Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Moving Picture Industry in Australia - Royal Commission - Report


Download PDF Download PDF

1926-27 -28'.

I

P ARLIAlVIENT OF THE · OF AUSTRALIA.

OF THE

AL COMMISSION

ON THE

I

MOVING PICTURE INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA.

Presented by Command, 26th April, 1928; ordered to be printed, 31'd May, 1928.

[CoBt of Paper :-Preparation, not given; 1,050 copies; approximate cost of printing and publishing, £50.]

Printed and Published for the GovERNMENT of the CoMMONWEALTH of Aus'rR.A.LI.A. by H. J. GREEN, Government Printer, Canberra.

No. 227.-F.418.-PRJCE ls. 3n.

1 371

Terms of Reference

List of Witnesses

Part I .-Introduction to Report Part H.-Importation of Cinematograph Films

Part IlL-Film Censbrship-Appeai Board

Part TV.-Distribution of Films

Part V.-Exhibitors and the Exhibition of Films

Part VI.-Film Production in Australia

Part VII.-The Quota System

Part VIII.-The Cinema and the Community-·

The Film and Native Races Children Educational Films

Part IX.-Financial Aspects

Part X.-Taxation

Part Xl.-'-British Films

Part XII.-Customs Duty

Part. XIIL-" Know Your Own Country" Series,

Part XIV.-Commonwealth and State Legislation -Part XV.-Conclusion · ..

S11mmary of Recommendations

. ;

1 7 3

t' AUE. iv

v

1

2

4

8

9

10

11

14

17

18 18 20

20

22

23

24

25

2'6

26

28

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA.

GEORGE THE FIFTH, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of G1·eat Britain anu Ireland and of the Briti"h Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Empei'Or of India:

To our trusty and well-beloved

GREETING:

WALTER MOFFITT MARKS, Esquire, M.P. ; Senator WALTER LESLIE DUNCAN ; Senator JoHN GRANT; Senator the Honorable HERBERT HAYS; FRANCIS MicHAEL FoRDE, Esquire, M.P. ;

The Honorable HENRY GREGORY, M.P. ; and LEWIS WINDERMERE NOTT, Esquire, M.P.

KNOW YE thai, We do by these Our Letters Patent, issued in Our name by Our Governor-General of Our Commonwealth of Australia, acting with the advice of Our Federal Executive Council, and in pursuance of the Constitution of Our said Commonwealth, the Royal Commissions Act 1902- 1912, and all other powers him the1·eunto enabling, appoint you to be Gommissione1·s to inquire into and report on the

moving pictu.re industry in Australia, and, without limiting the generality of the forego ing, to inquire particu.larly into :-(a) importation, production, distribution, and exhibition of moving picture films; (b) The incidence and effect of the Customs Tariff upon the importation of such films and the sufficiency or otherwise of existing duties of Customs ; (c) The sufficiency or otherwise of the existing income tax law of the Commonwealth in relation to persons firms and

engaged in the industry ; and (d) In connexion with any or all of the foregoin{f matters, the income, profits, exp enditure and losses of such pe1·sons, firms and companies derived from, or incurred in connexion with, the industry, and the amount of capital inve8led in the indust1·y.

AND WE appoint you, the said WALTER MoFFITT MaRKS to be the Chairman of the said Commissioners :

AND WE direct that, for the purpose of taking evidence, four Commissioners shall be sufficient to constitute a quorum, and may proceed with the inqui1·y under these Our L etters Patent :

AND WE require you, with as little delay as possible, to report to Our Governor-General of Our said Commonwealth the 1·esult of your inquiries into the entnt.8ted to you by these Our Letters Patent.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent and the Seal of Ou1· said Commonwealth to be hereunto affixed.

(L .s .)

WI1'NESS Our Right Trusty and Well-beloved Counsellor, JoHN LAWRENCE , BARON STONEHAVEN, Knight Grand Gross of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint Geoi'(Je, Companion of Our Distinguished Service Order, Our Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Our Commonwealth of Australia, this twenty­ eighth day of .May, in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and twenty-seven, and in the eighteenth year of Our Reign. '

STONEHAVEN, Governor-General.

By His Excellency's Gomm.and,.

S.M. BRUCE, Prime Minister.

Entered on Record by me, in Register of Patents, No. 56, page 10, this thirtieth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and t-wenty-seven. P . E. DEANE.

LIST OF WITNESSES.

Adams, Miss Jean, Representative for Fox Film Corporation Ltd., Launceston, Tasmania Agnew, Robert, Assistant Teacher, Junior Technical School, Maroubra Junction, New South Wales Andrewartha, Edwin Percy, Secretary, Police Department, and Member of State Censor Board, Hobart Andrews, Mrs. Bertha Arnold, Honorary Secretary, Mothers' Union Council, Perth.. . . . . . .

Andrews, Phillip Llewellyn, ex-Film Exchange Manager, Hobart . . . . . . . . . .

Anthoness, Thomas Richard Tallis, Manager, Cremorne and Majestic Theatres, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia . . Appleby, Phillip Norman, Vice-President, Motion Picture Exhibitors' Associati9n of Western Australia, Perth Bailey, Mrs. Nora Annie, Vice-President, Women's Vigilance Society, Melbourne . . Baker, Walter Edward, President, Actors' Federation, Sydney . . . . . .

Balcombe, Gordon Tyrrwhit, a Managing Director of Union Theatres Ltd., and Australasian Films Ltd., Sydney Barkley, William Henry, Collector of Customs, Sydney . . . . . . . . . . . .

Barr, William John Cook, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Melbourne .. Barrett, Charles, Secretary, League of Child Helpers, Melbourne Barrett, Franklyn, Motion Picture Producer, Randwick, New South Wales Barrett, Sir James William, Vice-President, Health Society of Australia, Melbourne Bath, John Morley, Proprietor, Rigby's Ltd., Adelaide Beckett, James Thornton, Journalist, Sydney Bellion, William Washington, Motion Picture Exhibitor, New Oxford Theatre, Leederville, Western Australia .. Besly, Kenneth Allen, Importer of Phonograph Records,. Sydney Beveridge, Elton, Counsel, Baker, and Beveridge, Majestic Pictures, Burnie, Tasmania Biggins, Harry Vernon, Headmaster, State High School, Devonport, Tasmania Bignell, Miss Annie Muriel, General Secretary, Young Women's Christian Association, Adelaide Bird, Reverend Harold Wallace, The Rectory, Subiaco, Western Australia Black, Ron: George, M.L.C., ex-Film Censor, Sydney .. Blandford, Frank Victor, Manager, Regent Picture Theatre, Thornbury, Victoria Bluett, Albert Robert, Secretary, Local Government Association of New South Wales, Sydney Bowman, Mrs. Elizabeth Haigh, President, National Council of Women of South Australia, Adelaide .. Boyce, William Frederick Charles, Managing Director, National Pictures Ltd., Adelaide Boyle, William Lester, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Central Theatre, Adcl.aide Boynes, Albert George, Manager, Tropical Pictures, Cairns, Queensland .. Brandt, Dr. John Lincoln, Representing the Council of Churches of Victoria, Melbourne Brennan, Dr. Edwin Thomas, Medical Practitioner, Sydney Brennan, Martin Charles, Editor, Film Weekly, Sydney Brigden, Professor James Bristock, Professor of Economics, University of Tasmania,· Hobart Brodziak, Henry Jacob, Exploitation Representative, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Limited, Sydney Bruce, John Alwyn Seves, Cameraman, Commonwealth Film Laboratories, Redfern, New South Wales

Buchanan, George Thomas, ex-Motion Picture Exhibitor, Wahroonga, New South Wales Bulley, Albert Henry, Inspector, State Children's Department, Perth Burnell, Mrs. Eliza, Justice of the Peace, Burnie, Tasmania Campbell, Leo, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Capitol Pictures, Latrobe, Tasmania

Carmichael, Alfred Robert, Queensland, Manager, Famous Lasky Film Service Ltd., Brisbane Carroll, Daniel Joseph, Managing Director, Prince Edward Theatre, Sydney, &c ... Cartwright, Bertram Tasman Felix, ex-Motion Picture Exhibitor, Devonport, Tasmania Casper, Henry, Justices' Association of Western Australia, Perth Chapman, Henry William, Sharncliffe, Sandgate, Brisbane Chapman, William Lang, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Strand Pictures, Townsville, Queensland Chauvel, Charles Edward, Motion Picture Producer, Australian Film Productions Ltd., Brisbane Clapham, Stanley, Theatre Manager, Gladstone Theatres Ltd., Gladstone, Queensland Clemenger, William Ralph, Part Proprietor and Manager, Town Hall Pictures, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia Clifford, Daniel, Managing Director, D. Clifford's Theatres Ltd., Adelaide Cocks, Miss Fanny Kate Boadicea, Principal of Women Police, Adelaide .. Coman, Joseph, Sub-Inspector of Police, Brisbane Coombe, Sir Thomas Melrose, Tlieatre Proprietor, Perth Coutts, Compton, Moving Picture Actor, Sydney

Cowan, Lady Winnifred, President, British Council of Patriotic Leagues, London .. Cowan, Mrs. Edith Dircksey, National Council of Women, Perth, and Member of Children's Court Bench, Perth Cox, Miss Emily Constance, Women's Christian Temperance Union, Hobart Crawford, Robert Henry, Secretary for Education and Chairman of State Film Censor Board, Hobart Crick, Stanley Sadler, Managing Director, Fox Film Corporation (Aj sia) Ltd., Sydney Dalziel, Allen Henry, Secretary, Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League, Adelaide Darling, Roy, Motion Picture Importer and Distributor, Sydney Dawson, Theodore Wesley, Assistant Master, Scots College, Sydney Dean, George Best, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Hobart Deans, Reverend Absalom, Representative of Council of Churches of Victoria, Melbourne Deering, Harold, Chief Secretary's Department, Sydney Dexter, Robert James, Editor-in-Chief, Everyones, Sydney Down, Robert Henry, Officer-in-Charge, Children's Courts, Melbourne Doyle, Ralph Raymond,Managing Director, United Artists (Aj sia) Ltd., Sydney . . . . . . Doyle, Stuart Frank, a Managing Director of Union Theatres Ltd., and Australasian Films Ltd., Sydney

Duncan, Alfred, Manager, Educational Service, Australasian Films Ltd., Sydney Dunlop, Thomas Alberto, Mayor of Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland

1 75

vi

Eales, Joseph Herbert, Member of the Children's Court Bench; Perth .. Edwards, Mrs. Hilda Violet, Mothers' Union Council, Perth Edwards, Sydney William, Secretary, Australasian Performing Right Association, Sydney English, Patrick, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Malanda, Queensland . . . . . . 1 ••

Farnell, Thomas William, Police Magistrate, Rockhampton, Queensland · Farrell, George Pritchard, M.L.A., Legislative Assembly, Brisbane Feldt, John Arthnr, Proprietor, Sun Pictures, Townsville Fenwick, Osborn James, Federated Picture Showroen of Australia (Queensland Branch), Brisbane

Ferguson, George Andrew, Director, State Children Department, BriHbane Ferguson, Thomas Edmund, Secretary, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Ltd., Sydney Finlay, Herbert Cecil, Producer, 12 Thompson Street, DarlinghurHt, Rydney Flynn, Justin Vaughan, Melbourne Representative of Everyones, Melbourne Fordyce, Miss Elizabeth. Head Mistress, Dnlwicb Hill Domestic Science School, Duhvich Hill

Freeman, Norman Bernard, Managing Director, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Limited, Sydney Fulton, Claude Victor, General Manager, National Pictures Limited, Adelaide .. Sargent John, Secretary, First National Pictures (Aj sia.) Ltd., Sydney

Garran, Sir Robert Randolph, Solicitor-General for the Comrnowealth, Canberra Garrick, Thomas Arthur, Rockhampton Manager for Birch, Carroll, and Coyle, Rockhampton, Queensland .. Gavin, John F., Motion Picture Actor, Sydney Gibson, William Alfred, General Manager, Australasian Films Ltd., and a Managing Director of Union Theatres

Ltd., Melbourne Good, Frederick Daniel, Justices' Association, Perth .. Goode, Mrs. Agnes Knight, Justice of the Peace and Member of the State Censor Board, Adelaide .. Griffith, George Frederick, Managing Director, Hoyt's Theatres Limited, Melbourne

Griffiths, Charles Llewellyn, Journalist, Bunda berg, Queensland Guthrie, Senator James Francis, The Senate, Canberra Gyles, Harry John Wilmot, Director, New Ascot Theatre, Ascot Vale, Victoria Halley, Dr. Ida Gertrude Margaret, Principal Medical Officer, Education Department, Adelaide Hancock, George Richard, Proprietor, Bon Accord and Mascot Picture Theatres, Sandgate, Queensland Hansen, Martin Peter, Acting Director of Education, Education Department, Melbourne .. Hardy, Charles Thomas, Managing Director, Selznick Pictures (Aust.) Ltd., Sydney Hargraves, Cecil, Film Cutter, Sydney Harvie, Harold Joseph, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Healesville, Victoria· Hawkins, Horace John, ex-Secretary, Film Renpers' Association, Brisbane Hawkins, Stanley William, Managing Director, DeForest Phono:films (Aust.) Ltd., Sydney Rayle, Gerald MacRorie, Motion Picture Producer, Melbourne Healey, Charles William, Scenario Writer, Nagambie, Victoria Hellmrich, Alexander Brooks, Motion Exploiteer, Melbourne Herschell, Charles Richard, Managing Director, Herschell's Pty. Ltd., Melbourne Hewitt, Thomas Sinton, Manager, Memorial Theatre, St. Kilda, Victoria Heyward, Claude William, Proprietor, Exclusive Features, Melbourne .. Hicks, John vV., jun., Managing Director, Famous Lasky Film Service Ltd., Sydney Hohler, William Learmonth, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Rockhampton, Queensland Frank ,Richard, Secretary, Universal Film Manufacturing Co. (Ajsia.) Ltd., Sydney

Hootton,_ Miss Henrietta, Hon. Parents and Citizens' Association, Perth Howe, W:illiam Joseph, President, Federated Picture Showmen's Association of Australia, Sydney Huckerby, Albert Edward, General Secretary, Australian Theatrical and Amusement Employees' Association, Melbourne Hurley, James Francis, Picture Producer, Sydney Ireland, Charles David, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Alderley Theatre, Brisbane Jackson; George, Bowen-terrace, Brisbane .. Jackson, Lawrence Stanley, Secretary, Federal Taxation Department, Melbourne Johnson, Oscar St. John, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Waterside Workers' Hall Pictures, Townsville, Queens-

land

Johnston, Ernest William, Musical Director, Melbourne Jones, Mrs. Doris Arnies Beresford, President, Women's Christian Temperance Union, Melbourne Jones, Mrs. Edith, President, Victorian Women's Citizen Movement, Melbourne Jones, John Corbett, Managing Director, First National Pictures (A/sia.) Ltd., Sydney Joyner, Mrs. Ethel Rose Paterson, President, Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia, Perth J uchau, Percy James, Motion Picture Producer, Sydney Jull, Dr. Roberta Henrietta, Medical Officer for Schools, Education Department, Perth .. Kea!t, Leslie John, General Manager, Cinema Art Films Ltd., Sydney ..

