better-equipped German studios. His Decameron Nights ( 1924) was shot in Germany, co-financed by Ufa and by Graham-Wilcox, and employed English, American, and German actors. With its large, well-designed and wellexecuted sets, and story of sexual intrigue, Decameron Nights was a commercial success both in Britain and the United States. However, this success was in large part attributable to spectacle (adequately financed) and the sexual dynamic of the narrative; but Wilcox, unlike Hitchcock and some other young directors, seems to have learnt little from the encounter with German cinema, and, from the perspective of film form, Decameron Nights is a film still marked by the relatively long scale of most of its shots and a general lack of scene dissection.
Michael Balcon was an important figure in the British film industry for a number of reasons. Although he produced only a relatively small number of films in the 1920s, most of them, including The Rat ( Gainsborough, 1925), were big commercial successes. Further, Balcon's career was a clear signpost to that division of labour that came rather late in the British film industry: that is, between producing and directing. Balcon was a producer, rather than a producer-director, and it was only the separation of these roles that allowed the development of skills specifically associated with each function.
Although in the context of British culture film-making was generally. held in low esteem, a number of university graduates were to enter the film industry towards the end of this period, including Anthony Asquith, the son of the Liberal Prime Minister. Asquith had not only developed a considerable knowledge of European cinema during his university days, but his privileged background enabled him to meet many Hollywood stars and directors during his visits to the United States. The importance of these factors became evident when he began his film career. On Shooting Stars (British Instructional Films, 1928) Asquith was assistant director, but he had also written the screenplay, and was involved with the editing of the film. Shooting Stars was self-reflexive, in so far as it was a film about the film industry, film-making, and stars, although the reference was more to Hollywood than England, with Brian Aherne featuring as a Western genre hero. The lighting (by Karl Fischer), the use of a variety of camera angles, and the rapid editing of some sequences linked the film more to a German mode of expression. These elements, combined with the fact that the screenplay was not developed from a West End theatre production, unlike so many British productions in the 1920s, produced a film that was pure cinema.
By the end of the 1920s the British film industry was transformed. The shift to vertical integration established a stronger industrial base, and, despite its negative aspects, the protective legislation introduced in 1927 did also lead to an expansion of the industry. The new generation who entered the industry in the mid-1920s had a greater knowledge and understanding of developments taking place in both European cinema and Hollywood, and this was also to play its part in the transformation of the British cinema, making it better prepared to face the introduction of sound at the end of the decade.
Hepworth, Cecil ( 1951), Came the Dawn: Memories of a Film Pioneer.
Low, Rachael ( 1949), The History of the British Film, ii: 1906-1914.
--- ( 1950), The History of the British Film, iii: 1914-18.
--- ( 1971), The History of the British Film, iv: 1918-29.
--- and Manvell, Roger ( 1948), The History of the British Film, i: 1896- 1906.
Pearson, George ( 1957), Flashback: The Autobiography of a British Filmmaker.
Sadoul, Georges ( 1951), Histoire générale du cinéma, vol. iii.
Salt, Barry ( 1992), Film Style and Technology.
'German Cinema' recalls the 1920s, Expressionism, Weimar culture, and a time when Berlin was the cultural centre of Europe. For film historians, this period is sandwiched between the pioneering work of American directors like D. W. Griffith, Ralph Ince, Cecil B. DeMille, and Maurice Tourneur in the 1910s, and the Soviet montage cinema of Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Vsevolod Pudovkin in the late 1920s. The names of Ernst Lubitsch, Robert Wiene, Paul Leni, Fritz Lang, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, and Georg Wilhelm Pabst stand, in this view, for one of the 'golden ages' of world cinema, helping-between 1918 and 1928-to make motion pictures an artistic and avantgarde medium.
Arguably, such a view of film history is no longer unchallenged, yet surprisingly many of the German films from this period are part of the canon: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1919), The Golem (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt karo, Paul Wegener, 1920), Destiny (Der müde Tod, Fritz Lang, 1921), Nosferatu ( F. W. Murnau , 1921), Dr Mabuse ( Lang, 1922), Waxworks (Das