Chapter

The Film Industry in Twentieth Century Britain: Consumption Patterns, Government Regulation, and Firm Strategy

Peter Miskell

in Business in Britain in the Twentieth Century

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199226009
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191710315 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226009.003.0017
The Film Industry in Twentieth Century Britain: Consumption Patterns, Government Regulation, and Firm Strategy

Show Summary Details

Preview

Does the history of the British film industry constitute a story of decline, or of renaissance? It is certainly possible to cast it as a tale of decline. By focussing on the operation of the domestic film industry within Britain from the 1930s onwards, we can chart the emergence of powerful vertically integrated firms under dynamic (and patriotic) British entrepreneurs which, as the post-war decades progressed, reduced their commitment to film production and gradually lost control over film distribution and exhibition as well. However, judging the contemporary film industry in comparison with the 1910s and 1920s, when broadly comparable free market conditions existed, rather than the protectionist 1930s and 1940s, a slightly different picture begins to emerge. In both periods the demand for filmed entertainment within Britain was strong, and most of this demand was satisfied by imported product (much of which was distributed by foreign firms). Rather than a process of steady decline, perhaps we have seen the industry return to something like its existing form before the introduction of Government protection that supported it in its so-called heyday. Except that British film producers are now more competitive than in the pre-1927 period. Had British films been able to command the level of audience share in the 1920s that they have of late, perhaps there would have been no need for protective legislation.

Keywords: motion picture industry; Britain; history; film consumption; government regulation

Chapter.  12314 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.