+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    Hi! I would like to try to find out what films would be showing in British cinemas the last week of April 1948. I've been looking at IMDB to little avail - not all films have their release dates listed.



    If anyone has any ideas on where I can find this information, I'd greatly appreciate it. Internet searches are easiest for me, but I'll take on-the-ground ideas as well.



    Thanks!



    --sharon

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    Hi, Sharon and welcome to the forum.



    I can only give you the information regarding my own city of Stoke-on-Trent, as I have a complete run of cinema programme details for this city from 1929 to 1979. However, the titles below being new films on general release at the time, this is a pretty good guide as to what new films were showing nationally. It should first be noted that very few cinemas opened on a Sunday in those days, so these are the city centre programmes for the week beginning Monday, April 26th, 1948 (my first birthday):



    Odeon: Stewart Granger and Valerie Hobson in BLANCHE FURY (a) Technicolor.



    Regent: Eric Portman; Patricia Roc and Anne Crawford in MILLIONS LIKE US (u) also Abbott and Costello in ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS (u) plus The F.A. Cup Final



    Coliseum and Hippodrome cinemas: Greta Gynt; Jack Warner and Dennis Price in EASY MONEY (a) also Alan Curtis in FLIGHT TO NOWHERE (a) plus The F.A. Cup Final.



    Capitol: Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis in MARKED WOMAN (a) also George Raft and Edward G. Robinson in MANPOWER (a) plus Special Attraction: The Royal Silver Wedding (u).



    Danilo and Rio cinemas: Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in SAIGON (a) also Robert Lowery and Ann Savage in LADY CHASER (a).



    Alexandra and Broadway cinemas: Dennis Price and Anne Crawford in MASTER OF BANKDAM (a) also Donald Woods and Brenda Joyce in STEP CHILD (a)



    I hope this is of some help.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    David,



    Thanks! That's exactly what I was looking for, and is of a HUGE help. Quick and somewhat stupid question: what do the (a) and (u) stand for? I haven't run across those designations yet.



    --sharon

  4. #4
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    27,374
    Liked
    418 times
    Originally posted by SharonTheAmerican@May 14 2005, 05:48 PM

    David,



    Thanks! That's exactly what I was looking for, and is of a HUGE help. Quick and somewhat stupid question: what do the (a) and (u) stand for? I haven't run across those designations yet.



    --sharon
    They're the certificates that were in force back then.

    See BBFC site for full details of all certificates through the ages.



    U - A film specially recommended for children's matinee performances

    A - A film more suitable for adults, "without the least implication that it might not be shown to children, for the BBFC policy was that no film which was not 'clean and wholesome and above suspicion' should be given the sanction of any certification at all."



    Steve

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    Ah, I forgot to explain as you wouldn't know, being an American. They are certificates of the then British Board of Film Censors. When a "U" certificate film was being shown, it meant that it had been passed by the censors for Universal exhibition and was suitable for all ages. An "A" certificate denoted that the film was not really suitable for children, but that children were alllowed in to see it if accompanied by an adult. Later, in 1952, when the "X" certificate was introduced, this meant that no person under the age of 16 years was allowed in to see any part of the programme.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    Thank you!!!!! You've both been hugely helpful!



    --sharon

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    206
    Liked
    0 times
    You'll have to wait until Monday, but I can get you a list of everything reviewed in the April 1948 edition of the Monthly Film Bulletin, which should cover all the current releases for the period.



    That said, as David Rayner's list reveals, you should be aware that cinema releases ran along rather different lines back then. These days, films open more or less simultaneously across the country in hundreds of prints, but back then it was much more common practice for a relatively small handful of prints to open initially in London and then slowly make their way out to the provinces.



    For instance, if we look at the original UK release months of the titles he mentions,



    Blanche Fury - March 1948

    Millions Like Us - December 1943

    Easy Money - February 1948

    Flight to Nowhere - December 1947

    Marked Woman - May 1937

    Manpower - March 1942

    Saigon - December 1947

    Lady Chaser - November 1947

    Master of Bankdam - September 1947

    Stepchild - December 1947



    ...we can see that many of these titles only made it to Stoke-on-Trent quite a few months after their initial opening.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    Quite, right Wetherby. But at least Blanche Fury was only a month old when they ran it at the Odeon. That was a First Run house and usually got the new films fairly rapidly

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    Weatherby,



    Yep, I've been looking at those films just now on IMDB, and I've noted the original release dates. Extremely interesting!



    (And yes, I can totally wait for Monday. No rush on this by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks!)



    What I did think was interesting was that not all of the movies were UK in origin - other research I've been doing has said that during that time period, there was a hefty tax on foreign movies (around 75%). I'd figured that a tax that large would have ensured that anything other than British movies wouldn't be shown. Guess I was wrong!



    --sharon

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    There was also something called the barring system, which was in operation up until the early 1970's at least. This meant that the suburban cinemas couldn't run a new film until the city centre cinemas had finished with it (the ABC's; Gaumont's and Odeons, ect). That was unless the main cinemas weren't interested in booking the film and then the suburban cinemas could have it first.



    Fifty years ago, the cinema industry was still a big business in the UK, with around 5,000 cinemas. Even Stoke-on-Trent had 30 cinemas. They've all gone now, replaced by two multi-plexes, the Odeon and the Warner Village.



    From the 1950's onwarts, largely due to the advent of television, one by one, the cinemas started to close and were either demolished or turned into Bingo halls (and demolished later). Not even the introduction of CinemaScope and 70mm blockbusters could halt the decline in cinemagoing and when colour television was introduced in the late 1960's, the writing was on the wall.



    But the industry was its own worse enemy. Film companies sold hundreds of their films to television for quick money and no cinema manager, no matter how enterprising, could possibly hope to compete with that.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    *greedily soaks up knowledge. Mmm, knowledge.*



    David,



    So basically, a movie could have premiered in December of 1947, and still not shown in a particular theater for a good two or three or more months. Yikes.



    So why then are some of those movies on the list going on five years old? Were they not shown before because the theater was not able to get them, or is it because they were so popular, the managers decided to show them again?



    --sharon

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    206
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by SharonTheAmerican@May 15 2005, 03:09 AM

    So why then are some of those movies on the list going on five years old? Were they not shown before because the theater was not able to get them, or is it because they were so popular, the managers decided to show them again?
    It could easily be one or the other. Bear in mind that this was effectively the only way of catching up on older films - television was a minority pursuit for the extremely well-heeled, and even professional video recording was a decade away from being invented.



    There's also a strong probability that older films were both cheaper to book and easier to get hold of, as there wouldn't be so much demand for the prints. So a resourceful manager would balance a mixture of old and new.



    Also note the number of double bills in David's programme - again, this was common practice, and it was often the case that a new(ish) release would be supported by something older.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    206
    Liked
    0 times
    Incidentally, exactly the same system was operating in America - one of the reasons Jaws was such a pivotal film is that for pretty much the first time ever its distributors decided to go for broke, make thousands of prints and release them all more or less simultaneously, thus giving birth to the modern blockbuster.



    Prior to this, a much smaller number of prints would gradually progress from state to state, in much the same way that they toured Britain. It was a much more cost-effective way of operating, and meant that even if the film flopped the losses wouldn't be that great. Independent distributors still work like this, for exactly the same reasons - I don't know how many prints of, say, Vera Drake were made, but I'd guess double rather than triple figures, and there was duly a three-month gap between its London opening and when it played at my small local cinema.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    264
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by SharonTheAmerican@May 15 2005, 02:09 AM

    .........................So basically, a movie could have premiered in December of 1947, and still not shown in a particular theater for a good two or three or more months. Yikes........................

    --sharon
    Well, I was brought up in the far north of Scotland during the fifties and sixties and it was not unusual for a popular film print to take up to a year to reach our local cinema (we only had one) and by then the print quality was sometimes quite dire. The real film enthusiasts would travel over 100 miles by train to Inverness to watch 'big' films that were only 2 or 3 months old.

    Things had improved somewhat by the mid-sixties though I remember waiting until August 1966 before I got the chance to see 'The Bedford Incident'. It sticks in my memory 'cos I got called out of the cinema halfway through and it was nearly 20 years later that I finally saw how it ended.

    The perspective viewpoint between release date and possible viewing date of movies back in the mists of time was as much dependant upon geography as it was on box-office takings. Cinema localities with potentially large viewing audiences would receive print delivery much sooner than other areas. Also, as far as I know, the big cinema chains would only order a pre-determined number of prints run off for distribution which only later would filter down to the 'sticks' as takings dropped off in the bigger metropolitan areas as newer films were released. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/no.gif[/img]

  15. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    This is really interesting - thank you, all of you! I'm sitting here in front of my computer completely fascinated by every word!



