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The History of British Cinema: 1929












Blackmail (1929)

  Feb -

British Gaumont increases the size of its circuit to 287 cinemas following its acquisition of Provincial Cinematograph Theatres. [ADD]

  Mar -

The Clue of the New Pin, an Edgar Wallace mystery starring Benita Hume and Kim Peacock is released by British Lion.   It is the first film to use the disc-recorded British Phototone system.   Directed by Arthur Maude at Beaconsfield Studios, the film features 25-year-old John Gielgud in a small part. [ADD]

  9/6 -

The first edition of British Movietone News is released.   Its slogan is ‘it speaks for itself,’ and it is the result of collaboration between Esmond Harmsworth and Fox Movietone News.   Gaumont-British News also starts this year. [ADD]

  30/6 -

Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, Britain’s first sound-on-film production premieres at the Regal Cinema in Marble Arch.   [ADD]

  10/11 -

While visiting Britain with Grigori Alexandrov and Edouard Tisse, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein meets John Grierson, George Bernard Shaw and Paul Rotha. [ADD]


Associated Talking Pictures is founded.  [ADD]


British and Dominions Film Corporation installs a £250,000 Westrex sound film production facility at its Imperial Studios in Elstree. [ADD]


 – Gaumont-British rebuild their Shepherd’s Bush studios for sound at a cost of £500,000. [ADD]


– A total of 8 talking pictures are made in 1929.   Estimates of the number of cinemas wired for sound by the end of the year vary between 500 and 980. [ADD]


Associated Radio Pictures Corporation (ARPC) buys studios at Ealing in West London.   ARPC’s chairman is actor Sir Gerald du Maurier, one of its directors Basil Dean. [ADD]


– A fire at Wembley damages part of Teddington Studios and completely destroys the DeForest Phono Films Studio. [ADD]


Whitehall Films becomes the fourth company to buy studios at Elstree.   Theirs is by the railway line, and someone is employed to watch from the roof to warn of approaching trains so that filming can be halted as they pass. [ADD]


– In London, Vselevod Pudovkin delivers a lecture called ‘Model instead of actor,’ describing effects pioneered by Lev Kuleshov but which are subsequently attributed to Pudovkin. [ADD]

    John Grierson
    - John Grierson directs his first film, Drifters, about the life and work of herring fishermen. [ADD]

The Romance of Seville, directed by Norman Walker and starring Alexander D’Arcy and Marguerite Allen is released this year.   Produced by British International Pictures, it is Britain’s first talking picture in colour.  [ADD]


– 138 films are made in Britain in 1929. [ADD]

    – The first labour film group is formed in London.   The Federation of the Workers’ Film Society (FWFS) aims to “arouse working class interest in films of special importance.”  [ADD]

– The Empire Marketing Board Film Unit is launched following successful appeals to the government by John Grierson. [ADD]


Other Key British Films of 1929

    Piccadilly (1929)

Atlantic (E. A. Dupont) [ADD]


The Informer (Arthur Robison) [ADD]


Piccadilly (E. A. Dupont) [ADD]

    Tusalava (Len Lye) [ADD]
    The History of Cinema: 1929
    Argentina - Germany
    Greece - USSR
    USA: January - April
    USA: May - August
    USA: September - December



Gt. Britain: 1928

Gt. Britain 1930




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