New Book from Jerry Kuehl: Help Wanted!

Sebastian Cody, Open Media

26 October 2021


Jerome Kuehl – a dedicated member of IAMHIST Council for many years, known to all as Jerry – was my business partner, serving as a director of our production company Open Media from 1986 until he died in 2018. With the support of his estate I am now compiling a book of his writings, published and unpublished, for scholars of film and television as well as historians and a wider public. This is by way of an interim report on the project.

Jerry, probably best known to IAMHIST as a specialist in archive film, trained both as a historian and a philosopher. He was a serious scholar with the great gift of a light touch, both on and off the page. So very intelligent, steely and forensic, so acutely critical – yet also so funny. When necessary he could be severe and uncompromising, such as when confronting bogus people or bad ideas, or fighting for what he believed in (as when he campaigned against those at Channel 4 who chose to abandon our After Dark live discussion series). His writing – rooted in an almost supernatural ability to recall details of what he came to call visual history – has clarity and academic rigour, and is somehow also both amusing and elegantly brutal. His body of work stands as a remarkable testament to a lifetime’s dedication to the highest standards and deserves to be better known.

Jerry on the After Dark set before a show with host Gaia Servadio

Originally from the US Jerry studied at the Sorbonne and then came to Oxford as a post-graduate at St Anthony’s, where he met many of his subsequent friends. Jeremy Isaacs was an undergraduate at the time, as were Bernard Donoghue and Melvyn Bragg (Jerry appears in one of Melvyn’s novels). Jerry studied under Sir Isaiah Berlin and travelled around Europe with John Searle.

After teaching history at both Oxford and Stanford Jerry joined the BBC as a historical adviser, to help launch BBC2 with its landmark documentary series The Great War. A forty-year television career followed. He made significant contributions to programmes – primarily about history and politics – in Britain and the US, from Jeremy Isaacs’ The World At War (still, I believe, the most commercially successful non-fiction series of all time); to Destination America; Auschwitz: The Final Solution;  Vietnam: A Television History; The Spanish Civil War; Today’s History; The French Revolution; and Cold War.

His work set new standards for accuracy and authenticity in the use of film archives (indeed the Financial Times gave him the title “Officer Commanding Archive Integrity”). He often fought with historians, believing the academy should accord visual material the same value as other historical documents, while at the same time challenging his own colleagues when sloppy in their use of archive footage and thus, as he understood, perpetuating errors into the future. He wanted to prevent nonsense from becoming orthodoxy. For this he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by FOCAL International, the Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries, in 2004.

In parallel Jerry maintained a steady publication output. The earliest pieces I have found are from the 1950s (they are about what was then East Germany); the last was published posthumously in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. He was a frequent contributor to historical and media publications, including Sight and Sound; Cineaste; the Journal of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts; Broadcast; Spectrum; Focal International (which became Archive Zones); Film and Television Technician; Viewfinder; The Consultant, the Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, as well as the TLS; The Journal of War and Culture Studies; The International History Review and International Affairs.

He lectured all over the world, including at the Royal United Services Institute; the Imperial War Museum; the National Film and Television Archives; the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; the National Archives, Washington D.C; and in France, Canada and at several US universities as well the universities of LSE, Warwick, Manchester and Oxford in the UK.

Jerry and the Office Cat © Vincent Yorke

In the 21st century he became internationally known for fathering The Office Cat, a widely available column (including for a time in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television and later the IAMHIST Blog) that pointed out the abuse of archive film by television producers, as seen by a proud but incompetent film researcher. As Jerry explained, unlike human film researchers the Office Cat can find any film whether or not it exists. Thus the Cat could – and did – find ‘film’ of Adolf Hitler marrying Eva Braun in the Führerbunker; of the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903; and of the iceberg which sank the Titanic. Producers and Directors demand such images, and film researchers, often with a heavy heart, try to provide them.”

 

Juliet Gardiner summed up his life’s work in History Today:

“Jerry stuck firmly to his creed of popularisation without vulgarisation. His mission (was) to make scholarly history accessible”.

