The Rise of the Film Society Movement

MacDonald, Richard. 2017. The Rise of the Film Society Movement. In: I. Q. Hunter; Laraine Porter and Justin Smith, eds. The Routledge Companion to British Cinema. London: Routledge, pp. 109-118. ISBN 978-0-415-70619-3 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

For four annual seasons the Film Society, established in London in 1925, was the only example in Britain of a volunteer-run, non-commercial exhibiting organization present- ing films to a private membership on a subscription basis. Before the end of the decade, however, several factors would converge that led to a surge in the formation of societies by amateur activists around the country. These factors included: the transition to sound, the introduction of quota rules which consolidated commercial cinema exhibitors’ hostility to European productions, the heavy-handed censorship of Soviet films whose notoriety and fame preceded them, and the increasing circulation of serious film criticism in which films that could not be seen by most readers were appreciatively discussed. To activists, film societies provided a solution to the perceived cultural backwardness and homogeneity of the kind of cinema offered to audiences on a commercial basis in Britain.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


16 January 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2017 12:55

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 14:38


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