From IRIS CONLAY. Catholic Herald Film Critic The film world and I have been separated these last few weeks and I seem to have come back, like a wandering Rip van Winkle, into new surroundings filled with productions that were mere publicity nummars when I left.
Even if I saw no films during my holiday I did at least read one pamphlet about them which, although it is only London to Reigate railway journey length, its content is worth many times its weight in gold. Comprising a series of three articles, it is called Cinema Survey and its contributors are Robert Herring (my confrere on the Manche.ster Guardian), Bryher and Dallas Bower. Each of these gentlemen have something very worth while to say and since the whole book (published by the Brendin Co.) cost ls., a rating at fourpence per head seems reasonable enough to me.
What is an " Art " Film ?
Anyway to take them in order. Mr. Herring, in his essay on Film in Entertainment (I don't know why he did not call it Entertainment in Film)—is all for running to earth the hare—Art. His contention _that we (critics and public) have got all mixed up in our terms and call all original and satisfying films " art " and all mixture-as-before dull obvious films " entertainment," because we dare not condemn what the " public " are supposed to like, is a grand theory—not paradox but truth,
In the same strain Mr. Herring complains bitterly that producers are still making the fatal mistake of producing every film for all people. Therefore it is hardly possible to have a sustained mood, a selective work, because drama must be varied by a little song and dance; newsreels by facetious humour, documentaries by a story, and so on.
The contrasting difference between types of productions is all the time being lost in the wild hope of making everything one enormous omnibus entertainment for world audiences.
Delve Deeper What is the solution and what do we really want from films, asks Mr. Herring of himself, and he answers : "There is ourselves. That is the final answer to everything as long as we keep it. As we keep it, we develop and so tome to know what we want. . . . The solutions (so far) provided—making good, making love. making whoopee— merely temporary appeasements. Bubbles on the lake . . . what are the currents and depths?
" These questions need not, at the moment, be answered. Not definitely. It is enough if their existence be realised. Then a new meaning will be allowed to entertainment.' "
Hugs for Mr. Herring
How wholeheartedly do I agree with Mr. Herring that "entertainment " should get himself a new meaning. I am tired of the usual " Whoopee" parties — can't we go more solemn and be more entertained at the same time by the movies?
In the second essay from Cinema Survey Bryher argues for film in education in a way which seems to me very practical, although he takes me out of my unscholastie depths quite quickly.
Dallas Bower, in The Film in the Soria! Scene. refuses to let the cinema get away with a reputation for sheer unimportant entertainment—mongering. Even the most unserious of our Hollywood farces have deep import buried within, and are sociological documentaries more pungent and real than any " straight " documentaries made for stern purpose.
" Every time any film is made, a figment, no matter how small, of contemporaneity is stored in a tin "—so there's responsibility for you.
And there's a shilling's-worth of wisdom in this pamphlet for all film friends.