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Brian McFarlane

Lawrence Huntington 4 Keeping busy from 1930 Unlike the other three directors explored in this study, Huntington had plenty of experience in this role in the 1930s before entering his peak period in the middle of the next decade. By 1940 he had directed twelve mainly forgotten ‘B’ movies (also claiming writing credits on eight of them) and there were a further five in the early 1940s before he hit his stride with Night Boat to Dublin in 1945. Unfortunately, most of his films of this period are no longer available for viewing, whereas the other three all served

in Four from the forties
Author: Brian McFarlane

The 1940s represent a high point in the history of British film, characterised by the works of such recognised greats as David Lean and Michael Powell. But alongside this ‘quality cinema’ there exists a body of popular productions by film-makers who have not yet been the objects of detailed scholarly attention. Four from the forties addresses this oversight, drawing attention to four directors whose career trajectories had a good deal in common and can tell us much about what British film-goers expected from the cinema in this crucial decade. Leslie Arliss, Arthur Crabtree, Bernard Knowles and Lawrence Huntington were all born at the turn of the century. All had been active in a range of film-making functions in the 1930s, and all would do their most proficient and popular work in the 1940s, thereafter prolonging their careers into the 1960s through ‘B’ movies, co-features and television. Taken together, they offer a commentary on the changing fortunes of mid-century British cinema.

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Where to, now?
Brian Mcfarlane

dominated by the likes of those sketched above, a number of directors who had made some mark in the 1940s were to find difficulties in conducting careers at the same level in the succeeding decades. Among those who, like Comfort, had made their names and their most attractive films in the melodramatic mode were Leslie Arliss, Bernard Knowles, Arthur Crabtree and Lawrence Huntington. Arliss and Huntington had worked as

in Lance Comfort
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Brian McFarlane

concerns. The purpose of the present book is to draw attention to four directors whose career trajectories had a good deal in common and can tell us much about what British filmgoers were flocking to see in this crucial decade when they were at their most prolific. They are Leslie Arliss, Arthur Crabtree, Bernard Knowles and Lawrence Huntington. All were born at the turn of the century (Arliss in 1901, the other three in 1900); all had been active in a range of film-making functions in the 1930s; and each would do his most proficient and popular work in the 1940s. After

in Four from the forties
Brian Mcfarlane

, Leslie Arliss, Lawrence Huntington or Bernard Knowles. To refer briefly to Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of the ‘field of cultural production’ 2 may suggest ways in which Comfort’s predilections as individual artist, and British cinema (embracing production, exhibition, audience reception and critical discourse) as the site of his activity, helped to shape a career lasting four decades, two-and-a-half of these as a director. What

in Lance Comfort
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Robert Murphy

, the impetus to show ordinary people implicated in murky events shifted from murder mysteries and crime thrillers to films dealing with espionage and resistance. Walter Summers’ Traitor Spy (1939), Powell and Pressburger’s The Spy in Black (1939) and Contraband (1940), Anthony Asquith’s Cottage to Let (1941) and Uncensored (1942), Lawrence Huntington’s Tower of Terror (1941), Thorold

in European film noir
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Six melodramas
Brian Mcfarlane

interest in British film melodrama, to date there has been very little sustained attention to Lance Comfort’s melodramas, or, for that matter, to those of such contemporaries as Brian Desmond Hurst and Lawrence Huntington. The prestige of British cinema has never rested on its success in the melodramatic mode, which has been central to Hollywood film production and its dominance of world markets. For a brief period from, say

in Lance Comfort
Steve Chibnall

stage in The Human Touch. 18 The other two were Talk of a Million (John Paddy Carstairs, 1951, USA: You Can’t Beat the Irish ) and The Franchise Affair (Lawrence Huntington, 1950) (see Warren 1995 : 182).

in J. Lee Thompson
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Portrayals of the working-class family
Philip Gillett

the wellspring of faulty socialisation. In The White Unicorn (d. Bernard Knowles, 1947) and When the Bough Breaks (d. Lawrence Huntington, 1947), children are as much a source of heartbreak as pleasure. The films considered in this chapter have the family as their centrepiece. A family seen struggling through the war are the Colters in Waterloo Road (d. Sidney Gilliat, 1945). The story is told

in The British working class in postwar film
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Not to be crossed
Andrew Roberts

his headmaster (Raymond Huntley) in Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill (Lawrence Huntington 1948). Such a measure runs the risk of the mask ossifying over the years; Andrew Crocker-Harris (Michael Redgrave) of The Browning Version reflected how, ‘I’d realised too that the boys, for many long years now, had ceased to laugh at me’. While the characters portrayed by Rutherford rarely engaged in malice or self-loathing, she was at her least effective when the likes of An Alligator Named Daisy or Just My Luck (John Paddy Carstairs 1957) required her to play a stock

in Idols of the Odeons