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.
could get to seeing it: The Wild One had been banned from public
exhibition for alleged excessive violence by the British Board of Film
Censors, whose operation then is astutely discussed below by Tony
Again a classic image from 1950sBritishcinema would be Jack
Hawkins in The Cruel Sea , the epitome of quiet English integrity. But
during this decade, Hawkins is also the permanently irascible Police
“There’s nothing really better than what you’re used to, is there?”
gradually discovers a sharper grasp of history or even discovers a history one had
not anticipated (Jacobs, 2000: 17; my italics).
To some extent, this book is the product of “chancing it”. My first foray
into the television archives was when undertaking doctoral research
into the 1950sBritishcinema programme, and I repeatedly found that
my own expectations of BBC television from this time (elitist, dismissive of popular film culture?) were reshaped and challenged. Having
read about the institutional background to the early co-existence of
BBC and ITV, ranging across
1974 : n.p.). Jacques’s physique was the constant subject of critical comment, for if the ‘bad blondes’ of 1950sBritishcinema were condemned for their outré dress sense, the judgement on character players could often descend into near vitriol. In 1952 a theatre critic referred to Jacques as ‘mountainous’ (Cookman 1952 : 16) and twenty-six years later a TV critic wrote, ‘What appears to be a beached whale turns out to be Hattie Jacques’ (Shelley 1978b : 9).
On-screen Jacques was a natural for the world of Charles Dickens, playing a singer in Oliver Twist
actress of 1950sBritishcinema born to encourage formerly respectable types to do the Hokey Pokey Polka , it was Diana Dors.
The first phase of Dors’s screen career ran from 1946 to 1954 when her on- and off-screen mode of dress and craving for quasi-American affluence was an affront in the twilight of rationing. Post-war Britain was also an era when a surfeit of Nice biscuits was widely considered to be evidence of wild living. A 1955 profile by Margaret Hinxman excitedly detailed the Maidenhead house with ‘a private cinema and three bedrooms – one with a sunken
those two child actors.’
The climax of Balloon may have a noir intensity
experienced only occasionally in 1950’sBritishcinema, but
contemporary codes would inevitably ensure a conventional closure to its
narrative. Again, the film is true to its collectivist sentiments by showing
Frankie’s deliverance to be a community effort from the helpful dance
teacher and the vigilant train driver to the resolute police officers he
recognition has not been
forthcoming from film academics, who have largely ignored Lee
Thompson’s films and completely failed to spot his significance in the
neglected world of 1950s’ Britishcinema. In spite of his unusual
commitment to issue-based film making and his successful transfer to
Hollywood, Lee Thompson (like his contemporaries Val Guest, Roy Baker and
Jack Lee) has been dismissed as part of the roster of jobbing
of a famous similar gesture in Brief
Encounter . It is another example of the way this film plays
against memories of Lean’s masterpiece, whilst in a sense
becoming the tragic love story of 1950sBritishcinema in the way that
Lean’s was for the previous decade.
As well as in romantic rivalry, the antagonism is rooted in
class. When Lampton, in his amateur-dramatics role, mispronounces
Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain explores the relationship between classic American films about juvenile delinquency and British popular youth culture in the mid-twentieth century. The book examines the censorship, publicity and fandom surrounding such Hollywood films as The Wild One, Blackboard Jungle, Rebel Without a Cause, Rock Around the Clock and Jailhouse Rock alongside such British films as The Blue Lamp, Spare the Rod and Serious Charge. Intersecting with star studies and social and cultural history, this is the first book to re-vision the stardom surrounding three extraordinarily influential Hollywood stars: Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis Presley. By looking specifically at the meanings of these American stars to British fans, this analysis provides a logical and sustained narrative that explains how and why these Hollywood images fed into, and disrupted, British cultural life. Screening the Hollywood Rebels in 1950s Britain is based upon a wide range of sources including censorship records, both mainstream and trade newspapers and periodicals, archival accounts and memoirs, as well as the films themselves. The book is a timely intervention of film culture and focuses on key questions about screen violence and censorship, masculinity and transnational stardom, method acting and performance, Americanisation and popular post-war British culture. The book is essential reading for researchers, academics and students of film and social and cultural history, alongside general readers interested in the links between the media and popular youth culture in the 1950s.
) because the child’s vision is a complex
thing, as complex as that of the adult whom he befriends. More
importantly, when the adult figure seems to be solving the child’s
problems he may also be solving his own if he knows where to look. It is
this correlation between child and adult that permeates 1950sBritishcinema and is so evocatively recaptured in the contemporary Hollywood