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From the archive, 13 September 1928: Britain leading new kinema industry

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 13 September 1928

(From our London Staff.)


Whatever Hollywood may be contemplating about talking pictures, England is getting on with the production of them. British Talking Pictures, Ltd., showed to a party today their new studio at Wembley, where they are already at work on short-reel productions, and where they hope presently to begin the sound effects for their first big project, “The Mastersingers,” giving an orchestral reproduction of Wagner’s music.

The company claim that theirs is the most up to date and, indeed, the first fully equipped talking-picture studio in Europe, and they have spared no effort to provide adequately for both the productive and the experimental side of the industry. The method used by them is an improvement arrived at by their experimenters, chemical and technical, on the original De Forest device, of which they have secured the patents, and they are discarding the improvements every day to replace them with the latest and best.

“We are not now exactly at the birth of the industry,” said Mr. Harold Holt, the managing director of the company, when showing the party round the studios, “but we are at least viewing the baby, and a fine, bouncing child it is. And England can point to it with pride, for, as the talking-film industry was actually conceived and nurtured in this country, we can claim for once that we were first, and not second, in the field.

“I claim, with all modesty, that we are at present actually ahead of the United States in sound-film technique, and, while we welcome healthy competition from them as a necessary stimulant to the industry, we deprecate the competition from various American financial interests which is at present being used in an attempt completely to stifle the industry in Britain.

“We are not afraid of the results. We have the best brains, and we have the money now to pay for them. We have the artists – and artists who can speak the English language with at least a suspicion of an English accent! We are concentrating now, of course, on trade work, but in our workshops men are experimenting with a smaller and cheaper model of our sound-projector which can be fitted to camera projectors in the home.

“It is impossible to say when it will be ready for marketing, nor can the probable cost be guessed at yet, but I am sure that it will not be many years before it is as well established as the gramophone to-day.” © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds