Author: Paul Newland

British Films of the 1970s offers fresh critical insights into a diverse range of films including Carry On Girls, O Lucky Man!, Radio On, Winstanley, Cromwell, Akenfield, Requiem for a Village, That’ll Be the Day, Pressure, The Shout, The Long Good Fridayand The Offence. The book sets out to obtain a clearer understanding of two things – the fragmentary state of the filmmaking culture of the period, and the fragmentary nature of the nation that these films represent.

This book shows us that British films of the period – often hybridised in terms of genre - mediate an increasingly diverse and contested culture. It argues that there is no singular narrative to be drawn about British cinema of the 1970s, other than the fact that films of the period offer evidence of a Britain (and ideas of Britishness) characterised by vicissitudes. But the book demonstrates that while the 1970s in British filmmaking (but also in British culture and society) was a period of struggle and instability, it was also a period of openings, of experiment, of new ideas, and, as such, of profound change.

The book will be of interest to scholars working on British film history but also British socio-cultural history and geography. It will appeal to academics, postgraduate and undergraduate students. But it has also been written in a style that will make it accessible to the general reader.

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Robert Murphy

Critical enthusiasm for realism in British cinema, from Grierson to Ken Loach, has obscured the fact that the majority of British films pay little regard to a realist ethos. Melodramas and crime films have traditionally made up a significant and substantial part of British cinema and a section of these films can be related to film noir. As film noir is a critical category constructed to deal with a

in European film noir
Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Asquith
Tom Ryall

, Germany and the Soviet Union. Despite having much in common with such countries – including roots in the prehistory of the medium, claimants to its technological invention, contributors to its artistic development especially in the form of the pre-World War One ‘chase’ film, and a susceptibility to the power of the American cinema – Britain and British films, however, remain tangential to discussions of ‘art cinema’ in historical terms. Indeed, for Erik Hedling, using a very tight definition of the concept, ‘Britain did not have an internationally well-known art cinema

in British art cinema
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Sexual politics
Paul Newland

-five initial students included Bill Forsyth (Local Hero), Ben Lewin (Ally McBeal), and Mike Radford (Il Postino).1 During the post-credits sequence of Eskimo Nell, as the lyrics of an incongruous country-and-western-style song tell the back story in a jaunty way, we see Dennis enter the London offices of major US film companies United Artists and Columbia-Warner in an 27 027-055_BritFilm70s_Ch 1.indd 27 27/09/2012 12:28 British films of the 1970s attempt to secure work. The film was shot entirely on location in London (both exteriors and interiors), and there is the

in British films of the 1970s
Pop, rock and war children
Paul Newland

85 27/09/2012 12:55 British films of the 1970s figure for the boy in the absence of his own father. But Helmuth leaves before the end of the film, leaving Jamie distraught. In Overlord (Stuart Cooper, 1975), events of the Second World War are viewed within an inventive formal structure which mixes archival shots of the war (held by the Imperial War Museum) with contemporary black-and-white footage of fictional events. Cooper’s filmed sequences are effectively documentary-realist in style. The film was shot by Johnny Alcott (better known for his work with Stanley

in British films of the 1970s
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Racial politics
Paul Newland

Sharman, 1975). Though the opening sequence of the film and its casting of Lockhart make it an intriguing document concerning contemporary racial politics in British cinema (and the transatlantic influence 107 106-134_BritFilm70s_Ch 4.indd 107 19/11/2012 13:00 British films of the 1970s of blaxploitation in particular), The Beast Must Die is not an example of a film which is clearly engaged in an examination of the immigrant experience in Britain. But, as I shall show in this chapter, other films of the period do deal with the struggle of immigrants in 1970s

in British films of the 1970s
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British journeys
Paul Newland

porn boom in Britain saw twelve major soft-core publishers distributing material through 400 wholesalers to an estimated 20,000 sex shops across the nation.2 Andrew Higson points out that pornographic films ‘were really only more extreme versions of a fascination with sexuality and with the body as object of display that pervaded most aspects of 1970s cinema’.3 Sex, it seems, was suddenly all over British films. But 56 056-084_BritFilm70s_Ch 2.indd 56 19/11/2012 12:58 On the road this was not a straightforward development. Indeed, by featuring a farcical

in British films of the 1970s
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The countryside and modernity
Paul Newland

nationally, 151 151-170_BritFilm70s_Ch 6.indd 151 19/11/2012 13:02 British films of the 1970s and made the cover of the widely-read TV Times magazine on 26 January.6 But, even before this, Anglia Television and the BBC had screened documentaries about the production of the film.7 Interestingly, at that stage, Gareth Jones argued that ‘Akenfield is in no sense a television film, having been conceived and planned as a cinema feature; it merely has the advantage of the backing of a TV company.’8 But it certainly worked on television, capturing the imagination of much of

in British films of the 1970s
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The past in the present/the present in the past
Paul Newland

of the lesser films of the Christopher Lee Dracula cycle. Indeed, James Craig Holte calls it ‘a complete failure’.4 But it has developed a cult following. 135 135-150_BritFilm70s_Ch 5.indd 135 19/11/2012 13:01 British films of the 1970s Other horror films of the 1970s exploit the legacy of the late1960s hippy phenomenon while at the same time colliding old and new British cultures. Most noticeable is The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973), which sees Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) coming into conflict with Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), the titular

in British films of the 1970s
Brian Mcfarlane

name, though the wartime thrillers no doubt have melodramatic elements. There were six intervening films, justifying the journalist who described him in early 1943 as the ‘Busiest British film director … Within the last six months he’s made five films, and now he’s busy on a sixth [ Escape to Danger ] . And they haven’t all been the same kind of movie as well.’ 1 Indeed they were not. In order of release, 2 they were: the comedy-drama of

in Lance Comfort