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A celebration

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.

Ian Mackillop and Neil Sinyard

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

in British cinema of the 1950s
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
Open Access (free)
Bryony Dixon

A NUMBER OF factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history. It was a complex and unhappy decade in England and its films appear to have little contiguity or popular profile. The conventional back-of-a-postage-stamp view of British cinema history takes a strange skip and a jump when it comes to the 1950s. Much is made of the

in British cinema of the 1950s
The Spanish Gardener and its analogues
Alison Platt

T HE SIXTH SENSE , an American film of 1999 from an Indian director, M. Night Shyamalan, with an all-American star (Bruce Willis), seems a very long way from British cinema of the 1950s. 1 But the boy in this film (Haley Joel Osment) seems almost a revenant from the British post-war era, with his lack of teenage quality, his innocence of youth culture and, more importantly, his anguished concern for

in British cinema of the 1950s
Editor: Mandy Merck

Moving images of the British monarchy, in fact and fiction, are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 dramatic vignette, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Led by Queen Victoria, British monarchs themselves appeared in the new 'animated photography' from 1896. Half a century later, the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a milestone in the adoption of television, watched by 20 million Britons and 100 million North Americans. At the century's end, Princess Diana's funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion worldwide. Seventeen essays by international commentators examine the portrayal of royalty in the 'actuality' picture, the early extended feature, amateur cinema, the movie melodrama, the Commonwealth documentary, New Queer Cinema, TV current affairs, the big screen ceremonial and the post-historical boxed set. These contributors include Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Steven Fielding, Karen Lury, Glyn Davis, Ann Gray, Jane Landman, Victoria Duckett, Jude Cowan Montague, James Downs, Barbara Straumann, Deirdre Gilfedder, Jo Stephenson, Ruth Adams, Erin Bell, Basil Glynn and Nicola Rehling.

Open Access (free)
Sequence and the rise of auteurism in 1950s Britain
Erik Hedling

from its pages, and also two later editors of Sight and Sound , Gavin Lambert and Penelope Houston. It also acquired a certain cult status. In the words of Brian McFarlane, ‘considering how short-lived it was – a mere fourteen issues between 1947 and 1952 – it acquired a firm niche in the history of British cinema criticism. Across the intervening decades, one found tantalizing references to it in the

in British cinema of the 1950s
Open Access (free)
The early British films of Joseph Losey
Neil Sinyard

startled Wendy Craig, seemed to crackle with all kinds of underlying menace and cheek.) Above all, in a British cinema dominated by words and a ponderous visual imagination, here at last was a real film, full of sinuous and suggestive camera movement and visual symbolism, notably of décor, bars and mirrors, which I came to recognise as part of Losey’s visual signature. It was that rare thing: a sexy British

in British cinema of the 1950s
Consumerism and alienation in 1950s comedies
Dave Rolinson

to take responsibility, arguing that ‘he was always saying things that didn’t mean anything’. Jean disagrees with a local’s description of his area’s glue factory – ‘pungent’s hardly the word’ – then ironically assimilates the discourse to call the Bijou’s foyer ‘pungent’. The film acknowledges cinema’s weaknesses but states its consensual elements. Although satirising British cinema

in British cinema of the 1950s
Basil Glynn

Korda saw the project as an ‘international film’, one that would ‘appeal and succeed abroad’. 18 British films featuring Tudor monarchs have often featured such international dimensions. Robert Murphy, for example, excluded films such as A Man for All Seasons (1966) and Mary, Queen of Scots (Charles Jarrott, 1971) from his history of British cinema, attributing them to an international, American

in The British monarchy on screen