Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 66 items for :

  • "Anthony Asquith" x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
Abstract only
Author: Tom Ryall

This is a comprehensive critical study of Anthony Asquith. The author sets the director's work in the context of British cinema from the silent period to the 1960s, and examines the artistic and cultural influences within which his films can be understood. Asquith's silent films were compared favourably to those of his eminent contemporary Alfred Hitchcock, but his career faltered during the 1930s. However, the success of Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1939), based on plays by George Bernard Shaw and Terence Rattigan respectively, together with his significant contributions to wartime British cinema, re-established him as one of Britain's leading film makers. Asquith's post-war career includes several pictures in collaboration with Rattigan, and the definitive adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1951), but his versatility is demonstrated effectively in a number of modest genre films including The Woman in Question (1950), The Young Lovers (1954) and Orders to Kill (1958).

Abstract only
Tom Ryall

1 Introduction It is impossible to think of the history of British cinema without thinking of Anthony Asquith. (Dilys Powell)1 Dilys Powell’s acknowledgement of Asquith’s significance to the British cinema was written as part of a tribute to the director and published in 1968 by the British Film Institute shortly after his death. The tribute, understandably effusive in the context of a commemorative publication, has not quite been echoed by those who have written about the history of British cinema in the years since Asquith’s death in 1968. One film historian

in Anthony Asquith
Abstract only
Tom Ryall

of screening films from America – the westerns, the comedies and the melodramas, the Chaplin films, the Mary Pickford films – rather MUP_Ryall_02_Chap 2 25 7/26/05, 10:04 AM 26 anthony asquith than British films. Audiences flocked to see the latest Hollywood offerings apparently untroubled by the absence of the indigenous product. By 1926 the number of British films actually produced had dwindled from well over one hundred in the early post-war years to the calamitous figure of thirty-four, which reflected the production crisis that had befallen the industry

in Anthony Asquith
Abstract only
Tom Ryall

was reflected in larger budgets, a pale imitation of Hollywood. Many reasons have been put forward for this state of affairs – the strict conditions of censorship, the poor level of skills possessed by MUP_Ryall_03_Chap 3 47 7/26/05, 10:05 AM 48 anthony asquith British producers compared with the drive and flair of their Hollywood competitors, even the preponderance of foreigners in key positions in the industry. Yet it was a period in which film-makers had many advantages compared with the previous decade, including modern, purpose-built studios, a high level

in Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

film’.4 Yet his directorial image, as it developed in the late 1940s and through the 1950s, was built upon ‘filmed theatre’, that very kind of cinema which many regarded as antithetical to the art of the film. As a skilled adapter of stage drama with a number of films based on the plays of Wilde, Shaw, and Rattigan, among others, Asquith acquired a reputation as a metteur-en-scène rather than an auteur. Susan Sontag has suggested that the ‘history of cinema is often treated as the MUP_Ryall_06_Chap 6 121 7/26/05, 10:07 AM 122 anthony asquith history of its

in Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

derived from the government restriction on the export of revenues earned in Britain by the American companies embodied in the MUP_Ryall_07_Chap 7 141 7/26/05, 10:08 AM 142 anthony asquith Anglo-American trade agreement of 1948. In order to utilise their frozen funds, some of the Hollywood majors shifted part of their annual production schedule from the traditional Los Angeles base to Britain financing wholly or partly their production costs, effectively controlling their production in terms of subject matter and genre, stars and directors, while at the same time

in Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

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

in Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

prompted the government to explore other measures which might help the film industry. In addition to this, the quota legislation was due for renewal in MUP_Ryall_05_Chap 5 97 7/26/05, 10:07 AM 98 anthony asquith 1948 and decisions about the nature and extent of government intervention in the industry were required for that. Two companies in particular – Rank and Alexander Korda’s British Lion – had attempted to increase production in order to fill the gap left by the Hollywood boycott. The return of American films following the agreement left both companies in a

in Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

‘the preponderance of aliens in key positions in the industry’.2 Yet it is worth noting, in the context of Asquith, that ‘aliens’, such as the Hungarian Gabriel Pascal and the Russian-born Anatole de Grunwald, had played a MUP_Ryall_04_Chap 4 69 7/26/05, 10:06 AM 70 anthony asquith significant role in his career before the war, and that Italians Filippo Del Giudice and Mario Zampi, as well as de Grunwald, were to play key roles in his wartime career. The war itself, of course, was a highly dramatic subject touching all sections of society in personal ways, and

in Anthony Asquith
Abstract only
Where to, now?
Brian Mcfarlane

dominant figures in the British cinema’s corner of the field of cultural production were those whose output could be seen as having literary or social realist affiliations. This was the period of the ascendancy of Carol Reed, David Lean and Anthony Asquith, all of whom enjoyed critically privileged positions in postwar British cinema, of Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare films, of Powell and Pressburger, then less critically secure

in Lance Comfort