Kellow, Henry Arthur, Headmaster, Boys' Grammar School, Rockhampton, Queensland Kerr, James Stevingstone, M.L.A., Australian Film Productions Ltd., Brisbane .. Kirwan, Herbert Dominick, Motion Picture Producer, Brisbane Kothe, Henry Ernest, Commonwealth Film Censorship Staff, Sydney .. Kruger, Albert Herman, Western Australian Representative for Australasian Films Ltd., Perth Lashmar, Ernest, Manager, Chappell and Co., Ltd., Sydney Laver, Miss Constance Harriet, Queen's Walk, Melbourne Leake, Charles Edward, New Gti:inea Trade Agency, Sydney Longford, Raymond Hollis, Motion Picture Producer, Roseville, Sydney Longford, Victor Hollis, Scenario Writer, Roseville, Sydney Lovely, Miss Louise, Motion Picture Actress and Producer, Melbourne .. \ Lowther, Frederick Leslie, Author, Sydney · Lyall, William, Machinery Sales Manager, Australasian Films Ltd., Melbourne Macdonald, Alexander, Motion Picture Producer, Edinburgh ..

vii

Macdonald, Mrs. Amelia, Vice-President, Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia, Perth MacLaren, Charles James Torrance, Southern Cross Film Productions Ltd., St. Kilda, Victoria Malins, c) o Overseas Dept., Board of Trade, London Mallalieu, Mrs. Edith Agnes, Secretary, National Council of Women, Brisbane Marsden, Miss Grace, Honorary Secretary, Good Film League, Sydney

Marshall, Vaughan Campbell, Motion Picture Producer, Melbourne Mason, Ferguson Brough, Manager, Princess Theatre, Launceston; Tasmania Mason, Mrs. Mary Clement, Britannia Film Distributors, Sydney Mayer, Mrs. Minnie Grace, Minna's Theatrical Enterprises, Townsville, Queensland McCaul, Terence Michael, Head Teacher, State School, Gladstone, Queensland ..

McCrae, Herbert, Western Australian Manager for Universal Film Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Perth McDonagh, Miss Isabel Lysia, Motion Picture Producer, Drummoyne, New South Wales .. McGeorge, John, Motion Picture Producer, Paddington, New South Wales • . . . . .

Mcintyre, Hercules Christian, Managing Director, Universal Film Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Sydney McLachlan, Alban, Inspector, Education Department, Sydney McLeish, Robert, President, Victorian Motion Picture Exhibitors' Association, Melbourne McQueen, Dr. Ewen Neil, President, Good Film League, Sydney, and Principal, Presbyterian Ladies' College,

Croydon . . . . . . . . . .. . . , . . . . . . . .

Mellefont, William Peel, Managing Director, Gladstone Theatres Ltd., Gladstone, Queensland Mellows, Mrs. Elizabeth, Women Justices' Association of Western Australia, Perth Moeller, George William, Film Salesman, Sydney Moorehead, Arthur, Journalist, Melbourne . . 1 Moorehouse, Thomas Edward, Australian Association of British Manufacturers, Melbourne

Morris, Mrs. Emma Sarah, Member of State Censor Board, Adelaide Murphy, Frederick Edwin, Motion Picture Producer, Perth Murray, John, President, Brisbane Sub-Branch Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League, Brisbane Muscio, Mrs. Florence Mildred, Good Film League, Sydney

Naylor, Rufus Theodore, Managing Director, Empire Theatres Ltd., Sydney Nelson, Charles Andrew, Secretary, Mutual Film Exchange Pty. Ltd., Melbourne Nelson, Frank Lionel, Managing Director, Victory Theatre, St. Kilda, Victoria · .. Nelson, Mrs. Ruby Mary B., Lessee, Lyric Palace Pictures, Boulder, Western Australia

Newman, Tasman Alban, Theatre Proprietor, Scottsdale, Tasmania Nicholls, Dr. Brooke, Melbourne . . _

Nicholson, Rev. Reginald Chapman, Organizing Secretary, Methodist Foreign Missions, Adelaide Nye, Geoffrey, ex-Film Distributor, Sydney O'Brien, Charles David, Police Magistrate, Bundaberg, Queensland . ;

O'Brien, William, Vice-President, Brisbane Sub-Branch Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League, Brisbane O'Reilly, Walter Creswell, Commonwealth Film Censor, .Sydney Osborne, Miss Wendy Macdonald, Motion Picture Actress, Edinburgh Pashley, Mrs. Jane, Empire Pictures, Rockhampton, Queensland

Patterson, Joseph, Inspector, State Children Department, Rockhampton, Queensland Pearmine, Alfred Arthur Athol, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Northam, Western.Australia Peverill, Harry Andrew, Manager, Majestic Theatre, Launceston, Tasmania Phillips, Frederick, Managing Director, Phillips Film Productions Ltd., Sydney .. Phillips, Herman Frank, Managing Director, Capitol Theatre, Melbourne

Pierson, Percy Roach, Secretary, Navy League, Melbourne Player, Dr. Charles Richard, Special Magistrate, Children's Court, Melbourne Pottinger, Eldred, Motion Picture Exhibitor, Melbourne Pratt, Mrs. Ruby Elizabeth, Girls' Friendly Society, Perth

Rattray, Douglas Garland, Proprietor, Paramount Picture Palace, Bundaberg, Queensland Reed, Miss Elsie Sleeman, Secretary, Young Women's Christian Association, Brisbane Rees, Albert, Brisbane Sub-Branch, Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League, Brisbane Rees, Mrs. Elizabeth Lawrie, Honorary Secretary, Women's Christian Temperance Union, Melbourne Rich, Miss Ruby, President, Federated Women's Societies of New South Wales, Sydney .. Ridley, Walter George, Peoples Pictures Ltd., Mackay, Queensland

Roach, Leonard Nairn, Secretary, British Dominions f?ilms Pty. Ltd., Melbourne Robinson, Edgar Norman, Publicity Officer, Development and Migration Commission, Melbourne Roos, Leonard Hally, Cameraman, Sydney .. Rowlands, Mrs. Vera Leigh, Women's Non-Political IJeague, Hobart

Rust, Albert Collingb0urne, Patron, Parkerville Children's Home, Parkerville, Western Australia Ryalls, John Thomas, ex-Motion Picture Exhibitor, Gladstone, Sampson, Richard Stanley, Roads Boards Association, Perth .. Sanders, Robert Michael, Journalist, Melbourne

Scott, Robert, Manager, Olympia Theatre, Bundaberg, Queensland Segerberg, Albert Oscar, Motion Picture Producer, Mosman, New South Wales •• '

Shannon, ·Cecil John, Manager, His Majesty's Theatre, Hobart .. Sharp, Cyril John Crutchfield, Managing Director, Commonwealth Film Laboratories, Redfern, New South Wales Sholl, Harold Edgar, Journalist, Melbourne ·

Simons, John Joseph, Director, Young Australia League, Perth Sixsmith, James Ainsworth, Rec!'ot.gr,·, Famous Lasky Film Service Ltd., Sydney Smith, Frederick Thomas, Cowper-:::;treet, Bulimba, Brisbane .. Smith, Fred/erick William, Paramount Theatre, Townsville, Queensland . . . .

Smith, Mrs. Ivy Blanche Olive, President, Tasmanian Women's Graduates Association, Hobart Smith, Thomas George, Optician, Perth

1 37 7

viii

Solomons, Nathan, Chairman of Directors, Greater Wondergraph Co. Ltd., Adelaide Steiner, Cecil William, Manager, Palace Theatre, Cairns, Queensland .. Stops, Frank Norwood, Police Magistrate, Devonport, Tasmania Strack, Frederick William, Director, Phillips Film Productions Ltd., Melbourne Stuart, Frederick Edwin, Manager, "The Photoplayer," Sydney

Taylor, George Frederick E. A., Manager, Theatre Royal Pictures, Mackay, Queensland Terry, Michael, Melbourne Thomas, Lewis, Secretary, Children's Welfare Department, Melbourne •. Thomas, Richard Gawyn Lloyd, Journalist, Sydney Tildesly, Beatrice Maude, Good Film League, Sydney Trehearn, Frederick William, Moving Picture Operator, Melbourne Trevelyan, Cecil George Patrick, General Secretary, Musicians' Union, Melbourne Turnbull, Ernest J., Production Manager, Herschell's Pty. Ltd., Melbourne Turner, Frederick William, ex-Motion Picture Exhibitor, Sydney Wallace, Professor Robert Strachan, Chief Commonwealth Film Censor, Melbourne Ward, Frederick, Journalist, Sydney Wardrop, Gabriel, Head Teacher, State School, Leederville, Western Australia Waterman, Hugh Mcintyre, Ozone Theatres, Adelaide Waterworth, Mrs. Edith Alice, Member of State Censor Board, Hobart Watson, George John, Manager, Greater Imperial Films, Sydney Watson, Miss Phebe Naomi, Senior Lecturer, Teachers' College, Adelaide Watts, Jack, Western Australian Manager for Hoyt's Theatres Ltd., Perth Webb, Dunstan Michael, Motion Picture Actor, 'Sydney West, Rev. Albert Edward, Congregational Chui'ch, Longueville, Sydney Wheatley, Arnold Augustus, Vice-President, Motion Picture Exhibitors' Association of Western Australia, Perth White, Percy Charles, Director, Marchant's Ltd., Sydney Whitford, Archer Phillip, Part Proprietor, "Everyones," Sydney Wild, Elton, Secretary, Fox Film Corporation (Ajsia) Ltd., Sydney Wilkinson, Harold Launcelot, Brighton, Victoria Williamson, William Henry, Parents and Citizens' Association, Maroubra Junction, New South Wales Willmont, Charles, Star Court Pictures, Mackay, Queensland .. Wilson, George Brandon, Commonwealth Film Censorship Staff, Sydney Wilson, Sir Reginald Victor, President, Motion Picture Distributors of Australia, Sydney Winterflood, William John, General Manager, Birch, Carroll, and Coyle, Brisbane Wood, John Henderson, Rockhampton, Queensland Wootton, Horace Edgar, Chairman of Directors, British Dominions Films Pty. Ltd., Melbourne

/

REPORT.

PART 1-INTRODUCTION.

To His Excellency the Right Honor.able JoHN LAWRENCE, BARON S'TONEHAVEN, a Member of His Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint ]}f ichael and Saint George, (Jompanion of the Distinguished S ervice Order, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Comrnonwealth tj Avstralia.

MAY IT PLEASE Youi-t ExcELLENCY: ;

We, the Commissioners-appointed by Royal Letters Patent to inquire into and report on the Moving-picture Industry in Australia, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to inquire particularly into :- ·

(a) the importation, production, distribution, and exhibition of moving-picture films; (b) the incidence and effect of the Customs Tariff upon the importation of such films and the sufficiency or otherwise of existing duties of Customs ; (c) the sufficiency or otherwise of the existing income tax law of the Commonwealth in

relation to persons, firms, and companies engaged in the industry; and (d) in connexion with any or all of the foregoing matters, the income, profits, expenditure and losses of such persons, firms , and companies derived from, or incurred in connexion with, the industry,' and the amount of capital invested

in the industry, ·

have the honour to report as follows :-2. The matter referred to us for inquiry and report has involved a long and exhaustive examination of all phases of the moving-picture industry. Our first meeting was held on the 2nd June, 1927, and the last witness was examined' on the 16th February, 1928.

3. Evidence was taken in all of the Capital cities of Australia, and in certain States where local problems of distribution and exhibition warranted it, some country eentres were visited. Evidence was taken in camera where, in the opinion of your Commissioners, the publication of the evidence would affect, prejudicially or otherwise, the business relations of the witness.

4. Your Commissioners also held important conferences with the Right Honorable L. C. M. S. Amery, M.P., Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, the Honorable J. G. Latham, C.M.G., K.C., M.P., Attorney-General for the Commonwealth, and the Honorable H. E. Pratten, M.P., Minister for Trade and Customs.

5. The number of sittings, and the places visited for the purpose of taking evidence are given hereunder:-

Federal Capital Territory New South Wales Victoria Queensland ..

South Australia Western Australia ..

Tasmania ..

Place.

Canberra ..

Sydney Melbourne · .. · Brisbane Bunda berg

Cairns ..

Gladstone .. Mackay ..

Rockhampton Townsville .. Adelaide Perth

Kalgoorlie Northam ..

Hobart Burnie Devenport .. Launceston ..

No. of Sittings.

30 55 26 6

2

1

1

2

2

2

5

6

1

1

3

1

1

2

147

Two hundred and fifty-three witnesses were examined and a list of witnesses appears on page V.

2

6. Your Commissioners realized that there were persons not connected with the moving picture industry who were keen observers of the effect of films upon the community, and it was therefore deemed expedient that an opportunity should be given to any one who so desired to appear as a witness. As a result, valuable evidence was received from medical practitioners, pvlice magistrates, justices of the peace, officials of children's cou;rts, psychologists, journalists, educationalists, representatives of women's organizations, officials of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, &c.

7. We visited many picture theatres, inspected studios and laboratories, and arranged for screenings of several films in order to prosecute our inquiry.

8. In addition to observing the moving-picture industry in Australia, consideration has been given to proposed anq enacted legislation of other countries of the world with a view to determining the probable effect of such legislation on the industry in Australia.

9. The motion-picture industry in Australia comprises four divisions, viz. :-importation, distribution, exhibition, and production of cinematograph films, and these divisions have been dealt with separately in this Report.

10. The cinema occupies a lasting place in the life of the people, and is becoming increasingly important in its activities in the social, cultural, and moral development of the community. Its potentialities in indirectly influencing the ideals of its patrons are recognized as almost illimitable.

PART II.-IMPORTATION OF CINEMATOGRAPH FILMS.

11. The principal companies engaged in the importation into Australia of cinematograph fi ln1s for exhibition purposes are :-Australasian Films Limited.

British Dominions. Films Proprietary Limited.

Cinema Art Films Limited.

Famous Lasky Film Service Limited.

First National Pictures (Australasia) Limited.

Fox Film Corporation (Australasia) Limited.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Limited.

Mutual Film Exchange Proprietary Limited.

United Artists.(Australasia) Limited.

Universal Film Manufacturing Company (Australasia) Linnted.

Some of these companies have contracted to receive the output of certain film-producing companies, chiefly in the United States of America, and others have established agencies abroad for the purpose of purchasing films suitable for exhibition to Australian audiences.

12. Films are also sometimes imported singly or in small groups by persons desirous of profitably releasing the pictures throughout the Commonwealth.

13. The cinematograph fihns imported by the principal companies enumerated above are acquired by one of two methods. the films are purchased outright, is, a certain sum is paid to the seller for the Austrahan nghts, or they are secured on the basis of a percentage of gross earnings in Australia. This percenta:ge varies from 50 per cent. to 65 per cent. according to agreement. Usually five to seven copies of a film are contracted for, and the copies are then shipped to Australia, together with certain advertising matter which is· paid for at a cost per sheet of printing or set of photographs. After arrival in bond, . films and advertising matter are submitted to the Censor.

1 8 1

3

. 14. The following table shows the importations of cinematograph films into Australia for the years 1925, 1926, and 1927, and the countries of origin :-Country of Origin.

