The History of England

from Celts through 20th century


Category: Cinema + TV/Radio

From about 1930 until very recent times the cinema enjoyed an immense popularity in Britain, and the palatial cinemas built in the 1930s were the most impressive of the buildings to be seen in the streets of many towns. Later, the rapid spread of television brought a great change. The number of cinema-goers has dropped crucially and, as a result, 1,500 cinemas were closed. British success in cinematography became much less conspicuous. Many of the films were mostly imported from America. Some films were shot in Britain and often directed by British directors, but with American money. The British cinematography was not able to provide the cinema houses with films of its own production.

It was only during World War II and after that the British producers began to make their own films on a larger scale. In this way they voiced their protest against Britain’s dependence on American cinema tycoons. A glimpse of hope was seen in such productions as Hamlet produced by Laurence Olivier, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist by D. Lynn, and more recently, in Room at the Top, Look Back in Anger, a number of TV plays, serials and documentaries.

But still the great majority of films dominating the British screen are Hollywood production. Britain is pervaded with all sort of American-made thrillers, westerners, spy-films, horror-films, porno-films, and the like which have a pernicious influence on the British youth. The cinema monopolies are little concerned with the ill-effects of such films as long as they bring in profits. Commercial art which can be cheaply mass produced leaves little, if any, room for real art, the latter being not a profitable commodity. Such evil practices impede the young talented film writers, actors and producers in their effort to produce really good films.

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