same enterprise as has been shown in America. In great part, stories for British directors are chosen with hand-to -mouth desperation, the support given to our directors is inadequate, and our studio organisation is often chaotic. But, in spite of this, it is a fact that the talking picture

  • Blackmail ' has been the first British picture to be received with open arms in America." “ British Film Triumph .

Blackmail ' a Great Talkie . " 2 " Blackmail ' re - established the Capitol, which is now doing record business with ‘ The Cock Eyed World ’ ” ( otherwise America) . ' Many more “ British made” pictures came up for judgment, including “ Juno and the Paycock ” and “ The Informer ” (both dealing with Ireland at civil war and revolution time but with civil war and revolu tion left out), “ Red Hell ” (the question of capital punishment), “ High Treason ” (influenced by “ Metropolis ” and exhibiting murder as a means to world peace ), and so on. But “ Black mail ” was the bill-topper. It took the fancy of the English critics. What a title ! What a subject ! Could it be that they associated and confused it with the spirit of England—that fine spirit, I mean, which should inspire a policy and inform Eng lish pictures? Will not “ Blackmail ” become associated in the mind of the future historian with America America of the Chicago and Bowery civilisation. Still, unsatisfactory as English Cinema conditions during the eventful first year of the Talkie may appear to the writer who, in the year 2000 B.C. looks back, he will find a crumb of comfort. He will note the ambitious tendency towards an All Europe Cinema Pact. “ The Great British “ Talkie ' Offensive. Production - Theatre Project ” aiming at the formation of a solid European Front against U.S. interests. “ The Great Anglo- Continental Combine ” —a project initiated by the British Instructional Films and its active chairman, Mr. A. E. i Daily Chronicle, September 30 , 1929 . 2 Daily Chronicle, June 24, 1929. 3 Daily Chronicle, September 30, 1929. a 326 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > Bundy, and no less active manager, Mr. H. Bruce Woolfe .' Finally, the historian would have something to say on the sub ject of the war between the Cinema and the Theatre produced by the Talkie. He would note the reign of Terror in the Theatre, the abject flight of some of its best producers, players and playwrights, the swift conversion of its commecial stalwarts, like Mr. Charles Cochran and Mr. Albert de Courville, to the view that the Talkie was not built upon a foundation of wood, hay and stubble, but upon one of gold, silver and precious stones (or precious “ stars as Mr. Cochran, as a business man not a biblical scholar, would put it). The Talkie temple was indeed more like the Stock Exchange than the temple of God, and its master builders possessed more financial wisdom than spiritual grace. Two other facts would demand to be noted , the building of the mammoth theatre, such as “ The Dominion, ” projected by Sir Alfred Butt and his colleagues, to meet the Talkie menace, and the coming of a ray of light in the Talkie dark ness to promise a new and fruitful relation between the Cinema and the Theatre. In the giant screen and the big projection more than one person of sense detected a means whereby the Cinema would come to shoulder some of the larger responsi bilities of the Theatre — responsibilities of representation which lay heavily upon and threatened to destroy it, if anything could. So the Cinema would share the task of reflecting human beings converting this dull earth into a heaven or Garden of Heaven through the destruction of Sin. Regarding the American Talkie of 1928-30 he would note that Sin loomed very large in that medium, that is , if he con sulted the utterances of that stern moralist Mr. James Douglas, the editor of the Sunday Express. “ Hollywood Makes Me Angry Too, ” said Mr. Douglas. He was not surprised that “ Mr. G. A. Atkinson had become a crusader as fierce and furious as Mr. Bernard Shaw ” and himself. “ Orgy of frenzied 1 1 The nature and aims of the scheme were set forth in a memorandum issued by the Federation of British Industries, April 27, 1929 . THE RIDDLE 327 filth ” were the hard words, quoted with approval by Mr. Douglas, that Mr. Atkinson used to sum up “ His diatribe against “ Films That Degrade Womanhood ' . Can this be Armageddon? When our historian glances back and notes that the Talkie was disseminating the filth of the world, not the spirit of the world, will he write ,—In the year 1930 the Cinema reached the lowest point in its downward path . The isolating influence of the Talkie stimulated the good spirit which is in nations. Hence arose a great conflict between the two pur poses in the Cinema, the Good and the Bad. And in the end the spirit of the world prevailed and the spirit of filth perished ? ܠܙܕ ܕ i Daily Express, March 3, 1930 ; see also G. A. Atkinson, in the Daily Erpress, March 17, 1930 . Architecture . The problem of sight-line . Drury Lane theatre . View of stage and figures from the centre of the third row of stalls showing the proportions of the figures to the heads of the spec tators, and the view of the stage cut off by the latter. The Great Day is being played. From a sketch drawn on the author's programme by Jessie Dismorr .




So far I have written mainly of the denial of the New Spirit or Good Purpose in the Cinema, by those who have used, or misused, it as a medium of profit. At the same time I have shown that the New Spirit lurks in the defiled temple and has manifested itself from time to time where nought was but blood and fire and pillars of smoke, and in such a way as to satisfy those who hunger and thirst for the Good Purpose. I now come to the definite affirmation of the New Spirit. By this I mean the conception of the Cinema as an organic part of human society and the attempt to use it for the purpose of the organisation of the new spirit of a nation . Strangely enough , it is to Bolshevist Russia, that outcast of present-day great nations - outcast because of its strict adherence to principles and policies of its own — that I turn for evidence of the existence of a principle of good in the Cinema, and of the success to put it to practical use. At this point let me say that I was attracted by the social possibilities and performance of the Bolshevist cinema at a very early period in its history. I reentered Russia not very long after the Revolution with the avowed intention of making a study of its cultural institutions undergoing a gradual formative change, a part of my general personalexperience of the human uses to which the Theatre and the Cinema were put during the War and after. Thus I came to watch and note the extra 328 ! 1 THE SOLUTION 329 ordinary reactions of the liberated cinema to the new social world in the making, and the reactions of the mass to the Cinema as a medium of conscious social expression. Outside Bolshevist Russia the distressed peoples took their wishes to the Cinema to have them fulfilled by unintentional means. To derive consolation from material objects not intentionally designed to afford consolation . In Russia the people liberated from old restraints took their wishes to the Cinema to have them fulfilled by intentional means. At first they sought relief from the fear that possessed them that their new kingdom (as bol shevists called Russia) would be overthrown. They found the pictures intentionally designed to afford relief and to place the audience upon a mountain whence they could see distinctly all parts of the Bolshevist structure which was finally to deliver the people from captivity. In these words are contained a suggestion of my adven tures in Bolshevist Russia in quest of the perfect cinema, and they embody the broad principle upon which the new cultural institutions in Bolshevist Russia are founded. I do not propose to describe the first nor to expound the second here. I have done so fully in two important books on the Russian theatre and Cinema, and in innumerable articles contributed to technical and other journals in this country and abroad ." In my writings I have always taken the view that the con cept of the Cinema grew out of the Bolshevist synoptic vision, a vision, that is, of a national organic unity. There was to be a new nation fitted for the purpose of the attainment of social liberation. In this nation were to be many cultural institutions each fitted for the purpose of assisting in the attainment of social liberation. One of these was the Cinema. Hence the Cinema was conceived as an instrument of liberation. Its policy was to portray both the Old and the New Russia ; to destroy the imperialist spirit of the one, and to glorify the bolshevist spirit 1 See “ The New Theatre and Cinema of Soviet Russia , ” 1924 . New Spirit in the Russian Theatre and Cinema ” ( Brentano ), 1929. Articles in “ The Kinematograph Weekly," etc. 9 " The 330 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA of the other. Its motive was social enhancement, not social degradation . But under the influence of Civil War, Black Famine, Economic Disaster, and other reverses , the motive has appeared first as Militant Bolshevism , second as Constructive Bolshevism . The Cinema has, in fact, been in turn a fighting machine and a building machine. The vision influenced the organisation , the builders, the foundations, the materials, the structure, the content, and the method. The organisation was not a mighty commercial one. The builders were not men of brass with a Wall Street telephone in one hand, and a map of the world covered with sales organisations flags in the other. The foundations were not of solid gold. The materials were not fragments of human beings. The structure was not a colossal mill for grinding these frag ments into profit-making pictures. The content was not sensa tional and highly spiced sex and crime and abhorrent world filth . The method was not guesswork. In place of Mammon and Guesswork were Humanity and Science. Then why a Wing of Hollywood ? Let history answer. Before the War there was not any production of moving pictures, or technical equipment of Factory and Cinema in Russia. Pictures and apparatus were imported, mainly from America . Thus America may be said to have laid the founda tions of the Cinema Industry in Russia. About 1912 there was a good deal of activity in cinema building, in particular in Leningrad ( then Petrograd). Many new cinemas of the mam moth and luxury types were built. A few were left unfinished in which state they are still used to -day. Their equipment was supplied by foreign firms. They exhibited, mostly American , French and English pictures. Both factories and cinemas were sadly afflicted by the War and the events of the two 1917 Revolu tions, the All- Russia one and the Bolshevist one. So that when the Bolshevists came into power they received a legacy of half destroyed and poorly-equipped factories and hundreds of cinemas, which , with the exception of the new ones at Lenin 1 THE SOLUTION 331 grad, were in a shocking condition. In addition, they received a large quantity of American and European pictures capable of exerting an influence on Bolshevist scenario writers and technicians. Two years of Civil War and neglect served to add considerably to the horrors of the unhappy war- and revolution stricken cinemas. I remember a kind -hearted Bolshevist critic begging me for the Lord's sake not to enter one of these places. If I did I should surely die by the hands of cholera-carrying lice. But I entered them all the same, without receiving one dangerous gift from the lice. In 1921-22, with the end of the Civil War came the attempt by the Bolshevist authorities to organise both the Cinema on the unifying principle contained in Bolshevist philosophy — the principle of national unity and co -operation. It was not an easy job, for factories and cinemas were out of repair ; in the one, production was almost impossible; in the other, projection and accommodation were not fitted to serve the ends of the new organisation. The Bolshevist ideal of the Cinema for All was obstructed by the actual condition of no cinema fit for anyone. And what is worse, there was no imme diate means of putting factories and cinemas in order. Hence pictures and equipment continued to be imported from abroad , with the result that the dark shadow of Hollywood grew larger and larger. By a stroke of irony, the country that had thrown off the capitalist yoke, was becoming yoked more and more to capitalist Hollywood. However, a counter -attack was developing. By hook or by crook the Bolshevist authorities contrived to feed the picture hungry people with a very excellent supply of News Gazette 3 pictures. All significant current events were caught on the hop and flashed on the screen to put the breath of the new life into the mass. One of the sights of Moscow used to be the immense number of still pictures publicly exhibited all over that city por traying the tribulations and joys of Defence, Denial and Deliverance as expressed by current events . About 1923 a ray or two of sunshine broke through the 332 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA S a cloud of wreckage. The first positive sign of the re-organisa tion and reconstruction of the Russian Picture Industry was the production of the first important Government picture large scale. This first- born was Polikushka and with it was born the Bolshevist Picture Industry, not as it is to - day, wholly shaped by the unifying principle, but to some extent a part of Hollywood. But for the country of its birth, Polikushka might have been regarded as a Hollywood production. It was an adapta tion of a story by Tolstoi dealing with social conditions in Russia 100 years ago. But the fact that it was made in Moscow where the blood - shedders lived was sufficient to give it the ap pearance of a revolutionary bogey of the utmost magnitude, one calculated to frighten all peace-lovers to death . Once when I arrived in Berlin from Moscow I was shown this terrifying picture secretly in a little sealed projection room . At the end of the performance I asked for a reel to take to England. " To England, ” they said in terror, “ why, you will be assassinated .” “ I don't care, " I replied recklessly. “ Such strange things have always happened to me whenever I left Moscow , that I have grown indifferent.” I continued , On one occasion when I arrived in Paris the French police were so impressed by the news that I had come direct from Moscow, that they put me in quarantine for a month. ” The Berlin Bolshevists gave me a dozen large still pictures to bring to England, and I still live. The importance of national production of pictures and equipment was recognised from the outset, as well as the need of the construction of larger and better equipped factories and cinemas, and of the production of cinema equipment and home made pictures in Russian plants. As a result every effort was made to meet that need and a gradual improvement set in, and this in spite of almost insuperable economic difficulties. Among the first achievements was the production of the “ Goz ” and “ Pomp ” installations and an advance in illumination equip ment for factories. 11 OD 1924. Soviet Russia National AGoskino production .Dety Boory Achronicle revolutionary tohe first ,orall -Russia 1917 revolu war -time andfter events that led film portraying the consequences of plays demon outside Bourse ,offilms and purpose ,asshown bythe scne tion .Ithas the common fighting .Soviet films are first ,strating how the Young Wrkers sustained brunt ofrevolutionary æsthetic oftechnical and social events ;second ,industrial and political ,economic the consequence of theories ofadministering the content with apunch .

THE SOLUTION 333 In the course of two or three years a fairly large number of pictures were produced with the intention of satisfying the demand of the new population of workers for light on the situa tion produced by the Revolution and after events, of keeping up their aggressive spirit, stimulating their constructive activities, and of warning them against backsliding. Examination of these early pictures reveals the fact that the Bolshevist producers spoke in the language of Hollywood. The narrow plots, the definite groups of actors, the hustled action, revealed plainly enough the influence of Hollywood exerted, no doubt, through those Western and the detective pictures with which the new Russia was, at one time, Alooded. Thus one saw the causative theme of liberation through class struggle linked with an action belonging to a causative theme of an entirely different character. It was the spirit of the New Russia associated with the action of Western American and Chicago stories as exploited by Hollywood's Film Kings. A very good example may be found in “ Dety Boory ” a chronicle play which portrays the exacting events preceding and leading up to the November Revolution. The plot is a thin one, the old old story of a lover ( young revolutionist) and his lass (the Revolution ), and an obstacle to be overcome ( Tsarist anti- revolu tionists ). Upon this plot is hung a long sequence of exciting and hair raising events in true Western -cum -detective fashion. By the wild hustled action the audience is wrought up to an intense degree of interest in the fate or triumph of the little group of actors. The whole thing is Marxian plot and Holly wood action . The first type of picture illustrated the early struggle between the Mass and Destiny ( as embodied by the Tsarist regime). It reconstructed the history of the struggle in order to enlighten and instruct the young revolutionary workers, soldiers, sailors and peasants, and to prepare them for the task of rebuilding Russia. It portrayed the events of the history of the first years of the Labour movement in Russia ( “ Steven 24 334 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Khalturm " ); those of the Decembrist revolt (“ The Decem brists ” and “ The Union of a Great House ” ). The second type of picture made its appearance in “ Potemkin .” This type also illustrated the struggle between the Mass and Destiny ( as embodied by the Tsarist regime), and reconstructed the history of the struggle mainly for the instruc tion of the young bolshevists who were expected to behave as good Marxians. In these respects it resembled such pictures as “ Palace and Fortress', ” “ The Wings of a Slave, " ‘ “ Ivan the Terrible,” “ The 9th of January,” “ His Excellency,” “ The Fall of the Dynasty of the Romanovs,” and so on. But it differed from them in speaking in the language of the Bol shevist spirit, one might say the heroic language of the Greek “ Laocoon. Its causative theme was the rather hackneyed one of liberation through class-struggle. But its plot or story and action grew out of the theme and did not rest on Hollywood tradition, the old theatrical tradition which together with com mercialism , have been largely responsible for the lack of proper development of the Cinema in America and Western Europe. Eisenstein the producer chose his class -struggle theme like the fierce Marxian that he is. He placed it on board a cruiser and he allowed it to work itself out not by means of a little specialised group of players, a body of individual heroes, but by a mass im personating the principle of Good. This mass he set in action against a number of characters impersonating the principle of Evil (that is, the representatives of the Tsarist regime). The plot was worked out by dividing the mass into groups symbolis ing the emotions of the struggle, tyranny, revulsion ( caused by the maggoty meat), fear (the crowd pursued by the murderous cossacks), courage, defiance, desperation, revenge (the throwing overboard of the officers) and the rest. In short, this picture spoke in the symbolical language of the struggle between the Mass and Destiny, and it marked a break with Hollywood tradi tion. That it exerted a formative influence must be clear to anyone who examines the productions by Pudovkin ( “ Mother " ), a a THE SOLUTION 335 Dziga Vertov (“ Eleven ' ), (“ The Shanghai Document" ), Dovjenko and Turin (“ Turk Sib ” ). “" Turk Sib ” though revealing traces of the influence of “ Potemkin ” is a different type of picture. It is the third dis tinct type of picture produced by Bolshevist Russia since the in auguration of the new national policy in 1919. It was first ex hibited in Russia in 1929 where it was accepted by the best judges as the finest picture of the season, and one that marked the beginning of a new and remarkable stage in picture pro duction in that country. It belongs to the social- economic species of plays and pictures now being called forth by the Five Years Reconstruction Plan, and is strongly influenced by the constructive spirit. It aims to illustrate the heroic struggle between Man (as Producer) and Nature (as Laocoon - like Des tiny). Its causative theme is liberation — no longer through class struggle, but through the conquest of Nature. It tells the story of the highly sensational fight between a railway that sought to get itself laid across the wild Siberian wastes, and the terrible forces of Nature . The story deals with the present construc tion of the Turkestan -Siberian Railway which when complete in 1931 will connect Siberia with Kasakstan, covering a distance of 1,500 kilometres (a kilometre is 1,093633 yards). Its pur pose is to enable grain and wool to be transported through the deserts and steppes, thus opening up vast areas for corn and cotton cultivation . It will thus be a powerful means of economic development of the Bolshevist East. Thus social and economic organisation takes the screen . The action is centred in the combat between the ever penetrating Steel Road and Storm and Wilds. And the Steel Road is the protagonist, just as the Mass is in “ Potemkin ." The cinema unbound, that that is the meaning of “ Turk Sib . ” The picture strikes a revolutionary note , revolu tionary that is, in the sense of a turning point in Cinema history. The introduction of the Talkie is said to be a revolution because it brought into practical use a principle of power, con 336 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA a x x tained in a mechanical toy called a microphone, hitherto unused by the Cinema, which has had the effect of changing the theory and practice of picture production, distribution, exchange and consumption. The introduction of the colossal subject of the rebuilding of a country that forms a sixth part of the habitable globe is likewise a “ revolution ” because it brings into practical use a principle of power contained in the human and social subject never before utilised either by the Theatre or the Cinema. By the exercise of this power the Cinema can attain undreamed of heights and depths of significant expression. It is no longer bound to the filth of the world by lack of means to express any thing finer. It has found wings in the subject-power. The subject-power is the supreme power in the Cinema. The mechanical-power is merely the dice in the hands of desperate gamblers. It is the last resort of the degraded cinema that finds itself ever in the position of having to pass from crisis to crisis by mechanical devices with no alternative but starvation. Such devices are brought into use not inevitably by the law of human necessity operating upon the Cinema and all that therein is, and asserting itself in continuous transformation , but by the demands of frenzied and sometimes criminal speculation whereby the giant gold-getters and plungers of the cinema world continue to live and grow rich . The possibilities of natural growth and the fulfilment of human function conferred upon the Cinema by this subject power are infinite. We have only to look at the comparatively crude application of the principle of subject-power to “ Turk Sib ” to understand that the fullest application demands that the mode of construction of the moving picture shall undergo an immense formative change. That the camera, the film , the projector, the screen , the cinema architecture, must in evitably be influenced by the new uses to which they shall be put. “ Turk Sib ” is the death -knell of the small “ film ,” it is the call to live men of the Cinema to search for a new type of picture and new means of raising that picture to Soviet Russia National ‘Potemkin .The 'Battleship directed byproduction ASovkino .1925 S.M.Eisenstein ,aMarxian .Isconsequence ofthe 1905 Revolution asitffected the Russian Fleet .Th filmalls into two parts ,the “ethical ”and technical .The basic ideasth common onefFood as cause ofrevolution -anidea recognised alike byLenin ,Gadhi and Mussolini .Remove the cause and revolu tion ceases .The scene isanllustration ofthe cause atwork .The sailors mutiny because fed onputrid meat .

