I beg to move, in page 14, line 16, to leave out the words "by educational institutions."
The Clause excludes certain films and amongst the exclusions are "films used wholly or mainly by educational institutions for educational purposes." I am asking that the words "by educational institutions" should be deleted. I wonder what is intended by the Government when they use these words? Do they mean a film which is exhibited in a school? I am not sure how to speak of Oxford University after what we have just heard, but with regard to "educational institutions" I certainly consider these words ought not to be in the Bill. Surely if a film can be used for educational purposes it does not matter who is exhibiting it? The film dealing with scenery or travel or with what can be used for a lesson to young people or adults and can be classified as educational, certainly should not be in the Bill, no matter who exhibits it. There will be some difficulty in defining "educational institutions," and the words should come out. A film was prepared by the party opposite showing some of the Cabinet at work. I do not know whether that film, if exhibited by an educational institution, would come under this Clause. Certainly I am not prepared to say whether that would be a film for educational purposes. I ask the Government not to place limitations in this narrow way, and not to look upon this industry as something that ought to be harassed with penalties hanging over it at all times, but that they should give it some opportunity of development.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I hope that the temporary absence of the President of the Board of Trade does not mean that he has left word with the Parliamentary Secretary that he is on no account to consider accepting this Amendment. I wish the House to understand exactly what the Amendment does. At present educational films which are to be shown at schools and colleges are allowed under the Clause to count for the British quota; that is to say, they are educational films and will count for quota under certain limited conditions when shown in educational institutions. I am certain that the right hon. Gentleman, as well as ourselves, wants to see these educational films encouraged. We do not want to force them on people but we might legitimately give them the advantage of counting for quota in the ordinary picture palaces of the country. It would not mean that every picture palace would immediately start showing educational films, but it would mean that, if hard up for quota films they would fall back on an educational film, and that would tend to improve the character of the films shown. The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan), I understand, is connected with the production of educational films. They are so popular in this House that we should do all we can to assist the development of those films in order to encourage his unselfish interests in the film producing trade. I hope we may have the hon. Member's effective support of this Amendment, in view of the fact that it will give educational films a better chance of being shown to the public. Incidentally, the Amendment will assist exhibitors all over the country, because it will widen the category of films from which people can form a quota of British films.
The right hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension as to what the Amendment would achieve. The Amendment has nothing to do with the question whether or not a particular film should be counted in the quota. We had a discussion in Committee, and I there found myself in agreement with the right hon. Gentleman, that where an exhibitor showed an educational film as part of his ordinary trade, then that film should count in his quota. That is already provided for in Subsection (1), paragraph 2:
any film being a British film and a film of class (b), (d), (e), or (f)"—
it is class (d) we are discussing—
shall be registrable as if it were a film to which this Act applies.
I wish the right hon. Gentleman would read the Bill. What that paragraph does is this: If an exhibitor shows an educational film under (d), at the ordinary time of trade in his ordinary show, he can count it for quota. The Parliamentary draftsman redrafted the right 'hon. Gentleman's suggestion in order to give effect to it, and really I hope, he will take it from me that that is what the Clause does. Paragraph (i) of Sub-section (1) says that if the film has a general publicity value it can be taken into the renter's quota as well. The only thing
we are discussing here is what is the right definition of an educational film. The only sensible definition, indeed the only definition which could be interpreted with reasonable accuracy and which the trade could operate with knowledge, is that in the Clause, "films used wholly or mainly by educational institutions for educational purposes." The Amendment suggests that we should put a limitation on educational purposes. In every case then the matter would be in dispute and nobody would know where he stood.
Exactly. The right hon. Gentleman wants to include these films in the quota. Therefore he proposes a wider definition in the exclusion Clause. He is proposing exactly the opposite of what he intends. I want to prevent him from making mistakes which he does not intend to make. The Clause says that any film is a film to which the Act applies with the exception of (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) and (f). Obviously if you make it wider than that in the Bill you exclude more films from quota and include fewer. I appeal to the House to save the right hon. Gentleman from himself.
The President of the Board of Trade must refer to his Bill. It is true that the Amendment would widen the number of films which would normally escape being films to which the Act applies. It would, widen the class of films which would be allowed to count for quota under certain terms. In any event the interpretation of this Bill will rest with the right hon. Gentleman. If he means the same thing as we mean, there is no trouble about it. The right hon. Gentleman will act upon his interpretation and not upon the drafting of the Bill. If he does that, so much the better. Here is plain English and the thing is perfectly clear to me. The Clause says:
Any film being a British film and a film"—
of the character which we want to widen
shall be registrable as if it were a film to which this Act applies and shall be deemed to be a registered film for the purpose of the provisions of this Act.
Therefore, it is obvious that the more films of that character which are permitted to be registered to count for the quota, the larger will—[Interruption]. If the hon. and gallant Member for Dulwich (Sir F. Hall) had paid attention to this Bill at an earlier stage he might have acquired that art of interpreting English which is so valuable to a Member of Parliament.
We want to secure that educational films which in the right hon. Genteman's view were genuine educational films can be allowed to go into the quota. If the right hon. Gentleman will take together paragraph (d) and the proviso (ii) he will see that it does mean that the only educational films which can be counted for quota are films which are used wholly or mainly by educational institutions.
No, it is not. Every film counts for quota unless it is expressly comprised under the paragraphs (a) to (f). Therefore, a film which is of an educational character and is not used wholly or mainly by an educational institution can count for general quota purposes. The only films that are brought in under proviso (ii) are films which are prima facie excluded as coming under (b), (d), (e) and (f). The wider you make paragraphs (a) and (f) the more films you exclude from the prima facie right to count for quota, and those films can only be brought back in exceptional cases.
The Amendment—in page 15, line 11, at the end, to insert the words "under British control," and a further Amendment—also in page 15, line 11, at the end, to insert the words "the majority of the directors of which are British subjects"—are dealt with later on by a Government Amendment—in page 15, line 28, at the end, to insert the words:
The expression 'British company' means a company registered under the laws
of any part of the British Empire, the majority of the directors of which are British subjects.
No. We had a full discussion in Committee on the question of the renter's quota. If the film is of general commercial value it can come in for the renter's quota under proviso (i). If it is of peculiar value and is a film such as those mentioned in paragraphs (b), (d), (e) and (f), then it has to come in under proviso (ii).
I beg to move, in page 15, line 12, after the word "scenes," to insert the words "being those scenes in which artificial scenery is required."
We had a long discussion in Committee as to what was a studio scene, but we did not get any satisfactory definition. The definition given by various members of the Committee as to what constitutes a studio scene differed very much, so that we were not able to help one another. As this is a very important matter, I think there should be some definition in the Bill of a studio scene. Is a British film company to be allowed to take their studio scenes in France? I do not wonder that they prefer French artists and French supers. [An HON. MEMBER: "And German uniforms!"] Yes, or German uniforms. They may naturally prefer their studio scenes in France, but I do not think that even the hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman) would wish that British films should be of that character, and produced in that way. If we want to ensure that the studio scenes are produced in this country, then we have some definition of a studio, other- wise the Gaumont Company will produce British scenes with French capital and American producers in France, and be able to drive a coach and four through this Act, by defining a studio scene in such a way as practically to exclude studio scenes in this country.