United States of America United Kingdom Canada Denmark

France Germany Italy New Zealand

Australia (returned) Unknown

United States of America United Kingdom Belgium Canada China Denmark France

Germany India Italy Japan Java New Guinea New -Zealand Pacific Islands South Africa .. Sweden Europe Unknown

United States of America United Kingdom Other Countries

Films. Feet (one copy). Feet (all

----1-----------------

1925.

11926.

'

1927. _

1,555 146 15 3

5

12 1

11 1

14

1,763

1,618 198 1

49 3

2

4

7

1

13 3

1

1

53 1

1

1

1

2

1,960

5,115,133 257,786 17,080 18,309

37,236 73,720 8,920 9,010

1,859 33,879 5,572,932

5,085,720 351,456 5,800 46,280

8,609 15,589 17,241 41,214

8,000 77,688 4,445 3,500

1,000 40,007 4,000 6,353

5,298 5,532 5,543

5,733,275

22,841,912 664,004 21,000 54,927

97,692 150,450 62,454 11,710

1,859 115,700 24,021,708

22,004,558 1,149,143 5,800 66,498

8,609 23,991 . 44,077 63,154

8,000 132,714 4,445 3,500

1,000 191,977 4,000 19,059

5,298 27,660 15,729

23,779,212

1,681 5,119,241 24,187,591

271 492,869 1,904,190

199 585,228 1,366,466

2,151 6,197,338 27,458,247

The above-table includes all classes of films, viz., dramatic, industrial, scenic, tropical, educational, and scientific. 15. Feature or dramatic films are the main part of the imports and these have, during the years 1925, 1926 and 1927, been imported to the following extent :-

Country of Origin.

United States of America United Kingdom Other Countries

United States of America United Kingdom Other Countries

United States of America United Kingdom Other Countries

1925.

1926.

1927.

Films.

674 25 22 721

649 24 24 697

621 39 55 715

Feet (one copy). Feet (all copies) .

4,084,808 18,453,808

165,315 303,289

155,652 464,811

4,405,775 19,221,908

3,823,195 15,586,452

164,245 475,679

166,945 324,169

4,154,385 16,386,300

3,719,590 17,430,869

277,165 832,776

446,862 890,267

4,443,617 19,153,912

4

16. Approximately 90 per cent. of the films in1p,orted into Australia are produced in the United States o£ America, where the moving-picture industry has developed to such an extent that it has become, according to the United States.Department of Commerce, the eighth largest industry in th.at country.

17. Sydney is the centre of the film import trade. · Ninety-eight per cent. of the films imported enter Australia through that capital, and most of the head offices of the importing companies are located at that centre.

PART III.-FILM CENSORSHIP.

18. The censorship of cinematograph films imported into Australia is conducted in pursuance of regulations made under the Customs Act. Provision is contained in the regulations for the registration of imported films, and for the Censor to approve of the film conditionally or unconditionally or to reject it. Registration will not be granted in the case of a film which, in the opjnion of the censor-

(a) is blasphemous, indecent or obscene; (b) is likely to be injurious to morality, or to encourage or incite to crime; (c) is likely to be offensive to the people of any friendly nation; (d) is likely. to be o:ffensi ve to the people of the British Empire ; or (e) depicts any matter the exhibition of which is undesirable in the public interest.

19. The importer of a film may appeal to the Chief Censor against the decision of a Censor, and there is a further right of appeal to the Minister for Trade and Customs.

20. In the case of a film which has been rejected, the importer may apply to the Chief Censor for permission to reconstruct the film and submit it to a Censor for review. A plan setting out in detail the proposed reconstruction 1nust accompany the application, and, if the plan is considered satisfactory, reconstruction is carried out by the importer, who enters into a bond to effect the reconstruction in accordance with the approved plan. The film, with all eliminated matter, is again submitted to the Censor, who issues a certificate of registration if of the opinion that the fihn as reconstructed is suitable for . public exhibition.

21. The fees payable by importers connexion with inspection of films are:-Standard film · I Os. per reel

Review fee 20s. ,

Importers enter into a bond of £500 to observe the Censorship Regulations.

22. Specimens of advertising matter intended for use i.n connexion with the exhibition of a film must, before importation, be deposited with the Censor, and the Censor may approve of the importation of the advertsing matter subject to the importer giving security that such advertising matter will not be used in any form other than the form in which it was passed for

importation. 23. Under the Censorship Regulations the permission of the Censor must be obtained before a film is exported from Australia, and such approval may be conditional or unconditional. Permission to export will be refused by the Censor in the case of a film which in his opinion­

( a) is blasphemous, indecent or obscene; (b) is likely to be injurious to morality, or to encourage or incite to crime ; (c) is likely to be offensive to the people of any friendly nation; (d) is likely to be offensive to the people of the British Empire; or (e) depicts any matter the exhibition of which is undesirable in the public interest,

or is likely to prove detrimental or prejudicial to the Commonwealth of Australia.

24. The censorship was originally conducted by a Board, which appointed deputies who carried out an initial inspection of the films submitted, and set aside those which were considered should be viewed by the full Board. A printed synopsis of the story of each film was submitted to the Board, but it was found that gauging the suitability of a film on the synopsis alone was unsatisfactory. The Board as it then functioned proved unwieldy, and in 1922 Professor R. S. Wallace, of the Melbourne University, was appointed to the part-time office of Chief Censor for the Commonwealth. At the time of his appointment, there were censors in Sydney who were being paid on a basis of a fee for each reel of film inspected, bl!t on recommendation a position of full-time Censor was created at Sydney, and the censorship has Since been conducted by the

Chief Censor at Melbourne and the Censor stationed at Sydney.

•

5

25. Most of the censorship is perfonned at Sydney, which is the receiving port for the bulk of films imported frqm abroad. The Censor inspects the feature or dramatic films submitted, and other films, such as comedies, gazettes, and scenics, are viewed by members of his staff. When pressure of work prevails, the subordinate members of the staff also censor feature films.

26. number of films dealt with by the Censor during the years 1925, 1926 and 1927 and the manner in which they ·were treated were:-,

1925. 1926. 1927.

Passed unconditionally . . . . 1,324 1,590 1,725

Passed after eliminations had been made 371 283 336

Rejected in first instance 68 87 90

Total 1,763 1,960 2,151

27. ,The films which are of main concern as regards censorship are the feature or dramatic films, and for the years 1925, 1926 and 1927, they were dealt with by the Censorship in the following manner:-1925. 1926. 1927.

unconditionally 322 359 319

Passed after eliminations 331 251 308

Rejected in first instance 68 87 88

Total .. 721 697 715

28. Taking the number of f1lms rejected in the first instance in order to ascertain to what extent appeals have been made to the Minister against the Censor's decision, it is found that the appeals for the years under review were:-Number of appeals

Censor's decision upheld Reconstruction allowed ..

1925.

8

7

1

1926.

12 8

4

1927.

8

4

4

29. Films which were inspected by the censorship for export permits numbered 613 for the year 1927, and were exported to the following countries :-

To- Films. Feet (one copy). Feet (all copies).

New Zealand . . . . . . . . .. 157 130,647 144,375

United Kingdom . . . . . . . . .. 89 98,319 203,984

United States of America . . . . . . .. 50 64,795 64,795

Canada . . . . . . . . . . .. 31 21,887 21,887

New Guinea . . . . . . . . .. 105 75,753 104,783

Straits Settlements . . . . . . . . .. 57 55,906 63,069

Dutch East Indies . . . . . . . . .. 65 45,234 45,234

Pacific Islands . . . . . . . . .. 46 43,138 43,138

Japan . . . . . . . . . . .. 2 1,267 1,827

Noumea . . . . . . . . .. 7 700 700

South Africa . . . . . . . . .. 1 1,022 1,022

Vancouver . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 5,500 5,500

Germany . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 1,000 1,000

Italy . . . . . . . . .. . . 1 1,000 1,000

Total . . . . . . . . .. 613 546,168 702,314

30. In addition to inspecting the imported, the Censors examine the advertising matter relating to them in order to see that such matter does not contravene the censorship requirements. Advertising matter consists of press-books, photographs, and sketches, and is mostly prepared in the United States of America.

31. While the Censor has control over imported advertising matter, he is not empowered to deal with matter which is reprinted in Australia. Realizing the weakness of this system, efforts have been made to secure the assistance of film importers and others in ensuring that advertising matter which would not be permitted in imported material would not be reprinted in Australja. Co-operation generally, been willingly given, but in a few instances matter

which had been previously excised by the Censor has been reprinted from press books or overseas trade magazines. Further, advertising matter transmitted from abroad by post is not all subject to inspection by the Censor. Uniformity and consistency would be more efficiently maintained were the Censor given authority to control all advertising matter used in connexion with the exhibition of moving pictures, and your Commissioners are of the opinion that the Censor should

be invested with this power.

32. The Commonwealth Censor is also devoid of authority in the case of pictures produced in Australia and exhibited in the various States. Films produced in Australia. submitted to the Censor only when permission to export is desired. It follows, therefore, that in those States where internal censorship is non-existent, films which would be rejected by the Commonwealth Censor may be freely screened. This condition is one which your Commissioners consider should be early remedied by granting the Commonwealth Censor power to cont:r:ol by censorship all films

in Australia.

33. State Censorship exist in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

34. The censorship for the State of New South Wales is performed by a board of five Government officials, including an inspector of police and an office1· of the Chief Secretary's Department.

35. South Australia has a Board composed of six men and two women, including the Commissioner of Police, the Chairman of the Central Board of Health, and the Inspector of Public Entertainments.

36. Tasmania's Censorship Board is constituted under the Picture Film Censor Board Act, and consists of representatives of the Department of Health, the Education Department, and the Police Department. There are two women on the Board.

37. Provision has been made by the Government of the State of Victoria for the censoring of films for exhibition within that State, but an agreement has been made between the Commonwealth and the State whereby the censorship for the State may be performed by the Commonwealth Censorship authority.

38. The State Censor Board in South Australia has, during the past ten years, inspected 27 films, and of that number seven have been prohibited from public screening. Son1e of this number have been prevented on ground of bad cinematogTaphy and others for moral reasons.

39. In Tasmania, the State Censor Board meets every Friday to Teview the films proposed to be exhibited within that State. It considers the synopsis of the film which is submitted, and if thought necessary, orders the film to be screened before release.

40. Having in view the comparatively few occasions on which the State Censorship Boards are called into action, it is apparent that the States accept the censorship of the Commonwealth and regard it in the main as satisfactory and.meeting their requirements.

41. Your Commissioners consider that with the elimination of certain weaknesses which now exist in the censorship system the necessity for the continuance of State Censorship Boards will pass away. The Commonwealth Censorship does not at present possess the requisite authority to censor pictures n1ade in Australia and exhibited within the Commonwealth, nor can it deal with advertising matter printed in Australia. The State Censorship Boards are endued with the authority necessary to _ act in the cases cited, and instances have occurred where . State Boards have prohibited, for just reasons, the exhibition within their respective States of Australian-made pictures which were not subject to Commonwealth censorship. In regard to obscene posters and other objectionable printed n1atter relating to films, here again the States have fulfilled a duty by ordering the withdrawal of the printed matter-a duty which probably would not have become necessary had the objectionable matter been required by law to be submitted to the Commonwealth

censorship. The existence of two or more censorship authorities with perhaps widely divergent views and u nequal standards creates confusion in the n1inds of importers) producers and exhibitors as to what 1 equirements must be complied with in order to satisfy the plural censorship. Should the States 0tesire to retain a certain amount of control over motion pictures, provision could be made for t..he Commonwealth Appeal Board to review a film on exhibition upon an application for such review being received from a Minister of a State Government. The people of a State

could then make representations to the State Government in the· case of a film 0n exhibition considered to be objectionable or undesirable, and the State Government could, if deemed warranted, make application through one of its Ministers to the· Appeal Board for a' review of the film. Su.ch a provision, would, it is considered, afford an adequate measl!ITe of protection to a

State.

1 3 5

7

42. Your Commissioners realize the heavy responsibility that a Censor carries. He iR able, by his judgment, to materially in the moulding of the character of a nation, to direct to a degree the occupational proclivities of the people, and to further the cultural development of the State. The popularity o£ the cinema with children and the influence of the film upon

the development of. the child-mind add an additional burden to the Censor's public responsibility. Aeceptiug this standard of the qualities required of a Censor, we are of the opinion that every precaution 'should be taken to obviate the passing of films which would have harmful

effect upon the picture theatre audiences. The present Sydney Censor, Mr. W. Cresswell O'Reilly on an average fourteen films each week, and, in addition, supervises the censoring of short

films, such as comedies and · gazettes, and advertising matter. The performance by one Censor of an inspection of some fourteen feature filnls weekly imposes upon him a task which should be lightened. It is conceivable that the of judgment of a Censor must, after a concentrated and exhausting period of film inspection, beco:riw less keen, and at such a time questionable or undesirable features in a picture may pass unnoticed. This is one of .the reasons which your

Co:r:umissioners advance £or the release of a few .films containing scenes or incidents which might well have been excised. 43. The number of films of a doubtful nature passed by the Censor, though few in comparison with the total number registered, yet in themselves are not an inconsiderable quantity,

and in their influence upon the community generally may have a distinctly demoralizing effect. Their right to be screened appears to be based by the Censor upon the ground that although such films may contain certain doubtful scenes or features, yet they are at the same time of a high dramatic and artistic nature.

With this partioular phase of the censorship, your Commissioners are not in accord, for whilst no doubt the suggested grading or marking of films will to a certain extent meet the case, yet it is considered that films of this description, which undoubtedly pander to a lower moral sense, are better out of the Commonwealth than within it, particularly if they have to be so

materially censored and cut as to make the story obviously disjointed. .

. 44. Little can be taken to the phrasing of sub-titles, but occasionally words are used which bear a distinctly different interpretation in Australia from that usually taken in the Upited States of America, and here would be considered vulgar and offensive. In such cases, · the Censor should not hesitate to excise such objectional \Vords in sub-titles.

45. Considering the large number of films screened yearly in Australia, the instances to which objections of weak censorship could be made are comparatively few, and it is generally conceded by the people engaged in the industry and the public that the Commonwealth censorship has been reasonably and creditably performed. The regarding the censorship

which are made in this Report will, it is con.sidered, be conducive to- greater efficiency and will reduce to a negligible degree the possibility of such "leakages" occurring. 46. The accommodation and equipment of the Sydney censorship office was inspected by your Commissioners, who are of the opinion that the accommodation is. inadequate for the work performed and moreover does not, for constructional reasons, allow the officers to carry

out their labours under conditions of absolute safety. Most filn1s are highly inflammable, and every precaution should be taken to avoid the possibility of an outbreak of fire. The inspection of posters and other advertising matter is. now done under unsuitable conditions, and better facilities for the posters, &c., during inspection could be provided. Also the number of projection­

rooms should be increased to permit of :films being inspected concurrently. 47'. The standard set up by the Australian censorship is considered a fair one having regard to the relative dramatic and moral ideals of our community, and much good has been done and can be done by circulating in film producing countries the requisites of our censorship

The by producers o£ the information published can do much to lessen the labours of the Censors and to assist their distributors in Australia. 48. A strong advocacy has been made by film importers for the right to censor their films before them to t1.e Censor. Importers claim that generally they have no choice of

t\election in the film.s to them from America. It is not surprising therefore that these films. contain. features. objectionable to Australian standards. These importers Gonsider tha.t by e:x;ercisiug pre-censorship they can adapt the films. to Australian conditions and save a. cousiderable amQuut of the Censor's time. Pre-censorship was in existence at the

tim.e Professor Wallace was. appointed Chief Censor, but it was found that not much use was made by importers o£ the right. of pre-censorship to i:q1.prove their films. Further: the private screening was on many oeo.asions made a trade show. The Censor did not see the original picture but only the film aft.er eliminations had. been made. It frequently happened that criticism

destruction of the c.o.ntinuity of. a. film was directed at the Censor, although the elimination

had been done by the importer under his privilege of. pre-censorship.. Pre-censorship is open to abuse and trouble, and it is not thought adVisable· t.o restore the privilege.