THE SOLUTION 337 the highest level of interpretation and representation . More over it is a prophesy of reconciliation between the Cinema and Theatre. It promises that the Cinema shall collaborate with the Theatre in the near future, by sharing the task of reflecting the great struggle now in progress in all countries for economic recovery , for the destruction of the old economic Evil and the construction of the new economic Good ; in the distant future by reflecting the “ spiritual ” outcome of that struggle. According to the covenant between them , the Theatre shall reflect the more intimate facts of the struggle, while the Cinema shall reflect the transformation effected by Labour-power applied on a vast scale to Nature with the aid of science, engineering, electricity and oil . The Cinema will in fact relieve the Theatre of responsibilities of expression , which, more than all else, have destroyed its likeness to a Temple of God. Or as materialists say to -day, God in Man. Everything considered, the Russian Cinema Industry under the control of the Bolshevist Government, has made remarkable progress since it was first organised in 1922. The facts and figures would make a very large book of statistics. Only a few can be given here. Important supplementary facts are con tained in my book on the Russian Theatre and Cinema published in 1929, by Brentano. Two causes of the progress should be noted. The first and foremost is the social-cultural one, —the recognition that the Cinema has a great social function to fulfil for the Russian people. The second and subordinate, is an economic one , the need of the utilisation of the Picture In dustry to produce money for reconstruction purpose. They have been kept separated. Pictures for home consumption have been made to satisfy the demands of national unity, reconstruc tion and recovery. Those for foreign consumption, to satisfy a demand for commodities made for profit. PRODUCTION. The Cinema production in Bolshevist Russia is directly and indirectly in the hands of the Government. It is concentrated in three organisations, -Sovkino, Mejhrabpom 338 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA و است and Gosvoenkino. In addition, each of the large national re L publics has one State Cinema Producing Organisation ,—the All Ukranian Photo Kino Administration , Belgoskino, Goskinprom of Georgia, Armenkino and Chuvashkino. In 1929, a new stock company, the Vastokkino (Orient Kino) was organised. Sovkino has three large factories, two in Moscow and one in Leningrad. The quality of its productions may be gathered from the following pictures “ Potemkin ,” “ October,” “ The General Line, ' The Sixth Part of the World ” (Vertov ), “ The Fall of the Dynasty of the Romanovs, ” “ The Harbour of Death ” (Room ), and “ The Shanghai Document.” . The Mejhrabpom was destroyed by fire in 1926, but has since re covered and is known by such pictures as “ Mother Mother,," “ The End of St. Petersburg ,” and “ Storm Clouds Over Asia . ” STUDIOS AND Plants. Large and well-equipped factories have been erected , and are being erected at a fairly rapid rate . Moscow is developing a Hollywood of its own in the form of a cinema town. It is divided into two parts, one for the factory buildings, the other for the auxiliary buildings, administrative, laboratories, storehouses, etc. The enormous main building looks like a mammoth aeroplane at rest. It has a head and a tail , but is without a propeller. The shape means that the con struction is influenced by the fashionable theory of functional architecture. Kiev possesses a very large factory. The chief studio admits of the filming of 15 pictures simultaneously. It is equipped with the latest machinery, and contains 380 lighting units which provides illumination for 10 producing groups work ing at one time. The current for the lighting equipment is provided by a special electric station of the factory with 12,000 amperes.' Developments are also taking place in Georgia under ( the direction of the Goskinprom, a stock corporation founded i These figures were obtained from official sources in Moscow . They do not agree with those of Mr. Ivor Montagu (" Times Film Number,' March 19 , 1929) . He gives 19,000 amperes. In one place he is guided by Moussinac, the French cinema critic of Monde." i Another scene from Potemkin .The mutiny 1926 .caused bythe putrid meat has spread .The illustration shows abatch muineers of(under the wite shroud )about tobeshot .Tis isanother film that has been usd for ancensorship anti -purpose ,and the exaltation ofimaginary æsthetic qualities .Technically ,itsmportant asexample anofasuccessful collectivist film .The mass istreated aspersonality and broken into the component parts ofthat personality .The film isasymbol ofsymbols into which the public can read its revolutionary desires .Æsthetically , full oftricks .itsobviously

THE SOLUTION 339 by the largest industrial and financial organisation in the Caucasus. Its annual output at Tiflis is about 15 pictures. WORKERS. There are 35,000 workers employed in the Russian Cinema Industry. It is calculated that this number will be increased to 100,000 under the Five Years Plan. DISTRIBUTION AND EXCHANGE. The monopoly of distribut ing films in Bolshevist Russia belongs to Sovkino. In 1928, concessions were made to Mejhrabpom chiefly in the matter of the distribution of cultural pictures. The distribution policy of Sovkino during recent years has been in the direction of rationalising its distribution upon fixed principles and supplying the market with necessary programmes and in increasing the number of consumers. The distribution of pictures to Labour Clubs is effected by an arrangement between Sovkino and the All Russian Central Council of Labour Union, according to which clubs receive a programme at an average cost of 16 roubles, 32/-. Villages receive their supplies through approxim ately 1,900 travelling cinemas. It will be gathered that the broad principle of distribution applied in Russia is that of the direct supply of commodities from the factory to the consumer, thus doing without the middleman and his profits. The machinery of distribution consists of Government and other departments, labour and social organisations, associations of cine matography, and other distributing agencies. Outside Russia there are large selling and distributing agencies in America, Germany, and rudimentary ones in London. CONSUMPTION. The number of cinema units is approxim ately 7,000 , with an estimated increase to 40,000 under the Five Years Plan. The number of yearly attendances is 228,200,000,000 with an increase to 896,600,000,000. The largest increase is ex pected in the rural branch of the cinema system ; the smallest, about 42 p.c. in the city commercial branch . Cinemas vary in seating capacity, in Moscow and Leningrad from 200 to 2,000 ) Clubs accommodate about 600 persons. Prices in com | seats. 340 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA mercial cinemas vary from 6d. to 3/- , in rural districts from 2d. to 6d. TRAINING AND CINEMA LITERATURE. All that remains to be said is that interest in the Cinema and its true function is being promoted by every possible means. A large number of training schools have been established in which students are instructed in every branch of the Cinema Industry, and taught to understand the basic principle of the system of picture pro duction designed to enable the Cinema to take a direct and active part in the great business of rebuilding the nation. The first of these schools was established as far back as 1919, which together with the influence of the new theories of theatrical representation, largely accounts for the emergence of an extra ordinary body of creative producers all fully equipped to under take the task of shaping the Cinema to serve the people. The interests of the Cinema is also kept well to the front by the enormous output of cinema literature covering all sides of a subject that now occupies the attention of civilised peoples. Books by the most skilful hands including those of leading producers, Pudovkin , Kuleshov, and authorities like Timo shenko, Vasiliev, Schneider, Boltanski, Bushkin and others, pour from the press. Two booklets on the Talkie— “ The Talking Movie ” and “ The End of the Silent Cinema,” have made their appearance to show that the new menace is receiving attention . Considerable space is taken up in the Press — newspapers, journals and magazines — with questions, problems and activities of the Cinema. THE TALKIE. Very little has been done in this direction beyond experiment. The problem of constructing equipment for a Talkie Cinema was first attacked in 1926. Principles were tested. Then came the construction of a large laboratory and of models of Talkie apparatus, experiments and applications are proceeding. Beyond this there is the heated discussion of the possibilities of the Talkie in relation to the probable development -i -2 o1 1926. Soviet Russia National .ASovkino production Mother afilm that was consequence the of the Revolution .The teme ishe common onefmother and son .The unwittingly betrays her son tohe Tsarists which ultimately causes their death .The scene ,anrrest reflects the brutality offilm .Outside Russia ,the film has gined notoriety partly asnnti censorship -weapon ,partly owing tohe extrava gant æsthetic qualities ,attributed toit.Inruth ,isPudovkin playing with abox ofld tricks .

THE SOLUTION 341 of the vast picture. Turin, the producer of “ Turk Sib,” favours sound. Other leading producers, Pudovkin, Eisenstein, Vertov, are doubtful whether the Talkie comes into the region of something they term “ Art.”” Does not all this amazing activity and advance justify the belief that to-day Russia is the White Hope of the Cinema World ? 1 11 1 PART V FULFILMENT : THE CINEMA OF ASPIRATION 1 1 1 . 1



Let me repeat that by the New Spirit I mean the old or original good purpose in the Cinema which has remained there and has exerted an influence from time to time, but has never been intentionally expressed. Perhaps my meaning would be plainer if for good purpose I substitute good subject. The good sub ject has never been more than an accidental influence. Pro ducers have so ignored it that it may be called a negative influence. It has made itself felt in spite of producers, and because the common folk has made itself felt. The audience, wishing for relief, or consolation, or renewed strength, has really been the picture — a picture created by the desire of the audience to confer these and other feelings and qualities on itself. The producer's subject, as it is generally known, has exerted a positive influence on its physical home, the Cinema. The history of the Cinema shows that the practitioners have, to the present, been mainly occupied with the physical home and its mechanical equipment. They have striven, year in and year out, after a perfect commercial shape into which they can fit a commercial subject and the largest body of enter tainment investors known as the audience. Hitherto their rule has been, take care of the Picture Palace and the subject will take care of itself. Now has come a change which is likely to cause the rule to read, take care of the subject and the Picture Palace will take care of itself. There is an urgent need of the organisation of the New Spirit, or let me say, New Subject. Need, that is , of a vision, a policy, a method, that shall enable the Picture Industry of this 345 346 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA country to realise to the full the potentialities of Subject-Power. Let me summarise what we have got. MECHANICAL POWER. We have have got American mechanical power. At an early period of the history of the Cinema, American moving -picture merchants, commercial magnates, and other business men, pooled their brains and resources and together began to produce pictures of a good quality. About 1916, owing to the effect of the War on England, to their superior organisation and better quality pictures, they were able to dominate the English picture market, with the result that 90 per cent of the pictures exhibited in this country were American . The conclusion of the War found America's posi tion unchallenged. Hollywood was supreme by reason of its mighty organisation , its recognition that Commerce was the royal road to success, and that business science was the basis of successful trading, whether in moving pictures or in any other commodity. It found, on the other hand, the Picture Produc tion Industry in this country in an impoverished and most deplorable condition. Men and machinery were fit for little else than the scrap heap. Exception may be made in the case of three or four producers who, urged on by patriotic motives, contrived to make some home pictures of real merit under the most disheartening difficulties. The American Picture Production organisation continued to gain in strength and power till it became the eighth wonder of the world , and perhaps the first marvel of the universe of Commerce. In 1926 the perpetual nightmare of 90 per cent of American pictures overflowing this country appears to have touched the business conscience of the men in high places, either that or the big success that had attended the application of the German Kontingent Law in 1922 served to rouse our picture merchants and their friends in Parliament to definite action. In any case, in 1927 came the Quota Act to awaken high hopes of the establishment of a national Picture Industry on the widest and soundest foundations. But the most powerful ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 347 in twenty commercial organisation ever known to man had still to be reckoned with. Beside it our protective legislative measure com pelling a quota of English pictures, from 5 to 772 per cent of the pictures shown and distributed in the first year, with a rising percentage during the following eight years until the maximum of 20 per cent is reached, appeared contemptible indeed. Sub sequent events proved the strength and power of the American money production organisation and the absence even of the semblance of a contending organisation of our own. They proved indeed that America had our representatives of the silent picture world at its feet, and England might hope to look up years or thereabout. The fact is that England planned to beat America at its own game by starting where America began thirty years ago. Could anything be more stupid ? No one of its picture merchants and shopkeepers appeared to recognise that the only means whereby it could reasonably hope to beat America was a complete change of direction amounting to a revolution. It must meet America not on its own ground, not with its old commercial weapons, but with a new principle of power, one that the mighty American Com mercial Picture Production Organisation could not forsee and was not adapted to bring into practical use. But apparently the presence in the Camera and Cinema of unutilised principles of power never dawned upon English Cinema business men. For while they were still engaged putting Quota to unlawful purposes for the sake of obtaining financial backing, America not only leaped upon them with a new principle of power but actually got a year ahead with it before they had fully realised what had happened. Then sud denly they discovered that America had unwittingly given them a strong mechanical advantage. In exploiting the “ Talkie it had handed them the power of the English voice. The Eng lish voice is a saleable commodity of which, as the Americans themselves admit, this country has an unlimited supply, and as 348 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA “ The 2 such it is calculated to put money in the English Picture Pro duction merchants' purse. But the English voice is not going to put the English Picture Industry permanently and securely on its feet, or on the world's market. The making of the voice fit for the microphone is not a protected trade. America may speak through the nose and make funny noises in the throat, but it will very soon learn how to manufacture voices to suit the universal appetite, and before long will be in the position to set the fashions in both male and female voices much as it set the fashions in Beauty Queens and Matchless Heroes in the past. Today the Talkie is the White Hope of England's Picture Industry. But where is it leading the Industry ? talkies are getting better not as subjects, but as pure mechanics. "' “ On the mechanical side the industry is moving rapidly. New methods of production and exhibition develop every day. The wide screen , the wide angle film , colour stereoscopy and improved sound method press close upon upon one one another another.. But on the in: tellectual and imaginative side the cinema is at a standstill.” “ Britain at the moment is undoubtedly copying ; you can see it in every British production. Tricks which are antiquated both in American and German productions are being used, and not always to the best advantage. Ten years ago, de Mille set the fashion for cabaret scenes, and during the past year ( 1928 ), I should think more than 60 per cent of British productions have included at least one cabaret scene in each production, whether it was wanted or not. ' This means that the Talkie is luring the English producers into a dangerous sense of mechanical security that promises well for the continuation of American domination . The real White Hope is something quite different from the Talkie. There is a principle of power waiting to be brought into practical use , which the English Picture Industry can bring into practical use, and which, when brought into practical use by the 1 Hannen Swaffer, in The Daily Erpress, April 2, 1930. 2 C.A.L. , in The Observer, March 30, 1930. 3 Victor Sheridan , in The Observer, January 27, 1929. 2 1 byDirected .Empire ofanFragment recapitulation film The Russia National .A1929. Soviet regained itunder the regime and uer the Tsarist who lost hi memory story ofaman A.Ermler .Isthe associa law ofBin's toAlexander recovery (according process ofmental story traceshe regime .The Soviet reaction emotional mental and study of.Itisaconditions new social the adaptation consequent tion )and calender wear ,"the American “left the man's Lein books ,life .Note the ofSoviet civic toafragment date March 28th and the midsummer atmosphere .

ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 349 English Picture Industry, will enable that Industry to compete, and compete successfully, for world cinema supremacy. The power to which I allude is SUBJECT-POWER. That is what we want. A power to be brought into practical use that has never before been utilised in the Cinema in this country Before I describe this power, let me picture the kind of organisation that opposes this country, and summarise the present proposals for meeting that opposition and transforming the English Picture Industry from a subject to a ruling one. Proposals, that is , for placing the Industry on a national and independent basis. THE CINEMA CITY OF COMMERCE. I have analysed this city. I have shown that it is world-wide in its operations and compactly built, and that Hollywood is its Mammonised centre . That Hollywood is a vast money production industry in keeping with the Financial spirit of the age. That in the beginning there were a few picture -makers, shopkeepers and showmen . That in due course there came the big manufacturers, the big shop keepers and the merchant speculators imbued with the spirit of business enterprise and gain. That they went beyond the little makers and shopkeepers by the simple process of addition , called amalgamation, and came to recognise that the building which was to house their business must be commercially functional, unified and universal. That then there acrose , stage by stage, the great cinema factory and department store which had foundations of solid gold, and from then till now it has con tinued to grow and develop in every direction, spreading like the green bay tree in the Psalms, and so has come to dominate the vast world of commercial entertainment. And but for one thing, no man could see its final size and form , or say where it But for one thing, no one who knows the astound ing ramifications of this rock - like commercial structure could feel that its highest point of business achievement had been reached . But for one thing, no one could reasonably disbelieve would stop. 25 350 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the boast of the builders that the road to perfection was still the biggest road for them , and all they had done in the past is but a grain of sand upon the seashore of their endeavour. In this vast receptacle are placed billions of pounds of raw material , -natural, vital and human ,-purchased in the novelty markets of the world, to be converted into entertainment or box office value, that is , practically, no real value at all . Show ing no advance, only a falling curve checked here and there by mechanical innovation . That to the casual eye is the past and present of Holly wood. It is a description of a mechanical world produced to swallow up all rival worlds. Of a vast building of buildings designed with the highest quality of the merchant-organisers' skill and planned down to the minutest detail by men who are veritable masters of the commercial cinema business itself. No one who contemplates this enormous building filled with machinery every section made for the purpose for which it is intended - picture production , distribution, exchange, consump tion on the vastest scale — each piece representing thought for the greatest economy and efficiency, the most profitable output, and embodying every new device; no one who has studied this mammoth machine representing unequalled business organisa tion and resting on the incalculable resources of Finance Capital, would dream of doubting its power to reign supreme and to continue to hold its rivals in subjection by the sheer might of its unequalled business organisation , —but for one thing , and that thing ? THE MECHANICAL Peril. This greatest and completest commercial organisation, this mammoth world -conquering machinery built apparently on an impregnable foundation of solid gold, rests in reality on shifting sands. Throughout, its builders, the practical Film Kings, have sought to attain and maintain commercial supremacy by bring ing into practical use forms of power contained in mechanical toys never before utilised. In the Talkie they hailed deliriously the successful practical application of a new element, a new ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 351 principle for which scientists and mechanicians had long been searching. To them standing on the verge of bankruptcy it brought a new lease of commercial life. This is but one instance of many of how mechanics has intervened to save their life . Such salvation means that mechanically they stand ever in peril of death . Already the sands are beginning to shift. But those who should reap the greatest advantage from the Mechanical Peril with which the Americans are faced have no eyes to see the Peril. Indeed it is a difficulty which threatens to engulf them also. Still for the moment the mighty American Commercial Machine is in full blast and by all accounts , it is rapidly over coming the set-back which it experienced through restrictive legislation in foreign countries, and the limitations imposed by the Talkie on its universal trade. “ The development and spread of talking films enable the American film industry to counterbalance the adverse effect on the industry caused by the extension of restrictive legislation on the import of American films in the leading European countries. “ Revenue from the import of films into the United King dom, New Zealand, and Australia showed an increase in 1929 far exceeding that of 1928. This increase considerably out weighs any losses from certain Continental countries where the distribution of American films was curtailed. ““ Positive exports for 1929 amounted to 273,772,283ft., with a value of £ 1,300,340, as against 214,410,785ft. , valued at £ 1,050,620 in 1928. “ The increase is chiefly due to the demand for sound and talking pictures. During 1929 , 110,031,55ıft. of American films with a value of £ 668,100 were shown on the screens of Europe as against 69,998,393ft. valued at £ 535,471 in 1928. Four of the ten lead ing individual markets of the world are : the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain . With two English -speaking nations in the Far East, 352 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Australia and New Zealand, exports of American pictures to this region have increased more than 8,000,000ft. during the past year. “ Canada practically doubled her imports of American films during the year, and Africa showed an increase of 2,000,000ft. of film in 1929.-B.U.P.” This huge increase of the American export of pictures is evidence of the further triumph of the artificial method of keeping the commercial cinema going by a series of carefully calculated gambles in mechanical toys and devices that attract public attention by novelty alone. This method cannot be con tinued indefinitely. What proposals have been made in England for establish ing a Picture Production Industry of national importance? One that shall express national life and labour, shall counteract harmful foreign influences, shall completely check the Ameri canisation of the English industry, and shall substitute a lasting principle of power for the ephemeral mechanical one by which America can maintain its stranglehold on the Picture Industry of this country. Now let me ask, what is being said and done to take the English Picture Industry out of the rut of mere slavish imitation and to place it on such a creative basis as will restore public confidence in its ability to stand alone as a truly national concern asserting itself as a factor of national economic prosperity and exerting the widest and strongest influence on the spiritual health and welfare of the nation ; and by restoring confidence, inviting and winning the co -operation of all classes in the essential task of making the English cinema an organic part of the great body of the plain people itself. Within the past eighteen months, or since the arrival of the Talkie in this country, much matter has appeared in the newspaper Press containing proposals to give the English Picture Industry an opportunity to escape from Hollywood, to 1 The Sunday Referee, March 30 , 1930 . ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 353 enlarge its national horizon, to make it a little more dignified and self-respecting than it has been. I have sought to obtain confirmation of the published proposals, and fuller information from those who have expressed them , but without success. The columns of a great newspaper are a magnet that no self-adver tising person can resist ; the pages of a book are apt to be a ledger that the self-advertising person would avoid. I remem ber writing to the secretary of a cinema institution) established for the express purpose of disseminating cinema information) who had spread himself out in the news columns of the Press. My request for verification was met by a silent refusal in the shape of a printed circular asking me to become a member of the institution and to pay a heavy fee. I remember writing to Mr. Charles Cochran for particulars of his “ Dictatorship proposal with which as an experienced journalist he had salted the Press. The reply came, Mr. Cochran is sorry, but he has just chartered the largest Atlantic liner to convey him to America, where he intends to engage in his favourite hobbies, purchasing Stars and collecting restaurant menus. Or words to that effect. So I will quote the Press news articles. I. a 3 THE MUSEUM IDEA. Proposal. To establish “ National Film Museum . " ı Is referred to also as “ The £ 50,000 Cinema Library Plan.”2 “ A National Gallery of Films. ' A museum for preserving and exhibiting national pictures, and containing a library for works on the subject of cinematography, and a central bureau of information. Where, one presumes, information could be got for the asking. “ The great Austrian National Library in Vienna will shortly open a film museum. Some 15,000 pictures and 500 posters of prominent films have been collected .” 1 See Observer, February 24, 1929, and September 11 , 1929. 2 See Daily Ohronicle, October 31, 1929, and November 23 , 1928 . 3 Morning Post Scheme, Morning Post, September 11 , 1928 . 4 Observer, January 12 , 1930. 354 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA M. Leon Moussinac, the well-known French cinema critic, has put forward a proposal for “ the creation and organisation of a cinema library . ” He classifies the depart ments as follows: 1 , History ; 2, Æsthetic; 3, Technique; 4, Criticism ; 5, Documentary; 6, General Information ; 7, Legal; 8, Production and Exploitation ; 9, State; 10, Miscellaneous. He analyses each department." Criticism and suggestion. The word “ museum museum ” is a bad one. It suggests fossils, fragments, cobwebs, strange creatures in skull-caps, with parchment faces and colds in their noses. It is a word that has been known to send happy people into a state of static melancholia. Further, the proposal is not comprehensive enough. A year or two before the War I drew up on behalf of the Sociological Society an outline scheme for a Civic Museum for London . It was designed to afford a survey of London in the past, present, and possible by means of every kind of illustrative material arranged systematically in galleries and descending from the roof to the floor in the order of the natural, vital , human sciences. The ground floor was to be occupied by a contour map and bureaus serving to index all the known literature on London contained in the libraries of the world. This London building was intended to serve as a model for similar buildings in the cities and towns of the United Kingdom. As soon as I had completed my scheme and put the architectural plans on paper, I set out to submit them to every scientist and thinker of note in the king dom, from Professor J. Arthur Thomson at Aberdeen to an equally eminent scientist at Land's End. In this I was assisted by my friend Professor Patrick Geddes, England's creative sociologist, who provided me with letters of introduction. The scheme attracted considerable attention by reason of its com prehensiveness, its magnitude, its analysis and synthesis of the life and labour of a great city in the past, present and possible, 1 “ Monde ” ( Paris) , Number 34 , January 28,9 1929. 2 See Sociological Papers, Vol. 1. ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 355 2. > 1 in short its outlook on the activities and organisation of a com munity and its environment, and the direction it was capable of giving to thought and action. It received only one criticism . Everyone objected to the name museum. ” It was by way of being realised when the War came. The Cinema world needs a House of Vision, or Outlook Tower of the kind. AMALGAMATIONS AND LEAGUES. Proposals for uniting English and Continental business interests, the creation of a European motion picture industry with Britain at its head ” ; " the establishment of an Empire Marketing Board ” to bring the various trading parts of “ the British Empire ” together; the formation of “ A European Motion Picture Confederation ” and for the realisation of “ a United Screen States of Europe, co operating in the production, distribution and exhibition of motion pictures, and by this means selling the various nations to each other and to the world .” Such proposals and others are of daily occurrence. They suggest that there is a general reaching out for strength in unity. 3. DICTATORSHIP. Proposal. That there shall be a chief or head of the whole Picture Industry in England. “ What I feel the industry wants is the grouping together of all these interests in production. It requires a Mussolini at the head of it. The industry as it stands is too much divided up. “ I feel that the British Film Industry wants a Mussolini at the head of it—a man with an organised brain who will group together the best financial elements who will gather together the most brilliant brains for the selection of subjects, for casting and production , and for training a new school of producers.” Thus Mr. Charles B. Cochran in a long interview article. In the course of an equally long reply, Mr. Victor Sheridan took the opposite view, namely, that what the Industry needs is individuality. i See Evening Standard, July 23, 1928 . 2 See Observer, January 1 , 1929. 356 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA ܠܐܕܙ “ Mr. Cochran's view that the state of the British film industry demands the consolidation of its interests into one powerful group, controlled by a “ Mussolini, ' seems to depend on an incomplete knowledge of the intricate and varied ramifi cations of the industry, which relies , even more than the theatre, on individuality of thought and action . The benefits derived from business amalgamations and from unity of control are obvious, but they are limited to concerns which deal in standardised articles, and cannot be extended to the theatre, and particularly to film production, where, of the millions of negatives produced in a year, not two inches are duplicated. “ Those of us whose business it is to see most of the films produced realise that British films lack quality through the very thing Mr. Cochran suggests, viz. , the Mussolini , or, rather, the order which generally accompanies a Quota film : “ So many pounds may be spent '—and that is that! ' Mr. Sheridan proposes “ centralisation ” in place of “ con centration. ' All Cinema Industry activities to be centralised as, say, France is centralised in Paris, and has been since Napo leon's time, to the destruction of the finer life and activities of the French people. What is needed is a harmonious blend of concentration and centralisation . Regional centralisation only. The fault of Mr. Cochran's proposal is that it suggests the wrong sort of “ dictator . ” The English Picture Industry does not need a cinema Tsar, but a man of vision, of ability to organise both spiritually and commercially, to inspire that enthusiasm , to beget that quality of judgment, to kindle that spirit of advance in others, which alone can secure the fullest expression of the genius of the nation whether by the Cinema or any other mighty instrument of national and human interpretation , spiritual, economic or social. Elsewhere Mr. Cochran is seen glancing towards the future and perfection. “ British producers should forget all the stage plays and everything about American Talkies (except best 1 Observer, January 27 , 1929. ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 357 So as technique) and evolve a new form of entertainment." to encourage them to aspire towards, and to perspire in realising the “ new form of entertainment, ” he exhibited at his London Pavilion Theatre the American made picture “ The Taming of The Shrew .” Thus he told our producers, this is not the Shakespeare that our English cinema most needs. A very timely and delicate hint indeed. 4. PUTTING THE SPIRIT OF THE NATION IN ENGLISH PICTURES. Proposal. The production of pictures portraying English life and labour with all-English casts. A common sight to -day is that of theatrical managers and producers, like Mr. Charles Cochran, striving to adjust themselves correctly to their cinema focus. To bring themselves as close to the Cinema as their national or international , their spiritual or com mercial aspiration and inspiration shall permit. Mr. Cochran's approach is through the man of power and purpose at the head of affairs. Another approach is through the combination and utilisation of the intellectuals and emotionals, directors, managers, authors (playwrights and novelists), actors and others, whom the Talkie has converted to the view that there is money and fame in the Cinema. Perhaps the man most associated with this kind of organisation of English theatrical forces for the purpose of promoting the present national tendency in the English Picture Industry, is Mr. Basil Dean, the theatrical manager and play-producer. In 1929 Mr. Dean came forward with “ Plans to establish the British Industry.” How the plans were hatched and what they are may be told in the words of a dramatic critic, since Mr. Dean's words were not forthcom ing at my request. “ A score of British authors sat listening for an hour yester day to more talk about the talkies. How was Britain going to fight the new American monopoly? ' ' Where were they going to sell their novels and their plays ? ' ' What was the future of the theatre ? ' 1 " Cinema," January 1 , 1930. > > 358 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA . When you “ All these questions passed through their minds as they sat at a luncheon party suddenly summoned by Sir Gerald du Maurier and Mr. Basil Dean, two directors of a new all-English talkie company formed, with a capital of £ 125,000, to put Britain on the map. “ The talkie peril was at the door. No, it was inside, shouting! How was it to be fought, or turned into an ally ? “ “ I remember nothing more dramatic than the situation created by the talkies, ' said Basil Dean. " The theatrical business may be dying, but not the theatre. bring dialogue to the screen , you touch the theatre, and that is sufficient justification for our existence and this occasion . “ We must protect authors from changes in dialogue. We must see that British actors play British parts. We must see that the author remains in charge of the picture to protect his idea and keep in his own personality. “ ' It is very important to him that if 20,000,000 people see the picture his story shall not be altered to please some foreign producer. There is no need for panic. We merely wish to give a sense of direction to the .turmoil. I am not share pushing.' “ There were thirty or forty authors in the room writers of stories worth at least £ 1,000,000 for the talkie rights.” Six months later came the news of a “ Great New Film Move,” and one read : “ Mr. Basil Dean made an announcement of great im portance to British Film production at an extraordinary general meeting of Associated Talking Pictures in the Vaudeville Theatre yesterday. “ It was to the effect that this company, which has been quiescent since its inauguration last May, has signed a working agreement with Radio Keith Orpheum Productions, Inc., of America. “ In the space of aa year this United States company, with 1 Hannen Swaffer, in The Daily Express, May 9, 1929 . . 1 ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 359 a 1 huge financial resources, has leapt to the front in the produc tion of sound films. Street Girl, ' Rio Rita ,' and ‘ Hit the Deck ’ are among the pictures it has made. “ Further, R.K.O. is linked up with a big chain of theatres, and the present agreement, as stated by Mr. Dean, includes a guarantee of world -release for the pictures produced by the British company. This is the first time British pictures have been offered an outlet on such a scale in the United States. “ They will be by British authors, will be made in England with British actors and American stars if the circumstances appear to demand it, and will be what are called " super feature ' pictures of a size and quality calculated to justify special runs. A start was made later with Mr. John Galsworthy's play “ Escape.” If Mr. Dean wanted the spirit of England, he could not look for it in a better place than in the works of such eminent writers as Mr. Galsworthy, Mr. Arnold Bennett, Mr. H. G. Wells and Mr. Bernard Shaw. All four are sociologists, and as such capable of expressing the subject that the Cinema should express. But how is he going to conserve that spirit. His proposal for rescuing England from the American Octopus is made up of two parts. There is the pooling of the best English brains ; and there is the engagement of a new American monster which by all accounts is set on swallowing the whole of the cinema activities of the universe. What is to prevent it developing its voracious appetite in this country and swallow ing up Mr. Dean and his associates ? Or can it be that Mr. Dean, while turning the sunny side of his character towards the Octopus, is really following Brer Rabbit's plan of lying low in order gradually to swallow the Octopus, as some of the socialists propose to swallow the capitalists if the reverse does not take place. But life is too short a period in which to deceive such an all -embracing fish or beast as the Giant American I A. T. Borthwick, in The Daily News, January 10, 1930. 360 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Octopus. The most Mr. Dean may expect to do is to undeceive himself. If English Picture Producers really want to rid this country of the Americans, they must cease copying and col laborating with them . They must learn that the New World is not on the other side of the Atlantic. It is here, in this country, asking creators to dig it out of themselves. 5. THE Multi-LINGUAL PLAN . Proposal to make a Talkie picture in different languages on a co -operative basis. I was unable to obtain any particulars of this plan from Sir Gordon Craig, its originator. He wrote that they had not been made public. But I daresay the following extract from a news paper describes it : “ It is of the very essence of the Multi-Lingual plan that the character of each country is completely preserved. A French producer joining in the scheme will give his own version of the English scenario. He will introduce into the scenario all those elements which Hollywood describes as “ specialist work entirely. ' He will do so with at least as great success as Holly wood. And having done that he will bring his players to London for four or six weeks, after which they will return to their stage or film work in France. " ' 1 6. Quota. Proposal by Sir Gordon Craig to double the Quota requirement. More English pictures are being made and shown to the trade than meet the requirement. ” Such are the proposals to meet the situation produced by the revival of the English Picture Industry, and the need of overcoming a mighty and well-equipped opponent. We read in the Bible that David prevailed over Goliath with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him. From some of the aforegoing proposals it may be gathered that David is taking the hand of Goliath and calling him brother. From others, that he is attacking him with a 1 2 1 “ Spotlight," in The Sunday Referee, February 16, 1930 . 2 Note. See also British Film Production and the Quota Memorandum issued by F.B.I. , May 13, 1930. ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 361 pea- shooter. Yet all the time David has the stone in his sling with which he can slay Goliath. This stone is SUBJECT. D. WHAT WE WANT. SUBJECT-POWER. THE CINEMA AS THE CATHEDRAL OF HUMANITY. There is a growing opinion among persons of sense that the Cinema is bankrupt of subject. The men of the English Picture Industry are following America's mechanical lead in breathless haste. They shout aloud with joy each time they see an American mechanical wonder flash out in their studios, and they strive ceaselessly to clothe themselves in the glory of the knowledge of the right apparatus. But of appre ciation of right subject, of the wonder that should be theirs, that shall be theirs, when these sleepers awaken, to carry them profitably to the ends of the earth, they show no sign. Apparently they are unaware that lurking, not in the apparatus, but in the people and their environment, there is a strange magic that can be enticed out to give any nation that recognises and exercises it the power to set the Cinema expanding in a new, creative and human direction, and to make it an organic part of the people with a function to fulfil for the people, without leaning for support on any foreign nation . Bolshevist Russia has just revealed the nature, value and the possibilities of the magic. Not long ago (in March , 1930, to be precise) there was exhibited in the West End of London a Bolshevist picture called “ Turk Sib , ” a production by a young Bolshevist, Turin by name. This picture was shown by the Atlas Renting Concern , in touch with Moscow and formed to sell Russia to the workers of this country by the exhibition of its socialist pictures. “ Turk Sib ” was a revolu tionary picture, but not in the political sense. It marked a turning point in the history of the Cinema, and added a new weapon to the armoury of Armageddon , challenging the most intelligent nation to take it up. A large number of persons who saw Turk Sib ” shouted gleefully. Even critics who represented anti- Bolshevist news papers, trade and technical journals, applauded and mar 362 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA velled at the power of it. But strangely enough, though all gaped widely at its portrayal of an unusual subject, and felt the power transmitted by this subject, none appeared to guess the nature and significance of the power. The picture was something different from anything Hollywood had produced, that was all . Now, the power which these joyful persons experienced was Subject-power, power residing not in a transmitting apparatus no bigger than a man's hand and known as “ Mr. Mike, ” but introduced by the subject itself. The fact is, the young Bolshevist, Turin, had intentionally brought into prac tical use a principle of power in the subject which had never been utilised before. He alone seemed to understand what he had done. His own words conveyed the impression that he understood that he had transferred to the Cinema a power of the mightiest sort - one that amounted to a revolutionary force. By this power, subject had, in fact, taken possession of the Cinema and of its destiny. Henceforth its shape and equip ment would everlastingly, invariably, and without break , be influenced by it. There would be no more sudden jumps to golden glory by multi-millionaire Film Kings disguised as mechanical Spring -heeled Jacks. Subject-power would set the Cinema unfolding under the touch of its own unfolding. Mutual continuous transformation, this is what it meant. WHENCE and How is this Power derived ? “ Turk Sib reveals that the New Spirit of a nation is the reservoir of the power, like the voice in the microphone, that actuates the sub ject, informs it, and sets it in motion . It asserts itself in the new vision and purpose of a people, the portrayal of a nation carving its own destiny, the expression of the epic social theme of Nature versus Human Life and Labour. Simply “ Turk Sib ” puts Bolshevist Russia on the screen in the first stage of the Five Years' Reconstruction Plan. It suggests that Russia's titanic economic and social struggle is to unfold on the screen for the enlightenment and education of the common folk . ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 363 > It implies that henceforth the screen and all that pertains to it must unfold, through experiment and research, to enable un folding Russia to send its message (whatever that might be) to the common folk through the medium of the unfolding screen . To Production Companies and Renting Concerns accus tomed to sell sex and crime to the public at the highest price, it must seem a dull and penniless business, this of putting the spirit or “ soul ” of a nation in the making on the screen . I do not know whether “ Turk Sib ” started on a round of public exhibition in this country, for it is hard to come by informa tion of Bolshevist activities . These English Bolshevist agencies do not shout it out to independent critics. They cringe to the representatives of the capitalist Press which they profess to hate, and beg for publicity, but not with much success, I fear. And why should they not canvas for publicity ? After all , commerce is the thing. After all , to -day the main business is not cutting throats but cutting purses. But if our producers and renters and exhibitors do think that putting “ soul ” on the screen opens the doors to bank ruptcy, they are wrong. Anyone who saw “ Turk Sib have inferred that the story of England's unfolding in the past, present and possible could be screened, and the epic of English Life and Labour, of the building of a new civilisation , the facts of the new social organisation seeking to get itself fulfilled , the great fight for economic recovery , and the meaning and signi ficance of the part taken in this by continents and colonies beyond the sea ; that all this could be made as thrilling and popular as the dirty stuff handled by share-pushers is alleged must to be. Mr. Bernard Shaw's treatment of English thought and action has travelled all across the world as fast as popularity could make it travel. Hollywood's screen portrayal of that great American national epic of the Far West has travelled all across the world as fast as its crude and violent and mechanical legs could carry it. Mr. Basil Dean's ambitious production of 364 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA Mr. John Galsworthy's slice of practical sociology will doubt less travel all over the world as fast as the American Radio Cor poration can push it. Why not set the epic of England on the screen so that all men may know it . But how ? In the somewhat indefinite Bolshevist way of “ Turk Sib ” by making the Steel Road the new screen hero, and showing that he is having the time of his life in mighty conflict with Cyclopean Nature, fighting his way inch by inch across trackless distances, wild arid wastes, to produce wool and cotton , open up markets, to salve and join races ? Nothing in this, some will say, but the Far Wild West speaking through an inspired interpreter. Or in the definite ordered manner of a master architect who first draws up the plan, surveys the site and material, determines the cost, and secures the money or credit for production. For a vast collective undertaking like the organisation and screening of the New Spirit of the English nation it is neces sary to establish a central organisation of central organisations to enable those eligible for direct participation in the great task to survey the whole ground, to study the ideal, plan, principles, material , and methods. I can do no more here than merely suggest the requisites for such an organisation. A. HOUSE OF VISION AND HOUSE OF POWER. The means to make a complete survey. A central building designed , con structed and arranged to afford a complete analysis and syn thesis of the subject, national Life and Labour, in the past, present and possible, to be handled. Arranged, that is , so that the path it has taken, is taking, and the goal of perfection it may reach in the future may be clear and intelligible to all . To afford an analysis and synthesis of the cinema world , so that it may be seen as a whole and each of its departments may be studied in detail . At present there are no means of studying the life and labour of this world not even for the purpose of stopping those scandals that make studio life nauseous to clean-minded persons, scandals like that a directed byTurin .Power film ,Turk Sib Reconstruction .The new Subject 1929. Soviet National revolutionary ”inTurk Sib isnot only the most important film made inRussia ,but ever made .Itisthe sense that itwill completely change te concept offilm and its function assoon the prsenteriod of the Mechanical Power film isover .Itportrays onaepic scale ,theitanic struggle between Man and Nature inthe building ofTurkistan -Siberian railway ,and Man's immense economic gains .Above ,the old wasteful Road ).one (The Steel th new fruitful transport (camel );and means of

ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 365 of agencies and producers who between them bleed picture players of from 30 to 40 per cent of their earnings ; and remov ing those evils of employment associated with hours, wages, and occupational maladies that discourage intelligent persons from participating in the work of the picture making ; and beyond this of ascertaining where and how to establish training schools for technicians and players, of which there is a deplorable lack in this country. Such an institution would be a centralising, clearing and distributing house for ideals and ideas. If estab lished in London it would provide a working model for re gional institutions, to be established in cities and towns through out the United Kingdom. Each of these branch establishments would serve to survey the life and labour of the region to which it belonged, and would thus provide all the details of a particular section of the general subject to be screened . During the War, France was divided into economic sections for the better prosecution of the War. I had a good deal to do in describing the working of this plan in the English Press. England should be divided into cinema centres for the better realisation of the present plan of picture revival. B. SURVEYORS, ARCHITECTS AND BUILDERS. A body of men representing all departments of thought and action in the natural, vital and human sciences — historians, archæologists, biologists, psychologists, medical men, architects, engineers, economists, sociologists, and so on. More particularly related to the business of the Cinema, bodies to undertake the manage ment and supervision of systems, others to fulfil executive and consultative functions in the departments of finance, equipment, production, distribution , exhibition, public relations. Each of these divisions is capable of being sub -divided . One of the most important sub-divisions would be the employment depart ment, whose function should be to regulate and supervise the conditions of labour with a view to making the Cinema Industry fit for employees. c . UNITY OF THE THEATRE AND CINEMA. The effect of a 26 366 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA the establishment of an institution , and the pooling of the best brains of the nation , in the service of the finest interests of the Cinema must have the inevitable result of identifying the Cinema not only with the spirit of the nation and of the age, but with the work of the Theatre in that direction . The Cinema would be led to co -operate with the Theatre in order to relieve it of those formidable tasks of expression which it is unfitted to fulfil, and which are mainly the cause of its inability to make any appreciable advance. The proper business of these two great instruments of expression is to operate together and in common with the object of sharing work. The Cinema should take over the portrayal of the tremendous spectacular expres sion of the national spirit, the illustrations of the handling of the problems of social life and organisation on the largest scale, and leave to the Theatre the more intimate questions. A co operation of the kind appears in Russia, where the Cinema and Theatre share in the representation of a big subject, like “ The Decembrists, ” by expressing its two aspects — the theatre, the intrigues, plottings, counter-plottings; and the Cinema the mass effects of the revolutionary outburst. D. THE New Civic CENTRE. So would arise the Theatre Cinema Cathedral as the centre of expression of civic and national life. As such it would take its place in the natural order of civic symbols which from the dawn of civilisation have appeared in cities and towns to symbolise the current civic and national ideal, and the spirit of the age. These in order have been the Pyramid, the Temple, the Acropolis ( Athens), the Forum (Rome, symbolising rulership), the Cathedral (eccle siastical domination) , the Town Hall ( Middle Age and Democracy), the Factory (Industrial Revolution, machines, money, political economy) , to-day the Stock Exchange ( Finance and Competitive Commerce ), to -morrow the United Theatre and Cinema, and auxiliaries, Radio, etc. ( scientific culture, and the science and religion of humanity). VISION AND ACHIEVEMENT. David the king said to his ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT 367 . . people : “ But God said unto me, thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts.” Thus Solomon was divinely appointed to build a splendid temple in the service of God, and the People sup plied the spontaneous spiritual factor. There was no economic or political restriction . May not Wisdom and the English People build a splendid Theatre- Cinema temple to initiate all into a new philosophy and a new religion? 1 PART VI APPENDICES H111111H I. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE a It is estimated that there are about 1,000 books on the Cinema. Here I shall say a few words only on books mentioned in the text of this work . First let me explain. The present work should be read along with three others. It is complete in itself viewed as a human and sociological interpretation of the Cinema, and a proposal to unite the Cinema creatively with human life, human memory and aspiration. But it lacks details for which it had not space. These may be found elsewhere. The New Spirit In The Russian Theatre ” (Brentano, 1929). Contains tables of parallels of political, economic and social events with theatrical consequences. These events may be paralleled with cinema consequences. Also section on the Cinema and lists of Bolshevist organisations and pictures. The New Theatre and Cinema of Soviet Russia ” ( 1924 ). Out of print. Contains the details of the conception of the Bol shevist cinema, policy, organisation, and other details. “ The New Spirit in the European Theatre, 1914-25 ." Contains parallel tables of military, political, economic, social conditions and events and theatrical consequences. These tables of European parallels are helpful in studying cinema con sequences. Neither the theatre nor cinema in England, France, Germany and other countries at wartime, and since, can be fully studied if separated or divorced from those living issues by which each was powerfully influenced . The Cinema as Art Form . Books on this subject are be ginning to appear. Their tendency is to exalt “ Art Form where sociology should be. Here are examples. Prophecy. “ Heraclitus, or The Future of the Films, ” by 371 372 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 66 to its Ernest Betts. The writer traces the development of the film from its crude but astonishing beginnings as a show ” future as one of the artistic marvels of the world. The film as art form , etc. It deals with “ the middle period in film history, pure film ” and was written before the “ Talkie revolution. The author conceives of “ new art ' not as the natural æsthetic of an object, but as a reasoned development and adaptation of mechanical devices, television , microphone, pleads for " etc. Survey. “ Film Problems of Soviet Russia, ” by Bryher. This is a “ Close Up ” production, and as such designed to pro mote the anti-Censor crusade. It is also an excellent example of the pictorial survey of the Bolshevist Picture Production . But its author has not travelled beyond Berlin. Here again sociology is put away so that “ art ” may shine. There are but two brief chapters on “ The Sociological Film ” and this in spite of the fact that the theatre and the cinema of Bolshevist Russia are instruments of social expression primarily intended to exhibit the plan of class- struggle and the plan of industrial, economic and social reconstruction . The leading picture makers, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kuleshov, are class -struggle warriors who con ceive of the Cinema not as a noble art " but as a fighting and building weapon. Experiment. “ The King Who Was A King, ” by H. G. Wells. Mr. H. G. Wells has been drawn into the ranks of the very serious men and women who are glancing towards the Cinema as a likely interpreter of the finest purpose of human life. Excellent. Mr. Wells is admirably equipped to put some thing into the Cinema suitable for honest folks' swallowing. Something sociological. But unfortunately he, too , is set on influencing “ art form . " Like every sensible person Mr. Wells is dissatisfied with the haphazard character of the content and method of the Cinema. He wants it organised so as to take a positive part in the present re-shaping of human thought and action of the materials of human life. He wants it treated so APPENDICES 373 > that its interpretative power is raised to the highest level. He has written a scenario to show how these things may be done. Some day it will be produced to inspire in men better ideals of the Cinema. It has one weakness. It reveals that Mr. Wells has responded to the lure of “ art. ” He is a sociologist, an eminent sociologist. He has a fine sociological ideal, the aboli tion of war. He has written a scenario for a picture on the subject. He wants this picture to be so treated that it shall be “ the herald of a new art. ” I maintain that by the introduction of the word “ art ” Mr. Wells runs the risk of putting his sociological intention out of court. Our critics will respond to the lure of " art " with a sort of passive ecstasy, and do nothing more. Such is the present day fashion in cinema criticism . Censorship. Of making books on censorship there is no end. “ Do We Need A Censor,” by Lord Brentford, is an answer in the affirmative as they say in Parliament. “ The Political Censorship of Films, ” by Ivor Montagu, is an answer in the negative. It presents the case against the Censor, shows how to dodge him, and outlines a model organisation to distri bute vetoed pictures. To Mr. Montagu non-inflammable stock seems to be the nearest way out of censorship. But why bother to dodge the Censor when the pictures them selves can be trusted to do it. Many of the silent sex appeal pictures of the Valentino type were a, body and limb exposi tion , and analysis of the new doctrine of sexology similar to the exposition and analysis contained in that big and remarkable symposia on “ Sex and Civilisation ,” edited by that live young American , V. F. Calverton . Millions of cinema- goers must have found such pictures rich in a sex language of which the Censor is quite ignorant. If I read the late D. H. Lawrence's brilliant and very controversial pamphlet, “ Pornography and Obscenity right, the conception of “ sex ” is really a personal matter. Each reads his own sex experience into a book, a play, a picture, each clothes the material objects of a picture with his own wishes. Can it be that pornography and obscenity actually begins > a ' sex 374 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA in the mind of the audience in the auditorium where the Censor sits enthroned ? To the pure all things are pure. The “ Talkie . "” “ Talkie " literature is beginning. A first comer appears in “ The Film Finds Its Tongue,” by Fitz hugh Green . (Putnam .) This is Warner Brothers Bible of which a Revised Version will be needed later. It describes how Warner Brothers brought the principle of power in the micro phone into practical use with dramatic suddenness and solemnity ; their agony in the studio ; their prayer for success ; their Song of Songs when Mike took the world by storm , and their joy as the stream of gold overtook them and lifted them to undreamed of heights. Ecstasies and mechanical devilments make up a moving or “ telling ” first record . Blue Books. The Cinema is still a very big business con cern in spite of so much talk about the “ Art of the Cinema ” and “ Art Form .” If anyone doubts this let him refer to “ The Theatre, Music Hall and Cinema Companies Blue Book ” (Red way, Mann and Co.). He will learn how the English Picture Industry is financed, the financial truth about English com panies, the facts of their formation , their undertakings, produc tions, shares, dividends, prosperity, failure ; of promoters, directors, personnel, etc. 2. CINEMA ACTIVITIES OF THE FIVE LEADING ENGLISHMEN OF LETTERS Bernard Shaw. In reply to my request for full particulars of his cinema activities, Bernard Shaw wrote : “ I made an experiment to show the (Fox) movietone people how their “ inter view ' should be produced, and also to find out for myself whether my dialogue and action could be put across as a talkie. The result was exhibited all over the world .” His reply to my request for stills was, “ No stills were taken ; but the papers were full of horrible enlargements from the film strip.” A re production of an enlargement from the film strip is contained APPENDICES 375 a in this book. Mr. Shaw added, “ I have very decided views as to the future of the Talkie in the hands of artistic producers who have really mastered its technique (the present exhibitions are pitiable ), but I haven't time to write them. ” (Letter dated October 30, 1929.) When Mr. Shaw was shown some com pleted sections of “ Escape ” (a Galsworthy play then being made into a Talkie by Basil Dean ), he was reported to have expressed his appreciation, from which it was inferred that it was likely that Mr. Dean would “ film ” some of his plays. ?