The question arises as to whether the studios have a roof. If there is no roof, it is not a studio scene. Such a company might be able to manage without a roof for their studio scenes and still succeed in making their French films into British films. I am sure the Government will not accept this Amendment, because they prefer to have a free hand and to allow people to produce so-called British films in France. There is big capital behind this business, and the F.B.I. would hot like to be interfered with in the way they carry out their studio scenes; consequently, the Government will not accept this Amendment. I maintain that if the Government wish to make this Act watertight and to make these films really British, they must have a definition of the character which I suggest in the Amendment.
The right hon. Gentleman asks us to do something which would be very difficult. We are asked to define a studio. Before I attempt to give a definition of a studio, let me suggest what the words of the Amendment would mean. It would mean that anything was a studio in which artificial scenery was introduced. Suppose the right hon. Gentleman went into the garden to take an external photograph and he put up a Japanese umbrella. That would, under his Amendment, at once convert the garden into a studio.
The Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman would be impossible to apply to a studio, and everything concerned would be in a position of difficulty and uncertainty. "Studio" is an expression well understood by the people who produce films. I do not know that I would care to define what is a studio; but I should say that a studio is a studio in a building. At any rate, "studio" is a well-understood term in the trade, and we feel that the Clause as drafted meets the case. We cannot accept the Amendment.
I hope the Government will give a little more consideration to the Amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary has told us that "studio" is a term well known in the trade, although he cannot well define it, and that there-fore the Clause meets the case. If the hon. Member had taken the trouble to read the film trade papers while this interesting production of the Board of Trade was going through Committee, he would have found that a discussion was going on, and cinematograph experts were engaged in a heated discussion, as to whether they could tell what parts of a scene had been done in a studio and what parts had been done in the open air. An extraordinary series of pictures were produced in Italy on a very tiny scale, and were then photographed with a new enlarging camera. The film was shown in the ordinary picture halls, and everyone thought that the ruin of an ancient city must have been specially built in the open air before they could have produced this particular film; whereas the scene was created in the studio with the aid of a number of very cunningly made miniatures, and enlarged on a great scale.
Despite the fact that all the best brains in the cinema world have been arguing for the last three months on this question of studio scenes, the Parliamentary Secretary tells us that the term "studio" is well understood in the cinema world, and that everything will be all right, although he himself does not understand it. A statement like that is holding Parliament up to ridicule. I am not particularly concerned about this Amendment, but if the Amendment is to be pressed to a Division I shall vote for it, because it strikes me as a little more practical than the proposal of the Government. Nobody seems to know the exact definition of "studio." The Board of Trade might engage the best experts, and pay them large fees, but they would not get two of them to agree when they see a film as to whether it was produced in a studio as a whole or whether certain parts were produced in the open air.
I hope some further attempt will be made by the Government to meet us on this question. One always appreciates the courtesy of the Parliamentary Secretary, but his statement that a studio is a studio does not take us much further, and the statement that the term is understood in the trade does not make the position much more hopeful. He says that the term is well understood in the trade, but that is not our trouble. This is an Act of Parliament which will have to be administered by a Government Department, and I assume that the Parliamentary Secretary has a brief from that Government Department which ultimately will be responsible for the details of administration. I also assume that someone in that Department will know what the thing really is for which we are now asking a definition. Seeing that the Parliamentary Secretary is unable to help us on this point, I would press the President of the Board of Trade to help him out and to help us out in an understanding of this very difficult thing, which the Parliamentary Secretary apparently cannot de-fine. If it is not defined, we may fairly assume that the issues with which the Government are dealing are so much beyond them that an Act of Parliament cannot be devised properly to cover the cases with which they are dealing.
I did hope that we were going to have a definition. I think it must be generally known to all those who have had anything to do with the production of films that the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Gates-head (Mr. Beckett) are perfectly correct. If hon. Members have read the trade papers lately they will have seen that a great deal of discussion has been going on as to the correct definition of a studio scene. Everybody who has had any experience in the production of films knows that the camera can do very wonderful things. Scenes can be taken in miniature in a studio, and they can be magnified so wonderfully by the magnifying cameras that it would appear that they had been done in the open air. It is most essential for the correct working of the Act that there should be a definition of studio scenes, in order that there may be no misunderstanding on the question as to what is a British film. The whole object of this Bill is the production of British films, and we should be careful in defining the word "studio" in order that there shall be no misunderstanding about it.
I should not have intervened but for the speech of the Parlia- mentary Secretary, in which he said that the word "studio" is a well-defined term in the trade. If it is so well defined we ought to know what it is by now, because this matter was raised many times during the Committee stage. I think it would help to a better definition of the word "studio" if the Amendment was accepted. It means that when artificial scenery is used the film must be shot, or taken, in the British Empire. If there is any great love for the employment of the citizens within this
|Division No. 345.]||AYES.||[5.4 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Scrymgeour, E.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Hirst, G. H.||Scurr, John|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sexton, James|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Shaw, At. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bliston)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Baker, Walter||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Smillie, Robert|
|Barnes, A.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Batey, Joseph||Kelly, W. T.||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Kennedy, T.||Snell, Harry|
|Bondfield, Margaret||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kirkwood, D.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Lansbury, George||Stephen, Campbell|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Buts)||Lawrence, Susan||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawson, John James||Sullivan, J|
|Cape, Thomas||Lee, F.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lindley, F. W.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Connolly, M.||Lowth, T.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cove, W. G.||Lunn, William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Townend, A. E.|
|Dalton, Hugh||Mackinder, W.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Varley, Frank B.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dennison, R.||March, S.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Duncan, C.||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Montague, Frederick||Watson. W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Morris, R. H.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Murnin, H.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Naylor, T. E.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Greenall, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Welsh, J. C.|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Owen, Major G.||Westwood, J.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palin, John Henry||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypcol)||Paling, W.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianeily)|
|Groves, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)||Riley, Ben||Windsor, Walter|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ritson, J.||Wright, W.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W.Bromwich)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Hardie, George D.||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W.R., Eiland)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hayes, John Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Bullock, Captain M.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Burman, J. B.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Bennett, A. J.||Burton, Colonel H. W.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Berry, Sir George||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Bethel, A.||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Apsley, Lord||Betterton, Henry B.||Caine, Gordon Hall|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Bourne, Captain Robert Croft.||Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Cazalet, Captain Victor A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Chadwick, Sir Robert Burten|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Briscoe, Richard George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Ladywood)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chapman, Sir S.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Charteris, Brigadier-General J.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Buchan, John||Christie, J. A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Remnant. Sir James|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hume, Sir G. H.||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Huntingfield, Lord||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Couper, J. B.||Hurd, Percy A.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Hurst, Gerald B.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbre)||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Salmon, Major I.|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Jephcott, A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sandon, Lord|
