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Copy of Film History

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A Wainman

on 13 April 2012

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Transcript of Copy of Film History

Early British Cinema The Cinematograph Films Act 1927 was passed in order to boost local production, requiring that cinemas show a certain percentage of British films. The act was technically a success, with audiences for British films becoming larger than the quota required. But it had the effect of creating a market for 'quota quickies': poor quality, low cost films, made in order to satisfy the quota. Some critics have blamed the quickies for holding back the development of the industry. However, many British film-makers learnt their craft making these films, including Michael Powell and Alfred Hitchcock. Political/Economic factors Sound was introduced with Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) being regarded as the first British sound feature.
In 1930, the first all-colour all-talking British feature, Harmony Heaven was released Documentary Film Movement The 1930s saw the emergence of a new school of realist documentary films: The Documentary Film Movement. It was Grierson who coined the term "documentary" to describe a non-fiction film, and he produced the movement's most celebrated film of the 1930s, Night Mail (1936), written and directed by Basil Wright and Harry Watt, and incorporating the poem by W. H. Auden. Other key figures in this movement were Humphrey Jennings, Paul Rotha and Alberto Cavalcanti. Many of them would go on to produce important films during World War II.

The movement had a political backdrop, as their intention was to make films about 'real' people, in 'real' locations not purely focus on lavish, productions that represented a certain section of society speaking in RP Technical Innovations Cultural Factors Comedy Music Hall, popular mainstream entertainment during this period, influenced film. Many popular artists at this time made the transition into film and became important for morale reasons during the war years (Gracie fields) Significant Production Comapanies & Directors and films The Rank Organisation Blackmail 1929 (Hitchcock)
The Night Mail 1936 (John Grierson)
Dracula 1931
Frankenstein 1931
The Man Who Could Work Miracles
The Scarlet Pimpernel 1934
Brief Encounter 1945
Ealing Studios Ealing Studios taken over in '58 for TV production 1950s Horror Films Less restrictive censorship towards end of 1950s, encouraged B-movie producer Hammer Films to embark on their series of influential and wildly successful horror films that was to span almost 2 decades Significant Production Companies & Films of the era Quatermass Experiement 1955
The Cruel Sea 1953
The Dam Busters 1954
St Trinians
Doctor in The House 1954 Rank Organisation
Hammer Films
Amicus Production
Tigon British
Ealing Studios By the 1950s british cinema began to retreat from the prestige productions that had made it popular worldwide and began to focus on popular domestic comedies. The war films were often based on true stories (Dam Busters) and made in similar low key style to their wartime predecessors London Films - Alexander Korda By the end of the 1930s boom had turned to bust with British Producers over producing low quality films and the giants of Hollywood moved in and took over many of the studios in existence British Board of Film Censors Created 1912. primarily to keep the foreign imports 'genteel', or rather, to be able to control their numbers on the pretext of unsuitability. Home grown productions had an easier time passing the censors. It was now that the certificates U, for universal and A, for Adult were introduced. The War Years The constraints of WW11 surprisingly injected a new energy into British filmmaking. A new spirit of austerity and strenuous work led to the abandonment of the extravagance of the previous decade.
With many of the employees being engaged in war work, available manpower was reduced to one third and half of the studio space was requisitioned, only sixty films were produced annually. New realism in wartime pictures and a demand for documentaries gave a whole new look to British films. Initially, many cinemas closed down for fear of air raids, but the public needed a way of escaping the reality of war, and turned to the more genteel, sanitized versions available in the cinema. The majority were war related.
The Red Shoes - Powell & Pressburg (1948)
Brief Encounter - David Lean (1945)
The Third Man - Carol Reed (1949)
Whisky Galore (1948)
Kind Hearts & Coronets (1949) British New Wave The term British New Wave, or "Kitchen Sink Realism", is used to describe a group of commercial feature films made between 1955 and 1963 which portrayed a more gritty form of social realism than had been seen in British cinema previously. The British New Wave feature films are often associated with a new openness about working class life (e.g. A Taste of Honey, 1961), and previously taboo issues such as abortion and homosexuality (e.g. The Leather Boys, 1964).

