Record #1295

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Reel 5
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Foreign relations
Additional text in Transcription. EDITORIAL COMMENT: A very important document on the foreign situation. Fully transcribed in Certain Factors and Considerations Affecting the European Market.doc.

Certain Factors and Considerations Affecting the European Market, reporting on the activities of Col. Lowery during his 30 months in Europe - February 1926-October 1928 - dealing in detail with negotiations in Britain, Germany, Hungary, Austria and France.


Austria (3), Britain (5), Foreign market (45), France (7), Germany (8), Motion pictures in Europe (5) Show all keywords…



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"Motion pictures are the most CONSPICUOUS of all the American exports. They do not lose their identity. They betray their nationality and country of origin. They are easily recognized. They are all-pervasive. They colour the minds of those who see them. They are demonstrably the greatest single factor in the Americanization of the world and as such fairly may be called the most important and significant of America's exported products. "(3)Points out that no European countries have antitrust laws, and discusses their approval of protectionism. ... "there is the cultural argument with which you are very familiar, and in view of the seriousness with which a number of the European representatives took that argument, it will need to be very carefully examined to see how far it can be admitted as valid, or what concessions might be made to satisfy the national cultural considerations." - the answer is, of course that this didn't happen, and therefore the issue was, in effect, overridden by not being addressed. "Broadly speaking, this is the condition our industry faces in Europe: virtually everywhere there is being made an effort to overcome the predominance of the American picture. These efforts spring from a variety of causes. One of them is the intense spirit of nationalism that now pervades all Europe. For patriotic and political reasons, governments of the several countries now seeking to restrict the importation of American pictures desire the establishment of a national picture industry in their own country that will serve as propaganda and that will reflect the life, the customs, and the habits of its own people. ... Broadly speaking again, the only people who are satisfied with present conditions and with the predominance of our pictures in these several European markets are the exhibitors and the great mass of people who attend motion picture performances. The exhibitors do not want to be restricted in showing American pictures because their customers like them above all others. The exhibitors want them because their customers like them. Their customers like them because they are better than any other pictures they can see."(21) "The pictures are not solely responsible for the agitation against them. A great part of the agitation is a sort of blind protest against American dominance. The pictures bear the brunt of this protest because they are a conspicuous mark to shoot at. People are not happy here and on the continent. They envy us our freedom from external menace and threats. They don't give us full credit for out industry, enterprise, initiative, skill and ingenuity."(38) "I have been much impressed by the opinion of so many of our salesmen that we are sending too many pictures to Europe. Virtually all of the representatives of our member companies whose judgement seems good are agreed, I believe, that fewer and better pictures would fetch just as much money as the great numbers of pictures we are now sending to this market. ... In effect, impose a quota upon themselves and keep the trash at home. I believe the salesmen here would agree that conditions would be improved if all the companies did it. This would have the effect of making American pictures a standard of quality. Our good pictures are concededly so much better than European pictures that their prestige is injured by being mixed with the poor films sent along with the good ones.(39) ... Would it be in our interest to hold 50% of the European market without agitation and without restrictions, quotas, contingents, etc., rather than fight for 85% of the market against the increasing, rising, strengthening agitation against us? Would it be in our interest to supply only the best feature and super-feature pictures to this market leaving to the local and domestic producers to supply the ordinary run of programme pictures?" (40) Obviously, the answer turned out to be no - though, if we look at what happened after the introduction of television, the answer then turned out to be yes - American films, local television as a long-term solution.

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