|Drewe, C.||Lamb, J. O.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.||Savery, S. S.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon Sir Philip||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A.D. McI.(Renfrew, W.)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Locker-Lampson, G.(Wood Green)||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|England, Colonel A.||Long, Major Eric||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Erskine, Lora (somerset, Weston-s.-M)||Looker, Herbert William||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Skelton, A. N.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Lumley, L. R.||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Fielden, E. B.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Finburgh, S.||MacIntyre, Ian||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||McLean, Major A.||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Macmillan Captain H.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Stott. Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Galbraith, J. F. W.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Gates, Percy||Malone, Major P. B.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Margesson, Captain D.||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Meller, R. J.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Goff, Sir Park||Merriman, F. B.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Meyer, Sir Frank||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Grace, John||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Turton, Sir Edmund Russborough|
|Grant, Sir J. A.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Grotrian, H. Brent||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nelson, Sir Frank||Wells, S. R.|
|Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Harland, A.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Nuttall, Ellis||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Oakley, T.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Haslam, Henry C.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William||Womersley, W. J|
|Hawke, John Anthony||Pennefather, Sir John||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Penny, Frederick George||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Worthington-Evans. Rt. Hon. Sir L|
|Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Hilton, Cecil||Phillipson, Mabel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Power, Sir John Cecil||Major Cope and Major Sir George Hennessy.|
|Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Radford, E. A.|
Yes. This Amendment and also the subsequent one, which is to insert in Sub-section (3) (ii) after the word "Empire," the words:
which has adopted a statutory quota for the exhibition of British films,
increases the safeguards against bogus companies which may be run in other countries For the purpose of making bogus British films. That this danger is a real one was shown a few nights ago by Low's cartoon in the "Evening Standard." At present there is nothing in the Bill which will prevent a foreign company running a subsidiary company in a British Dominion, or in this country, with their own nominees and their own capital, and producing films which would fulfil the definition of British films in this Bill. Yet they will be altogether foreign films. If we adopt my proposal another safeguard, at any rate, will be introduced and studio scenes would be photographed in any part of the British Empire which has adopted a statutory quota. At the present time no Dominion has adopted a statutory quota. The result of this Amendment would be that American companies at Hollywood, who might wish to run subsidiary bogus companies in Canada, would not be able to do so. If the Amendment is contrary to any pledge given at the Imperial Conference, I should not, of course, press it, but as I read the debates at that Conference no such pledge was given. I hope the House will adopt the proposal.
I could not possibly accept this Amendment. It would, in fact, be contrary to an explicit pledge which I gave at the Imperial Conference. I could not of course commit this House, but as far as I am able to commit His Majesty's Government, I did give an explicit pledge at the Imperial Conference that our intention, to which we should invite the House of Commons to give effect, was that British films, provided they complied with the conditions laid down in Clause 3 of the Bill, should count for quota in whatever part of the British Empire they were produced. It seems to me that is not only consistent with, but is of the essence of all we are trying to do in this Bill. We are trying to have more British films produced in any part of the British Empire, provided the British character of those films is stamped upon them. That is part of the whole policy of preference. Wherever we give preference, we extend it to the whole Empire and, indeed, the guarantee that a film will be British in its character does not lie only, or even mainly, in the reciprocal character of the legislation which may be passed in this or that part of the British Empire. It lies in those conditions which the House is now laying down in Sub-section (3) as to what should constitute a British film; and, provided those conditions are fulfilled, it seems to me it does not matter whether they are fulfilled in the home country or in one of the Dominions.
I beg to move, in page 15, line 14, to leave out the words "and the producer."
This paragraph provides that the author of the scenario and the producer must have been a British subject at the time a film was made, if it is to be deemed a British film. That would be a very good measure, provided we were certain of getting British producers, but it has been found extremely difficult to obtain the required number of British producers of sufficient experience and standing to produce films successfully in the large numbers which the mere thought of this Bill has already made possible. To show the House the necessity for an Amendment of this kind, I may say that all the studios in England are booked up for at least 12 months and some of them for 18 months in advance. The only difficulty we now have is in finding producers, and until such time as we have a sufficient number of trained British producers it will be necessary to engage foreign producers to train the British producers. I am instructed that the only means of training a producer is to employ him as the assistant producer to some well-known highly-trained expert in technical producing, under whom he serves his apprenticeship and by whom he is instructed in the art of producing great films such as those which we see coming from America. I trust the President of the Board of Trade will realise the necessity for this Amendment.
I think the House will make a grave mistake in accepting this Amendment. My own opinion, and I believe it is the opinion of many in the trade, is that we have some of the finest producers in the world in this country and, even in Hollywood to-day, some of the finest producers are British. I do not know if the hon. and gallant Member who moved this Amendment is not confusing the term "producer" with the term "stage manager."
Yes, that is what I am trying to indicate—that British producers or film directors are among the finest in the world. It will be within the memory of hon. Members—it appeared in the "Evening Standard" only this week—that a British producer, or film director, who is only 27 years of age is in receipt of a salary of over £300 a week. The great difficulty which we have experienced in the past concerning film production has not been that we have not had the producers; it has been the fact that the productions were not satisfactorily financed. A producer in America, whether British or of some other nationality, has unlimited capital to play with and can invent ideas and introduce spectacles into his pictures on a large scale whereas a producer who is stinted in finance cannot get the same effects. According to the President of the Board of Trade, when he introduced this Bill, he wanted British films with a British atmosphere and British ideals—films which would convey to our Dominions scenes from life in England. To suggest that foreign producers should be called in to produce films of that kind is ludicrous. Fancy, for example, bringing a man from America to produce a work by the great Hall Caine or some other famous British author. The hon. Member for Eastern Dorset (Mr. Hall Caine) will appreciate what I am saying. How absurd it would be to bring in a German producer to produce a film of British home life or folk life. To cut out these all-important words will destroy the whole object of the Bill, simply to allow these people who are endeavouring to force this hill through for the purpose of some personal financial gain, to bring in foreign producers who know nothing whatever about British life or conditions.
May I raise a point of Order? There are two Amendments on the Paper—one which we are now discussing to leave out the words "and the producer," and one which follows and which proposes after the word "and" to insert the words "after the first day of January, nine-teen hundred and thirty." If I invite the House, as I intend to do, to accept the Amendment now under discussion that necessarily rules out the Amendment which follows immediately afterwards unless that Amendment is to be moved later on and in a different form as a proviso.
Technically, this Amendment would not rule out the following Amendment but would give it an entirely different sense. If the word "and" goes out obviously the word "producer" must go out; other-wise there would be no sense in the sentence. Then, if the hon. and gallant Member for South Leicester (Captain Waterhouse) wished to move the insertion of the words in the following Amendment, they would make the Sub-section read as follows:
The author of the scenario, after the first clay of January, nineteen hundred and thirty, must have been a British subject.
I suppose hon. Members will put down Amendments in whatever form they think will raise the issue. What we have to deal with now is a plain issue, and I presume that if we strike out the words "and producer" it will then be in order to move a further Amendment to this effect:
Provided that after five years—or whatever the period—the producer must he a British subject.