John Galsworthy wrote : “ Galsworthy ‘ Justice ' ( 1913), “ Fair, ' ' The Skin Game ' ( 1920), ' Quite Good,' “ The First and The Last ' (about 1921 ). Terribly bad, I believe. The novel “ The White Monkey ' ( about 1924) even worse , I believe. No talking films as yet.” (Letter dated October 29, 1930). Since then Mr. Galsworthy's play “ Escape ” has been made into a talkie. H. G. Wells kindly sent me a copy of his scenario , “ The King Who Was A King,” and referred to his three shorts, pro duced by Mr. Ivor Montagu and featuring Miss Eva Lancaster, as containing sociological possibilities. I was unable to overcome the difficulties surrounding the task of obtaining particulars of the cinema activities of Sir James Barrie. These difficulties may be gathered from the following explanation which he was so considerate as to send me : “ I am afraid that I know of little to tell you about cinema plays done from my books and plays. I arranged with the Cinema Film Co. of' Famous Players ’ many years ago that they got all rights in anything of mine, with a few exceptions obviously unsuitable or already done, and they produced a number of them in U.S.A., but I had nothing to do with the actual production of them , nor did I make any scenarios though I did make some suggestions to their representative in the one case of ' Peter Pan. ' Otherwise my only connection with the films has been , years ago again , to get some private things done 1 Evening Standard , April 17, 1930. > 6 376 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA for me, one of a dinner, another of a cricket week .' In the former Mr. Shaw and Mr. Chesterton made some amusing appearances.” Through the kindness of Mr. Arnold Bennett I obtained the following particulars of pictures made from books and plays. The dates are those on which the contracts were signed : “ Milestones .” Play. Samuelson , “ The Great Adventure ." Play. Ideal Films, transferred to Whitman Bennett and newly produced 2nd April, 1920. “ The Grand Babylon Hotel.” Book . Jordan & Co. , transferred to Hepworth . “ Sacred and Profane Love. " Play and Famous Players. Book . “ The Card ." Book . Ideal Films. “ The Old Wives' Tale ." Book . Ideal Films. “ City of Pleasure." Book . Lotham Stark . Edited “ Faust. " Wardour Films, 7th Novem ber, 1926 . “ Sinews of War. " Book . British International Film Distributors, 5th January, 1928 . " Piccadilly ." Original. British International Pic tures, 21st April , 1928. • Punch and Judy." Original. British International Pic tures, 28th June, 1928 . “ Death , Fire and Life. ” Short Story. British International Pic tures, 30th July, 1928 . 66 3. THE CINEMA As Art FORM ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS FROM BERNARD SHAW AND JOHN GALSWORTHY If we examine much that is written on the Cinema to-day, we shall find, I think, that the terms “ Art Art Form Form ” and “ Art of the Cinema ” are frequently used. When I decided to send out one or two questions to ascer tain the precise meaning attached to “ Art Form ” by four out standing sociologists who have conceived of the Cinema as an instrument of social expression, but are undecided by what method to fashion it to attain the highest level of interpretation, how best to shape it to communicate their experiences to the audience, I was entering upon no new battle. As art critic I came to terms with Art long ago. My questions were : 1. In your opinion should the Cinema fulfil a social function for the community ? APPENDICES 377 2. Do you know know ofof any particular form that would raise the level of interpretative power and with it the level of achieve ment ? 3. If an “ Art Form ,” do you mean a form determined by the æsthetic of technique, or by a naturalæsthetic ? As in the “ Secrets of Nature ” pictures which reveal natural objects putting on their own form and colour. Bernard Shaw and John Galsworthy both very considerately wrote replies. Mr. Wells was in one of his fine palaces in the South of France, and Mr. Arnold Bennett wrote that he was overwhelmed with commitments. I think he said he was producing four plays, two operas, dictating seven stories and outlining a score or more of articles. Knowing of his abundant energy, it would not have surprised me if he had had a shot at my questions. However, I do not com plain. Here is Bernard Shaw : “ The question has no meaning for me, as art is to me only a method of intelligible or sensible expression , and art forms are processes to be carried out by instru ments under the control of the artist. Art for art's sake is rather like fox hunting or skating, which have no sense except as ways of procuring food or moving from place to place, but are continued for fun by people who don't eat foxes and who, after hours of skating, take off their skates at the spot where they put them on, without having travelled in the meantime further than the opposite side of the pond. “ Drama is a method of re -arranging the higgledy-piggledy happenings of actual life in such a way as to make them intel ligible and thinkable. Its forms, processes and instruments in clude the stage, the screen, the camera , the microphone, the actor and all the other things by which the final effect desired is wrought on the senses of the audience. There is nothing new in the art of drama; but a cinema is a new art form like a new instrument added to the orchestra or a new verse form , like that in Bridges' “ Testament of Beauty.' It is available, of course , a 378 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA for scientific demonstration also, as when it makes the month's growth of a pea visible within a few seconds. “ Also it is practiced for fun like hunting. In the palmy days of acting, people found the declamation of an actor so curious and agreeable that they would crowd to hear him ranting through plays in which there was less sense than there is meat in fox. “ In short, I don't quite see why you should boggle at the description of the cinema as an art form . All I can do is to make my own view clear. ” (Letter dated ist January, 1930.) Here is John Galsworthy: “ When the film was silent I came to look on it with tolerance, and once in a way with grati tude as a form of entertainment, and certainly with admiration as a means of education, and with alarm as a means of propa ganda. It had a certain power when very ably and restrainedly handled of exciting æsthetic emotion . It had a very real and rather dangerous power of holding the eye even at its worst. It could sway you while you looked on , but when you came away ( with the rarest exceptions) you were wholly unmoved. And this, I think , was partly because you were conscious of its enormous faking power, and partly because the eye was held at such that the mind did not stir in concord. As to whether it was an “ art form ,' as the ' black crow ' would stay, ' I couldn't be bothered with that. ' Its best point, taken by and large, was the power to make you laugh. Finally, as records of real life, silent films can, it seems to me, be most interesting and valuable. So far as I have seen ‘ talkie ’ films at present, they have seemed to me silent films spoiled. But I have only seen three or four. "” (Letter dated January 24, 1930.) Mr. Gals worthy's consent to the filming of his play “ Escape Escape ” as a talkie probably meant that he had altered his opinion. It would seem that present-day representative men have conceived of the Cinema as an “ Art Form .” Probably as the practice of the principle of Subject Power becomes better under stood , a different concept will shape itself in their minds. In a pace APPENDICES 379 any case , it is highly instructive to see English writers of the first rank not only discovering in the Cinema a new instrument of expression, but proposing to themselves that it shall pursue a higher aim than it has done hitherto . 4. SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL A. RECENT GERMAN DEVELOPMENT. THE U.F.A. TALKIE ( UFATONE) I. Answers to questions submitted to Universum - Film Aktiengesellschaft (U.F.A.): Berlin . 1. The present conditions of the Universum -Film Aktien gesellschaft: The present conditions of the Ufa can be conscientiously described as financially sound and very hopeful. Naturally, the innovation of the sound - film , especially the patent difficulties in Germany, i.e. , the patent litigations between Western Electric and Klangfilm , have made the business situation for all German producers extremely difficult. Nevertheless, the Ufa has suc ceeded not only in erecting in the space of hardly four months a giant new sound- film studio consisting of four stages, and in transforming all the existing studios at Neubabelsberg into sound stages, but it has also produced during the last year five 100 per cent sound and talking super productions and two super sound productions. Of these, five pictures have been released and have proved a box -office attraction of positively first rank. The returns from these pictures not only in Germany and the large pro vincial cities, but also abroad, have surpassed all box office records ever attained . 2. The possibilities : With the new equipment now in possession of the Ufa and with the trained personnel, the possibilities of development are better than ever before. Last year's attempts to make foreign language versions have been fully successful, and in a very short time the big Ufa talkies will appear in the various English- and 380 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA French -speaking countries . It must be added here that German versions have proved highly successful outside Germany in Austria, Hungary, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Fin land and several other European countries. 3. Number of studios : At Neubabelsberg the Ufa has one large sound studio, the best and quite modern equipped in Europe and, as far as ventila tion is concerned, in the entire world. This studio has four stages. Additional four studios are available for sound - film production in the large, massive studio, and besides there are two smaller studios for minor work. In Tempelhof the Ufa still possesses the four studios it always had. Altogether, the Ufa employs in its studios, theatres and administration buildings about 6,000 people. 4. Number of cinemas and attendances : The Ufa owns above 130 theatres in Germany, Holland, Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, and through its renting organisation it controls at least an additional 2,000 cinemas. 5. Number of pictures produced in a year : See number 1 . Here you must take into consideration that our programme from the beginning to the middle of the last year was badly hampered by the lack of studio stages, apparatus difficulties, etc. 6. A list of the most important pictures produced during 1927-28-29-30: 1927-28 : Spies ." Sensational drama. Producer : Fritz Lang. “ Behind the German Lines. " Historical document. At the edge of the world . " Drama. Producer : Karl Grune. Looping the Loop .” Circus drama. Producers : Bloch and Rabinowitsch . 1928-29 : “ Hurrah , I'm Alive ! " Comedy. Producer : Noé Bloch. Secrets of the East." Oriental picture de luxe. Producer : Noé Bloch . “ Manolescu. " Drama. Producers : Bloch and Rabinowitsch . Home-Coming." Drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. Directed 66 66 66 by Joe May. i Since this was written in January , 1930, three have been trade shown in London , “ The Blue Angel,” “ Love's Waltz," and “ The Girl in the Moon." APPENDICES 381 6 . “ Asphalt." Drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. Directed by Joe May. Hungarian Rhapsody." Drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. “ The Wonderful Lie of Nina Petrowna. " Drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. “ The Girl in the Moon .” Drama. Producer : Fritz Lang . 1929-30 : “ The Equator Tramp. " Sound comedy. Producer : Guenther Stapenhorst. “ The White Devil ." Sound drama. Producers : Bloch and Rabinowitsch . “ Heart's Melody. " Sound and talking drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. “ Love's Waltz.” Ufatone operetta . Producer : Erich Pommer. “ The Immortal Vagabond.” Ufatone drama. Producer : Joe May. “ The Last Company.” Ufatone drama. Producer : Joe May. “ The Blue Angel." Ufatone drama. Producer : Erich Pommer. B. CONDITIONS OF CINEMA INDUSTRIES I. SWEDEN . I am indebted to the Swedish Legation and the Svensk Film Industry for the following answers to ques tions : 1. ( a) When was the most prosperous period of the Swedish Film Industry ? It is not easy to answer this question briefly. An experimental start was made in 1909 and 1910 in Kristianstad, a town in the south of Sweden . The first film studio was then built in 1911 at Lidingön, near Stockholm , and in the same year Mr. Mauritz Stiller and Mr. Victor Sjöström were engaged as producers. At first their efforts were concen trated on sensational films, “ Under the Circus Roof,” etc. These gained a tremendous success and were shown all over the world. This was in its way a prosperous period. However, Aktiebolaget Svenska Biografteatern, now Svensk Filmindustri, the firm which introduced film production in Sweden, soon departed from the sensational road and devoted its resources to national subjects. In 1912 “ Ingeborg Holm ” was produced. It became an instant world success. It was shown in every country where a cinema was to be found. 1916 was a particularly notable year in the annals of Swedish films. Then the great artistic films began to appear with the production of “ Terje Vigen ” and Berg Ejvind. ” By the 27 382 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA simplicity of their composition and the true realism of their presentation of character these films inaugurated a new era in the history not only of Swedish but of universal film produc tion . One after the other a series of super- films followed each other during the succeeding years. They were in many cases founded on works by Selma Lagerlöf. Mention may here be made of films like “ Körkarlen , “ Herr Arnes' Hoard , ” the Ingmars and Jerusalem films, " En herrgardssägen ,” “ Gösta Berling, " and others, films which have been called classical by a judge like Abel Gance. These years formed an exceedingly Aourishing period in the Swedish film annals. There is no doubt that Svensk Filmindustri has now entered upon another period of successful production . During the past year several films were produced which have enjoyed an extraordinarily great success in Sweden, namely, the farce “ Konstgjorda Svensson ,” “ Norrlänningar , ” the magnificent film from the Polar regions, “ Den Starkaste," and not least, the first Swedish sound film , “ Säg det i toner," which has beaten all previous records of popularity in Sweden . This year's production has already been started with a farce and a comedy founded on one of Selma Lagerlöf's latest novels, Charlotte Löwensköld .” At the moment talking film equip ment of the Tobis system is being installed . Svensk Filmindustri will henceforth produce sound films and talkies side by side with silent films. (b) Various types of films produced in Sweden. This question is covered by the information given above. ( c) Number of production Studios. The so -called “ film city" of Rasunda possesses two big studios of 40 by 25 metres and 30 by 18 metres respectively. The establishment is thoroughly modern and its equipment i Shown in England. (a) “ Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness " ; ( 6) “ The Atonement of Gösta Berling ." 2 “ Say It with Melody ." а APPENDICES 383 2. can be compared with that of any European film studio . “ The film city ” was built in 1919 and 1920. The equipment has been supplemented from year to year with new inventions and im provements of machinery. The laboratory, for instance, is of the highest class and very efficiently organised with a selected staff of superior professional ability. In addition , Svensk Filmindustri owns at Stocksund, near Stockholm , another studio establishment, at present not in use. ( d ) Number of Cinemas. Approximately 1,200, whereof about 80 are in Stockholm . About 100 cinemas belong to Svensk Filmindustri. Approximately 500 cinema owners obtain their programmes from Svensk Filmindustri. Cause or causes of any decline, etc. The financial crisis which occurred in Sweden after the war affected different classes of business enterprise in Sweden and also, in some degree, film production. But these conditions were only a temporary phenomenon. The flooding of the European markets with American films was also a hindering factor, like the closing of the American film market to European films. 3. (a) Present conditions and potentialities. The present conditions are very favourable to Swedish films. This is partly because of the fact that it is impossible to present films in foreign languages. But partly also because the public is getting tired of the American film with its jazz mentality. More or less con sciously the public feels again attracted to films of lyrical inspira tion. It can also be stated that during 1929 more satisfactory results were undoubtedly achieved than during the previous years. ( b ) The principal producing companies. Aktiebolaget Svensk Filmindustri, which produces about 10 films annually, is the only producing firm in Sweden apart from temporary enter prises that exist for the purpose of making isolated films. ( c) The number of cinemas and attendances. As regards the number of cinemas, see under 1. (d). Attendances vary natur ally to a great extent in different classes of halls. A considerable 384 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 2. number only offer comparatively restricted accommodation. The super-cinemas in the bigger towns, like “ Röda Kvarn ," “ Skandia ” and “ Palladium ” in Stockholm , enjoy a very good and steady attendance. Figures of the State's income from amusement tax prove that attendances have been fairly constant since 8 or 10 years ago. During 1920-1929, 137 pictures were produced. The best released in England were “ Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness,” “ The Judgment ” and “ The Atonement of Gösta Berling . ” SWITZERLAND. Information communicated by courtesy of the Swiss Legation, London. It would appear that the film industry is practically non existent in Switzerland and it is therefore not possible to speak of the prosperity or the decline of such industry, as it has never been fourishing. The main reason is no doubt lack of capital and also the absence of film - stars. Our actors usually go abroad as soon as they are made “ stars." As far as can be ascertained, only two entirely Swiss films have been produced in Switzerland. (a ) “ La Croix Du Cervin ” ( “ The Cross of the Matter horn ” ), filmed in 1922, and produced by the “ Société des Films artistiques, ” in Geneva. Since then, this firm has ceased to exist. ( b ) “ L'Appel De La Montagne ” (“ The Call of the Moun tain ” ), filmed in 1922, scenario by Porchet, Geneva. A certain number of Swiss films have been made in Switzer land with the assistance of foreign firms: Winter,” filmed in 1929, produced by Helvetia Films, Bern, distributed by the Office Cinématographique, Lausanne, adaptation by J. M. Aymar and Jean Lordier, both of French nationality; the main actors were Peggy Bonnys, Jack Russell (Paris) and Michel-Michel (Switzerland). Furthermore, certain foreign films have been made in Switzerland with Swiss assistance. The following are the most important ones : “ Le Pauvre Village ” (“ The Poor Village ” ), filmed in APPENDICES 385 1920, scenario by M. Porta et F. P. Amiguet, of Lausanne; prin cipal actors Germaine Rouer et Maxudian. “ Les Origines De La Confederation Suisse ” ( “ The Origin of the Swiss Confederation " ), filmed in 1923, by Harder ( American ), for the American producers “ Sunshine ” ; the cast was composed entirely of Swiss actors.

