Film Industry

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.


“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 effectively saved the British Film Industry through mostly the 1950’s and 60’s.

Through the 50’s the most popular genre, strangely, was War films. They were the only genre which could compete with the American Westerns in Technicolor, a format which drew audiences in the masses. With no surprise Lean, a director under Ranks organization, directed the biggest international success The Bridge on the River Kwai (d. David Lean, 1957). Another genre which had huge success was comedy, and under Ranks Ealing Studios the “carry on films were being made. British cinema was growing again as it used funding not to produce epics or depressing love stories but films for the “families.

” Overall, the Eady Levy opened many doors for studios and filmmakers as they now had a huge incentive to invest money in films as funding was available. From this a whole new outlook on British Cinema was created and it was called British new wave. The levy also gave filmmakers from all over the world the incentive to produce in Britain. US studios acted on the Levy and produced around “170 films in Britain between 1950 and 1959. ” This was called “Runaway Productions. ” Due to the conditions of the Levy funding was greater than ever. The interconnected spiral continues. It was made a law in 1957 and remained until 1984.

The US The Us have not always affected the development of the UK Film industry in a positive way. Previous to the “British New Wave” the US was one of the main factors to why British cinema took such a huge fall. Following World War 2 the US was able to keep constant distribution of great Hollywood movies. The attraction of these movies raised the bar in terms of production, directing and acting. Hollywood produced global stars such as Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn making it more difficult for British stars to reach their level without he enthusiasm of massive funding.

As previously mentioned, the U. S as a nation were not financially or, as much as Britain, aesthetically damaged which gave them the opportunity to churn out more “feel good” love stories, epics and continue to fill their cinemas with musicals. The British government was focused on rebuilding the info structure damaged during the blitz than funding movies for the population. This obviously gave them a much better chance on moving ahead in the movie industry. Spirits were much higher in American and Hollywood cinema played a big role in this.

The success of the films was infectious to British actors, producers and directors. Prior to the war, Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most well respected directors of all time, continued his career in Hollywood. During the 1940’s and 50’s Hitchcock was able to director and produce 25 films opposed to shy 14 from David Lean, one of the UK’s leading directors. This indicates the huge amount of funding available to directors and filmmakers in America, as Hitchcock was by far the only big director of this time. Effect of Home Entertainment.

In 1950 – 57 the amount of television sets in the United Kingdom increase from 4% to 50%. This massive increase at the time played a vital role in the decrease of cinemagoers, as it was free and readily available to each homeowner. How it effected funding from 1957 (The same year the Eady Levy was introduced) is very obvious. Television was becoming more advanced which was only damaging to the cinemas, as Britain did not begin to see multiplex cinemas until the 1980’s. Television hindered many attractions but the main one of course was the price.

As the country itself was growing more people who lived in the suburban areas preferred to enjoy film in the comfort of their own home. After funding was being given to filmmakers in the 60’s and the success of the Bond movies, cinema admissions and interest in television were neck and neck. Television was now being blamed for the decline of 400 million cinema admissions. Situations did not improve for cinemas as video cassette player were introduced by 1974. Being yet another form of home entertainment video drew people away from the cinemas.

Secondly, this hit funding of UK film in a bad way as video could also be copied illegally not giving any money to the studios that originally produce them. On the hand, the rise of video and video stores had a positive effect on the funding of the UK film industry as British made films were being sold. These films usually made from very low budgets and made independent directors and producers began to make a name for themselves. From the lack of funding film making in the 80’s producers were forced to try something new just like in the 50’s and 60’s with detective and comedy movies.

However, time was running out for filmmakers to produce movies straight to video as Thatcher enforced the video recordings act in 1984 which meant videos had to be thoroughly censored due to an outburst of highly offensive horror film, “the video nasties. ” Following the abolishment of many levies, which contributed to the funding of many British films, the UK needed another way of financially supporting their movies. Tax, Quotas, Lottery funding Due to the abolishment of so many tax credits and quotas throughout the 1970’s and 80’s yet another way of funding the UK film industry needed to be found.

In 1991 the British Film Commission was founded which gives “free professional advice to help productions in the UK a reality. ” Although the British Film Commission helped a great deal it was not strong enough on its own. In 1992 it started to give tax relief for money spend on productions via the finance act. Finally in 1995 the government used lottery money to fund the industry. Conclusion Through an in-depth analysis of the UK film industry it is clear to see it has not been easy to create such a well-respected industry as we see it today.

In choosing funding as my main analysis I was able to closely research each positive and negative factor, which effected British films development. The film industry could of evolved into something completely different if factors such as its race with America and competition with television. In my personal opinion they way in which the UK film industry has developed has worked perfectly giving film makers more time to perfect each genre, such as comedy. Beginning a real comedy franchise with the Carry on Movie is no better way to expand such comedic genius.

Furthermore, the Bond franchise makes me proud to be British. All over the world the charming, fearless heartthrob has never failed to entertain even to this day over forty years on. It is clear to see that without funding the film industry in general would suffer greatly as we have seen in 1945 through till 1960’s. Overall I believe that television had the effect on the development of the film industry as it drew masses of people away from cinemas leaving producers and studios with no income from their movies.

It is a great shame that the decline in attendees to the cinemas has continued to drop since the “Golden Days” however without such strong public figures as Rank its survival and development would of discontinued. § Bibliography Bakker, G. (2010). Film, Music and Videogames. BIS ECONOMICS PAPER. 6 (2), p18-55. Belson, W. (1958). The Effect of Television on Cinema Going. Educational Technology Research and Development. 6 (3), p131-139. BFC. (2012). Crew and Facilities. Available: http://www. britishfilmcommission. org. uk/. Last accessed 15th Aug 2012. BFI. (2002). BFI: A New Era for British Film .

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Last accessed 15th Aug 2012. House of Lords. (2010). The British film and television industries—decline or opportunity?. Select Committee on Communications. 1 (1), p45-92. Street, S (2009). British National. 2nd ed. USA: Routledge. p25-30. Stubbs, J. (2009). The Eady Levy: A Runaway Bribe? Hollywood Production and British Subsidy in the Early 1960s. Journal of British Cinema and Television. 6 (1), p1-20. Filmography Brief Encounter, 1945. Film. Directed by David LEAN. UK: Cineguild The Bridge On The River Kwai, 1957. Film. Directed by David LEAN. UK: Columbia Pictures