It would be technically in order if such an Amendment were moved and the House desired to discuss it.
It is not a question of what the hon. Member is or is not prepared to discuss. What will be discussed in this House rests with Mr. Speaker. How the hon. Member votes is, of course, his affair. What we have to direct our attention to now is the specific proposal that the words "and the producer" should be left out. That means that the producer may be a foreigner. I have no doubt whatever that in the interests of British film making this Amendment is right. I have every intention of supporting it and I invite the House to support it, but I should like to explain why I entirely disagree with the arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day). I quite agree with him that we have a certain number of highly efficient British producers, but there are others not so experienced who are coming along, and others not perhaps of quite the same standard of efficiency. What is the function of the the producer" should be left out. That tion—the expertise of this business. It is a matter of technical skill, and in order to get the best results I am perfectly clear that British industry ought to be able to draw, for this technical purpose, upon the best talent wherever it is to be found. When we have established great new industries in this country, as we have done before, we did not say, "You must only use British experts." We said, "We will exploit all the invention and all the technique the world can afford in making an article which shall, however, be British in its character." It seems to me the case is exactly the same here. I speak not without having tried to find out what has happened in other countries in this matter. I believe that in? America when seeking this directive talent—which is not for the purpose of inspiring the character of the films but is concerned with the technical direction—they have deliberately drawn on any country which would supply it. They are bringing in to-day, for this purely technical purpose, for this expert purpose, men of different countries—here a German, here an Englishman—and I am quite sure that if you are to get the highest technical efficiency in this British industry, which is already, under the stimulus of this Bill, beginning to grow, you do want to bring in this technical skill from outside.
I say more. I say that if you refuse to do that, not only will you handicap British industry in producing British films, handicap the very object which you set out to produce by this Bill, but you will handicap British producers them-selves. How are you to train up these producers? Only by giving them the greatest possible opportunity to learn the technique that is required, and if you can bring in some great master of technique from outside, you will give your English-man a chance of working under that man and of profiting by his experience and skill. Lastly, let me say that there is no question of bringing in cheap foreign labour to supplant highly paid British labour. The only man who may be brought in is the highly paid man. You can get cheaper persons in this country, and for many films they may be adequate. Some of the best producers in this country are adequate to-day, and the only case where the foreign producer is going to be brought in is the case of a big production when the Al British capacity is for the time being absorbed on some other films.
I speak, perhaps, after two years' study of this question, with almost as much knowledge of this trade as even the very expert gentlemen opposite, and, I think, with less prejudice—certainly with a keener desire to see British films produced—and it is because I have that de-sire, because I want to see the British film industry grow up under the best auspices, with the best skill at its command, because I want to see the British producer have the best possible chance of making himself efficient, that I welcome this Amendment and commend it to the House.
The right hon. Gentleman would have made a splendid advocate of Free Trade, and I almost yearn to have him on our side of the House in our Free Trade Debates.
I do not mind—on this side; there are only two sides on this question. But the right hon. Gentleman misses the point altogether when he comes down to details. He talks of producers being people who have had the necessary practice, but I agree with the hon. Member for East Dorset (Mr. Hall Caine), who knows something about this matter, and, if I may say so, is the son of a great artist. The great producer, according to the President of the Board of Trade, after his two years of study, is the man who has had practice and who is a master of technique. Heaven help us! The man who is an artist is the great producer. 'There are two kinds of producers. There are some men who do mechanical work, day in and day out, and whose stuff is no good at all, and there are other men who have the temperament of the artist and who will not work on a day when they have not the divine spirit. The producer of a film is as much an artist as the man who paints a picture or the man who writes music, and to talk, as the President does, of practice and technique shows that he knows nothing whatever about it.
Coming to the actual merits of the Amendment itself, the producer is the man who creates the whole atmosphere of the film. It is the producer who sees to the dressing of the film, to the mannerisms, to all that makes the difference between a film that really represents English home life and the burlesque re-presentations that we see from time to time. All that is done by the producer, who is probably the most important person of all in this matter, and yet, for the sake of money making—and now we have the whole business exposed—in order that certain monopolies can make inflated dividends, anybody can be brought in as a producer, as long as his services are available, without regard to his nationality. He may be a Russian, or a German, or an American, or anything you like; he is, nevertheless, the most important person in the making of a film, but for money making purposes, all this question of the purity of British films is allowed to be put aside. Unlike my hon. Friend, I would be prepared to accept this Amendment, but it shows, at any rate, that when it comes to a question of dividends and profits, these monopolists in the film-producing business forget all about their patriotism and insularity and their xenophobia, and they become only money-grubbers, and they have the support of the President of the British Board of Trade.
I strongly urge the acceptance of this Amendment, for more than one reason, and I must admit at the beginning that I was one of those who opposed the President of the Board of Trade when this question was introduced in Commit-tee, but since that time I have had the opportunity of studying the industry and of learning more about the difficulties of obtaining sufficient producers to get a sufficient output of films to make this Bill effective. I understand on very good authority that there are not more than seven or eight first-class producers in this country at the present time. What are you going to do if this Amendment is defeated? You will leave the production of first-class British films entirely in the hands of this very small trade union of producers, who are able to hold up companies and company promoters for any salaries they may demand. Under these circumstances, it makes the production of British films very unprofitable and in many cases impossible. Therefore, I strongly urge the House to consider this matter very seriously before they reject the Amendment, because it will greatly affect the fortunes of the Bill and its effects on the production of British films.
I would like to say a word against the acceptance of the Amendment. I have listened to the last three or four speeches on the subject, and particularly the one that was made by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Wight (Captain Macdonald), who has just sat down, in which he asserted that there are only some half-a-dozen first-class producers in this country. I do not know the basis for that statement but I am keenly interested in the younger men and women in this country, and I have not got the strong Free Trade views of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) to guide me in my thinking on this particular Bill. I have been willing to see this Bill put into operation, largely because the Government defend it as being a Measure for reducing unemployment in this country. I am willing to see them work their experiment to its conclusion, and I certainly agree that the State and its responsible Ministers have a duty to try to remedy unemployment. Now the view is that we are only concerned with removing unemployment in so far as it concerns the humbler workers, but there is in this country a tremendous amount of unemployment and poverty among artistic and intellectual workers—a tremendous burden of unemployment—and we are turning out highly trained men from our universities, from our technical colleges, from our schools of art and of music, but openings for men of that type are very few and scarce.
Here is a new industry, or an industry that the Government hope by this Measure to expand and develop, and we are told that while the capitalists in the industry are to be protected, and possibly the manual workers in the industry are protected thereby, the artistic workers and the brain workers are not. I have found it rather difficult to discover whether the producer is a technician or an artist but I am inclined to believe that he is a combination of both, that he must be an artist who has some technical skill. Are these men not available in Great Britain? Are there not young men and women in Great Britain with the necessary artistic spirit and the necessary technical knowledge to enable them to act as the higher command, as it were, of this particular industry, or must we roam the world to get a German, or a Russian, or an American to come into this country to interpret the British spirit for us, in so far as it can be represented on the film?
