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Exhibitors and Cinema Musicians, UK and USA, 1927-1933

Izod J (2015) Exhibitors and Cinema Musicians, UK and USA, 1927-1933. What is Cinema History?, 22.6.2015 - 24.6.2015, University of Glasgow.


This paper is based on work in progress in this AHRC funded project. It focuses on what archival records reveal about industrial relations between musicians and their employers. The period under review covers the years in which recorded sound was first introduced, then rapidly established as the norm for movie entertainment in British Cinemas.

Materials published by the Musicians' Union and the minutes of their Executive and Branch Committees recount a history of disputes with the owners of picture houses at both local and national levels. This differs radically from the impression conveyed by Annual Reports of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association. The latter omit any mention of negotiations or disagreements (let alone formal disputes) between exhibitors and their employees, be they musicians, technicians or other staff. It is tempting to conclude that the CEA appears, in the interests of public relations, to have suppressed any account of adverse dealings with their staff - not least because the MU claimed on more than one occasion to have hard and fast evidence of double dealing, if not on the part of the organisation then certainly by some of its members.

The paper I propose examines the evidence and offers thoughts about the dependability or otherwise of any conclusions one might draw from the available papers

AuthorsIzod John
Publication date24/06/2015
Date of public distribution24/06/2015
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