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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.

Comedy and humour
Brigitte Rollet

Coline Serreau objected to my categorising her films as comedies since it was in her view a reductive label. It is true that her films do not always observe the conventions of comedy and embrace elements not usually associated with it. However, this illustrates in my view the wider issue of definition of the genre. Although comedy has always been an important feature of early European cinemas, attempts to define this hybrid genre have often failed. ‘There is no formal body of theoretical works or poetics explaining the

in Coline Serreau
Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and the cultification of light entertainment
Leon Hunt

3885 Cult British TV Comedy:Layout 1 14/12/12 07:52 Page 36 2 Britain’s top light entertainer and singer: Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer and the cultification of light entertainment We want to be treated as mainstream comics doing bog standard entertainment. (Bob Mortimer, quoted by Viner 1995: 5) Personally I think of it as family fun. It should be liked by everyone, from the very young to the very old. (Harry Hill on his Channel 4 series, quoted by Williams 1997: 29) Whatever constitutes ‘post-alternative comedy’ is widely taken to begin with Vic Reeves and

in Cult British TV comedy
Abstract only
Kathrina Glitre

Introduction 1 Introduction Everyone knows how Hollywood romantic comedies end: with a kiss. It is extremely rare for a romantic comedy to end without the union of a couple; it is equally rare for the union to involve people other than the two lead actors. In other words, we usually know how the plot will be resolved just by looking at the opening credits. The fact of this happy ending has conventionally been understood by critics to prove the conservative nature of the genre – a movement from stability through disruption to the reaffirmation of the status quo

in Hollywood romantic comedy States of the union, 1934–65
Musical comedy
R. S. White

and movie scores and popular music of the last fifty years bear his marks. 2 Many books have been written covering different aspects of the subject, among which Julie Sanders’s Shakespeare and Music: Afterlives and Borrowings has a pithy chapter on filmed musical comedies. 3 A part of the reason is that the plays themselves, especially the comedies, are dotted with songs and music with

in Shakespeare’s cinema of love
Popular genre film in post-Franco Spain
Barry Jordan and Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

/consumption. Finally, if genre films, such as the comedy or the thriller, rely for their appeal on the recycling of well-known, recognisable features, these conventions have to be remade in some way and adapted to the tastes and expectations of different national audiences. In the process of adaptation, genres become reshaped and it is through this reinflection that they tend to manifest their culture-specific appeal

in Contemporary Spanish cinema
Love in a damp climate
Author: Nigel Mather

Sex and desire in British films of the 2000s examines how film-makers in British cinema rose to the challenge of portraying a wide-ranging set of individual characters’ personal desires and intimate encounters, past and present, as the social, political and economic landscape changed during the twenty-first century. The book aims to demonstrate that key British films of this era succeeded in engaging with the themes of love, sex and desire in productive, imaginative and thought-provoking ways. The study includes chapters on the lives, loves and troubled relationships of Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath and Iris Murdoch, and an examination of the Bridget Jones film trilogy following her emotional journey from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood. The chapter entitled ‘The way we live now’ focuses on dramas centred on relationships taking place in modern times and settings, while the chapter ‘Sex and sensibility’ takes a close look at movies such as The Look of Love, 9 Songs and I Want Candy, which explore sexual desires in fascinating, unpredictable and controversial ways. An afterword considers how the 2011 film Perfect Sense brings to vivid life the differing ways in which a deadly virus can affect intimate and personal relationships between human beings. The book examines a series of complex and compelling films which explore how we may currently live out our hopes, fears and desires in relation to sexual matters and affairs of the heart.

Abstract only
Celestino Deleyto

Soderbergh’s Out of Sight (1998) and it is a description that makes the film sound very much like a romantic comedy, whether we take our definition from accounts of the genre’s classical antecedents in Greek and Roman New Comedy (for example, Miola, 2002 ), from Northrop Frye’s theorisation of Shakespearean green world comedies ( 1957 ), or from more recent approaches, like Steve Neale’s discussion of romantic comedy’s

in The secret life of romantic comedy
The pleasure of reading comedies in early modern England
Hannah August

11 ‘Tickling the senses with sinful delight’: the pleasure of reading comedies in early modern England Hannah August In the introduction to Shakespearean Sensations (2013), Katharine A. Craik and Tanya Pollard foreground the degree to which early modern antitheatricalists’ anxieties about the theatre are couched in descriptions of sensory affect. They cite Stephen Gosson’s complaint that plays’ ‘straunge consortes of melody [...] tickle the ear’, the actors’ ‘costly apparel [...] flatter[s] the sight’, while their ‘effeminate gesture[s] [...] ravish the sence

in The senses in early modern England, 1558–1660
Consumerism and alienation in 1950s comedies
Dave Rolinson

F OR EVERY 1950S British comedy assimilated into the academic canon, there are many which have fallen into obscurity, reinforcing the alleged disposability of the form. One of the highest-profile casualties is The Horse’s Mouth (Ronald Neame, 1958), which was justly celebrated at the time for Alec Guinness’s performance as aggressively antisocial artist Gulley Jimson

in British cinema of the 1950s