The fifties: 1950– 54
in Charles Crichton
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Chapter 5 follows Charles Crichton’s work at Ealing Studios in the first half of the fifties. With the rapid appearances of Passport to Pimlico, Whisky Galore and Kind Hearts and Coronets in 1949, ‘Ealing comedy’ had become firmly established as a term of audience affection and expectation. These films set the pattern for a kind of modified war drama, where a small band fought back against a larger force, but now in the context of peacetime. Crichton’s first film of this period was Dance Hall (1950), a rare female-led drama that received mixed reviews. He followed this up with The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), one of the most loved of all Ealing comedies and winner of ‘Best British Film’ at the 1951 British Film Academy Awards. After that came the well-received crime drama Hunted (1952) and the comedies The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) and The Love Lottery (1954), both of which had a mixed press.

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