The proposed volume of his selected writings – drawn from 60 years of occasional articles, book chapters, reviews, The Office Cat and so on – falls into three parts. The first is a short book (unfinished but self-contained and most interesting) called Looking At History, to be published for the first time. Next comes a selection of his previously anthologised work that is currently out of print (for example his devastating attack on docudrama from the 1970s called, unambiguously, Lies About Real People). Finally, a significant section of important pieces which appeared once in obscure places but, though hard to access at present, retain their salience.

The collection will range across (at least) his 1960s fight with academic historians about visual history; his 1970s assault on docudrama; his significant contributions to the historiography of The World At War; his fight for nitrate film; and his Torquemada-like pursuit of scholarly precision in the use of archive film, not forgetting The Office Cat and Kuehl’s Reels.

Over the years his work has grown more, rather than less, relevant. My hope is that this book will appeal, not only to the general enthusiast for film and history, but to scholars, to those who write curriculum, and to students, specifically in three publishing markets: the niche areas of archival studies, film preservation etc; the larger areas of film/tv/documentary/media/production studies; and finally, those historians who work on the 20th century and seek to take visual history seriously.

Although I have already collected a number of pieces – as well as seven chapters of his book manuscript – there may well be more waiting to be found. If any IAMHIST members have some gems of Jerry’s writing tucked away, please get in touch as soon as possible. I am also looking for collaborators to help prepare this volume for publication.


Sebastian Cody is a senior media executive. A pioneer independent producer in the formative years of Channel 4 he has been responsible for many British network television programmes including the celebrated discussion series After Dark. In 2010 his company Open Media launched an online social history of Britain, InView, alongside the BFI, BBC, The National Archive and others. Recently he has been Associate Producer of documentaries for HBO and the BBC. He has written for many newspapers including The Times and The Guardian and acts as a consultant for companies and NGO’s, such as Universal Music/Decca and IIASA, the international science research organisation where he advised four successive Directors General over the last fifteen years.

From 2001 to 2019 Sebastian Cody was a Visitor at the University of Oxford, variously at the Environmental Change Institute at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment and the Rothermere American Institute. He was elected a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College Oxford in 2004. In 2019 he became Visiting Researcher at the Communication and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster where his research interests include public service media and transnational cultural diplomacy.

Please contact Sebastian in relation to this project at: s.cody@westminster.ac.uk


Disclaimer: The IAMHIST Blog is a platform that offers individual scholars the opportunity to present their work and thoughts. They alone are responsible for the content, which does not represent the view of the IAMHIST council or other IAMHIST members.

No Time to Say Goodbye to Bond

Daniel Craig’s last film as James Bond sees him go out with a bang rather than a whimper. But it’s a rare thing for a Bond star to leave on their own terms, argues James Chapman, University of Leicester.

5 October 2021


The much-anticipated, and much-delayed, release of No Time to Die, the 25th entry in the Eon Productions series chronicling the adventures of Ian Fleming’s apparently ageless secret agent hero, James Bond, closes the ‘era’ of Daniel Craig’s James Bond, which began on 15 October 2005 with that now-notorious press conference beside the River Thames in which Craig, entering via a Royal Navy RIB, was widely if unfairly mocked for wearing a life-jacket. Five films and over US $3 billion at the box office later, and no-one is mocking Craig now. The man who was deemed by some fans ‘too short’ and ‘too blonde’ for Bond has indelibly put his stamp on the role of Britain’s most famous super-spy.

It’s been public knowledge for some time that No Time To Die – delayed first by the departure of original director Danny Boyle and then by successive postponements due to the closure of cinemas during the global Coronavirus pandemic – would be Craig’s last Bond adventure. His place in the history of cinematic Bond is assured. But how does his exit compare to other last films by his predecessors who also carried Bond’s ‘licence to kill’?

It turns out that, rather like politicians and sports stars, Bond actors have rarely had the chance to choose the timing and nature of their exit from the stage.

