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Author: Brian McFarlane

Brian McFarlane’s The never-ending Brief Encounter is above all a book intended for those who have seen and never forgotten the famous 1945 film in which two decent, middle-class people meet by chance, unexpectedly fall in love, but in the end acknowledge the claims of others. The book grew out of an article, the writing of which revealed that there was so much more to the after-life of the film than the author had realised. This book examines David Lean’s film in sufficient detail to bring its key situations vividly to life, and to give an understanding of how it reworks Nöel Coward’s somewhat static one-act play to profound effect. It also examines the ways in which the ‘comic relief’ is made to work towards the poignant ending. However, the main purpose of the book is to consider the remarkable after-life the film has given rise to. The most specific examples of this phenomenon are, of course, the appalling film remake with its miscast stars, and the later stage versions – both bearing the original title and attracting well-known players and positive audience and critical response – and an opera! As well, there are films and TV series which have ‘quoted’ the film (usually via black-and-white inserts) as commentary on the action of the film or series. There are many other films that, without direct quotation, seem clearly to be echoing their famous predecessor; for example, in the haunting visual quality of a deserted railway platform.

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Genre, history, national cinema
Author: Jonathan Rayner

This book undertakes a consideration of the depiction of naval warfare within British and American cinema. The films (ranging from examples from the interwar period, the Second World War, the Cold War and contemporary cinema) encompass all areas of naval operations in war, and highlight varying institutional and aesthetic responses to navies and the sea in popular culture. Examination of the films centres on their similarities to and differences from the conventions of the war genre as described in earlier analyses, and seeks to determine whether the distinctive characteristics of naval film narratives justify their categorisation as a separate genre or sub-genre in popular cinema. The explicit factual bases and drama-documentary style of many key naval films (such as In Which We Serve, They Were Expendable and Das Boot) also require a consideration of them as texts for popular historical transmission. Their frequent reinforcement of establishment views of the past, which derives from their conservative ideological position towards national and naval culture, makes these films key texts for the consideration of national cinemas as purveyors of contemporary history as popularly conceived by filmmakers and received by audiences.

Creativity, experimentation and innovation
Paul Newland and Brian Hoyle

place that art cinema occupies in Britain, and the internal resistance to it. Art cinema in Britain Film history has generally tended to view British film-makers as aesthetically conservative and Hollywood-centric in their outlook, when indeed they have been mentioned at all. The lack of attention given to British cinema by international critics has been well documented. To give one example, Gerald Mast, an American, reserved a mere six pages for British cinema in his 1971 book A Short History of the Movies (one

in British art cinema
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‘Tears of laughter': comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema
Nigel Mather

This study of British cinema will explore the interactions of comedy and drama within a group of significant and influential films released during the decade of the 1990s. The opening chapter, ‘“Things can only get better … ”: comedies of class, culture and community’, will examine a group of British films from this period which engage with economic and social issues in unusual and compelling ways

in Tears of laughter
Editor: Paul Newland

British Rural Landscapes on Film offers wide-ranging critical insights into ways in which rural areas in Britain have been represented on film, from the silent era, through both world wars, and on into the contemporary period. The contributors to the book demonstrate that the countryside in Britain has provided a range of rich and dense spaces into which aspects of contested cultural identities have been projected. The essays in the book show how far British rural landscapes have performed key roles in a range of film genres including heritage, but also horror, art cinema, and children’s films. Films explored include Tawny Pipit (1944), A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Go-Between (1970), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), Another Time, Another Place (1983), On the Black Hill (1987), Wuthering Heights (2011), Jane Eyre (2011), and the Harry Potter and Nanny McPhee films. The book also includes new interviews with the filmmakers Gideon Koppel and Patrick Keiller. By focusing solely on rural landscapes, and often drawing on critical insight from art history and cultural geography, this book aims to transform our understanding of British cinema.

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Andrew Roberts

, but within three years the future of the British cinema was one of independent actors and directors using the studio facilities. The ‘Britishness’ of such actors, including overseas-born stars, was emphasised in newspaper advertisements and studio publicity at a time when US investment within the UK film industry was ever-increasing. The Eady Levy 3 of 1950 included US-backed productions (Stubbs 2009 : 5) and between 1954 and 1956 the proportion of British films distributed by US firms doubled (Harper and Porter 2003 : 30). In 1962 Vincent Canby stated that

in Idols of the Odeons
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Brian Mcfarlane

The answer to the question with which this study opened, ‘Why Lance Comfort?’ has, I hope, emerged during the preceding chapters. Apart from the purely personal matter of liking his films, I hope also to have shown other reasons for wanting to write about him. First, he has been shamefully neglected in the standard histories of British cinema, which have tended to be dominated by the work of major

in Lance Comfort
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Peter William Evans

traditions, genre, intertextuality, and so on – I have also been struck by unmistakable idiosyncrasies of form and content. Reed’s eye for detail and for creating atmosphere through photography or editing is unsurpassed in the British cinema. In relation to the former, one thinks of the sudden conversion of Havana in the later stages of Our Man in Havana from its tourist-brochure representation to a darker

in Carol Reed
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Robert Murphy

Critical enthusiasm for realism in British cinema, from Grierson to Ken Loach, has obscured the fact that the majority of British films pay little regard to a realist ethos. Melodramas and crime films have traditionally made up a significant and substantial part of British cinema and a section of these films can be related to film noir. As film noir is a critical category constructed to deal with a

in European film noir
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Nigel Mather

My study has examined the significant and innovative role played by three distinctive generic forms in British cinema during the decade of the 1990s. The films discussed, considered and explored such wide-ranging topics as the plight of men rendered redundant by the British economy, the contrasting emotional and intellectual values of first-, second- and third-generation immigrants to Britain, and the hopes

in Tears of laughter