8

APPEAL BOARD.

49. Under the existing Regulations, importers have a right of appeal to the Minister for Trade and Customs against the decision of a Censor. Changes in this portfolio occur and admit of the possibility of the appointment of a Minister with views entirely different from his predecessor. The attainment of a definite standard of censorship and the continuance of that standard are desirable, but are difficp.lt under such happenings. Moreover, a Cabinet Minister has not the same opportunities for gauging the entertainment wants of the public as many citizens have. The opinions of a number of people on a film under consideration for rejection are deemed necessary, and therefore a recommendation is made for the appointment of an Appeal

Board.

Recommendations.

50. Your Commissioners recommend, therefore :-(I) That a Board of Film Censors be established, consisting of three persons, one of whom shall be a woman. (2) That each Member of the Censorship Board view films independently, and that

when in doubt, the particular film be referred to the full Board for inspection. (3) That the remuneration to be paid to Members of the Censorship Board be such as will adequately cover the heavy responsibility which they will be called upon to bear. (4) That the Members of the Censorship Board accept full responsibility for the

censorship of all films. ·

( 5) That the Censorship Board be invested with power to deal with the importation, production, exhibition, and exportation of all motion-picture films, and also all illustrated and advertising matter made without and within Australia which is to be used in connexion with motion-picture films. (6) That more commodious accommodation be provided for the censorship office in

Sydney, including at least three projection rooms and a room suitably fitted for the viewing of posters and advertising matter. (7) That a Censorship Board of Appeal be created, consisting of five Members, one of whom shall be a woman; three to form a quorum. (8} That, as it is desirable that changing and progressive opinion be adequately

represented on the Appeal Board, the Chairman shall be appointed for five years, and the other Members for a period not exceeding three years. (9) That the motion-picture industry shall not have representation on the Appeal Board. (IO) That the Appeal Board be constituted:-

(a) To decide appeals made by importers, distributors, or producers against rejections or cuts made by the censorship; (b) To deal with requests for reviews from State Ministers ; (c) To grant relief from quota requirements ;

(d) To make recommendations for awards of merit in connexion with Australian film productions and scenarios; (e) To carry out such other duties as may be prescribed. (II} That the country of origin shall be marked and exhibited on all films. (I2) That, whilst your Commissioners recognize that the local distributing companies

representing the American producers have repeatedly made representations to America regarding the unsuitable nature of some of the films exported to . Australia from that country, the practice, as revealed by the Censor's reports, nevertheless continues. Your Commissioners recommend, therefore, that it be enforced that any distributing firm which, during the course of one year, has 25 per cent. of its importations banned, shall be warned for the first offence, and for any subsequent offence may have its registration cancelled for such period as rna y be determined. Your Commissioners realize that the action which they propose is an indirect method of securing the object desired, viz., the prevention of the exportation to Australia of films of an objectionable or undesirable nature, but something drastic must be done to put an end to such practices. The producing exporters in the country of origin must be

brought to realize that Australia will not permit the moral tone of its community to be in any way undermined by these low type films. Presumably they are sent here because it is profitable for the exporting companies to do so. To effectively end the practice, it must be made unprofitable. Your Commissioners cannot conceive of any more effective way than the rnethod suggested. If these companies will not conform to our Australian standards, then they must be prevented from forcing upon the Australian public films which from any aspect are undesirable.

1 387

9

PART IV.-DISTRIBUTION OF FlLMS .

. 51. The distribution or the sale of :films to exhibitors is mainly done by the importing companies, although some producers and independent importers effect their own sales.

52. Films are marketed ·in Australia from the head office or the branch offices of the distributors or by tra veiling salesmen representing the distributing firms.

53. The distributing houses hire their :films to exhibitors for a certain number of days or screenings, anq contracts.for products are made for long periods, short periods or for single pictures.

54. Special features or pictures given exploitation by the distributors are generally hired to the exhibitor on a percentage basis, the distributor and the exhibitor each receiving a percentage of the gross takings of the theatre during the run of the picture.

55. Contracts are usually made for a period of twelve months, but one exhibiting company controlling a large circuit of theatres in the capital cities and the suburban areas has recently made a three years' contract with a distributing company. The contract system assures the distributor of an output for his :films, and the possession of several contract-s for long periods

enables him to effect savings in distribution expenses.

56. Most of the distributing firms are connected with American producing companies, and under agr:eement with those companies transmit to the United States of America weekly a percentage ranging from 50 to 65 per cent. of the gross earnings for :film hire in Australia.

57. Many of the distributing companies representing American interests have distributed in Australia British-made pictures, and have announced their to handle British and Australian pictures of a standard which will guarantee reasonable returns.

58. The distributors furnish to the exhibitors printed matter for advertising, posters, and photographs. The principal publication is a press book or campaign book, which contains informative details of the film itself, the story, the artists, and gives hints for the conduct of a successf11l advertising campaign. Much of the printing and artistic work required is now done in Australia, and distributors and exhibitors agree that the work compares favorably with the

matter imported.

59. It is abundantly clear to .your Commissioners from the evidence adduced that there is no American combine in existence in Australia exercising a stranglehold over the motion­ picture industry. The connexion of the Australian distributing companies with the companies in the United States of America is dealt with in another part of this Report. The :film distributors have formed themselves into an organization termed " The Motion Picture

Distributors of Australia." This is clearly a trade protective association, and in no way controls or directs the selling operations of the respective companies. Outside the organization, the members display the keenest rivalry in their attempts to place their products.

60. The prices obtained by distributors for their films are not :fixed, but vary according to the ability of the exhibitor to pay and to the distributor's value of the :films to the exhibitor concerned.

61. Consideration has been given to the establishment of a National Film Exchange, under Government control, for the distribution of British and pictures, but in the opinion of vour Commissioners it is not deemed warranted. " '

Recommendations.

62. Your Commissioners recommend :-

F.418.-2

(1) That all :film distributors in Australia shall be registered. A " distributor " shall include any person, firm, or company offering to hire, lease, or sell a motion picture for exhibition purposes. (2) That contracts made for distribution of cinematograph :films in Australia shall

be limited to a period of twelve months, and that any contracts for a longer period entered into within three months prior to the publication of this Report shall not be legal. (3) That penalties be prescribed for breaches of the recommendation above regarding

contracts.

10

PART V.-EXHIBITORS AND THE EXHIBITION OF FILMS. 63. It is estimated that there are 1,250 pictures theatres in Australia. Many of the theatres, principally those in the capital cities and the suburban districts, are in the control of companies, while others are owned or leased by individuals. The approximate amount of £25,000,000 .invested in the picture theatres of the Commonwealth is entirely Australian, and not one theatre is owned or controlled by foreign interests.

64. The annual attendances at picture shows in Australia are estimated to be 110,000,000.

65. There are several classes of picture theatres. Such theatres as the Prince Edward in Sydney and the Capitol in Melbourne, which show special films for indefinite periods are termed ''long-run" theatres. Other theatres change their programmes twice, or three times a wetk.

66. The exhibitors obtain their :films from the distributors or individual renters and mav or may not be operating under a contract system. The exhibitor receives the film in his turn another exhibitor or direct from the -film exchange, and after use returns it to the distributor or passes it on to another exhibitor, according to arrangement.

67. Exhibitors are charged rental for films on a percentage of the theatre takings, or on an agreed price for each film, or a price for a term for the whole product of a producing organization.

68. Contracts between the exhibitor and the distributor are usually for a term of twelve months. Where a contract is made between the exhibitor and distributor for the former to hire the whole output of a certain producing company for a fixed term, the sy.stem is known in Australia as " block booking." Where a contract is entered into whereby the exhibitor agrees to take the product of a certain organization and he is not aware of the pictures he will receive, owing to the pictures not having been made or the production plans of the producing unit not having been finalized, such booking is called " blind booking."

69. Block booking assures the exhibitor of a continuity in the supply of his film, and he relies on the standing of the producing unit and the quality of its previous product for the standard of the film which he will receive under his contract.

70. Blind booking does not allow the exhibitor to estimate the box-office value of the pictures he will receive, as he is unable to determine the merit of the films. In some cases, he knows that he will receive a certain number of films with particular artists or stars in them, but he is unable to assess the value of the pietures to him until they have been made. The exhibitor who allies himself with blind booking does so on the surniise that. the producing company wi11 majntain its recognized standard of production during the tenure of his contract.

. 71. Many exhibitors have stated their willingness to continue block and blind booking if given the right to reject a certain percentage of the films received under the contract. They find at times that some films are inappropriate for the locality in which the theatre is situated, or so faulty in production as to mar the exhibitor's future business if shown. The insertion in the contracts of a clause allowing the exhibitor to reject a percentage of the films without financial prejudice is recommended, provided that an Australian picture up to the approved standard shall be screened in place of the film rejected.

72. Some exhibitors contract to the extent of 100 per cent. of their programmes, but most of them contract for less than 100 per cent., leaving room for any special pictures, or "floaters" as they are called, that may come on to the market. -

An exhibitor who has not fully contracted for film supplies has therefore room for the screening of any British or Australian picture of merit that is not included in his contracts.

73. It is apparent that, in the case of an exhibitor who has fully booked his program1nes for a period with foreign pictures, he has no room to screen any British or Australian pictures of merit that may be released during the currency of his contract. unless he is prepared to place a contract picture aside and screen the British or Australian picture in its place. He will, of course, have to pay for the contract picture if screened or not, and all exhibitors are not prepared to make such a sacrifice. Booking to the extent of 100 per cent., therefore, narrows the market for British and Australian productions not included in contracts, and it is considered that some

opportunity should be given to an exhibitor to reject a percentage of pictures supplied under his contract in order to afford him a chance of screening_ Aust;ralian-made films in place of those rejected. 74. A large n1ajority of the n1any exhibitors the who appeared

before your Commissioners, were emphatically of the opinion that· it would be most difficult to conduct their businesses as exhibitors and maintain a continuity of programmes, if the contract

1 89

11

system was abolished. In absence of such a system, they feared the constant search and the bargaining for the necessary supply of suitable films·. Regarding the term of contract, their opinions varied between three, six, and twelve months, but, generally, the most favored term was twelve months. ·

75. The prices paid by exhibitors to :fihn renters for hire of films is a matter of bargaining, but a variety of conditions bears on the prices obtained. One company in Australia has interests in 89 theatres, while another is concerned in 42. As the majority of the city and suburban picture theatres are controlled by the two companies referred to, it is clear that they are in an

advantageous position in regard to price negotiation, recognizing that a city release is irnportant to the successful distribution of a picture. Competition among exhibitors in the same town for a particular film or films will, of course,_lesult in a good price being obtained. On the other hand, in districts where one exhibitor is the lack of competition places him in a

favorable position. .

76. In most of the Australian States, picture theatres are licensed under regulation, and it is not recommended that any action should be taken by the Commonwealth in the direction of licensing picture theatres. .

. 77. New theatres are under construction in several capital cities, and it is proposed to furnish and equip these buildings on a lavish scale. The public derives the benefit of such imprqvements, and no doubt is appreciative of the efforts made for its comfort.

78. Thr_oughout the Commonwealth exhibitors expressed strong views regarding the derr).ands made upon them by the Australasian Performing Right Association Limited, inasmuch as they state that they are ·unable, without process of law, to ascertain whether such demands are legally justifiable. It would appear that this resentment was mainly engendered by the fact that exhibitors had hitherto been able to p·erform any music without fee, other than the

purchase of the necessary copies of music. The Association maintains that it has the right to ask for a royalty for any music for which it holds the copyright. which is played at any performance. Any demands now made for the performing rights, however reasonable they may appear to the Association, are naturally exorbitant to the exhibitors. The charges operating

at the present time were arrived at by arrangement between the parties concerned at a joint conference presided over by the Secretary, Prime Minister's Departrr1ent. This Association is a registered company limited by guarantee in New South vVales, and is affiliated with similar associations in other countries. Its charge for performing fees for copyright music .is on the

basis of Id. per 100 seats per performance. As certa1n aspects of the claims of the Association are at present being considered by the Courts, your Commissioners therefore consider the matter as sub judice and do not feel justified in making any recommendations ·in regard to it.

· Recomrnen,dations.

79. Your Commissioners recommend-(!) That all motion picture exhibitors in Australia who exhibit films for profit shall be registered. .

(2) That no exhibitor holding a block booked contract shall be compelled to exhibit a cinematograph film that affords grounds for racial or religious objection, provided that the Appeal Board sustains,such objection. ·

(3) That all contracts between distributors and exhibitors or producers for the hiring or leasing of films shall contain a !'ejection clause empowering the exhibitor to reject 5 per cent. of the total films covered by such contracts ; provided that rejections under this cia use shall be only for the purpose of screening Australian productions and that Australian pictures so screened shall not be regarded as quota films. (4) That no motion picture shall be exhibited in Australia unless it shall have been

previously approved by the Commonwealth Censorship Board. ·

PART VI.-FILM PRODUCTION IN AUSTRALIA. 80 . . It is generally admitted that Australia . with its excellent and varied climatic conditions, its extended range of -scenic beauty, and its geographical situation, is specially suited for the production of out-of-door motion pictures.

81. Australians have shown their adaptability in the moving picture world, and to-day there are many of them engaged in the industry in the United States of America who are capably filling posts as directors, actors, actresses, scenario writers, cameramen, &c. The unlimited scope afforded by the well-established industry in America has been responsible for their remaining

12

in that country, and it cannot be expected that many of them be prepared to sacrifice highly remunerative positions and return to Australia in order to assist in the establishment of the industry here unless every encouragement and assista.nce were given to make production

in Australia a profitable and lasting employment.

82. Many attempts have been made in the past to produce moving pictures in Australia, and the results have, with a few exceptions, been far from satisfactory, few pictures achieving success. The first moving picture was produced in Australia about twenty years ago, and since that time the quality of production has improved and the output has increased. In earlier

pictures, production expenditure was incurred to tlre extent of a few hundred pounds, but recently pictures have been made costing between £30,000 and £50,000. It yet remains to be seen whether the outlay of considerable sums of money in an effort to produce pictures of the standard of other successful producing countries will be justified by the earnings from the local and the overseas market.

83. Former production activities have been concentrated on a local market, but it is now recognized that pictures produced in Australia must be of a standard that will ensure their acceptance abroad. The average return for an ordinary programme feature film in Australia is from £2,000 to £4,000, and a producer who desires to make pictures solely for the Australian market must necessarily limit his expenditure to less than the average return in order to make his venture a pro:fitable one.