    --sharon

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    For some reason, many big feature films in the 1950's and 1960's in the UK were given their First Provincial Screening (first screening outside the West End of London) here in Stoke-on-Trent. For instance, the George Baker / Sylvia Syms swashbuckler, THE MOONRAKER, was shown here on the ABC circuit on Sunday, June 22nd, 1958, for seven days. The rest of the country had to wait until its General Release on Sunday, August 3rd before they could get to see it.



    Maybe the powers that be in those days in Wardour Street were of the opinion that if a film went down well in Stoke-on-Trent, it would go down well anywhere.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    264
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by SharonTheAmerican@May 14 2005, 12:32 PM

    Hi! I would like to try to find out what films would be showing in British cinemas the last week of April 1948. I've been looking at IMDB to little avail - not all films have their release dates listed.



    If anyone has any ideas on where I can find this information, I'd greatly appreciate it. Internet searches are easiest for me, but I'll take on-the-ground ideas as well.



    Thanks!



    --sharon


    Snippet from the BFI's Screenonline website which may prove enlightening:



    'an all-time peak of 1,635 million admissions was reached in 1946. However, building restrictions meant that new cinemas could not be build in areas of expanding population nor war-damaged ones repaired. A tax dispute, which resulted in Hollywood withholding new films for nine months in 1947-48 and encouraged the hasty production of inferior British pictures, did little harm, but several factors contributed to the slow decline in attendances up to the mid-1950s'



    Link to screenonline for much more info.

  18. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by plasticjock@May 16 2005, 05:14 AM

    Snippet from the BFI's Screenonline website which may prove enlightening:



    'an all-time peak of 1,635 million admissions was reached in 1946. However, building restrictions meant that new cinemas could not be build in areas of expanding population nor war-damaged ones repaired. A tax dispute, which resulted in Hollywood withholding new films for nine months in 1947-48 and encouraged the hasty production of inferior British pictures, did little harm, but several factors contributed to the slow decline in attendances up to the mid-1950s'



    Link to screenonline for much more info.
    Thanks for the information - I didn't know about this site, but it looks much more informative on UK films than imdb. (Big shock.) But to play Devil's Advocate a little (a role I highly enjoy, so don't take it personally, please):



    According to the research I've found, the tax - called the Dalton Duty - wasn't just against American films - it was on all foreign films, and one of the reasons it was implemented was to promote British film-making. It was a hefty tax, too - around 75%, although I haven't found any indication of whether or not this tax was passed on to the public or not.



    I sort of doubt it, personally. A look at average ticket prices shows that from the period of 1945 to 1948, ticket prices were stable around 1/5 (that's 1s5p, if I don't have the notation right). Statistics here. If the cost had been passed on to the consumer, I would imagine that average ticket price would have risen, even if just a small bit.



    Which tells me that someone had to be paying those taxes - either the cinema managers, the distributors, or the Hollywood suits. Either way, it's definately an incentive to not show anything but British films.



    (Mind, the tax wasn't just about films. Films were just one of the factors, and a very small four percent of the overall issue at hand, which included foodstuff and other necessities.)



    At least, that's how I'm understanding it....



    --sharon

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    343
    Liked
    0 times
    Looking through my programme records for that period, it seems to me that at least half of the films being shown in the local UK cinemas were American films.

  20. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    8
    Liked
    0 times
    Originally posted by DAVID RAYNER@May 16 2005, 02:53 PM

    Looking through my programme records for that period, it seems to me that at least half of the films being shown in the local UK cinemas were American films.
    Makes me wonder just who was paying that tax, anyway. My first thought was the audience with higher ticket prices - but if the average didn't go up, I'm inclined to think it was someone else.



    --sharon

Similar Threads

  1. Range of films cinemas should be showing
    By Sgt Sunshine in forum General Film Chat
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 28-04-09, 06:39 PM
  2. Films on TV (7th+ April)
    By DB7 in forum Films on TV
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-04-09, 11:55 AM
  3. 1950's films showing 'work'/cost of living
    By irenehandl in forum Ask a Film Question
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 31-10-08, 07:45 PM
  4. Brit films showing at FFW in Bradford
    By Peer Lawther in forum British Films and Chat
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 14-05-08, 12:25 PM
  5. Channel 4 showing Widescreen 2.35:1 films?
    By Quiller in forum British Television
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-07-06, 02:19 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts