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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

Featuring more than 6,500 articles, including over 350 new entries, this fifth edition of The Encyclopedia of British Film is an invaluable reference guide to the British film industry. It is the most authoritative volume yet, stretching from the inception of the industry to the present day, with detailed listings of the producers, directors, actors and studios behind a century or so of great British cinema.

Brian McFarlane's meticulously researched guide is the definitive companion for anyone interested in the world of film. Previous editions have sold many thousands of copies, and this fifth instalment will be an essential work of reference for universities, libraries and enthusiasts of British cinema.

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.

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
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
Love in a damp climate
Author: Nigel Mather

Sex and desire in British films of the 2000s examines how film-makers in British cinema rose to the challenge of portraying a wide-ranging set of individual characters’ personal desires and intimate encounters, past and present, as the social, political and economic landscape changed during the twenty-first century. The book aims to demonstrate that key British films of this era succeeded in engaging with the themes of love, sex and desire in productive, imaginative and thought-provoking ways. The study includes chapters on the lives, loves and troubled relationships of Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath and Iris Murdoch, and an examination of the Bridget Jones film trilogy following her emotional journey from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood. The chapter entitled ‘The way we live now’ focuses on dramas centred on relationships taking place in modern times and settings, while the chapter ‘Sex and sensibility’ takes a close look at movies such as The Look of Love, 9 Songs and I Want Candy, which explore sexual desires in fascinating, unpredictable and controversial ways. An afterword considers how the 2011 film Perfect Sense brings to vivid life the differing ways in which a deadly virus can affect intimate and personal relationships between human beings. The book examines a series of complex and compelling films which explore how we may currently live out our hopes, fears and desires in relation to sexual matters and affairs of the heart.

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Cecil Court and the Emergence of the British Film Industry
Simon Brown

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 businesses.

Film Studies
The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film Industry
Alison Peirse

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.

Film Studies
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Queer Feminist Film Curation and the Freedom to Revolt
So Mayer and Selina Robertson

During summer 2018, Club Des Femmes (CDF), in collaboration with the Independent Cinema Office funded by the British Film Institute (BFI), curated a UK-wide touring season of films considering the aftermath of May 1968. ‘Revolt, She Said: Women and Film after ’68’ comprised nine feature films and eight accompanying shorts, exploring the legacy of 1968 on contemporary feminisms, art and activism transnationally. In this article, two members of CDF unpack the queer feminist ethics and affects of the tour, through the voices of multiple participants, and framed conceptually by Sara Ahmed’s ‘willful feminist’ and Donna Haraway’s ‘staying with the trouble’.

Film Studies
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Comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema
Author: Nigel Mather

This book explores the interactions of comedy and drama within a group of significant and influential films released during the decade of the 1990s. It examines a group of British films from this period which engage with economic and social issues in unusual and compelling ways. Brassed Off and The Full Monty are two films invoking very different cultural traditions as possible activities for unemployed males and troubled communities in modern British society. The book then discusses a number of contemporary British films focusing upon the experiences of British-Asian and African-Caribbean characters and their efforts to feel 'at home' in Western and British society. It features an extensive analysis of East is East, a comedy-drama about the cultural and ideological tensions surfacing between members of a British-Asian family living in Salford, circa 1971. Next, the book includes case studies of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. It investigates the ways in which humour is deployed for dramatic and emotional effect in the context of scenarios dealing with such seemingly non-comic subjects as mass unemployment, failed or uneasy relationships, bitter family disputes, or instances of racial tension and conflict in British society. The book demonstrates that the interaction of comic and dramatic modes of narration within the films discussed proved to be a dynamic creative mechanism in 1990s British cinema, facilitating and enabling the construction of innovative and genuinely exploratory narratives about characters who are striving to realise particular aspirations and hopes within a complex culture.