Joesph Losey's involvement in Secret Ceremony, Boom! and Figures in a Landscape was a case of blatant economic necessity. The films are perched precariously between these Puritan and Marxist extremes. At their best - Secret Ceremony - Losey was able to foreground moral questions in light of their cultural constructs, producing a didactic distance in which basic instincts such as incest can be simultaneously felt and critically examined through both Freudian and Marxian frameworks. At their worst - Boom! - Losey tends to confine his protagonists within hermetically sealed environments so that serious ontological issues of life, death and sex are divorced from all social and political (i.e. class) relevance. The films can be usefully grouped together because of their stylistic and thematic similarities. In each case, Losey supplements his trademark baroque mannerisms with an overt, fable-like narrative structure, all the better to polarize his latent Manichaeism.
As moving pictures became a reality during 1895-6, Europe's crowned heads discovered the new medium and what it could do for their image. The earliest royal films made in Britain showed Victoria's extended family with a new informality, and were eagerly viewed by their subjects. However, it was the staging of Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee as a vast procession through London, filmed by 18 companies whose products were distributed throughout Britain and the distant territories of the Empire, that showed how powerfully film could project the monarchy in a new way - immediate, accessible and impressive. Victoria's successors, her sons Edward and George, came to the throne having grasped the potential of film. Meanwhile, two of her relations Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas, were also the subjects of early filming Nicholas's coronation in 1896 was the first such event to be recorded on film, but a record of the disaster that followed, when thousands were killed in a crowd panic, was quickly suppressed. Nicholas would remain suspicious of film as a mass medium, while enjoying it as a private family record, until he gave permission for a film to celebrate the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913 - the same year that a full-scale acted tribute to Victoria, Sixty Years a Queen, appeared.