  • Visages D’Enfants ” (“ Children's Faces ' ' ), French film by

J. Feyder, filmed for the greater part in the Valais, under the direction of A. Porchet, of Geneva. “ La Vocation D'Andre Carrel ” ( “ The Vocation of Andre Carrel ” ), film by Jean Choux, filmed on the shores of the Leman (Lake of Geneva). “ La Conquete Dramatique Du Cervin ” (“ The Dramatic Conquest of the Matterhorn ” ), German film by Arnold Fanck, photographed mainly at Zermatt. Petronella," a German film made in Switzerland and representing Swiss historic events. Of all these foreign films, only the ones by Dr. A. Fanck are really remarkable, especially “ La Montagne Sacree” (“ The Sacred Mountain ” ), which, I am told, was a world success, and “ L'Enfer Blanc Du Piz Palu ” (“ The White Hell of Piz Palu " ), which is now exhibited in most European capitals, and which is also a remarkable reproduction . The best Swiss film is “ L'Appel De La Montagne, ” which I have mentioned at the beginning of this letter, and the best foreign film produced in Switzerland, with the help of Swiss actors, is “ Visage D'Enfants,” also mentioned above. The principal film companies in Switzerland are the following : Film Aap, Geneva. Office Cinématographique, Lausanne. Schweizer Schul- und Volkskino, Berne. Praesens-Film , Zurich . Film Lips, Bale . Eos Film, Bale. a 1 386 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA They produce mainly documentary films. 3. ENGLAND. (a) Instructional. Instructional Films activities. A note from Mr. Sidney Rogerson. “ With regard to your queries : Almost everything that has been done in connection with the production of national or Empire films has been done by British Instructional Films. They alone, under the leader ship of Mr. Bruce Woolfe, seem to follow the policy that the cinema should not compete with the theatre but should strike out a new line under the open skies and in wide spaces. This company have made such films as “ Palaver,” showing the white man's burden in Nigeria ; “ Shiraz ” and “ Throw of the Dice," two pictures produced by white directors with an all-Indian cast in India ; “ Stampede,” the story of Arab life in the Western Sudan, and “ Stark Nature, " a new picture in production showing African animals in their native haunts. British Instructional have, in addition, produced many films in the Crown Colonies, etc. The big Empire picture, now titled “ One Family,” is practically complete and should be shown in London some time before the end of next month (April, 1930)." With regard to national films, B.I.F. have, as you know , produced all the big War films with the exception of “ Bala clava, ” “ The Somme,” and “ Q Ships, " i.e. , “ Jutland , ” “ Armageddon,” “ Zeebrugge, ” “ Ypres,” “ Mons, Coronel and Falkland Islands,” and are about to produce “ Tell Eng land.” They have also practically alone attempted to make pictures thoroughly British in their atmosphere and free of all back -stage or cabaret Aavour. Such pictures are “ Cottage on Dartmoor, ” “ The Lost Patrol,” “ Underground,” etc. Ground covered by British Instructional Films : Agricul ture, Botany, Engineering, Feature Films, General Interest, Geography, Health , History, Natural History, Physiology, and Scripture. 1 It was shown in July, 1930. APPENDICES 387 Information from Sir Gordon Craig , Managing Director of The New Era Films : With regard to documentary films distributed by this com pany, the following are titles and the years of release : Arma geddon , ” February, 1923; “ Zeebrugge Zeebrugge,”” February, 1924 ; Ypres,” November, 1925 ; “ Mons,” November, 1926 ; “ The Somme,” November, 1927; “ Q Ships,” November, 1928. (b ) The Bolshevist invasion of England and growth of pro Bolshevist organisations and activities. Since the beginning of this year 1930 there have been signs of a systematic invasion of this country by the Bolshevist Picture Industry. Several of the leading producers have visited London either to attend the first performance of their pictures, or to lecture, or both. Pictures hitherto banned have been publicly exhibited, for instance, Pudovkin's “ Mother ” and “ The End of Șt. Peters burg. ” Turin's “ Turk Sib ” has been trade shown and accorded a “ good press.” Eisenstein's “ General Line ” has been privately shown at the U.S.S.R. Embassy. A new renting and distribut ing company has been formed called the “ Atlas Film Co. Ltd.,” which has attracted the attention of anti-bolshevists. The Federation of Workers' Film Societies, the offspring of the London Workers' Film Society, organised primarily to bring Bolshevist pictures to the workers, has come to include societies at Bradford, Edinburgh, Merseyside, Cardiff and elsewhere. The movement to exhibit Bolshevist pictures in this country has found a number of supporters among intellectuals and repre sentative persons, many of whom protested against the action of the Censor in opposing the proposal by the Masses Stage and Film Guild to exhibit “ Mother. " (c ) Unusual Cinemas and Pictures : 1. English . ( a) The Avenue Pavilion (“ House of Silent Shadow " ). For over two years the Avenue Pavilion Cinema was inseparably bound up with the unusual silent picture campaign . Butit would be a mistake to assume therefore that it was engaged 388 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA in the anti -Censor war. With the exception of the reasonable struggle to exhibit the German picture, “ Martin Luther,” and the victory gained , partly through the exertions of Mr. Stuart Davis, and partly through the favourable attitude of the Press, there has been no collision with the Censor. Many silent pictures of extreme merit, and of different types, were in existence in Europe and America. They had been shown only in a limited way. They deserved to be seen by students and the general public in England. In helping to bring them before English audiences a public service was rendered. In a letter to me, Mr. Davis describes how this desirable end was brought about. “ The Avenue Pavilion was built in 1911 and was then considered to be the finest and most up-to -date West End cinema theatre. It did remarkably good business and for some years remained the leading West End cinema. In later years, how ever, it suffered from a great deal of opposition from Marble Arch Pavilion, New Gallery, Tivoli, Plaza and all the big West End theatres, which opened one by one. As the opposition became stronger, so the business diminished, owing to the fact that nearly all its films were second run , and the house, as com pared to the modern theatres, was out-of -date . Something had to be done to keep the house alive, and several experiments were tried but without success. Some three years ago, whilst on a visit to New York , I was considerably interested in the Cameo Theatre, which was then a similar type of house running on a policy of presenting the artistic film and the non -commercial film , also revivals of interesting classic films. On my return to London I was con vinced that there was a big need for this sort of cinema theatre in London, and the Avenue Pavilion was the ideal place in which to start it . An experiment was tried with ‘ Kaddish ,' a film of particular Jewish interest, which was a very big success. “ I was not able to continue the idea at that time, as I found it extremely difficult to obtain the right kind of product, renters were loath to allow the Avenue Pavilion to show new a APPENDICES 389 films, as they had never heard of it, and the press took little interest at first in the theatre as they also had never heard of it. Copies of interesting revivals were hard to find and it needed a great deal of research in tracing them . However, in April of 1928, with the aid of the Gaumont- British Booking Department, I managed to obtain Pabst’s ‘ The Loves of Jeanne Ney ,' for premier presentation in the West End, from Wardour Films, which almost doubled the takings of the theatre. This was kept on for two weeks, a thing unprecedented at the Avenue Pavilion , and not being able to find another film , I then reverted to a pro gramme of ordinary films, with a corresponding drop in the takings. “ The next film of interest that I could find was a Russian film , “ The Postmaster, which was quite successful, though it was not a very wonderful film . I was able to follow this with ' The Red Flame,' a German film featuring Bernard Goetzke, dealing with the recent Chinese Civil Wars. No more films were then available and ordinary programme features were reverted to . “ However, after two weeks of this, I happened to be stuck for a second feature for three days at the end of one week, and as an experiment I inserted a revival of Vaudeville .' The takings for the latter half of the week with this revival doubled the first half of the week, and the following week two ordinary films were shelved and “ Vaudeville ' kept on, playing to enor mous business, this in spite of the approaching summer. This made me definitely decide on the policy and when I was unable to obtain new films I carried on with revivals. By that time I had traced a copy of ‘ The Nibelungs ' and

  • The Street,' both of which ran for two weeks and did very big

business. The premier presentation of ‘ Waxworks ' was then given, it having just passed the Censor, and it played for four weeks during the month of July, in spite of a heat wave which coincided with the opening of the picture. “ Following ' Waxworks ' came came ' Warning Shadows,' 6 > 6 390 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA > а which ran for four weeks, ' The Marriage of the Bear,' ' The Student of Prague,’ ‘ Forbidden Paradise ,' a Lubitsch production featuring Pola Negri and Adolphe Menjou, and “ The Atonement of Gösta Berling,' a Swedish film featuring Lars Hanson and Greta Garbo ; the premier presentation of Tartuffe ' for three weeks, Emil Jannings in ‘ Danton ,' Ludwig Berger’s ‘ Cin derella , ' Ivan Mosjoukine in ‘ Kean,' ' Thou Shalt Not , Jacques Feyder's version of Therese Racquin, which ran for four weeks, breaking all existing house records, followed by Chaplin's ' A Woman of Paris,’ ‘ Berlin ,' ' The Last Laugh ,’ ‘ Dr. Mabuse,' ' Rosenkavalier,' ' The Hands of Orlac, ' ' Manon Lescaut,' finishing up the first year with a highly-successful Repertory Fortnight of the six best pictures played during the past twelve months, which were voted for by the patrons of the theatre. The success of the enterprise was proved by the receipts which had been doubled. “ I was personally responsible for the policy since its incep tion and chose and booked every picture that has been presented. At the beginning I was also associated with the Booking Depart ment of Gaumont-British , and thus was not able to devote a great deal of time to the publicity side, which was carried out by the manager of the theatre, thus it has been supposed in some quarters that it was he who originated the idea. Many people can claim to have suggested it, as there was obviously a big need for a cinema such as this in London, but the difficulties of carry ing it out were great and I think I can fairly claim to be the first person in England, at any rate, to have surmounted these difficulties and to have put the idea into practice. “ In January, 1929, it was decided to extend the policy to the Provinces and I opened the Century, Liverpool, and the Savoy, Leeds, on similar lines. Here also it was highly success ful, but a big difficulty was encountered. In London it is possible to run each film for two or three weeks, there being enough people interested to do so, but in the Provinces it was found that one week was the limit of run of any picture; con a APPENDICES 391 a sequently three times the number of pictures were required for the Provinces than for London, and it was, therefore, not possible to keep up the very high standard which we set ourselves and which is absolutely necessary for such an undertaking. This has proved an insurmountable difficulty at Leeds, which has now closed down and reverted to ordinary programmes , but Liverpool is still struggling valiently on. “ Early this year the Talkies arrived, and far from affecting the Avenue Pavilion, they have brought fresh customers in the people who do not like Talkies and wish to see a good silent programme. They have, however, had the effect ofmaking it necessary to import films directly from abroad. With this end in view I made a trip to Paris this summer and in four days secured a number of highly - interesting French productions, enabling me to hold a French season . His Excellency the French Ambassador attended the Gala Performance on the opening night, at which a large number of notabilities were present, in cluding H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Sir Edward Elgar, Edmund Dulac, Donald Calcroft, Anna May Wong and the Rt. Hon. J. H. Thomas. This gathering undoubtedly proved the tremendous interest in the film as an art, which is held by members of every branch of the artistic world, and by all people of discrimination and taste . “ During the present year a further innovation has been made, as all the ordinary films previously booked under the old regime have now been played off and owing to the advent of the Talkies, the European markets for silent films are open . Thus it has been possible to form a programme consisting of one new product of artistic merit and a revival of interest. The pro grammes will also contain from time to time a number of short subjects of unusual interest. “ Included in the programme of the second year of the Avenue Pavilion's policy were : ‘ Refuge,’ ‘ Two Brothers,' ' The Tragedy of the Street,' ' Woman to Woman, ' the first English film to be revived, “ Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness,' a Victor > 6 392 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA 6 6 > Sestrom production, ‘ Anna Christie,' ‘ Manon Lescaut,' ' The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,' ' The Mystic Mirror,' featuring Fritz Rasp, directed by Carl Hoffmann, ‘ The Living Corpse,' featuring Pudovkin, ‘ Martin Luther,' which was at first banned by the Censor and afterwards passed with a few minor cuts, and “ The Rose of Pu Chui, ' the first Chinese film to be seen in Europe. The Avenue Pavilion, “ The House of Silent Shadow, " was thus establishing itself as the one cinema theatre in London where discriminating people were assured of seeing a really interesting programme composed of the world's most artistic productions, when its adventure came to an end in March, 1930." (b ) The Film Society. This Society belongs to the unusual cinema movement. It has sought to provide for the instruction of students and the enlightenment of its members generally, an analysis of periods and styles of cinematography from its start. On the whole its achievement has been remarkable, as its thirty odd programmes prove. I am indebted to the Society for copies of the programmes up to the beginning of the present season . I should like to give a complete list of the items which they con tain , probably 150 in number, but space does not permit. So I 66 66 1 [AUTHOR'S NOTE . — After I had sent Mr. Stuart Davis' statement to my publisher, I received from Mr. Leslie Ogilvie a much -delayed_answer to my request for the facts of his association with the Avenue Pavilion experiment. In his letter, dated May , 1930, he says, “ I alone was the originator of the Avenue policy and chose and presented all the films " Mr. G. A. Atkinson in the Sunday Express, and Mr. Henry Dobb in the Sunday Worker ” ( a Communist paper) both gave the movement wide publicity which did a great deal to strengthen my hand.” “ Mr. Dobb took an active part in the affair after I left." ( i to direct the Tussauds shows - cinema, waxworks, etc.” , vide evening paper ). Mr. Davis makes a similar claim to initiation and achievement, leaving out Dobb , Blakeston, and others of the red and white brigade. Of course , I cannot settle the rival personal claims. I can only give the statement made by each claimant. My sole concern is to put on record the very fine achievement of the Avenue Pavilion during 1928-30. Readers may decide for theinselves by turning to The Observer, of December 12, 1928, and The Evening News, April 22, 1929. In the first, C.A.L. surveys at length the first six months, in the second, A. Jympson Harman, the first year, of the work at the Avenue Pavilion. Both attribute this work to Mr. Leslie Ogilvie, apparently on a basis of information supplied by him. Many of the details given are similar to those in Mr. Stuart Davis' memorandum. It will be noted that Mr. Davis suggests that he was for some time the man “ behind the scene ” working the machinery, while Mr. Ogilvie attended to the “ front of the house " and publicity . ] APPENDICES 393 will note here only some of the principal ones . The particulars given are the dates of exhibition by the Film Society, the titles, producers, countries and dates of production. 1925 . “ Waxworks." Paul Leni. German . 1924 . 1925 . “ Cinderella ." Ludwig Berger. German. 1923. 1925 . “ Raskolnikov . " Robert Weine . German. 1923. 1926 . “ The Marriage Circle .' Ernst Lubitsch. German . 1924 . 1926 . “ The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Robert Wiene. German. 1919. 1926 . “ The Late Matthew Pascal.” Marcel L'Herbier. French . 1924-5 . 1926 . “ Dr. Mabuse . " Fritz Lang. German . 1922 . 1926 . “ Greed. " Erich von Stroheim. American. 1923. 1927 . “ The Joyless Street. " G. W. Pabst. German. 1925 . 1927 . “ L'Inhumane. " Marcel L'Herbier. French . 1923-4 . 1927 . “ Polikushka. " Russian. 1923. 1927 . “ Nana. " Jean Renoir. French . 1926 . 1928. Jerusalem . " Gustaf Molander . Swedish . 1926 . 1928 . “ Berlin . " Walther Ruttmann. German. 1927 . 1928. “ Tartuffe. " F. W. Murnau. German . 1925 . 1928. “ Mother." V. I. Pudovkin . Russian . 1926 . 1928 . " The Wild Duck . " Lulu Pick . German. 1925 . 1928 . “ Dracula . " F. W. Murnau . German . 1922 . 1929. “ Rien que les Heures. " A. Cavalcanti. French . 1927. 1929. “ The End of St. Petersburg." V. I. Pudovkin . Russian . 1927. 1929. “ En Rade . " Albert Cavalcanti. French . 1928. 1929 . “ Bed and Sofa ." Russian. 1927 . 1929 . “ The Battleship Potemkin ." S. M. Eisenstein . Russian. 1925. 1930 . “ The Heir to Jenghiz Khan. " V. I. Pudovkin. Russian. 1928 . 1 As indicating the activity and scope of the society's exhibi tions, the following is of importance. During the season 1926 27 it exhibited thirty-five pictures. Nine of these (four German , two French, two English, and one Russian) had not before been shown publicly in this country. Of the remainder, two were German, one Russian , eight American and fifteen English . 5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The proper place for acknowledgments is in the preface. They are placed here because the body of the book was completed before some long-delayed information was received. It is very difficult in a book of this kind to acknowledge each individual act of courtesy in supplying informa tion , or granting permission to reproduce illustrations. I have sought, and I trust successfully, to overcome the difficulty by making acknowledgments in the text and on the illustrations. A word of thanks is due, in particular, to Mr. Stuart Davis, the 394 THE NEW SPIRIT IN THE CINEMA manager of the Avenue Pavilion Cinema, for facilities to repro duce still photographs of some of the French pictures shown during the French season at the Avenue Pavilion. On the clerical side, in the collection of material, sifting it, arranging it, and in the preparation of the book, I have had no assistance. All this is my own work, and for its sins of commission and omis sion, if there be any, in these respects, I am responsible.


