Cecil Court and the Emergence of the British Film Industry
Cecil Court is a small pedestrian passageway in the London Borough of Westminster.
Under its more famous name of Flicker Alley, it is also the mythic birthplace and
romantic heart of the early British film industry. This essay sets aside romantic
myths and adopts the economic theory,of agglomeration, using the film businesses
moving in and out of Cecil Court as a case study to demonstrate the changing patterns
within the industry. In doing so it charts the growth patterns and expansion of the
British film industry from 1897 to 1911. It shows its development from its origins,in
equipment manufacture, through to production and finally to rental and cinema
building and outfitting, marking the transition from its small-scale artisan-led
beginnings into a large and complex network of distinct but interlocking film
This book is about the British film director Terence Fisher. It begins by setting the context by detailing Fisher's directorial debut to Hammer's horror production and the importance of the Hammer horror to Fisher's career. Hammer's horror production represents one of the striking developments in post-war British cinema. The book explains some professional and industrial contexts in which Fisher operated and shows how these relate both to the films he made and the way in which these films have been judged and valued. It presents a detailed account of The Astonished Heart, Fisher's sixth film as director, highlighting the benefits and some of the problems involved in thinking about Fisher's career generally in its pre-horror phase. The successful Hammer film, The Curse of Frankenstein, both inaugurated the British horror boom and established Fisher as a film-maker whose name was known to critics as someone who specialised in the despised horror genre. After The Curse of Frankenstein, Fisher became primarily a horror director. The book presents an account of the highs and lows Fisher faced in his directorial career, highlighting his significant achievements and his box-office failures. It also shows Fisher as a director dependent on and at ease with the industrial and collaborative nature of film-making. In a fundamental sense, what value there is in Terence Fisher's work exists because of the British film industry and the opportunities it afforded Fisher, not despite the industry.
In a pair of interviews during the 1970s, Karel Reisz himself acknowledged this clear line of continuity in his work, he always thought of himself as a cinematic auteur, but stressed that it was a continuity of neither British nor Czech sensibilities. Like many exiles and outsiders, Reisz was able to balance an emotional investment in his adoptive country with the ability to remain critically distanced enough to recognize and then de-familiarize the cultural tropes that make it tick. Given his lifelong affinity for outsiders and exiles, it is clear that Reisz's personal background is crucial to any understanding of his cinema, not only because of his own exile from Nazism and subsequent displacement into a foreign culture. Because of his graduation into film-making from the academic world of film criticism, a realm largely alien to many of the veterans of the British film industry. The book discusses the 'kitchen sink' realism of the Angry Young Men, the birth of the British New Wave, and the Gorilla war. Morgan is an important film in the Reisz canon, not only because it reinforced his continued move away from the last vestiges of social realism associated with the first British New Wave, but also because it was his first truly self-reflexive film. The book also discusses Momma Don't Allow, We Are the Lambeth, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Night Must Fall, The Gambler, Dog Soldiers/, Who'll Stop the Rain, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Everybody.
This book explores why Jack Clayton had made so few films and why most of them
failed to find a large audience. It examines the kind of criticism they
generated, sometimes adulatory but sometimes dismissive and even condescending.
The book hopes to throw light on certain tendencies and developments within the
film industry and of film criticism, the British film industry and film
criticism in particular. The fact that Clayton's films fit David
Bordwell's paradigm of the art film is one explanation why producers had
difficulty with him and why mainstream cinema found his work hard to place and
assimilate. Clayton's pictorial eye has sometimes antagonised critics: they
often take exception to some aspect of his mise-en-scene. Clayton had come to
prominence with Room at the Top, around the time of the British 'Free
Cinema' movement and immediately prior to the so-called British
'new-wave' films of the early 1960s from directors such as Tony
Richardson and John Schlesinger. Thorold Dickinson's evocation of the
Russian atmosphere and, in particular, his use of suspenseful soundtrack to
suggest ghostly visitation undoubtedly had an influence on Jack Clayton's
style in both The Bespoke Overcoat and The Innocents. The critical
controversy concerning the status of Jack Clayton as director and artist is
probably at its most intense over The Pumpkin Eater. Clayton stressed the
importance of an opening that established right away the situation of 'a
woman in crisis' but wanted to delay the Harrods scene so as to build up an
atmosphere of suspense.
The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film
This article reveals how screenwriter Stephen Volk‘s idea for a sequel to The
Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton) became, over the course of fifteen years, the British
horror film The Awakening (2011, Nick Murphy). It examines practitioner interviews to
reflect on creative labour in the British film industry, while also reorientating the
analysis of British horror film to the practices of pre-production, specifically
development. The research reveals that female protagonist Florence Cathcart was a
major problem for the project and demonstrates how the Florence character changed
throughout the development process. Repeatedly rewritten and ultimately restrained by
successive male personnel, her character reveals persistent, problematic perceptions
of gender in British horror filmmaking.
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, passionate about film, who have been best-placed to exploit the confined spaces that have occasionally opened up in the Britishfilmindustry’. 5 Producers, then, can act as the dominant creative force within projects or they can strive to ensure that the directors they admire can realise their vision on screen – sometimes they work in both modes at different times.
This work has contributed to the creation of a British art cinema (depending on the ever malleable definitions of the term) able to compete on the international stage, covering a
unemployed as a result of the crisis in the Britishfilmindustry in the late 40s. Director Anthony A SQUITH , a life-long champion of the ACT , was elected chairman of the board of ACT Films and the first production, Green Grow the Rushes , starring Richard B URTON and Honor B LACKMAN , was released in 1951. Sidney C OLE , Ealing producer-editor and member of ACT Films board, recalled in 1995 that, ‘Apart from buying a few hundred pounds of shares, the union did not have anything directly to do with the running of the company, though its board of directors included
Gandhi (1982), A Chorus Line (1985) and Cry Freedom (1987)
Race, nation and conflict:
Gandhi (1982), A Chorus Line
(1985) and Cry Freedom (1987)
The 1980s marked the apotheosis of Richard Attenborough’s directorial
career in which he fulfilled his twenty-year ambition of realising a film
on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. As well as being a personal achievement
for Attenborough, Gandhi represented a key moment for the Britishfilmindustry through its success at the box office and led to national
pride by winning eight of the eleven Academy Awards for which it was
nominated, the greatest acclaim to that date for a
January 1949 as its representative responsible
for all Festival film arrangements. To discuss the role of film in the
Festival he established the BFI Festival of Britain 1951 Panel
consisting of prominent members of the Britishfilmindustry, including
Michael Balcon, Anthony Asquith, John Grierson, Harry Watt and Arthur
Initial plans were ambitious and many ideas had to be