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Author: John Potvin

This book carefully considers the myriad and complex relationships between queer male masculinity and interior design, material culture and aesthetics in Britain between 1885 and 1957 - that is bachelors of a different sort - through rich, well-chosen case studies. It pays close attention to particular homes and domestic interiors of Lord Ronald Gower, Alfred Taylor, Oscar Wilde, Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, Noel Coward and Cecil Beaton. The book underscores the discursive history and conceptual parameters of the bachelor as these collided with queer sexualities through social and cultural perceptions. It focuses on the seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor: queerness, idolatry, decadence, askesis, decoration, glamour, and finally, artifice. The seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor comprise a contested site freighted with contradiction, vacillating between and revealing the fraught and distinctly queer twining of shame and resistance. Together the furniture and collections that filled Gower's Windsor home compel us to search out the narratives that bric-a-brac at once enliven and expose well beyond the shadows of the endless and meaningless accumulation that late Victorians were said to been have afflicted by.

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David Lean’s early career and In Which We Serve (1942), This Happy Breed (1944) and Blithe Spirit (1945)
Melanie Williams

names suggested to Noël Coward when the playwright was looking for a first-class technician to assist him on his filmmaking debut. Although the invitation to work on In Which We Serve would mark the official credited beginning of Lean’s career as a director, Lean never forgot his grounding in cutting. He would go on to supervise the editing of all his films and gave himself an official credit for it on his final film, A Passage to India. Cutting was so important to Lean that some actors felt that all the travails of production were mere preamble for the part of the

in David Lean
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Interwar glamour and the performances of a queer modernity
John Potvin

I cannot remember I cannot remember The house where I was born But I know it was Waldegrave Road Teddington, Middlesex Not far from the border of Surrey An unpretentious abode While, I believe, Economy forced us to leave In rather a hurry. Noël Coward FOR NOEL ë l Coward (1899–1973) all that comes to mind of the first home he grew up in, perhaps the most emotive for a child, was the family’s inability to pay the rent, forcing them to flee. Transformed into verse, Coward’s recollection weds trauma, loss and memory with the modern

in Bachelors of a different sort
Peter Hutchings

claims and I myself am not inclined to value it very highly. The account of it offered here is intended instead to highlight both the benefits and some of the problems involved in thinking about Fisher’s career generally in its pre-horror phase. The Astonished Heart was a Gainsborough production. A rather gloomy melodrama, it deals with a psychiatrist (played by Noel Coward, who also wrote the screenplay) who has an affair with

in Terence Fisher
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Melanie Williams

, to stalwart continuity supervisors Maggie Unsworth and Barbara Cole or someone as indefinable and indispensable as Lean’s property master, location scout and all-round fixer Eddie Fowlie. But at the same time, my account of the films is still underpinned by the belief that David Lean was the central guiding intelligence behind each of his films. This is true even of his collaborative debut with Noël Coward, In Which We Serve (1942); that the film works in cinematic terms is largely down to Lean’s script guidance, co-direction and editorial expertise. Although Lean

in David Lean
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Attenborough as actor
Sally Dux

On-screen: Attenborough as actor 1 Richard Attenborough’s first appearance in the cinema, at the age of 18 in the Noël Coward and David Lean co-directed production, In Which We Serve (1942), was one that went almost unnoticed. The naval propaganda production which was loosely based on the bombing of HMS Kelly (renamed HMS Torrin in the film), under the command of Lord Mountbatten (played as Captain Kinross by Noël Coward), saw Attenborough playing the part of a frightened young stoker who leaves his post at a critical moment as his ship is undergoing attack

in Richard Attenborough
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Hatter’s Castle
Brian Mcfarlane

was first released in August 1941; its reviews stressed its worthiness and sincerity rather than its entertainment value. A couple of months later, 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. 1

in Lance Comfort
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Artifice as resistance
John Potvin

, was championed and formed an indelible facet of Coward’s personality and selffashioning, and served as repeated attacks against Beaton. Upon meeting him for the first time in April 1930 when the playwright was at sea, travelling with Venetia Montagu from New York to London, he assailed Beaton for the ‘malicious’ article he had written on one of his recent plays. Coward attacked asserting: ‘“You must expect to be attacked if you write such horrible things.”… But there was so much truth in what they had to say that I could not deny it … As for Noël Coward, the truth

in Bachelors of a different sort
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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.

Author: Brian McFarlane

Brian McFarlane’s The never-ending Brief Encounter is above all a book intended for those who have seen and never forgotten the famous 1945 film in which two decent, middle-class people meet by chance, unexpectedly fall in love, but in the end acknowledge the claims of others. The book grew out of an article, the writing of which revealed that there was so much more to the after-life of the film than the author had realised. This book examines David Lean’s film in sufficient detail to bring its key situations vividly to life, and to give an understanding of how it reworks Nöel Coward’s somewhat static one-act play to profound effect. It also examines the ways in which the ‘comic relief’ is made to work towards the poignant ending. However, the main purpose of the book is to consider the remarkable after-life the film has given rise to. The most specific examples of this phenomenon are, of course, the appalling film remake with its miscast stars, and the later stage versions – both bearing the original title and attracting well-known players and positive audience and critical response – and an opera! As well, there are films and TV series which have ‘quoted’ the film (usually via black-and-white inserts) as commentary on the action of the film or series. There are many other films that, without direct quotation, seem clearly to be echoing their famous predecessor; for example, in the haunting visual quality of a deserted railway platform.