WG Faulkner, said to be Britain’s earliest film critic, who wrote his first film review for London newspaper the Evening News exactly one-hundred years ago, was not immune from the disinterest and fatigue that can afflict film reviewers, even though his work was probably pioneering, and movies themselves were relatively new.
Yet it was not long before he posed the question, “Spectacular pictures: are there too many of them?” He suffered preview-screening ennui within years of the preview’s invention. “Most of the people who go to them have seen pictures for business purposes so often that it takes a lot to arouse them.” In April 1914, he asked “whether Roman history has not been a little overdone during the past year or so”. After the trade rejected an Italian biopic of the poet Tasso, he defended “pictures that are ‘too artistic’”. Faulkner even appears to have experienced awards-season fatigue, one December long before awards began: “The number of really first-class films which are being released this month and early in the new year is so great that it is impossible to sample all the best.”