I think that is absolutely untrue, and that it is unfair to our young fellows who are looking forward to a career in this branch of life, as they have a right to do, that the President of the Board of Trade should say, "No, we will do all we can to protect the capital that is invested in this industry, and possibly any manual employés who may be engaged in it, but we will do absolutely nothing to protect the artistic and higher skill that is involved in the production of a picture." If this Measure is to have the additional prospect of making a distinctively British film available on the world market that shall be inspired by British cultural ideas and express British traditions and modes of thought, it seems to me absolutely imperative that the great director of the production of that film must look at things from a British point of view, and I urge that the House do not accept the Amendment so pressed by the President of the Board of Trade.
I am in-formed that there is a very great deal of truth in what the Mover of this Amendment has said about the present position of producers, that there are at the moment only a few producers in this country, but the production of a producer is not a very long or a very difficult task. It is admittedly a very technical task and one that takes training, as has been said, under one of these few experts. I therefore put on the Paper an Amendment, which will be ruled out if this Amendment is carried, postponing the date of the operation of this Clause for some years. I understand that I may be allowed to move at a later stage to insert, after this paragraph, the words:
and after 1st January, 1933, the producer also must have been a British subject at the time the film was made.
That is to say, if these words are inserted in the proper place, it will give five years in which foreign producers may be brought into the industry and British producers may be trained. I think the House is generally agreed that the producer is really the main factor in the production of films. I have to admit that my hon. Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Buchan) and other Members may have laid greater stress on the scenario writer. Shakespeare may be looked upon as the greatest scenario writer that this country has known, and I would remind the House that a little time ago a producer showed us Hamlet in plus-fours. I cannot think that this was a correct interpretation of Shakespeare's intentions; but, if that can be done with the works of Shakespeare, the foreigner may twist the scenario of any British writer. This Bill is not merely a protective Measure in the ordinary sense of the word—a duty of a 100 or even 500 per cent. would have been a more profitable and a more efficacious way of dealing with the business—but it is a Bill with a propaganda value. Its first object is to get a film British in sentiment as well as in fact.
If after five years we are forced to employ British producers, it will mean that when this Bill lapses after 10 years we shall have in this country a body of important and capable men who can carry on this industry. The right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill speaking up-stairs entirely endorsed this view, and I should like to quote his words. He said, speaking on this Amendment in its original form, that he thought to make a British producer essential at the moment would not be possible. He said:
I should have thought a period of five years was more satisfactory, and I shall be prepared to vote for this Amendment on the understanding that I also voted for my hon. Friend's later Amendment.
and the operation was postponed not for three but for five years. I hope that in view of his sentiments upstairs in Committee, and in view of the conclusions that he then arrived at, after a very great deal of reflection, he will not divide the House against my Amendment.
I do not generally quote the hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), but he has very considerable experience in this industry, and I hope he will forgive me if I do quote him. He said in Committee upstairs:
The most important portion of the production of a film in which the characters are welded more or less to suit the public taste in the ideas of the management and the producing company, is not left with the scenario writer; it is left to the producer.
The hon. Gentleman has had a close experience, probably closer than any other hon. Member, in the production of films and that is his opinion. My right hon. Friend upstairs held the same opinion; and I hope the House, if they accept this Amendment will accept my Amendment, and allow us to have all British producers after 1st January, 1933.
I think most of us who have played an active part in this Bill upstairs came to the conclusion that Clause 26 was by far the most difficult part of the Bill. It is not quite so easy to define what we mean by "British films," and many of us find ourselves in a peculiar position, speaking in a sense opposite that in which we are accustomed to speak. The hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton), who has come in rather late to this discussion— I am not saying that with any criticism, but he was not on the Commitee—does not, I think, appreciate the situation. I am anxious that the maximum number of films with British characters shall be produced in this country. We have not available, on the evidence of those who ought to be in a position to know, enough people at the present time. If we made the producers British we should be in the position that the number of films that would be produced would be very limited. We should, instead of providing for more employment among the many classes of persons for whom the hon. Member for Bridgeton appeals provide less.
I am led to believe by those concerned that what stamps a film in the first place more than anything else is the scenario. In the scenario there is a complete definition of the film as it is intended to be. It is, roughly speaking, the rails on which the producer must run, and we see from our own experience when we go to the cinema films which are obviously American and yet the producer is British. The influence of the producer on the atmosphere of the film seems to be much smaller than that of the scenario. I do not think that the hon. Member for Bridgeton has considered paragraph (iv) of Sub-section (2) of Clause 26, which lays down that 75 per cent. of the wages and salaries must be paid t o British subjects. That means that the bulk of the actors, the bulk of the crowds of people, and naturally the clothes they are wearing and the circumstances under which they are appearing, must all be British. Therefore, I am inclined to think that no producer, whatever his origin may be, can possibly destroy the absolutely British atmosphere if you have a British scenario and the bulk of the people are British. I agree there are certain risks, but the alternative is the production of less films.
I have not the, slightest doubt that the producer must, as the thing goes on, introduce certain modifications, in exactly the same way as my hon. Friend if he were producing a. revue which had been written by somebody else would as he went along modify certain features of it, but the general character would be determined by the original book. The producer is not going to alter the general character, and I do not think we are taking great risks even if there is a substantial number of films produced by foreign producers; and if we do not permit them to come in we shall be in the position of not producing so many films, because we shall not have available enough British producers at the moment.
The hon. Gentleman has made that assertion several times. What is his authority for saying it? Does it come from the people who have to bargain about the salaries they pay?
I have received communications from many sources—from those representing the producers, and those representing the, exhibitors. I have had conversations with individuals who happen to be producers, and I get the same thing from all of them. There is no contradiction of the fact so far as I know, that there is this real shortage of producers. That is commonly accepted all round, and I do not think the hon. Member for Central Southwark challenges that position.
I agree, and I drew attention to the fact that we see films that are essentially American, but that have been produced by Britons. That leads me to the next point, the point of the Amendment that may be moved by my hon. and gallant Friend for South Leicester (Captain Waterhouse) should this present Amendment be carried. That is the question of making it perfectly free for the operations of the Bill, but only for five years. I am trying to visualise what will happen at the end of five years having regard to the point which is made by the hon. Member for Central Southwark. The Americans, obviously, are in a very much stronger positon than we are, and probably will remain so because of their huge home market. They will have immense resources, and after five years from now the position will be that a British producer must be employed. The Americans want to prejudice the pro- duction of British films; they are going to seek to buy up all our producers and deliberately adopt a policy to tempt away all our producers and paralyse the production of British films five years hence. So long as it is perfectly free whether a foreign producer or a British producer is employed, there is no particular advantage to the Americans in seeking to draw away British producers. So arise the circumstances with which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester is seeking to deal.
