Filippo Del Giudice, Chance ȯf a Lifetime (1950) and British cinema in the 1940s
In this chapter I shall examine the work of Filippo Del Giudice, a controver sial producer of many key British films of the 1940s who, as the above quotations indicate, was noted by contemporaries as indispensable (Howard), inspirational (Olivier) and of considerable historical importance (Wood). The role of the film producer is a difficult one to research. W hile all contributions to a particular film are important (and the eclipse of auteurism notwithstanding), more often than not the director has received most of the critical attention. Responsible for initiating projects, arranging finance, labour and negotiating with distributors, at first glance the producer would appear to be a facilitator or, as Del Giudice defined it, an ‘administrator’ of the creative film production process. Research on primary documents can reveal a considerable amount of information about the multi-faceted tasks performed by producers and, as this case-study of Del Giudice reveals, the problems that arose when a producer challenged the prevailing economic power structure of the film industry in the 1940s, ironically by de-empha sizing his own role by granting directors, actors and other creative personnel a great deal of autonomy, and by seeking to develop a method for film distri bution that was more akin to theatrical models. The career of Del Giudice
40 British cinema in the 1940s
provides an apposite example of how to study both the role of the producer and his/her place in the economic and cultural context of cinema at a partic ular historical juncture.