Film Industry

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Analyze a significant factor, which has influenced and affected (positively or negatively) the development of the UK film industry since 1945

Executive Summary

This report will closely evaluate the affects of funding on the UK film industry since 1945. Due to the 70 year time frame, I have chosen to evaluate only the most important factors that affected the industry.

Objectives

The objective of my report is to give a better understanding of the importance of funding for the UK film Industry. Since 1945 many different factors have inhibited or helped the growth of the UK film industry.

Such as; WW2, The Rank Organization, The US, Television/ Video.

Introduction

“Film makes a key contribution to the UK economy as well as playing a vital role in the cultural richness of the country.”

Funding has always been a huge part of the success of film making whether it be in the UK, Europe or even America. Funding not only stretches across paying actors, directors and sumptuous sets it is also crucial in the advertising and marketing of the finished movie, if any. It is not fair to say films always need a budget in the millions to be successful although competing with masses of movies in a time of epic genres will crucially effect their success. There is a direct correlation between lack of funding and success of a film. If a film is unsuccessful less money is available to fund future films beginning a downward spiral for that director, producer or even studio? However, producing a low budget film and it being a success gives more money for a studio to fund an epic movie with amazing sets, talented actors and worldwide advertising in the future. This interconnected spiral can be seen positively and negatively in the UK Film industry from 1945 to the present day, and it was illustrated in the rise and fall of the Arthur Rank Organization.

J Arthur Rank - “Man behind the gong”

A prime mover in the funding and production on British films was J Arthur Rank with his organization “ The Rank Organization.” Rank was born in 1888 and made his fortune from his father’s flourmills. Rank was a devout Methodist and believed he was “drawn to the film industry by God.“ The flour industry did not interest Rank so in 1937 he gathered the studios he had already bought and made the Rank organization. Rank solved distribution problems by using the General Film Finance to buy out General Film distributors. By 1946 Rank owned 5 studios, 2 newsreels and 650 cinemas. Here is where the interconnected spiral is evident. Rank had some of the countries best independent directors working for him such as David Lean the director of the hit Brief Encounter. Brief Encounter is still seen as one of Britain’s best ever films coming in a second in the British Film Industry poll. Sadly, Brief encounter was one of very few films, which got substantial notice around this time. In 1951 cinema admissions stood at 1,365 million opposed to a huge 1.6 billion in 1946. This hit the UK film industry in a very bad way. The BFI states “the decline in attendance was accompanied, in many eyes, by a decline in standard” clearly indicating the downward spiral of events. Competing with such powerful continents as America producing the right genre of film for that time was crucial. Lindsay Anderson refers to the British cinema of this time as “snobbish, emotionally inhibited, and willfully blind to the conditions of the present, dedicated to an out-of-date, exhausted national idea.” Directors such as Lean were trying to continue a trend set during the war of old fashioned, upper-class, “love-tales” which were could never compete with action packed detective film or westerns. A change needed to happen, and it did. In 1951 the “Eady Levy” was created to help save British cinema. For every receipt from a cinema ticket money was paid to the British Film Fund Agency and in turn they made payments to British Film makers and other foundations. This...
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