Never say ‘never’ to Bond

Sean Connery was the first cinematic Bond, beginning with Dr No (1962), and remains the yardstick against which all new Bonds are judged. Connery was also unique in having no fewer than three ‘last’ Bond pictures. He first announced his retirement from Her Majesty’s Secret Service during the shooting of You Only Live Twice (1967) in Japan, where he tired of the constant press intrusion. For those who don’t know their SMERSH from their SPECTRE, You Only Live Twice is the one where the villain’s lair is inside a hollowed-out volcano and mod cons include a pool of man-eating piranhas. Some critics have suggested that Connery looks bored in You Only Live Twice: he certainly looks uneasy during his unconvincing disguise as a Japanese fisherman.

Connery was always going to be a hard act to follow. Australian model-turned-actor George Lazenby, who starred in On Her Majesty’s Service (1969), lasted for just the one film. Although it was less successful at the box office than previous Bonds, this was probably due as much to the film’s downbeat ending (Bond’s wife Tracy is shot dead before their honeymoon) as to the inexperienced Lazenby, who was excellent in the action sequences and not at all bad in the dramatic moments. But Lazenby felt that Bond was ‘Connery’s gig’ and left of his own accord. OHMSS is now regarded as one of the best Bond films within the fan culture, an early hint of the greater emotional and psychological depth of the Craig films.

The distributor United Artists drew the conclusion that Connery was irreplaceable and lured him back for Diamonds Are Forever (1971) with a bumper salary and an offer to make two other films of his choice. For non-enthusiasts, Diamonds Are Forever is the one where Bond nearly gets cremated, drives a moon buggy across the Nevada desert and gets knocked around by two athletic women called Bambi and Thumper. It would fair to say that Diamonds Are Forever is a mess: the plot doesn’t make much sense (even by the standards of the James Bond films) and the tone is uneven (the death of Plenty O’Toole is particularly nasty in a film that otherwise adopts a tone of high camp). But Connery, purring his way through the film with the self-satisfied smirk of a man earning over $1 million and a percentage of the box office, was clearly enjoying himself more than in Twice.

Connery intended that Diamonds would definitively be his last Bond appearance, telling the press ‘never again’. Like Steve Redgrave after the 1996 Olympics, however, he came back one more time in the ironically-entitled Never Say Never Again (1983). This was a ‘remake’ of Thunderball produced outside the Eon Productions series by Kevin McClory. [i] It’s neither the best nor the worst of the Bond pictures, but Connery’s swansong doesn’t match up to sixties classics such as From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964).

More – much more – Roger Moore!

The king of eyebrow acting, Roger Moore starred as Bond in seven films, from Live and Let Die (1973) to A View To a Kill (1985). Three years older than Connery, Moore was 45 when he first uttered the line ‘Bond – James Bond’. Initially signed to a three-picture contract, there was always a sense that Moore was making his last Bond film. The opening scene of For Your Eyes Only (1981) was clearly written to introduce a new actor by linking to Bond’s past, and it’s known that James Brolin screen tested for Octopussy (1983), but in the end the terms were always agreed for ‘one more’ film. Prior to A View To a Kill, however, Moore and Bond producer Cubby Broccoli agreed that this would be his last.

A View To a Kill is undoubtedly one of the weaker Bonds and the consensus is that it was a mission too far for the 57-year-old Moore whose role by now had become akin to a high-salaried stand-in for the teams of stunt performers. Moore’s swansong is saddled with an annoying heroine – the late Tanya Roberts is even less convincing as a geologist than Denise Richards’s nuclear scientist in The World Is Not Enough – and a poorly structured script that cheats the audience out of the promised showdown between Bond and Grace Jones’s larger-than-life villainess May Day. It’s also the one where Bond escapes Russian pursuers by snowboarding to the strains of ‘Surfing USA’ and reveals his hitherto unknown culinary prowess to demonstrate that real agents do eat quiche. A lukewarm critical reception confirmed that it was time for a change. [ii]

