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Duncan Petrie

critical position was struck by V. F. Perkins in the editorial of the first edition of the journal Movie in 1962 in which, despite talk of a New Wave or renaissance, he declared British cinema to be dead: ‘We are … unable to find evidence of artistic sensibilities in order.’ 6 The categories of quality and prestige had also been endorsed by key players in the industry, notably J. Arthur Rank and Alexander Korda, and regularly informed the production of films geared towards the international market. This was particularly significant in the

in British art cinema
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Sally Dux

Introduction I really feel that the cinema, as well as being a semi-art form at its highest level, is the greatest means of communication, worldwide, that anybody has yet thought of. (Richard Attenborough, 1969)1 Richard Attenborough has long been recognised as a significant figure in British cinema history and film culture. While he enjoyed success in the theatre, it is in the cinema where Attenborough’s career has most flourished and where his high regard for the medium, and its global implications and responsibilities, has been evident. After his screen

in Richard Attenborough
Robert Murphy

extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. Given the shifts in attitudes over the past thirty years – in society generally as well as in the little world of film studies – one might expect the judgments expressed there, the choices of what is important, to have become dated and irrelevant. If one reads Roy Armes’s A Critical History of British Cinema

in British cinema of the 1950s
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Peter Hutchings

apparent importance at the time, would in retrospect become significant. Of the nineteen low-budget films directed by Fisher up until 1957, eleven were for a small, up-and-coming independent production company called Hammer. Hammer’s horror production represents one of the most striking developments in post-war British cinema. From 1957 onwards, a series of colour period horrors emerged from Hammer’s Bray Studios which managed to

in Terence Fisher
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Brian McFarlane and Anthony Slide

/Can/US), Absolutely Anything (2015, UK/US). Ackland, Joss ( b London, 1928). Actor. In his 50-year career, tall, burly Ackland (trained at Central School) made his name in the theatre, including a major season at the Old Vic, and appeared in a good deal of TV before becoming a fixture as a character actor in British cinema from the early 70s. He has also appeared in American films such as The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Miracle on 34th Street (1994). With mellifluous voice (he has been much in demand for voice-overs) and imposing presence, he can register equally

in The Encyclopedia of British Film
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Never your typical ‘nice blonde’
Andrew Roberts

the dispiriting category of ‘very nearly famous’. However, this world was one that was escaped by Sylvia Syms, despite Elstree’s best efforts to mould her as the archetypal ‘nice blonde’. Syms’s original period of stardom in British cinema ran from 1957 to 1965, and much of her film career contradicted Raymond Durgnat’s despairing contention that 1950s British films had ‘extraordinary difficulty, not in finding, but in developing, starlets, female assorted innumerable’ ( 1970 : 218). He went on to cite Joan Collins, Belinda Lee and Audrey Hepburn as examples of

in Idols of the Odeons
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Peter Marks

contrast, the collection’s editors place Gilliam in a group of American directors ‘such as Joseph Losey, Stanley Kubrick … or Richard Lester [who] have spent much of their careers in Britain making often quite British films from their own American perspective’. 6 The British Cinema Book (2001) places Gilliam in a ‘visionary sector’ comprising the ‘maverick talents of Terry Gilliam ( Brazil ), Nic Roeg

in Terry Gilliam
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Where to, now?
Brian Mcfarlane

dominant figures in the British cinema’s corner of the field of cultural production were those whose output could be seen as having literary or social realist affiliations. This was the period of the ascendancy of Carol Reed, David Lean and Anthony Asquith, all of whom enjoyed critically privileged positions in postwar British cinema, of Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare films, of Powell and Pressburger, then less critically secure

in Lance Comfort
Brian Mcfarlane

, Leslie Arliss, Lawrence Huntington or Bernard Knowles. To refer briefly to Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of the ‘field of cultural production’ 2 may suggest ways in which Comfort’s predilections as individual artist, and British cinema (embracing production, exhibition, audience reception and critical discourse) as the site of his activity, helped to shape a career lasting four decades, two-and-a-half of these as a director. What

in Lance Comfort
Peter Hutchings

, cheerfully accepting the place allotted them within a particular map of British cinema. It is fair to say that the critical verdict on British horror during the time of its proliferation was overwhelmingly negative. More positive critical evaluations began to appear in the early 1970s when horror production (and indeed much of the rest of British cinema) was beginning to wind down. Most notable among these was David Pirie’s 1973 book A Heritage of Horror which sought to locate horror cinema within a

in Hammer and beyond