84. At the present time Australasian Films Limited is giving effect to its policy of spending huge sums on production with a view to making pictures equal or superior to the world's best feature films. They have made ·two pictures, "For the Term of His Natural Life," and "The Adorable Outcast," and it is their hope that with the success of these pictures they will firmly establish themselves as producers of merit. Phillips Film Productions Limited has released its first picture, "The Romance of Runnibede," and anticipates that a profitable overseas market

will be obtained for this film and future productions.

85. The requirements for the successful establishment of production are considered to be:-(a) Capital. (b) Suitable stories.

(c) Equipment and personnel. (d) Sufficient avermes of distribution.

86. Sufficient capital is required by a producer to enable him to ensure a continuity in the supply of his product. A producer cannot always hope to secure screenings of his picture immediately it is completed, and it is desirable that he should have sufficient capital to commence a second production so as to avoid wasteful expenditure in dispersing his organization and re­

assembling it later.

87. The success of a picture depends largely on its story, and the statement was repeatedly made in evidence that, in Australia, there is a dearth of suitable stories. The acquisition by a producer of t he copyright of a suitable story is a costly proceeding, and this accounts for the sale by certain British authors of their stories to American producing companies. In America, the story is considered to represent 10 per cent. of the negative cost. Realizing the importance

of the story to the picture, your Commissioners consider that some encouragement should be given to induce Australian writers to contribute stories suitable for film adaptation.

88. Equipment required for film production consists of cameras, mechanical apparatus, electrical appliances, properties, scenery, costumes, &c. The film industry requires assistance from many trades, and employs, in addition to the artists and the people actually engaged on the picture, dress designers, tailors, modellers, electricians, scenic artists, carpenters, property men,

musicians, film cutters, developing and printing experts, &c. The equipping of a modern studio is an expensive undertaking.

89. It has been considered advisable by certain companies which have recently produced films in Australia to bring from the United States of America film directors and actors and actresses. The use of such directors and stars enhances the possibility of the film securing a release in the country from which the artists came. The importation of such people gives Australians employed on the same picture an opportunity of observing first-hand the methods

of the directors and the artistry of the stars. There is not considered to be in Australia a sufficient number of cameramen and technicians to supply the-requirements of a large moving picture industry, but there are some expert cameramen and technicians _ available, and others could be trained here as circumstances demanded.

1an 1

13

90. P.roducers are of the opinion that an essential to the success of a film is a release of the J?icture in a capital city. Such a release, in addition to representing 15 to 20 per cent. of the of the film, grants it a measure of publicity which could not be otherwise gained.

Statements have been made that Australian productions have failed to secure adequate screenings, .these are clearly disproved by the evidence. As an instance, Union Theatres

Limited, whiCh controls or has interests in most of the city theatres in Australia, has, over a period of yea:s, screened 90 per cent. of the pictures produced in Australia, although recognizing that the ment of some of them did not warrant their appearance. Country exhibitors generally have shown that they have screened Australian pictures in preference to the products of other c?untries, though the rental of the Australian picture has been considerably more than a foreign

picture of a higher standard. The desire 1of exhibitors to help Australian producers has been amply demonstrated, and they have expressed their willingness to continue their assistance, provided the films reach a reasonable standard of quality. ·

91. The production of a successful picture is becoming a niatter of expense recoverable by larger sales, and it is considered necessary that, in order to establish the industry in Australia on a firm footing and to ensure adequate financial returns, an international market must be secured. Few Australian films up to the present have been box-office successes overseas, but

"The Sentimental Bloke," which was produced by Mr. Raymond Longford, was a big attraction in England, although in America it failed because of its particularly Australian flavour. Evidence has been given that in the United States of America the theatres there find it difficult to obtain sufficient pictures of the proper standard, and, consequently, distributors in that

country are eager to obtain films of good quality from other countries. Overtures have been made by American distributing corporations to Australian producers for the screening rights in America of recently-made Australian pictures, and there is every reason to believe that such pictures if shown in that country will be successful. Your Commissioners are of the opinion, therefore, that any attempt made by Australian producers to secure an American market for their films ·should be encouraged. In Great Britain, Australian-made films will nearly all come within

the class of films to be shown under the quota system, and it is not expected that any difficulty will be encountered in disposing of pictures of merit there.

92. In connexion with the fostering of the moving picture industry in Australia, consideration must be given to the type of film on which attention should be concentrated. The entertainment demand of the public is met by satisfying popular taste, which is for the dramatic film. Historical events could, of course, be interwoven in dramatic picturizations, and places

of scenic beauty could be used for locations. The topical news film depicting happenings in Australia is already being screened in other countries and creating continuous and increasing interest in our country, but the demand for films of this type is limited, and an extension of production of such films would be an unappreciable factor in the growth of the moving picture industry in Australia. It would seem, therefore, that the dramatic or feature film would be the

most successful, but it is imperative that the picture must attain a standard of merit at least as high as the average standard of foreign productions, and it should be produced with a view to overseas screenings. Otherwise satisfactory financial returns from the film cannot be expected.

93. Your Commissioners are of the opinion that some assistance should be given in order to stimulate the production of motion pictures in Australia and to maintain a standard of merit, and witnesses have been exhaustively examined in an endeavour to ascertain the best means · by which such assistance could be given.

94. In other parts of the British Empire, a system whereby a certain percentage of British­ made films must be screened annually has been introduced as a means to increase production. The establishment of this quota system ensures the absorption of a given number of locally­ produced films, and, for this reason, may be considered the most advantageous method of

stimulating film production.

95. The establishment of a national motion picture studio for the use of producers was suggested as a means of encouraging production. equipping ?f an up-to-date is a

very costly item, and small producers would be matenally assisted If they had at their disposal for a nominal rental a studio equipped and maintained by the Government. Wherever a national studio would not suit the needs of all producers. Canberra was suggested as an Ideal situation, but the placing of a national stJdio in such a centre would _give the producers of

eastern States a decided advantage over those of, say, Western Austraha. Further, the of transport of artists, &c., would entail heavy expenditure by the distant pr?ducer, and difficulty would be experienced in obtaining suitable extras "supers." A ?ffer made by

one witness, who submitted a scheme for the establishment of two natiOnal studws, one m Sydney and the other in Melbourne, and agreed to contribute £100,000 conditional on the Com:qionwealth

'\

Jl

·,'

, .. "

14

Government supplying a similar amount. The details of the scheme set out the method of conducting the studios and the reimbursement of expenses. Careful consideration bas been given to the various proposals for national studios, but as national studios established at one centre, or, perhaps two centres, would not give the same degree of assistance to all producers,

and, as it is not deemed advisable at this stage to establish national studios in all States, the adoption of the scheme cannot be recommended.

96. The enforcement of a tax on each reel of film imported and screened, 'the payment of a bounty or subsidy, the i1nportation of negative films instead of positive films as at present, and the establishment of Chairs of Cinematography_ and allied subjects at Universities in Australia and a Commonwealth grant to assist 'in the of such Chairs, were other means suggested for the development of the industry; but, tl:pon inquiry, it was found that no substantial assistance would be given to the industry by any of the methods mentioned.

97. The attainment of a standard of production is paramount, and your Commissioners are of the opinion that that standard can be best achieved and the industry most helpfully assisted by awards of merit and the introduction of a quota system, and recommendations are made accordingly.

98. A large measure of assistance has been given to motion picture producers in Great Britain and elsewhere by Governments, and it is likely that, as motion picture production develops in Australia, application will be made to the Commonwealth Government for the use, in connexion with motion pictures, of defence and other goverrunental material. Your Commissioners would suggest that any -request for such assistance, if reasonable and practicable, should be favorably considered.

Recommendations.

99. Your Commissioners recommend-(!) That, subject to recommendations by the Appeal Board-(a) Awards of Merit shall be made each year for the best films produced in Australia which will build up national sentiment, will be of high moral

standard, contain humor, but not containing propaganda which might be prejudicial to international relations or likely to promote ill-feeling with other countries. (b) The Awards shall be, in order of £5,000; second, £2,500;

third, £1,500. (c) An Award of Merit of £500 be for the best film scenario each year, written in Australia_by a resident Australian citizen, provided that such scenario is up to a standard approved by the Appeal BoaTd. (d) An Award of Merit of £p00 be given each year under similar conditions

for the best film scenario containing Australian sentiment. ' (2) That the Awards recommended above be made during the currency of the quota system, viz., three years, and be open to extension, if necessary. (3) That the Appeal Board n1ay withhold a recommendation for an Awarq of Merit

for any year should productions or scenarios submitted not attain the requisite merit deemed necessary by the Appeal Board to enable it to make such recommendation.

PART VII.-THE QUOTA SYSTEM . . 100. 'l,he best method of ensuring the exhibition of Australiap.-produced films is by the introduction of a quota system whereby all exhibitors must screen a certain or a

percentage of such films in each year, but your Commissioners realize the difficulties and dangers of the application of such a system. The position_p:1ust be viewed from many angles, such as the merit of past and present Australian productions, reception given to same by the public, the possible merit of future productions and the quantity thereof, whilst having in mind, by way of comparison, the stupendous nature of American film production and the great sums of money entailed, and, further, the important viewpoint of _; what effect the establishment of a purely

Australian quota might have upon the existence and prosperity of the 1,250 picture theatres of the Commonwealth, which represent an investment. . of approximately £25 ,000,000 by the Australian public and give employment to 20,000 people. Such figures make the exhibiting end of the industry of paramount importance as compared with the production of pictures in

this eoull;try.

1 39 3

15

101. The adoption of any method of stimulating production which would have the.effect of injuring for any length of time the vast number of showmen throughout Australia, causing them financial loss, and even, in many cases, perhaps driving .them out of business altogether, is unthinkable. In this connexion, it must not be forgotten that some 95 per,cent. of the films shown in Australian theatres to-day are produced in foreign countries, and, with the exception

of 2 or 3 per cent., these are of American origin. These pictures are of a very high standard of production generally, and the Australian public taste will continue to demand this high standard. To force therefore upon the exhibitors the screening of pictures merely because they are Australian made, and without regard to the quality of such films, would, by militating against attendances, undoubtedly involve showmen, in financial loss, an.d to fix the proportion of the quota

at a point the production is not high enough to reach it would be to render the whole scheme farcical. Many theatres have already shown the who_ le of the Australian-made films which are available to-day for screening, while many others have shown most of them. It would be manifestly unwise to place showmen in the position of having again to screen films which,

because of previous screenings in that particular district, have largely lost their show value. For this reason, and because of the extremely limited nature of supply of Australian films, both actual and prospective, for some considerable time, your Commissioners are of the opinion that the adoption a quota for purely Australian productions cannot be recommended.

102. The evidence of those controlling the two largest picture theatre circuits in the Commonwealth, and amongst which are included the main first-release theatres, was emphatically against the qu.ota, and that, if it were established, they would no doubt produce their own quota pictures for their own circuit of · theatres. Should this latter position · arise, it would defeat the

very object aimed at by other producer witnesses in advocating an Australian quota, in· that it would largely centralize Australian production in the hands of two companies who control the main theatres, with little or no encouragement to the smaller producer. The result. would be that other producers would find it almost impossible to secure the city releases so essential to

the successful exploitation of any film. .

103. Mr. Raymond Longford, an Australian who has directed the production of the largest number of Australian productions, gave lengthy evidence before your Commissioners expounding various methods of encouragement for production of films in the Commonwealth, and finally was of opinion that the most effective method would be the establishment in the Cornmonwealth of an Empire quota, and that he was confident that Australian production could successfully compete for inclusion within this quota with the best British productions, without the imposition of a Australian film quota.

104. After carefully weighing the voluminous evidence on this point, and viewing the matter from every possible angle, your Commissioners are of the opinion that an Empire quota would best meet the case. Australian exhibitors would thereby have a much wider choice of pictures .to fulfil quota requirements than would be the case if they had to comply with a separate Australian quota within an Empire quota.· One of your Commissioners, .Senator J.

Grant, whilst agreeing with an En1pire quota, is, however, of the opinion that included in such quota there must be, for the adequate protection and encouragement of the moving-picture 1ndustry in Australia, an expanding or flexible Australian quota.

105.' It is not desired by the establishment of an Empire quota system to guarantee the reiease of every picture which may be within the Ernpire. A standard of quality will need to be set, so that the quota system will not be a medium forthe release of films of mediocre quality . . One of the system will then be pictures up to. the will

have every opportumty of secunng a release. The provision for the screening of a particular number of Empire pictures should give an effective distribution to Australian pictures of the required standard.

106. The extent to which the quota should be applied, is a matter which has been carefully considered. Picture theatres in Australia vary considerably in the number of films screened weekly. First, there are the theatres of the city,. where it is th.e practice to exhibit

the same pictures for an extended perwd. Then there are City theatres With a weekly change of programme, the suburban and some countr:y: theatres with a change, country

theatres with thrice-weekly changes, and the distant country centres With one-night-a-week shows. The number of pictures required per year and the footage of film vary with the class o£ theatre. Two feature films are generally included in every · programme, and on t.he average 14,000 feet of film are screentd at every performance. As the number of programme changes each week varies, so the number of feature films varies. V\There two features are required weekly in a city' theatre, four would be necessary for a suburban or country theatre with a bi-weekly

·l

16

change of programme. It is considered that an equitable quota can only be applied on a percentage of the number of feature films screened during the year, and your Commissioners recommend the adoption of a quota on this basis. ,

To enable •the Commonwealth to enforce the provisions of the quota, it will be necessary for the Commonwealth to obtain specific powers from the States, as recommended in paragraph 209 of this Report. 107. The quota system should be enforced for a period of three years, and should then be reviewed. At the end of that time, definite information should be available as to the stability of the moving picture industry in the British Empire, and as to the justification for further assistance by the continuance of a quota system in Australia.

108. The quota period is recommended to commence on the 1st January, 1929. From information supplied, it is considered that there will be sufficient British and Australian films of a suitable standard available to satisfy quota requirements for the ensuing twelve months. 109. The object of the quota system is to develop and increase motion picture production, and to provide releases, and it is therefore considered that dramatic or feature films should be the only class included in the quota.

llO. When there are not sufficient quota pictures of merit available , for exhibitors. some adjustment is necessary, and it is proposed to overcome a difficulty of this nature by authorizing the Appeal Board to grant relief to the exhibitors concerned until such time as suitable films are available.

lll. The enforcement of a screening of a certain number of Empire films during a year will increase the demand for such films, and it will be necessary to prevent exploitation of the exhibitors by the charging of exorbitant rentals for the quota films. 112. Several exhibitors have screened every British and Australian picture of merit and sometimes, for sentimental and patriotic reasons, have shown Australian pictures of a poor standard. The general experience has been that the prices charged for British and Australian

pictures were considerably higher than for American films of a better standard. Many exhibitors have screened during a year considerably more Empire films than the number proposed to be enforced by the quota. Many exhibitors have openly expressed their desire to assist the Australian industry, and

it is unlikely that they will in future, be materially affected to any appreciable extent by the enforcement of a small quota of Empire pictures. ·

ll3. It would, of course, be unjust to enforce exhibitors to screen quota pictures of inferior quality, and it is recommended that the Appeal Board shall decide whether films are, for quota purposes, up to the required standard. 114. The stabilization of the moving picture industry in Australia should be effected by the encouragement given by the imposition of a quota system, and the indications are that financial assistance to producing companies in Australia will be forthcoming immediately upon the introduction of a quota. ·

Recommenda#ans.

ll5. Your Commissioners recommend-{!) That, subject to reciprocal arrangements being entered into by the Commonwealth Government with other parts of the Empire, an Empire quota be introduced. (2) (a) That, in every picture theatre in Australia, other than "long-run"

theatres, there shall be screened during the first year of the quota period, feature films of Empire origin to the extent of 5 per cent. of the total number of feature films exhibited in such theatre during the year, with a minimum of ten such feature films. (b) That the quota of feat·1.ue films of Empire origin for the second year shall

be 10 per cent., and 15 per cent. for the third year. (3) That in the case of "long-run" theatres, there shall be screened each year during the quota period a number of feature films of Empire origin at least equal to 5 per cent. of the average number of feature films usually screened in such

theatre each year, with a minimum of one. (4) That quota films be feature films only, and shall not include news gazettes, scenic pictures, advertisements, educational films, industrial films , or scientific films . . (5) That the quota be in force for thr.ee years, subject to review before the expiration

of that period. If warranted, the term should be extended. (6) That, subject to the fulfilment of the condition of Recommepdatio;1 No. 1 above, the first quota year shall commence on the lst January, 1929.