From Dalton to Brosnan

Timothy Dalton – for many Fleming purists the closest to the author’s characterisation of Bond – made only two pictures before a dispute between Eon and distributor MGM/United Artists led to a long hiatus in the early 1990s. The Living Daylights (1987), the 25th anniversary Bond picture, was seen at the time as breathing new life into an old warhorse of a series that had started to look stale, and the classically-trained Dalton was praised for bring fresh vitality and a degree of grittiness to the role. These attributes were highlighted even more prominently in his second outing Licence To Kill (1989). This film deliberately did away with the criminal megalomaniacs and other sensational plot devices of other 007 adventures: Bond is pitted against a ‘real world’ villain in the form of drugs baron Franz Sanchez (a brilliant Robert Davi), though the stunts and action set pieces are as impressive as ever. The harder-edged violence of Licence To Kill earned a more restrictive ‘15’ certificate in the UK which made it off-limits for the traditional family audience of the Bond pictures. It divided critics and underperformed at the US box office, but, like OHMSS, has since received sympathetic reappraisal. Licence To Kill was ahead of its time: the first Daniel Craig Bond film – just without Daniel Craig. It should not have been Dalton’s last.

Dalton had been cast as Bond only when Pierce Brosnan, the original choice for The Living Daylights, became unavailable due to his commitment to the television series Remington Steele. Brosnan’s turn came when Dalton and the producers decided by mutual consent that there had been too long a hiatus between Licence To Kill and GoldenEye (1995). Brosnan pitched his Bond somewhere between the light comedy style of Roger Moore and the seriousness of Timothy Dalton. It was evidently a popular interpretation, as each of Brosnan’s four Bond films took more at the box office than its predecessor. However, like Dalton, the circumstances of his leaving the series were not of his own choosing. His last, Die Another Day (2002), was a mixed bag, never quite able to resolve the internal tension between realism (Bond’s capture and torture ordeal in a North Korean prison) and outright fantasy (this is the one with the Ice Palace and the invisible Aston Martin). For all its popular success, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson resolved that they wanted once again to pursue a grittier style.

The end of an era

Casino Royale (2006) – the first film since the 1960s to use significant amounts of the original novel – marked a new direction for Bond: tougher and more psychologically plausible, even if the action sequences remained as improbable as ever. It met with near-universal critical acclaim. Quantum of Solace (2008) was a mess, its production disrupted by a writers’ strike, but Skyfall (2012) took Bond to new box-office heights, becoming the highest-grossing film in the series to date (unadjusted for inflation), and Spectre (2015) consolidated that success as the second highest-grossing.

The Daniel Craig films differ from previous eras of Bond: there’s a greater emotional depth (albeit within the parameters of what are still big action movies: Bond is no exercise in Ken Loach-style realism) and a continuing narrative arc that links the films. Quantum of Solace was a direct follow-up to Casino Royale and No Time To Die is a sequel to Spectre, with returning characters Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) – the latter in a Hannibal Lecter-style cameo – as well as the now-familiar ‘Scooby Gang’ of ‘M’ (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), ‘Q’ (Ben Wishaw) and Tanner (Rory Kinnear).

Personally I was left rather underwhelmed by No Time to Die: perhaps this time the hype and expectation were too much, especially after the repeated delays to its release. There’s a lot in the film to like, including some nice visual nods to Bond films past and the inclusion of material from Fleming, especially the references to the novel of You Only Live Twice. I liked the character of Paloma (Ana de Armas), though she features rather too briefly, and the banter between the retired Bond and new ‘007’ Nomi (Lashana Lynch) as their relationship develops from initial rivalry to mutual respect. But I felt that the desire to tie up all the left-over plot elements of Craig’s previous films meant the film was too overcrowded. And I never really understood *why* (as opposed to how) the villain Safin (an under-used Rami Malek) wants to wipe out half the human race. Even a Bond megalomaniac needs some sort of warped, perverse logic for the chaos they seek to create.

