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Andrew Spicer

Chapter 8 explores the various components of Connery’s Scottishness, beginning with an extended discussion of the complex and conflicted nature of national identity in general and Scottish national identity in particular. The chapter examines how Connery’s Scottishness informed his acting, often being deliberately accentuated, and the ways in which Connery was used iconically by various organisations, including the Scottish Tourist Board, to promote Scotland. However, the chapter’s main focus is a detailed examination of the various facets of Connery’s very public and sustained activism for the cause of an independent Scotland. There is an extended analysis of The Bowler and the Bunnet (1967), directed, co-produced and narrated by Connery, which delineates the problems of labour relations in the Clydeside shipping industry and the need for co-operation between workers and bosses. The chapter identifies the documentary as the start of Connery’s political awakening and the beginning of his commitment to the Scottish National Party and the campaign for the cause of an independent Scotland. The chapter traces Connery’s successes – lending his support in August 1997 to the campaign for an independent Scottish parliament – but also his ambivalent status as a tax exile often vilified in the press. The chapter also discusses his formation of the Scottish International Educational Trust in December 1970; his controversial knighthood (2000); Being a Scot (2008), his extended meditation on national identity; his attempts to support the Scottish film industry; and his importance in inspiring a new generation of Scottish actors.

in Sean Connery
Abstract only
Andrew Spicer

The Conclusion assesses Connery’s significance and summarises what his career reveals about the nature of stardom. It discusses how Connery’s determination to become an accomplished actor was inseparable from his ambition to be a major international star who could compete for roles with Hollywood stars. It argues that his greatest achievement was to invest ‘popcorn hits’ with the delineation of engaging characters of some depth and complexity, alongside his ability to reinvent his persona from Bond to father-mentor. The Conclusion argues that his Scottish identity redefined post-war Britishness as part of a generational group of British actors in the vanguard of social change. It debates how his representation of masculinity was wide-ranging but always haunted by its association with a retrograde traditional patriarchy and his public condoning of male violence. The Conclusion summarises the importance of attending to the varied dimensions of stardom: commercial, cultural, iconic/mythic, social and political. It reviews the various ways in which stars’ careers must be contextualised within the shifting commercial systems in which they are situated and the conditions of their employment. Although the study has shown that even star actors’ agency is often highly circumscribed, the chapter argues that Connery’s lifelong truculence and his separateness from the Hollywood establishment helped increase stars’ autonomy and economic status. Although Connery was a singular star, the Conclusion argues that his struggles illuminate the complexities of stardom as an occupation.

in Sean Connery
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Andrew Spicer

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. It describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. The book focuses on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. It examines some necessary preliminaries: the problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form. The book concludes with some way to rectifying the negligence of neo-noir and provides the inspiration for further work that examines other European noir and neo-noir cinemas.

in European film noir
Abstract only
Andrew Spicer

British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. They have a degree of visibility and recognition - even if they are often reviewed dismissively - because they are produced by filmmakers conscious of the 'tradition' of film noir. Get Carter, a highly representative British neo-noir because of its combination of indebtedness to American gangster films and British social realism, has itself become a powerful model, acting as a cultural intermediary between contemporary British filmmakers and American noir. Carter's investigations reveal how civic corruption, gambling, violence and sleazy sex are intermingled in a predatory noir world. Empire State's critical conflation of Thatcherism and the Americanisation of British culture was explored in a more extended form in Stormy Monday. Shooters replaces Bird's overtly political agenda with the fatalistic existentialism more characteristic of the third phase of neo-noir, and the film's sense of anarchy and social breakdown is stronger.

in European film noir
An Analysis of RED Production Company and Warp Films
Andrew Spicer
and
Steve Presence

This article analyses the production cultures of two film and television companies in the United Kingdom – RED Production and Warp Films – by discussing the companies formation and identity, aims and ethos, internal structures and their networks of external relationships. The article argues that although managing directors and senior personnel exercise considerable power within the companies themselves, the companies depend on the extent to which they are able to engage with other industry agents, in particular the large-scale institutions that dominate the film and television industries. By situating analysis of these negotiated dependencies within shifting macroeconomic, historical and cultural contexts, the article argues that the increasing power of multinational conglomerates and the cultural convergence between film and high-end television drama marks a threshold moment for both companies which will alter their production cultures significantly.

Film Studies