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The British Film Industry (DAPS 6 and 7)
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The British Film Industry (DAPS 6 and 7)

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  • 1. British Cinema
  • 2. History The Mystery that started it all… • The first single lens motion picture camera was patented in Leeds, by French-born Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince in 1888 • The first films were made on a sensitised paper roll a little over 2 inches wide • Prince started commercial development of his motion picture camera in early 1890 with an updated version • He arranged for a demonstration to M. Mobisson, the Secretary of the Paris OperaLous Aime Augustin LePrince
  • 3. History The Mystery that started it all…• On September 16 1890, Prince boarded a train at Dijon bound for Paris with his motion picture camera and films• He never arrived in Paris. No trace of Prince or his motion picture camera were ever found. The mystery was never solved…• However, the first moving pictures developed on celluloid film were made in Hyde Park in 1889 by William Friese Greene, a British inventor, who patented the process William Friese Greene in 1890
  • 4. History• In 1895, a pair of Greek showmen, George Georgiades and his partner George Tragides, were at the centre of a row with the already powerful American Edison company• The pair originally purchased six Kinetoscopes from Edison, forming the American Kinetoscope Company and opened Kinetoscopes at several locations in London, amongst them The Strand and Old Broad Street• They wanted to expand but machinery was rare and expensive• The Greek pair decided to make their own version with the help of R. W. Paul who owned an optical instrument works• Edison did not have a patented for his Kinetoscope in the UK…
  • 5. History• Once the pirate Kinetoscopes were made, Edison refused to sell films for Paul‟s machines, so Paul approached Birt Acres to help construct a camera to shoot their own films• They obtained film from the American Celluloid Co. of Newark, N.J. and started filming their own with American born cinema pioneer Birt Acres as the cameraman• Over the next few years, William Friese-Green, undertook extensive research and advanced the creation of British cameras• Unfortunately his technology was not successfully incorporated into any practical application• Friese-Greens most bitter opponent was ex-hypnotist, mind reader and showman George Albert Smith
  • 6. History • Smith is thought by many to be the real driving force behind the early cinema industry • In 1892, Smith acquired the lease to St Anns Well Garden in Hove, Brighton and turned it into a pleasure garden • The garden became his „film factory and is the scene of many early films • In 1897 Smith turned the gardens pump house into a space for developing and printing and in the grounds, probably in 1899, he built a glasshouse film studio.George Albert Smith
  • 7. History• By 1909, Pathe and Gaumont began flooding the British market with films and the UK fell rapidly behind• World War I brought the UK film industry almost to a halt• Immediately after the war, though efforts were made to resume production and pick up the industry, films remained very live theatre oriented, filming a play exactly as it had been performed on stage and with the same actors and sets• At the same, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton were creating fantastic and innovative slapstick comedy shorts• The British public wanted to see American Buster Keaton films, and by 1918, there was no money left for home production
  • 8. History• Between the early 1900s and the Cinematographer‟s Trade Act of 1924, many of the films coming to Britain were foreign and towards the end of this era, American• Large American companies (those that would go on become MGM, Paramount, Fox and Warner Bros) had cornered the distribution market• Obviously, they looked after their own interests and distributed American products• British films were poorly funded (by the Government and banks) and poorly distributed• A downward spiral commenced whereby the British film industry was slowly drowning under foreign monopolisation, lack of self confidence, poor distribution and an unquenchable thirst by the public for American films
  • 9. History • British production finally stopped in 1924 • In 1927, parliment passed the Cinematographers Trade Bill, designed to ensure there was a guaranteed home market for British made films • It limited the number of movies coming from other countries to give home studios a chance • The result was more British movies, but poor quality was a major issue • By this time in America, DW GriffithD.W. Griffith had already created huge spectacles such as Birth of a Nation and Intolerance
  • 10. History J. Arthur Rank • In 1933, J. Arthur Rank, who had started by making religious films in order to spread the word of the gospel, founded British National • In 1935, he went into partnership with C.M.Woolf to take over Pinewood Studios, 20 miles west of London and found the Rank Organisation • When some early films that he was involved with didnt get a very good circulation he realised that control of the movie theatres was the key to success • He went into partnership with a gent called Oscar Deutsch who was building aJ. Arthur Rank chain of cinemas • The two established the ODEON (Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation) cinema chain
  • 11. History• As well as Rank‟s British National studios, other studios began to emerge• These included:• London Films - reputedly, the finest studios in the world at Denham• British International Studios - which trained many of this periods notable directors, writers and cameramen
  • 12. History• In 1936 the British film industry had over produced, making 220 pictures• The result were poorly made, rushed films that were not worth watching and that nobody wanted to watch• But by 1937, the boom turned into a slump• This opened the door to the American industry, and American companies soon started buying bankrupt British Production companies so they would qualify under the home market quota• During WWII, production slowed from 200 films a year to around 60 as much the workforce were called up to the forces and half the studio space was requisitioned for military purposes
  • 13. History• During the war, documentary films became popular, as much war time news was shown in cinemas• After WWII, the Rank Organization became the dominant force in the industry• The shift was to make British films more acceptable to the audiences outside of the UK• In addition, television caused such a tremendous decline in attendance that British film theatres were closing in record numbers• Even though there were a few bright spots over the next few decades like the Hammer Horror Films, British production faced some bleak times
  • 14. A British Success Story?• In 1913 Enrique Carreras bought his first cinema in Hammersmith, London, gradually expanding his company into a chain.• By 1934 he was seeking ways to gain develop his involvement in the cinema industry and went into partnership with William Hinds, the owner of a jewellery shop group (who had also appeared in amateur variety shows under the stage name of Will Hammer).• Hinds formed Hammer Productions in November 1934, but together with Carreras they also formed a separate film distribution company, Exclusive Films Ltd., in 1935 although the two companies were considerably intertwined in the industry.
