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.

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

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

in Anthony Asquith

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

in Anthony Asquith

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

in Tears of laughter

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)

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

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

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
The amateur art films of Enrico Cocozza

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

in British art cinema