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Author: Neil Sinyard

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.

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‘Tears of laughter': comedy-drama in 1990s British cinema
Nigel Mather

period, filmmakers were influenced by movements and cycles associated with earlier traditions of British film production, such as the Ealing Studios comedy-dramas produced in the 1940s and 1950s, the Britishnew wavefilms of the early 1960s set in the north of England, and 1970s films based upon popular television situation comedies of the time. Each of the three main chapters includes a discussion of earlier British films

in Tears of laughter
B. F. Taylor

critical perspective, this idea of corruption through repetition moves away from the films themselves and becomes more applicable to existing discussions of them. In order to avoid this we need to try to find new ways to talk about the films. This is important if we are to free the British New Wave films from the critical constraints that ‘The British Cinema’ and its subsequent legacy imposed on them. With this in mind, echoing Bordwell’s earlier claims for ‘novelty’, the act of interpretation is not designed to tell people something they already know. Instead, ‘we read

in The British New Wave
A certain tendency?
B. F. Taylor

hints at some of the reasons why the British New Wave films may have always suffered in terms of the critical response to them. The arrival of Room at the Top and the films that followed it coincided with a seismic shift in the British critical culture. For this period was the heyday of auteurism and ‘by the side of the big names of Europe and Hollywood, it was felt that British film had little to offer’. Though the arrival of Clayton’s film was greeted with considerable optimism, changes in the critical climate meant that some commentators were less sympathetic. This

in The British New Wave
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Approaching British rural landscapes on film
Paul Newland

be subjectively immersed within or objectively distanced from’. In his still-​influential mid-​1980s discussion of BritishNew Wavefilms –​A Kind of Loving (John Schlesinger, 1962) in particular, but also Room at the Top (Jack Clayton, 1958) and This Sporting Life (Lindsay Anderson, 1963) –​Andrew Higson similarly engaged with the tensions between ‘realism’ and ‘spectacle’ in landscape shots: Landscape and townscape shots –​that is, expansive shots of rural or urban scenery  –​must at one level construct a narrative space in which the protagonists of the drama

in British rural landscapes on film
The Bank Job (2008) and the British heist movie
James Chapman

film’s most distinctive quality is not the somewhat hackneyed plot – an armoured van robbery that goes wrong – but the fact that it was shot on location in Newcastle, which invests the film with something of the ‘northern realism’ of contemporaneous British new wave films such as Room at the Top (1959), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and A Taste of Honey

in Crank it up
Sian Barber

films of the British new wave’ requires you to explore the issues of gender and representation within a set body of films known as the ‘British new wave’. In your introduction you should briefly address the concept of the ‘British new wave’ and try and define this term. It may be that definitions vary, some perhaps suggesting that British new wave films make up a genre or cycle, others arguing that it is a label applied to a disparate collection of films which were made in the same period and which share some visual and textual characteristics but which cannot be

in Using film as a source
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Domestic troubles in post-war Britain
Jill Kirby

been the private domain of individuals and families, arguably helped to frame a discourse which increasingly constituted everyday life as problematic, and paved the way for the evolution of stress as the explanation and expected response to such problems. Such everyday troubles, including personal and intergenerational conflict, changing moral values and burgeoning consumerism, were reflected back to the population in popular culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and particularly in British New Wave films and television dramas. The

in Feeling the strain
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Brian McFarlane

(Andrew Ray). The film was a precursor of the Britishnew wavefilms of the late 1950s, and its mode of social realism makes it as much a film of its time as Brief Encounter was of 1945. Like its predecessor, though without the same emotional resonance, its central premise does not lose its potency, and again it is concerned with how such conflict plays out in ‘ordinary lives’ in which, we recall, Laura Jesson did not believe ‘such violent things could happen’. The word ‘ordinary’ here is partly a matter of class: essentially it connotes

in The never-ending Brief Encounter
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A genre comes into its own
Ben Lamb

British new-wave films and British criminological studies of deviant subcultures were made outside the class they focused on as they romanticised the Other. In contrast, television drama firmly ‘rooted itself in a particular experience of class from the inside’, given its working-class actors, writers, directors, and producers (Caughie 2000 : 855). Z Cars uses older characters retreating from the

in You’re nicked