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Sarah Easen

T HE FESTIVAL OF Britain, from 3 May to 30 September 1951, aimed to provide respite from the effects of World War II by celebrating the nation’s past achievements in the arts, industry and science, as well as looking hopefully to a future of progress and prosperity. It marked the halfway point of the century, a natural moment at which to take stock and examine advances in British society. The

in British cinema of the 1950s
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.

Family Portrait
Keith Beattie

Family Portrait was made for the Festival of Britain, a celebration of national achievements which ran from 3 May to 30 September 1951. The film was produced by Wessex Films, a company newly established by Ian Dalrymple after his departure from the Crown Film Unit. Having completed The Cumberland Story (1947), a workaday film which mixes dramatic re-enactment and contemporary footage in a history of the new machinery used in coal mines along the north-west coast, Jennings resigned from the Crown Film Unit and moved into the commercial sector of filmmaking when he

in Humphrey Jennings
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Sue Vice

, in the world of the film, 60 in 1989 (when Lipman was 43: her youth is often apparent through the uglification make-up40). At school Wendy was accused of ‘copying sums’ from Marjorie and as punishment prevented from taking the role of Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest. She met Wilfred, her future husband, at the Festival of Britain in 1951, having refused the advances of Stanislaw, the Polish airman, as they were not engaged, although her friend Marjorie accused her of stealing him. After the birth of their daughter Wilfred left

in Jack Rosenthal
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Sue Vice

Beryl has gone home, defiantly mispronounced. By contrast, the Coronation Street characters’ mispronunciations suggest unfamiliarity with words of foreign origin and any kind of exotic lifestyle. Rosenthal’s first script for the serial had Minnie, Martha and Ena debate foreign travel in just such terms: martha: They live different, abroad. minnie: There’s a lot of foreignness there, abroad. … I went to London once, on Clough’s Coaches, for the Festival of Britain. ena: You’re a right Dr Livingstone when you get going! Careful, you’re slopping your stout! Vice_02_Chap

in Jack Rosenthal
Engineering the immigrant landscape of Emeric Pressburger’s Miracle in Soho
Jingan MacPherson Young

fostered a ‘climate of disgust over the state of the metropolis’. 12 This occurred during the run-up to the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which took place in 1953, the first televised coronation in history. It involved ‘Lavishly illustrated press supplements … together with the Pathé newsreel footage [that] depicted London as a site of glamorous international and imperial spectacle’. 13 Such ‘imperial spectacle’ filtered into the distinctly continental forms of entertainment offered

in Global London on screen
“Soap Opera”, the BBC and (Re)visiting The Grove Family (1954–57)
Su Holmes

was now on the home space as “a design for living”, minimalistic in its “uncluttered”, “smooth” and “efficient” contours (ibid). In the immediate post-war years, consumers could only purchase utility furniture, but this soon changed. In 1951 the Festival of Britain showcased the vanguard of changing furniture styles, as well as new textiles and appliances, with influences displayed from America, Italy, Scandinavia and beyond. By the mid-1950s, this furniture made the transition to mass production and prices dropped – with G-Plan furniture the most popular example of

in Entertaining television
Britain’s stereoscopic landscapes
Keith M. Johnston

lenticular (non-​glasses) screening technology.2 The first large-​scale production, distribution and exhibition of stereoscopic cinema outside Russia, however, occurred in 1950s Britain. At the 1951 Festival of Britain Telekinema (on London’s South Bank), four stereoscopic short films were shown to sell-​out audiences. While Now Is the Time (to Put On Your Glasses) (1951) and Around Is Around (1951) were hand-​ drawn animations created in association with Scottish-​Canadian artist Norman McLaren, A Solid Explanation (Peter Bradford, 1951) and Distant Thames (Brian Smith

in British rural landscapes on film
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‘’Mid pleasures and palaces’
Hollie Price

it castle or cottage’. 44 On the level of rebuilding, Paul Addison suggests that the tone of the 1940s planning schemes was ‘suburban and even traditional’. 45 According to Nick Bullock, ‘reconstruction was not just about building “a nobler” world. Planning for the future was inseparably mingled with the desire for continuity with the past’. 46 Similarly, Harriet Atkinson’s study of the importance of place to the 1951 Festival of Britain suggests that ‘home in the Festival became an important locus for what it meant to be modern and British, while at the same

in Picturing home
Ian Mackillop
Neil Sinyard

features of the decade. Archivist Bryony Dixon shows her expertise on how these films are preserved; Sarah Easen recalls the impact of the Festival of Britain on the British film industry; Eric Hedling and Robert Murphy pay homage to two of the most valuable film commentators of the period, Lindsay Anderson and Raymond Durgnat. Isabel Quigly sharply evokes the life of the national film critic during this time, in so doing

in British cinema of the 1950s