1 39 5

17

(7) That every film which it is desired to be included in the quota shall first be submitted to the Appeal Board for determination as to whether the film is of the required standard of merit. (R) That films which have been recognized as quota films in any part of the British

Empire with which a reciprocal arrangement has been made may, subject to approval by the Appeal Board, be registered in Australia as quota films upon production of satisfactory evidence that they have been so recognized. (9) That a film shall be deemed to be a film of Empire origin if, but not unless, it

complies with all the following requirements :-(a) It must have been made by a person who was at the time the film was made a British subject, or by two or more persons each of whom was a British subject, or by a company constituted under the laws of any

part of the British Empire, the majority of the directors of which are British subjects ; (b) The studio scenes must have been photographed in a studioin the British Empire;

(c) The author of the scenario must have been a British subject at the time the film was made ; (d) Not less than 75 per cent. of the salaries, wages and payments specifically paid for labour and services in the making of the film

(exclusive of payments in respect of copyright and of the salary or payments to one foreign actor or actress or director, but inclusive of the payments to the author of the scenario) has been paid to natural­ born or naturalised British subjects, provided that the Appeal

Board may relax this requirement in any 0ase where it is

satisfied that the maker had taken all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the requirement, and that his failure to comply therewith was occasioned by exceptional circumstances beyond his control. The requirement contained herein shall not apply to films

completed before the 31st December, 1928. (lO) That upon the application of an exhibitor, a remission certificate from compliance with the quota provisions be issued by the Appeal Board in the following cases if satisfied after that the issue of such a certificate is warranted:-

(a) Where the price asked of an exhibitor for a quota film is not fair and and other quota films are not -available at a . reasonable

pnce;

(b) Where there is an insufficiency of quota films of the req¢red standard ; (c) Where a competitor in the same locality has already screelled or is screening the available quota films; (d) Where it has not been commercially practicable for the exhibitor to

comply with the quota requirements.

PART VIII.-THE CINEMA AND THE COMMUNITY. 116. The cinema theatre is primarily a place of entertainment, but can be profitably used for educational purposes and subtly or openly availed of for propaganda. The film can be made the medium for picturisation of every expression of mood, sense, and desire.

117. The cinematograph is generally regarded by adults as merely a presentation of a form of entertainment, and most of them look upon the cinema as a pleasant relaxation, the result to them of their visits being more beneficial than harmful. The theatres are usually subject to the regruations of the Health Department of the State and are properly controlled.

118. Sir James Barrett, a vice-president of the Health Association of Australia, stated that he had never seen the slightest indication that films prejudicially affect the eyesight, and that as far as he had observed no organic disease of the eyes is produced by the films. 119. In New South Wales, there exists an association of representative citizens called The Good Film League. This League's objects are:--

(a) To encourage the presentation under good conrlitions of moving pictures; (b) To secure adequate censorship of all (c) To extend the use, under healthy conditionR, of moving pictures as a factor in education in the schools of New South Wales. The League in carrying out its objects has performed useful public service, and is generally able to obtain and present the public view-point in regard to motion pictures. The formation of similar

public bodies in other States would be helpful to the industry and to the public generally.

I'

18

120. The evidence tendered does not support the oft-repeated statement regarding the presence of anti-British propaganda in films screened in Australia and produced in the United States of America. As 90 per eent. of the films shown in Australia are from the United States and are produced primarily for in that country and only secondly for world distribution, it would be but natural that they should be pro-American, but this fact cannot be termed anti­

British, saving certain films which distort historical events and make them appear anti-British.

THE FILM AND NAT[VE RACES . .

12l. With native races the same equanjmity is not preserved, vivid and lasting impressions are retained by the natives, and frequently their imagination is riotously aroused. The film exerts a powerful influence over the natives and could by design instil into their minds dangerous and sinister motives. The possibility of such a happening it is considered should not be allowed to remain.

Recommendation.

122. Your Commissioners recommend :-That no moving picture film shall be screened before audiences of aboriginals or natives of the Mandated Territories unless such film has been passed by the Censorship Board as suitable for such exhibition.

CHILDREN.

123. There is considerable controversy upon the effect of the cinema upon the child, and your Commissioners have examined educationalists, psychologists, medical practitioners, police officers, and parents with a view to ascertaining the effect and the extent of the power of the film upon juveniles.

124. The picture theatre seems to have become part of the life of the child, and therefore every possible precaution should be taken to ensure that the child will derive nothing but good entertainment from the picture screen.

12Fi. Many children are susceptible t o whatever influence visual entertainment might exert, but children with such proclivities would be better safeguarded by parental control.

12ti. Some exhibitors realize the importance, both as an entertainment and as an education, of the moving picture to children, and, in a number of cinemas, matinees are given at which pictures are shown · particularly suitable for children. Unfortunately, owing very often to the expense and difficulty of obtaining films especiaUy suitable for children's matinees, it frequently happens that the pictures shown to the children in the afternoons are the same films as are shown at the

ordinary evening screening. Many of these films, dealing as they do with sex problems and with excesses of one kind or another, can by accustoming the child mind to such matters exercise to a greater or lesser degree a certain demoralizing influence. A great deal of evidence in support of these views was placed before your Commissioners and a widespread feeling of uneasiness was manifested as to the possible cumulative effect of such exhibitions upon future generations.

The showmen are keenly appreciative of the box-office value of children patrons and are only too eager to introduce features likely to increase i,he attendances at matinees.

127. The frequent attendance of children at night picture performances is found by school teachers to militate against their educational progress, for it is noticed on the days following nightly picture-show attendances that the children are listless, inattentive, and unable to concentrate. The continuance of such a state of affairs is not desired, but a difficulty exists in :finding a remedy without unduly enforcing hardship.

128. It has been stated that the misspellings and the slang used in sub-titles of pictures are being absorbed by children, and while it is apparent that frequently any alteration of the wording of a title by the removal of slang would distort the character represented, it is thought that the Censorship should not allow misspellings, Americanised spellings, or words offensive to Australians, although inoffensive in the country producing the film, to remain in sub-titles.

129. To prohibit the attendance of children from night shows would be too strict, for as has been repeatedly stated in evidence the picture shows are more pleasant than their home surroundings in many cases. In Western Australia, Friday night is observed as a special children's night and pictures suitable for exhibition t o children are shown. The children do not attend flchool on the following day and therefore their education is not affected. . This appears to be one solution of the problem.

1 397

19

130. The relationship between the film and juvenile crime has been exhaustively inquired into. Having in mind the enormous annual attendances of children at picture shows and the. number of films which they view, the of children which could be directly traced to the cinema as the cause are negligible. In Queensland, it was stated that 10 per cent. of the juvenile

crime in that State was due, indirectly or directly, to the influence of the cinema. The witness admitted, however, that it was difficult to determine to what extent the cinema was responsible, and to decide what bearing heredity, environment, and parental control had on the matter. In Victoria, the opinion of Dr. Chas. Player, who has been associated with the Children's Court for seventeen years, was that after a careful study he had come to the conclusion that the evil effects

of the film upon children had been very much exaggerated and that the number of cases in which crime may be attributable directly to the film is negligible. In South Australia and Western Australia, a very small percentage of juvenile crime could be traced directly to the cinema. In New South Wales and Tasmania no evidence was tendered to show that the film was responsible for any increase in juvenile crime.

131. Visual memory is the strongest, and little children are at the most impressionable age for the storing up of mind pictures. Dr. Gertrude Halley, Principal Medical Officer of the South Australian Education Department, said that children who attend cinemas frequently are noticecl to be pale and sleepy, to lack power of concentration, and sometimes ·are nervous

and highly strung. The witness said that seats placed close to the screen caused a strain in the ocular muscles, and that children with defective eyesight were liable to have their defects increased. The strain was also caused by faulty projection or by a badly scratched film. The witness considered that an improvement could be effected in conditions by conducting children's

performances from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., thus leaving them to enjoy Saturday afternoons out of doors. The construction of more open-air picture shows, the witness thought, would be beneficial. 132. Your Commissioners are of the opinion that the audience, and specially the young, should not be seated too close to the screen or at the outer angle of same.

133. Witnesses are agreed that there should be some regulation of the films screened before It is tha.t the. enforcement. of a law .P:o.hibiting from attending

shows at rught would be unJUSt. L1keWise, a regulatiOn prohibitmg the adm1sswn of children to shows at night unless accompanied by an adult would prove a hardship. 134. The absolute prohibition of the of children the age of, say, ten years

would re-act on some parents who look on a cmematograph entertamment as a pleasant relaxation and who cannot, for domestic reasons, leave their children at home or in charge of others. Further, it is realized that children attending picture theatres with their parents are under more control than those unattended.

135. Another method of restriction considered was that of preventing the attendance of children between the ages of 10 and 14 unless accompanied by an adult. A serious objection to this proposal is that it would lead to the solicitation by children of adults to escort them into the theatre.

136. The up to which the interest of a child is maintained at a picture show depends upon the class of entertainment and the temperament of the viewer. The mind of a child who is viewing a programme of ordinary length cannot absorb all of the incidents and happenings shown on the screen during the two and a half hours taken up by the average programme. The

shortening of the programme at children's performances and matinees would relieve certain subsequent effects, such as listlessness and lack of concentration, which are now noticeable. 137. The evidence tendered to the Commission proves that any harm which the cinema might cause to children ca:n be to 11: negligible minimum by. stricter parental control, It is thought that every assistance .shomd be to to Judge whether the pictures

being screened at the theatre the children .vis:t are for them t? see, and, with

this object, proposals for the markmg of films to mdiCate those smtable for children have been recommended. With pictures graded as recommended, adults will also be guided in their choice .A films, but at the same time it is considered that there should be no relaxation of the present ,-randard of censorship in regard to pictures for adults.

Recommendations.

lil8. Your Commissioners recommend :-(1) That all motion picture films shall be graded by the Censorship Board, and marked " Suitable for Universal Exhibition " when considered by the Board to be so. Films shall not be marked in any other way except with the approval of the

Censorship Board. "Universal" shall mean · that the films are suitable for exhibition to children as well as to adults.

li-•· ll

;!;·. ,,

,,

.. '.·

20

(2) That the marking of films " For Adults Only " shall be restricted to educational, scientific, and medical films, such marking to be made by the Censorship Board. No exhibitor shall advertise a film as" For Adults Only" unless such film has been so marked by the Censorship Board. (3) No film other than those marked "Suitable for Universal Exhibition" shall be

shown at matinees; provided that the Appeal Board may. grant a remission certificate in the case of long-run theatres in respect of matinees, where the picture on exhibition is not marked for universal exhibition.

EDUCATIONAL FILMS.

139. The value of educatiop.al films is freely admitted, though unfortunately such pictures are not appreciated by the majority of audiences and consequently are not attractions which show good box-office receipts. 140. Picture show audiences attend the theatres to be amused or entertained, and when any considerable proportion of educational pictures is screened a resentment is sometimes felt at many of them think is an unwarranted attempt to improve their knowledge. To placate the feelings of such sections of audiences a judicious and seemly handling of educational films is required. An indiscriminate showing of long films of this type may disrupt the feelings of the patrons, and the exhibitor experiencing this result will thereafter entirely eliminate such pictures from hiR programmes. Therefore educational and scientific pictures should be made up of short films and should leave the audience with a desire to see more.

141. The cinema as an educational factor can be made good use of. In certain States in Australia the cinema has been placed in schools and pictures are shown as part. of the routine school programme. No attempt has been made to supplant oral teaching vvith the ·film but the usefulness of the cinematograph as an adjunct to present educational methods has been established. The cinematograph is being specially adapted to give assistance in the teaching of certain educational subjects. Demonstrations by slow motion pictures are more vivid than by any other method.

142. In certain schools in New South Wales the cinema is regularly used for instructional purposes, and the Ruccess achieved there should lead to an extension of the system. 143. In the United States of America, extensive use is made of educational films for instructive and recreative purposes, and the educational side of the film industry is on a highly oraanized basis. Numerous films on scientific and general educational subjects are available, and lists of the films are widely distributed. Films are hired out at small fees, and are systematically delivered and collected.

144. At least one distributing firm in Australia, viz. :--Australasian Films Ltd., has a special section of its business dealing with educational films and has given valuable assistance to schools, institutions, and theatres willing to screen and desirous of showing educational subjects. Herschell's Pty. Ltd., of Melbourne, is also a firm which has made educational films and given exhibitions of such films in schools and other places.

145. Manv educational films, such as studies of fauna, have been made in' Australia and these pictures when e:ihibited abroad have been enthusiastically received. 146. Realizing the potentialities of the cinema as an adjunct to the educational system, your Commissioners consider that attempts to extend its present use are worthy of encouragement.

Recomm,endation.

147. Your Commissioners recommend:-·-That the States recognizing the advantage to be gained by the use of the cinematograph as an adjunct to educational methods should be assisted in every possible way by the Commonwealth.

PART IX.-FINANCIAL ASPECTS. 148. Examinations were made of the financial relations between the American and Australian distributing companies and of several exhibitors, and, although the evidence concerning finance was generally given in camera, your Commissioners desire to make the following

observations. These comments do not make public any information which your Commissioners consider should for business reasons remain confidential. . 149. Taking first of all the distributing companies, most of them operate on an agreement with an Arr1erican Corporation, having its head-quarters in America. By these agreements the

Australian companies acquire the exclusive right to handle in Australia the films of the American Company. The agreements provide that a certain percentage of the earnings are to go to the

1 99

21

credit of · the American Company, the balance to be retained in Australia. This percentage varies, 50 per cent. to 65 per cent. being transmitted to America. Against America's share, in some cases the duty paid in Australia and the censorship charges are debited. The 35 per cent. to 50 per cent. retained in Australia bears the cost of distribution, and if there is any surplus

after meeting these costs, such surplus represents profit to the Australian Company and it is upon this profit that income tax is paid.

