Family entertainment
in J. Lee Thompson
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In the 1950s, 'family entertainment' was still the cinema's core business, and it was inevitable that a promising new director would be pressed into the service of the mass market for insubstantial comedy and undemanding music. It was time for J. Lee Thompson to pay his dues to light entertainment. The themes of confinement and liberation, elaborated by a discourse of moral dilemma, are worked through the contemporary preoccupations of British social life, just as they are in his more serious films. Thompson's films contain post-war housing problems and the spread of new social mores (For Better, For Worse); the impact of foreign cultural forms on the British way of life (As Long As They're Happy); the megalomania of media tycoons and the dangers of materialism (An Alligator Named Daisy); and the erosion of small-scale modes of entertainment and the sense of community they engender (The Good Companions).


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