I have refrained so far from intervening in any of the Debates, because I desired to facilitate the passage of the Bill. I spent many weary hours upstairs taking part in something like 250 Divisions over many months, and I am bound to say that I very much regret the moving of this Amendment and the attitude that has been taken upon it by the President of the Board of Trade. Many statements have been made that it is common ground that we have not enough producers. I do not think it is common ground at all. I am informed quite to the contrary. I am informed that if this Amendment be passed, to the present flooding of British Dominions with foreign films will be. added a stream of foreign films made in England and Government hall-marked as "British Quota Films." We had plenty of reliable evidence upstairs that undoubtedly the producer brings his mentality to bear on the character of the films. It seems such an obvious fact that one would hardly have thought it needed any substantial evidence. Of course, an American producer, if called in here to produce a British film, cannot separate himself from his mentality and from his habits, training and surroundings, and inevitably he will bring into the production some part of that mentality and psychology. I think it is a lamentable thing, when we are bringing in a Measure nominally for the purpose of stimulating the production of British films, and when we are limiting the quota to such an infinitely small amount as 5 per cent. of the total, that anybody on the floor of this House should suggest that we have not competent British producers who will meet that small demand. Even assuming that were so, these producers require technical training, but I am informed, on perfectly sound authority that this would only be a matter of two or three years at the outside. Even if there is any real risk that by limiting the production of British films we are likely to expose exhibitors and those whose capital is invested in the industry to a shortage in the supply of films, except those of an inferior class, I still say to my hon. Friend who has put down the Amendment that five years is far too long a period for the small quota required by the Bill, which at the beginning is only 5 per cent.
I said it was my information that the statement that we cannot supply the necessary producers was untrue. I say that on the authority of the British Association of Film Directors, who know what they are speaking about. They say they do not hesitate to describe the statement that we have not enough British producers as a false statement. They go on:
The quota calls for 45 films next year, and the first-class studio accommodation in England to-day is sufficient for the making of 75 pictures. New studios are about to be built, and it is possible to anticipate enough accommodation next year for at least twice as many films as the Act calls for.
They say, further, that the services of 14 producers have been engaged to a limited extent and that the quota needs only 12 producers to supply the first year's needs, and that there are available at least 24 producers in England and more than 20 producers in the United States. This being so, I think it would be lamentable if we were to remove the protection from the British producers, as would be done by this Amendment. The utmost extent to which I would urge my hon. Friends in all parts of the House to go is to admit foreign producers for a period of three years at the outside, and then to confine it to British producers. I will give my authority for making that suggestion. It is a critical authority. It comes from the British Masterpieces Films Limited, who take up a critical attitude and with whom I do not agree on many points. They say:
We suggest that it would be wise to defer the operation
I would like particularly to have the attention of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade——
of this sub-paragraph for, say, three years. Until expert British producers are forthcoming and they can be trained in the high
technique necessary for the making of first-class films, it is essential for the progress of the British film industry that producing companies should be permitted, if necessary, to obtain the services of experienced foreign scenario writers and producers during such period of training.
They think that after three years we ought to insist upon British production both as regards scenario writing and the producer. I shall vote against this Amendment, because I think it ought not to receive the sanction of the House, but I shall be to some extent satisfied, as no doubt will others, with a statement that for a limited period only foreign producers shall be allowed to compete, and that then there shall be full play for the British producer.
We on this side have been anxious to adhere to the arrangement which was come to to keep the discussion within the limits of the agreed time, but the last hour of these proceedings makes it rather difficult to do so. With regard to the particular Amendment before the House, we regard it as advisable if accepted by itself, but if there is to be added a qualifying Clause that after a certain date there is to be entire protection for British producers then it is my view, and I think it is the view taken by a great many of my hon. Friends, that we ought not to support the proposal. If we imposed this limitation, what conditions would apply in foreign countries to British producers who in the past have proved so excellent that they have had free entry into all the film-producing centres of the world? Are we going to invite all these other countries to put on embargoes against British producers? To do so is certainly not acting in the spirit of the proceedings at Geneva, where an effort was made to try to end anything in the nature of international prohibitions or restrictions.
I beg to move, in page 15, line 16, at the end, to insert the words:
and after the first day of January, nineteen hundred and thirty-three, the producer must also have been a British subject at the time the film was made.
I do not propose to add anything to the speech which I made to the House in which I gave the whole of my views on this subject. I supported that Amendment wholeheartedly, and the reasons which I gave for supporting that Amendment must lead me to vote against this Amendment. It was left to a free vote in Committee, and I am willing to submit to a free vote of the House now, but I am bound to tell the House that after obtaining the best information and after the fullest consultation I am quite clear that we shall best serve the interests of British film production by allowing British film makers to call upon unlimited talent in the production of their films. While I shall leave it to the House I shall unquestionably vote against the Amendment myself.
ing in. He said he had known a film of Thomas Hardy's wonderful novel "Tess of the D'Urbervilles "produced by an American in which Tess was made to appear more or less as a night club queen; had the production been made by British producers, she would not have been made to go round from club to club fondling a little dog. In another very notable case a disgusting exhibition was given in the film of Sir Arthur Pinero's play "Elsinore," in which the heroine was made to go round dog shows all day. Had the films been produced by an English producer, had there been an English interpretation of these wonderful books, I do not think we should have seen such a desecration of these wonderful works by English authors.