The Daniel Craig Bond films have succeeded in bringing a new level of critical respectability to a nearly 60-year old film franchise. That deserves to be acknowledged as a major achievement. And Craig got to choose the moment and the manner of his swansong. The end credits of No Time To Die promise (as ever) that ‘James Bond Will Return’. Whoever is the next 007 will have a hard act to follow.

Figures of all six James Bonds, Madame Tussauds, 2021.


[i] Strictly speaking, Never Say Never Again was ‘based on a screen story by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming’ rather than being an actual remake of Thunderball. It’s a moot distinction, but matters to the lawyers.

[ii]  Moore later took umbrage at comments in Cubby Broccoli’s autobiography When the Snow Melts (Boxtree, 1998) that he didn’t want to relinquish the role. It may be that Broccoli’s collaborator Donald Zec added the comment to spice up the book.


James Chapman is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Leicester and author of Licence To Kill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films (I. B. Tauris, 2nd edn 2007). He is currently writing a stand-alone study of the first Bond film, Dr No, to be published by Columbia University Press in October 2022.


Disclaimer: The IAMHIST Blog is a platform that offers individual scholars the opportunity to present their work and thoughts. They alone are responsible for the content, which does not represent the view of the IAMHIST council or other IAMHIST members.

The film raw stock shortage in the British zone of occupied Germany and its impact on the film industry after 1945

Hanja Dämon, independent scholar

24 September 2021


This blog post engages with one of the biggest material obstacles in restarting film production in the British Zone of occupied Germany (one of four zones established following the Allied victory) after the Second World War: the shortage of film raw stock. It was essential for newsreels, for making copies of feature films to be exhibited in German cinemas, as well as for making new documentaries and feature films. Indeed, films were supposed to assist in steering the Germans away from National Socialist ideology, and to teach them about the outside world from which they had been supposedly cut off during twelve years of dictatorship. In this vein, the British feared that without raw stock ‘the whole scheme of re-education will be in danger of collapse’, and looked for ways to secure the provision of this sought-after material for non-fiction and feature films alike.[i] Yet this task was not always easy, as archival sources from the UK National Archives in Kew Gardens reveal. They testify to the fact that insufficient raw stock provision significantly impacted on German film production after 1945.

National Socialism’s defeat in May 1945 and Germany’s division into US-American, British, French and Soviet zones of occupation had initially brought German film production to a standstill, only to be re-established according to the respective agendas of the respective occupation authorities. In the western zones the main goals of the occupiers included  denazification, democratisation and decentralisation of the German film industry, which should not be concentrated in one place (to lessen the chances of state interference). In the Soviet Zone one central studio (DEFA) was established. Although  no new German films were produced for more than a year, re-establishing the film industry was considered essential across all zones for economic and psychological reasons. The Allied powers aspired to give the German filmmakers the tools of self-expression for the purpose of democratisation, although during the first years of occupation Allied supervision and control would seek to ensure that the resulting films would not propagate fascism and militaristic values.

One major obstacle in re-starting film production in the western zones was the shortage of film raw stock, at least in the Western zones. In August 1945, Major General Bishop from the British Information Control Section informed the international press, that ‘as soon as raw-stock supplies make it possible, Germans will be granted permission to produce their own films’, thereby indicating that the lack of raw stock played a role in delaying the reconstruction of the industry in the British Zone.[ii] A year later the Public Relations/Information Services Control (PR/ISC) Division explained as to why up to this point only two production companies had been licensed in the British Zone: the available amount of raw stock was ‘insufficient to allow for further commitments’ regarding the founding of additional production units.[iii] Also in the US Zone, the raw stock shortage was described as ‘one of the main problems’ in reconstructing the German film industry.[iv]

FO 1046/409/9: Raw stock procurement (The National Archives)