  • 15. A British Success Story?• Before the second world war Hammer Productions made several films, of which the most ambitious was The Mystery of the Marie Celeste, filmed in the summer of 1935• Then production ground to a halt and by 1939 it was no longer considered to be an active British film production company• With a growing demand for British-produced supporting movies after the second world war, Hammer was re-formed in 1947 as a production subsidiary of Exclusive• It was business as usual for Hammer as the 1950s opened, with Exclusive/Hammer producing a steady supply of support drama and documentaries, largely inspired by the needs of the groups chain of cinemas
  • 16. A British Success Story?• When Hammer began to co-produce its films with the US producer Robert Lippert in 1951, though, it enabled the company to develop its North American market, and cast US stars• 20th Century-Fox bought Lippert in 1955, the same year seeing release of the immensely successful The Quatermass Xperiment, re-titled The Creeping Unknown for the US.• This in part led to a decision to move into horror films, bringing new twists to Dracula and Frankestein, characters brought to cinemagoers just before the war by Universal.
  • 17. A British Success Story?• With the global success of Hammer Horror, the major Hollywood studios began to court Hammer, seeking distribution and production deals• As the decade commenced, the companys ongoing deals with Universal and Columbia were keeping Bray Studios busy• The move towards American distributors eventually led to the winding-down of Exclusive, which was finally liquidated in 1968• in 1971, but the British film industry was already beginning to suffer financially as the arrival of colour television contributed to a sharp decline in box office revenues
  • 18. A British Success Story?• Hammer was far from booming in 1971, despite what its prolific output might suggest• After more than a decade reaping the rewards of the worlds appetite for gothic horror, the companys formula was becoming tired• The company began to seek novel ways to spice up its output such as Sit-Coms and TV programmes like the thirteen-episode compilation series The World of Hammer• In 2000, Chairman Roy Skeggs, who had been with the company since the 1960s, resigned and handed the business over to a private investment consortium which included advertising guru Charles Saatchi
  • 19. A British Success Story?• Over the next few years the company set about a new slate of proposed co-productions, and the first steps towards realising the potential of the Hammer brand in licensed merchandising• In ealry 2007 the company changed hands again, this time to a European consortium, headed by Dutch based Cyrte Investments BV.• Backed by a $50million investment Hammer soon announced its return with Beyond The Rave, a co-production with MySpace, unleashed via the internet in April 2008.
  • 20. A British Success Story?• This was swiftly followed up with the announcement of Hammers first films for over 30 years - The Resident (co- starring veteran Hammer actor Christopher Lee) and a remake of Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In• Then, in 2012 they released this beauty:
  • 21. Issues that affected the British film industry • Influx of film from Pathe and Gaumont • Poor distribution of British films • Lack of investment from British banks • Low self-esteem on behalf of British producers / directors • WWI • Competition for America • British people only wanted to watch America productions • WWII – only 60 films made… • The introduction of television– cinemas closing at a record rate
  • 22. What is a British FilmNeeds to have three of the following:• British Director• British Producer• A Predominantly British Cast• A British Production Company• A Subject Matter That Informs on the British Experience• British Identity Defined by the BFI in „Sight and Sound‟• The BFI Cultural Test• TASK: Find an example of a British Film and explain why it is British
  • 23. British Production Companies• London Films• Rank• Momentum• Film four• Pathe• Working Title• Hammer
  • 24. Funding• Film Four• UK Film Council• Lottery• Arts Council England• Tate Media• BBC• The Film Fund (BFI)
  • 25. Tax Relief• For films with a total core expenditure of £20 million or less, the film production company can claim payable cash rebate of up to 25% of UK qualifying film production expenditure• For films with a core expenditure of more than £20 million, the film production company can claim a payable cash rebate of up to 20% of UK qualifying film production expenditure• Tax relief is available for British qualifying films. Films must either pass the Cultural Test or qualify as an official co- production• Films must be intended for theatrical release