Tom Ryall
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Asquith and the British cinema
in Anthony Asquith
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This chapter shows Asquith's contribution to the British film industry. In a career lasting from the 1920s to the 1960s, Asquith directed thirty-five feature films and also worked in a variety of capacities on other films: foreign-version direction, screenwriting, and second unit work. He made a number of short films; some were documentary drama films made for the Ministry of Information during the Second World War, others were made for charities such as the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and St Dunstan's, a centre for the blind. During Asquith's career, the industry went through numerous changes, responding to the challenge of Hollywood, to the example of European cinema and to major events such as the Second World War, constructing a body of films that prompted both despair and enthusiastic endorsement by critics at various times. The twenty or so titles chosen from the thirty-five features that Asquith directed reflect a number of things, not least of which is ease of availability. However, the selection represents a diverse career in which art cinema, middlebrow culture and popular art are reflected, although the films chosen are not intended to indicate any particular ranking in Asquith's career as a whole.

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