No raw stock producing factory existed in the Western zones of Germany, which is why it had to be imported from the Soviet Zone or from other countries. As the relationship between the British and their Soviet Allies became more strained, a member of the British occupation authorities, G.W.E.J. Erskine, began to harbour doubts in September 1946 that one could continue relying on the Soviets for raw stock provisions, for ‘the Russian character and international trends make this a source on which undue reliance should not be placed.’[v] He warned that ‘the dependence of the British Zone for its main supplies of rawstock from the Soviet Zone is capable of producing a sudden crisis at any moment if for any reason supplies were cut off’.[vi] And indeed, deliveries from the Soviet Zone were not always consistent with initial arrangements and in 1947 even stalled for months.[vii] Michael Balfour of the British Information Services Control Branch wrote on the 12th of May 1947 that he was ‘getting a bit alarmed over the raw stock position’ and, while his concern also included the dubbing of films into German, ‘German production is beginning to need rawstock acutely and there is none left.[viii] The shortage of raw stock was therefore certainly a contributing factor in why the German film industry took longer to re-emerge in the Western zones of occupation compared to the Soviet Zone.

Owing to better infrastructure and more decisive actions on the parts of the Soviets in getting the film industry restarted more swiftly, the Soviet-licensed film Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Amongst Us, D: Wolfgang Staudte) was the first German new film to premiere in post-war Germany in October 1946. It was, however, closely followed by the British-licensed film Sag die Wahrheit (Tell the Truth, D: Helmut Weiss) in December 1946, filmed in the Tempelhof studios in the US sector of Berlin. Sag die Wahrheit recycled the script of a film that had been in production at UFA-Studios during the war, which  had remained unfinished. It was an escapist comedy that made no allusions to the post-war present, which made this film an unusual offering compared to all other British-licensed films of the early post-war period that were generally set in the present or the recent past. The British had the power to select which projects could be realised via licensing only those they found suitable, and usually rejected film scripts that were regarded as merely “escapist”. Yet this criteria was apparently not as relevant at the time when Sag die Wahrheit was allowed to go into production.

The raw stock shortage might, in fact, have played a direct role in  the British decision to license Sag die Wahrheit. The material was not only needed for making new German films, but also for making copies of old films, and in autumn 1946, a memo expressed the desire to have a new German film made. It stated that it would be ‘sad if we had to use raw stock to make fresh copies of old films because we have not enough films to circulate’.[ix] Hence, to finally have a new German film available, the British might have allowed Sag die Wahrheit (D: Helmut Weiss, 1946) to become the very first film to be made in their zone, as this project promised a quick production. After this first film, the British tended to license films that at least attempted to deal with contemporary issues, and begun to pre-censor film scripts with this criteria in mind.

The British based their argument for the necessity of pre-censoring of German film scripts directly on the lack of raw stock: pre-censorship was thought ‘essential in view of the extreme shortage of rawstock not only in Germany but all over the world and is to avoid wastage of stock on film production, which, when finished, would have to be rejected on political grounds’.[x] In July 1948, a series of articles in the Hamburger Freie Presse started to ask what kind of films were considered politically desirable by the British authorities. Were films required to spread optimistic messages in the British Zone, as one author of these articles assumed? The Film Section reiterated that pre-censorship was necessary in light of the limited availability of raw stock, furthermore claiming it was too precious to allow the making of ‘pure entertainment films’, confirming thereby that instead of escapism the British privileged films with a message suited to post-war circumstances.[xi] One proposal that was indeed rejected by the British Film Section because it was regarded as nothing more than ‘quite a nice story’ was German director Wolfgang Liebeneiner’s plan to make a film about a young and poor aspiring dancer, entitled Tanz in die Welt (Dance into the World).[xii] Apparently different standards were applied to subsequent film projects than to the first film made in the British Zone, Sag die Wahrheit.

Raw stock was also needed for export copies of new post-war German films, in order to be able to send prints to potential buyers abroad. Once the first films had been made, considerations to export them meant that even more raw stock would be needed in addition to  existing requirements. The British film adviser and documentary filmmaker Arthur Elton deemed it necessary to import additional raw stock  for this purpose. Elton highlights in a memorandum how short supply of raw stock  might hinder the export chances of new German films.[xiii] The material constraints, then, were posing significant obstacles to get the German film industry up and running again.