[ Note . — The Appendices are not indexed, but their con tents are indicated by the Contents Table (which see) and otherwise are systematically arranged so that reference is easy . A large number of names of Cinema personalities will be found classified and grouped according to Stars” groupings ( see “ Stars ” ). The names of members of Cinema Associations and Leagues, -Film Society, Masses Stage, etc. , are also grouped in the text. (See Cinema Organisations Index E.) The names of pioneers, and the inventors of Cinema Apparatus will be found in the chapter on the History of the Machine, pp . 17-22.] INDEXES 1. NAMES. ( A) PRESS AND BOOKS. 1. NEWSPAPERS. Sunday Express, 96 , 140, 172, 175 , 180, 205 , 233, 264, 269, 304, 326 Times, 143-4 , 262-3 , 273, 276, 299 Daily Telegraph , 108 . Manchester Guardian, 6 , 109, 188 , Daily Mail, 109, 129, 133, 193, 205, 230, 262, 264, 272, 304 Evening News, 7, 20, 109, 121, 131 , 224 , 229, 258, 267, 271, 307, 324 Weekly Dispatch , 109, 115, 180 132, 138, 142 , 148 , 154, 156, 169, 186 , 206 , 226, 288, 300, 301, 308 , 310, Sunday Dispatch, 175 , 227, 230 Sunday Referee, 120 , 121 , 155, 226 , 317 233, 271, 272, 316, 318, 352, 360 Morning Post, 11, 205, 232, 261, 353 The Referee, 297, 299 , 301 Daily Herald , 14, 158, 232, 287 , 288 , Sunday Chronicle, 135 , 261 300, 307, 308 News-Chronicle, 140 Daily News, 20, 129 , 139, 158, 180, New York Herald , 156 187, 188, 260, 300 , 302, 359 Westminster Gazette , 158 Evening Standard , 20 , 120, 131 , 132, Berliner Tageblatt, 271 136, 139, 141 , 156, 158 , 189, 194, Berlin Z- Mittag, 274 225, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 260, 281, Daily Mirror, 283 294, 307, 308, 324, 355 Sunday Worker, 287, 290 Observer, 3, 36 , 58, 109, 115, 156, Daily Worker, 287, 288 231, 260, 262, 272, 274 , 276, 279, Star, 314, 316 295, 304, 348 , 353, 355 , 356 Daily Express, 58, 87, 88, 109, 120 , 121, 128, 135 , 137, 138 , 159, 169, 174, 2. JOURNALS. 175, 179, 180, 183, 185 , 186, 195 , 201, 202, 203 , 207, 229, 230 , 233, 266, 289 , ( a) Weeklies. 290, 308, 317, 327 , 348, 358 The Film Weekly , xxvii , 20, 117 , 120 , Daily Chronicle, 88, 139, 140, 155, 121 , 148, 227, 288 , 302, 304, 316 157 , 190, 225, 229, 230 , 232, 233, 307 , World's Press News, 4, 11 , 149 311, 317, 324, 325 , 353 Nation and Athenæum , 31 395 396 INDEXES Black Year (Moscow ), 60 Medical Press , 60 Monde ( Paris) , 95 , 96 , 121, 150, 338, 354 Cinematograph Times, 118 Methil “ Spark , " 189 Everyman, 230 European Press ( Germany) , 246 New Leader , 288 Plebs, 288 G.K.'s Weekly, 299 Kinematograph Weekly , 329 Cinema, 357 4. PICTURE PRODUCTION Co.'s PUBLICATIONS. Fox News, 110, 134 Universal Pictures Souvenir, 115 , 143 First National Pathé Publicity Sheet, 128, 142, 167, 168 Fox Newspaper Service, 141, 158 Picture Corporations Publicity Sheets, 149-50 First National Pathé Gazette, 304 ( 1) Monthlies. The Little Review ( New York ), 32 Bermondsey Book , 70 Close Up, 110, 156 , 258 , 285-92 American Mercury, 174 Realist, 179, 184 Review of Reviews, 226 Contemporary Review, 240 Pearson's Magazine, 249 Plebs, 288 ( c) Quarterlies. Sociological Review, 38 , 163, 172 The Quest , 165 Artwork, 259 5. Books. The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre, xvi, xxviii, xxix, 4, 5, 329 The New trit in the European Theatre, 4, 49, 83, 147, 177, 239, 329 The City of To -morrow , xxvii All Quiet on the Western Front, 3, 270 The Case of Sergeant Grischa, 3 The Bible, xxiv, 6, 7-13 , (Genesis) 8, Books of Prophecy, 11 , 48 , 294 Pre - existence and Reincarnation, 4 The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy , 5 Heraclitus, or the Future of the Film, 15 The Film Finds Its Tongue, 19, 20 , 22, 225 The King Who Was A King , 20 , 190 Evolution in Art, 23 The Mind and Face of Bolshevism , 28 The New Word, 33 Art, 36 The Cinema, 47, 49, 111 , 295-6 Believe It or Not, 142 Romance of Commerce, 143 Secrets of a Showman, 143 Sex in Civilisation , 175 Erotic Symbolism , 177 Crime and Drama, 197 Degeneration, 213 New Vision in the German Arts, 247 . Pudovkin on Production, 305 Modern Theatre Architecture, 309 Theatre Architecture, 310 Cinema Literature (Russian ), 340 ( d) Annuals. Cinema Year Books, 81 Daily Mail Year Book, 95 , 154, 222 , 273, 297, 323-4 Kinematograph Year Book , 122 Theatre, Music Hall and Cinema Blue Book , 317 ( e) Supplements. The Times Film Number, 19, 20, 23, 96 , 97 , 162, 207, 294 , 310 , 338 3. DOCUMENTS AND REPORTS . Labour “ Historical Synopsis ," 20 . International Labour Bureau Statis tics ( Geneva) , 121 The Cinema ( see Books) Sociological Papers, 355 6. WORKS OF REFERENCE . Encyclopædia Britannica, 19, 20, 22 INDEXES 397 ( B) PERSONS AND PLACES. Pioneers and inventors of Cinema apparatus will be found in the chapter on the History of the Machine, pp. 17-22. A Clair, Rene, 56, 92 Arnold , Matthew, 4 Copeau, Jacques, 56 Adam, 8 Czecho- Slovakia , 56, 74 Archer, William , 38 Chekov, 61 Apollinaire, Guillaume, 55 Circle Français de la Presse Etran Arbuckle, Fatty , " 84 gère, 91 Atkinson, G. A. , 87, 88 , 96 , 137, 172, Calvacanti, 92 179, 183, 201 , 202, 203, 207, 229, Churchill , Winston, 108 , 112 230, 233, 304 , 326 , 327 Cooper, Lady Diana, 109, 115 Annan, Craig , 258 Coogan, Jackie, 129 Asquith , Antony, 283 Compson, Betty , 137 Armstrong, Dr. E. F. , 137 Callisthenes, 143 Calverton, V. F. , 175 B Crozier, General , 190 Berlin, XXV Costello, Dolores, 195 Browning , 4 Colburn , Alvin, 258 Burckhardt, Jacob, 5 Crawfurd, Major , 300 Brown, Ivor, 6 Cunliffe - Lister, Sir Philip , 300, 302 Betts, Ernest, 15 Craig , Sir Gordon, 302 , 318-9, 359 Bergson, 24 C.A.L. ( Observer) , 318 Bakst, 24 Civic Centres (Ancient and Modern ), Bow, Clara , 28, 134 366 Brigstocke, W. O. , 30 Cathedral, Theatre- Cinema , 366 Bell , Clive, 36 Biograph, 43 D Bernhardt, Sarah , 43 da Vinci, Leonardo, 17 Bunny, John , 61 , 82 Day, William, 19, 20 Barry, Iris, 109, 129 Descartes , 33 Brighouse, Harold, 109 Darwin , 33 Barrie, Sir James, 135, 304 , 375 de Segonzac, Dunoyer, 45 Busch , Mae, 136 Dickens, 48 Borthwick , A. T. , 140, 359 Dulac, Germaine , 56 Beltran -Massés, Frederica, 176, 179 Davis, F. C., 70 Banky, Vilma, 178 de Putti , Lya, 129 Baughan, E. Á. , 187, 188, 260 Dove, Billy , 134 Brunel, Adrian , 188 Davis, Geoffrey, 163 Barrymore, John, 205 Disney, Walt, 171-2 Burnup, Peter, 227, 230 Dean, Basil, 229, 357-8-9-60, 303 Bruguiere, Francis, 283 De Mille, Cecil B. , 88 , 258, 348 Blakeston, Oswald , 283 Douglas, James, 264, 326-7 Beaverbrook , Lord , 299, 307 Donald , Robert, 273 Balcon, Michael, 302 de Courville, Albert , 326 Bundy, A. E. , 303 , 325 Dovjenko, 335 Butt, Sir Alfred, 326 du Maurier, Sir Gerald , 358 Bennett, Arnold, 360 E C Eve, 8 Comte, A. , xvii , XXX Einstein , 30 Crasus, xxiv, 7, 249 Essanay, 43 Cochran , C. B. , xxvii , 143, 147, 156 , Eisenstein , 46 , 89, 94, 288 , 305, 341 257, 326 , 353, 355 Ervine, St. John , 108 , 279 Carpenter, E. , 4 Ellis , Havelock , 177 Christ, 7, 8 , 11, 259 Ewer, Monica, 188 Cezanne, 23 Exter , Alexandra , 251 Chaplin , Charles, 28 , 43, 53, 61 , 60 , Elstree, 293 82, 88, 113, 129, 152-3, 193, 223 28 398 INDEXES F W. & F. Film Service, 307 Fox , W., xviii , 15, 63, 116-18, 161 , Gaumont- British, 88, 120, 158, 276, 224 289, 294, 306-7 , 315 France, xxvi Pathé Exchange, 122 Flanagan , Hallie, xxviii British Instructional, 294, 302, 304 Fergusson, J. D. , 24 315-6, 325 French Advance -Guard Painters, Gainsborough, 294 , 317 Poets and Musicians, on p. 55 . British International, 315-6 Feyder, Jacques, 56, 92, 95 . Whitehall Films, 316-7 Frederick , Pauline, 109 Associated Radio Pictures, 358 Fleming, Ethel, 115 Farnol, Jeffery, 130 Faulkner, W. G., 154, 222, 273, 297, Germany, xxvi 323-4 Geddes, Patrick, xxx, 27, 38, 354 Fairbanks, Douglas, 28, 52, 63, 88-9 , Galsworthy , John, 3, 4, 359, 364 163 Garvin, J. L. , 3 Fejos, Paul , 201 Goldwyn, S. , 15, 85 , 116 , 155 , 223 Freud , 5, 242 Green , Fitzhugh , 19 , 20, 22 Fletcher, John, Gould , 259 Griffith , D. W., 26, 31 , 42, 43 , 48, 51 , Fanck, Dr. Arnold , 269 76, 85 , 87, 88 , 194, 252 Fawcett, L'Estrange, 294-5 Gance , Abel, 56 , 95 Federation of British Industries , Gogol , 61 316 , 326 , 360 Gorvin, John, 64 Film Industries : Garbo, Greta, 129 Polish , 75 Glyn, Elinor, 134, 169 Baltic States, 79 Gaynor, Janet, 134 French , 93, 95 Guilbert Yvette, 134, 185 Italian , 96 Gibson, Hoot, 169 Spanish, 96 Giotto, 251 American, 121 , 143-5, 346 Greenwood , Arthur, 300 British, 294-7, 347, 352 Russian, 96 , 337 H Film Production Corporations and Herriot ( see Quota ) Companies : Hollywood , xxv, xxvi, xxx- ii , 8-10 , Poland Esti - film Syndicate, 78 21 , 49 , 90 Czecho - Slovakia , A.B., Poja , Hearn, Lafcadio , 4 Lloyd, Emelka, 272, Atropos, 87 Hell, 7-13 Metro -Goldwyn-Mayer, 88, 116, Haddon , A. C. , 23 122, 152, 208, 317 Hessling, Catherine, 29 Universal , 88, 110, 115, 122, 203 Hays, Will, 58 , 174, 200 United Artists, 88, 139, 152-3 Howard, Clifford , 110 Cineromans, 95 Harman, A. Jympson, 226 Paramount Famous-Lasky, 41 , 122, Hauptmann, G. , 240, 274 155, 159, 203 , 207 Hoffmann , Carl, 256 Fox, 116-24 , 136, 155 , 156-8, 268 Hinton , Horsley, 258 Warner Bros. , 116-17 , 122, 139, Hugenberg, Alfred , 271-5 155-6 , 227 , 233, 268 Hardy, Thomas, 304 First National Pathé, 116-17, 122, 156 I Radio Corporation ( R.K.O.) , 117 , Inverclyde, Lord, 136 155, 232-3, 321, 358 Inge, Dean, 194 Western Electric, 117-8, 227, 232-3 , 321 J U.F.A. , 248 , 262, 269, 272-6 , 281 Jugo- Slovakia , 74 Sovkino , 337, 339 June, 136 Mejhrabpom , 337, 339 Jolson , Al , 139, 225 , 229 Gosvoenkino, 338 Jannings, Emil, 257, 274 Russian State Production Cos. , 338 K Atlas Renting Co. , 360 Kennedy, Joseph P. , 117 Ideal Films, 307 King , W. G. , 128 9 INDEXES 399 Kenyon, Doris, 168 Kahn, Otto, 229 Kaiser, F., 242 Kontingent ( see Quota) Kuleshov, 305 Kinsila, 309 L Lapworth , Charles, 317 Lye, Len ., 283 London, xxv, xxxii Le Corbusier, xxvii Leplay, xxx Lutozlawski, Wincenty, 4 Luther, Martin , Léger, F. , 32 l'Herbier, Marcel, 56, 92 Lenin , 66 , 239 Laemmle , Carl, 115, 224 Loew , Marcus, 116 , 153, 268 Low , Professor, 138 Lasky, Jesse L., 159, 232 Lewis, Wyndham , 176 Lonsdale , Frederick , 224, 229 Ludwig , Dr. E., 265 Lubitsch , 274, 283 M Mussolini, xviii , 135, 355 Moscow , XXV McE ., D. L. , 260 Marinetti, 24 Murry, J. M. , 24 Melie , 24 Miller, Fülöp, 28 Macfall, Haldane , 36 Mottershaw , Frank , 40 Mix , Tom, 52 , 63, 134 , 136 , 163, 169 Maynard , Ken, 63, 169 Moskvin , A. , 88 Mencken , 109 Movie Towns, 116 McLaglen , Victor, 133 Murray , Mae, 139 Mead, G. R. S. , 165 Maurois, Andre, 175 Mdivani , Prince Serge, 182 Montagu, Ivor, 188, 289, 305 Marx , 239 Meyrink, Gustav, 250 Murnau, 255 , 274 Meyer, Sir Frank, 300 Moore - Brabizon, Colonel, 300 Maxwell, John , 303, 316 Molière, 304 Moussinac, Leon, 338, 354 N New York , xxxii Nagel, Conrad, 28 Nansen Mission , 58 , 64 Negri, Pola, 109, 121, 134, 182 Nathan, George Jean , 174 Novello, Ivor, 181 Newton, H. Chance, 197 Nordau, Max. , 213 Niblo, Fred, 255 O'Casey, Sean, 304 O'Brien, George, 195 Oman, Sir Charles, 205 O'Connor, T. P. , 266 . P Pudovkin , 24, 94, 128, 281-2-3, 288, 305 , 334, 341 Pickford , Mary, 28, 43, 82, 88, 134, 174, 184 Paul , F. , 43 Poirier, Leon, 188 Peterborough , Dean of, 194 Poelzig, 250 Q Quota, 89, 297-300 , 313-18, 346 Kontingent, 272-5 , 298, 346 Herriot ( Quota) decree, 94 , 95, 298 R Russian Ballet , 308 Reichstag, The , 268 Russia, xxvi, 27, 46 , 57, 59, 61 , 77, 186 Remarque, E. M. , 3 Rice, Estelle, 24 Renoir, Jean, 29, 56 , 92 Rembrandt, 36 Reinhardt , Max, 42, 242, 250, 274 Riddell, Lord , 48 Rozycki. Ludomir, 77 Rappe, Virginia, 84 Rogers, Will , 88 , 136 Robey, George, 139 Rambova, Natacha, 176, 179 Reid , Wallace, 179 Rich, Irene, 184 Renard , Ray, 203 Rohmer, Sax, 206 Reimann , Walther, 249 Röhrig , Walther, 249 Rabinovitch , Isaac, 251 Rose, Henry, 259 Rothermere, Lord , 268 Rogerson, Sidney, 386 s Shaw , G. B. , xviii, 36 , 135, 174-5, 326, 359, 363, 374-8 Solon, xxiv, 7, 249 Swaffer, Hannen, 3 , 183, 348, 358 Satan, 7-13 400 INDEXES Snowden, Philip , 14-15, 300 Schenck, J. , 41 , 88, 116 , 157 Sennett, Mack, 43 Shakespeare, 48 , 304 “ Stars ” : Early Western, 63 Early Comic Shorts, 82 Classified Lists, 132 “ Baby " Women, 134 Table of Salaries, 139 Income Tax Evasion, 141 Investments, 141 United Artists, 153 “ Spotlight ” ( Sunday Referee ), 318 19, 360 Sachs, E. O. , 310 Seabury, W. M., 299, 301 Sheridan, Victor, 304 , 348 , 355 Swaythling, Lord, 289 Steichen , Edouard , 258 Stieglitz, Alfred , 258 Scotland , John , 226 Selfridge, H. Gordon, 143-5 Sills, Milton , 168 Salusbury , F. G. H. , 175 Stendhal, 183 Shanks, Edward, 189 Sjöström, Victor, 209 Sherwood, Robert E. , 226 Scheffauer, H. G. , 247 Sturm Group, 250 Squire, J. C. , 260 T Tennyson , 4 Terry, Ellen, 43 Tippett, John D. , 111 Tunney, Gene, 130 Terris, Ellaline, 188 Toller, Ernst, 240 , 242 Topp, Arnold, 250 ( C) CINEMAS, THEATRES AND STUDIOS. A Avenue Pavilion , 29, 262, 287-8 Astoria, 310 B Beba , 274 с Coliseum ( Warsaw) , 78 Covent Garden , 262 Capitol , 310, 312, 325 Tree, Sir Herbert, 309 Tennyson, Charles, 315 Turin, 338 , 311 , 361 U Upward, Allen , 33 Universal City, 115 Vertov, Dziga , 24 , 94, 281, 288, 305 , 335, 341 Valentino, Rudolph, 89, 134, 176-83, 207. Venus Types, 134 Veidt, Conrad , 212, 274 W Warner Brothers, 15 , 117-8 , 161 , 224 Wells , H. G., 20, 190, 304 , 359, 375-7 Warsaw, 72 Wyspianski, 75 Weigall, Arthur, 109, 113 Wodehouse, P. G. , 109 Williamson , Alice U., 109, 132 Whittaker , Charles, 109 Wall Street , 108-10, 117-24 , 226, 229 Whiteman, Paul, 139 Wilde, Oscar, 176 West, Rebecca , 179, 183-4 Woolfe, Bruce H. , 189, 302, 326 Wallace , Edgar , 204 , 303 Wedekind, F. , 242 Warm, Hermann, 249 Walden, Herwarth, 250 Warner, H. B. , 259-60 Woolf, C. M. , 302 Z Zweig, Arnold, 3 Zukor, Adolph, 43, 116, 159, 268 D Deutsches Theatre , 243 Dominion, 313 , 326 E Empire, 310, 311 Flüger, Kine, 84 Fata Morgana, 243 Five Thousand, Theatre of The, 250 INDEXES 401 G Palace Kino ( Warsaw) , 76 German theatre ( war time) , 43 Polski Theatre, 77 Plaza, 310, 311 R His Majesty's Theatre, 309, 311 Roxy, 41 , 158 K Rialto, 274 Kristall Palace, 274 Regal, 310-11 Regent, 310 8 London Pavilion, 308 Stylowy Kino, 78 London Opera House , 308, 313 Studios, Austrian, 85 M Studios, British ( London districts) , 302 Marble Arch Pavilion, 95 Studios, Russian, 338 Metropole, 310 Opern Kino, 84 Tivoli, 157, 289, 310, 311 U U.F.A.–Pavilion, 255 P Palladium , 308 Paramount, 41 , 156 Proletcult , 46 Polish theatre, 75 Vieux -Colombier, theatre, 56 Vaudeville, 358 ( D) PICTURES AND PLAYS. А American Comedy, 52 , 62 , 82, 91, 171 Armageddon, 189, 304 Abraham Lincoln, 200 Air Circus, 201 Arms and the Man, 209 Aelita, 251 B Blackmail, 325 Birth of a Nation, 42 , 46, 51 , 87 Ben Hur, 46, 153, 194 , 225 , 255-6 Broncho Bill, 52 Biograph, 43 Border Legion, 66 Broken Blossoms, 76 Big Parade, 153, 174, 187, 189, 225 Baby Cyclone, 183 Blighty, 188 Battle of Arras, 191 Belphegar, 196 Broadway, 198 , 201-3 Blindfold , 212 Beau Geste, 225 Black Pirate, 225 Broadway Melody, 230, 324 Bismarck , 254 Bed and Sofa, 289 Bluebottles, 304 Battles of Coronel and Falklands, 304 с Cartoon , The : Mickey Mouse, 29 , 171-2 , 278 Krazy Kat, 29 Felix the Cat, 29, 30 , 278 Inkwell, 29 Sammy and Sausage, 29 Oswald Sound, 29 Caligari ( see D) Come Across , 200 Cowboy pictures, 48 Cabiria , 52 Chicago Crime, 02 Casanova, 78 , 95 Czecho -Slovakian, 87 ( 'armen , 95 Crime, 105, 173, 303 Court Martial, 191 Christ Pictures, 193 Cock -Eyed World , 325 D Dracula , 92 Dr. Mabuse, 92, 244, 249-51 Dr. Caligari, 244-5, 249-53, 283 Du Barry of To- day, 269 Daydreams, 304 Dety Boory, 333 Decembrists, 365 402 INDEXES I Keystone, 43 King of Kings, 193, 255, 258-61 E Eternal City , 51, 53 Essanay, 43 Elmo the Mighty, 79 Emden, 254, 270 End of St. Petersburg, 289, 338 Eleven, 335 Escape, 359 L La P'tite Lilie , 29 Little Match Girl , 29 Luther , Martin, 46, 254 , 255, 262-66 Les Miserables, 52 Last Moment, 202, 209, 253 Lonesome, 202 Last Performance, 212 Lights of New York, 213 Loves of Jean Ney, 253 Last Laugh , 283 Light Rhythms, 283 Finis Terrae, xxxi Favourites of the Tsar, 75 Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse , 187 , 207 Four Sons, 189, 192 From Manger to Cross , 194 Fear, 213 Fox Movietone Follies, 230 Faust, 46 , 248, 254, 255 , 256-8 Fall of the Dynasty of the Romanovs, 334, 338 M Mangy Dog , 127 Monsieur Beaucaire, 180 Moscow Laughs and Weeps, 185 Metropolis, 190, 269, 275 Manhattan Knights, 199 Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu, 206 Man Who Laughs, 253 Mabuse ( see D) Marquis D'Eon, 272 Mother, 289, 334, 338 Great Gabbo, 29 Great Train Robbery, 119 Gösta Berling, 129 General Crack , 205 Gamblers, 212 Golem , 219 General Line, 338 N Noah's Ark, 16 , 194 , 204 Napoleon, 77, 95 Napoleon and the Hundred Days, 241 Nibelungs, 254, 256 9th of January, 334 H Hamlet, 15 Humanity, 43 Heroism of the Polish Scout, 70 Hercules Armstrong, 78-9 Her Wild Oats, 128 Hawk of the Hills, 167 High Treason , 190 , 325 He Who Gets Slapped , 209 Holy ( or Sacred ) Mountain , 269 His Excellency, 334 Harbour of Death , 338 Hit the Deck, 359 On With the Show , 157 Old Ironsides, 174, 206 Out of the Ruins, 191 Our Increasing Purpose, 192 October, 338 I Intolerance , 51, 87, 194 , 207 In the Ranks, 53 I.N.R.I. , 194 , 255 Informer, 304, 325 Ivan the Terrible, 334 P Petrushka, 28 Pan Twardowski ( Opera) , 77 Pearl of Warsaw, 78 Potemkin , 89, 274, 282, 283, 289, 334 , 335, 338 Prince Louis Ferdinand, 254 Polikushka, 332 Palace and Fortress, 334 Q Queen Elizabeth , 43 Quo Vadis, 52-3, 207 J Judith of Bethulia, 52 Jane Shore, 53 Jazz Civilisation , 62, 170 J'Accuse, 91 , 187 Jazz Singer, 230 Juno and The Paycock , 304, 325 Joan of Arc, 317 R Russian comedies, 61 Resurrection, 77 INDEXES 403 Ten Commandments, 194 Thunderbolt, 203 Three Bad Men , 283 Tusalava , 283 Throw of the Dice , 304 Turk Sib, 335 , 361, 303 U Universal Pictures , 63, 88 Under the Southern Cross, 185 Under the Greenwood Tree, 304 Union of a Great House, 334 V Vitagraph , 43 Verdun, 95 , 189 Vaudeville, 129, 225 , 281 Valley of the Giants, 168 Variety, 225 Von Unruh, Fritz, 241 Volga Volga, 274 W Western , 52, 62-3 , 91 , 97-8, 166 , 303 Way Down East , 76, 87 War, 105, 173, 187, 303 What Price Glory , 133, 174 , 187-8 , 189 Wake Up and Dream , 156 Wings, 189, 191 , 201 Ware Case , 212 White Cargo, 230 Weavers, 240, 274 Waxworks, 253 Woman of Paris, 283 Wings of a Slave, 334 Y Red Glove, 79 Ringer, 196 . Romance of the Underworld , 199 Rhine, 254 Red Ten est, 274 Red Roses, 304 Rookery Nook , 324 Red Hell, 325 Rio Rita, 359 8 Sign of the Cross, 53 Shot, The, 76 Stenka Razin, 88 Son of the Sheik, 89 Sex, 105 , 173, 303 7th Heaven, 191 Shepherd of the Hills, 194 Sweeny Tod , 197 Sinister Man, 197 Sea Beast, 200 Secret Lie, 200 Smashing Through , 201 Sons of the Sea, 206 Somehow Good , 209 Sailors' Wives, 213 Stella Dallas, 225 Speak - Easy, 230 Student of Prague, 253 Siegfried, Part I., 254 Secrets of Nature, 278, 304 Storm Over Asia, 289, 338 Shiraz , 304 Splinters , 324 Steven Khalturm , 334 Shanghai Document, 335 , 338 Sixth Part of the World , 338 Street Girl, 359 Ypres, 304 . T Tsarism and Its Slaves, 75 Two Orphans, 76 Taming of the Shrew, 88 Zeebrugge, 304


