Cinema as mass entertainment: 1930–50

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The 1930s was a period when the mass media began to develop into the forms that we are familiar with today. This chapter traces the growth of cinema as a mode of mass entertainment, beginning with the early picture palaces and the 'super cinema' developments in the early 1930s. The audience was attracted to watching films along with a newsreel and a cartoon which gave them a respite from the grim reality of life, and the major cinema circuits were anxious to encourage greater attendance amongst the middle classes. The chapter discusses the legislative and other government interventions, notably the Cinematograph Films Act 1927, and highlights the specific concerns regarding the morally corrupting influence of cinema and its effects. It also documents the establishment of the Commission on Educational and Cultural Films and the debates about the role and function of the cinema as a leisure activity.

From silent screen to multi-screen

A history of cinema exhibition in Britain since 1896

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