This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.
Saturday, 5 December 1998 at the British Library in London. It was a study day consisting of lectures about British cinema in the 1950s: most of these are printed here, with an equal number of new essays which have been written since. In the evenings of the week preceding the study day, seven films were screened. They appeared under the headings of ‘Festive Fifties’ ( The Importance of Being Earnest , in a sparkling new print
4 Wartime British cinema Asquith, with a now established reputation as one of Britain’s leading film-makers, was ideally placed to play a key role in the specific demands placed upon the British cinema in the wartime period. Yet, neither Pygmalion nor French Without Tears, the films which had helped to consolidate his standing, prefigured the active engagement with wartime subject matter which Asquith was to demonstrate during the period of conflict. Indeed, most of his wartime films – six out of the eight features – have wartime subject matter and can be seen
Post-war films 1 – genre and British cinema 5 The British cinema emerged from the war period with a high critical reputation, a degree of audience appeal, and with the Rank group well established as a large vertically integrated company ready to challenge the Hollywood majors in the international marketplace. Yet, the early post-war years saw the industry coping with a turbulent period of uncertainty dramatised by a trade war with Hollywood during which the American majors withheld their films from the British market for several months. The uncertainty, however
romantic comedy in relation to British cinema, with particular regard to the emergence of this particular generic form as a high-profile feature of British film production during the 1990s. Following the international commercial success and critical interest generated by Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), a number of films exploring the complicated relationships and courtship patterns of young couples in contemporary British
8 Asquith and the British cinema In a career lasting from the 1920s to the 1960s Anthony Asquith directed thirty-five feature films: he also worked in a variety of capacities on other films; foreign-version direction, screenwriting, second unit work, and so on. He made a number of short films; some were dramadocumentary 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. He also directed Zero (1960), an adaptation of a
television industry. As has been noted, ‘Amateurism has produced many of British cinema’s most notable mavericks’, including Norman McLaren, Ken Russell and Peter Watkins. 3 Indeed, the amateur film festival network has enabled numerous film-makers to present their early works to appreciative public audiences. However, during the late 1950s there was some concern that filmmakers in Britain were being distracted from the true calling of the amateur: To my mind, the production of ugly monstrosities in the name of the avant-garde (whatever that
3 Rural imagery in Second World War British cinema Tom Ryall When a 1941 Mass-Observation poll asked the question, ‘What does Britain mean to you?’ the overwhelming majority of respondents spoke of rural areas, several explicitly identifying these as embodying the nation’s essence. Brian Foss1 England is the country, and the country is England. Stanley Baldwin2 Despite the fact that the majority of the British people lived in towns and cities and had done so since the late nineteenth century, the Mass-Observation survey referred to above, conducted early in
’, and Rita, Sue, Bob and Aslam Too In 1982, Channel 4 began transmissions, and one of its founding aims was to encourage more independent filmmaking by under-represented groups and communities. 37 The channel encouraged the growth of film and video workshops examining contemporary black culture in Britain, and Sarita Malik in an essay on ‘Black British Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s’ (1996) reported that two-thirds of black and
This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk‘s idea for a sequel to The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions of gender in British horror filmmaking.