PAGE xiii xiv THE STRUCTURAL BASES OF THE BOOK (a) Origin of the book ( 0) Aim of the book ( c) Method ; Architectural 1. Concept 2. Plan 3. Site 4. Foundation 5. Building Material 6. Structure 7. Manner 8. General Characteristics 9. Limitations 10. Difficulties 11. Definitions 12. Note to the First Edition xxiv XXV XXV XXV xxvi xxvi xxvii xxviii xxviii xxix XXX XXXIV XXXIV PART 1 THE CONCEPT : PROBLEM CHAP. I THE PROBLEM . WHY THE NEW SPIRIT ? 3 13 17 18 23 25 II THE HISTORY OF THE MACHINE ( a) Where it begins ( 6) Sources of confusion of historical data (C) Confusion of Illusion of Movement ( d) The three - fold function of the Cinema 1. Actuality . 2. Phantasy. 3. Fantasy. III THE PERSONAL EQUATION ( a) How I approached the Cinema ( 0) My Æsthetic approach ( c) My Theatrical approach ( d ) My Sociological approach ( e) My Wartime experiences. Studying the re actions of the folk V 33 33 34 37 38 44 80029 vi CONTENTS TABLE CHAF. PAGE 49 54 ( f ) England and France 1914-19 (0) The Art of the Cinema in Paris in 1916-1917 ( h) After the War. 1919-1928 - ( i) I face death in the Cinema (j) Poland ( k) Baltic States ( 1) Hungary ( m) Austria (n) Czechoslovakia (0) France ( p) Italy ( 9) Spain 80 83 85 89 96 96 PART II BUILDING HOLLYWOOD IV THE FABLE. THE PALACE OF GOLD AND ITS WINGS OF LEAD 101 106 106 111 116 117 124 142 150 152 155 160 V THE ACTUALITY (a) The Plan ( 6) The Site ( C) The Builders ( d) Foundations ( e) The Materials : Natural, Vital, Human ( f ) The Structure and Organisation (9) Production and Distribution ( h) Consumption : The Universal Appetite 1. International. 2. Architectural : The Chains of Golden Cinemas. ( i) Content 1. Intentional. Sensation and Box Office Entertainment. Reflects the policy, principles and opinions of life in America seen through the eyes of the Film Kings. Involves the wholesale buying of current events and moods, and selling them at a big profit. Main division : American Economic Civilisation 2. Unintentional : Sociological Values - ( a) American Civilisation 1. The Primitive Far West 2. The Transitional Far West. 3. The Present-day Far West. ( 0) American Jazz Civilisation 160 164 164 160 169 CONTENTS TABLE vii CHAP . PAGE 171 172 Present -day Society . ( a) Economic : Crime. ( 0) Social : Sex. (c) American Comedy : The true laughter of America . ( d) European and English Post -War Civilisations Propaganda . Advertisement. Selling. Patriotism . Nationalism . War . Sex. Crime. Intense sensationalism has had the effect of leading producers to put, unin tentionally, scientific values into pictures. Hence unintentional con tributions to warology , sexology and crimino logy and religion ( e) The Evil That They Do ( a) History without an histori cal background ( 0) Medicine according to Holly 175 204 204 wood 208 PART III THE REVOLUTION 217 217 220 224 227 230 VI THE TALKING PICTURE (a) Summary ( 0) Why a Revolution ? ( c) What is the cause ? ( d) What is it like? ( e) What is the effect ? The sudden change of the whole field of the Cinema Industry ; of policy, principles and methods. Changes considered. New problems. New tools to resolve them. New American strategy to control the world market. Advance on the largest scale headed by the Western Electric. The lingual problem . Beginning of the Cinema Armageddon . viii CONTENTS TABLE CHAP . PAGE PART IV THE WINGS OF LEAD OF HOLLYWOOD BEFORE AND AFTER THE TALKIE “ REVOLUTION " VII THE DESCENT: THE GERMAN WING OF HOLLY 237 WOOD 1. 1919-1925. Putting the Soul of Germany in pictures. Union of Commerce and Art 2. 1926-1928 . A Wing of Hollywood - 3. 1929-30 . Talkie . See Appendix 4. 247 266 277 277 278 VIII THE CASTLE IN THE AIR : THE ÆSTHETIC WING OF HOLLYWOOD, OR THE ART OF THE CINEMA ( a) The Anti-censorship Crusade ( 0 ) Why a Wing of Hollywood ? (c) All sorts and conditions of people combine strength ( d) The Englisħ combination of Right, Centre, and Left forces 1. TheHouse of Silent Shadow ." 2. The Film Society . 3. The Close Up coterie . 4. The I.L.P. Masses Group. 5. The Communist Front. ( e) The Aims of the Forces 284 285 292 293 293 IX THE RIDDLE : THE ENGLISH WING OF HOLLY WOOD , AND THE CONJURING TRICK ( a) The Quota ( 6) The effect. The building of the English Picture Industry in two stages - 1. The Quota Stage (a) Concept ( 6 ) Policy ( c) Motive ( d) Organisation ( e) Consumption 1. Monopoly : Buying up Cine mas. Adapting old theatres to new requirements. Build ing Cinemas 2. Architecture : Problem of, 3. Cinema Finance ( a) Booming the Quota . ( 0 ) Gambling on the Quota. 4. War : The American attack 2. The Talkie : Advance or Retreat ? 301 301 301 301 301 301 305 306 308 313 317 319 CONTENTS TABLE ix CHAP . PAGE X THE SOLUTION . THE RUSSIAN WING OF HOLLY WOOD : THE AFFIRMATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT ( a) History ( 0) Production (c) Studios ( d) Distribution, Exchange, Consumption ( e) The Talkie 328 330 337 338 339 340 PART v FULFILMENT : THE CINEMA OF ASPIRATION 345 349 350 352 353 355 355 XI ORGANISATION OF THE NEW SPIRIT ( a) What We Have Got : Mechanical Power. The Cinema City of Commerce - ( 6) The American Machine and the Mechanical Peril ( c) England's Re-organisation Proposals 1. The Museum Idea 2. Amalgamations and Leagues 3. Dictatorship Idea 4. Putting the Spirit of the Nation in Pic tures Idea 5. The Multi- Lingual Plan 6. Quota Revision - ( d) What We Want : Subject -Power : The Cinema as the Cathedral of Humanity - 1. What it is : a new principle of power . 2. Its practical use . 3. Means of organising its use - ( a) House of Vision, or House of Power ( 6 ) Surveyors, architects, builders ( c) Unity of Theatre and Cinema - ( d) The New Civic Centre : the Theatre- Cinema as an organic part of the people 357 360 360 361 364 364 365 365 366 X CONTENTS TABLE CHAP. PAGE PART VI 371 374 376 379 APPENDICES 1. Bibliography 2. Cinema activities of the five English leading men of letters . Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and Sir James Barrie. The meaning 3. The Cinema as Art Form . Answers to questions addressed to Bernard Shaw and John Galsworthy 4. Supplementary Material A. Recent Developments and Figures. 1. German . The U.F.A. Talkie (Ufatone) B. Conditions of Cinema Industries . Pictures produced 1. Sweden 2. Switzerland 3. England ( a) Instructional Films ” activities. ( 0) The Bolshevist invasion of England and growth of pro -Bolshevist organisations and activities 379 381 381 386 386 387 C. Unusual Cinemas and Pictures - 387 1. English . ( a ) Avenue Pavilion , “ House of Silent Shadow " ( 6) The Film Society, London 5. Acknowledgments 387 392 393 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ESCAPE Frontispiece FACING PAGE 28 > 36 THE ROSE OF PU - CHUI INGEBORG HOLM HERR ARNE'S HOARD THE ATONEMENT OF GÖSTA BERLING "” . 44 60 FINIS TERRAE 76 MALDONE AN ITALIAN STRAW HAT” . THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER” . 1888888 84 EN RADE SKY HIGH FOX MOVIETONE STUDIO , HOLLYWOOD MR. BERNARD SHAW ON THE MOVIETONE - 92 140 156 174 188 THE SINGING FOOL BILLIE DOVE 204 LUCKY LARKIN 220 > 228 PARIS DISRAELI THE CABINET OF DOCTOR CALIGARI ” CINDERELLA ” 232 244 252 268 1 ) THE HOLY MOUNTAIN A PRESENT- DAY DU BARRY STENKA RAZIN 270 276 300 - THE BLUE ANGEL xi xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS FACING PAGE THE THROW OF THE DICE 304 INTERIOR OF THE REGAL CINEMA, LONDON DETY BOORY POTEMKIN 308 332 336 338 340 ΡΟΤΕΜΚΙΝ >> MOTHER THE FRAGMENT OF AN EMPIRE 348 TURK SIB 364


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