http://www.britishfilm.org.uk/article.php?art=history&page=5 Technically this spans the 50s and 60s 1960s In the 1960s British studios began to enjoy major success in the international market with a string of films that displayed a more liberated attitude to sex, capitalising on the "swinging London" image propagated by Time magazine. Films like Darling, Alfie, Georgy Girl, and The Knack …and How to Get It all explored this phenomenon, while Blowup, Repulsion and later Women in Love, broke taboos around the portrayal of sex and nudity on screen. The phenomenally successful James Bond films of this period (Dr No 1962, From Russia with Love '63, Goldfinger '64) sparked a spy film boom and a co-producer of the Bond films created a series of more realistic spy films based on the novels of Len Deighton (Ipcress Files etc). Spy film boom Several overseas directors were attracted to the UK at this time; Roman Polanski, Michaelangelo Antonioni and Truffaut along with several American directors who worked here; Kubrick (eventually settling permanently) and the blacklisted Joseph Losey who became quite influential in the industry (particularly with his collaborations with playwright Harold Pinter and leading man Dirk Bogarde, including The Servant (1963) and Accident (1967)). Richard Lester another émigré had huge success with the Beatles’ film Hard Day’s Night 1964 and ‘Help’ 1965 along with ‘The Knack…. And how to Get It’ (1965) 2001- A Space Odyssey The special effects team assembled to work on Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey would add significantly to the British industry's importance in this field over the following decades. The success of films as diverse as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Tom Jones (1963), Zulu (1964) and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965) encouraged American studios to invest significantly in British film production. Major films like Becket (1964), A Man for All Seasons (1966)and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) were regularly mounted, while smaller-scale films including Billy Liar (1963), Accident (1967) and Women in Love (1969) were big critical successes. Four of the decade's Academy Award winners for best picture were British productions, including six Oscars for the film musical Oliver! (1968), based on the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Towards the end of the decade social realism was beginning to make its way back into British films again. Influenced by his work on the Wednesday Play on British television, Ken Loach directed the realistic dramas Poor Cow and Kes. Horror Genre The sub genre of psychological horror emerges in the 60s. The horror-of -personality, steeped in Freudian pyschology and repressed sexual desires Social Realism resurfaces Influx of American Studios Overseas Directors 1970s Recession hits! With the film industry in both the US and the UK entering into recession, many US production companies withdrew funding from British films altogether. Large scale productions were still being mounted but they were more sporadic and sometimes old-fashioned compared with the competition from America. The entry of Lew Grade's company ITC into film production in the latter half of the decade brought only a few box office successes and an unsustainable number of failures. British Horror boom ends! The horror boom came to an end by the mid 70s, with Hammer and Amicus leaving the genre altogether in the face of competition form the US. Visceral horror such as 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' made british horror look tame. Some attempts were made to revive the industry but this made little impact at the box office. TV has an Impact Some production companies turned to television as inspiration for major productions, with feature films of popular sitcoms being made such as 'Steptoe and Sons' and 'On the Buses'. Eady Levy -established 1957 Tax on box office receipts (75% on takings of foreign films). Which really was intended to hit the popular US imports and therefore indirectly support the indigenous Film Industry. However the Americans found a loophole in the law, which meant that by including some British actors and production workers they could gain huge financial concessions The 1970s saw the British Board of Film Censors raise the minimum age of X rated films to 18, in the hope of being able to pass the majority of films submitted to the BBFC. A minor glut of low budget British sex comedies and softcore porn surfaced during this period. Mary Millingotn's 'Come Play with Me' and the 'Confessions Of...' series of films starring Robin Askwith typified this period.

