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It is tho opinion of Mr. Franklyn Barrett, Paramount Pictures represen- tative superintending tho presentation of "Beau Geste," which ls to be screened ; in Hobart shortly, that Australian pro- ,
duced .pictures have no future unies» j financial assistance ls given tay tho¡ Federal Government Ho pointed out in a chat with a representative of "The Mercury" yesterday, that the expen- diture on tho production of Australian pictures is necessarily curtailed be- cause ot limited earning power, but with a subsidy from tho Government the standard of tho films would be such that the large American distri- buting houBes would be glad to placo them on their circuits. As Mr. Bar- rett says, the advertising value to the Commonwealth, if' this course were adopted, would be great.
Mr. Barrett claims that .ho was ono of tho first men to be connected with tho motion picture industry, having commenced his experience In 183G, when tho first public screening of pictures was given at. the Empire Theatre, London. Shortly after that occasion, ho becamo attached to tho Warwick Trading Co. ot London, tho pioneer firm in England - in tho mo- tion picture business. When he ac- cepted tho post of operator in tho Alhambra Theatre, London, he was Incidentally tho third operator since tho inception of moving pictures. When-tho present King, then tho Duke of York, toured Australasia, ho was appointed moving picture photograph- er by the Government of New Zealand, and accompanied the Royal party throughout the Australasian tour. From 1898 till about 1905 ho was con- nected with various well-known op- eratic companies touring ' Australia, including Bland Holt's, Tom Pollard's, and J. F. Sheridan's. He then drift- ed into tho. motion picture Industry again, and in the course of the produc- tion of several films in Sydney, gave Percy Marmont his- first chance In front of tho camera, as the monk in "The Monk and the Woman." Lotus Thompson and Winter'Hall Were other well-known film'stars who first came
under.the notlco of trie public in pic- tures produced by Mr. Barrett about this time, and among tho pictures wat "The Luro of tho Bush," featuring "Snowy" Baker.
Perhaps tho most Important of hit works were his scenic productions or behalf of the Patho Film Co., and under their direction ho toured Aus- tralia, the South Sea Islands, India Burma, and the Malay States. Since then he has been attached to Para- mount Pictures as an exploiter, pro- ducing prologues, and superintending the production of their films. This ii his first visit to Tasmania for 2Í years.'
Mr. Barrett wus not optimistic con- cerning the future of Australian Ullin i without the co-operation of the Fed-
eral Government in tho way of sub- sidies, and unless tho productions wen taken under tho wing of tho large American distributing houses. Tlx
1 failure ot Australian pictures, h< pointed out, would not Ho in their pro- duction, for willi an equal antonin of money available the results oh fained might be as good us those it I America. The ditllculty was thc limit-
ed earning power of the films, wlticl would be avoided with the help o [American distributing companiei 1 which were far from antagonistic t(
them. Paramount Pictures had already taken over three Australian films, and other companies would do the same If more money could be spent on their production. Whereas conditions of living in America were well-known all over the world because of. the coun-
try's ' film productions, there were many people who did not even know where Australia was situated. If thc ; Federal Government granted sub ; sidles the films could bo placed on the j circuits of tho American companies
and there would bo an enormous value ! to - Australia in publicity, besides af I fording relief to tho American public
from American stories and American conditions. Even in that event Aus- tralian producers should nlm' at 'the presentation of no more than six pic-
tures a year. "Without Government i
assistance," concluded Mr. Barrett, j "there cannot be a flourishing motion i picture industry in Australia."