|Division No. 346.]||AYES.||[6.13 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Fermoy, Lord||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Apsley, Lord||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Morrison H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Batey, Joseph||Fremantle. Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Ganzonl, Sir John||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Bellairs, Commander Cariyon W.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Berry, Sir George||Goff, Sir Park||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Bethel, A.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Grotrian, H. Brent||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Bullock, captain M.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Sprat, Sir Alexander|
|Christie, J. A.||Henderson, Lt.-Col. Sir V. L. (Bootle)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Clarry. Reginald George||Hurst, Gerald B.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Knox, Sir Alfred||Ward, Lt. Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Cowper. J. B.||Lamb, J. O.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gansbro)||Looker, Herbert William||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Lumley, L. R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Day, Colonel Harry||MacIntyre, Ian||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Dixey. A. C.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Fairfax, Captain. J. G.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Viscount Sandon and Captain Water house.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Ashley, Lt. Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Baker, Walter|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley|
|Agg-Gardner. Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Astor, Maj. Hn. John J.(Kent, Dover)||Balniel, Lord|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Atholl, Duchess of||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Attlee, Clement Richard||Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)|
|Barnes, A.||Grundy, T. W.||Morris, R. H.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Murnin, H.|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Naylor, T. E.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Neville, Sir Reginald J.|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hardie, George D.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harland, A.||Newton. Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Hartington, Marquess of||Oakley, T.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Oliver, George Harold|
|Bromley, J.||Haslam, Henry C.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Hawke, John Anthony||Owen, Major G.|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hayday, Arthur||Palln, John Henry|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Hayes, John Henry||Paling, W.|
|Buchan, John||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Buchanan, G.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Penny. Frederick George|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Perring, Sir William George|
|Burman, J. B.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Potts, John S|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Hills, Major John Waller||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Campbell. E. T.||Hilton, Cecil||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Cape, Thomas||Hirst, G. H.||Raine, Sir Walter|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Cayzer. Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Reid, D. D. (County Down)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Remnant, Sir James|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Riley, Ben|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hore-Belisha, Leslie||Ritson, J.|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O.(W. Bromwich)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)||Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Ellano)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Rose, Frank H.|
|Colfax. Major Wm. Phillips||Huntingfield, Lord||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Compton, Joseph||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Connolly, M.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cope, Major William||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Jephcott, A. R.||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Cove, W. G.||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Savery, S. S.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Scurr, John|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sexton, James|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Kelly, W. T.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. McI. (Renfrew, W)|
|Davies. Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Kennedy, T.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shepperson, E. W.|
|Dennison, R.||Kirkwood, D||Short. Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Drewe, C.||Lansbury, George||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Duncan, C.||Lawrence, Susan||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Dunnico, H.||Lawson, John James||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||Lee, F.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Edmondson. Major A. J||Lindley, F. W.||Smillie, Robert|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Long, Major Eric||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Lowth, T.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Smithers, Waldron|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Snell, Harry|
|Fielden, E. B.||Lunn, William||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Finburgh, S||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Stamford, T. W.|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. G. F.|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Mackinder, W.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Gates, Percy||McLean, Major A.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Stewart. J. (St. Rollox)|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Gillett, George M.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Strauss, E. A.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Malone, Major P. B.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Glyn. Major R. G. C.||March. S.||Sullivan, J.|
|Gosling, Harry||Margesson, Captain D.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K||Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|Grace, John||Maxton, James||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Merriman, F. B.||Thomson. F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Meyer, Sir Frank||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Greenall, T.||Mitchell. S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Townend, A. E.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Monsell, Evres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Montague, Frederick||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Groves, T.||Morden, Col, W. Grant||Varley, Frank B.|
|Vaughan-Morgan. Col. K. P.||Welsh, J. C.||Windsor, Walter|
|Viant, S. P.||Westwood, J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Wallhead, Richard C||Whiteley, W.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen||Wilkinson, Ellen C.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Wright, W.|
|Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wedgwood. Rt. Hon. Josiah||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)||Mr. Herbert Williams and Mr. Jame Hudson|
|Wellock, Wilfred||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Wells, S. R.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
I beg to move, in page 15, line 25, at the end to insert the words
but it shall be lawful for the Board of Trade to relax this requirement in any case where they are satisfied that the maker had taken all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the requirement, and that his failure to comply therewith was occasioned by exceptional and unforeseen circumstances beyond his control.
I hope my hon. Friends will strongly oppose this Amendment. Some 2½ years ago we had under discussion a proposal to give a large subsidy to the sugar-beet industry, and at the request of an hon. Member on this side of the House an Amendment was inserted to the effect that the machinery supplied should be British up to a certain percentage. Owing to the loose wording of that provision there has been a considerable avoidance of it. I would like to point out that this Amendment contains exactly the same principle, and you are trying to protect British films in the same manner. I agree that as large a percentage as possible of British labour should be employed. We were told in Committee up-stairs that 75 per cent. was a reasonable percentage. I do not think it ought to be left to the Board of Trade to differentiate between the claims of British firms as to whether they had satisfied the provision laying down a percentage of 75 per cent. In the case of a protective measure like this we ought to lay down a hard-and-fast rule that at least 75 per cent. of the salaries and wages shall be paid to British people.
I am not surprised at the tiredness of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to this Bill. He is not so fresh as he was during the Committee stage, otherwise he would have thought for a long time before allowing himself to be coerced into accepting this Amendment. The Mover of this Amendment made a very short speech.
I have never known time to prevent the hon. and gallant Member, who has interrupted me, from addressing the House if he wished to do so. [Interruption.] The hon. and gallant Member, in moving this Amendment, was wise in being brief, because, owing to the brevity of his speech he could not be led into explaining the extreme looseness and vagueness of the Amendment. I should have liked the right hon. Gentleman, in accepting it, to tell us how on earth the Board of Trade were going to pass judgment upon four vague and unmeaning lines of this sort. It seems to me that this is merely going to turn a Bill, which was origin-ally intended to benefit a few British speculators, into a Bill which is also intended to benefit lawyers. It is the passing by the House of Commons of these vague Amendments in the later stages of a Bill, when the Minister is tired, that makes those foolish and vague provisions which afterwards, when the
Measure has left this House, cause untold trouble to the business which is interfered with, and, of course, bring the usual legal harvest in addition. The Amendment reads:
in any case where they are satisfied that the maker has taken all reasonable steps.
I think that, if one were to consult any legal expert, he would say that the difficulties of this kind of legislation are greatest where anything depends upon any party having taken "reasonable steps." The acceptance of an Amendment of this sort at once exposes people who are in trade to all kinds of injustice, and, on the other hand, it causes the legislation to be faulty as far as effectiveness is concerned. Therefore, I would ask the House to get the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his opinion, and, at any rate, to see if some more satisfactory form of wording cannot be found in order to tighten up the Bill in this direction.
I want, very briefly, to protest against this Amendment. It seems to me to be a step in quite the wrong direction. It seems to me to be an encouragement to producers to employ foreigners up to the very maximum number allowed. We have already taken out the provision as to the producer being British, so that there may be a foreign producer. We have gone further than that, and have allowed his wages and salaries to be excluded from the costs other than British costs. We are now going one step further still, and are going to say to him: "If you have been so careless, and have managed your business so badly, that you do not know how many British and how many foreign men you have employed, we will overlook and condone your fault. It does not matter. We are not finding employment for our own people if you are a foreign producer. You may have done your best, or you may not, but we will overlook it and let it go through." That seems to me to be quite against the whole spirit of the Bill, and I feel that I cannot support the Amendment.
I hope the House will reject this Amendment, and I also hope that, if the President of the Board of Trade is going to consider leaving it to a free vote of the House, we shall not be faced this time, as we were on the last Amendment, with the deputy chief Government Whip standing at the door and telling Members as they came in: "This is a free vote; the President of the Board of Trade is voting ' No'" I think that that is disgraceful. When the matter is left to a free vote of the House, Members should be allowed to vote as they like, without any undue influence of that kind from the Government. This Bill, to my mind, is gradually becoming a farce, and the further we go through it the more farcical it has become. We saw that, on the last Amendment, the Government themselves were afraid of having a British producer in five years' time, and the Bill has now been made so that all British films, all British ideas, such as we were told the Government wanted to let the Colonies and the Dominions see, can be produced by foreigners, from whatever country they may come. Now we are going a step further, by the right hon. Gentleman practically agreeing to accept this Amendment, and not only allowing the 75 per cent. restriction which is laid down in the Bill for wages and labour, but, if any person oversteps the mark, allowing the Board of Trade to absolve them. I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider the decision he has just announced, and will not accept the Amendment.
