SAVING THE CINEMA
SIR,—I must leave Spectator readers to judge for themselves whether or not Mr. Ian Cameron's article was an attack on the Rank Organisation, and whether his letter or mine carries the stamp of hysteria.
May I deal with questions of fact?
The report on the decline of Hollywood following the enforcement of the anti-trust decrees (Hollywood Come Home, transmitted by the BBC on September 10, 1963), was produced not by MCA, but by the Columbia Broadcasting System, who sold it direct to the BBC. Mr. Cameron must be familiar with the great reputation of CBS in the field of television documentaries. I can only imagine he has become confused with three entertainment programmes on Hollywood, distributed by MCA (The Golden Years, The Fabulous Era and The Great Stars), which, MCA tell mc, made no mention of the anti- trust decrees. I would still recommend him to ask the' BBC to show him the CBS film.
Of the British Film Production Fund, Mr. Cameron says that this is a compulsory levy and 'not the volun- tary contribution Mr. Harker would like it to seem.' The facts are that the Fund (then known as the Eady Fund) was begun on a voluntary basis by the exhi- bitors in the interests of the survival of the whole film industry in 1950 and remained voluntary until 1957, when it became statutory. In those seven years, it provided about 18 million for British produc- tion, of which the Rank Organisation contributed 15,059,000. The Rank Organisation was the major contributor under voluntary operation just as it is under statutory operation today.
Finally, the Rank Organisation has never 'attempted to prevent independents from installing 70 mm. equipment by threatening to refuse to supply the necessary prints.'
DONALD A. HARKER Information Controller Tbe Rank Organisation, Stag Place, SW!