Lastly, the lack of raw stock also determined what British films were shown in the British Zone. The British producer J. Arthur Rank at first provided raw stock free of charge that was used for dubbing British films into German, but in 1946 he signalled unwillingness to continue this arrangement. It was at this point that the idea arose to allow Rank to set up a distribution organisation in Germany, in order to secure the import of raw stock.[xiv] An initial plan of the Finance Division to make British distribution companies pay a ‘good-will’ fee to the German state when operating in Germany – money intended for the use of re-building the German film industry – was abandoned to accommodate Rank and to guarantee his future cooperation.[xv] Unlike Rank, other British companies did not have the means to distribute their films in post-war Germany because they were financially unable to provide the raw stock for copies of their films, which was a prerequisite for showing them in Germany.[xvi]

The link between material issues – such as the lack of raw stock – and post-war German film production is a topic where the archives can reveal more than was previously known about the German film industry’s re-establishment in the British Zone. I researched the holdings in the UK National Archives to learn more about material obstacles such as the raw stock shortage as well as to explore how the British supervised and controlled German filmmaking in the immediate post-war years. I also consulted personal documents of German filmmakers located in German archives that reveal more details about film production in the British Zone after 1945. My forthcoming book that will be published with Peter Lang will present my findings on British film policy in occupied Germany in more detail.


[i] FO 943/549 Film, 1945-1948.

[ii] FO 371/46702 Control of Propaganda in Germany. Code 18. File 3. “British control policy for Newspapers, books, radio and entertainments. Transmits copy of statement made in Berlin by Major General Bishop to the international press on August 10th”.

[iii] FO 1056/86 PR/ISC Meetings and Reports. “Minutes of the Seventh Meeting held in Berlin”, 1 Aug 1946.

[iv] Military Government of Germany. U.S. Zone. Information Control. Bi-Monthly Review 24 (1 Jul 1947-30 Jun 1947).

[v] FO 1056/39. G.W.E.J. Erskine to the Office of the Deputy Military Governor, C.C.G (British Element), 6 Sep 1946.

[vi] FO 1006/216. G.W.E.J. Erskine, “Films in the British Zone of Germany”, 6 Sep 1946.

[vii] FO 1056/74. Public Relations/Information Services Control Group, “Minutes of the Thirtieth Meeting held in Berlin”, 3 July 1947.

[viii] FO 946/69. Michael Balfour to R.S. Crawford, Foreign Office (German Section), 12 May 1947.

[ix] FO 1056/86. Public Relations/Information Services Control Group. “Minutes of the Thirteenth Meeting held in Berlin”, 24th October 1946. See “Appendix A” of document.

[x] FO 1056/114: Draft of “Film Policy Directive”, to be approved by Chief, ISD, 14th May 1948.

[xi] [‘für den reinen Unterhaltungsfilm zu schade’.] ‘Und was sagt die Film-Section?’, Hamburger Freie Presse, 10 Aug 1948.

[xii] Adk: Liebeneiner 93. Handwritten note on exposé for Tanz in die Welt.

[xiii] FO 946/8. Arthur Elton, “Memorandum on Export of German Films”, 19 Nov 1947.

[xiv] FO 943/162 Film Production in the British Zone of Germany 1946.

[xv] FO 1056/39 Films: Policy and General. Chief of PR/ISC Group to Headquarters, C.C.G. (British Element) Distribution of British Film in Germany, 26 Jun 1947.

[xvi] Gabriele Clemens, Britische Kulturpolitik, p. 167.


Hanja Dämon has studied History at the University of Vienna and then obtained her PhD at King’s College London. Her thesis project on the German film industry after 1945 was sponsored for three years by the European Research Council (ECR)-funded project “Beyond Enemy Lines: Literature and Film in the British and American Zones of Occupied Germany, 1945-1949”. Dämon’s monograph on British film policies in post-war Germany will be upcoming with Peter Lang.


Disclaimer: The IAMHIST Blog is a platform that offers individual scholars the opportunity to present their work and thoughts. They alone are responsible for the content, which does not represent the view of the IAMHIST council or other IAMHIST members.

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