Sir F. HALL:
I hope my right hon. Friend is not going to accept this Amendment, for the very reason that it is drawn in an extremely loose manner. I do not know what "reasonable steps" may mean; I do not know where they are going to start or where they are going to finish. My impression, when this Bill was brought forward, was that it was going to strengthen the position of British producers with regard to British films, but an Amendment of this nature seems to me to be going contrary to all that we have been desirous of doing, and I cannot support it.
I rather agree about the drafting of this Amendment. I am quite clear that what it was in my mind to accept—I did not attach very great importance to it one way or the other—was that, if someone absolutely genuinely tried to produce British films, and if, the whole of their estimates being rough, something went wrong, say, with the weather, and they were a little out when they came to ascertain the final amount, they should not be prosecuted. That is quite possible; I daresay some hon. Members themselves have been a few pounds out in large speculations. I thought very definitely that it was not unreasonable, in such circumstances, that the film should still count as a British film. If there be any question of its having a widespread effect, or of its enabling a future holder of my office to use this Clause in order to do more than excuse what is practically a clerical error, I should not agree to it. On the whole, I think it might be worth while to consider it later, and, if my hon. and gallant Friend thinks it worth while, it might be put down in a stricter form when the Bill reaches another place.
I beg to move, in page 15, line 28, at the end, to insert the words
The expression 'British company' means a company registered under the laws of any part of the British Empire, the majority of the directors of which are British subjects.
I gave the Committee my reasons why I was opposed, on the whole, to any attempt to restrict the control of capital, and for thinking that, whether it be desirable or not, no means could be devised whereby it could be ascertained whether the control was in fact in British hands. The whole of the shares in respect of which control was exercised might be in the hands of nominees. Special voting rights may be attached to a single share, as we have known to be the case before now, or it may be that the whole of the finance is not in the form of share capital, but in the form of loan capital advanced for a particular undertaking. A company with a capital of £1,000 might raise by means of a syndicate £25,000, £30,000 or £40,000 for each successive transaction, and it is quite plain that, while the £1,000 voting power might be in the hands of a British subject, the £40,000 might be put up by someone else for the particular transaction, and in that case the control and operation of the finance would be in the hands of the gentlemen who put up the £40,000. Therefore, I am definitely opposed, be-
cause I do not think it is practicable, to putting in any provision which would attempt to rule the financial control. In Committee there was, I think, on the whole, a desire to have the British character of the enterprise established in any way which was possible, and it is possible to ensure that the majority of directors shall be British. If that be an acceptable proposition, I am sure it is more practicable than any attempt at control, and it does give an assurance that the general character of the directorate will be British. I think the House, if I may make the suggestion, would be well advised to dispense with any question of control of finance, and that, if some supervision of the character of the directorate be desired, this is probably the most convenient form.
The President of the Board of Trade knows perfectly well that in proposing this Amendment to the House he has run away from his admirable principles and speeches in Committee. In Committee we were asked to define a British company simply as one registered in the British Empire. The right hon. Gentleman proved conclusively that to attempt to say that the foreigner should not invest capital in this country is contrary, not only to common sense, but to the obvious interests of this country, and he ruled out the idea that a British company must consist of British capital. We want all the capital we can get from the whole world in this country; the more that comes in the better. We have now hedged, and have decided to say that the majority of the directors shall be British. The right hon. Gentleman in the past has been a director of a great many companies, and he knows perfectly well that the majority of the directors is not what guides the policy of the company. The question is, who holds the voting powers. If the finance is controlled by one of the directors, the other directors will have to dance to his tune.
It is, however, far worse than that. By putting in a provision that the majority of the directors shall be British, he is opening up another opportunity for the guinea-pig. Take the case of an American company starting a British film industry in this country, and producing admirable films. The capital is American, and it is proposed to correct that horrible alienism by having British dummy directors. The people of this country are, however, getting a little "fed up" with ornamental directors who fulfil the demands of an Act of Parliament but represent nothing on the board except the drawing of a few salaries. It is being pointed out in the Press at the present moment that one serious burden on industry in this country, which checks the recovery of trade, is the undue number of ornamental directors of companies drawing substantial fees; and yet this Measure, which is expected to become an Act of Parliament, is being made to demand deliberately that there shall be a British majority of dummy directors, in order successfully to pretend to the people of this country that a company which is American is in appearance, and by the majority of its directors, a British company. That is leading in the wrong direction. It is encouraging dummy directorates and guinea-pigs, and I hope that, instead of accepting this Amendment which has been put down by the President of the Board of Trade, the House will adhere to the principles enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman in Committee, and will do away with these sham dummy directors converting an American company with American capital into a British company.
May I ask your guidance, Sir? At an earlier stage I had an Amendment down dealing with British control, but did not move it, because I understood the position would be safeguarded by this Amendment. I understand that it is not now going to be moved. May I move it myself?
Then I will make a few remarks on this Amendment, because here again it seems to me we are losing touch with the whole aim and object of the Bill. We have been at tremendous trouble in Committee to produce a Bill which is going to produce, in its turn, British films. We are now going to so broaden the basis on which these films are defined that they will cease to be British films altogether very soon. It seems to me quite unfair to lay down that in a partnership both or all the partners must be British subjects, yet, when a company is formed none of the shareholders need be British subjects. I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend that any provision about voting power can be got round, but so can any provision about directors be got round. All these provisions can be got round. The only hope is that we put in so many provisions that it will not be worth people's while to try to get round them but they will keep to the spirit and letter of the law. For these reasons I very much regret the decision of my right hon. Friend to leave out words which would ensure that the money must be in, the hands of British subjects.
I want to support what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has said. I am very disappointed that the Amendment is not to be moved because, if it had been, I should have had the pleasure of supporting it and endeavouring to persuade the House to do so, and I should like to give one of my reasons. The Canadian papers are full of the farcical nature of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill, and several papers, of what hon. Members opposite would call a respectable colour, have pointed out that a host of American film makers are now waiting on the Canadian frontier, and directly the right hon. Gentleman has discovered how he can make the original Bill even more farcical than it was before, and it actually becomes law, they are coming into Canada, because we have now extended it to the British Empire, in which the company laws are very different from this country and the qualifications for a directorate are not even as stringent as they are here, and you are merely going to get Americans registering their companies in Canada and putting up a certain number of one or two share people as guinea pig directors. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman's object is to alleviate unemployment amongst Conservative Members of Parliament—I notice that about eight have already become directors of new film companies—but I think it is a very absurd way of pretending that a film is a British film, and I am amazed at all the true-blooded 100 per cent. Britishers who are members of the House allowing an Amendment of this sort to go through without pressing the very adequate Amendment which they put on the Paper. If you pass this Amendment even the silly Bill that it is is not going to work at all. You are going to have American companies registered in Canada with a few guinea pig directors, and the right hon. Gentleman's term of office will be marked by a Bill that is even more ridiculous than it looked in Committee upstairs.
I beg to move, in page 15, line 30, after the word "and," to insert the words "such (if any) of the".
The only object of that is to make it plain that an Order-in-Council shall not be made for a mandated territory in respect of which there is no such power to make an Order.