150. In considering the profit of the Australian Company, the question arises whether this earning of profit out of the percentage retained is the main object of the Company in Australia or whether, when a certain turnover is reached and the American concern receives its agreed allotment, the enterprise may be considered to have achieved its purpose. This leads to the

question of the proportion of the earnings retained in relation to the costs of carrying on the exchange. It is difficult to n1ake a definite statement on this subject as some of the Companies are building up their organizations, and expenditure is abnormal; again, extraordinary expenditure, ,such as the provision of new premises, has been incurred in recent years. The different class of

picture handled by the vari?us film exchanges also has its influence.

151. Though good business was done in certain instances, no profit was shown until the turnover figure reached a substantial amount, and, even where a profit appeared, it was not a very large onec

152. The opinion is formed, however, that there is very little margin for profit between distribution expenses· and the percentage of rentals, even when the business shows every indication of being in a flourishing condition.

153. The companies are conducted on very efficient lines. Certain salaries are high, but are not disproportionate to the amount of tP.e turnover, and are, no doubt, commensurate with the ability of the recipients.

154. Most of the registered capital of the companies is held in America, and in the majority of instances the share capital of the Australian Company has little or no bearing upon its operations. The working capital is provided by America, and the organization of the Australian Companies is such that no capital need be provided in Australia at all. The working capital is generally the supply of film.

155. The directors have been appointed apparently with the object of complying with the requirements of Australian company law, and, generally speaking, they are employees of the company or lawyers receiving no fees in respect of their directorship.

156. The officers and directors have no pecuniary interest in the profits, that is, their salaries are fixed and commissions where paid are based on turnover. Their interest therefore lies rather in maintaining a large turnover than in securing a surplus over expenses on the percentage of rentals retained.

157. The venture is that of the American ·Company. The risk of starting the enterprise is all theirs, and losses incurred or any deficiencies in the forwarding of the stated allotments are on their account. Even though the financial books show that the Australian Company may owe its American supplier of films large sums, no security is held and the meeting of the debt is

altogether dependent upon the receipts in Australia over and above the expenditure. ·

158. Full details of all expenditure and receipts are forwarded regularly to America. This system is that of head office and branch rather than that of the seller and the purchaser of a marketable product.

159. Your Commissioners are of the opinion that most of these Companies are virtually distributing branches 'of American concerns.

160. The Australian exchanges under review assume that the cost price to them of the films is that proportion of the rentals whieh is due to America under their agreements. The earning capacity of different films in relation to the cost of production varies, and it is evident that the remittance of a regular proportion of earnings must result in overpay1nents and

underpayments for the individual pictures.

161. It would seem that if the Australian business has no influence upon the original cost of production, it would be a paying proposition to send the films to Australia as long as a surplus over the positive cost was shown--even though, say, only 25 per cent. of rentals was returned. That is it does not necessarily follow that America should receive 50 per cent. to 65 per cent. of rentals 'in order to justify the continuance of the Compan:y: in Australia. A picture in

America, after being exhibited there for twelv.e months, return the cost of pr_oduct1on, plus a margin of profit. If it be then decided to send that picture to Austraha, the sending would

'.·

. '"

22

oe justified if a surplus of receipts over cost of printing the extra positives were obtained. It seems quite reasonable, however, that the films exported to. Australia should bear their share of the original cost of productjon as well as other expenses directly chargeable. Then the difference between the cost of production as far as Australia is concerned and the credit to America constitutes profit or loss. ThA purchase by the American Company of pictures from other producing companies in order to maintain its supplies to Australia must also be considered before arriving at conclusions on this aspect.

162. 'Vhere · films are purchased outright by an Australian Company no difficulty is experienced in arriving at their cost value as landed in Australia. The relation of film purchases to rentals can be examined and the profit or loss ascertained. 163. Your Commissioners are of the opinion that profits are included in the credits to the .American Companies, and consequently in the remittances to America, and that these . profits are earned in Australia.

164. The remittances from Australia to America for film hire for the years ended June, -1926, and June, 1927, were £771,000 and £740,000 respectively. 165. The control of picture theatres in Australia is solely Australian and no foreign capital is employed. It is estimated that the sum of £25,000,000 is invested in the industry in Australia, and that over 20,000 people are connected with the industry.

166. Film hirings represent about 20 per cent. of the gross receipts from picture theatres, and, for the year ended 30th June, 1927, are calculated to have amounted to £1 ;100,000 ..

167. The gross receipts from Australian picture theatres are estimated to be £5,500,000 yearly. 168. It is considered worthy of notice that of the gToss receipts from picture theatres only approximately 14 per cent. is sent abroad, the remainder being absorbed in Australia in wages, rents. advertising, printing, lighting, music, taxes, profits and dividends.

PART X.-TAXATION.

169. Income tax is payable by persons engaged in the motion picture industry and by com pari1es. 170. As mentioned in another part of this Report, some of the Australian distributing JJmpanies representing American companies are conducting their businesses with a nett loss result. Under their agreements their remittances to America do not form part of the finances of the Australian company, and therefore are not subject to taxation. Your Commissioners have elsewhere expressed the opinion that profits are included in these remittances on which taxation seems justly due. Further, there is the somewhat anomalous position of sound financial and organized in America supporting, year after year, branches with recurring losses.

171. In New South Wales, by the Income Tax (Manoqement) Amendment Act 1925, and the Income Tax (Arnendment) Act 1925, it was provided that any person in that State who pays or agrees to pay or credits to any person whose principal place of business is outside the State any money as consideration for the purchase or lease for exhibition in the State of any motion-picture film not manufactured in the Commonwealth, shall be deemed to be the representative of the

foreign taxpayer, and the amount shall be deemed to be taxable income of the foreign taxpayer. The rate of tax imposed on such income is five shillings in the pound, or such less sum as may be fixed by the Governor of the State. In August, 1927, an application was made to the High Court by the ·universal Film Manufacturing Co. (Australasia) Ltd., for an injunction to restrain the State of New South \Vales and the Commissioner of Taxation from proceeding on an assessment on the ground that it was 'ultra. 'Vi,res the of New South was given

in :November, 1927, but no conclusive order was ntade, the parties bmng at hberty to amend the pleadings as they might be advised and to further apply, but the injunction still stood. As it is understood that a further application will be made to the High Court, no opinion is-expressed by your Commissioners upon the validity or equity of this film tax.

172. Commonwealth Entertainments Tax is payable on· admissions to picture theatres on tjckets costing 2s. 6s. and over, and the amount of such tax paid annually by picture theatre patrons is approximately £38,000. Recommendation.

173. Your Commissioners recommend :-That the matter of the taxation of gross earnings remitted to America by Austrahan bran_ch companies be after impending judicial proceedings are

disposed of.

23

PART XL-BRITISH FILMS.

I 7 4. The exhibition of British films in Australia has not met with universal success in recent years. Exhibitors have stated in evidence that there is a distinct apathy on the part of a11diences towards British productions. It must be admitted that many British films which have been shown by exhibitors desirous of assisting the industry within the Empire have been of a low

standard of merit and have lacked entertainment value. Picture-goers viewing films of such a character are careful to see that when -British pictures are included in programmes they will withdraw their . patronage during the exhibition of the films. This lack of support with diminishing box-office returns still exists in Australia, and will need to be overcome before successful returns from British pictures can be hoped for. Recently-screened pictures of British origin have

shown a decided improvement in quality.and technique, and a maintenance of this improvement will completely overcome any antagonism on the part of audiences to British productions.

175. Statements have been made · on many occasions in Great Britain and in the Commonwealth that British films have been boycotted on arrival in Australia. These statements have, however, been decisively rebutted by the evidence taken in regard to specific cases, and your Commissioners are convinced that such statements are without justification. .

176. The practice of British producers in selling their films to individuals, or " carpet­ bag men " as they are known, instead of establishing their own diBtributing agencies in Australia, would appear to be the main cause for such statements, and if British producers hope to benefit by the large revenues derived from such films, they would be well advised to this practice.

177. It has been found that certain persons have purchased one, two, or three

films in London, and have brought them to Australia for the purpose of arranging profitable screenings. They are unacquainted with the trade conditions here in this country, and usually the rental prices 'are totally disproportionate to the general box-office returns or rentals charged for other films.

178. One large film-importing firm has a buying agency in London, and purchases many British films, and, in addition, British films have often been and are being released in Australia by representatives of American distributors.

179. British-made pictures have secured adequate screenings in Australia in the past few years. One exhibiting circuit, with interests in 40 picture theatres, during that period has shown films of British origin to the extent of 14! per cent. of its programmes, but this percentage, it should be pointed out, includes other than feature films.

180. With properly organized distributing facilities in Australia, British producers should not experience any difficulty in obtaining releases for pictures of merit, as there is a genuine desire on the part of distributors, exhibitors, and the_ public to assist such British productions:· ··

181. The latest figures as to the number of British films completed, or being made, in ·the United Kingdom, together with the corresponding earlier figures for some previous months of the year 1927, have been supplied by the Board of Trade, and are quoted hereunder:-

Number vf films awaiting Numbllr of films for which 1927. Film'! in production. definite plans havll trade shows. bern made.

May .. . . . . . . .. 8 11 29

August . . .. . . .. 19 14 30

September . . . . . . .. 22 12 36

October . . .. . . . . 24 11 40

November . . . . . . .. 19 13 44

December .. . . . . .. 19 9 46

Last November, nineteen British films had been shown to the trade, but not generally released for exhibition. In December, the number of such films was 25. Reciprocal arrangements have been made by film companies for the release of British-made films in Europe.

182. The percentage of British-made films rejected by the Commonwealth Censorship during certain. periods was higher than those imported from any other country. The been mostly on the grounds of highly objectionable themes and incidents. This position is

most unsatisfactory, and it is thought that the matter should be brought under notice. .

...

i.

It

ii:: ,·

I

l\'

- 24

Recomm£ndations.

183. Your Commissioners recommend :-(1) That British producers be advised to establish an ageney or agencies in Australia for the distribution of their films . (2) That, ·in view of the large number of British productions rejected by the

Australian censorship as unfit for exhibition, representations be made for the strengthening of the British censorship to meet the requirements of the Australian market.

PART XII.-CUSTOMS DUTY.

184. Customs duties, as shown hereunder are at present imposed on cinematograph films: ---

- British rreferential

Tariff.

(c) (1) Sensitized Films, and Films n.e.i. - - - Free

(2) Exposed or developed Films representing dramatic or Australian subjects :-(a) Suitable for use only with Home Kinemato-graphs - - - per lineal foot Free

(b) Other - - - per lineal foot Free

Provided that any such films printed from a negative which was not the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom shall not be entitled to entry at the rate of the British Preferential Tariff under this sub­ item.

Intermediate Tariff.

Free

td. ld.

General Tariff.

Free

185. The amount of duty collected on dramatic films imported was £134,310 for the year 1926-27. 186. Some importing companies themselves pay the amount of duty, and others have the payments made reimbursed by the parent company abroad.

187. The substitution of an ad valorem rate for the present footage charge has been considered. The Department of Trade and Customs considers, however, that the imposition of such a duty would be impracticable, because of the difficulty of arriving at and verifying any basis of value. It is difficult to foresee what success a film will have in Australia and impossible to estimate what the returns will be. Instances have occurred where pictures listed by the distributors as ordinary programme pictures have derived such unexpected earnings as to warrant their elevation from the programme picture class to the special picture class.

188. A proportion of the Customs duty collected could be devoted to the encouragement and development of the moving picture industry in Australia, and, in whatever direction jt may be decided to foster the growth of the industry, some of the money received by way of customs duty should, it is considered, be diverted to that channel.

189. The revenue derived by an increase in Customs Duty on films could be used for the following purposes:-(a) To encourage and stimulate Australian production . . (b) To provide for-

(i) The cost of the Censorship Board and the Appeal Board, and accommodation and equip1nent therefor. ( ii) Awards of merit. {iii) Assistance with educational work, if desired. In addition, the increased duty would provide a greater measure of preference to British Empire films. ·

190. As Australia admits British films free, it would be an advantage for a reciprocal arrangement to be made for Australian negatives or positives to be admitted free of duty into the United Kingdom, where at present a duty is payable on Australian produced films. . 191. Witnesses connected with the printing industry have expressed the opinion that they are adequately protected by the present Customs Duty and no further assistance is necessary t,o

enable them to compete with American poster and printing work. Much of the advertising matter required for publicity purposes in connexion with . films is now being done in Australia, and the quality of the work inspected by your Commissioners compared more than favorably with imported material. Distributors, too, are well satisfied with the standard of the printing and poster work executed in Australia.

1 4 3

25. ,,

Recommendations.

192. Your Commissioners recommend---(!) That the Customs Duty of l!d. per lineal foot, General Tariff, on films representing dramatic or Australian subj-ects (as defined in the Tariff schedule) be increased to 2d. per lineal foot. ·

(2) That the Tariff preference which is now extended to British films imp0rted into Australia be continued. (3) That a reciprocal tariff preference for Australian films entering Great Britain be negotiated for.

(4) 'l"hat a reciprocal tariff preference for Australian films entering other parts of the British Empire be sought.

PART KNOW YOUR OWN COUNTRY" SERIES. 193. In 1921, it was decided to utilize the Commonwealth's photographic branch Jor the purpose of making a number of pictures of Australia which might be screened in Great Britain by the Migration Department as ·a means of illustrating to intending migrants the features, industries, and potentialities of Australia.

194:. When, later, it was decided that these pictures of typical Australian scenery, industries, and cities should be exhibited within Australia, the Department endeavoured to arrange for screenings, but was unsuccessful. As the result of a conference of several distributing firms, an undertaking to· secure screening of the pictures in from 400 to 600 in Australia at a cost of £10 lOs. each theatre per year was received from the Famous Lasky Film Service Limited. This offer was accepted, and the pictures were released with the title of " l{now Your Own Country "

Series. The Famous Lasky Film Service Limited undertook to distribute the films without cost, and a series of 52 pictures of 500 feet each were distributed at the rate of one per week. In the first two years the Famous Lasky Company secured contracts for 300 theatres, but in the opinion of the company the pictures are now losing the interest of the public.

The Famous Lasky Company pointed out that the pictures were fast losing interest, and in order to continue the distribution arrangements, the tern1s were modified to £10 1 Os. a year for principal theatres and £5 5s. for the smaller houses, and the release of one picture a fortnight of 1,000 feet instead of one of 500 feet each

195. The returns to the Migration Department for the first two years were approximately £3 ,000, and just covered the cost of printing copies from the negatives, but there is an unt'old and incalculable propaganda value contained in the series, and they have aroused and developed an interest by Australians in their own country and its progress.

196. Your Commissioners found in the course of their investigations that, throughout the Commonwealth, there is now a keen and growing appreciation by exhibitors and the public of the value and interest of these pictures. 197. The legislation recently passed by the Victorian Parliament requiring the exhibition in each programn1e of 1,000 feet of Australian-produced pictures has secured an additional increase in the demand for the " Know Your Own Country " Series in Victoria.

198. The overseas distribution of tbis series comprises six copies to Great Britain, one to New Zealand, and one to the Near East. They are also distributed in parts of the United States of America. Negotiations have been entered into with the shipping companies, and arrangements are being made to supply copies free to all ships equipped with projecting machines. By this means, it is expected that tourist trade will be stimulated and a deeper interest in Australia aroused.

199. The sub-titles of the films are open to improvement. It is considered that they could be made more informative and more descriptive. 200. The part played by the Famous Lasky Film Service Ltd., in gratuitiously distributing these films is worthy of mention. The success achieved in the popularity of the series is to a

great extent due to the activities of that company. They made valuable suggestions for the production of the pictures, and their desire to assist the Government and to educate Australians to know Australia is to be commended. They also secured release in of the series

tbrough their there.

Recommendations.

201. Your Commissioners recommend:--

1".418.-1

(1) That efforts be made for a more general and continuous distribution of the series. (2) That encouragement be given to private producers to make and submit to the · . Department for purchase films suitable for the series. (3) That more informative and interesting sub-titles be used in order to considerably

enhance the educational and entertainment value of the films.

!. •·

.

26

PART XIV.-COMMONWEALTH AND STATE LEGISLATION.

202. There are at present, in addition to Commonwealth legislation, State laws relating to film censorship and exhibition of pictures. The absence of uniformity in administration which exists in certain directions, creates confusion, and the development or institution of uniforn1 laws throughout Australia would be a help to people connected with the industry, both in Australia and abroad. · ·

203. The 1noving-picture industry in Australia has reached such a stage of importance that it is considered that the enactment of special laws instead of regulating it under the Customs Act as at present would be beneficial. In other control of the industry is maintained and t'egulated by special Acts.

204. The question of uniform laws throughout the Commonwealth for the motion-picture industry is deemed to be of such importance as to require special and early attention by a .conference of Commonwealth and State l\'linisters.

205. The existence of State Censor Boards and the possibility of their their power · in regard to a film already passed by the Commonwealth Censor has kept exhibitors and distributors in those States in which Boards exist in a state of uncertainty, and exhibitors and distributors alike con1plain of the continuance of this undesirable position.

206. The Censor Boards of the State have rendered signal service in the direction of censoring films and advertising matter which are not subject to inspection by the Commonwealth Censor, and with this power vested in the Commonwealth Censorship, and with a stricter censorship, the necessity for the continuance of State Censor Boards should disappear. The few cases in which the States take action would lead to the conclusion that, generally, they accept the Commonwealth's Censorship.

207. The State of Victoria has by legislation authorized the making of an agreement between the Commonwealth and State Govern1nents to empower the Commonwealth Censor to act as Censor for the State of Victoria. This agreement has been made and the arrangement is working satisfactorily.

Recommendations.

208. Your Cornmissioners recomnlend-(1) That laws dealing with the motion-picture industry be n1ade uniform throughout tbe Comn1onwealth. (2) That, for the realization of this object, the Cornmonwealth Government request

the States to meet them in conference for the purpose of arriving at an agreement whereby the States would enact legislation under Section 51 (xxxvii) of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act and would give the Commonwealth power to control the motion.:.picture industry as indicated in

this Report.

(3) That this legislation should be embodied in a Bill for an Act and not in a mere arnend1nent of the Customs Act or of regulations under that Act.

PART XV.-CONCLUSION.

209. In making the various recommendations contained in tbis Report, your Con1missioners are aware that there are several phases of the industry in which the Commonwealth's powers are limited by the Constitution, and that to embody these recommendations in a legislative enactment it will be necessary for the Commonwealth Government to approach the various States with a request that under placiturn (xxxvii) of Section 51 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act the States should, by legislation, refer the matter to and con-fer the necessary powers on the Commonwealth. Fronl their investigations, your Commissioners believe that there would be little difficultv in inducing the States to pass legislation giving · the Commonwealth the sole power to cont.rol (a) the censorship of all films exhibited for profit and also of all films proquced in Australia-providing provision was made for a State Minister to demand a review by the Appeal Board of any film the exhibition of which was deemed objectionable ; (b) aU advertisements, posters, and printed matter relating to the exhibition :£or profit of motion pictures ; (c) the registration of all distributors of films and of e:x.hibito.rs showing for profit ; (d) the limiting of

contracts for the renting or hiring of films ; and .also the necessary power to compel the exhibition of the quota of Empire films recommended by your Commissioners in this Report.

1 4f 5

Your Commissioners therefore recommend that the State Governments be approached with a view to the enactment of legislation which will enable the Commonwealth to effectively control the motion-picture industry in Australia as indicated in this Report.

210. Your Commissioners have endeavoured to make such recommendations as would stimulate and improve the motion-picture industry in Australia, prove a benefit to the nation, and give a greater degrfie of satisfaction to the public who find the motion picture such a reflection of ideals and a source of entertainment.

211. Your Commissioners would like to express their appreciation of the valuable services rendered by Mr. A. A. Tregear, who has acted as Secretary to the Commission, and to acknowledge the helpful assistance given by the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, Mr. T. C. Pittaway, who acted as Assistant Secretary for a short period, and by MesBrs. I •. G. I. French and E. McCarthey, of

the Auditor -General's St$}.ff. \VP have honour to be,

A. A. TREGEAR, Secretary.

Canberra, 17th 1928.

Your Rxcellency's most obedient Servants;

W l\t MARKS, Chaitinan.

WALTER DUNCAN, J. GRANT, HERBERT HAYS,. F. M. FORDE, H. GREGORY,

LEWIS W. NOTT.

I

'I·: ' I

I

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS.

FILM CENSORSHIP.

(1) That a Board of Film Censors be established, consisting of three persons, one of whnm shall be a woman. (2) That each 1\'Iember of the Censorship Board view films independently, and that, when in the particular film. be referred to the full Board for inspection. ·

(3) That the remuneration to be paid to Members of the Censorship Board be such as will adequately cover the heavy responsibility which they will be called. upon to bear. (4) That the Members of the Censorship Board accept full responsibility for the censorship of all filll)s. . .

(5) That the Censorship Board be invested with power to deal with the importation, production, exhibition, and exportation of all motion-picture films, and also all illustrated and advertising matter made without and within Australia which is to be used in connexion with motion­ picture films.

(6) That more commodious accommodation be provided for the Censorship Office in Sydney, including at least three projection rooms and a room suitably fitted for the viewing of posters and advertising rna tter. (7) That a Censorship Board of Appeal be created, consisting of five Members, one of whom shall be a woman; three to form a quorum.

(8) That, as it is desirable that changing and progressive opinion be adequately represented on the Appeal Board, the Chairman shall be appmnted for five years, and the other Members for a period not exceeding three years. (9) That the motion-picture industry shall not have representation on the Appeal Board.

(IO) That the Appeal Board be constituted:--(a) To decide appeals made by jmporters, distrihutors, or producers against rejections or cuts made by the censorship ; (b) To deal with requests for reviews frmn State Ministers ; (c) To grant relief from quota requirements; (d) To make recommendations for awards of merit in connex1on with Australian

film productions and scenarios; (e) To carry out such other duties as may be prescribed.

(II) That the country of origin shall be Inarked and exhibited on all films. (I2) That any distributing firm which, during the course of one year, has 25 per cent. of its importations banned shall be warned for the first offence, and for any subsequent offence may have its registration cancelled for such period as 1nay be determined.

DISTRIBUTION OF FILMS.

(I3) That all film distributors in Australia shall be registered. A " distributor" shall include any person, firm, or company, offering to hire, lease, or sell a motion picture for exhibition purposes. (I4) That contracts made for distribution of cinematograph films in Australia shall be limited to a period of twelve months, and that any contracts for a longer period entered into within three months prior to the publication of this Reort sphall not be legal.

(I5) That penalties be prescribed for breaches of the recommendation above regarding contracts. EXHIBITORS AND THE EXHIBITION OF FILMS. (I6) That all motion-picture exhibitors in Australia who exhibit films for profit shall be registered.

(17) That no exhibitor holding a block booked , contract shall be compelled to exhibit a cinematograph film that affords grounds for racial or religious objection, provided that the Appeal Board sustains such objection. - .

(18) That all contracts between distributors and exhibitors or producers for the hiring or leasing of films shall contain a rejection clause empowering the exhibitor to reject five per cent. of the total .films covered by such contracts; provided that rejections under this clause shall be only for the purpose of screening Australian productions and that Australian pictures so screened shall not be regarded as quota films.

(19) That no motion picture shall be exhibited in Australia unless it shall have been previously approved by the Commonwealth Censorship Board.

FILM PRODUCTION IN AUSTRALIA.

(20) That, subject to recommendations by the Appeal Board-

1 407

(a) Awards of Merit shall be made each year fo r the best films produced in Australia which will build up national sentiment, will be of high moral standard, contain humour, but not containing propaganda which might be prejudicial to international relations or likely to promote ill-feeling with other countries. (b) The Awards shall b({, in order of merit, First , £5,000; second, £2,500; third,

£1,500. . .

(c) An Award of Merit of £500 be given for the best film scenario each year, written in Australia by a resident Australian citizen, provided that such scenario is up to a standard approved by the Appeal Board. · (d) An Award of Merit of £500 be given each year under sirnilar conditions for the

best film scenario containing Australian senti1nent. (21) That the awards recommended above be made during the cur! ency of the quota system, viz., three years, and be open to extension, if necessary. (22) That the Appeal Board may withhold ·a recon1mendation for an award of merit for any year should productions or scenarios submitted not attain the requisite merit deemed necessary by the Appeal Board to enable it to make such recommendation. ·

THE QUOTA SYSTEM.

(23) That, subject to reciprocal arrangements being ent ered into by the Commonwealth Government with other parts of the Empire, an Empire quota be introduced. (24) (a) That, in every picture theatre in Australia, other than "long-run" there shall be screened during the first year of the quota period, feature films of E mpire origin to the extent of five per cent. of the total number of feature films exhibited in such theatre during the year; with a minimum of ten such feature films. . , .

(b) That the quota ·of feature filn1s of Empire origin fo r the second year shall be ten per cent., and fifteen per cent. for the third year. (25) That, in the case of "long-run " theatres, there shall be screened each year, during the quota period a number offeature films of Empire origin at least equal to five per cent. of the average number of feature films usually screened. in such theatre each year, with a minimum of one.

(26) That quota films be feature films only, and shall not include news gazettes, scenic pictures, advertisements, educational films, industria! films, or scientific films. · . (27) That the quota be in force for three years, subject to review before the expiration of that period. If warranted, the t.erm should be extended.

(28) That, subject to the fulfilment of the condition of R ecommendation No. 23 above, the first quota year shall commence on the lst January, 1929. (29) That every film which it is desired to be included in) he quota shall first be submitted to the Appeal Board for determination as to whether the film is of the required standard of merit.

(30) That films which have been recognized as quota films in any part of the British Empire with which a reciprocal arrangement has been made may, subject to approval by the Appeal Board, be registered in Australia as quota films upon production of satisfactory evidence that they have been so recognized.

(31) That a film shall be to be a film of Empire origin if, but not unless, it complies with all the following requirements- · ·

(a) It must have been made by a person who was at the time the film was ·made a British subject, or by two or more per'3ons each of whom was a British subject, or by a company constituted under the laws of any part of the British Empire, the majority of the directors of which are British subjects; (b) The studio scenes must have been photographed in a studio in the British Empire ; (c) The author of the scenario must have been a British subject at the time the film

was made;

(d) Not less than 75 per cent. of. the wages and payments

specifically paid for labour and services in the making of the film (exclusive of payments in respect of copyright and of the salary or to one

foreign actor or actress or director, but inclusive of the payments to the of the scenario) has been paid . to natural-born or naturalized· British

[: ,.

'

I

i

: '

30

subjects, provided that the Appeal Board may relax this requiren1ent · in any case where it is satisfied that the maker had taken all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the requirement, and that his failure to comply therewith was occasioned by exceptional circumstances beyond his control.

The requirement contained herein shall not apply to films completed before the 31st December, 1928.

{32) That, upon the application of an exhibitor, a remission certificate from cmnpliance with the quota provisions be issued by the Appeal Board in the following cases if satisfied after inquiry that.the issue of such a certificate is. warranted--( a) Where the price asked of an exhibitor for a quota film is not fair and reasonable,

and other quota films are not available at a reasonable price; (b) Where there is an insufficiency of quota films of the required standard; (c) Where a competitor in the same locality has already screened or is screening the available quota films ; (d) Where it has not been commercially practicable for the exhibitor to comply with

the quota requirements.

THE FILM AND NATIVE RACES.

(33) That no moving picture film shall be screened before audiences of aborigines or natives of the Mandated Territories unless such film has been passed by the Censorship Board as suitable for such exhibition.

CHILDREN.

{34) That all motion picture films shall be graded by the Censorship Board, and n1arked "Suitable for Universal Exhibition" when considered by the Board to be so. Films shall not be marked in any other way except with the approval of the Censorship Board. " Universal " shall mean that the films are suitable for exhibition to children as well a.s to adults.

(35) That the marking of films " For Adults Only " shall be restricted to educational, scientific, and medical films, such marking to be made by the Censorship Board. No exhibitor shall advertise a film as "For Adults Only" unless such film has been so marked by the Censorship Board.

(36) No film other .than those marked " Suitable for Universal Exhibition " shall be shown at matinees, provided that the Appeal Board may grant a remission certificate in the case of long-run theatres in respect of matinees, .where the picture on exhibition is not marked for universal exhibition.

EDUCATIONAL FILMS.

(37) That the States recognizing the advantage to be gained by the use of the cinen1atograph as an adjunct to educational methods should be assisted in every possible way by the Commonwealth. TAX.ATION.

(38) That the matter of the taxation of gross earnings remitted to America by Australian branch companies be reconsidered after impending judicial proceedings are disposed of. ·

BRITISH FILMS.

That British producers be advised to establish an agency or agencies in Australia

for the distribution of their films. (40) That, in view of the large number of British productions rejected by the Australian censorship as unfit for exhibition, representations be made for the strengthening of the British censorship to meet the requirements of the Australian market.

CUSTOMS DUTY.

( 41) That the Customs duty of 1 fd. per lineal foot, General Tariff, on films representing dramatic or Australian subjects (as defined in the Tariff schedule), be increased to 2d. per lineal foot. {42) That the tariff preference which 1s now .extended to British films i1nported into

Australia be continued.

31

(43) That a reciprocal tariff preference for Australian films entering Great Britain be negotiated for. ( 44) That a reciprocal tariff preference for Australian films entering other parts of the British Empire be sought. .

" KNOW YOUR OWN COUNTRY " SERIES.

(45) That efforts be· made for a more general and continuous distribution of the series. (46) That encouragement be given to private producers to make and submit to the Department for purchase films suitable for the series. ( 4 7) That more informative and interesting sub-titles be used in order to considerably enhance the educational and entertainment value of the films.

COMMONWEALTH AND STATE LEGISLATION.

(48) That laws dealing with the motion-picture industry be Inade uniform throughout the Commonwealth. (49) That, f9r the realization of this object, the Commonwealth Government request the States to meet them in conference for the purpose of arriving at an agreement whereby the

States would enact legislation under Section 51 (xxxvii) · of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution A·ct and would give the Commonwealth power to control the motion-picture industry as indica ted in this Report. (50) That this legislation should be embodied in a Bill for an Act and not .in a

mere an1endment of the Customs Act or of regulations under that Act.

Printed and Published for the GovERNMENT of the CoMMONWEALTH of AusTRALIA by H. J. GRliiEN, Government Printer, Canberra.

''· r l: