Cinema ‘a far-reaching influence in the life of the community’

As your ‘blog-espondent’  is going to be away for the next wee while we leave you with a flashback to the cold, dark days of February 1941 when Scottish Cinema was but a gleam in the eye of the far-sighted.  Judge for yourself just how much things have changed…

No extravagant picture of the part cinema might play in post-war Scotland was drawn at the Saltire Society’s conference in Edinburgh on Saturday.  While it was claimed for the drama that it was quite simply the greatest of all the arts, and that one did not begin to live until one had studied the value of the cinema was estimated in a more modest and realistic manner, Mr Norman Wilson, chairman of the Edinburgh film guild, discussed the cinema as a medium of expression and persuasion which might serve the reformers, the teachers and the builders of the Scotland of tomorrow.  He spoke of the film’s powers of persuasion, illustration, and condensation, and said that whatever we might feel about the cinema as an art or an entertainment, there was no doubting its far-reaching influence in the life of the community.

This is a realistic point of view and there was realism too in Mr Wilson’s recommendation that film production in Scotland at present is practically non-existent.  The opportunity presented by the Empire Exhibition was seized, a Films of Scotland Committee was set up and about half a dozen films were produced.  These were on the right lines – stimulating, forward-looking surveys of education , agriculture, fishing, housing, and the heavy industries.  But, unfortunately, they have not marked the beginning of a film policy for Scotland, and under war conditions the effort has petered out.

… Mr Wilson held that the successful establishment of film production in Scotland after the war would depend on the support of large public organisations.  It was essential, he said, that there should be a constant flow of work which would enable units to exist and expand..”

“The Cinema. Films in Post-War Scotland”, The Scotsman, Tuesday February 18th, 1941


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