Several controversial films emerged including Ken Russell's The Devils (1970), Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971), Quadrophenia (1979), and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). Late 70s Sees a revival of the James Bond Series (although 'Moonraker' did break with tradition and film in France to take advantage of tax incentives. Some American productions returned to the UK including 'Star Wars' at Elstree Studios Loosening of Censorship Rules 1980s Renaissance & Recession Although major US productions were filmed in the UK during the 80s, the decade began with the worst recession the British Film Industry has ever seen. In 1980 only 31 British films were made, down 50% on the previous year and the lowest output since 1914. The following year it went down again to 24! Production Drops massively Light at the end of the tunnel! Once again during difficult times we see a renewed optimism led by companies such as Channel 4, Handmade Films, Working Title Films, Goldcrest (led by David Putnam) and Merchant Ivory Productions Under Puttnam a generation of British directors emerged making popular films with International distribution, including: Bill Forsyth's 'Local Hero' 1983, Hugh Hudson 'Chariots of Fire' 1981 & Roland Joffe's 'The Killing Fields' 1984
When Chariots of Fire won 4 academy awards in 1982, it's writer declared " the British are coming" On to bigger things... When Ghandi(Goldcrest) won best picture in 1983 - this prompted a cycle of bigger budget period films including David Lean's 'A Passage To India' sadly as with all the other successes in british film.. this wasn't set to last. Further attempts at big budget productions were unsuccessful in the US and Goldcrest lost independence and much of the new talent around in Britian in the early 80s moved to US British talent deserts to the U.S.! Development of new Talent A number of new talents emerged during this period with Stephen Frears 'My Beautiful Laundrette' 1985 and Mike Newall 'Dance With A Stranger' Economics.. Following the final winding up of the Rank Organisation, a series of company consolidations in British cinema distribution meant that it became ever harder for British productions. Another blow was the elimination of the Eady tax concession by the Conservative Government in 1984. The concession had made it possible for a foreign film company to write off a large amount of its production costs by filming in the UK — this was what attracted a succession of blockbuster productions to British studios in the 1970s. With Eady gone many studios closed or focused on television work. 1984 -Eady tax concession removed 1990s Film production inthe UK hit one of it's lows in 1989. While cinema audiences were actually climbing during this period, few British films were enjoying commercial success Some exceptions were Merchant Ivory Productions 'Howard's End' 1992 and 'The Remains of the Day' 1993, 'Shadowlands' '93. Neil Jordan's 'Crying Game' '92 was ignored on initial release in the UK but had success in the where it was picked up by US distributor 'Miramax' . Some distinct british genres once again began to find favour with home grown and international audiences... British Costume Dramas Sense and Sensibility '95
Restoration '95
Emma '96
Mrs Brown '97
Shakespeare in Love '98
Several of these were funded by Miramax (an Independent American Distribution & Production company*), who also took over Anthony Minghella's the 'English Patient' '96, which ran into production difficulties during filming. The success of this brought further prestige to british filmmakers. The Rise of The Rom-Com Richard Curtis had a surprise success with 'Four Weddings... '94, grossing $244 million worldwide. This spawned a series of successful British romantic comedies:
Sliding Doors '98
Notting Hill '99
Regional British Comedy The new appetite for British comedy led to the popular films such as 'Brassed Off' 1996 and 'The Full Monty' 1997 - the latter breaking box office records produced for under $4 million and grossing $257 million internationally. The success of this encouraged studios to look for other low budget productions capable of similar returns Public funding of British films through lottery grants gave a 'leg up' to the British film industry and a production boom occured in the late '90s only a few of these found commercial success and many went unreleased, these included several gangster films trying to emulate the success of Guy Ritchie It should be noted however that genre is still only part of the story. The Full Monty was backed by 20th Century Fox and therefore heavily promoted. Likewise ' East is East', another highly successful film in the 90s was subject to a very expensive marketing campaign by Film Four. ‘Brassed Off’, a film similar in plot and aesthetic to ‘The Full Monty’ did not receive strong U.S backing or well-funded British promotion and was financially unsuccessful. Its not just about GENRE or capturing the mood of a nation! British Cinema since 2000 It introduced a requirement for British cinemas to show a quota of British films, for a duration of 10 years. The Act's supporters believed that this would promote the emergence of a vertically-integrated film industry, in which production, distribution and exhibition infrastructure are controlled by the same companies. The vertically-integrated American film industry saw rapid growth in the years immediately following the end of the First World War. The idea, therefore, was to try and counter Hollywood's perceived economic and cultural dominance by promoting similar business practices among British studios, distributors and cinema chains. By creating an artificial market for British films, it was hoped that the increased economic activity in the production sector would eventually lead to the growth of a self-sustaining industry. The quota was initially set at 7.5% for exhibitors, which was raised to 20% in 1935.

Details of Cinematograph Film Act 1927 The new century has so far been a relatively successful one for the British film industry. Many British films have found a wide international audience, and some of the independent production companies, such as Working Title, have secured financing and distribution deals with major American studios. Prestige Films all backed by U.S. Gosford Park 2001
Pride & Prejudice 2005
The Constant Gardener 2005
The Queen 2006
Last King of Scotland 2006
The new Government in 1997 took an early interest in the state of the film industry. In the Finance Act 1997 it permitted a hundred per cent tax write-off in the first year for films with budgets of less than £15m, which was intended to help independent filmmakers. In 2000, The UK Film Council was launched, as a non-departmental public body, absorbing a number of public and semi-public bodies involved in supporting the film industry.
Source: Parliamentary Publication 'The British Film & TV Industry Communications Committee 2010
But in February 2004, the Inland Revenue announced that it was closing a loophole in the tax relief arrangements to prevent tax avoidance schemes. These schemes used the provisions in the Finance Act to encourage the investment of lump sums in the certainty of reducing tax liabilities, regardless of whether the film made a profit. The closing of this and other loopholes in 2004 caused the immediate collapse of a number of film projects in production or pre-production at the time, and the resulting uncertainty contributed to a downturn in film production, with employment dropping by 33 per cent between 2003 and 2008.
To end the uncertainty, the Government conducted an urgent review of film tax relief and, in 2006, announced the introduction of a new film tax credit, discussed in Chapter 2, to replace the Finance Act 1997 provisions. In the financial year 2007/08, tax relief granted was worth about £105m, which was about 40 per cent of public funding for film in that year.
New Film Tax Credit The British film industry is production led - the 5th largest in the world by expenditure. In 2008 111 films were made in the UK; 25 of which were inward investment feature films, 66 domestic productions and 20 co-productions Types of Film Productions Films can be divided as follws:
Domestic productions
Inward productions While only a relatively small percentage of British films are inward productions by contrast the revenue they generate for the film industry in Britain is vast by comparision with the domestic market. In 2006 INWARD PRODUCTIONS accounted for 69% of production spend in the UK Importance of U.S. finance US films begin to return Interview with a Vampire '94
Mission Impossible '96
Saving Private Ryan '98
Star Wars - The Phantom Menace '98 Mike Leigh Mike Leigh emerged as a significant director in the 1990s with a series of films about working and middle class life: Life IS Sweet '91, Naked '93 Secrets and Lies '96 (winner of the Palm D'Or Significant Directors John Hodge, Danny Boyle & Andrew MAcDonald, Lynne Ramsay British companies have struggled to make an impact in international film distribution. The distribution sector has always been dominated by the American multi-national film companies. This is a serious issue for the British industry, in that much of the profit earned on films goes to American companies which have part-financed and distributed them. John Woodward, CEO of the UK Film Council, said that the biggest problem of the British film distribution sector was that it lacked scale. "By and large … we are talking about a relatively small number of pretty small companies. What we do not have in the UK is anything approaching the scale of the Hollywood studio, which has the ability … to select the film, finance it, get it made and then distribute it in all markets" Film Distribution/Exhibition in the UK Films are distributed and consumed in a variety of ways—cinema release, retail sales of DVDs, rental of DVDs, films on television and video on demand. The first revenue from a film comes from cinema presentation, but this accounts for only 23 per cent of the total. Cinema revenues grew significantly in the late 1990s, but have levelled out since then. Distribution is dominated by the UK-based subsidiaries of the American studios. In 2008, the six American-owned companies between them had 78 per cent of the market, and the top ten distributors had 95 per cent. The largest UK-owned distributor is Entertainment, which in 2008 had eight per cent of the market, with gross box office receipts of £76m. Few if any films make a profit from cinema revenues alone. Instead they rely on the remaining sources, or "tail" revenues, including merchandising, for real returns. This is one of the reasons why audiovisual piracy, is such a major issue for the industry. The biggest single revenue source in the British filmed entertainment market is retail sales of DVDs. Revenue from DVDs peaked in 2004, but they were still the most important revenue source for the industry, accounting for 38 per cent of the filmed entertainment market in 2008. Revenues from showing films on television were the second largest contributor, showing slight growth in 2008. The Video on Demand market remains relatively undeveloped in the UK and makes only a small contribution to total revenues, but this is likely to grow.
The exhibition sector is similarly dominated by a few large companies, though in this case they are not American-owned. In 2008, there were 3,610 screens (96 more than in 2007) in 726 cinemas in the UK. In 2008, 61 per cent of screens were controlled by three companies: Odeon, Cineworld and Vue. The two largest of these are owned by private equity firms, Terra Firma (Odeon) and the Blackstone Group (Cineworld). Exhibitor revenues, which are made up of box office receipts, concessions and advertising, were just over £1bn in 2008 (three per cent higher than 2007). Although most film are still shown using the standard film print, in 2008, the UK had 310 high-end digital screens, the highest number in Europe, of which 69 were capable of screening digital 3D features. Nick Park's Aardmann Animations Revival of British Horror The UK Film Council is the Government-backed lead agency for film in the UK ensuring that the economic, cultural and educational aspects of film are effectively represented at home and abroad. (The film council was closed by the encumbant conservative coaltion in 2011) UK Film Council launched 2000 Emerging Directors Shane Meadows: Twenty four Seven, A Room for Romeo Brass, Dead Man's Shoes, Somers Town
Paul Greengrass: Bloody Sunday, United '93, Bourne Supremecy & Ultimatum
Michael Winterbottom: 24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story
Stephen Daldry: Billy Elliot
London Film Productions Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox had already established production facilities in the UK. MGM established a British subsidiary, which immediately produced successful films, including A Yank at Oxford (1938) and Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939). The Story of Rank Arthur J. Rank created the Rank organisation in 1936.
It was the first UK company that attempted to compete with the US in size and scope; buying up distributors, cinema chains and production companies. Between 1941 and 1947 it financed half of the films made in the UK. It also secured a 25% stake in Universal Films and bcked Ealing Studios.

