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Cinema

The inter-war film industry

By the end of the First World War, the British film industry was facing a slump due mainly to duties levied on the industry. As a result, American films became predominant. In 1927, the Cinematograph Films Act obliged film distributors and venues to use a minimum quota of British films. This act was renewed in 1938 but, due to the Second World War, effects were hard to measure. The control of films did not feature greatly in Cabinet business during the war years as it fell under the responsibility of the newly formed Ministry of Information. However, the Cabinet did get involved when a film triggered their interest - for example, the 'Life and Death of Colonel Blimp', which provoked Winston Churchill's anger.

In 1948, a new Films Act was passed that re-established the quota system. However, this did little to revive the British industry, as the post-war success of television saw a decline in the popularity of the cinema. This continued throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In 1975, it was clear that new policy was needed and a working party was established. With changes of government in the late 1970s, however, momentum to help the British film industry lessened as other issues outweighed it.