chapter  2
13 Pages

Celluloid diplomacy: British film and official policy

This chapter w ill consider a selection of documents relating to the politics of the film industry which are located at the Public Record Office, Kew Gardens, London and at the National Archives, Washington DC. Many British govern­ ment departments generated fascinating material about film, including the Board of Trade, the Treasury, the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the M inistry of Information; the latter two are particularly useful for research into questions of censorship and propaganda. This chapter uses Board of Trade and Foreign Office files from 1937 and 1938, supplemented with reference to the US State Departments records (National Archives, Washington DC), to facilitate an interpretation of past discussions about film at the level of national and international politics. The controversies over the renewal of the 1927 Cinematograph Films Act provide a good example of how to place contextual debates at the centre of any attempt to make sense of films produced at the end of the 1930s, in this case a series of USfinanced films produced in the UK.