Contests and Surveys

In 1933, the magazine Filmwereld was hunting for a new actress, and so it organised a film star contest. The participants were informed that they weren’t being judged solely on the basis of their beauty, but that they also had to be able to sing, declaim, and act. Photographs were then sent in to the magazine to be published so that readers could vote. Readers, in turn, were also eligible to compete for a special participants’ prize after voting.

Best film contest

Using this sort of elections in the 1930s, people not only tried to find new talent but also to maintain or encourage audiences’ interest in film. To this end, the monthly magazine Nova asked the question ‘What is the best film of 1930?’ for a contest in their special issue on film published in November 1930. The first prize was 50 guilders. In his foreword written for this issue, the former chairman of the Nederlandsche Bioscoopbond, David Hamburger jr, wrote that contest would help ‘cultivate even more appreciation for the cinema business and the film industry’.


Published in the same issue were the results of a survey carried out among a number of prominent Dutchmen, including the editor in chief of Het Toneel Frits Lapidoth, a Member of the Upper Chamber of Parliament, Henri Polak, the voice of the AVRO (one of the Dutch public broadcasting associations) Willem Vogt, Amsterdam’s alderman for the arts Eduard Polak, a pastor from Haarlem, H. Bakels and the popular actor and singer Louis Davids. They were asked to answer the question ‘What do people value in film today?’

Sometimes this sort of surveys was done at cinemas themselves. The Rex-Theater in The Hague, which exclusively showed reruns of important old films, carried out a survey among its visitors to find out what sort of films were in demand and which films they’d most like to see again. Unfortunately there were no Dutch films in the results!  

Little rebels

There were also other sorts of competitions. One example of this was the Shirley Temple lookalike contest that was held on 1 April 1936 in Utrecht and organised by the Flora Theater on the occasion of the premiere of Temple’s film Curly Top. Temple was the most popular child star at that time, particularly in the second half of the 1930s.  

Besides Curly Top, EYE has ten other copies of Temple films including the compilation film Shirley Temple Revue, which was put together by the Dutch distributor Express Film.

What was ironic about the Shirley Temple lookalike contest in Utrecht was that children under 14 weren’t allowed to watch films in the cinemas at that time. However, a few months later, during the screening of another Temple film, The Littlest Rebel, cinema owners figured out a way to get around the ban somewhat. During the celebrations on the occasion of the engagement of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard on 8 September 1936, children of all ages were allowed to attend all sorts of film screenings in the city.


more information

If you are looking for more material from our collection, please contact

Ms. Leenke Ripmeester
phone +31 (0)20 5891 426
mobile +31 (0)6 4118 9635