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Author: Brian Mcfarlane

Lance Comfort began to work in films between the age of 17 and 19, more or less growing up with the cinema. When he came to make 'B' films in the 1950s and 1960s, his wide-ranging expertise enabled him to deal efficiently with the constraints of tight budgets and schedules. He was astute at juggling several concurrent plot strands, his prescient anticipation of postwar disaffection, the invoking of film noir techniques to articulate the dilemma of the tormented protagonist. Comfort's reputation as a features director seemed to be made when Hatter's Castle, made by Paramount's British operation, opened at the Plaza, Piccadilly Circus, after a well-publicised charity première attended by the Duchess of Kent and luminaries such as Noel Coward. He had been in the film business for twenty years when, in 1946, he directed Margaret Lockwood in Bedelia. Comfort is not the only director who enjoyed his greatest prestige in the 1940s and drifted into providing fodder for the bottom half of the double-bill in the ensuing decades. There were six intervening films, justifying the journalist who described him in early 1943 as the Busiest British film director. Great Day, Portrait of Clare, Temptation Harbour, Bedelia, Daughter of Darkness, and Silent Dust were his six melodramas. He was an unpretentious craftsman who was also at best an artist, and in exploring his career trajectory, the viewer is rewarded by the spectacle of one who responded resiliently to the challenges of a volatile industry.

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Six melodramas
Brian Mcfarlane

The period of Lance Comfort’s most sustained achievement, when he comes nearest to being (in Bourdieu’s term) an autonomous cultural producer, begins with Great Day in 1945 and cuts off sharply with the commercial failure of Portrait of Clare in 1950. These two and the four intervening films – Bedelia ( 1946 ), Temptation Harbour (1947), Daughter of Darkness (1948), and Silent

in Lance Comfort
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Jonathan Smyth

Why did the whole idea and ethos of the Supreme Being disappear so quickly and completely? Was the reason that Robespierre took no steps to establish firmly his new moral system because he fatally mis-evaluated the level of public support? What should the final evaluation of the effect of the Festival be both on the problem of and acceptable republican national morality and on the progress of the Revolution? The final analysis of the Festival must be that it was a great day of national solidarity during which the entire nation celebrated joyfully.

in Robespierre and the Festival of the Supreme Being
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Brian Mcfarlane

) 7 Eric Portman and Flora Robson as Captain and Mrs Ellis in Great Day (1945) 8 Beatrice Varley, Jill Esmond, Ian Hunter and Margaret Lockwood in Bedelia (1946) 9 Robert Newton as

in Lance Comfort
Bussing, race and urban space, 1960s–80s
Author: Olivier Esteves

In 1960–62, a large number of white autochthonous parents in Southall became very concerned that the sudden influx of largely non-Anglophone Indian immigrant children in local schools would hold back their children’s education. It was primarily to placate such fears that ‘dispersal’ (or ‘bussing’) was introduced in areas such as Southall and Bradford, as well as to promote the integration of mostly Asian children. It consisted in sending busloads of immigrant children to predominantly white suburban schools, in an effort to ‘spread the burden’. This form of social engineering went on until the early 1980s. This book, by mobilising local and national archival material as well as interviews with formerly bussed pupils in the 1960s and 1970s, reveals the extent to which dispersal was a flawed policy, mostly because thousands of Asian pupils were faced with racist bullying on the playgrounds of Ealing, Bradford, etc. It also investigates the debate around dispersal and the integration of immigrant children, e.g. by analysing the way some Local Education Authorities (Birmingham, London) refused to introduce bussing. It studies the various forms that dispersal took in the dozen or so LEAs where it operated. Finally, it studies local mobilisations against dispersal by ethnic associations and individuals. It provides an analysis of debates around ‘ghetto schools’, ‘integration’, ‘separation’, ‘segregation’ where quite often the US serves as a cognitive map to make sense of the English situation.

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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

Ralph Knevet's Supplement of the Faery Queene (1635) is a narrative and allegorical work, which weaves together a complex collection of tales and episodes, featuring knights, ladies, sorcerers, monsters, vertiginous fortresses and deadly battles – a chivalric romp in Spenser's cod medieval style. The poem shadows recent English history, and the major military and political events of the Thirty Years War. But the Supplement is also an ambitiously intertextual poem, weaving together materials from mythic, literary, historical, scientific, theological, and many other kinds of written sources. Its encyclopaedic ambitions combine with Knevet's historical focus to produce an allegorical epic poem of considerable interest and power.

This new edition of Knevet's Supplement, the first scholarly text of the poem ever published, situates it in its literary, historical, biographical, and intellectual contexts. An extensive introduction and copious critical commentary, positioned at the back of the book, will enable students and scholars alike to access Knevet's complicated and enigmatic meanings, structures, and allusions.

Tom Ryall

the film when Hazel simply gasps at her first sight of the village from an overlooking hilltop. The dark rural A darker sense of the rural is evident in Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942) and Great Day (Lance Comfort, 1945). Went the Day Well? was shot on location (an Oxfordshire village and the surrounding countryside) and featured ‘quaint cottages, leafy lanes, a windmill on the hillside’26 among its markers of the rural-​nostalgic vision. However, while the extensive rural imagery is evocative, drawing a degree of strength from its ‘idyllic’ location

in British rural landscapes on film
Brian Mcfarlane

Comfort might have established himself more firmly in the field of British cinema production if he had followed up his success with Hatter’s Castle by several more films in a similar vein. Instead, among its successors during the remaining war years, only the 1945 film, Great Day, a surprisingly abrasive drama of village life, in part recalls the melodramatic mode in which Comfort had made his

in Lance Comfort
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Don Randall

has been left behind, has remained unforgotten and unresolved. ‘Lone Pine’ focuses on two ageing characters who have failed somehow to take up their lives, to grow with and grow into their lives, and who die, murdered by hap, in the midst of their ineffectual attempt, finally, to live.3 ‘Great Day’ tells of a family whose four adult and independent sons turn into ‘boys again’ when returning to their parental home (DS, 135). Angie, one of the sons’ wives, also feels ‘like a child’ there (DS, 139). Her husband Ralph is introduced as ‘a big fair fellow who had never

in David Malouf