In 1947, due to rationing and financial austerity, the UK government, taxed foreign imported films so considerably on box office takings that the US film industry refused to distribute in the UK. Rank saw an opportunity and produced a glut of high production films BUT by the time they were made the dispute was over and the UK was flooded with a backlog of US films - sealing the fate of Rank as it made substantial losses during this period The writer/director /producer team of twin brothers John and Roy Boulting produced a series of successful satires on British life and institutions; Private's Progress (1956), I'm All Right JAck (1959) and Heaven's Above (1963).

Ealing Studios finally ceased production in 1958, and the studios were taken over by the BBC for TV production British Satire Impact of New Technology During the 1950s, despite the support in place, the British film industry came under increasing competition from new technologies. Increasingly, the public turned to home entertainment, as radio listening reached its peak and television developed. By 1958, eight million households had television licences and many of the film studios were closed or sold to broadcasters British Film History - A Brief Overview Funded by Domestic finance collaboratively financed films Foreign investment of films made in the UK http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/aug/02/uk-film-production-doldrums The number of films being made in Britain has fallen to the lowest level since at least 2003, with those that are being being made on strikingly lower budgets.

The figures appear in the British Film Institute's yearbook, which in 200 pages of tables and trends tells a story that is best described as mixed.

On the consumer side, Britons watch more films across more platforms than ever before, with record receipts of £988m at the box office. But the production side is a grim picture. The number of films made was down from 87 in 2009 to 79 in 2010. Total films made in Britain, including Hollywood productions and co-productions, fell from 150 to 128 last year.

Similarly, overall production spend is down by 22% to £176m. In 2003, the median budget for a British film was £2.9m. That is down to £1.2m and appears to be falling further.

In the first half of 2011, the figures show a continued slump. There were 46 films with budgets of more than £500,000 in production: 20 domestic features, nine inward investment films, and 17 co-productions – the lowest figure since the BFI began taking records in 2003. Big studio-funded movies which began shooting in the first half of 2011 included The Dark Knight Rises, 47 Ronin, Gambit, and Tim Burton's next film Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp. Amanda Nevill, the BFI's chief executive, maintained there was still much to be cheerful about. "We have an audience appetite for film that has rarely, if ever, been bettered." But there were challenges, she said. "It is essential that there is continued investment in innovation, skills and new talent to ensure Britain's position remains competitive."

For more of this story read the link from the Guardian August 2011 below..
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